A LOOK AT THE PAST
A STORY OF MY LIFE
JOHN RICHARD ANNIS 1918 through 1998
San Miquel de Allende
Legend Text in red  = My notes or corrections
Text in Blue = Collateral or other family names
JRA - 1998
I have often wished that I knew more about my ancestors; things about how and where they lived. what they did for a living, how they thought and maybe comments about current events. Then I thought about my own descendants, and perhaps they would have the same curiosity about some of their ancestors too. It isn't that I think my life has been so special, but on the other had, for a while at least, everyone's life is special, and I will try to make this an interesting account. I have a feeling that perhaps I have written too much, but I am reassured by the thought that the older this story gets, the more interesting the details will be.
I want to give recognition and special thanks to my brother Jack's oldest daughter, Nancy Annis Brandon, for her help in tracking down details of the earliest Annises. She and her husband, Pete, have long been serious genealogist and have even been to see for themselves Warner, New Hampshire.
I'm sorry for the lack of photographs after WW II, sadly the color transparencies do not reproduce well in black and white. Right now there are over 60,000 words and I'm getting tired. What started out with much enthusiasm is now written with some effort; the last 20 years of the story, 20% of the total, are getting short shrift.
San Miquel de Allende
Guanajuato, Mexico - 1998
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - My Antecedents and Family
Chapter 2 - Childhood
Chapter 3 - Move to Oregon
Chapter 4 - Home Again
Chapter 5 - Into the Army
Chapter 6 - World War II
Chapter 7 - Into College
Chapter 8 - Marriage and Practice
Chapter 9 - Into Academia
Chapter 10 - At Purdue University
Chapter 11 - Move to Mexico
Chapter 12 - Life in San Miquel de Allende
IN THE BEGINNING
This story really begins in the year 1666 when Charles Curmack Annis landed on the shores of Newbury, Massachusetts. He was born in Enniskillen, Ireland, of English parentage, and in 1666 at age 26, on May 15 married Sarah Chase. They settled in Newbury and lived on a farm all their married life, raising nine children (one died when he was two years old), and accumulating considerable property. He died about 1717 and Sarah died in 1716  at age 81. (I wonder how he could have courted and married her in such a short time after arriving in Newbury? Probably he really arrived some time earlier.)
Charles Curmack was made Freeman on April 15, 1679. A Freeman at that time was defined as a landholder who had the right to participate in the government of the colony and to vote for members of the colonial assemblies. In Massachusetts religious qualifications or guaranty of good conduct were also required to attain this status. What is known of their children is as follows:
Sarah, born December 23, 1666; married Orlando Bagley, Jr.
Joseph, born October 16, 1668; married Dorothy Osgood
Acquila, born June 4, 1670; died April 17, 1672
Abraham, born April 12, 1672; married Hannah Osgood [This is disputed]
Isaac, (no information)
Charles; married Mary Morrison
Priscilla, born November 8, 1677; married William God y [Godfrey] (the name is illegible in my papers)
Hannah, born November 15, 1679; married Ephraim Weed
Anne, born December 28, 1681; married Ezekiel Worthen
Sarah Chase, Charles Curmack's wife, was the daughter of Acquila Chase and Anne Wheeler and was born in Hampton, New Hampshire in 1645 or 1646. She was the oldest of eleven children. Her father was mariner from Cornwall, England and was known to live in Hampton at least as early as 1640. He died in 1670 at age 48. (That makes him about 18 in 1640.) The date Anne Wheeler died in not known.
Anne Wheeler's parents were John and Anne Wheeler. John Wheeler is thought to have arrived about 1639 and first settled at Salisbury, Massachusetts. John and Anne Wheeler had eleven children, the third from the youngest of whom was the Anne who married Acquila Chase.
Acquila and Anne Chase were also the ancestors of Samuel Chase who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but his exact relationship to Anne Wheeler is not clear. Anyway, that makes all of us distant cousins of an illustrious American.
Our line of Annises comes down through Charles Curmack's son Abraham. He married Hannah Osgood, born October 10, 1668, in Andover, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Christopher and Hannah Belknap Osgood and this was her second marriage. They had ten children, the eighth of whom, Daniel, was our ancestor.
In 1708 Abraham was for three weeks a member of a company in his Majesty's service under the command of lt. Moody. His wages for this service was eighteen shillings. Another tidbit of information about Abraham is that on May 13, 1718 the town of Newbury gave him permission to use a certain plot of ground near Hall's Rock on condition that once every year he give one salmon to the pastor of the town. Abraham died in 1738.
