Thursday, May 18, 2017


1. Juan Trinidad Johnson, Jr. - May 1, 1935 Jim Wells County, Texas
Lydia Martinez
Juan Trinidad Johnson, III
Maria Johnson
Lydia Johnson
Mario Johnson 

2. Juan Trinidad Johnson, Sr. - September 6, 1903 Texas - February 14, 1972 Premont, Jim Wells County, Texas  buried in the Premont Cemetery
m. July 13, 1934 Jim Wells County, Texas
Julia Pena - April 15, 1910 Texas - October 23, 1993 Tarrant County, Texas
Juan Trinidad Johnson
Maria Marta Johnson
Maria Elva Johnson
Tomas Rene Johnson
Abelardo Johnson
Donato Johnson
Albeso Johnson
Enamencio Johnson
Gilberto Johnson

3. Enemencio Johnson - October 31, 1862 Nuevo Leon, Mexico - June 30, 1946 Premont, Jim Wells County, Texas  buried in the Premont Cemetery
m. 1888
Marta Rodriquez 1869 Texas
Paula Johnson
Amanda Johnson
Juanita Johnson
Enrique Johnson
Maria Johnson
Ana Johnson
Enemencio Johnson
Rosa Johnson
Juan Trinidad Johnson
Elena Johnson
Jose M Johnson

4. Pablo Johnson 1820
Februnia Salinas 1840
Ramon Johnson
Rita Johnson
Enemencio Johnson
Merced Johnson
Juanita Johnson

sister-in-law's ex-husband's family

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Review of "Imperial Reckoning" by Caroline Elkins

Imperial Reckoning
            Caroline Elkins is a professor of history and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya is a sober recounting of Britain’s attempt at imperialism in Kenya. Not just a British-version of colonialism in Kenya, what sets this book apart from accepted histories of colonialism in Kenya is Elkins’ attention to the Kikuyu version of Mau Mau.
Imperial Reckoning presents the Mau Mau rebellion from the point of view of the Kikuyu and explores the atrocities they faced during the uprising. The Mau Mau rebellion is normally presented as a brutal and savage perpetrated by the Kikuyu. The Kikuyu did commit their share of violent crimes on British colonials living in Kenya. This, coupled with their refusal to disavow Mau Mau oaths while under detainment have been used as evidence of Kikuyu savagery. However, Elkins asks readers to reconsider this assumption and examine evidence against the numerous atrocities committed by colonial forces.
            Elkins lays the foundation for the uprising by examining land in Kenya. For the Kikuyu, land was fundamental to being Kikuyu (14). Given the British’s imperial habits in other parts of the world, land was fundamental to empire. In Kenya, the British saw an African population for labor, and land that would meet their needs for imperialism (15). Elkins explains the social hierarchy that emerged in Kenya: landed British colonialists at the top, African tribal chiefs somewhere in the middle, and landless African laborers at the bottom. The Kikuyu had previously been a stateless society, governed by councils of elders and lineage heads (18). The Kikuyu had previously used the land to meet their needs without restriction. Elkins argues that the colonization of Kenya took place to exploit the country’s natural resources and labor (55). In time, the Kikuyu, under the influence of London-educated Kenyan native Jomo Kenyattta, would foment a rebellion known as Mau Mau.  
As the rebellion unfolded, the governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring, and colonial official Thomas Askwith devised methods of detainment and rehabilitation to quell Mau Mau. Elkins lists many administrative and governmental measures taken to punish the Kikuyu: repressive laws, taxation, imprisonment, legal floggings, and terror. For Baring’s part, his State of Emergency produced communal punishment, curfews, control of mass and individual movements of people, confiscation of land and property, censorship and banning of publications, disbanding of all African political organizations, control of labor, suspension of due process, and detention without trial.
Straying from the traditional argument that the Kikuyu were the brutal party, Elkins describes the manners in which Mau Mau suspects were subjected to upon intake and detention. During the initial screening process, suspects would be interrogated in order to elicit information and confess Mau Mau affiliations (63). There were two outcomes for the Kikuyu after this screening process. The first would be deportation to Kikuyu reserves, which was territory set aside especially for the Kikuyu people, but land that could not agriculturally sustain the enormous numbers of Kikuyu sent there. The second outcome of screening was deportation to a detention camp. These camps were used for the Kikuyu who refused to confess Mau Mau oaths or affiliations.
It is generally at this part of Imperial Reckoning where Elkins upholds her thesis and begins her assault on the “paternalism” of the British in Kenya. She begins to explain in severe detail the conditions in the Kikuyu reserves and detention camps. Kikuyu would be subjected to extreme humiliation upon arrival at detention camps. Strip searches, sanitation dips, and brutal beatings greeted the Kikuyu (134). In addition, the British supposed Africans had lower health and sanitation standards, permitting disease to run rampant (143). Several compounds held the designation as the place where “hard core” Kikuyu would be sent. There, Kikuyu were met with intense pain and degradation as the foundation of camp life (156). The vituperation experienced by detainees is incredibly unimaginable.
            I think Elkins provides an interesting and normally silent account of life in the detention camps of Kenya. Despite the terror of camp life, the detainees created their own social world and rules to survive their detention. Survival and resistance strategies abounded. For instance, in order to speak without subjecting themselves to beatings, some Kikuyu would feign mental illness and pretend to speak to the wall or yell incoherently. It was only the Kikuyu who could understand, thus undermining the constant control they were normally subjected to while in the cruelty camps.
            Elkins examines the rehabilitation methods as put forth by Askwith. Under Askwith’s rehabilitation plan, detainees would be offered domestic and agricultural classes, education, and other skills that would ease assimilation into British society. After intense research, Elkins was able to find little if any evidence of rehabilitation taking place in detention camps. When British officials were questioned about the rehabilitation process, they would either lie or completely fabricate rehabilitation measures. I think that it is in the realm of rehabilitation measures that the British erringly regard their imperialist actions as to the benefit of Kikuyu society. However, from the Kikuyu point of view rehabilitation was non-existent.
            As detention camps came to represent unimaginable repression and brutality for the Kikuyu, Governor Baring instituted a new policy of villagization. The goal of villagization was to contain, control, and discipline Mau Mau women (240). British colonialists considered Kikuyu women the foundation of Africa. Women faced forced communal labor, public terror, torture, and malnutrition. Many women also had the responsibility of caring for and providing for children. Elkins describes villagization as detention camps in all but name. These villages were surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Villagization served to disrupt the supply line between women and the remaining forest fighters, thus helping to root out Mau Mau (250).
            The most brutal detention camps were reserved for hard-core male Mau Mau suspects. These men experienced a form of violent and systematic brutality officially sanctioned by Governor Baring (328). Under the tutelage of district officer Terrance Gavaghan, Kikuyu men were under a perpetual atmosphere of fear and uncertainty that intended to break them of their Mau Mau support (244). Gavaghan’s compound, Mwea, was the site of indescribable sexual and physical abuse, public torture, and violence. After reading Imperial Reckoning, it is hard to imagine any other perspective of Mau Mau that could be believably brought forth other than inhumane violence. Elkins convincingly argues and provides evidence that British colonial leaders repeatedly “obfuscated the facts, skirted the issues, and lied” about the procedures taking place in detention camps (332). 
            Interestingly, Elkins points to Jomo Kenyatta as being implicitly complicit in the cover up of British brutality in Kenya. Kenyatta refused to speak of the past horrors that Mau Mau suspects survived. Elkins argues that Kenyatta sacrificed the past Kenya for the future Kenya. Mau Mau men, women, and children have never been memorialized. No African loyalist or British official was prosecuted (360).
            Part of what makes Imperial Reckoning so clarifying for history, is Elkins’ use of sources to formulate and construct her narrative. Not satisfied with the limited British sources, Elkins conducted oral testimonies of not just Kikuyu who lived through the Mau Mau rebellion, but also the interviews of British officials complicit in the adherence to colonial policy in response to the uprising (374). Elkins admittedly struggled with the believability of the Mau Mau suspects’ harrowing ordeals in camps and on the reserves. However, she was struck with the consistency of oral testimonies over time and space. Elkins was also able to corroborate the oral data with what little did survive in the written record after the British denial and cover-up.  
            British imperialism operated under a cloak of protective civilization. I think this book, better than any other this semester, demonstrates how the British continually justified imperialism by holding on to paternalism. The British believed they had a duty and moral obligation to redeem the heathens of the world (5). Elkins found little evidence of the British in Kenya as paternalistic reformers. Imperial Reckoning serves as evidence of the British’s brutality. The author’s investigative skills are impressive. Despite the British’s attempts to cover-up notorious atrocities, Elkins presents a view from the Kikuyu side. In the end, the British won the long, hard war against Mau Mau, but lost the war for Kenya (353).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Edna Davis Fairley

