YMCA - 1908
31 August 1927: YMCA’s first building in Houston was at the northwest corner of Fannin and McKinney, opened to the public 2 June 1908. The building housed dormitories and a bowling alley in the basement. It was in continuous use until a new building was constructed at 1600 Louisiana in 1941. The original building was turned over to the USO for soldiers in the war, and after the war was over, it was demolished in 1947.
11 May 2006: After the architectural hiatus of World War II, the first building to be constructed post-war in Houston was City National Bank Building (1001 McKinney Building), a 22 story building finished 1949. The architect was Alfred Charles Finn, a Jesse Jones favorite, who also designed the Link-Lee House (now administration building at St. Thomas University), the Foster Building (The Chronicle Building, 1914), the Rice Hotel third tower (1926), the Democratic National Convention Building (1928), and the iconic Gulf Building (1929).
Postmarked: 31 August 1927; Houston, Texas
Stamp: 2c Carmine George Washington #554
To: Mr Lonesome Huff
1210 Denver St.
Wichita Falls, Texas
Message: Dear Lonesome
Will you please tell your mother and sister that I have some thing for them?
Wm Huff Jr.
The sender of the postcard was William Tipton Huff, first cousin to Wm. Huff, both were grandsons of Mary Elizabeth Johnson and Baptist Minister Rev. William Huff, from Tennessee and before that, Virginia. The Reverend was born in Botetourt County, VA, (1825), later from Smyth County, VA (1860), later still Bedford County, TN (1870). The Huff family consisted of Robert Edgar Huff, born in Lebanon, VA (in 1857), Thomas A. (1859), Newton J. (1861), Nannie B. (1865), William T. (1868), Della May (1870) and Charley C. (1873). Robert was a lawyer in Bedford County, TN in 1880 and was well situated in Wichita Falls before 1900. We’ll never know what the “some thing” that Wm Huff had for Lonesome’s mother and sister, but the postmark reveals he mailed the postcard from Waco, somewhat on the way to Wichita Falls, perhaps to alert them that he was coming north and would bring the items when he got there. He card features Houston’s YMCA, so he may have stayed in one of their dormitory rooms while on a business trip there, returning home via Waco soon after. Of course, this is all speculation, but what is known for sure is that Lonesome Huff was William Edgar Huff, born October 21, 1888, son of Robert E. Huff and Elizabeth Amanda Burroughs. Wm was a Vice President and treasurer at the First National Bank in Wichita Falls at which his father was president. When he registered for the draft in 1917, he indicated that he was tall in stature with a medium build, brown hair and eyes, totally deaf in one ear.
He married Pearl McDermett in Jackson County, OK on 12 June 1913, and when the postcard was received they had children William Edgar Jr. (age 11) and Mary Elizabeth (9). Pearl was the daughter of Mary "Mollie" Minton and Sam McDermett, a cattle raiser in Hico, Hamilton County, TX. Sam had died prematurely at the age of 37 in 1904, and his widow and family moved to Altus, Jackson County, OK where Pearl became head of household at 18 years of age in 1910 by working as a clerk in the local light and power company. Her mother and brothers Lee (14) and Gage Carmein (7), and sister Willie (16) became her dependents.
Robert’s brother William T. settled in Waukomis, Garfield County, OK across the Red River from his brothers and father. About 1900 he married Mary M. Thain, daughter of Karl Kaspar Thain and Ottilia Dittmer, who came from Bavaria, Germany about 1880 and settled in Arkansas County, AR. Kaspar died in 1893 and his daughter Mary “Maria” (b. 1876) married William T. Huff on 7 February 1900 in Arkansas County, AR, and moved to Waukomis, OK with her brothers Kaspar, Jr. and George, and mother Ottilia. William T. Huff worked in real estate (1910, 1920) and lived in Devol, Cotton (formerly Comanche) County, OK. His son, William Tipton Huff, author of the postcard married Mabel Inez Kelly some time in 1927, but it is uncertain whether this was before or after he wrote the postcard. They would have two sons: William Edgar, Jr. (1928) and Terrance (1933), and lived in Muskogee, OK and Washington, DC.
Tipton was a family name. William Tipton Huff’s great grandmother, Martha Elizabeth Johnson, who married Reverend William Huff, was the granddaughter of Abraham Tipton (1794-1868), onetime Tennessee State Senator. Abraham was the grandson of John Tipton, Virginia patriot in the Revolutionary War, who attended the 1776 Virginia Constitutional Convention, and served in the Shenandoah County Militia. He moved west and became a Tennessee pioneer, early opponent of the premature and ill-fated State of State of Franklin movement of John Sevier. The far-western counties of North Carolina petitioned to have Franklin declared a new state west of the Appalachian Mountains. Active in the effort was Presbyterian Rev. Sam Houston, uncle of the man who would later be so important in the history of Texas. Franklin, ostensibly named for Ben Franklin (who was not supportive of the effort), was dissolved without ever being recognized as a state, and later efforts led to the creation of a larger state, Tennessee, which became a state in 1796, with its first governor, John Sevier.