Daniel Annis was born December 1, 1711 in Newbury and died in 1790 in Warner, New Hampshire. In Newbury on August 1, 1732 he married Catherine Thomas and they had ten children, two of whom died in infancy of "throat distemper" (which to me means diphtheria). We will follow his son Thomas, of whom we have no record of date of birth or death. As early as 1740 Daniel and his brother John (older by 11 years) were settlers in Bradford, Massachusetts. About 1745 Daniel moved to Rumford, New Hampshire (now Concord) settling on the east side of the Merrimac River on or near the spot where East Concord now stands. In 1761, accompanied by his son-in-law Reuben Kimball, he visited Township No. 1, a proposed new development. By the proprietors they were given their choice of lots (60 acres) on condition that they actually became settlers. They immediately began clearing the land, sowing seeds, and the construction of their homes; thus they had the honor of actually being the first settlers of Warner New Hampshire. They lived here the rest of their lives.
Daniel's son Thomas was born sometime in the late 1740's in Newbury, Massachusetts. (It was probably Rumford, New Hampshire.) His date of death is not known, but he was known to be alive in Warner in 1816. Thomas married his first wife, Sarah Smith Remick, July 28, 1774. He and Sarah had fifteen children. There is no record of what happened to Sarah. Then he married Mary Wallace in Warner, date unknown. She died in 1813, but before she died Jerome Bonaparte [Annis] was born.
Thomas selected 40 acres next to his father's house and built his house there, In 1771 he bought the house and homestead (all 60 acres) of his father Daniel for $1800. There is no record of what Daniel did in the intervening nineteen years before he died. On May 30, 1787 Thomas married Elizabeth Waldron; but no children were born.
No dates or places are available but Thomas served in the Continental Army in the company of Capt. Daniel Flood who was his brother-in-law, being the husband of his sister Rachel. His younger brother Solomon fought in the war too but no other information about is available to me.
Thomas accumulated a lot of land and property in Warner and the small lake on his property is to this day called Tom Pond, and there is still an intersection of roads called Tom Pond and Annis Lane.
Thomas and Mary's only child was Jerome Bonaparte who was born in Warner May 22, 1807. He married Laura Gifford September 24, 1824 in Northampton, in Fulton County, New York, the daughter of Timothy and Mary Gifford. She died May 12, 1878 in Arlington, Texas but was buried at Waxahatchie.
J. B.'s mother died when he was six and he lived most of his childhood with his siblings, probably with his half-brother Jacob in Orleans County, New York. He has no formal schooling and at age 17 married Laura Gifford. Laura joined the Methodist Church in 1818 and taught school many years, before and after her marriage. Her father was English and her mother was Welsh; both were members of the Baptist church.
J. B. studied energetically (I'm sure with the encouragement of Laura) and on May 19, 1832 he was licensed to exhort, in 1834 to preach, and was ordained as deacon in 1837 and as elder in 1839. They moved to Arkansas in 1836 and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Because of necessity he went into farming in 1846, and that same year he was elected to represent Pope County (his) in the state legislature. In the spring of 1849 he traveled overland to California, but I know no details of this trip, whether he went to preach or to make his fortune in the gold rush. One of my sources say he returned to Arkansas in the spring of 1851; another says in 1853 (take your choice), but both agree that he returned by sailing around Cape Horn. The following fall he again joined the Conference and was sent to Camden station (wherever that was). There he bought a farm where his family lived while he traveled and preached. (Maybe he did make his fortune in California.) In June of 1865 the family moved to Texas. Their youngest son was Jerome Thomas Latimer Annis.
Jerome Bonaparte Annis Laura Gifford Annis
Jerome T. L. Annis Sarah Foster Annis
J.T.L. was born in Clarksville, Johnson County, Arkansas September 4, 1842. (His headstone is dated 1841.) His first wife was Clara Amelia Rutherford, the daughter of Colonel A. H. and Mary Lewis Rutherford. She died February 10, 1868. They had one child, Clara Bennetta who was born January 25, 1868, sixteen days before her mother died (Draw your own conclusions). He married his second wife, Sarah Frances Foster, May 4, 1871. She was the daughter of Adrian W. and Tabitha Gunn Foster and was born March 21, 1844 at Warsaw, Benton County, Missouri.
The children of J.T.L. and Sarah Frances Foster were:
Charles Foster, born February 6, 1872; died August 10, 1945
Rainey Veal, born April 13, 1873; died November 1875
Jerome Bonaparte, born April 8, 1875
Archie Adrian, born December 7, 1876
Early Schults, born December 17, 1878; died November 1881
Laura, born October 30, 1880
Allene, born March 25, 1883; died June 27, 1884
Oliver Bishop, born February 16, 1885
I never knew until now that my father had two brothers and a sister that died in childhood. I wonder if this information is correct, but it probably is due to the given dates. Many years after the above source was compiled, my oldest sister wrote what she could remember of the family and only recorded five children of J.T.L. and Laura.
When J.T.L. was sixteen he entered McKenzie College in Red River County, Texas where he remained three years. He was back in Arkansas when, on April 21, 1861, he enlisted in the first Arkansas Infantry and was part of Lee's army in Virginia for one year. How or why he left this unit is unknown to me, probably his enlistment expired. Anyway he then enlisted in the 21st Arkansas Cavalry and served in this unit until the end of the war. He was wounded several times and suffered from these wounds for the rest of his life.