birth: June 1883
location: Texas

father: James Anderson Monroe Davis
mother: Malissa Jane Castellaw

spouse: Cornelius Ethel Fairley

1900 census

1910 census

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census


children with Cornelius Ethel Fairley:

H C Fairley - 1903

C E Fairley - 1910 census

1910 census
location: Scurry County, Texas
date: April 20, 1910

C E Fairley  head  male  white  32  married - 10 years  Texas  farm labor
E P Fairley  wife  female  white  26  married - 10 years  3, 3  Texas
H L Fairley  son  male  white  9  single  Texas
H C Fairley  son  male  white  7  single  Texas
U M Fairley  son  male  white  4  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), E P Fairley in household of C E Fairley, Justice Precinct 3, Scurry, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 234, sheet 5A, family 80, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1588; FHL microfilm 1,375,601.

C E Fairley - 1920 census

1920 census
location: Kern County, California
date: February 4, 1920

C E Fairley  head  male  white  41  married  Texas  machinist  oil company
Edna Fairley  wife  female  white  36  married  Texas
Herbert L Fairley  son  male  white  19  single  Texas
Houston Fairley  son  male  white  17  single  Texas
Uel Fairley  son  male  white  14  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Edna Fairley in household of C E Fairley, Township 16, Kern, California, United States; citing ED 112, sheet 53A, line 5, family 489, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 100; FHL microfilm 1,820,100.

C E Fairley - 1930 census

1930 census
location: Los Angeles, Long Beach County, California
date: April 16, 1930

C E Fairley  head  male  white  53  married  Texas  oil field
Edna Fairley  wife  female  white  46  married  Texas
Dr. H C Fairley  son  male  white  27  single  Texas  dentist

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Edna Fairley in household of C E Fairley, Long Beach, Los Angeles, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1131, sheet 23A, line 22, family 691, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 130; FHL microfilm 2,339,865.

Felix Davis - 1920 census

1920 census
location: Pleasanton, Atascosa County, Texas
date: February 4-5, 1920

Felix M Davis  head  male  white  41  married  Texas  tank labor
Nellie Davis  wife  female  white  39  married  Texas
Percy H Davis  son  male  white  17  single  Texas
Leon E Davis  daughter  female  white  14  single  Texas
Graham Davis  son  male  white  11  single  Texas
Warren D Davis  son  male  white  9  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Felix M Davis, Pleasanton, Atascosa, Texas, United States; citing ED 11, sheet 13B, line 77, family 48, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1773; FHL microfilm 1,821,773.

Felix Monroe Davis - death

location: Pleasanton, Atascosa County, Texas
date: December 8, 1948

"Texas Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 December 2014), Felix Monroe Davis, 08 Dec 1948; citing certificate number 50266, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,223,077.

