Friday, June 28, 2013

The Secret Life of C.H. Moran

Every family has its share of secrets and closet skeletons.  This one belongs to C.H. Moran aka Uncle Brud.  Brud remained a bachelor his entire life but the correspondence left behind indicates he had a lot of lady friends, a few romances and even entertained the idea of marriage.  The family rumor that's been passed down says Brud had an illegitimate child somewhere in Texas and that he would send money for child support even after the mother married someone else.  We don't know the identity of the woman, perhaps at some point the records will tell us her name.

There was another rumor that said the folks from Ripley's Believe It or Not heard the rumors and they wanted to publish the story.  Now we know it wasn't a rumor because thanks to the Moran hoarding instinct we have the letter from Douglas Ripley!  Douglas Ripley was the brother of the founder of Ripley's Believe It or Not, Robert Ripley.  We are sure the Moran family would've been horrified to admit such a thing had happened much less have it reported in newspapers across the country.  The Ripley's cartoon series is the longest running cartoon series beating out even the Peanuts franchise.

The Ripley story varies a bit from the family version.  The family said he was sending child support.  Ripley says Brud was paying another man's alimony to a woman who was divorced and the ex-husband had skipped out on paying the alimony.

In today's world this would be a non-story but in 1934 it was apparently news.

Believe It or Not!
King Features Syndicate Inc
235 East 45th St. New York City
Cable Address: BION, New York

April 11, 1934

Mr. Harold Moran

Dear Mr. Moran:

   Mr. Ripley has been informed that you a bachelor pay alimony to a woman, because of endorsement of notes given to her by her divorced husband which he failed to pay.

   If true, would you kindly send us a photo or snapshot of yourself for use in Mr. Ripley's Believe It or Not cartoons?

   Would it be possible for you to secure a photo of the woman to whom you are paying the alimony?

               BELIEVE IT OR NOT
                   Douglas Ripley

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Family Portrait of the Lyman Cephas Gunn Family, ca.1884

Lyman Cephas Gunn is a brother of Sophia Riley Gunn, the wife of John Williamson Moran.

Lyman married Sallie Boyd Dec. 14, 1870.  Their first son was Lyman Buckner Gunn, 1871-1876.  Daisy was born in 1873 and married Clyde Ezzell making her not only a cousin to Fannie Moran but her sister-in-law as well. Daisy died in Madison TN in 1972.  James Boyd Gunn was born 1874 and married Bess Ralston. James died in 1953 in Paris TN.  Mineola was born in 1876 and died in 1897 while the family was living in St. Louis.  Ellis Morehead Gunn was born in 1881 and died in Nashville in 1902.  Their last child was Carolyn "Carrie" Gunn who came along in 1887 after this picture was taken.  She married William Elbert Davis. Carrie died in Madison TN in 1972.

The picture has a nasty crease which I've attempted to erase via the magic of photoshop.  It's not the best job in the world but it's not the worst either.  :)  I've included the before and after.  The names go left to right in the photographs.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

From Obion County TN to James Bond: The Files and Chiles Wedding Invitation 1907

The Moran's were invited to a good many weddings in their day but I believe this is the first time I've ever seen the wording "will give in marriage their daughter".  The standard fare seems to be "you are invited to attend the wedding/marriage" of bride X to groom Z.

Mr. and Mrs. and Francis Marion Files
will give in marriage their daughter
Mr. Harsh Edmonds Chiles
Wednesday evening the fifth of June
one thousand nine hundred and seven
at eight thirty o'clock
Presbyterian Church 
Itasca, Texas
You are invited to be present
                 At Home
              after July first
              Itasca, Texas

And what an interesting name combination as well.  Files and Chiles.  Mrs. Jewell Files Chiles.  :) I wasn't able to find much about the Files family.  Jewell was born March 23, 1880 in Files Valley Texas, the daughter of Jane Simpson and Francis "Frank" Marion Files. Frank was originally from Oglethorpe Georgia

And who was Harsh Edmonds Chiles?  He was the son of Henry Clay Chiles and Isabella "Belle" Edmonds, the widow of Jefferson Parr.  Harsh was born July 27 1879 in Obion County Tennessee and would've been a contemporary of J.W. Moran's children Fannie, Harrell, James, Ida and Marion.  His sister, Minnie, married John P. McElwrath of Kentucky.  Which makes me wonder if that McElwrath is related to this McElwrath who was born in Tennessee but when he retired from his Dry Goods store in Dresden he moved to Kentucky.   Harsh and Jewell are residing in Itasca Texas at the time of the 1920 Census and have three children: Harrell Edmonds "Eddie", Marion Clay and Jane.  I wonder....could their son Harrell be a nod to Charles Harrell Moran? And what a surprise!  Harsh was the president of a bank.  Harrell Moran was the head cashier and Jim Moran the President of the Dresden Bank.  It seems that so many Moran friends were in the banking industry!  By 1930 Harsh and Jewell had another daughter, Charlotte.

Their son, Harrell "Eddie" Chiles attended Wentworth Military Academy and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering.  founded the Western Company of North American and was at one time an owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Team from 1980 until 1989 when he sold the Rangers to a group of investors that included a well known name, George W. Bush.  He was also an Oil tycoon

And fame touched the family even more in the grand daughter of Harsh and Jewell Chiles, Lois Chiles.  She is the daughter of Barbara Wayne Kirkland and Marion Clay Chiles, who operated an offshore drilling company run by brother Eddie.  Lois starred opposite Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand in The Way We Were and appeared in the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby as Jordan Baker and she was also a Bond girl appearing as Dr. Holly Goodhead opposite Roger Moore in the 1979 Bond movie, Moonraker.

Sometimes I have to ask myself, how cool is that?? Research rocks!