Camp Babb (WWII)

This Photo Post Card is one of my Ebay finds. It is for a place nicknamed “Camp Babb”. On the sign you can read Company F, 2nd Regiment, Captain Babb Commanding. I don’t know much more about it just yet and wanted to throw it out to the masses, so someone who is better with Military History can help me figure out who Captain Babb was. I believe it is from WWII.

Babb Military Camp

Ring my “Bell”

Ring my “Bell”: 

18-4-16 Mary Isabel BlackToday, with the help of one of her descendants, I  uncovered a story of Mary Isabel Black, who is buried in the Dallas City Cemetery (aka Pauper’s Cemetery). This is another one of those situations involving a nickname. Mary went by the nickname Bell, which is no doubt short for Isabel. Her death certificate uses her Nickname instead of her full name. Her marker also uses Bell, which is all the info the Coroner’s Office would have had about her at the time of death. was instrumental in pulling this together. Her descendant put in a photo request, which sadly has taken 2 years to honor. But the request only showed the name Mary Black, which didn’t appear in the records. The request has been lingering due to this as I hoped I would come across her somewhere during our Census. I didn’t and sent the sad news yesterday to her descendant.

18-4-16She replied overnight and mentioned the nickname of Bell. I went back and instantly found her in my list and was able to immediately provide a picture of the marker, which fortunately is still intact in Block 18. Those who participated in the Census will likely remember the near complete devastation of Blocks 18 & 20 with so many markers lost to time and the sharp edge of a lawn mower blade.

18-4-16 Mary Isabel Black (2)Without the full knowledge of the situation, I wasn’t able to make this connection and resolve the request. I’m so pleased to be able to share this and put a face with the name. So, without further delay, let me introduce you to Mary Isabel “Bell” Black.

At the time of her death she was widowed by John Black and living at 908 W. 10th Street  just 6 blocks from the Texas Theater in Downtown Oak Cliff. This Theater would be immortalized 27 years later as the place where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended after assassinating President John F. Kennedy. Today this address is just a vacant lot, but the house next door stands and will give you an idea of where she lived.

908 w. 10th Street, Dallas, TX

The exact circumstances of how she ended up at Parkland Hospital (incidentally where President Kennedy was treated 27 years later) are unknown to me. But more than likely she had no means to support herself after her husband passed. She was a Widowed housewife in a day when insurance was uncommon and at the height of the Great Depression. Our descendant has confirmed that the Witness Nora Pratt is Bell’s daughter, so some family lived in the city. However Nora was also already a Widow and must not have had the means to pay for Bell’s funeral. Additionally, Bell’s two other daughters had already passed away.

For whatever reasons, she has now been reunited with her kin and we can put a face to the name. There are more than 2000 such stories in this cemetery and I can’t hope to ever tell them all. But certain ones stick out as you pass them by and this time it ended well, even if it took 82 years to happen.

18-4-16 Mary Bell Black

As an addendum to the story, I consulted with a friend who is also a doctor about the confusing diagnosis listed on the death certificate. You know it takes a Doctor to read a Doctor’s handwriting. The Ruptured Gall Bladder was easy to figure out, but the other words baffled me. He translated the diagnosis into English for me which follows:

Cholelithiasis = gallstones
Atrophic portal cirrhosis = end-stage liver disease.  Part of her liver is scarred and withering away.

Additionally, here’s a pretty good description of the stages:

 So she had chronic liver disease that finally killed her.  Parenthetically, this is often the outcome of a chronic hepatitis C infection.  If you’re dealing with an indigent or poor population, hepatitis was/is pretty common.  And with poor public health practices, hepatitis becomes a real health problem.  Dallas, especially south Dallas, has certainly seen its share.  Alcohol abuse is another contributing factor, though we can’t speak to Bell’s temperance.

Photos of Mary courtesy of “Gypsy” at
Street Photo courtesy of Bing Maps.
Death Certificate from State of Texas Death Certificates

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo:

On one of the first days of our Dallas Pauper’s Cemetery Census I discovered a name plate for an Emelio Garcia. It was one of those names that stuck out to me, because I have a friend by the same name (sparing a vowel). My friend goes by the nickname Nemo and this sent us on the mission of, you guessed it, “Finding Nemo”!