Felix Davis - 1930 census

1930 census
location: North Pleasanton, Atascosa County, Texas

Felix Davis  head  male  white  51  married  age @ 1st marriage 20  Texas
Nellie Davis  wife  female  white  50  married  age @ 1st marriage 19  Texas
Grayum Davis  son  male  white  22  single  Texas
Warren Davis  son  male  white  20  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Nellie Davis in household of Felix Davis, North Pleasanton, Atascosa, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 12, sheet 2A, line 35, family 36, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2288; FHL microfilm 2,342,022.

F M Davis - 1940 census

1940 census
location: Atascosa County, Texas
date: April 8, 1940

F M Davis  head  male  white  60  married  Texas  car inspector for railroad
Nellie Davis  wife  female  white  58  married  Texas
Davis Davis  son  male  white  20  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Nellie Davis in household of F M Davis, North Pleasanton, Justice Precinct 8, Atascosa, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 7-12, sheet 4B, line 71, family 69, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3979.

Felix Monroe Davis

birth: May 12, 1878
location: Athens, Henderson County, Texas

father: James Anderson Monroe Davis
mother: Malissa Jane Castellaw

spouse: Nellie Martin

1880 census

1910 census

World War I draft card

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census



children with Nellie Martin:

Oliver Davis - 1902
Hubert Percy Davis - 1903
Leon E Davis - 1906
Grayum Davis - 1909
Warren David Davis - 1911

Monroe Davis - 1910 census

1910 census
location: Live Oak County, Texas
date: April 25, 1910

Monroe F Davis  head  male  white  31  married - 10 years  Texas
Nellie Davis  wife  female  white  29  married - 10 years  4, 4  Texas
Oliver Davis  son  male  white  9  single  Texas
Percy Davis  son  male  white  8  single  Texas
Leon Davis  daughter  female  white  5  single  Texas
Grayum Davis  son  male  white  2  single  Texas
James Davis  father  male  white  77  widowed  Georgia

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Nellie Davis in household of Monroe F Davis, Justice Precinct 1, Live Oak, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 93, sheet 5B, family 82, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1574; FHL microfilm 1,375,587.

Margaret Amanda Davis

birth: May 1876
location: Texas

father: James Anderson Monroe Davis
mother: Malissa Jane Castellaw

spouse: Charles Madison Kelly

1880 census

1900 census

1910 census

1920 census

1930 census

children with Charles Kelly:

Eva Kelly - 1894
Elizabeth Jane Kelly - 1896
Charles B Kelly - 1898
Ida Kelly - 1901
Warren Kelly - 1903
Melba Kelly - 1906
Wallace Kelly - 1908

Charles Kelly - 1930 census

1930 census
location: Bailey County, Texas
date: April 2, 1930

Charles M Kelly  head  male  white  69  married  age @ 1st marriage - 23  Missouri
Maggie Kelly  wife  female  white  53  married  age @ 1st marriage - 17  Texas

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Charles M Kelly, Precinct 2, Bailey, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 3, sheet 1A, line 33, family 11, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2289; FHL microfilm 2,342,023.

Charles Kelly - 1920 census

1920 census
location: Sylvester, Fisher County, Texas
date: March 12-13, 1920

Charlie M Kelly  head  male  white  58  married  Missouri
Maggie Kelly  wife  female  white  49  married  Texas
Warren Kelly  son  male  white  16  single  Texas
Melba Kelly  daughter  female  white  13  single  Texas
Wallace Kelly  son  male  white  10  single  Texas
Henry Williams  hired man  male  black  widowed  Louisiana

"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Wallace Kelly in household of Charlie M Kelly, Sylvester, Fisher, Texas, United States; citing ED 77, sheet 9B, line 59, family 176, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1796; FHL microfilm 1,821,796.

