Perry Wales Holford

Perry Wales Holford, the fifth child of James Solomon and Letisha Catherine (Hampton) Holford, was born on 29 November 1892 in either Putnam or Overton County. He was always known to the family by his middle name and to others as "P.W.". He also had the nickname "Silver" because his hair turned white by the time he was 12 years old.

The choice of his name had been a mystery. Until 2006 it was thought by his descendants to have no connection to any other family names. It 2006 is was discovered that he had a first cousin once removed (a grandson of James Solomon's brother William Donaldson) named Enoch Wales Holford who was also commonly called by his middle name. This only deepened the mystery. It was only through further research in writing this page that the mystery appears to have been solved.

Wales is the middle name of P.W.'s great-great-grandfather George Christian and his great-grandmother's older brother George Christian, Jr. These are common ancestors of P.W. and Enoch. It is not an unusual middle name amongst descendant with the Christian surname.

P.W. spent some part of his early years living near Celina, in Clay County, as that is where his mother died when he was 9 years old. His father re-married, but he did not get along with his step-mother. In about 1905, he moved with his family to Collin County, Texas. However, when the family moved to Uvalde, Texas for the winter, probably around 1907, P.W. took the train back to Tennessee to live with his older brother Shirley. This proved unsatisfactory and he began riding the rails, sometimes working odd jobs, including a short stint with a traveling show. In the early 1910's P.W. began working for a railroad.

In 1913, P.W. was a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma and married Maurine Cox. This marriage lasted a very short time and in 1914, he was a resident of Independence, Kansas. In Bartlesville, Oklahoma, during 1914, he met Lola May Phelps, the daughter of William David and Mary Emiline (Byers) Phelps, who had moved to what was then Indian Territory from Missouri in 1895. They eloped to Jasper County, Missouri, the home of Lola's maternal grandparents, and were married in Carthage, at the Jasper County Courthouse, on 1 February 1915.

From this union were born nine children:

1. Baby Holford, born 27 December 1915 in Bartlesville and died 30 December 1915 in Bartlesville. She is buried in the White Rose Cemetery in Bartlesville.

2. Donald Wales, born 25 February 1917.

3. William Dwight, born 12 June 1919.

4. Forrest Dale, born 9 February 1922.

5. Norma Nell, born 10 April 1924.

6. Twila Lee, born 1 September 1926.

7. Wilma Wayne, born 20 November 1928.

8. Loyal Dean, born 3 April 1932.

9. Reeda Gail, born 4 June 1934.

In the late 1910's, P.W. left the railroad and began to work in the oilfields of northeast Oklahoma. The family moved out of Bartlesville to adjoining Osage County, living in at least two different oil lease houses. In about 1936, they bought a farm in Osage County, in the vacinity of Herd and Bowring.

P.W. and Lola sold the farm in the summer of 1941 and gave up possession several months later, moving to Chautauqua, Kansas on 13 December 1941. They moved back to Osage County for the 1942-43 school year, then returned to Chautauqua in the summer of 1943.

In the autumn of 1944, P.W. bought a news stand and restaurant in the middle of four defense plants in Wellington, Kansas. He also became the local distributor of the Wichita Beacon newspaper. After some difficulty in finding accommodation, the family moved to Wellington in the late fall of 1944.

P.W. wanted to go back to work on the railroad, but now in his 50s, he was considered too old by potential employers. The shortage of manpower during the war meant he was able to get hired. In 1945, he got a job with the Missouri-Pacific and sold the businesses a month before the end of the war. This was very good timing, because the day the war ended, the government closed the defense plants.

In October 1945, the P.W. and Lola moved back to Chautauqua, where they lived until the summer of 1950, when they moved to Colbert, Oklahoma. P.W. transferred to the Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf Railway (KO&G) until he had to retire. In 1951 P.W. and Lola also started raising meat rabbits. The business did well, but became more difficult to manage as time went along. They sold it in 1954, just weeks before the market for rabbits collapsed.

P.W. developed emphysema in the early 1950s. By 1955 he could not longer work and was on disability leave until his formal retirement in about 1957. P.W. and Lola spent much of 1957 in Houston, Texas, while P.W. sought better medical care for his condition. They returned to Colbert in 1958.

P.W.'s health continued to decline and he died 13 July 1963 in Colbert. Lola died 7 July 1965. They are both buried in Colbert Cemetery.




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