Mom and the three pillars

My mother was born, Betty Lou Sublett on 6 October 1941.  She was the second daughter born to Lacy Luke and Virginia Odelle Sublett.  Her sister, Carol, was born exactly 2 years earlier in 1939.

When I think back on how my mom’s upbringing must have been, I think of three distinct pillars, family, music and volunteerism.

My mother and her sister grew up in a multi-generational home.  Her maternal grandparents lived with them.  It was likely for financial reasons, but we are not certain.  It could have also been for medical reasons as Betty’s grandmother, Carrie Lou, lost part of her arm from post-operative complications from breast cancer.

Mom also lived close to other family members.  Her paternal grandparents lived in the country.  Mom has shared stories of going down to the farm on Sundays after church and spending time with her cousins and other relatives.

I also think of music when I think of mom growing up.  She was coming of age in the 50’s when music was becoming very important to teenagers.  This is now defined as classic pop.  Groups like the Four Freshman, Kingston Trio, and Eddie Fisher were some of the music talents that she listened to as she was coming of age.  Mom said that “Elvis was to greasy for her, I (she) was more preppy than that.”

I remember music filling our house when I was growing up, granted it was show tunes by then, but music was always playing.  I also remember when we lived in Novi, my parents hosted a block party of sort, and Novi’s finest, Novi Police Officers, stopped by not once, but twice for the loud music.  I can still remember, they were playing Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration’.  I was babysitting across the backyards.

The last pillar, volunteerism is another attribute that comes to mind when I think about mom.  There are articles in my genealogy collection that show mom as a young girl as president of a Y-teen Club.   Later after she was married she was an active member in the Middleburg Heights Women’s club.  She also belonged to the Novi Athletics Booster Club.  She has dedicated a ton of hours to a variety of causes whether it was the Snow Ball Dance to raise money for handicapped children, or the Booster Club to raise money for teen sports she was always busy helping others.  Her most recent adventure has been as a volunteer for the USO.  She volunteers several hours a month so that all the service members and their families have somewhere nice to rest in while traveling through Charlotte’s airport.

I am quite proud of my mother’s volunteerism.  I have always given back in some small way.  I have recently upped my volunteerism  to join the rotary club here in Richmond.

You can tell by this post that I love my mother.  That is the easy part, but, more importantly I am proud of my mother and all of the accomplishments she has done for not only us as children and then adults, but what she has brought to her community.

We will talk more about her and my parents courtship later.

Mom volunteering at Christmas for the USO

Mom volunteering at Christmas for the USO

Snow Ball Dance  circa 1978

Snow Ball Dance
circa 1978


My Dad, Larry, worked as a delivery boy for a liquor store when he was about 15 years old.  It was the early 50’s on the south side of Chicago. This is when movies were big and so were the soda fountains.  He was a true city kid.  Never once have I heard him talk about what type of music he listened to during that time period.  He grew up playing Craps in the streets and stick-ball and handball in the alleys.

Larry on back porch of the apartment

Larry on back porch of the apartment

Although it was not legal, Dad recollects that he and a couple of guys in his “group” would make deliveries for Norm Saxs, the owner of Norm’s  Bar.  From what I could gather, it was a local bar that would make deliveries on the side.   Dad used a bicycle with a large basket on the front.  He would get a case of beer and whatever else was ordered into the basket and make his deliveries a couple of nights a week.  Sometimes his friends would call in orders using aliases, so Larry could deliver to his friends.  “They usually gave the best tips.”  Larry also recalls that one of his other duties working at Norm’s was to stock the big walk-in cooler.  He recalls that is where he had the best tasting beer.  I am pretty sure it wasn’t the quality of the beer, rather it was icy cold and he was underage!

The local patrons of Norm’s was made up of mostly WWII Veteran’s, Marines, to be exact.  Dad and his buddies grew up listening to these guys tell their war stories.  And the idea to join the Marines grew like a grass fire.  Dad recollects at least 6 of his closest friends joined when they became of age.  Dad did the same.

Dad lived at 610 East 77th Street, it was a 2-story apartment building.  Norms, the Soda Fountain, Pool Hall and Movie Theater were all located on 79th Street.  His grandparents lived at 7939 S. Champlain.  So his world was really a few city blocks.

Larry with bat

Larry with bat

I do hope I can get a few more stories out of my father.  It is really interesting to me the different upbringings we had.

Until then, I will keep exploring backwards!


Phillip Allen Sublett

A couple of weeks ago there was an article about the anniversary of the nomination of Sam Houston for President of Texas.  What does this have to do with our exploration backwards you might ask?  Well, the person who made this nomination was Phillip Allen Sublett, my second cousin 5x removed.  It was on 15 August 1836; Phillip Allen Sublett made this nomination.  This really puts into perspective of how long and deep our family lines go, as well as far they go as well.  This is over 1000 miles southwest of where the original Sublett’s landed.

Phillip Allen Sublett was the son of Abraham and Polly Sublett.  Phillip was born in Green County, Kentucky on 22 May 1802.  You can read more about him here:

These are the types of mysteries that keep me searching backwards.  What other relatives do I have that made an impact on the formation of the United States or even an impact in their small world.

Phillip was one of seven children born to Abraham Sublett and Polly Smith.  Abraham and Polly were born in Virginia but later moved to Kentucky with the westward expansion.

There is an interesting fact that will require more research.  I found that he immigrated to Durango, Mexico in 1824, and then 4 years later, he was granted Texas citizenship and settled near San Augustine, Texas.  Why did he go to Mexico?  He later became a great Texas citizen.  Does this mean, when people call me a Yankee, I can say, actually, my family was Texan as well?  Hmm.

He married Esther (there are multiple names used for her including Easter and Hester) Jane Roberts, the daughter of Elisha Roberts, another Texas Statesman.

Phillip and Esther had three sons, Franklin Bolivar, Phillip Allen Jr., and Henry Wilson.

Phillip died 25 February 1850, with lung disease according to the US Mortality Schedule.  This was an add-on to the census where they asked questions regarding deaths that occurred in the twelve months prior to the enumeration.  Phillip was only 47 years old.

Think about what he accomplished in those short 47 years.  He was elected chairman of the San Augustine Committee of Safety and Correspondence.  He was elected second judge of the San Augustine municipality.  He led a group of men from San Augustine into Nacogdoches.  He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel and later named an assistant adjunct general of the army.  He served at the siege of Bexar.  Sam Houston resided in the Sublett’s home in July 1836 after being wounded.  Sublett also assisted with the development of Sabine.


Col. Phillip Allen Sublett

Col. Phillip Allen Sublett