Charles Kelly - 1910 census

1910 census
location: Midland County, Texas
date: April 26-26, 1910

Charles Kelley  head  male  white  49  married - 16 years  Missouri
Maggie Kelley  wife  female  white  34  married - 16 years  7, 7  Texas
Eva Kelley  daughter  female  white  16  single  Texas
Bettie Kelley  daughter  female  white  14  single  Texas
Charles Kelley  son  male  white  12  single  Texas
Ida Kelley  daughter  female  white  9  single  Texas
Warren Kelley  son  male  white  7  single  Texas
Melba Kelley  daughter  female  white  4  single  Texas
Wallace Kelley  son  male  white  1 4/12  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Eva Kelley in household of Charls Kelley, Justice Precinct 1, Midland, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 163, sheet 6A, family 83, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1576; FHL microfilm 1,375,589.

Charles Madison Kelly - 1900 census

1900 census
location: Scurry County, Texas
date: June 16, 1900

C M Kelley  head  white  male  Jan 1862  38  married - 7 years  Missouri
Maggie Kelley  wife  white  female  May 1876  24  married - 7 years  3, 3  Texas
Eva Kelley  daughter  white  female  Feb 1894  6  single  Texas
Bettie Kelley  daughter  white  female  March 1896  4  single  Texas
Charles Kelley  son  white  male  June 1898  2  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 April 2017), Maggie Kelley in household of C M Kelley, Justice Precincts 3-5, Scurry, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 135, sheet 11B, family 196, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,668.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spies in Arabia - Review

