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Friday, September 23, 2016

Cousins called Aunt Alice and Gertie

Another Sepia Saturday meme, which for September is suggested to be "work and play".  As I often do, I spent some research time on family ancestors (who were alive when I was younger...I'm turning into an ancestor!)

On Sept 20 I posted about some of the homes I lived in with my parents HERE. 

I'm going to take a hint from the following picture in front of our home in Houston.  I mentioned our blouses had been hand embroidered by the first woman dentist in El Paso, TX, who I never met, and her sister.

I'm now going to do some ancestry searching and figure out how we were really related to Aunt Alice and Gertie Attaway.

OK,  my maternal grandmother was Mozelle Booth Miller Webb Munhall. (1897-1960)

Her mother was Eugenia Almeda Booth Miller (1873-1936), and her mother was ...
Eugenia Almeda Whitty Booth (1852-1875) She married Richard R. Booth.

Richard's sister was Annie Booth, who married H.F. Attaway.  And with my searching today I found out H. F. stood for Henry Franklin.  So Annie and H. F. had three children, all girls, same generation as my great-grandmother Eugenia A. Booth Miller, or perhaps closer in age to my grandmother, within 10 years)

These girls were
Alice Fredonia Attaway, (1881-1964)
Ethel Booth Attaway (1885-1966)
Gertrude Attaway (1891-1979)

So they were some level of cousins of my grandmother. Did she know them as a young lady? I think she must. How else would she and they do our beautiful clothes? We were the ages their grandchildren might have been.  But Alice and Gertie didn't have children.  Though Ethel did have children, she had married and moved to California, so we had no contact with them.

But was Aunt Alice really the first female dentist in Texas?  Oh yes!

I guess she didn't make much of a splash, like most dentists don't.

She had the same office in downtown El Paso from 1913 till 1948.
It was in the famous Mills Building.  Suite 212.

Mills Building Directory (Alice Attaway, suite 212)
The Anson Mills Building today

The caption says,
"Most Significant Achievement of El Paso's pioneering architectural firm, Trost and Trost, was the 12- story 138,000 square foot Anson Mills Building that dominated the downtown landscape for many years following its construction in 1911-1912.

"At the time of its completion, the Mills building was the largest "monolithic" concrete structure in the world.  Every part -columns, walls,  ceilings, floors -  was made from poured concrete reinforced with steel rods, a more economical approach than importing steel beams from Pennsylvania. The original cost was $1.80 a square foot, and General Anson Mills was pleased that the building would have no need for repairs and no deterioration.  El Paso was a town of 15,000 at that time, with no paved streets when the building was completed."

So Dr. Alice Attaway was one of the original occupants of the famous building.

Inside the entrance to the Mills Building.

I have another distant cousin, of about my generation, who had the same ggg grandfather with a different mother.  She posted in Ancestry back in 2010, a copy of the Booth Family Bible.

Alice and Gertrude Attaway are on the right column

Both Aunts Alice and Gertie were listed in the El Paso business directory in the years 1935, 38, 45 and 48. They lived at the same home address throughout their lives, first with their mother Anna Booth Attaway, with her listed as head of the household, then after she turned 70, Gertrude became the head of the household.  I wrote my thank you notes to this address as they sent us pretty hand embroidered clothing. (probably from when I first could write in 1948 till 1958 or so)
Recent photo of the Attaway home in El Paso

The 1900 census has an intact family with father H.F. as a painter, wife and 3 daughters, living in Hillsboro, Texas (where the two younger daughters were born, and even where the Booth families were headquartered.)  Oldest daughter, Alice was born in Waco.

H. F.  moved with the family to Houston, where he died in 1906.

 In 1910 mother Anna Booth Attaway and the three daughters lived in Houston, where they took in 6  boarders and Anna  called herself a masseur.  Youngest sister Gertrude (19) was still a student, but Ethel said she was an artist, and Alice had no occupation at that census.

Gertrude Attaway may have married after she retired from being a draftsman for the Bureau of Reclamation, and before she died in 1979.  Someone added Ellis to her name on her death certificate. She died of cerebral hemmorrhage and deep thrombosis with gangrene in her left leg, according to that record. Who was this fellow Ellis? He was not the informer for the certificate, who was a man named Philip Jacobs.  I'm guessing the informant was someone in a nursing home or hospital, since Gertie had outlived her other relatives that I know of in El Paso. The later census data isn't available on Ancestry after 1940.

I have enough questions to continue to search for more days and weeks.
How did the Attaway girls come in contact with the Miller girls (4 sisters, daughters of their cousins who lived in San Antonio?
 What is/was the Bureau of Reclamation anyway?

They all had roots back in Hillsboro, TX, but most of the original Booth family died before the 1900s.
A lot of similarities are the women raising daughters...perhaps without a man in the house.
My mother was raised by her single mother, and her grandmother, Eugenia Booth Miller.

I don't even have a record as to how they lived between the census of 1940 and the directory of 1948 until their deaths in 1964 and 79.

It's been an interesting day of finding photos and sources.  But now I've got to go back to my real life.


  1. You must have done a lot of research and work, to have found all these wonderful facts/photos.

  2. For a 104 year-old building, the Anson Mills bldg. looks pretty good! The mention in Alice's obituaries of Ethel living in Temple City, CA caught my eye because it was through a summer vacation friend who lived in Temple City that I found an address to send a birthday card to my future husband who was my summer romance that year. He and I were supposed to meet on the beach to exchange addresses the morning he left for home in southern Calif. with his friends, but his friends said they didn't have time for him to do that, so he never came. Luckily I'd made friends with the gal from Temple City which is in southern Calif. & asked her to look up his last name in her phonebook. She found the name & I sent the card which actually went to his aunt & uncle who forwarded the card to him! So thank heaven for a Temple City phonebook!

  3. Searching genealogy is a lot like falling into a black hole . . . absorbing and endless.

  4. Your ancestral trail epitomises why family history is such an absorbing interest - a lovely profile.


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