By Rodney A. Battles
In 1998, my first cousin, Wilburn Joe "Bill" Battles II, organized a Labor Day Reunion for the descendents of our grandparents, Gus and Angie Battles.
In 1999, my second cousin, Javaun “Ree Ree” Smith Jackson organized another reunion. At the 1999 reunion, we toured neighborhoods in Fort Worth to see some of the houses where our parents and grandparents had lived, and where we had grown up. During this weekend event, we shared family photos and discussed the family, or as much as we knew about it.
After viewing some old photos that Bill brought to the 1999 reunion, we realized we didn’t know very much about our family history. During this reunion, I volunteered to research our family’s history.
Purely by a stroke of luck, I was fortunate enough to locate a lady named Annie Pearl Battles Hale on the Internet. After exchanging e-mails, Annie and I realized we were relatives. Annie is the granddaughter of Sam Calvin Battles, a man me and my first cousins knew as Uncle Sam, who was married to our Aunt Nealie. Uncle Sam and Aunt Nealie had no children.
When Annie and I talked on the phone for the first time, I learned that Aunt Nealie was Uncle Sam’s second wife and that Uncle Sam had a family from his first wife in Tyler, Texas that I never knew about.
Annie and I agreed that if I would do some research on the members of our family that had moved to Fort Worth she would do some research on the members of our family members who still lived or had roots in Tyler.
A great deal of the information that Annie provided to me was provided to her by Ms. Eulalia Choice, Annie’s aunt, and the daughter of Susie Choice.
In June 1995, Lafane “Golly” Battles, his wife, Kathryn, and their daughter Lavonne visited Myrtle Hunt Thomas, the only child of Settie Alma Battles Hunt. Lafane videotaped their visit.
I’d like to thank Annie, Myrtle, Golly, and Uncle L.J.s’ wife, Aunt Johnnie for the photographs and information they so graciously shared with me about our family.