Spies in Arabia
Priya Satia, writes Spies in Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain’s Covert Empire in the Middle East to examine the establishment of the pre-war intelligence community in the Middle East and the eventual establishment of Britain’s covert empire following World War I. Of particular focus is the cultural characteristics of Edwardian intelligence agents and Britain’s use of air control in Arabia. Satia greatly contributes to the scholarship of British occupation in Arabia, and Spies in Arabia is a lively and interesting work.
            Satia begins by answering the question of why Arabia was important to the British. The region provided a land route to India where the British ruled indirectly as we read in Ideologies of the Raj by Thomas R. Metcalf (3). Arabia also provided a place for heroic action, which took the form of intelligence gathering. This beginning is important for our purposes because we can better understand why the British desired a presence in Arabia and how they overcame obstacles there. The British relied on intelligence agents for information from the interior of a land shrouded in mystique. Due to a weakened military force in South Africa, the rise of German power and imperial ambition, and political rumblings inside the Ottoman Empire, it became ever more important for the British to improve intelligence gathering methods in the Middle East (15).
            The cultural world of British agents proved the most interesting for me to read. Satia argues that upper-class British citizens with an eye towards literary careers found in Arabia a place to exploit their dreams (61). The agents sought a respite from political changes happening in Britain. In short, Arabia provided redemption from industrial, social, and political life in Edwardian Britain (72).  Satia argues that British agents’ fascination with Arabia shaped information gathering. “Interest in Arabia flooded Edwardian society just as that society had begun to steep itself in metaphysical enquiry” (96). In general, the British considered Arabia as a land of myth, mystique, and wreathed in an atmosphere of unreality (91). No other region had a biblical past quite like Arabia and Satia surmises that that past added a sense of otherness and mystical aura (84). Desert travel was travel back in time that required the agents to be healthy and not dependent on the trappings of everyday Edwardian society. Gertrude Bell believed that minimalism in the desert was ideal for spiritual and aesthetic redemption (92). Most agents argued for immersive travel through the Middle East to gather greater insight into the area. They were profoundly interested in the deepest secrets of creation while at the same time gathering information on politically- and militarily-useful information (97). It is understandable that the romantic years of the war and post-war offered opportunities for intelligence gatherers to fulfill dreams of adventure and storybook ardor (80). Arabia was the natural choice for adventure-seeking intelligence agents.
            In laying the groundwork for a covert empire, Satia explains the challenges the British intelligence agents had as they attempted to “Orientalize” themselves while collecting information. Despite adopting styles, habits, and mannerisms of Middle Eastern peoples, they experienced quite a bit of trouble in their endeavors. British agents characterized the Middle Eastern people as never telling the truth, estimating, or otherwise being coy. Natives were also known to mix fact with mysticism. For example, in a report submitted as intelligence by Mark Sykes, he relayed a mythical story as told by a sheikh in response to an inquiry about agricultural activities in the area. The sheikh went on to tell a story about two owls falling in love and the issues they encountered. Sykes made use of the story because it was generally believed by the agents that even the most outlandish recounting contained some truth or useful information (100). This is just one example of many that Satia uses to clarify for readers the difficulty agents faced. They were left to their own devices to translate what they had gathered into useful information. In addition, it is clear from Satia’s chapter about the cultural world of the agents that they used the intelligence gathered as an outlet to hone their literary skills.
            If the agents had trouble gathering information, Satia describes how perhaps the environment itself gave them more trouble. The British agents had never before encountered a region as filled with mysticism and history as they did in Arabia. Arabia was a land wreathed in an atmosphere of unreality. Not only did the British have trouble surveying the area, for a time they thought it an impossibility. Agents described the land as infinite, immeasurable, interminable, and featureless. How could the British map a country that was constantly blown into a new form every day? The Royal Geographical Society admitted that Arabia was almost wholly without survey in any scientific sense (105).  I think Satia’s treatment of how the British reacted to the land of imprecise borders, mirage, and myth is her greatest gift to Britain’s history in Arabia.
            Satia expertly weaves together the difficulties experienced by the agents in gathering useful information and the trouble the agents experienced with the environment. The author makes it seem like air control was a foregone conclusion in the attempts of colonialism by the British in Arabia. Surveillance practices and methods of coercion became dependent on air control; this turned Arabia into an arm of the British Empire but without outright British occupation.
Given the fact-finding issues with native Middle Easterners and the challenges of desert life and travel, I think Satia presents a convincing argument that the British were faced with more challenges in Arabia than either India, Africa, or China. T.E. Lawrence is credited with being the first to realize the need for aerial control over the region. Satia expertly sets up the need for aerial surveys. By utilizing aircraft, agents were able to extract truth from an essentially deceptive land (159). Air control allowed easier communication between tribes and agents. The Royal Air Force was able to aerially patrol Arabia from a network of bases and coordinate information from agents on the ground in order to bombard subversive or corrupt villages and tribes (240). Air control meant control without occupation and a secret, covert empire.
Agents on the ground in Iraq believed that country was especially suited to aerial surveillance. Given the nature of the environment in Iraq, there were many landing zones, little cover to insurgents, and the British were able to make use of far-flung bases allowed the British to radiate power throughout the country. The British justified air control by believing that air control was chivalrous warfare (242).
Overall what Satia is able to prove, is that although the British began with knowledge gathering in mind, their quest evolved into a struggle for power in Arabia. “The quest for knowledge became entangled with a quest for power” (137). To gather knowledge, the agents simply needed to immerse themselves in Middle Eastern culture and landscape (138). As the war ended and the use of air control increased, the quest for power manifest itself in the covert empire. Air control was used because the more overt colonial rule was a political impossibility (262). The only way the British could keep their hand in Middle Eastern matters was to rule aerially, and thus, covertly. Satia ties this to today’s events in the Middle East where it’s more economically and politically acceptable to control from the air (think: the bombs recently dropped in Syria) than “boots on the ground.”
Generally, I liked this thematically organized book. The reader’s initial impression may be of a haphazard and overwhelming organization, but as one reads the chapters Spies in Arabia becomes easier to comprehend. This book is not for the common reader, nor someone with no prior knowledge of British Imperialism in the Middle East. Satia gives few hints on what an Edwardian character was, nor does she clarify the cultural or political differences between a consul, intelligence gatherer, or agent.
I think there was one aspect missing from the work, and that is the tie between aerial control and wireless technology. One could not have been very useful to the British without the other. While Satia does write that ground agents did not become indispensible with the rise of air control, she never actually examines why.

