(Photo taken 1961)
THE TEXAS CITY WE KNEW. 138 years ago (May 19, 1881) my great-uncle, W. O. Wheeless, was born in Able Springs, Texas.
Uncle Bill was the closest person I had to a grandfather. He lived next door to us and was always there to talk to and tell us stories of his past. I remember his mentioning of his uncles who fought in the Civil War.
His life was full of trials and tribulations. After moving to Texas City in 1912, he lost his wife and one-year-old daughter to a cholera epidemic in 1915. In 1925 he lost his seventeen-year-old daughter, a recent graduate of Wovin High School, to an unknown disease.
He bought the house in the background around 1930 and struggled to make the payments, especially during the depression. He made the last payment during WW2.
He had a variety of jobs, living from paycheck to paycheck. At times he worked several part-time jobs just to survive. His final employment was being a custodian at the Old City Hall into his seventies.
Uncle Bill was a poet and wrote thousands of poems. One of his books is in the Texas City Museum. With only a fourth grade education, he worked hard to educate himself. He read the entire newspaper every day and stayed up to date on current events.
Uncle Bill had no television, telephone, air conditioner, or hot water heater, and his heat came from a space heater. He did have a radio and would listen to Texas City's own KTLW all day long. On weekends he would tune to the Grand Ole Opera and the Louisiana Hayride.
Uncle Bill died January 31, 1963, in Danforth Hospital, and he was the first close family death I experienced. At 81 he had never been out of Texas. He left behind this house, old furniture he had built, and less than $2.00 in cash.
He left us much more. He was a living testimony of being content in any situation. (Philippians 4:11-13). He will always be remembered as a kind man who lived by faith and treasured his family and friends