This story was sent to me by Anna Belle Bryan of San Augustine, Texas
Notes indicate it was sent to her by a Kelly & Sue Lucas
Frank Runnels married Amelia Keack, he was a very industrious, hard working man and she was a very pretty girl. He worked very hard and she inherited several hundred acres from her family. They were very prosperous and highly respected. They built a very nice home and she was remembered as the fashion setter of the community.
They had four sons, James Arthur, J.B., Anguish "Gus", and King Midas. In August of 1906, Frank Runnels died, leaving a 26 year old widow and four small sons. Frank's brother, Anguish Norman, came to help the widow and run the farm. Amelia and Norman fell in love - - - no one knows why they did not marry, but when Amelia became pregnant, Norman left the country and was not heard from for forty years.
Amelia gave birth to a fifth son on April 20, 1909 and she named him C.B., later he was to be called Ray. The story goes that Amelia was so ashamed at having a child out of wedlock that she slowly grieved herself to death.
R.E. Runnels, another brother of Frank, then moved in, along with his wife, Millie to raise the five young boys and run the farm. They eventually had five daughters.
According to the five boys stories in later years; R.E. and Millie Runnels were not an ambitious pair and not always good or kind to the five boys. R.E. made them all work very hard and through the years managed to sell off most of their land and cattle. Four of the boys ran away from home as soon as they were old enough to walk out of the pineywoods "Big Thicket".
J.B. and King left at age 15, Anguish and C.B. at age 14. Arthur was the only one who managed to stick it out and end up with a few acres of the original farm. J.B. sharecropped most of his life, then worked in a defense plant. He married Leona Gray, never had any children, adopted two girls. Anguish "Gus" joined the Coast Guard as a cabin boy, then did a hitch in the Marines, then joined the Navy from which he retired. He married several times, never had any children.
King did odd jobs until he was old enough to join the Army, stayed in the Army 35 years and retired to Florida. He was married to Ethyl, never had any children. Arthur never left the homestead, farmed all his life, married Maggie Kingsley, they had one daughter, Justine, who died at age 20 in childbirth - the baby died also. Justine was married to Thomas Whitton.
C.B. "Ray" Runnels married one time for four years to Edna Holloway, they lived in Los Angeles, California and had one daughter, Nancy Sue, born May 19, 1931, C.B. was very handsome, a waiter by trade, he was friends with most of the movie stars in the 30's and dated several of them. He was liked by everyone and known for his sense of humor. He always wanted to meet Norman Runnels.
C.B. was one of the first ones drafted in the Army when WW II broke out, he died in the Army, March 1, 1943. According to Kelly Lucas, who years later visited Norman Runnels and his family in New Mexico, one of Norman and Lulu's boys was the "spitting image" of C.B.
C.B.'s daughter, Nancy Sue, heard the story of Amelia and Norman about 1949, she wrote to Norman at Capitan, New Mexico, where he worked on a dam. He was very pleased to hear from her. At the time he heard from her he had never known if the child born to Amelia had been a boy or girl. At that time he wrote to Nancy Sue that he only had grandsons and was pleased to know he had a granddaughter.
Norman and Nancy Sue corresponded for several years until his eyesight failed and he could no longer write, after that Nancy Sue heard from his wife occasionally until after his death. In the summer of 1962, while on a return trip from California, Nancy Sue stopped by to see Norman and Lulu, that is the only time they ever met.
Nancy Sue married Oscar Byrd, Nov 22, 1947. They have a son, Robert Oscar Byrd, born Oct 16, 1951; and a daughter, Gwen Byrd Roderick, born Feb 14 1958. They also have four grandchildren. Oscar Byrd is owner of A&B Muffler Shops of Texas, and they reside at 9230 Mineral Wells Hwy., Weatherford, Texas 76086 on the Westfork Ranch.
Oscar and his son Robert "Bob", are avid hunters. They have hunted bear, mountain lion, elk, moose, caribou, cougar and antelope. They hunt Alaska, Northwest Territory, Canada, Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas.