Shelby County Rootsweb Facts
Week Ending September 24, 2004

Corrections/Additions/New Stuff 

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 Selected Exhibits on Display at the Shelby County Museum.

        On March 16, 1938, Mrs. Lillie May Curtis, 38, shot and killed six of her children while they slept at their home, in the West Hamilton Community. A seventh child, James Travis, 16, escaped death, his mother sent him to call Sheriff J. B. Sample. An older daughter and son had married and moved away.
        The dead were T. O., 13; Gloria Jean, 11; Billie Burke, 10; Robert, 9; Margie Ree, 7, and Marcie Jack, 5.
        Mrs. Curtis, a native of Shelby County, shot and killed her husband Robert Curtis, in June, 1935 because he was running around with other women and had used the children in selling whisky. According to District Attorney Lane “she was tried at Center and was given a suspended sentence largely on account of her large family being dependent upon her.”
        Mrs. Curtis said she had put them to bed at about 9 o’clock. And gave them about an hour to get to sleep. She shot T.O. who was 13, through the heart. The shot did not awaken the others. Margie Ree, 7, was asleep on the same bed with him, so she shot her next. She said “T. O. and Margie Ree both hollered a little, but the others still were not awakened.” She said she then turned Margie Ree over, after she hollered but she didn’t know why she turned her over. Then she shot Billie Burke, 10, who was sleeping on the mattress on the floor at the foot of the first bed. He groaned, she said. Robert , 9, was next. He was on his side when she shot him. She said he hollered but did not get up. The next one she went to was Gloria Jean, 11, and then she killed the baby, Marcie Jack, 5.
        She said “I knew it was wrong to kill them, but I wasn’t able to take care of them. I kissed every one of them before I shot them, and kissed them again after they were dead.”
        All the children were buried in West Hamilton Cemetery. James Travis died in 1987, he served in World War II and his older sister Opal died in 1991. There was an older brother Vance, no further information is available. Lillie May Curtis died in 1980. All are now buried in West Hamilton Cemetery.

(Note:  The complete newspaper article and copies of the events published in Actual Detective Magazine are on file in the Museum.)

The annual Windham reunion will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2004, in the Hospitality room of Texas State Bank, Haslam Texas.  Bring a covered dish.  Doors open at 10 am.  For more info contact

Our regular annual Brady School Reunion will be October 2, 2004 at the Community House in Center, TX, from 9:00-3:00.  Bring your memories, photos, etc. and visit with us old folks.  Johnnie & Lillian Bittick e-mail


RUNNELS Tommye Bourque LESLIE Tommye Bourque - -


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I am researching information on the Richard and Jane Smith Family.  Jane Smith , is the mother of Isabella Garrett. Thanks in advance for your consideration of my request. Ernest Smith


   Bob Wilson, 60, of Center died September 16, 2004 at his residence.  Burial was in Mt. Herman Cemetery.  Born May 1, 1944, in Shelby County, he was the son of Robert Buren and Julie Denton Wilson.  Mr. Wilson was in the logging business.  Survivors include his mother and step-father Julia and R.B. Neal of Center; sons, Aaron Wilson and Carl Wilson, both of Center; daughter, April Salisbury of Spurger; sister, Janice Warr of Center.  Watson & Sons Funeral Home.
   James Edwin Samford, 74, of Tenaha, died September 16, 2004 in Shreveport.  Burial was in Madison County.  Born March 13, 1930, in Shelby County, he was the son of Nugent and Cleo Bush Samford. Mr. Samford was retired from Shell Chemical.  Survivors include his wife, Doris Samford of Tenaha; daughter, Danna Strahan of Springerville, Arizona; sister, Mayzell White of Gary.  Watson & Sons Funeral Home.
   James Edwin Stephen, 92, of Nacogdoches, died September 18, 2004 in Nacogdoches.  Burial was in Price-Lone Cedar Cemetery,  Shelby County.  Born January 30, 1912, in Joaquin, he was the son of Ellen Wilson and William Edwin Stephen.  Mr. Stephen was a rural route letter carrier, a veteran of World War II and a Mason.  He was preceded in death by his wife Syble Stephen.  Survivors include son, William Taylor Stephen.  Laird-Mcgill Funeral Home.
   Laverne Andrews Lawson, 73, of Lake Charles, died September 20, 2004 in her residence.  Burial was in Lone Cedar Cemetery, Shelby County.  Born in Center, she was the daughter of Talmadge and Delia Warr Andrews.  Mrs. Lawson was preceded in death by her husband Thomas George Lawson.  Survivors include her son R. T. Lawson of Raceland, Louisiana; daughter, Vicki Romero Briggs of Lindale and Donna Bonvillian of Lake Charles; sister, Hattie Tomlin of Center.  Watson & Sons Funeral Home.
   Beulah Patterson, 92, of Center died September 20, 2004 in Nacogdoches.  Burial was in Oaklawn Memorial Park.  Born July 8, 1912, in Van Zandt County, she was the daughter of Madison Dewitt and Bertie Skinner McDonald.  Mrs. Patterson was a homemaker.  She was married to Elbert Patterson, and he preceded her in death.  Survivors include Ann Hagler of Center.  Watson & Sons Funeral Home.
   J. E. Ellington, 72, of Huxley died September 23, 2004 in Lufkin.  Burial was in East Hamilton Cemetery.  Born February 15, 1932, in Shelby County, he was the son of Earl and Willie Mae Scott Ellington.  Mr. Ellington was a veteran of Korean Conflict.  Survivors include his wife, Lena Mae Ellington of Huxley; daughter, Theresa Malone of Midway, Tennessee; son, Johnny Ellington of Alton; sister, Perley Rambo of Houston; brothers, E. W. Ellington, Glenn Ellington and Earl Ellington, all of Lufkin, Daniel Ellington of East Hamilton Community and L.C. Ellington of Chireno. Mangum Funeral Home.
   Eula Mae Vryman Hall, 92, of Timpson died September 22, 2004 in Center. Burial was in Blair Cemetery, Shelby County.  Born September 12, 1912, in Mt. Enterprise, she was the daughter of Alfred Preston and Theresa Fryman.  Mrs. Hall had been a licensed vocational nurse.  She was married to Walter Ellis Hall, and he preceded her in death.  Survivors include a number of nieces and nephews.  Garrison Funeral Home.
   Jordyn Ke'Juan Rogers, Infant, died September 19, 2004.  Burial was in Westview Cemetery.  Born September 19, 2004, he was the son of Tanesha Danielle Rogers.  Survivors include mother, Tanesha Rogers of Center.  Hicks Morturary.

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