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Website reborn after 24 years!

Somethings are worth more if they are antiques, but a vintage website does not belong in that category! While more and more folks are subscribing to the services of Ancestry to break through those brick walls of research, family websites can still serve a useful place in the quest — publishing manuscripts, research collections, stories, and more. So, browse through the Archives and enjoy our library of Publications — and contribute if you can!

Letter from the TCFA President: James Sterling Cauble

Greetings to our kin,
It is a pleasure serving as your President but more important just being a part of TCFA. I’m not sure how many of you realize how unique our family is in a number of ways. We all know people who know very little about their roots and never have family reunions. If they have reunions, those are maybe every five years or so. We are very fortunate to have had several members of our family that felt the importance of family and spent countless hours researching and collecting data on the Cauble-Rotan (and allied) family and starting having an annual family reunion. The reunions have enabled us to connect with kin from all over the US.

Another item unique to us is we have our own website. It was created by and maintained by our kin and is used to tell our story, preserve history and share data with others!

In addition we have done extensive DNA work in an effort to find Peter Cauble’s parents. That search continues. The Internet has a number of sites containing historical records. Ancestry.com is one of the more popular one and we have a Cauble-Rotan Family Tree and DNA Family Tree on it. Most of our research is looking at the past but we are also investing in the future with the  CPT Todd Christmas Memorial Scholarship program and have been able to help many of our family members further their education.

We also have what I call our “Crown Jewel” – the Peter Cauble House, home of the first Cauble to settle in Texas. With the encouragement of family members Temple Eastex donated the house, family cemetery and five acre of land to the Tyler County Historical Commission. The house was been restored and has served as home to several family reunions. We provide financial help with the maintenance of the house and cemetery. We also provide financial support to several other cemeteries where family members are buried.

As a member of our family you have much to be proud of and I would encourage you to write your own story. I am sure there are things about you that members of your immediate family do not know and would find interesting. Make your story part of the Legacy you leave.

I would also encourage you to continue to support TCFA and share data with us.

Tyler County on Tour

The Tyler County Historical Commission’s “Tyler County on Tour” took place recently and as you probably remember, the Peter Cauble House was included in that tour and Ernestine and I served as docents.

Period furnishings

We wanted period furnishing for the house and you authorized me to purchase two iron beds. Time was short and I was unable to find any suitable old beds and purchased two reproductions for $843.60. Later one lady in Woodville donated an old bed and after seeing it I decided to use it and return one of the new beds. After shipping and restocking fee the one bed cost us $632.95. Erlene Ingle of Woodville used items from her three antique shops and home to furnish the rest of the house. When you see the pictures I think you will agree, she did a really nice job.

Now to the tour …

I know most of you are living in a drought area but down here we have had very few days in the last few weeks without rain and that also applies to Tyler County. When we arrived at Peach Tree Village Friday afternoon the ground was saturated and water standing in all the low places. It started raining that evening about 7:00 pm and rained all night and continued through out Saturday – non stop. We decided to stop people at the highway and shuttle them to the house and back in order to keep them from getting stuck and help get them to and from the house without getting too wet. 2″x12″ boards were used as a bridge over the ditch next to the road. Unfortunately we only had 16 paying guest and 25 total which included Camp Ta Ku La Staff and Commission members. Those that did brave the weather seemed to really enjoy the house and learn about the history of it and the Peter Cauble family. Huntley mentioned possible having the Cauble House on next year’s tour since very few people got to see it this year.

We hope everyone enjoys this posting of pictures of the event on our website so everyone can see how the house was decorated and get ideas on what we want to do on a more permanent basic. I have attached a picture of the docents which should bring a smile to your face and maybe even cause you to laugh out loud. It will hopefully also serve to increase your interest in seeing the rest of the pictures. Ernestine and I enjoyed dressing up and representing the family. We met some nice people and had a fun day sharing our family history.
Your kin,

Tyler County Photo Tour

Tyler County on Tour: Photos

These photos of the Tyler County on Tour event were provided by James and Ernestine Cauble … and don’t they look handsome in these period costumes! Click on the thumbnails to see full sized image.

Finding the Peter Cauble House

Finding the Peter Cauble House

Contributed by James Sterling Cauble

While doing genealogy research in the mid seventies I came across an article titled “It’s Dogwood Time in Tyler County”. In the article it mentioned Valentine and James Burch being in the Battle of San Jacinto and that they were buried in the Burch-Cauble cemetery near Peach Tree Village. Since Peach Tree Village is where Peter Cauble and his family lived I assumed this was where they were buried.

In August of 1977 I went to Peach Tree Village to find the cemetery. I had no problem finding Peach Tree but there was no sign of a cemetery. I went past Peach Tree Village a few miles and before turning around, I noticed a house near the road and an elderly gentleman in bib coveralls on the front porch. I stopped and asked him about the cemetery and he not only knew where it was, he also said the old Cauble house was nearby. Finding the cemetery was my objective but finding the house that my great, great, great grand parents lived in was certainly unexpected. He volunteered to show me where they were and we headed back to Peach Tree Village.