Another source, unknown to me, claims that JTL was a member of Monroe's Regiment, the Rawhides"' part of Cabell's Brigade of the Confederate Army. I'm sorry I don't have any way to check it out.
Back Row: Charles Foster, Oliver Bishop, Laura, Arch (A.A.)
Front Row: J.T.L., Jerome Bonaparte, Sarah Frances
Original photograph taken in 1894
After the war in 1865, he moved to Waxahatchie with the rest of his family and by 1871 was ready to practice law. This was the year he married Sarah Frances. Three years later they were converted and in 1877 JTL was admitted to the Northwest Texas Conference. He was co-founder and the first president of Belle Plaine (Methodist) College in 1881. Belle Plaine was close to Abilene, and when the railroad was built through Abilene, instead of Belle Plaine, the latter began to decline and the college folded eleven years later. Sarah Frances, among thirteen others, was also a teacher there a few years. The peak enrollment, in 1882, was one hundred twenty five students.
Sarah Frances always claimed to be a cousin of Stephen Foster; America's greatest composer of the 19th century. She died July 24, 1934. According to Sarah Frances, the first Foster in our line came to America in 1697. He was Sir John Foster, tenth baron of Wark, Wark Castle, Northhumberland; also baron of Tynesdale and Knight of Warkworth, who had been banished to France in 1689 after he had lost a battle in an uprising against the king. She left a scanty record of names, places and dates, but apparently Sir John was the father of William who was the father of George, born in 1768 in Charlotte County, Virginia. George was the father of Adrian W., born in 1812 at the family home, was a lieutenant in the Virginia State Militia, and on September 18, 1839 married Tabitha Gunn. He died in 1898 in Ellis County, Texas. Tabitha Gunn's grandfather, James D. Gunn, had come from London to live in Lunenberg County, Virginia, had fought in the war of 1812 and died in June, 1819 three weeks before the birth of his youngest daughter, Tabitha. Tabitha married Adrian W. Foster and were the parents of Sarah Frances.
Tabitha and Adrian Foster moved from Virginia to Missouri in 1840, and following the loss of all their property at the end of the civil war, moved to Ellis County, Texas in 1867. Sarah Frances was their third child.
JTL and Sarah's oldest son was Charles Foster Annis who was born February 6, 1872 in Waxahatchie; married Kate Sanford May 16, 1897 in Rock Springs, and died in Denver, Colorado August 10, 1945.
The next son was Jerome Bonaparte, who was born April 8, 1875 and married Minnie Carlock. They had two children, Carlock [Jerome Carlock Annis] and Joe Kate. Uncle Joe was a saddle maker and lived most of his life in Del Rio, Texas. I never knew him but he made for me one of his last saddles; I think this was in 1942 and it was a beautiful carved leather stock saddle. I used it for many years and finally sold it when I made the move to Mexico in 1974. As a horseman I much preferred the English style of riding using a "flat" saddle, but my uncle's saddle was a treasured keepsake.
The next son was Archibald Adrian who was born December 7, 1876 and married Willie Porter. They had one daughter Doris Annis Durham. Uncle Arch was a dentist.
The next born was Laura, who married Elisha Perry, and who lived in Abilene most of their lives. They had three children; Fannie who died in 1915, Holly and Albert.
Oliver Bishop was born February 16, 1885. He married Sue Palmer and they had one daughter, Francis. O.B. was also a Methodist preacher. Francis died three or four years ago.
According to my sister Susan, Charles Foster was a graduate of Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas. After he graduated he joined the Texas Methodist Conference and his first charge was at Rock Springs in Edwards County in 1896. It was soon after that he married Kate. About every year he was sent to another church in another town including Bandera, Leesville, Sweet Home and Edna, in all these places they lived in the parsonage. I remember my mother telling me that at one place, I can't remember where, he would preach in one town one Sunday, then they would go by horse and buggy to preach in another town close by the following Sunday.
About 1906 he retired from the ministry to become superintendent of schools at Edna, in Jackson County. The next year they moved to Kingsville where he had the same job for two or three years. After that there were moved to Houston, Merkel, Brownwood, then to Trinidad in Colorado and in 1920 or 1921 to Denver.
I can't remember my father talking very much about his life as a boy or about his family. He died during World War II while I was in the Philippine Islands; much too soon for me to really get to know him as a person and to appreciate him as a father. I don't know how he really felt about many things, and what he really thought. This was my fault and I regret this very much, and although he taught me much in the short time that I knew him, if I would have listened he could have taught me very much more.