Receiving the items mentioned in the postcard from Wm. would be Lonesome’s mother, Elizabeth Amanda Burroughs Huff. Elizabeth was just shy of her 61st birthday but within 13 months she would be dead. While traveling in France with her husband and son near Bordeaux on June 15, 1928, their car struck a taxicab. Their son, Robert E. Huff, Jr., who was driving, was unhurt, but Judge R. E. Huff, Sr. suffered a broken shoulder blade. His wife’s injuries were more serious. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died on June 19, 1928 of lung congestion, contusion of the thorax and a rib fracture. Her embalmed body was brought home on the S.S. Paris, leaving Havre on July 4, 1928. Just 5 years later Robert E. Huff, Jr. died in a Kerrville sanitarium of tuberculosis.
The other recipient of items mentioned by the author of the postcard was Lonesome’s sister. There were two women who might be called his sister, Lillian Johnson or Della Stone, neither of whom seems to have actually been a sibling. Lillian appears on the Robert Huff family census of 1900 as the only daughter, notwithstanding her different surname. Reverend William E. Huff married Martha Elizabeth Johnson, and Lillian may have had some connection to that family, especially since she was born in Tennessee where the Rev. William Huff lived after 1870. In 1927 she was a teacher at Zundelowitz Junior High School in Wichita Falls, 32 years old at that time. She had an MA degree from the University of Texas, and for many years taught at Wichita Falls High School as a member of the English faculty as late as 1954.
Della Stone appears on the Robert Huff family census of 1910 as an adopted daughter (Lillian Johnson does not appear). The story of how she came to live with the Huff family is an interesting one. In 1900 at six years of age she was the oldest daughter of James Stone, the Independence County, Arkansas jail keeper. He and his wife Florence Malinda Ruble had a family of 4 children: Mamie (Della) (6); William P. (5); Minnie. M. (2) and John A. (6 months). Two years later they would have a son, Ruble. Very soon thereafter, James is no longer with the family and is presumed dead. By 1904 Florence has married again and started a new family in Oklahoma City. She and her second husband, Lloyd Mills, had a daughter Lorena in 1907, while the Stone children were dispersed into various other families. Della Stone went to Wichita Falls to live with the Huff family, Ruble Stone was sent to the Baptist Orphanage in Oklahoma City, and Minnie Mae was adopted by a family in Claiborne Parrish in Louisiana. Minnie died in 1914 at age 15 shortly after delivering a son, Arnold Stone, who himself was adopted by yet another family. Ruble Stone joined the navy and later worked as a painter in Quincy, Adams County, IL where he died in 1925.
Florence’s second husband, Lloyd Mills, worked in steam laundries in various Western towns: Oklahoma City, OK (1904); Tulsa, OK (1911, 1913); Douglas, Cochise County, AZ (1918), where they had a son, Lloyd, Jr. In 1918. Lloyd died in San Angelo in 1929 and was buried in Ardmore, OK. Florence seems to have stayed in Oklahoma through about 1940, and located to Boise, ID, where she died in 1958 at the age of 81. She and her son Ruble, and Lloyd Mills are buried in Rose Hills Memorial Cemetery in Ardmore, OK. The details of how Della came to be listed as an adopted daughter on the 1910 census of Robert E. Huff is not known, but since Robert Huff was a general practice attorney, he may have found out about the Stone children's plight and was moved to help. Della married John Adam Gould about 1919, a journalist and later publisher of the Daily Times in Wichita Falls. They would have Roberta (1921); John Jr., (1923); Thomas P. (1925); Ben Donnell (1929), and Robert S. (1930).
Pearl McDermett Huff died in 1961 and her husband, William Edgar “Lonesome” Huff died in 1968; they are buried in Riverside Park Cemetery in Wichita Falls, TX near his parents, Elizabeth Burroughs Huff (1866-1928) and Robert Eugene Huff (1857-1939), brothers Marshall B. Huff (1902-1920), Robert E. Huff, Jr (1893-1932), Arthur Burroughs Huff (1889-1962), and many other family members.
William Tipton Huff died in 1983 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Muskogee, OK. His widow, Mabel Inez Kelley Huff, died in 2004 and was laid to rest beside her husband. Delia Stone Huff died in 1976 in Midland, TX; her husband John Adam Gould died in 1953 in Dallas, TX