Deep in the Heart of Texas – our grandmother?

Milam County, TX

Milam County, TX

My brother sent me a bunch of interesting, little known facts about Texas.  Like El Paso is closer to California than it is to Dallas and the King Ranch is larger than Rhode Island — stuff like that (what a BIG state).

Our own grandmother, Oma Seay Vincent, once lived in Texas (early 1900s).  Her dad, John N. Seay, returned the family east in a covered wagon. Her mother, Fannie Pace Seay, kept a diary of the trip which Fannie’s daughter, Johnnie, had ’til she died.  No one knows what happened to it.

The 1900 Census shows grandmother Oma living in Milam County, TX which is 154 miles due south of Dallas and 221 miles west of Beaumont.  Oma’s sister, Sam Houston Seay, died in Texas according to Aunt Celia. They kept the girls clothes which Oma’s daughter, our Aunt Celia Vincent Bass, later wore as a child (clothes were expensive back then).

Moving to Texas was not uncommon back then.  In a 1905 letter to her cousin, Marion, Oma’s future sister-in-law Ida Vincent mentioned several family members who had moved to Texas.

On the 1900 U.S. Census for Milam County, Texas, our grandmother is listed as “Ora Seah” (Her name was Oma Seay), a 12-year-old white female born in Alabama Sep. 1887.  Family records and other sources all agree she was actually born in 1888.

The census was taken the 8th of June, 1900. It says Oma and her siblings had attended school for two months that year.  Kids back then attended school far less than they do today because they were needed to help work the farm.  It says she could read and write.

On Jan. 10, 1993 I interviewed Aunt Ceecee (Celia) who told me her mom, Oma, was 7 years old when her family took a train and moved to Texas to raise cotton.  She was 14 when they returned to Alabama by covered wagon just 2 years after this census was taken.  The trip took them 6 weeks.

Our grandmother Oma named a child Houston.  You have to wonder if Texas wasn’t always deep in her heart even though she didn’t live deep in the heart of Texas.

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