Finally, the similarities between the problems encountered with mapping the area during the British colonial project in Arabia call to mind Google’s general problem in the same area. If you pull up Google Street View, “Arabia” is a blank map, especially when compared to other parts of the world. Although the reasons why are different, even today the region still maintains an aura of mystery. Today’s society has the benefit of high-technology satellites, drones, GPS, and imagery mapping, but “Arabia” is still shrouded in mystery on one of the Internet’s greatest travel tools.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Catherine Smith loose ends

Name:Andrew SmithAge:48Birth Year:abt 1802Birthplace:South CarolinaHome in 1850:Division 11, Carroll, Georgia, USAGender:MaleFamily Number:416Household Members:
Andrew Smith48
Nancy Smith53
Margaret Smith18
Sarah Smith16
Martha Smith14
Nancy Smith13
Catharine Smith10
Stephen Smith6

Name:A Smith
Birth Year:abt 1810
Birth Place:South Carolina
Home in 1860:Beat 2, Cass, Texas
Post Office:Hickory Hill
Family Number:248
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
A Smith50
A Smith63
S Smith30
C Smith20
J A S Smith18

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review of: Ideologies of the Raj by Thomas R. Metcalf

As Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, Thomas R. Metcalf specializes in South Asian History. His 1995 work, Ideologies of the Raj, is included within the volumes of The New Cambridge History of India. Ideologies of the Raj seeks to investigate how the British aimed to justify their rule over India and its subjects. Metcalf’s volume is a useful summary (especially after reading the works of Bernard Cohn and Nicholas B. Dirks) covering many aspects of British India. Metcalf focuses on two areas in his study of British rule in India: the similarities and differences in Britain and India as seen by the British.
            Metcalf argues that the British used ideologies to convince themselves of their right to govern India. The similarities and differences between the Britain’s self-perceptions and India’s characteristics as a nation, including India’s supposed despotism, the cultures of dress and gender, and India’s caste-based social hierarchy system versus the feudalism in which Britain was familiar, all gave Britain plenty of examples to use the growth of empire and their conviction of Britishness to rule India. The differences became the enduring legacy.
Cohn and Metcalf differed in the ways in which they clarify how the British ordered society. For Cohn, codifying knowledge was how the British were able to order and justify rule in India. Metcalf uses the dual strategy of similarities and differences. While I think there is truth to both author’s points, Cohn’s makes the most sense for me. The British would not be able to order society based on similarities or differences if they did not first understand that there were similarities and differences in the first place. The British had to first gain the knowledge before they could structure the results, the results being similarities and differences. In addition, Metcalf almost completely skirts the topic of language, but one could read Cohn’s work to gain a better understanding of how the British identified, regarded and codified Sanskrit and other native dialects of the Indian subcontinent.
When comparing Dirks and Metcalf, I think their arguments fall closer together than Metcalf and Cohn’s positions. Whereas Dirks argues that the transformation of Indians into victims by Burke laid the foundation for a civilizing mission as justification for empire, Metcalf answers that the justification of empire was difference between the societies of Britain and India. With Dirks’ focus on the Indian victim in the Hastings trial, he makes the Indians appear inferior and badly governed. Metcalf’s basic argument is that the British saw the Indians as inferior and different, and were thus available for governance.
One way Metcalf demonstrates the difference sought by the British over the Indians his the treatment of the climate in India. The British believed that the tropical climate of India produced natives who were ineffectual and submissive (8). Hot humid temperatures produced natives who would rather lounge about than engage in strenuous activity. “Heat and humidity were seen as conspiring to subvert manliness, resolve, and courage.” Even the Indian diet of rice contributed to the view of climate’s responsibility regarding effeminacy because rice required little effort to grow (105). However, the climatic explanation of difference expired the longer the British took up residence in India. The climate argument allows Metcalf to demonstrate how the British purported a difference, but the same argument also points out how the British changed differences to suit their justification of empire. Metcalf uses the example of climate to show how British men, who were considered powerful and masculine, contrasted to Indian men, who were viewed as diminutive, weak, and effeminate.
