Category Archives: Grantham

Genealogy of the Grantham Family

America – On the Move

As most of you know, when I delve into the life of an ancestor, I very often am not satisfied with only obtaining their statistics – I want to understand the time period and the circumstances that they lived in. In addition to learning about the various family branches, I have truly enjoyed receiving a lesson in American history – in fact – learning much more than I ever did in history class!  As I scoot around town in my little Nissan – whether it’s heading off to work or to church or running a spur-of-the-moment errand – I, like most of us, take it for granted – not realizing the many difficulties and challenges our ancestors faced when traveling from place to place.

My father, Richard Montoya - can anyone tell me the year, model and make?!

In the 1800s, the most practical (and quickest) mode of transportation for our ancestors was via our country’s waterways. Because of this, many towns and settlements cropped up close to rivers, lakes and coast lines. By way of example, the family of Richard Spencer and Mary Earnshaw, my gg-grandparents, sailed from the Port of Liverpool, England on 7 Feb 1841 and arrived at the Port of New Orleans six weeks later on 31 Mar 1841. The family then made their way up the Mississippi River (presumably by riverboat) to the “Kanesville Branch” in Pottawattamie County, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs).

George Washington Grantham

A few roads did exist during that time period; however, they were clustered in and around settled areas and were time-consuming and difficult to travel. After Richard’s death, the widow Mary Earnshaw Spencer and her children began their journey across the prairie from the outfitting post at Kanesville, Iowa on 7 Jun 1852. Their journey lasted over three months. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 27 Sept 1852. The company consisted of 293 individuals – 10 total families – and about 65 wagons. Many of these people walked, pulled hand carts, rode horses, etc., etc. Those lucky enough had oxen which pulled their belongings in a covered wagon. It is no small wonder that many of our ancestors lived and died in the same region – some never leaving the county they were born in. I can speak for myself – I probably would not have lasted one day!

The coming of the railroad changed the course of American history. Between 1830 and 1860 America experienced a massive railway building boom. The railroad began to transport food items, livestock and coal to outlying areas – something which would have previously been impossible to undertake. The railroad provided jobs to thousands and was a boon to many industries. People began to spread their wings and many settlements began to sprout up along the new rail routes. By 1869, rail workers completed the first coast-to-coast rail line. By about 1900, the average American was enjoying such things as fruits and vegetables from California and store-bought clothes from the Sears & Roebuck catalog – all thanks to the speed and efficiency of the railroad.

Atwood Family – Migration from Missouri to Texas

And then at the turn of the century came the beloved American automobile. At first only the upper class could purchase this new contraption. By 1920, eight million Americans owned their own automobile. The burden of travel was slowly lifting; however, automobile travel remained difficult for some period of time as few good roads existed. In addition, it should be remembered that in the 1920s and even into the 1930s, horse-drawn wagons and cars shared the same road.

By the 1930s, more than half of America’s families own an automobile. This further fueled businesses such as repair shops, tire stores and gas stations. By the 1950s, nearly 50 million cars were on America’s roadways.  And we do love our cars, don’t we?!  In fact, it became part of the much spoken of “American Dream,” symbolizing our freedom and independence.  Today, most American households have multiple vehicles.  We have the freedom to shop and work practically anywhere we want.  Our cities have grown large and sprawling.  We started with riverboats and horses – and for most of us, the automobile is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.

Samuel David "Mack" Ham with new bride Ruby

And then there was the Saturday morning that my husband quit his job – and we promptly went to the car dealership and bought a new car AND a new pick-up.  That’s just how us Curbows roll – I wonder what the ancestors would have thought about that?!

Floyd M. Puckett and new bride Mable Jemima Ham


Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Grantham, Ham, Montoya, Times and Places


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Whatever Happened to Mayberry?

I live in a cookie-cutter house in a cookie-cutter suburb of Austin, Texas. As I was mindlessly getting ready for work this morning, with Good Morning America droning in the background, I started wondering about what it would be like to live in small-town America.

When I left for work this morning, I noticed our young neighbor who lives his life in a house just yards away. I know nothing about him – not even his name. He refused to meet my gaze, never smiled or even looked my way at all. I observed his untended and dying landscape and sadly realized that I had not seen his wife in months. City life – with all its supposed sophistication, excitement and busyness – somehow seems to numb a person’s ability to relate and care about others. However, well-meaning – there are never enough hours in a day. What happened to the friendliness, and the feeling of knowing one’s neighbors and in turn being known by them? These traits seem to be part of a world which is rapidly fading away.