There were no signs or markings from the road, only a barbed wire gate and road overgrown in weeds leading to the house. Below are pictures of the house, remains of the smoke house and some headstones. The house was supposedly used by hunters but I can’t imagine anyone staying in it.


The gentleman said it was a hewed log house and looking on the back where siding was missing and under the house I could see the original hewed logs. Obviously the clap board siding had preserved the structure. The smoke house was also hewed logs but not being protected by siding, time and the elements had nearly destroyed it.


The cemetery was so overgrown it was barely visible. Years later Brian Shivers told me his dad had owned the land for many years (his dad was Allen Shivers, Governor of Texas from 1949-oldCemetery1957) and while hunting deer in the 60’s he came across the cemetery. He noticed stones lying on the ground and found some markers and realized it was a cemetery. His wife loved restoring historical sites and quickly cleaned the site up, righted the markers and put a chain link fence around the cemetery and reported it to the historical society. That was probably the last time any maintenance was done by the way it looked when I first saw it.

Some time later I met Julia Cauble Smith and told her about the house and cemetery. Through her efforts and many family members writing letters to Temple Inland, owners of the property, Temple agreed to give the property to the Tyler County Heritage Society. Through a grant from Temple and several others the house and cemetery has been restored and preserved for the historical benefit and pleasure of many.


A memorable Christmas …

A Memorable Christmas

This story was sent to us by Puett L. (Cauble) Willcox Jr. who was a Christmas Prisoner of War during World War II

puett“Seventeen days prior to my twentieth birthday I was in a B24 ball turret flying out of Italy heading for a bombing mission over Weiner Neaustatd Austria. On the take-off roll I saw Jesus, He informed me that something bad was going to happen but He would take care of me.  Six hours later and 29 minutes of flack our B24 was hit and burning.  The fire drove me from the turret, while I was snapping my chest parachute to my harness the plane blew in half and knocked me unconscious.  I woke up hanging from the place that my turret had been with control cables around my legs.  The tail of the plane was trying to fly but was falling and I kicked loose and fell from 25,000 feet to about 3,000 feet when I opened my parachute.  There was a welcoming committee of 30 soldiers shooting hole in my parachute.

Oh! I forgot to mention that this was our radio operator’s 21st birthday and he didn’t get a party for his birthday, we told him that we thought that’s what all the fireworks was about.  The Austrians kelp almost 1,000 American Airmen that they had shot down that day, May 10 1944, for 5 days before putting us in box cars and moving us to Frankfurt Germany.  After being interrogated in Frankfurt for six days they put us plus some 600 more airmen in box cars with 100 prisoners per car and sent us to a new prison camp in Poland.  The camp was about 20 miles from the Russian border and 5 miles from the North Sea.  The camp was named Stalagluft IV and had only 5 barracks for prisoners finished.  They kept us outside until we were processed which was only about 50 prisoners a day. I was the 436th prisoner to be processed so my POW number was 1436.  They added a thousand to our number to tell Berlin that they had more prisoners than they really had so as to get more food.  That didn’t work because there were no supply trains coming to that part of Poland.  I weighted 160 on May 10th and on June 22nd I weighed 92 pounds. This was typical of every prisoner in camp.

Now. Let us fast forward to Christmas Eve December 24 1944 and the camp had grown to more than 15,000+ American and British Airmen as prisoners. Every day the German guards would run us into our barracks at 5:00 PM and put the shutters on the windows and the bars on the doors until 7:00 AM.  Christmas eve they surprised the more than 15,000+ of us and turned on all of the outside lights and let us stay outside until 9:00 PM.  The sky was clear and full of stars; the ground was covered with snow, a sight that we had not seen since our capture.  About 7:30 one of the prisoners started singing “Silent Night” and without a prompt all 15,000+ prisoners joined in.  At the end of the first verse we all stopped and the German guards sang the first in their language.  We continued in this manner from on Christmas carol to the other until 9:00 when the guards politely ask us to return to our barracks.  No one has convinced me that our Lord Jesus wasn’t there that night. ”

Footnote by Puett Willcox, Jr:
I was raised in Longview Texas from 1930 until entering the Army Air Corps in 1942.  My dear mother, Ruby Bernice (Cauble) Willcox moved to Memphis, Tennessee the same time that I enlisted. She received a telegram telling her that I was a prisoner of war and sent the information to our church and friends in Longview.  One of these advised the Longview news paper and somehow in the transmission the paper printed that I was killed in action.  This error was only corrected after I returned to Longview and knocked on a few doors and had a few women faint.  I went to the paper and they took a picture of me and wrote an apology stating that I was very much alive.  I have had 69 very wonderful Christmases since the one in Stalagluft IV, Praise The Lord!