He was a big man, six feet tall, and weighed about 180 pounds. I can't remember him when he didn't limp; his feet always hurt. He said he was born with bad feet and this is probably true. Dad was a gentle and mild mannered man not often give to outbursts of anger. In moments of exasperation he was known to say "rats" or "drat" or Dad gummit, mother, how did you get this coffee so hot?". He loved to preside at the evening dinner table and was a good talker and story teller. He loved the English language and often expounded on the meanings and uses of words. He was an honest man, we to church on Sunday and he always asked God's blessing before we ate. It wasn't a spontaneous blessing, but something he had memorized years before. In later years when Mack came to to visit, we loved to hear him say this same blessing, slowly and with great dignity. I'm sorry to report that at this moment I can't remember it; so it may be lost to posterity.
Although he had given up trying to support by preaching long before I was born, I remember him as having strong faith in God and he had the traditional Methodist moral codes; no drinking, no wine or liquor in the house, no swearing or taking the Lord's name in vain, and no card playing. He did relent on this last somewhat in his later years and I remember we learned to play Hearts and Bridge, but I don't think he ever took part. He believed in, and taught us, old-fashioned courtesy; no calling adults by their first name, saying "sir and "ma'am" to your elders, always telling the truth, never stealing, and especially respect for women, and never, never, lift a hand against one. Dad loved to sing and had a wonderful bass voice. He played the piano, violin and Spanish guitar passably, and always with gusto. My mother played the piano much better than he and they loved to sing together with her playing the piano. I remember when I was a kid and we lived on Foster Court in Denver and all the family, except Charles, was living at home, mom used to wake us up in the morning by playing the piano. One of our favorite pieces was "Lazy Mary Won't You Get Up", and another one greatly loved was the Mexican march "Zacatecas", always played with great enthusiasm.
My father was a dreamer, which caused him many frustrations in his life because he never seemed to be able to fulfill many of the things he wanted to do. I remember he had two great ambitions; he wanted to go to Alaska, long before it was a state, and he wanted to go to the Galapagos islands; he spent many hours with William Beebe's book about the islands. He never managed to get to either place, but one of his grandsons, Bill, has been to the islands twice and now lives in Alaska. Maybe Dad is resting easier in his grave now.
[Editor's Note: There seems to be a gap in the text as John continues the story of his mother's ancestors. It begins in mid sentence and he is speaking of Kate Sanford Annis' earliest known ancestor.]
born on September 5, 1751. Family tradition has it that he was a captain in the Revolutionary War, but this has never been verified. One son was John Sanford born June 11, 1786, and who died November 27, 1859 at Texana, Texas. He had a son, John R. Sanford, born December 5, 1809 and who died August 24, 1882, also at Texana, Texas. He married in 1834 in Helena, Arkansas, Matilda Dunn who was born there in 1819. She died in 1862, also in Texana. They moved to delta, Mississippi about 1840 and to Texana in April of 1850.
They had thirteen children, five of whom died in infancy. One son John R. Jr., died in the Civil war. Another son, William Mack (my grandfather) was born November 6, 1844 in Mississippi, and died, date unknown, in Alpine, Texas. William Mack married Susan Ellen Rogers, who was born October 21, 1846, and died at Rock Springs, Texas in 1898. Susan's grandfather was "Captain" Simons of Jackson County, Texas. He was the father of Elizabeth Simons who married a man named Rogers. They were the parents of Susan Ellen Rogers who married William Mack Sanford.
William Mack [Sanford] was sixteen years old when he joined the Confederate Army and spent his entire life in Texas. I can remember seeing him only once when I was six years old. He came to Denver for the birth of her second son, Fred. I don't remember her or the baby, but I do remember the little old man with the white beard.
An interesting event that involved my mother's grandfather Rogers occurred in late 1842 and ended sometime in 1845. I don't know how old he was during these years, but probably in his early 20's, which would have made him too young to have fought with Sam Houston in the battle against Santa Ana at San Jaciento in 1836, when the Texans were trying to get their independence from Mexico. During the nine years that Texas was an independent Republic (1836-1845) there were many, almost constant skirmishes and small battles in one place or another. Mexico was reluctant to accept Santa Ana's bargain he made for his life at San Jaciento, in exchange for Texas independence, and my great grandfather was with the group of Texas Rangers and Texas Army troops and a few stragglers who were skirmishing, on and off, with units of the Mexican Army in south Texas in 1842.
The details vary among the various historians, but it seems that there was a force of about five hundred or more Texans close to the border. They had a dispute among themselves as to exactly who was the commander and so the group split up and the majority headed back to San Antonio. That left a motley group of soldiers, individuals and Texas Rangers, who, as the story goes, got drunk and wanted to conquer the Mexican Army by themselves. They rode across the Rio Grande river and tried to capture the little town of Mier. What they didn't know was that there was a squadron of Mexican Calvary garrisoned there. Consequently the Texans were easily defeated, after a very furious fight of course, and 176 of them were captured.
