YMCA - 1941
10 August 1949: The YMCA Downtown was built in 1941 to replace the 1908 YMCA at Fannin and McKinney. The new building of 10 floors the was indeed an upgrade. In addition to the dormitories there would eventually be 14 racquetball courts, 2 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts, 3 gymnasiums, 2 aerobic studios, indoor and outdoor running tracks, a very deep 4-lane indoor pool, whirlpools, steam-rooms and saunas.
18 June 2021: The much-used and beloved YMCA building was demolished in 2011 with many patrons lamenting the loss of their recreation facility. In the later years of the old building, a west-facing outdoor walking track atop the 3-story portion facing Smith Street provided one of the best views of downtown skyscrapers in the city. Now the block is a little-used turf grass platform, but a new YMCA building has arisen nearby at 808 Pease, the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA with 5 floors of sports related facilities. Neighboring buildings to the old vacant lot are: 1. 601 Jefferson: KBR Tower (Kellogg, Brown & Root), 40 floors, 1973; 2. 500 Jefferson: Cullen Center, 20 floors, 1963; 3. 1700 Smith: The Whitehall Hotel, 12 floors, 1963; 4. 1600 Smith: Cullen BankTower (Continental Airlines), 53 floors, 1984.
Postmarked: 10 August 1949; Houston, Texas 8
To: Mr. & Mrs. W. H. Snow.
Ohio. R. R. #1.
Message: August 10. 1949
Dear Ones:- Just a line to let you know where I am. I Came down with Ben & M. D. Sun. Eve. Saw Myra yesterday. every one well. Been raining a good bit here. seems odd to see the mud when, was so dry at Milano. Love Sis. M.
Risingsun Ohio was a small rural community of 744 citizens in Wood County 30 miles south of Toledo. The author of the postcard, Mable Ada Childress (1881-1951), and her older brother, William Henry Snow (1877-1960), were born in central Indiana, the only children of Charles Alanson Snow (1846-1912) and Rachel Gault (1851-1909). She and her brother’s paths diverged about 1904 when Andrew Childress moved from AR to OK; her brother remained in Arkansas until sometime before 1930 when they moved to Ohio. The story of this small family takes the reader from Ohio and Indiana to Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, with footnotes in Georgia and the South during the Civil War.
By the time Mabel Ada and her brother were adults, their parents had moved from Kosciusko and Marshall Counties, IN to the area near Jonesboro, AR in Craighead County and neighboring Poinsett County. There on 19 March 1899 Mabel Snow married Andrew Hamilton Childress (1871-1937) and William Henry married Maggie Mae Cooper (1883-1957) on 29 October 1901. William and Maggie stayed in Arkansas where they had their family: James A. (1902), Charles P. (1905), Ira Lee (1911), William Lewis (1917). Rachel Gault Snow died in 1909 and Charles Snow died in 1912 and they are buried in Walker Cemetery, Weiner, Poinsett County, AR. William and Maggie did not stay in Arkansas, and by 1930 had moved back east to Risingsun, Ohio, where they remained to the end of their days.
Many Gault family members had remained in the McComb, Hancock County area about 30 miles southwest of Risingsun, including descendants of Rachel’s uncle Moses Gault (1808-1880). Returning to the area of her youth would no doubt have been eased by these family members, who would have been acquainted with her father Jacob Gault (1805-1888) and mother Sarah (1809-1889), who emigrated to Indiana where both remained until their deaths [internments in Etna Green Cemetery in Kosciusko County, IN].
Mabel and Andrew moved to Mead, Bryan County, OK where their children were born: Bertha (1904), Myra (1906), Lilly (1909). Nearby was Samuel Childress; Andrew and his father remained close throughout their lives. Samuel was born April 10, 1846 in Paulding County, Georgia just northwest of Atlanta, son of James Matthew Childress (1810-1885) and Catherine Garner. Samuel was precisely the right age at the beginning of the Civil War to be drawn into active conflict. He served in Company N of the 38th Regiment of the Georgia Infantry Volunteers 1861-1864. The regimental volunteers served in Savannah before being ordered to Virginia where they saw military action at Seven Days’ Battles, Cold Harbor, Shenandoah Valley around Appomattox long before General Lee surrendered there, Gaines’ Mill, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.