A Christmas Journey in 1950


A most memorable Christmas for the family of Jack and Gean Cauble
as told to Kelcey Colclazer-Edwards (granddaughter)

In November of 1950, the U.S. Navy sent Jack Cauble a one-way ticket to Bremerton, WA. He was to report for duty on the U.S.S. Essex, docked at Naval Station Bremerton. Jack would leave behind a young wife, Gean, and two small daughters, Jackie (2) and Olive (5 months). This would also mean that they would not be together for Christmas.

Towards the beginning of December, Olive became seriously ill with pneumonia, and there was worry she would not survive. Messages were sent through the Red Cross to the Navy to try to get Jack back home on emergency leave. Checking in with the personnel office on the Essex, the Yeoman on duty informed Jack that the request had been denied. The Yeoman quoted the official response of the powers that be…”the child was not old enough to have formed an attachment to her” and there was no need for him to go home. Having taken extreme exception to that statement, Jack went sailing over the counter, intent on proving his displeasure to the Yeoman, who had the unfortunate job of delivering this thoughtless message. Luckily, a fellow sailor had gone with Jack that day, and managed to hold him back from throttling the Yeoman, and essentially keeping Jack out of the brig.

With her husband 1900 miles away, Gean did what a mother does. She took care of her babies. Olive seemed to get better day by slow day. She and Jack had planned for her and the children to go to Washington, but with Olive’s fragile state, they were afraid the trip would not happen. Finally, the doctors gave Olive the all clear to travel. On the afternoon of December 21, 1950, a ticket in hand, suitcases packed, and babies bundled up, an anxious young country girl, who had scarcely been out of Howard County, TX, boarded a train and set out on a journey see her young husband.

Apprehensive about the long trip with two small children, Gean’s unease must have been visible. A kind porter took it upon himself to check on her and the girls frequently. He would come by her compartment to see if she needed anything, or to carry or hold Jackie’s hand to the dining car. As Olive had been ill and had not had milk for quite a while, she was starting to get hungry. The doctors had said she could have some, and Gean was assured that she would be able to get it in the dining car, but the dining car was closed when she needed it. About this time, they were pulling into the depot in El Paso. Once again, the benevolent porter came to the rescue. He told Gean, there was no way that baby would make the long trip without some milk, and he would make sure she had some, and he knew just where to get it. He got off the train, went to a nearby café, and brought back milk for Olive.

Twenty-eight hours after their departure, around midnight, the weary passengers reached Los Angeles. Jack’s uncle, Buck Rogers, picked up Gean and the girls, and drove them to his home in Whittier, CA. There they got a few hours sleep, then headed back to the station to catch the 8 am train to Portland, OR.

Upon arriving in Portland, Gean learned that there would be a layover, due to weather. Tired and anxious, she pleaded with the ticket agent to get her on the next train to Seattle, because her husband was waiting for her. You see, Jack didn’t know that the train was delayed, and would be leaving soon for Seattle to wait for his wife and kids. Luckily, they were able to put Gean and the girls on the next train to Seattle, but she would come in to a different platform. She sent a telegram to the Essex, hoping to catch Jack before he left.

Jack in the meantime, had arrived at the depot in Seattle, and settled in with a book to wait for his family. Deciding that the chairs were more comfortable in another area of the depot, he moved there, knowing he had enough time to get back to where Gean would come in. So, he waited for hours…..and hours.

Gean arrives, and gets off the train to find that Jack is not there. Of course, she doesn’t know that he didn’t receive her telegram. It is late in the night, and they are tired and scared. She makes her babies as comfortable as she can and settles in to wait for her husband. At the other end of the station, Jack sat, reading his book. A station employee stopped and asked him if he was waiting for someone. Jack informs them that he is indeed waiting for his wife and kids. The person tells him that there is a young woman with two kids at the other end, but Jack assures them that it is not his party, because he knew what time they would be arriving. More waiting. Again, the employee urges Jack to just check and see if the young lady is his wife. Then he mentions that one of the little girls is wearing a little green jacket. Knowing Jackie had a little green jacket, he finally goes down to check, and there sat his covey of dove.

Jack had gotten a room at a nearby hotel, because it was Christmas Eve, and would be too late to head back to base. Off they go, to get some rest before the last leg of their journey. The next morning, the four of them hopped the ferry for Bremerton.

Ecstatic that their family was finally together and their long journey over, Jack escorted his ladies into the small, freezing base apartment that would be their home for the next three months. There on the table, sat a 15-inch Christmas tree, with a little string of lights, and two small teddy bears. One for each of his babies.

When asked about their most memorable Christmas, this is the story they told. Gean kept the bears and the lights from that Christmas for many years, along with many other family and holiday mementos. One year, a tornado ripped through their farm in Iraan, TX, destroying the barn where the mementos were kept. Though the physical pieces of those memories are gone forever, Jack and Gean have kept them in their hearts and minds always.