Another Tale of Regret
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the death of Lee Chester Manson, my grand-uncle, who lived in Midland, Texas. He was the son of Silas Leroy Manson (1897-1974) and Estelle Thomas (1906-1980). He was the grandson of Otis Manson (1874-1950) and Bettie Sanford (1872-1955).
Two years ago, the Midland Reporter-Telegram ran the following obituary:
Lee Chester Manson was born November 27, 1928 in Merkel, Tx. He grew up in Midland and graduated from Carver High School. He married Hattie Jean Bowers in Midland. Lee was a member of Faith Temple COGOC, and was a great lover of the Sunday School Dept. He departed this life on January 30, 2007.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Leroy and Estell Manson, a twin brother, Roy Lester Manson, and a son Otis Bruce Manson.
He leaves to cherish his memory his Daughters, Beverly Jean Manson Patton, and Peggie Lee Manson Nelson, of Midland, his sons, Lee Chester Manson, of Dallas, Marcel Jones and Christopher Jones of Los Angeles, CA., and six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Funeral Services will be Tuesday at 2 pm at Faith Temple COGIC, with Rev. W. C. Kenan officiating. Burial will be in Serenity Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Thomas Funeral Home.
This represents a huge genealogical regret for me. I just discovered this obituary yesterday. But, you see, I had spoken to Lee just six months before his death; that was July, 2006. I told him I would put together a package of family history documents and pictures for him. And I did–eventually. It just took me too long a time and as of yesterday, I somehow still hadn’t got it in the mail.
Here are my [redacted] notes of our conversation in July 2006:
Received a telephone call today about 6:45 p.m. from B. . . . She left a message on the answering machine; said she was the ———- of Lee Manson in Midland, Texas. The telephone number was 432 — xxx–xxxx. So I called back a little after 7 p.m. Pacific time, and was pleasantly surprised when Lee Manson himself answered the phone. He sounded very excited. He sounded good for a man of 78 . . . . He said that they received my letter last week and were very excited to get the letter. . . .
Lee told me that he was the son of Silas Lee Roy Manson, and the twin brother of Roy Lester Manson. He confirmed that they had been born on the 27th of November 1928. He said they were born in a town called Merkel, Texas, near Abilene. He said their mother’s name was Estelle Thomas. . . .
About his grandfather Otis he said the following: Otis was a little short man no more than 5’3″ tall. And that he was more of a white man in complexion than he was black. “Otis was essentially a white man.” Lee said he didn’t really know that much about his grandmother Betty Sanford Manson but that she was a big woman weighing well over 200 pounds. He said that at some point, Otis purchased some land in San Angelo area. It was not clear to me whether this was before or after the family had moved to Midland. Lee said he did not know why the family moved to Midland.
Lee said that his grandfather Otis owned a mule named Julie. And that the mule lived an extraordinarily long time. At some point the mule fell on Otis and crushed him. It was not clear to me if this was the cause of Otis’s death or not. Lee talked about [his aunt and my grandfather’s sister] Pansy; confirmed that she had married a man named James Warren and that they had . . . a son also named James. He said that once Pansy had gone to Prairie View [for college] but when she returned to Midland she worked as a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell. He said that she and her husband were well off and that much of the family finances were handled by Pansy. He indicated that the Manson family lands were generally managed by Pansy . . . .
Lee said he had obituaries for a number of family members and that he would send them along. . . . He said that there are a number of cousins out in Southern California. He said that he knew [my grandfather] Quentin very well and mentioned his (Quentin’s wife) Mary Frances.
. . . . He mentioned his Aunt Myrtle. He also mentioned someone named A— , but now I am not clear who he meant . . . . . Lee said when [he, my father and my grandfather] made the trip out to Los Angeles in 1948, Quentin had bought 1936 or 1938 Ford that looked like it had just come off the showroom floor. His recall is that it is exactly 1167 miles from Midland to Los Angeles.
Another fact that he mentioned was that Otis his grandfather raised hogs and turkeys.
Another thing he said was that there was a kid out of at the University of Florida playing football who was also related to us. He was not sure how this kid was related to us but seemed convinced that he is. The person he is speaking of would be Markus Manson, a sophomore running back who last year averaged 4.5 yards a carry. [2009 update: Markus Manson later transferred from Florida to Valdosta State and is an NFL prospect this year].
As I look in my notes here I’m thinking that A—- may have been his mother’s sister and she’d lived in a town called Trent, Texas. He also mentioned someone named C—– (phonetic), who lived in Temple, Texas. I’m not sure who that is, either. It was a very enjoyable conversation. He said he was very excited to hear from me. He said he had lots of pictures and documents that he would send and share. He said, “When you feel like calling, just call anytime. I’m always here.”
January 31, 2009 Saturday at 10:45 pm