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George Pomeroy Albright
"Uncle Sonny" was near and dear to many of us. The father figure to Lorene and June for years and the light of Wanda's life. Chcss was his game of choice and he won several tounaments and taught many of us how to play. Items on this page were contributed by my sister, Wanda.
George Pomeroy Albright, first born of Quinn Tellas Albright and Virginia Pearl Rogers was born November 29, 1904 at the home of Virginia's parents, Enoch P. and Charlcy Ann (Bennette) Rogers in Poolville, Parker County, Texas. He was his mother's favorite. She called him G. P. as a young boy and gradually he was called son. Eventually he became Sonny, thus Uncle Sonny to the later generations.
Uncle Sonny was tall and slender as a young man. He had dark wavy hair and often wore hats. He had one on-going physical problem caused by his sister Wenoma during his teen years. They were having an argument and Wenoma threw a shoe hitting him in the shin. He had problems with his leg until his dying day. I remember, as well as others, Uncle Sonny having to change the dressing daily and that the skin was dry and purplish in color. Uncle Sonny attended Arlington Heights, 9th ward, 2nd ward, and possibly North Side. He quit school between age nine and fourteen to work and help support the family. His parents divorced in 1917 making Uncle Sonny about thirteen.
Marriage and Children
Uncle Sonny didn't marry until after he had retired but while employed with the T. & P. Railroad, he lived in Whitesboro with his mother. He met a young lady, during W.W.II who also worked for the railroad in Savoy. Her name was Dora... last name unknown. She and Uncle Sonny dated and it is rumored, they were to be married, but the marriage never came to be. One story has it, that the mothers of both did something to prevent them marrying. It is not known what. Both lived with and supported their mothers. If they were to marry, the mothers would be left alone. It has been told that Mamaw (Uncle Sonny's mother Virginia) went shopping with Dora and after observing her "shopping" abilities, told Sonny she would squander his money as she was neither thrifty nor frugal. Another story is that Mamaw became ill and Uncle Sonny told Dora that when they married, his mother would live with them. That being the case, they agreed they wouldn't marry. I was told that after the death of his mother, Uncle Sonny tried to locate Dora. He called her sister who told him that she was married and wouldn't tell him where she was.
After the death of his mother, Uncle Sonny married, ( at the tender age of 69) Olivia Noreen Jackson Slaughter (DOB 8-2-1905) He met her at North Fort Worth Baptist Church through Kiddo. On Saturday night, there wasn't an empty seat in the church. Not only was the lower auditorium full, the upstairs was full. Not one invitation was sent !!!! Only an announcement in church, word of mouth and a small invitation in the church paper was used.
They ran out of cake and punch because they were not expecting so many to attend. Many people knew that he had not been married all his life and that he took care of Mamaw. Also Uncle Sonny had been a member of that church at the time of his wedding for 49 years. He and Olivia went to Big Bend for their honeymoon. Uncle Sonny took over the mortgage of Kiddo's house at 2717 Beverly Hills Dr. and Kiddo kept the house at 2701 Roosevelt.
I have since learned that his marriage was a very unhappy one. At one time Olivia wanted a Divorce. Uncle Sonny had good health for the biggest part of his life, but one thing led to another. He had eye surgery and couldn't see. ( or drive) Then he had trouble with his feet. Soon Olivia couldn't tend to him and Uncle Sonny couldn't tend to himself and he was real nervous that she didn't want to tend to him. It was more than she wanted to do. She had a sick man. He went from a strong healthy man that could drive and take her places to a man on a walker that couldn't. One time he got out of the hospital and was taken to June's, (niece) If Olivia wasn't going to be at home, he'd have to be with June because he couldn't put in his contacts or tend to his feet. Olivia's family wanted to take care of Olivia and have Uncle Sonny's family take care of Uncle Sonny. June protested and told Uncle Sonny that if they were not going to live together, (and he did not want a Divorce, he didn't like the stigma of Divorce) she would have to wait for Olivia to give permission for any medical treatment and the same was true for Olivia's family. If June was to be responsible for Uncle Sonny's care, she couldn't have her hands tied. It was unfair to anyone concerned. "Oh me", he said, "Oh me". He didn't get a Divorce, he went back to his house.
