Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Immortal Ten

My great-great grandfather, Tom Castellaw Jr., stayed in Haywood County his entire life as did most of his children. His brother Fletcher, however, had a son who moved to Ennis, TX before the turn of the century. Jack Coleman Castellaw became a pharmacist and owned a drug store in Ennis. Jack had a son named Jack Pender Castellaw who attended Baylor in Waco and was on the basketball team. On Jan. 22, 1927, coach Ralph Wolf was taking his first Baylor basketball team to play a game in Austin against the University of Texas.

In Round Rock, Texas, just miles from the team's arrival in Austin, a speeding train rammed into the side of the bus at a railway crossing near the center of the city. Ten of the 21 players, coaches and fans in the Baylor party that traveled on the bus that day were killed, including Jack.

The Immortal Ten are honored each year during Homecoming, when freshman hear the tragic story and participate in a candlelight remembrance ceremony.

On June 22, 2007, a monument was erected on campus in the new Traditions Square to honor the Immortal Ten.

In December 1968, Jack's mother gave approximately $750,000 to Baylor to fund the Castellaw Communications Center in his memory.

You can read more about the tragedy in a post as part of The Waco History Project or buy the book, The Immortal Ten: The Definitive Account of the 1927 Tragedy and Its Legacy at Baylor University on Amazon.

Check out to read more about The Castellaw Family.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Famous, Smart Cousin

So when researching their ancestry I guess most people are hoping that, at some point, they'll find they are related to a president, a great general or at least a king or something. Up until now, I have uncovered your basic assortment of Revolutionary War heroes, brave settlers, Civil War POWs, farmers and the like.

But I finally found someone famous. And even better, he's really smart, famous AND helped promote women at NASA, which means he is now going to be my daughters' patron saint of making As in science.

My great-great-great grandfather, Thomas A. Lovelace moved to Haywood County from Iredell County, NC by way of Kentucky while his brother Levi, with whom he appears to have been close, moved to Franklin Co., MO right before the Civil War in the early 1860s. Thomas had taken off years before since it appears that in 1842, Thomas sold Levi the plantation he had inherited from their father for $500. In their father Thomas' will, Thomas A. and Levi had each received, "the plantations on which they lived and suits of strong cloth to make them equal to what the others got.”

Sounds like they were snappy dressers.

Levi would have a son named John Lazenby Lovelace and one grandson named Edgar and another, who became a doctor; William Randolph. Unfortunately, not William Randolph Hearst. Edgar's son and Levi's great-grandson would be Dr. William "Randy" Lovelace II.

Dr. Randy Lovelace, is the one who did some really interesting things.

First, he pursued a medical career in the footsteps of his uncle and received his M.D. from Harvard University in 1934. Then, he began a surgery fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and he was eventually appointed Chief of Surgery. As the US was preparing for the possibility of war in the late 1930s, The Mayo Clinic was asked to form a research unit to develop solutions to the physiological challenges associated with high-altitude flight. Basically, when pilots jumped out of damaged airplanes, they would die because of lack of oxygen. Dr. Lovelace proposed that pilots be provided small, personal oxygen bottles, but the military denied official permission to test the idea. Dr. Lovelace, tested it anyway, jumping from a bomber at 40,200 feet with a small oxygen bottle taped to his leg. Despite being knocked unconscious when exiting the plane, he survived the experiment and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross when the government finally acknowledged the feat and adopted the strategy.

Eventually, he developed an oxygen-mask for use in high-altitude aircraft and helped establish the Lovelace Medical Foundation, currently known as the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, in Albuquerque, NM.

In 1958, Lovelace was appointed chairman of NASA's Special Advisory Committee on Life Science at NASA Headquarters. Then, in 1960, Dr. Lovelace and Brig. General Donald Flickinger invited award-winning pilot Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb to undergo the physical testing regimen that Lovelace’s Albuquerque, New Mexico Foundation had developed to help select NASA’s first astronauts.

