Chapter 23: More Anecdotes of Wilson Family in British Honduras

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What I love about Katie’s narrative about her family’s years in British Honduras are the anecdotes. She’s a wonderful storyteller, sharing family experiences in detail. I wish she were still alive — I would love to interview her.

Here’s the fourth page of Katie Wilson Meade’s story:

Katie Wilson Meade’s narrative of the Wilson family in British Honduras. Source: Elizabeth Wilson Howard. Used with permission.

We had a plague of locusts one time while in Honduras; the ‘big” boys and a young uncle visiting from the “States” went out with their machetes and had fun trying to kill them but it was impossible because the things rained down too thick. They stayed only about an hour and disappeared, leaving a few stray ones lying around dead.

Great mahogany trees grew in the forest, and once a native (in the spirit of gratitude to Father for some kindness shown him) carved a beautiful walking cane out of a solid piece of mahogany and presented it to Father. It had a round knob on top and the man shined it up, and it was used in the family for many years. It is now in the possession of my youngest Brother’s son, who is a doctor in Rochester, N.Y.

Another native carved a huge shallow bowl from a mahogany log and presented it to Father, and it was used every day to make bread and biscuits.

Father was commissioned by the English Government to vaccinate the natives against yellow fever. He did this by getting a boat and traveling up and down the coast, the only way to reach them. Some of these people had worked on his place and once he noticed some of Mother’s big silver spoons. He picked them up and said his wife had been wondering where they had gone. There was no protest. They had sense enough to know he was right. They had Mother’s monogram on them.

For this work the Government paid in gold. So when he got home he called us all in to see this gold — large tin box full. I put in both hands and played in it. A child of today would  have to go to Fort Knox to do that!

One interesting occurence was when we moved from our first house to “Big Hill.” Sister had a parrot that could talk. She used to stand and call my brother in a voice exactly like mother’s. Well, the parrot got away and flew into the jungle while the family was busy with their moving. No-one noticed she was gone till they arrived at the new home. Then every one was distressed because Ada (the parrot’s name) was missing. This lasted a week. Then one morning, we were sitting in the house with Mother and we heard the voice calling, “Maxwell, Maxwell” on the same high note that Mother used — but there sat Mother right in the room with us! We hurried out side and there was old Ada on the roof looking down on us with a twinkle in her eye!

Ooooh, lots of background in this page!

This is a page from Dr. Wilson’s father’s will, which was written while several of Emmett’s family had emigrated to British Honduras. Several Wilson brothers are still in the U.S., namely Cephas Jr. (not Emmett’s brother, but yet one of many Cephases in this family) who ultimately moved to Virginia), William, and Walter or Walker. Source: Ancestry.com

The Simeon Maxwell family sailed out of Belize on the E.B. Ward, Jr., into the port of New Orleans on October 22, 1879. Emmett’s grandfather left about this time as well; Emmett’s parents would stick it out until 1884, when they pretty much had lost everything in the failed sugar plantation venture. Source: Ancestry.com

  • I contacted Walker Wilson’s grandson about the walking cane anecdote, and copied Katie’s memoir to him as well. He knows the story, and said as far as he knows, the cane still exists. It was given to Dr. John (Jack) Wilson of Rochester, New York. I have not been in contact with the John Wilsons of Rochester yet; I haven’t been able to locate any descendants.
  • “Big Hill”, the second Wilson home, is a bit of a mystery. I found this reference to Big Hill, but no reference to the Wilsons. Interestingly, there is a “Wilson Road” leading to Big Hill, but because there were many Wilsons in Belize, it isn’t clear which Wilson family is attached to the name of the road:

Big Hill is a resort in Belize today. But since the family story is that Dr. Francis Wilson only had a part ownership, was this perhaps a Wilson family compound? Another mystery unfolds in Emmett Wilson land….

Hang in there; page five is next.

 

(N.B.: Katie’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Meade Howard, graciously shared the typed narrative, and has given me permission to share the information. Please note that the original contents and information belongs to Elizabeth Meade Howard.)

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Wedding Anniversary

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Happy Anniversary!

Frank Maxwell Wilson and Louise Mildred Brown, April 17, 1918. Source: Ancestry.com

I just happened to be checking back into different databases for updated information, and the date on this document jumped out at me!

Frank Maxwell Wilson was the son of Emmett’s older brother, Everard Meade Wilson, who died rather suddenly of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1914. This wedding took place in Fulton County, Georgia; it is unlikely Emmett attended this wedding because he was in poor health.

Something New

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I signed up to be an election judge this year, for the November 8 general election. The training is rather easy: You read the materials the election board provides, then take an exam. If you pass the examination, you’ll be contacted later for an in-person classroom training session.

Interestingly, I’ve discovered in Emmett’s research that three of his brothers — Percy, Frank Jr. and Meade — served as precinct judges, monitors, or managers in different state and national elections for years. Max didn’t; neither did Cephas, Meade, or Emmett, as they were candidates themselves, or served in some elected/appointed capacity (for example, Emmett was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1906), which would disqualify them. But, they could have served as an election judge, at least up until the time they decide to run for office, as did Meade Wilson, below:

Meade Wilson was an election judge, at least up until the point he ran for office in 1909. Source: The Pensacola Journal, April 1909.

Meade Wilson was an election judge, at least up until the point he ran for office in 1909. Source: The Pensacola Journal, April 1909.

Here’s the outcome of that election:

The Pensacola Journal, May 2, 1909.

The Pensacola Journal, May 2, 1909.

Being Frank

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I came across this today. I wonder if this Frank Wilson is related to my Emmett Wilson.

From the St. Petersburg Times, June 16, 1956. The article calls the Wilson couple 'young.' Meade's son, Frank, was born in the early 1900s, so, this is not Meade's son. Grandson, maybe?

From the St. Petersburg Times, June 16, 1956. The article calls the Wilson couple ‘young.’ Meade’s son, Frank, was born in the early 1900s, so, this is not Meade’s son. Grandson, maybe?

Emmett had several older brothers, mentioned in previous blog entries. One was named Francis Childria Wilson, Jr., after Emmett’s father. Frank Jr. died in 1943.

Source: findagrave.com

Source: findagrave.com

Frank Jr. and his wife, May, only had a daughter, who died in infancy. They lived in Pensacola for awhile, but later removed to Marianna.

Meade's grave, at St. John's, Pensacola. Source: findagrave.com

Meade Sr.’s grave, at St. John’s Cemetery, Pensacola. Source: findagrave.com

Another brother, Meade (also known as Everard Meade Wilson), died in 1914. Meade had two sons, Everard Meade and Francis, (named for Emmett and Meade’s father and older brother. Popular name in that family.) Meade and his wife, Carrie, are buried in Pensacola.

I'm pretty sure this is Meade's son, Everard Meade Wilson. Buried in Sumter County, Florida. Source: findagrave.com

I’m pretty sure this is Meade’s son, Everard Meade Wilson, Jr. The grave is in Sumter County, Florida. Source: findagrave.com

I’d guess that the Frank Wilson in this article is possibly grandson of Meade’s. Here’s the thing: I also know that several of Emmett’s siblings named their sons in honor of Dr. Francis C. Wilson. Again, I’d guess the young man in the article is a nephew or grand nephew of Emmett’s, but whose?

I’ve had no luck finding or contacting any of Meade’s descendants, and I’d love to hear from them, ask them questions about Meade and Emmett’s relationship (if they know anything), and share what I know from my research.