His first job was as a postal messenger. He did not work for the post office. It was a Western Union type business. He delivered messages using his own bicycle. He then became a Red Cap for the Texas and Pacific Railroad. His first day on the job was 17 March 1920. A Red Cap's duties were much like that of a bell boy, luggage bearer. He must have been a good employee, because his supervisor, ( we think his name was Paul) took him under his wings and helped him get a better position as a clerk that paid more money. He also encouraged Uncle Sonny to attend school for telegraphy. He went to Brantley Draughn in Fort Worth.
Uncle Sonny completed his schooling in about a year and he passed the exam. He began working as a telegraph operator wherever he was needed. He worked in Dallas and Kildare in 1924. In 1926 he was in Atlanta, TX. and in Gordon, TX. A telegram sent to his mother for Mother's Day places him in Ranger, Texas, in 1927. He sent a telegram to his mother in September saying he had left Ranger and was going to Big Sandy, TX. In this telegram he mentions his sister Wenoma as being in Tyler and his brother Roy in New York. Kiddo, also known as Ina Mae Hardin, went to see him while he was in Ranger and she was very impressed with what she saw. His right hand would tap the telegraph keys while his left hand answered the phone.
In 1931 he was back in Ft. Worth working at the Lancaster Yard. In 1937 he went to Savoy and that must be why he moved to Whitesboro. In 1947 he was listed back in Ft. Worth and remained in that office until he retired. From 1958 until he retired he was listed as Wire Chief for the T & P RR.
Uncle Sonny retired at the age of 65. He remembered not being able to have better opportunities because the older hands would stay on and on and work rather than retire. It made such an impression on him that as soon as he was eligible to retire, he did so willingly. An excerpt of his retirement letter reads... "On 11/29/1969, I'll be 65. Effective 12/1 I'll retire. It is with great sadness, but with great joy of accomplishing my goal..." He retired after 47 years of service.
Civic , Military Service and Travels
Because of his profession and the importance of it, Uncle Sonny did not have to serve in the military. He was needed more in his capacity as a telegrapher to facilitate the movement of the trains and shipment of arms and other goods. His military classification was as of 22 Feb. 1944 was 2a(h). On 6 DEC 1945 he was classified 4-a.
During his younger years, Uncle Sonny became a member of many organizations including Demolay's, the Masonic Lodge, the Eastern Star, and the Lone Scouts.
The first receipts we have on his dues being paid for the Demolay's were in 1922, 1924 and 1925. We don't know how long he was a member after that if at all.
In 1929 he joined the Julien Field Lodge #942 of the Masons. He passed or entered apprentice on 9 Oct. 1929 and was raised 1 month later. He had been a member of the Stockyard's Masonic Lodge #1244, the Tarrant Lodge #942, the Whitesboro Council #313, the Whitesboro Chapter #377 and the Whitesboro Lodge #263.
He was a member of the Eastern Star Crescent Chapter #80, past patron of Chapter #720 Order of the Eastern Star in Whitesboro and #708. He was an active member in the Lone Scouts (which he had joined in the 20's) at the time of his death. He attended the LBT Conventions almost every year, traveling to Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Canada, North Carolina, Michigan and New York among others. In going through his copies of the programs for the conventions that he had saved, we found out that he had received an award celebrating the 50th year on a literary contribution. We never did find the article that he had submitted.
He also was active in Boy Scouts. One time, a young boy was unable to join a troop on an excursion due to financial reasons. Uncle Sonny told him he would sponsor him if he would agree to cut the lawn for a period of time. The young boy agreed and was allowed to attend. Uncle Sonny was chided by many as it seems this young man had a reputation for being a BAD BOY. Uncle Sonny was told he would never come back and do the lawn. I'm sure Uncle Sonny thought it was money well spent. To all the other's surprise, the young man came back and upheld his end of the agreement.
He enjoyed reading and had accumulated a good sized "library" over the years. He took the time to donate a good number of his books that were young men oriented to the Ft. Worth Public Library, North Branch. The library input a note of thanks into the newspaper. He also played chess and would teach us kids how to play.