After the War, Samuel married Catherine Steadman originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina (b. 1846/47), daughter of Joseph Steadman (1814/17 - <1870), a stone and brick mason. Catherine and her family, including her father, mother Sarah and brothers Alfred and John, moved from South Carolina to Cartersville, Bartow county, Georgia before 1870. In that region northwest of Atlanta, Catherine met Samuel Childress and they married in the years after the Civil War. Their son Andrew Hamilton Childress was born in Georgia in 1871, but they did not remain in there long before they moved west in about 1874 to Arkansas with members of the Steadman family. Catherine’s sister-in-law, Sarah, widow of her brother Alfred, married John Gambill, a man 43 years her senior, who adopted her children. Samuel and Catherine raised three children in Arkansas: Andrew, Elbryer (1875), and Rosa Lee (1878). Catherine had apparently died before the end of the 1880’s and his father married Annie Lee Turner on 7 March 1888 in Van Zandt County, TX. They moved to Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma Territory and began to grow another family: Inez Mildred (1892), Edmond F. (1893), Louisa C. (1895), Hiram S. (1899), Oliver P. (1903), Flossie E. (1906). Even with the new additions, Samuel’s first family remained connected. Andrew Hamilton Childress married Mable Snow in Arkansas, moved to Mead, Bryan County, Oklahoma Territory where Bertha (1904), Myra (1907), and Lillie (1910) were born. Rosa Lee remained in Oklahoma, married Riley L Cook and lived next to her father in Chickasaw Nation. Their sister Elbryer has not been found subsequent to this time. Samuel’s brother James I. Childress moved from Alabama to Limestone County, TX by 1900, later  to be joined by Samuel and his son Andrew. Father and son would relocate to Brazos County, TX, by 1920, but Samuel died two years later.
When Mabel Ada Childress wrote her postcard in 1949, she was a widow living with her son Benjamin in Cline Prairie Community about 10 miles north of Huntsville, TX where he was working as a contracting carpenter. She writes that she had come to Houston with Ben and “M. D.” that is, her daughter-in-law, Mary Dell Nance Childress. She also said she had visited Myra the day before, that is Myra Jones, living with her second husband William E. Jones in Hearne. Myra’s first husband was Van Andrew Adkins (1901-1931) who died of a fractured spine in an accident, leaving Myron Bruce (1926-2013) and Mae Belle (1928-2007) as orphans; she married widower William E. Jones (1886-1950), who had a family with Emma Frankie McWilliams (1892-1927), but only Henry Vergil Jones (1912-1957) lived with the blended family in 1940.
She also mentions Milano, which was a small community in Milam County, TX. Her daughter Bertha Denman lived near Gauss, about halfway from Hearne to Milano, and she may have recently visited her daughter there before more recent rains in Houston.
Mabel lived only a year and nine months after she wrote the postcard, dying in 1951 of abdominal cancer. She was buried in Cline Prairie Cemetery near her husband, Andrew H. Childress (1871-1937). Also buried there were: Lillie Bell Childress Robinson (1909-1990) and Henry Huron Robinson (1892-1958); Myra C. Jones (1906-1975). Myra’s first husband, Van Andrew Adkins (1901-1931) was buried in Suggs Cemetery in Hearne, Robertson County, TX. Mabel’s daughter Bertha Denman (1903-1995) was buried amid family in Gauss Cemetery in Milam County, TX. Her son Richard Benjamin Childress (1912-1978) and daughter-in-law Mary Dell (1913-2003) were buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Houston. Samuel Childress (1846-1922) was buried in New Church Cemetery in Edge, Brazos County, TX with a Confederate marker. Mabel’s brother William Henry Snow (1877-1960) and sister-in-law Maggie May (1883-1957) were buried in Trinity Cemetery in Girton, Sandusky County, OH, as was their son William Lewis Snow (1917-1971); other children, James Albert Snow (1902-1960), Charles Philip Snow (1905-1968), and Ira Lee Snow (1911-1990) are buried in communities in adjacent counties.