Mel's Family


"It is indeed a desirable thing to be well-descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors."
~~~ Plutarch (46-120), Greek essayist, biographer ~

Over the past years, I have worked hard to find and identify family pictures from all willing to help. I have met many wonderful family members that I was unaware of, others I knew, but did not know we were related, and far too many whose friendship had languished sometimes for 50 years or more.

I am amazed at what we have accomplished. The tintypes, the 19th century family photos, the candids and portraits show a family proud of its children and anxious to preserve their image for future enjoyment. I have become rather emotional about these pictures. To place a husband’s picture next to his wife’s picture or a child near a parent after a separation of a century and hundreds of miles is spiritually satisfying, for they have “gone home.” I thank everyone who has contributed to these “family reunions.” See the acknowledgment list below.

When asked by John L. Scripps in 1859 about his youth, Lincoln used a line from Gray’s Elegy: “ ’The short and simple annals of the poor.’ That’s my life and that’s all you or any one else can make of it.” In these family pages, it is my hope to “make something of it.”















"Going Home"

Print above from photographer’s collection found by Dennis Murphy in Iowa estate sale. Collection included prints, glass and nitrate stock negatives. The back of this print contained Sylvia Sexton’s comments “Truly a sylvan scene.”

Print at right is grandson, Ethan Buck.

Hide and Seek

That throwaway memory
Filed in the trash drawer
Lies forgotten
Dead, until it rises resurrected
In a dream
Or lingers unwanted
At the edge of consciousness
A daytime ghost,
A puzzling déjà vue.
Who knows what mysteries
Of memory
Are lurking in the brain
Waiting for a hook
Which will raise them
Wriggling to the surface
While some pictures of the past
Play hide and seek
With our eternal It,
Refusing to appear
Even when we call
“Come out, come out,
Wherever you are.”

Written by Fran Briggs, 2011














Fred Franklin Oakes (1903-78) &
Margie Louise Hartley (1906-70)
Married: October 28, 1923
Vicksburg, MS



Click albums above to connect with my Oakes and Hartley grandparents' family albums.


Jackie Hartley Allen, Becky Auttonberry, Agnes Conrad Gregory, Betty Conrad Beard, Mary Leist, Jewell Matthews, Minnie Lee Hartley, Helen King Canizaro, Mary Wood, Kevin Davis, Joann Howard Mikell, Norman Oakes, Laura Oakes Peterson, J. C. Oakes, Lisa Tauscher, Carolyn Oakes Sears, Donald and Floyd Oakes, Kimberly Oakes, J. C. Deason, Frances Cronin, Melda Hartley Silk, Lyndy Doskocil, Julie Wright, Tom Byrom, Jessie Warren, Mary Ellen McCall, Sarah Hill Clowson, Henry Elmer Hill, Billie Hill, Marie Sellers, Ray Campbell, Donna Edge Taylor, Grace Hull Saar, Martha Boone and Lois Mallory for proofing and editing the site.

Special Thanks to Frances Cronin, Melda Silk, Becky Auttonberry, Donald Oakes, and Pat Oakes. Without their help, encouragement, generosity and long hours of leg and computer work, the Hartley site would not exist.

Finally, a very special thanks to Lois Mallory, a dear friend, who proofread the pages of this site as well as the many pages of my History of the University of Texas Physics Department site. Her dedication and her generosity with her time and advice puts me, and all who read these pages, forever in her debt.

Below is a hymn by Ruth Duck which Pat and I think captures the spirit of family genealogy. It is from the New Century Hymnal. The tune can be found here on YouTube.