Santa Anna was president of Mexico (again) and ordered that all should be shot. Before that happened, he changed his mind and said that one in every ten would be shot; the others released to return to Texas. The Mexicans put 159 white beans and 17 black beans in a big clay pot, blindfolded the captives and let them, one by one, draw out a bean; those that drew a white bean would be released and those who drew black ones would be executed. The story is that a few astute Americans noticed that the Mexicans put the black beans in the pot on top of the white beans, thereupon they reached deeply in the pot to be more sure of getting a white one. Surely our ancestor was one of those clever ones. The 17 were shot for sure, but the others, including my great grandfather, were not released as promised, but were eventually marched, shackled, from Mier to Matamoras, then to Mexico City, and finally on to Perote in the state of Vera Cruz. This obviously took several months and was a great hardship for all.
The Spaniards had built, many years before, a fortress in the old style complete with moat and turrets, in Perote as a defensive position should any country attack from this part of the east coast, Perote being inland from Ver Cruz a short distance and directly in line of one of two routes to Mexico City. At the time our ancestor arrived it was a prison. (It still is and I visited it once in 1978 to see for myself what it looked like.)
A while later he and 9 others dug a tunnel under the moat and escaped. The moat is (and was) about 30 feet across and about 10 feet deep. Even if there had been no water in the moat it would have been very difficult, and I think it would have been impossible, had it been filled with water. Probably it was dry because Perote is located on a high, dry plateau, and I doubt the Mexicans would want to waste what little water they had trying to keep the moat even partly filled.
Fortaleza de San Carlos - Perote, Vera Cruz
Right shows entrance - left shows moat
Photograph taken September 1978
Well, they did escape and began the long walk back to the border. I'm not sure how many managed to get home, I know that most of them did not, gradually they were captured and shot. It is probable that the group broke up into small parties of 2 or 3. I know my great grandfather was with only 2 others who were eventually caught and killed. Twice our ancestor was captured and twice he was taken to the nearest rive, as the story goes, and his hair was washed to see if it had been dyed; since it didn't change color, and since his hair was red and they thought ( as the story continues) all red-haired people were descendants of the Virgin Mary, he shouldn't be killed, so he was, each time, released. It took him two years to get back home (and we should all be grateful for that!). The irony of it is that about the time he reached home the other prisoners at Perote had finally been released and were shipped home by sailboat shortly before Texas was admitted to statehood in 1845.
My mother, Kate (not Catherine) Sanford was 16 years old when she married my dad who was 25 and not long out of the seminary. I don't know the circumstances of how they met but I do know they were married in Rock Springs, Texas. I know that it was a double wedding, the other couple was named Hough (pronounced Huff). There has to be an interesting story here; my mother used to tell me about it but I can't remember more.
Mom was the seventh child of William Mack Sanford and Susan Ellen Rogers. The oldest was John Richard (I'm his namesake). He was born September 1, 1866 and was married to Annie Jane Jackson. He spent most of his life in south Texas in and around Eagle Pass. I don't know if he, himself, was a farmer but he owned a lot of farmland across the Rio Grande river in Mexico. I never met him or any of his family, but I do remember he also had one son, also named John Richard, who was graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, and was a submariner.
Then there was Maurice, born January 7, 1869; followed by Joseph, born November 17, 1871. Then William Mack, born September 10, 1873, who later moved to California and was owner, or part owner, of Pickwick Bus Lines, which in the 1920's was merged with others to form the Greyhound Bus Lines. I met him once when I was very young, maybe 6 or 7, he came with wife and very young son to visit us in Denver. His son died shortly after they returned to California, and I don't remember ever hearing about them again.
[Editor's Note: A copy of Kate Sanford's Birth Certificate dated December 14, 1880 was inserted here.]
Then Henry M. was born October 21, 1875. After Henry came Thomas Simons, born July 4, 1878 and who married Ethel Billings. He lived in Arizona most of his life. For awhile I think around 1918, he was sheriff of Nogales, Arizona; however he spent his later years looking for gold (mining that is) near Oracle, Arizona. After the war (WW-II) I had the good fortune to spend a few days with him at the mine in oracle.
My mother was next, then Mary Susan was born December 22, 1883. She married and Englishman names R. B. Slight. He had a cattle ranch near Carizozo, New Mexico and I met him when I was 3 years old. I can't remember him but I do remember the train trip my mother and I took to visit them. This would have been about 1921. At that time they had two children, Catherine, my age, and Ralph a few years older and in school. Not long after that trip Ralph was riding his horse to school; somehow he spooked the horse and was thrown, landing on his head. He never recovered consciousness and very soon after, died. They lost the ranch a couple of years later in the depression that followed World War I, and moved to Alpine, Texas where they lived for the rest of their lives. My uncle Bobby was a respected (of course) judge and county clerk of Brewster County for many years.
Ethelbert was next, born January 12, 1886. Mom never talked about him very much; I think it was because he was killed in a gun fight in a San Antonio saloon and she didn't want to admit it. So what if we had a gun slinging, whisky drinking, gambling cowboy for an ancestor; it makes the story more interesting. After all this was still wild country before the turn of the 20th century.