It’s hard to find levity in a graveyard, but we struggled to keep our spirits up. We set about our task with glee and even sent him a picture of the loose plate which bore his name. We thought we had found him in a neighboring Block of the cemetery, but at the time we couldn’t tell for sure, because the grid system used to help you locate the graves was lost to time. Over the last 3 months we have found a working system to help us locate such graves and as we did, we found that our initial assumptions were incorrect. There was another E. Garcia in that spot.

Unknown-Emelio Garcia.JPGSo, where did Nemo belong? I called Ellen’s show, but they were very rude and wouldn’t help me at all! I searched through the cemetery records only to find 30 Garcia’s all competing to be found. Months went by and I forgot about it, but recently we completed the Census and on that last day, Nemo was there helping. I mentioned to him that I should show him his Doppelganger’s grave, not quite remembering that it was a loose plate in temporary exile at my house. We completed the Census for 2/3 of the 2060 graves that day and I’ve been steadfastly trying to crunch all that data and produce an end result. In the process I came across other graves that bore similar names. That happens when burials have been conducted for almost a 50 year period. One by one, I eliminated all of the other possible gravesites for Nemo.

I’m now at the end of this journey (though it is only just beginning) and still am not able to put Nemo’s information on his grave. That bother’s me immensely. I don’t want his resting place to be unmarked. But I simply don’t have an answer and my hopes are fading.

Will we ever find Nemo? Only time will tell, but this poor little infant who lived less than 2 months on this planet has somehow gotten through my tough exterior and I weep for him. I wish that we could locate 100% of the graves in this cemetery, but I’ve always known that it isn’t likely. 99% of these souls will have a final resting place that is known to the world. But a few dozen may have been erased through decades of neglect and I’m all too afraid that Nemo will be one of them. I’ve found his Death Certificate, which confirms he was buried in this cemetery. I have his name plate, but I don’t have him.

Unknown Location Emelio Garcia

Could this horse hold the key to a missing Babb lineage?

Howard and PeepawayA follower of my blog sent me this curious picture of a man on his horse and believes that there is some connection to the Babb family. Her mother always kept this picture, but never disclosed the reasons why. On the back it reads “Howard and Peep-a-way Jan-13 1946”.

This was a very difficult period in the Netherlands as they began to uncover from German Occupation in WWII.

We don’t know Howard’s last name, but a web search revealed a racing form from 1924, which lists Peepaway’s trainer as J. H. Babbs. Here is the full text of the racing form:

Full text of “Daily Racing Form: n. Thursday, April 24, 1924”…/drf1924042401_djvu.txt

420 to 100 show. Winner — T. M. Irwin’s eh. c. by Peter Quince — Peepaway, by Peep o’Day (trained by J. H. Babbs; bred hy Mr. B. Coombs), Went to post at 3:14. .At post 3 niinutea. Start goo<i and slow. Won easily; second and third driving. Scratched- -(78.520) Uncle Abe, 107; 77788 Thor, 112; 77961 Jean Melville. 105.

I see no record of any Babb(s) in the Netherlands and don’t know where to start hunting for this one. So, I thought I would throw it out and see if there were any hardy horse racing enthusiasts who could help us get to the bottom of this.

Is J. H. Babb the same man as Howard? Do horses even live that long? You tell me what I’m missing here.




Reunion Recap/New Board Elected

Reunion Recap/New Board Elected: 

The 2018 Babb Family Reunion is over now and I wanted to share some updates for those who were unable to attend in person.

We had a really great working reunion and I think this was the most productive event ever. On Thursday we worked to level the ground at the Babb Farm Cemetery to allow the Sons of the American Revolution better access as they mow and tend the graves.

We then toured Babb’s Mill and the adjoining cemetery. The Mill was built and operated by Phillip Babb, Sr (1-2-2-1) in approximately 1786. Phillip was the original Babb pioneer in Greene County, TN and Seth’s father. In the heat of the afternoon we retreated to the comfort of our host hotel, The General Morgan and traded stories in the lobby until dinner time, where we escaped to a comfort food restaurant Fatz Country Café. There is much more to share about the Mill. Watch for a separate post about that.

Friday, we headed down to Seth’s Homestead to put the finishing touches in before it opening it to the public on Saturday. We have a few modern amenities in the homestead to provide for its security. Electricity has been added to improve lighting, allow for Fire Detection and an alarm system with movement sensors. Soon a Lock Box will be installed on the side of the building opposite of the road that will allow the Fire Department to gain access in the event of a fire without having to kick out the doors and windows.


Family came from miles around to donate items that had once been a part of the Homestead and we made this Homestead into a Home. I could picture people living in the home for the first time and got a little teary eyed when it had all come together.

Saturday we had a full house as we welcomed in the public for the first time and showed off this treasure. We estimate 110 visitors arrived to meet the 40 Babb descendants in attendance. For dinner on both Friday & Saturday we dined at Greeneville’s best restaurant, Brumley’s. I did a video walkthrough of the Homestead on Facebook Live and despite a little bit of chaos, it is very informative. You can view it here:


We topped off the weekend with some official business electing a slate of new officers, who will be responsible for a variety of tasks. 4 of the new officers are from the new generation of Babbs who have been attending most of their lives. They are now smart young men who can help assure the longevity of the organization and of the Homestead itself.


New Board:

Our new Board of Directors (2018-2021) consists of:

President: Keith Babb
Vice-President: Ryan Tucker (also 2019 Reunion Coordinator)
Officer: Eric Wust
Officer: Jon McCroskey
Officer: Spencer Wust
Newsletter Editor: Debbie Babb Rousseau
Cruise Director: Karen Babb Tucker
Farm Cemetery Leads: Kathy Babb Wust & Brenda Babb McCroskey
Genealogist: Daniel Greig Babb

You will start hearing from a variety of these board members on this blog in the near future and it is our hope that by broadly expanding the board we can make light work of the duties facing the BFA. It will also allow me to focus exclusively on research and bringing home that elusive connection to England.


More to Come:

There is lots more to share and I’ll be bringing it to you as I’m able to prepare it.

Please pencil in Father’s Day weekend 2019 for our upcoming reunion in Winchester, VA and watch for upcoming details shortly.


Daniel Greig Babb

Thomas Jefferson Babb (1-2-2-3-4-5-3) Family (Sep 1906)


This photo of the Thomas Jefferson Babb family dates to Sept 1906 in El Dorado, Arkansas. The unusual location and the large family, consisting almost completely of boys helped in identifying the family.


Pictured are:

Seated in Middle (l-r):

  • Thomas Jefferson Babb & Martha Eugenia Murphy (both seated in middle)

Back Row (l-r):

  • James Robert Babb (1882-1956)
  • Joseph Carlisle Babb (1884-1970)
  • Fred Abijah Babb (1886-1918)
  • Hamit Pinson Babb (1887-1974)
  • Thomas Newton Babb (1890-1949)
  • Jesse Jefferson Babb (1892-1961)

Front Row (r-l):

  • Timothy Ernest Babb (1894-1952)
  • Helen Price Babb (1896-1973)
  • R. Paul Babb (1902-Unknown)



Reunion Handout/ Call for Shovels & Wheelbarrows

BabbFarmCemeterysignBrenda & Kathy put together a fantastic handout for the 2012 reunion that tells the history of each place and gives directions on how to get there. I highly recommend printing out page 3 to take along on the trip, especially if you plan to strike out on your own. My mom, sister and I will be arriving in Greeneville on Wednesday and I plan to meet with one of the heads of the Museum Board of Directors to talk over the plan for the coming days. After that, we will be free for dinner with anyone else who is in town already.

For anyone who is local, we have a need on Thursday morning for a several shovels & wheelbarrows to help spread some soil at the Babb Farm Cemetery. Kathy will have the dirt on hand. We will likely run over a bit on our schedule due to this and I’ll try to have some snacks on hand to get us through until we can have lunch back in Greeneville. Should we run over too much, we will use some of our built-in free time to return and finish the job.

Handout 2012 Reunion