KING - GENTRY

 

“We Are Family—The Key to the Family History”  Introducing writings,

“true to the best of my knowledge,”

of Doris Jean King Satterwhite:


    Behind this cover is the history of two families, King and Gentry.... Because of our Grandparents and Parents, I have been inspired to do these histories.  To bring the two families together....

    Being the second oldest child, somehow I was always there and a part of what was happening.... I have tried to go back as far as my years would take me; and with the help of older family members, we are able to go much farther into history.... Some of the highlights and some of the disappointments.... May we forever be two great families united in love....


    Gent King. When a very young man at home in Arkansas, Grandfather Gent’s brother Taylor got in some serious trouble and had to flee for his safety. Grandfather decided to leave with him. So they came to Ravenna, Texas, leaving other family members behind. Just a few years ago this story was told to us by a first cousin of our father, Hubert, that the name King was not our [family] name, that it was Smith. The two brothers changed their name to King to escape the law in Arkansas. This was news to us.  We have lived our lives as Kings, so we accept the name King.

    Gent met and married Fannie [Williams]. They were owners of farm land. They built their hous
e and established a beautiful home. Gent worked the farm land. Grandmother was a devoted house wife and mother, but her profession was a school teacher. She loved to read and write letters, and she also loved to cook and was always humming a song while she worked in her kitchen. Somehow, they found time for a family. Four children were born. Three boys and one girl:  Theodore, Isadore, Billy and Hubert. They all grew up in a loving home, sharing the good and bad times together.


photo: Fannie Williams King (left)

and Lucy Smith, a daughter of Samuel Smith,

at one time married to Taylor King


    The two oldest sons and the daughter married and left home. Each one later divorced and again remarried. None ever had children. The younger son also married, but remained on the home land with his parents. We were the only six grandchildren, Edna, Herbert, Leo, Gaylon, Darlene and myself [Doris], our grandparents had.  We never had a family reunion. Our aunt Isadore lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As children we always looked forward to her visits. She always brought us gifts. Of course, we were glad to see our uncles as well when they came to visit.

    A great tragedy happened [to Gent and Fannie]; their home burned down. So they had to relocate. After Grandmother Fannie was widowed, she lived on the home farm land for many years.... Our home land was sold in 1991, but our lives live on as a monument of our heritage....

Theodore Elihu King  (1905-90)

Isadore King Wheat  (1907-  )

Will (Billy) King  (1908-85)

Hubert King  (1910-83)


    Hubert, the youngest of four...attended the rural school and learned well...did not get the yearning for other places...content with just being home...master of many talents...a beautiful young lady [Bernice Gentry] came into his life.... In 1930 they married. She was the daughter of Haywood and Lizzie [Newcome] Gentry of Ravenna, Texas. Some called her Tommy, some called her Baby, some called her Bert, but her real name is Bernice Gentry. Hubert and Bernice: through many years of hard times and good times, six children and many, many grand and great grandchildren.  Their love lasted fifty-three years when the Lord called Hubert home to rest.


    The Gentrys...a large family...our grandparents families were unknown to us.  Grandmother Gentry had a brother. A tall dark skin man. Grandfather Gentry had a sister

which we all knew as aunt Alice White, and husband Marsh White...lots of first cousins, second cousins....

    Grandfather, Haywood Gentry (1863-1920), tall robust dark skin man...inheritance of farm land, passed on from one generation to the next...he married Lizzie Newcome  approximately 1888. They had thirteen children.... Died at an early age of 57. His wife Lizzie with a large family must face the unseen tomorrow.

    Grandmother, Lizzie Newcome Gentry (1881-1946), widowed in the prime of her years.  Forced to do much hard work. Strong discipline necessary for a large family’s survival.  No parents to turn to for help, it took much faith and strength, but with the help of all her children she was able to keep surviving. Love and unity kept the family strong....

    Children: Maude (born 1890), Randell (1892), Leonard (1894), Henson (1896), Willis (1898), Jack (1900), Willie Mae (1902), Odis (1904), Alferater (1906), Fannie Bell (1907), Louise (1910), Virgie (1912), and Bernice (1914).



Lizzy Newcomb Gentry

with sons (back, from left): Otis, Leonard, Jack, Henson; (front): Willis

and daughters (back): Virgie, Beatrice, Willie Mae; front: Maude




    I remember our grandmother, a beautiful middle age lady, flesh tone skin, high cheek boned, long black wavy hair with a touch of silver. Somewhat small in stature, but very high spirited.

    I remember her, many times, walking the hot dusty road early in the morning to our house. We would take her home in the car late in the evening. She always liked being home at night time. One of the grandsons, Bubba, stayed with her for many years. Our grandmother had many years of hard work.

    She never married again, spent all her years on the home place. She saw her children and grandchildren grow up. She was happy and content, never complained. Her faith was in God.

    She suddenly became ill and within a few weeks died a peaceful death at home. She was a great loss to us all, but we know she went to live with God.


“Memories I will always cherish....”


    Our Grandmother Lizzie lived in the Bell Fountain area on the home place called “Across the [Sandy] Creek.”  We all called her Mother Gentry....

    Once a week she would walk down to our house. There were great times had at the family home, when our family came together for dinners and fellowships...the laughter of grandchildren rang out. The aroma of good foods filled the house, turkey and dressing, glazed ham, sweet potato pies, chocolate cakes, homemade rolls.... The dinners went on for many years. The family began to break up, some divorced, Louise, Virgie, Fannie Bell and Willis all moved away to other states. So there were not as many grandchildren around....

    All our grandparents owned farm land and their homes. Farming was their source of income. Some family members worked out as hired hands to the white man for extra money, working in the fields and domestic work in the homes. Winter months were hard and cold.  During the summer months, fruits and vegetables were canned in glass jars and stored away.  For meat, once a year, hog killing was done. Several families came together and did that.  Cutting the meats and rendering lard, making sausage and packing the hams with brown sugar and salt as a preservative.

    Once a year sugar cane syrup was made. It was called molasses. A grinder was set up where we were living. At that time we were not living on our land. Later we built a home near grandfather Gent. The grinder was pulled by mules going round and round to turn the sugar cane into juice. This was a fun time for us, to watch the juice cook and turn into molasses. Hot biscuits and butter with molasses was a good breakfast treat. The drilling of a water well at our house was exciting to watch. It took several days for the big rig to reach the water.


    Community Activities. The Church. We had two communities called Siloam and Bell Fountain. Three churches, Siloam Baptist, Bell Fountain Baptist and a Holiness Church.... Two schools, one in each community.  One teacher at each school.  The churches were our main gathering places. Sunday School was held every Sunday morning and night. Some came in wagons, and some had cars. We fellow-shipped with each church. Our Pastors lived out of town, so each family took turns putting the Pastor and family up. Many time the Pastor stayed at our house, for we lived on the main road.

    On some Sunday evenings a guest church came from out of town to fellowship. We also went to other churches. There was great preaching, singing, and shouting. Once a year all community churches and invited churches had a big fellowship. A great dinner was held. We called it dinner on the ground.  (Homecoming day)

    Once a year during the summer months, Bible school was held at the Bell Fountain Church for the young folks.... A revival was held once a year. Many of our young folks received Christ in their lives. Baptizing was done on some one’s farm that had a creek or a pool on a summer day, but the water was still cold. This was an exciting time.

    Our communities consisted of about 40 or more families. Most had large families. The Kings lived in the Siloam community. Most of the Gentry’s lived in the Bell Fountain community.  Our country town [Ravenna] was about 10 miles for some and 3 miles for some. There were two grocery stores, a post office, a gas station and a cotton gin. We shopped in a near-by town 10 miles away called Bonham, Texas.

    Most families went to town on Saturdays to buy groceries and clothes or just to talk to neighbors. This was a big treat to go to town and maybe see a movie. It was fun just to sit in the car or on the street and eat bologna and crackers and drink soda pop. Returning home before night.


    Schools.  We had two schools, grades one through eight. Our subjects were Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling, English, and Physical Activities. One teacher for each school.  Grandmother Fannie Bell King was one of the early teachers who taught her sons and daughters.

    When grade eight was completed, you were bussed to a school in Bonham called

Booker T. Washington High. The elementary school days were fun. Walking to school, rain or shine, sleet and snow, we brought our lunches in paper bags or a bucket with biscuits and sausage, syrup and butter, bacon or baked sweet potatoes.

    Several years later, the hot lunch program was implemented by the state and operated by parents taking turns cooking and serving. The parents took great interest and formed a PTA group. They raised money for us to compete in school competition and activities. One favorite fund raiser was the night supper on the school grounds. There was no electricity, so kerosene bottle lamps were made with a wick in it and was hung on poles. Hamburgers, home made ice cream and soda pop were sold. The teenagers had fun sneaking behind the bushes to sneak a kiss. Years later there were no more country schools. All were bussed to Bonham. This was quite a change from one room to many rooms of classes and different teachers. Getting up early to catch the bus.

    Summertime, school is out. Time to work in the fields to save money to buy clothes for school. School was fun....


    Social Activities.  There was no electricity...so no TV’s. Most families had a battery operated radio. Or a victrola that played records, that had to be wound up by hand. Sometimes a movie at the theater in Bonham.

    One of our favorite celebrations was called the 19th of June. That was called Black people emancipation. We always had a three night Picnic on one of the vacant lots on our property. The light bottles were hung, many booths of foods were sold, and a little sneaking in  the dark; during the days baseball was played. This was fun for old and young, especially the men. The biggest event of the year was called the K.P. Picnic held in Bonham. On the school grounds in August for five days and nights. Thrilling high rides, game booths, food stands. We saved up for that special week.

    We made up fun things to do. We went on hay rides at night, roasted wieners on a stick, went on Saturday picnics on one of the neighbor’s farm which had a clear running stream. Spent the weekend with your best friend and other friends. At Christmas time had programs and exchanged gifts. We always got fruit, candy and nuts. On Saturday and Sundays our house was the hang out place. Our front yard was always full of kids.

    Many of our family members moved away. Some divorced and the older ones died.  Soon the population was vanishing. Once a year the cleaning of the cemeteries were done by both communities. Some out of town people came down to help. Barbecue was always served.  This was a big job well done.

    Now many years later, a home coming fund-raiser for the up-keep of the cemeteries is held every 1st Sunday in May; people come from all over to a church service. The two churches are now combined called Union Baptist and The Holiness Church doesn’t exist anymore. A great feast is spread at the Church. This is a great renewing of friendship....

    The yesterday years are behind us. We are now entering into the younger generation of this era. All but two of the Second generation are deceased. Still with us is Willie Mae Gentry Davis and Pauline Fitzgerald Topsy. So we in the Third, Fourth and Fifth generation must keep the home light burning, and one must keep the history flowing....