This feeling was reiterated as I made my way to the freeway (feeling like part of an ant colony on a mission – or better yet a frantic rat caught in a trap). Every car held one lonely occupant – lost in their own desperate thoughts – gearing up to face another day of corporate America. Now please understand, I know that “every day life” whether city or small town – both now and then – was and is difficult. However, sometimes as I am facing another day – I am transported back in time – to a place of quiet, tree-lined streets, with neat and well-tended frame houses, whose doors are never locked, and a pie is always cooling in the kitchen – where life appeared to be just a little bit simpler and where “everybody knew your name.”

My husband grew up in the small west Texas town of Brownwood. Although I, as a city girl, have had a hard time relating at times, I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing the many stories of living life in small town America. Stories which include Eddie and Jimmy King – two brothers who owned the small neighborhood grocery store – King’s Grocery. My husband was employed there as a grocery stocker and a bag boy. Not only was he expected to bag the groceries with a smile – he was expected to walk them home AND unpack them too! Milk, sugar, eggs and lives were shared freely with each other – much time was made for family and friends – hardships and burdens were borne together. The men worked hard and long making a living and the women worked long and hard tending to their families. And of course, everyone knew when the man across the street had one too many drinks the night before at the local bar. I’m told that he regularly bashed his car through the garage door – leaving the evidence for all to see!

It seems that everything was blabbed in the newspapers back then!

Below is a short list of what I’ve learned from my small town American family and friends.  Let me know if any other things come to your mind!   

  • Parents still discipline their children in small town America. Instead of caving into peer pressure (and/or exhaustion) and plopping their kids in front of the TV or newest game system – small town kids are expected to pitch in on the farm, ranch or perform other chores around the house. Small town families still spend a good deal of time and attention to teaching their kids proper values, respect and manners – “yes sir,” “no ma’am” and “thank you – please.” In small town America most teenagers hold a job and work for the things they have. What could us city folk learn from that example?

  • In small town America – folks still take care of their elderly – in fact, not only do they take care of them – they respect and value their wisdom and life experiences too!


  • I’ve observed that in small town America you are included in everything. Maybe this is because there are fewer people – and so everyone is needed to pitch in?! It seems that you are invited to every imaginable charitable cause, church function and family reunion. No one is ever left out of anything!

  • God and country are still first in small town America – enough said.

The kindness and hospitality of small town America (and especially small town TEXAS) is real – it is genuine. Small town folks DO care about their neighbors. You can be assured that there is always someone watching your back. Neighbors will gladly watch over your house, your yard, your truck, your livestock and will even smack your kids around if they need it.  They know when you are out-of-town and they know when you return. As my friend Susan told me – she once received a call from her mother’s neighbor who had grown concerned because Susan’s mother hadn’t checked the mail at her regular time that day. City folks may sneer at that and call it nosey – some just call it being neighborly.

So I’ll leave you with this southern greeting from my friend Susan – a native of Alabama – “How’s yo momma and them?”


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The Murder of Ira Grantham

Ira Grantham was the youngest son born to Hillard Cisero Grantham and Margaret E. Dickson and one of my husband’s first great grand uncles of the Grantham line. Ira was born 12 August 1887 in Whitney, Hill County, Texas.

Ira Grantham

By 1891, the family had relocated to the Oplin/Tecumseh area of Callahan County, Texas. There he met and married Ollie Estelle Arnold some time around 1912. Very often in these smaller communities the families overlap and it takes some time to untangle the web. The Arnold sisters married into our family lines on more than one occasion: Ollie Estelle Arnold married Ira Grantham; her sister Eunice Mae Arnold married Edgar Claude Atwood; and Emma Arnold married Columbus Eugene Atwood. Sheesh…there went an hour of my life linking all that together in the database! It appears that during the first phase of Ira’s and Ollie’s marriage, Ira farmed in Lawn/Oplin, Taylor County, Texas. By 1930 they owned their own home and Ira was working as a salesman for a grocery store. I don’t believe they ever had children, or at least I’ve found no record of any.

Ollie Estelle Arnold Grantham

Sometime in early 1941 Ollie and Ira relocated to Hobbs, Lea County, New Mexico. There he worked as a sales clerk in a clothing store ( K.C. Store).  Shockingly, and sadly, on 7 July 1951, Ira Grantham was murdered in a shoot-out that also killed a Hobbs, New Mexico police officer.  Experts from the Hobbs Daily News, published on 8 July 1951:

Dope Addicts Hopped Up, Police Report – Two men were brutally shot to death in busy downtown yesterday afternoon by a pair of hopped-up gunmen described by police as dope addicts. The dead: City Patrolman Robert B. Butler, 68, father of former Hobbs mayor, Ned Butler; and Ira Grantham, 63, a clerk at the K.C. Store, scene of the shooting. The men were killed almost without provocation. One of the attackers was captured immediately. The other was caught less than an hour later while attempting to steal his fifth car in a wild escape effort. He was wounded.  The prisoners: Speight Fondren Parks, 27 and Gene Afton Parks, 22, both of 422 West Taylor. Both are listed as employees of the National Tank Company, 623 North Grimes. Speight Parks, was shot and captured by Deputy Sheriff Bruce McCallum, Police Chief Ivan Reed and Bill Carpenter, about nine miles from Hobbs on the Denver City highway, and was quoted by McCallum as saying that he “killed a policeman and another man.” Both the brothers are in jail. They were charged on two counts of first degree murder, pending a preliminary hearing. Both Have Police Records – Both men have police records here. Gene Parks, apprehended on Broadway by City Patrolman R. C. (Pinky) Hamlin, had eight or 10 “yellow jacket” dope pills on his person, Hamlin said. Witnesses told this story of the killing: Butler, in charge of parking meters, was walking along Broadway and had stopped to talk with Ira Grantham, a clerk at the K. C. Store, 119 West Broadway, and Phil Veneer, owner of the store. This was about 3:30 p.m. The Parks brothers appeared staggering, and Butler went, to speak to them. He started to put his hand on one of them when the other hit the elderly police officer. In the ensuing scuffle, one of the brothers unfastened Butler’s gun holster and removed his service pistol. Butler Grantham and Vener hurried into the store, seeking to avoid being shot. Butler ran down the west aisle, Grantham the east. One of the brothers fired three times at the patrolman. Butler fell about 12 feet from the doorway. Grantham was shot about 25 feet from the door. Vener had hurried to the back of the store to telephone the police as the fight began.

Ira Grantham at the K.C. Clothing Store

Ira Grantham is laid to rest in Prairie Haven Memorial Park Cemetery in Hobbs, Lea County, New Mexico.

Final Resting Place


Ira’s widow, Ollie Estelle Arnold Grantham, never remarried.  She returned to Texas after Ira’s death, and died 15 Mar 1963 in Gladewater, Gregg County, Texas.  She is laid to rest there in Gladewater Memorial Park.

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Grantham


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Jessie Richardson Grantham – Update

This is a wonderful example of how researchers can work together to reach a common goal.  I have recently taken over the management of Jessie’s memorial on  Out-of-the-blue, I received an email from one of the contributors to that same website.  She kindly provided me with Jessie Richardson Grantham’s death notice published the week after his death in The Messenger – September of 1903.

Jessie Richardson Grantham

J. R. Grantham, formerly of Whitney, died on Wednesday afternoon of last week, but the news did not reach THE MESSENGER until after our last issue was printed, He died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. J. B. Coleman, at Stephenville, and his demise was a sudden and unexpected one.  For several weeks he had been visiting his son, M. M. Grantham, at Fort Worth, and feeling ill, on Wednesday of last week, he took the train for his home at Dublin. However, by the time he reached Stephenville, his illness had become so acute that at his request he was taken off the train there and conveyed to his daughter’s home where he died shortly afterward. For several years he had been a sufferer of sinking spells, and his death was due to that ailment.  His children in different parts of the state were promptly apprised of the sad intelligence and all of them but two were present at his funeral, which took place at Dublin Thursday.  Mr. Grantham was for several years an old and honored resident of Whitney and vicinity, and has engaged in mercantile pursuits here. For some time he was in the hardware and implement business, and later was a partner of C. C. Hicks in the grocery business here. He rested from business cares for quite a while, but again resumed the grocery business by himself, which he sold out to W.K, Byrum in 1898. He also sold his residence here to the latter and shortly thereafter he moved to Dublin, where he and his son-in-law, J. B. Coleman, engaged in the furniture business. He was also in the furniture business at one time in Whitney, in partnership with W. H. Newsom. Deceased died at the age of 69 years, 9 months and 16 days.  He was born in Union County,Georgia, and moved to Hill county, Texas in 1875, locating on the farm now owned by Weeks Bros,; west of Whitney, and which he sold to them. He was married May 11, 1851, in Union County, Georgia, to Miss S, A. Parks,who survives him, together  with the following eight children:  M. M. Grantham; of Fort Worth; H. C. and R. M. Grantham, of Callahan County; Bud Grantham of Nolan County; B. F. Grantham, of Whitney; Mrs. Emma Durham of Dublin; Mrs. Ada Winters, of Scurry County; and Mrs. J.B. Coleman, of Stephenville.