Evelyn was born December 26, 1889 and the eleventh, Roger Allen, was born November 14, 1893.
My parents had nine children. The first was Susan Frances, named after her two grandmothers. (Somehow the spelling was changed back to Frances.) She was born March 4, 1898 in Rock Springs, Texas. During WW I she was a yeomanette in the U. S. Navy and looked beautiful in her uniform. A yeoman is defined as a petty officer whose duties are clerical. I can't remember her until I was about 8 or 9 years old. She worked to help support our big family ( as we all eventually did) and in 1927 she married Frank Swenson. They moved to Waterloo, Iowa where Frank had an agency to sell Hudson automobiles and eventually retired to Tucson, Arizona. They never had any children so Frank tended the house and garden while Susan was a partner in a decorating business. She had a great talent for it and was very happy doing it. Frank died of an accident in the early 1970's. Susan ( we always called her Sis) died from emphysema in March of 1976. She had been a smoker most of her life and didn't stop until the emphysema was diagnosed. In many ways she was always a special sister to all of us, probably because she was the oldest. It seemed like she always had a special interest for each member of the family, was always there for counseling, and always remembered our special days and accomplishments. She was a poet, and outside of Margaret and maybe Mack and Mary, not much appreciated by the others for this talent. It always seemed like her mind was way ahead of her pen, and when she wrote letters, for instance, she was sometimes difficult to understand.
Charles Foster Annis, age 23 - 1895
Left: Charles - age 6 months, Susan - age 3 years
Right: Charles, Susan, Margaret, Mary - San Antonio, about 1906
Charles Foster, Jr. was next, being born in Bandera, Texas on September 8, 1900. This happened the same day Galveston was practically destroyed by a hurricane, and mom always jokingly said the storm brought on the birth of the baby. Actually Banderas is northwest of San Antonio and a long way from Galveston. Charles wasn't a rebel, in the same sense many kids today are rebellious, because he ways always close to his family; but he was an adventurer, more so at least than any of the rest of us. When he was 15 or 16, he worked in the wheat fields following the harvest from the northern plains of Texas to the Canadian border. Before he was 18 he ran off to join the army to help win the war; they sent him to Russia, of all places, with a small detachment to Vladivostok, instead of the war in Europe. But that might have saved his life since he was never in combat. Later they sent him to Baguio in the Philippine Islands, the summer capital, and a little northwest of Manila. In 1923 he married Frances Johnson in El Centro, California. They lived for many years in Long Beach, California and we would see them on their occasional visits to Denver. They had one daughter, Rosemary, born, I think, in 1926 or 1927. Charles had a lot of jobs; one being a fireman on a steam locomotive on the Union Pacific railroad. For several years he drove a city bus in Long beach, then at about age 35 he "retired" and bought 100 useless acres (except for the beautiful mountain countryside) just outside of Canyonville, Oregon. After a couple of weeks, but after about two years of trying, he decided he couldn't make a living as a gentleman farmer so they moved to Portland. When I knew him in Canyonville in 1936-37, as a hobby he raised American (Pit) Bull Terriers. As far as I knew, he never fought them, but he had many friends that did. Later he raised Greyhounds, even taking some to Mexico City one year, but the Mexican government closed the track ( a new one) before the first race so they had to return to the states. He also worked awhile as a male nurse in a psychiatric hospital. For many years they lived on a small acreage in Looking Glass, Oregon. They had a house trailer and spent the summers in Looking Glass and the winters in Key West, Florida. Charles finally died of lung cancer in 1974. Frances and Rosemary are still alive at this date and live in Ontario, Oregon.
Mary was the second daughter, born in Sweet Home, Texas, September 11, 1902, and was named for her aunt Mary. She was a beautiful girl and lived at home until she married Hoyt Sivers in 1929. Most of her adult life was spent as a salesperson and she was the main bread winner in her family. Hoyt had been in the military service in WW I and had some lingering emotional problems as well as had been recuperating from tuberculosis. In his later years he seemed cured and he too worked as a salesman. In her later years Mary's hobby was oil painting and we all have examples of her work, which aren't too bad. For years she was active in the county extension service of Adams County, working with a group of women doing women's things. Hoyt died in the late 1970's and Mary a few years later in 1983; they had no children.
Margaret was next, born September 6, 1904 in Edna, Texas. Until she died she was always my favorite sister; she always kidded that I was her baby boy and that I had been left on the doorstep of our house. She was instrumental in getting me interested in photography; she had a big, postcard size, folding Kodak and is responsible for some of the early photos in this collection. In 1933 she married Harry Bell, born in England but raised in America. Harry was a professional soldier stationed at Fort Logan, just outside Denver. Harry was in an engineer battalion, part of the 2nd Infantry division and landed at Omaha beach in Normandy on the first day of the invasion of Europe in WW II. He was wounded bad enough to be evacuated to the states and was eventually given a medical discharge. Two sons were born, Harry Richard in 1934 and David Robert in 1936. After the war they moved to the state of Washington. Margaret (we always called her Marnie) died in 1957. Gradually over the years we lost contact with Harry and the boys. Harry and Richard are dead (dates unknown to me) and I don't know where David is.