Dr. Lovelace also served as head of NASA’s Special Committee on Bioastronautics. When Cobb became the first woman to pass the tests, Lovelace announced her success at a 1960 conference in Stockholm, Sweden. Lovelace then invited more women pilots to take the tests. Jacqueline Cochran, the famous pilot, businesswoman, and Lovelace’s old friend, joined the project as an adviser and paid all of the women’s testing expenses.

Dr. Lovelace went on to play a central role in selecting the Mercury Seven astronauts who are also known as The Original Seven and Astronaut Group 1. It included Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil Grissom, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Donald Slayton. I think every child of the '60s remembers a few of those names. Dr. Lovelace had helped NASA draw up a profile of the perfect astronaut, based on years of medical testing experience of pilots. These guidelines were used to help select astronauts for the Gemini and Apollo programs. Lovelace believed that these guidelines showed that women were just as capable of space travel as men, and in 1960, he helped choose 25 female astronaut candidates, some of which were selected as the "Mercury Thirteen" the next year. However, NASA would not send a woman into space until 1983, when Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space on the shuttle Challenger.

In 1964, Dr. Lovelace was appointed by President Johnson as Director of Space Medicine for NASA.

Sadly, in 1965, he and his wife were killed when their chartered airplane crashed in the Colorado mountains.

Each year, the William Randolph Lovelace II Award recognizes outstanding contributions to space science and technology. The 2009 winner was Buzz Aldrin. Dr. Lovelace has also been honored with the Lovelace Crater on the moon.

Today, The Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute is the nation’s largest independent, not-for-profit organization conducting basic and applied research on the causes and treatments of respiratory illness and disease. Dr. Lovelace’s youngest daughter, Jacqueline Lovelace Johnson, is the current Chair of The Institute Board of Directors.

So that's my famous and smart cousin. OK, sort of distant but I have always thought either of my daughters would make a great astronaut...or doctor so it is good to know it's in their blood.

You can check out the rest of my Lovelace Family genealogy on my Haywood County Line Web site.


The Lovelace Research Institute

History of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

William Randolph Lovelace II on Wikipedia

The Mercury Seven on Wikipedia

Dr. Lovelace in the International Space Hall of Fame

The William Randolph Lovelace Award

Jacqueline Cochran on Wikipedia

Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb in Encyclopedia of Science

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guy Lovelace's Garden

I've been working a lot this weekend trying to get the Lovelace family finished and up so I would have two complete family lines live on the Web site. My kids were at my parent's house so it made me think about all the summers I would go to my own grandparent's houses in Haywood County, TN. Every single time I cut open a watermelon, and get a whiff of it, it takes me back to those days. Both sets of grandparents had big gardens and lots of fresh vegetables. Both also had back porches where tomatoes would be lined up on newspapers waiting to ripen. At my Lovelace grandparents house the tomatoes were watched over by rows of left over Aunt Jemima syrup bottles that were always cleaned out, saved and placed in the window sill that ran the length of the back porch.
Cantaloupe was another thing they grew. Then, they would eat slices of it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, sprinkled with pepper.
One summer, probably around 1985, I took my video camera with me on a visit to Papaw and Grandmama's house (that's what we called Guy and Virginia Lovelace). When we arrived, Papaw was in the middle of watering some of the watermelon and cantaloupe so I took the opportunity to video him at work. It turned out to be one of my favorite videos ever. Some of his cows make an appearance and, if you look closely, you see the barn that was nearly 50 years old that would burn to the ground a few years later. So it's been an interesting weekend. Spending all this time with the Lovelace family and watching the video, I have topped it off by eating watermelon, cantaloupe and tomatoes this weekend. Although, I did have to buy them at the store.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bertie County Moves Into the Modern World

Since I first began researching my ancestry a few months ago, I have wanted to visit Bertie County, North Carolina. From what I have been able to figure out so far, between 1834 and 1836 just about every one of my ancestors who ended up in Haywood County, TN left Bertie County, NC via wagon trains, landed someplace and then pretty much stayed in a 30 mile area.
According to John Cowand, who is a fellow member of the Bertie Newsgroup on RootsWeb:
"There were many Bertie families that made the trek to Tennessee in the early 1800's, mostly in the 1830's. Most of the families in Bertie lived between Ross Baptist Church and Capeharts Baptist Church and all were usually kin in one way or another. They mostly went either to Humphreys County, TN or to Haywood County, TN. John Dawson Castellaw was said to be the wagon master and he led numerous wagon trains to Tennessee in the 1830's. It is said that he would lead a group out there, then come back and lead another group. He finally just stayed in Tennessee. His kindred remained in Bertie County, and are there to this day..."
Had the ancestors of mine that made the journey been able to use Mapquest, they would know they were making a journey of 803 miles that, if they could drive 65 mile an hour, would take 12 hours and 15 minutes. Of course, their journey took months and, when they left, they knew they would likely never see their friends and families again. My ancestors who made that journey include; John Dawson Castellaw, John Hardy Cobb, John Bembery “Bem” and Penelope White, Bem’s brother Charlton White, William and Millie Thompson Watridge, Dempsey and Elizabeth Rawls Nowell, George Solomon Williams, Edward Brantley, Thomas “T.A” and Unity Shirley Lovelace, George Forrest, and William and Ann Capehart Steel.

Most of these groups included children, friends, extend family and servants. Most seem to have been plantation owners in the Bertie County area and many had slaves that made the journey with them to Haywood County.
This connection I feel with Bertie County, NC made an article posted in our Bertie newsgroup by Ms. Claudia Harrell Williams very fun to read.
Windsor launches website
By Thadd White | Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald
Published Friday, July 9, 2010
WINDSOR – Bertie County’s historic capital is moving into the modern world.
The town of Windsor has officially launched its own website, helping the historic county seat of Bertie County be accessible to people the world over. The new site is and features a variety of information about town government and travel destinations.
During Thursday morning’s regular meeting of the Windsor Board of Commissioners, that governing body had an opportunity to view the new site which was developed by the Windsor-Bertie County Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re really pleased and excited to have a website developed for the town,” Mayor Jimmy Hoggard said.
Commissioner Collins Cooper, who also serves in the role of Executive Director of the Chamber, gave Mayor Hoggard, Town Administrator Allen Castelloe and the board members the highlights of the new site.
“We want you to have the opportunity to see it and then make any suggestions for changes or additions,” Cooper said.
The new site provides visitors with information on the town’s elected officials as well as the staff members who assist the public on a daily basis. There is also a link to the town’s public safety officers, including the Windsor Police Department and Windsor Fire Department.
The site also provides a brief history of the town and a forms library which allows people to print off useful forms and have them filled out before arriving at town hall.
There is also a place to learn more about the town’s ordinances as well as a community calendar.
“We want to add more to the calendar,” Cooper said. “We hope people will pass on community events that we can put on the calendar for everyone to know about.”
Cooper said the Chamber would also be adding a Facebook page for the town of Windsor, which he believed would be useful as well.
“We’ll continually be adding to the website,” Cooper said. “Anything the board wants to see added, all they have to do is let us know.”
Commissioner Joe Alexander said the site “looks good” and complimented Cooper and his staff for their work.
Mayor Hoggard agreed.
“It looks great,” he said. “When people travel now, the first thing they do is Google their destination and check out the information on the town.
“Thank you, Collins, for your hard work on this,” he added. “It’s done really well."
OK, so when I read this article, I could actually see William Holden, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in a courtroom under a giant ceiling fan and everyone wearing seersucker suits and looking all wholesome and happy to be there. Remember the movie Pleasantville with Toby Maguire and Reese Witherspoon. Like that.

Anyway, when they get their Facebook page, I am going to be first in line to be their friend.