(*Note:  Another obituary appeared for Jessie Grantham during September 1903 in The Dublin Telephone.  If there are any Grantham researchers out there that have a copy of this obituary, I would certainly appreciate receiving a copy of it.  Thank you!)


Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Grantham


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Marion Hilary Grantham – You Died When?!

Marion Hilary Grantham was the fourth son born to Hillard Cisero Grantham and Margaret Dickson, and one of my husband’s first great grand uncles in the Grantham line.

Cropped from his brother's wedding photograph

According to his World War I Draft Registration Card, which he filled out in his own hand, he was born on 22 Apr 1885 – in Meridian, Bosque County, Texas – and a majority of the census records seem to confirm this. His Texas Death Certificate, however, conflicts listing a birth date of 22 Apr 1884. The location is according to the Texas Death Certificate.

World War I Draft Registration Card

When the 1900 census record was enumerated on 4 July, the family is present in Precinct 4 of Callahan County, Texas. Marian is 15 years old and is indexed as a “farm laborer.” He is living with his parents, Hillard and Margaret, along with his brothers – George, Jesse, Orlando and Ira.

According to the Marriage Books of Callahan County, Texas, on 21 Sept 1904 Marion Grantham married Mary Maroney Lawler.  They were both 19 years old at the time of their marriage. Mary was born 1 May 1885 in Alabama, the daughter of “Unknown” Lawler and Amanda C. Dillon. In the 1900 census Mary is with her mother (in De Kalb County, Alabama) who has remarried to William Smith. Mary Lawler Grantham died in Lubbock, Texas on 4 Oct 1973.

The 1910 census finds the Marion Grantham family living two doors down from his parents in Precinct 4 of Callahan County, Texas. He is 25 years old and indexed as a “farmer.” He is living with his wife Mary who has given birth three times: Myrtie, age 5; J. K., age 3; and Elmo, an infant.

On 17 Sept 1918 Marion Grantham filled out his World War I Draft Registration Card. He confirms that he is a resident of Oplin, Callahan County, Texas. He is a 33-year-old self-employed farmer. He lists his wife, Mary Grantham, as his next of kin. He describes himself as being of tall/medium height, medium build with blue eyes and dark hair. He confirms his birth date as 22 Apr 1885.

In the 1920 census the family is still in Precinct 4 of Callahan County. They are renting a farm. Marion is 35, and with him is his wife Mary M. and children Myrtie E., 15; Joe, 13; and Elmo 12.

I was just about ready to stop my research on Marion Grantham because a majority of the trees on list his date of death as 8 Feb 1927 – he would have been 41 years old at the time of his death. I was bothered by the fact that I had been unable to locate a Texas Death Certificate for him; nor have I had any luck in locating his burial location. By 1927, most Texas Counties were keeping fairly good records – so there should have been a death certificate on file. At this point I decided to figure out if I could find his widow and children in the 1930 census. Low and behold – Marion was alive and well in 1930! He was found in Callahan County, Texas living in Precinct No. 2. He is misindexed as “Morie H.,” age 43 born 1887 in Texas; he rents; has been married 20 years; and is a farmer. He is living with his wife Mary, age 43 and their sons Joe (who is misindexed as “Jae”), age 21 and Elmo, age 19; both of the boys are farmers.

This is a classic case of not copying or believing everything you see on  DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK!!

Texas Death Certificate

Once I took out the incorrect date of death for Marion, I was able to locate him in the Texas Death Index and the Social Security Death Index. Marion Hilary Grantham was 81 at the time of his death – not 41! He passed away on 16 Dec 1966 in St. Mary’s Hospital in Lubbock, Lubbock County, Texas. He is laid to rest in Resthaven Memorial Park in Lubbock.

Marion and Mary had the following children:

  • Myrtie Verlia Grantham (1905-1995) – She married Norman Othello Magill
  • Joe K. Grantham (1907 – ?) – Nothing more is known about him by me.
  • Elmo Leonard Grantham (1909 – 1980) – He married Lillian Shoemaker
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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Grantham


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Orlando “Lando” Grantham

Orlando Grantham was known to his family and friends as “Lando.”   He was one of the sons of Hillard Cisero Grantham and Margaret Dickson.  According to his headstone he was born on 15 Oct. 1881.  Several of the other trees on list his birth location as Hill County, Texas.  I think this is possible as his brother Jess’ death certificate lists him as being born there also.  For the most part Lando grew up in Callahan County, Texas.  Lando was my husband’s great grand-uncle. 