Jack and Mack, the twins, were next, born November 15, 1907 in Kingsville, Texas. Kingsville is the biggest town on the King ranch and the boys were always proud to say they were born on the biggest ranch in America. Jack was always my favorite brother and I can remember crying bitterly the day he left to join the U. S. Navy. He eventually was stationed on the old battleship, the U.S.S. California which later was sunk at Pearl Harbor. He wasn't in the navy very long however, after an injury aboard ship he was given a medical discharge and was sent home. I was really thrilled when he gave me his white sailor cap. He learned to lay bricks but soon decided this wasn't the life for him so he joined the 120th Observation Squadron of the Colorado National Guard, was employed by the Guard and learned the skills of an airplane mechanic. Shortly before WW II he changed jobs and went to work for the government in the Federal Aviation Authority; his job was to certify to the skills and expertise of airplane mechanics and to investigate causes of airplane accidents. He worked for the FAA until he retired.
In 1933 he married Nellie Walters, which resulted in the birth of Nancy Jeanne in 1934 and Sharon Irene in 1936. I will always be grateful to Nancy for helping me with many names and dates in this chronicle. She and her husband Pete (Lawrence Roger Brandon) are both serious genealogists. They even once visited Warner, New Hampshire and found several places with the Annis name attached. The Brandons now live in Denver. I think Nellie died in 1974; and in October of 1975 Jack and Pauline Bernice Achen went to Reno, Nevada and eloped. They had known each other for years, having worked together for the FAA. That was a marriage made in heaven, if there ever was one, and they are enjoying life together in a retirement community in Arvada, Colorado. Jack turned 90 last November and one of his quips is "Don't regret growing old, it's a privilege denied to many." I've pretty much lost track of Sharon, who is somewhat of a loner. She married James Rhoades, which didn't work out very well and now she lives near her family in Arizona. I do know that for many years she worked as a librarian.
William Mack Sanford [Annis] is (was) the other twin and was named for his maternal grandfather, nobody ever called him William, he was always Mack to us. Obviously there is no need to repeat the when and where of his birth. As I, as a little kid, remember them, Mack was the instigator, the ringleader, and Jack was the follower. There is a famous story of an event, long before I was born, that is worth repeating. The two very little kids tried to take mom's sewing machine apart, and then they flushed the little pieces down the toilet (or maybe it was an outhouse). I can remember when I was about 3 years old and we lived on South Emerson Street, and they were 12 or 13 years old they built a small rowboat in our basement; then when it was finished they discovered it was too big to go up the steps and out into the yard.
When we lived on Foster Court and while Jack was learning the masonry trade, Mack was learning to be a plumber. He was a good one, of course, and worked at this trade the rest of his life. He was a strong, husky kid, about 6 feet tall, and while Jack was as tall, he was thinner and lighter built. Mack married a beautiful divorcee about 1930, or so, and worked as a plumber at a boy's reform school near Golden, Colorado. Her name was Helen, something, and she had a 4 or 5 year old son named Richard. They moved to Washington, D.C. about 1933 0r 1934, and because Mack couldn't support her in the style of life she expected, she divorced him. I think about 1938 or 1939 he married Helen Woodburn. It wasn't long before he brought her to meet the family when mom, dad and I (the only ones left at home) lived on a small acreage on West Ohio Avenue in Denver. She had been a school teacher, was divorced and had a son whom I never met.
When Mack was drafted during WW II Woody returned to teaching and continued in this career until she retired. Mack's hobby was woodworking and he made many, many beautiful reproductions of colonial furniture. He never visited us without bringing, as a gift, some little, and some not so little, beautiful, hand made item that would become a family heirloom. Mack was one of the most gentle, kind, generous men that I have ever known; and there could never be a better brother. (Well, I guess I could say the same about my 3 other brothers, but Mack was something special that I find hard to put into words.) Towards the end of WW II Mack was drafted ( he was 35 at the time and too old for earlier drafts) and because of his special trade he was assigned to an engineer company and eventually shipped to the Philippine Islands. I met him in Manila; but there is more about that later. Woody died about 1984 or 1985 and Mack in 1986; they were childless.