He enjoyed chess so much that he played several games by mail. We're uncertain of the year, but it is believed that he won a City Chess Tournament. He was a member of the Ft. Worth Chess Club, The Texas Chess Association, the United States Chess Federation and The Correspondence Chess League of America. He was a member of the Order of Railroad Telegraphers.
Uncle Sonny lived with and supported his mother, until her death in September, 1970. (Kiddo lived with them for years. Kiddo worked day shift, and Uncle Sonny midnight's, so their mother wouldn't be alone.) After Mamaw's death, he and Kiddo took a trip to the Holy Land, Egypt, Cairo, Bethany, Jerusalem, Gethsemanae and the Olive Garden. Kiddo and Uncle Sonny lived on Roosevelt until September, 1974.
Uncle Sonny was methodical in everything that he did. He would stamp his mail received with his date stamp. He would stamp the inside of all of his books with his name stamp. He kept endless records on such things as his weight and height and his cash records and expenses. These were immensely helpful in putting his life together and understanding where he was when and why. The Social Security Act was passed in 1935. It went into effect and the cards were issued in 1937. Uncle Sonny's date of issue was 1/5/1937. He wasted no time at anything.
He kept a record of his weight in a ledger from 1938 until 1940. He started at 142 pounds in 1938 and was 164 by May of 1940. His drivers license listed him as being 6'4" in 1936.
Uncle Sonny was a devout Christian man. He lived his faith and no one could doubt it. He had been a member of the North Fort Worth Baptist Church for 56 years. He was the elevator operator for many years at the old location on Circle Park. Blvd. He read his Bible faithfully and when his mother passed away, he picked up where she left off and finished it for her. He then marked her Bible for her that he had finished it. He inspired many with his life, and was loved by many.
Death and Burial
Uncle Sonny had a stroke and went back to the hospital, all 6'4" of him. His size made it difficult for any one person to care for him, so it was decided he would go to a nursing home. Uncle Sonny thought a nursing home is where you go to die and he was very despondent that he would have to go there, so much so that he would not speak to anyone. After he was released from the hospital, he was taken to the nursing home. Lorene worked at the hospital and went to his room the morning of his release. He wouldn't talk to her as he was getting ready. June went with them to the nursing home. They ordered lunch and ate with Uncle Sonny. There was not a TV. in the room and Olivia left to rent one. While she was gone, the attendants were putting him in bed. There was something wrong with it and it broke and fell. Uncle Sonny didn't fall to the floor but the bed fell. They took two beds and put them together and were putting him on the other bed when he went into Cardiac Arrest. They performed C. P. R. and called an ambulance. June rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital. They put her in the family room, and called for her sister, Lorene, who was working in Nuclear Medicine. Lorene walked in and saying, "June, what happened?" and June explained. He had only been at the nursing home about two hours. June and Lorene stayed at the hospital all night Friday and Saturday. Sue and Latova stayed Saturday night. I had gone to see him and had trimmed his bed rail in yellow ribbons in hopes that he would see it and know... we all loved him. It was 4:00 Sunday morning when the hospital personnel woke Sue and Latova and told him that he had died. I think, as June said.."There wasn't a better man living anywhere. I think he was that good. Tell me another man in this day and time that sacrificed his entire life for his mother." I also believe that Uncle Sonny couldn't adjust to being the dependent one after being such a devoted son and provider. It was in his mind and heart that he re-join his mother thus giving way to the unborn, new life.... to give them better opportunities. Uncle Sonny was buried Tuesday, March 15, 1983 by his mother's side at Greenwood Cemetery, 3100 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth, Tex., Lot K-3. Uncle Sonny's death touched many. Selfish as I am, I wish he would have fought for life but I'm happy to share my memories of him with Sean (my son) and someday my grandchildren.
[This biography is taken from the "Family Profile" that Wanda wrote for the Family Newsletter in 1991 and additions made due to new information after the newsletter. Where the first person is used, it is referring to her]
My favorite photo - he was being goofy!