Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


On My Tree

♪♫ Be . . . on my tree, join . . . the family. ♪♫

Okay, sorry. I’m in a rhyming mood this morning. Actually, I’ve been working on the family tree  . . . little by little. (Yes, I could use some help.)


Tintype of Grandma’s mama. (I think)

Somehow on that tree right now, Grandma Reeves’s daddy’s “leaf” is wearing my picture. I’m not sure how I did that, but it was probably something silly. Hopefully, I’ll figure out how to take it off before too long. A little girl with a man’s name is just weird. LOL.


Before I started working on this, my ancestors’ names were only that. Names that I might have heard but probably hadn’t. Since I started learning things about them through notices, hints, and pictures from other people (apparently distant relatives) they’ve become real to me.

Remember this picture? (I think I shared it before.)family-reeves

It’s my Granddad Reeves’s family. (Thank you, Uncle Robert, for sharing.) Granddad was the baby of the family (the cute little boy in the white shirt) so when Granddad went to WWI, I can only imagine how his mother felt.

His mother isn’t lighted very well in this picture, but you can see Granddad is standing near her. (I’m guess about the year the pic was taken. If Granddad was 15 here, the year is 1908.)

Great-grandma Reeves is the seated woman.


Great-Grandma Reeves made this crazy quilt.


And this quilt.

Granddad is a teen here, but in 1917 (or so) he married Grandma Reeves and went to war. Well, he joined up. When he left Okieland, his mama gave him a Bible.


I know it’s tattered and falling apart (Grandma Reeves gave it to me after Granddad died.) But a Bible that’s 97 years old should look worn, shouldn’t it?


She wrote this on the flyleaf–


A mother gift to Julius Reeves.

When I am far away, remember mother . . . has been.

And she signed it,

Mary A. Reeves

Granddad went to Austin, Texas, for training. (That’s what Grandma told me, anyway.) Here’s his draft registration card.


If I remember right, Grandma said they let him be a cook. He didn’t go to Europe or fight.

Inside that Bible, I found a letter from Grandma’s brother Harvey.

Camp Travis

CO B 358 Inf.

Dearest Eva and Julius,

Will try to write you a few lines. I wrote your letter and put it in with Mama’s and Zean (?) they lost it. Was kinda getting peeved at you when I did not get a letter from you.

Ever thing is rocking along just about the same. We are quarantined again for twenty one days have been for over a week. Was a new case of measles yesterday. Means twenty one more days to stay around here. How is ever thing getting alone up your way.? Has any body got married or any body dead? Write and tell me all the news.

The letter continues.

Don’t know if I am going to get to come home for Xmas or not. Hope so. When is the last time you have been to see mama? (Grandma and Harvey’s dad died in 1899.)

Guess I had better close. Do you ever have any thing to eat? Are you going to send me a cake some of these days?

Well, if you ans this I will write more next time.

By by Harvey.


This is Grandma’s brother, Harvey. He and his twin, Louis, both volunteered for the war at the same time, but the recruiter knew their dad was gone and their mama (the woman in the top picture) wouldn’t have any boys left if they both died in the war.

They flipped a coin and Harvey “won.”


He went to Fort Travis, became a bugler and was shipped to France, where he died almost as soon as he got there.

Harvey E Crosby
Service Info.: BUGLAR B 358TH INF 90TH DIV WW
Death Date: 18 Sep 1918
Cemetery: Arlington National Cemetery
Cemetery Address: C/O Director Arlington, VA 22211
Buried At: Section 18 Site 2323


Funny how real people become when you know their stories. And it’s funny how caught up I get when I’m reading about them. Time flies and I’m late for work. Again!

Have you found your family and put them on a tree? (Makes us sound like flock monkeys, doesn’t it? LOL)

Got any hints you can share with me? 🙂 I’m having trouble going back very far in the Spess family. 😉