Annie Jane Annis was the next child. She hated the name Annie so no one ever called her that. She was born on my mother's birthday, on December the 14th, 1909, and also in Kingsville. I don't know why it made any difference but she was always proud of the fact that she was the fifth child of a fifth child. Jane wasn't exactly the black sheep of the family, but, to me at least, she always seemed to be just a little bit outside of the mainstream family circle. Maybe I never really knew her very well, or maybe it was because when I was about 3 years old she caught me checking out body parts with a 3 year old neighbor girl, and told my mother, I never forgave her. I'm just kidding. I was too young to remember anything special or outstanding about her childhood. In 1938 she married David Sowden in Denver, he was a chemist, and not many years after they moved to Hanford, Washington where he worked at the nuclear plant until he retired. His death was due to cancer and it is possible that it was caused by irradiation while he was working at the plant at Hanford where they were making plutonium. They had three children, John Arthur, Jane Olive, and David Robert, all born in Denver before they moved to Hanford. At this writing Jane is still alive and lives near her family in Port Orchard, Washington. I might add that Jane and David converted to Mormonism shortly after they left Denver.
Alan Robert was the pentultima child (that means he was born before me, because I was the last). He was born in Mekel, Texas September 18, 1912. Being 5 years older than I was, he was the perpetual thorn in my side during my childhood, maybe not really, but there was always that feeling of competition, or I was trying to live up to the accomplishments of my big brother. He used to tease me and I would get mad; when I got mad I always cried, which made me even madder. For several years I always cried when I got mad, I don't anymore so I guess I outgrew it.
Bob, too, was a Highlander when he was a kid and write more about the Highlanders later. He had one interesting characteristic when he was young ( actually even now) that caused him some problems; when he gets embarrassed he always grins. I remember one time when we lived on Foster Court and he was in high school, he tried to climb over the fence around Elitch Gardens (an amusement park) and landed, on the other side, in the arms of a big Irish policeman who promptly hauled him off to spend the night in jail. The next morning when mom went to get him out, the policeman told her "He grinned at me". He thought Bob was being insolent, when really he was embarrassed and contrite.
Bob did something else (about 1932 I think) that made a big impression on me and is worth mentioning. During the height of the Great Depression Bob was out of work and was having trouble finding a job so he decided he would go to work for Mountain States Telephone Company ( at that time part of the only major phone company in the U.S.). So every day (or maybe week) he walked into the office of the vice president (he chose him because he liked his name) and asked for a job. Every day the V.P. said no, but persistence finally paid off and one day he said yes. Bob was the only person hired by Bell telephone that year. He was assigned to the accounting department and worked there many years. Bob was drafted for the war and because of his phone company connection he was assigned to the Signal Corps. The corps taught him Morse Code and he went to Europe with the 94th Infantry Division as a signalman. Afterward, he never could adequately explain to me how he got out of being sent to the Pacific Theater where we were fighting THE WAR.
In 1947 Bob married Esther Frey in Denver. They have four children, Barbara Susan born in 1948, Alan Robert, Jr. born in 1950, and the twins, Jimmy and Jerry born in 1961. Barbara married George Price and they have four grown children. Bob Jr. married Barbara, somebody, (they are now divorced) but they have two beautiful girls. Jerry is not yet married, but Jimmy and Shu-i just had twins, Marissa and Christopher; koodos for them! When Bob married Esther he joined the Lutheran Church (Esther's father was the pastor). Bob has loyally supported the Lutherans ever since and now they live in Spokane, Washington.
My mother was somebody very special to all of us (most mothers are). She had only a grade school education, but she read a lot and certainly knew what life was all about. She was always a devout Christian and tried to live by the precepts of the Holy Bible. She was always supportive to all of us and was always there to counsel and guide us. I remember one bad experience I had in junior high school. For some reason, unknown to me to this day, I was involved with an elocution group, and we were scheduled to have a contest before the entire school during assembly time. These were memorized essays written by long forgotten authors. I don't like to remember it; I was scared and nervous and didn't want any part of it, but I waited my turn and suffered through it; of course I didn't win. When I arrived home later in the day my mother told me she had been there, in the balcony, giving me all the moral support she could. I loved her so much for that.
Mom loved to play chess and in her later years had a running game with my brother Charles, by mail. It usually took months to end a game but they had a great time while the game lasted. What a time they would have today (in the age of personal computers and playing by electronic mail!) In their last few years together my folks lived on a small acreage on the north side of North Table mountain, just outside of Golden, Colorado. They had a few chickens, a milk cow, and for some reason I can't remember, a riding horse that nobody rode. In 1945 they sold this place and moved into town to live with Mary and Hoyt. I was overseas in the Philippine Islands when dad died from complications of prostatic hypertrophy, actually renal failure. This was in August and mom soon asked the Red Cross to try to get me sent home and discharged from the army. They did and in early December I was on my way home.
The following January I entered the university; mom stayed with Mary. In 1947 she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to be with me while I was finishing college. We rented, from the university, half of a Quonset hut. one of a group of such huts set up by the university especially for veterans. Come to think of it, I believe it was rent free, and it was a nice, comfortable cottage, furnished with our own things brought up from Denver. One morning I woke up and discovered that mom had died in her sleep.