Orlando "Lando" Grantham

On 7 Mar 1906, Lando married Maude E. Windham.  Maude was the daughter of Calvin Windham (1887-1909) and Martha Alice Smith (1861-1939).  Technically, Lando married his future step-sister.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Late in their lives – after their respective spouses had died – Lando’s father, Hillard Cisero Grantham – and Maude’s mother, Martha Alice Smith married. 

Lando and Maude had a daughter in 1906, Anna May Grantham.  (I do not know much about Anna; however, in the 1910 census she was living with her father and Grantham grandparents.  I cannot locate her in the 1920 census.  Sometime in 1925 Anna married Doris Elmer Cody – and the couple relocated to California where they can be found in the 1930 census.  They had at least one daughter named Joyce who was born around 1927.)

In mid-December of 1908, Lando and Maude had a son – he died one month later.  Tragically, Maude died about two weeks after the death of her son.  It can only be assumed that something went wrong with the delivery of the baby or they both contracted an illness.

According to the marriage books in Callahan County, Texas, Lando did remarry – on 13 Nov 1911 – to Myrtle Counts.  Several of the trees on have her listed as “Myrtle White.”  I have no other information on Myrtle.  It appears that Lando and Myrtle had at least one son – Orlando Grantham, Jr. (1912-1983).  Orlando, Jr. (according to the Texas Birth Index) must have married – Thelma Josie Amundson.  This couple had at least two sons:  Marion Grantham, born 1939, named after his uncle; and Orlando, III born in 1941, named after his father and his grandfather.

Tragically Lando Grantham died at the age of only 32 years old on 15 July 1914.  His cause of death is not known to me, and I have not been able to locate a death certificate.  Little more is known about this family group. 

I would like to be in touch with other Grantham researchers that might know the history of this family and who could help fill in some of the gaps for me.

Lando and Maude and the infant son are all laid to rest in Tecumseh Cemetery in Clyde, Callahan County, Texas. 

Orlando Grantham


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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Grantham


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Our Roots Run Deep

The latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are featuring Tim McGraw’s discovery of his family’s “rags-to-riches” story with ties to George Washington got me to pondering about our collective families and the role they played in shaping our nation.  Several of the family lines that we are working on have deep roots – in fact they were present here even before America became a nation. 

Brothers, Joseph Curbow (1755-1850) and William Curbow (1757-?), were both Revolutionary War soldiers who served on the North Carolina Line.  According to William’s pension papers, the family home in North Carolina was burned to the ground by the British.  William also spent the brutal winter of 1777-78 in Valley Forge with General George Washington.  The family story that has been passed down is that both Joseph and William were present at the British surrender in Yorktown in 1781.  Fact or fiction?  I don’t know – but it is fascinating to contemplate, don’t you think?

Edward Grantham (1643-1704) is my son’s 9th great grandfather.  He was known as Old Edward.  He lived in Surry County, Virginia.  The family home was known as Grantham Reeds and was located directly across the James River from Jamestown, which was founded on May 14, 1607, and is the first permanent English settlement in what is now America! 

My husband’s gg-grandmother was Ellen Elizabeth West.  The West family has a long and interesting history in America and in England.  John West (1590-1659) was the colonial Governor of Virginia from 1635-1637.  He was the fourth son of Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr.  Did you know that this is where our state “Delaware” got its name?  John West’s plantation is the site of present day West Point, Virginia.  One of the sons of Governor West was Lieutenant-Colonel John West.  He was married to Unity Croshaw, a granddaughter of Raleigh Croshaw, one of the founders of Jamestown, Virginia.  Time and legend have not been kind to Unity – it has been reported that she was a shrew, and that she divorced her husband for adultery when he left her to live with Cockacoeske – Queen of the Pamunkey  – and purportedly a cousin to Pocahontas.  Again – fact or fiction?  I don’t know.

Meanwhile, out west, Bartolomé de Montoya, a Spanish Conquistador arrived in New Mexico on 24 Dec. 1600.  The family came as part of the second Onaté  expedition, whose colony consisted of 65 settlers.  The Montoya family brought with them 25 servants, cattle and equipment needed to start a new life in Nuevo España.  From the family of Bartolomé de Montoya the Montoya surname was firmly established in New Mexico – and virtually all Montoya families from New Mexico descend from him.  

And yes, in case you are wondering – we have our fair share of lunatics – thieves – and drunkards in our family tree too.  Trials, tribulation, tragedy and drama were often the norm – divorces, family feuds, unplanned pregnancies, “bar-room difficulties” and the like have been uncovered.  Our Ham family can be tied to the outlaw Jesse James; and our Curbow family can be linked with the gunslinger John Wesley Hardin.  It’s all good though……they’re family!


Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Curbow, Grantham, Montoya, Odds and Ends


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