One of Metcalf’s strongest points is his indication of similarity between past Britain and present India. Practically the only time the British considered themselves similar was between the past and present. India’s villages and communal tenures reminded the English of a familiar form of their own feudalism (71). India’s “ancient institutions” gave the British a way to order society and make Indian society subservient to the needs of the Raj (81). Metcalf does argue, though, that Indian feudalism as a social order based on the ties of blood and kinship were fundamentally different from any form of feudalism observed in Europe (74). This shows that the British did not need much encouragement to find similarities.
English self-perceptions made it very difficult to accommodate similarities of gender in India. Ideologies of the Raj employs gender differences between English women and Indian women to explain how the British attempted to justify their rule in India. English women projected the appearance of purity and domesticity, while Indian women were viewed as prostitutes. Moral reformers in Britain fought for the rights of all Englishwomen, prostitutes included, but the same was not true in India. Metcalf argues that the only concern for females in India was to maintain the appearance of purity in the behavior of British women. In a great example of double standard, the British did encourage the prostitution of Indian women in order to downplay the possible appearance of homosexuality in British men (113). Metcalf uses this point to demonstrate how the British used a distinct difference to justify their rule in India.
Concerning men, Metcalf explains the comparison between the effeminacy of Indian men and the masculinity of British men. Bengali men’s baggy clothing was quickly viewed as similar to that of women’s dresses. Combined with the Indian devotion to female deities, the British had confirmation that India was a land ruled by women or womanly men (105). The British considered India a land of degraded women and effeminate men.
I think Metcalf’s strongest argument is his treatment of the Aryan racial theory. Using this theme, Metcalf succinctly shows how the British used similarities and differences when it served themselves best. The British saw what they wanted to see.
The Aryan racial theory involves the belief that British and Indian peoples originated from a common peoples in southern Russia. Language was not connected to race, but German scholars found perceived similarities between Sanskrit and most European languages. The Aryans were supposed to have spread out and conquered Europe and the Indian subcontinent (82). This view suited the British for a time, until several difficulties came up. On problem the British finally had to come to terms with was the issue of heredity: if the Indians and the British descended from the same people, how could the Indian be marked as inferior to the British? The British skirted this issue by claiming that those Aryans who traveled south to India intermingled with an aboriginal people living there, thereby losing their purity of race (83).
            Wholly missing from Ideologies of the Raj (and maybe from South Asian studies in general) is any discussion on how the Indians viewed themselves as similar or different to the English. I think the Indian viewpoint would contribute a great deal to illuminating the history of British imperialism in India. How did the Indians contribute to imperial ideology? Certainly the Indians could not have simply viewed the British as reformers of morality.
            If Metcalf’s purpose is to present the most important findings of the justification of British rule in India then he overwhelmingly succeeds. Metcalf presents the big picture ideas in India and it is much easier to read than the previous works, particularly The Scandal of Empire by Dirks. Exposing the similarities and differences as viewed by the English shows how the British set out to turn Indians into Englishmen. The British were able to completely transform Indian culture and society.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Scandal of Empire

Nicholas B. Dirks, author of The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain, is a prominent scholar of British India. He writes on the impact of British colonial rule on the Indian subcontinent. Dirks studied under Bernard Cohn, and in-line with Cohn, publishes works of history and anthropology. Dirks also published Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, which delves into the establishment and institutionalization of the caste system on the Indian subcontinent. In Castes of Mind, Dirks argues that the caste system is a product of the encounter between India and British colonial rule, and that the caste system effectively organized Indian society while creating a cultural identity.
The Scandal of Empire seeks to explain how well known scandals of the East India Company in the eighteenth century were either overlooked or incorporated within the larger and more compelling imperial narrative of a land that laid itself bare for the British to conquer. Dirks maintains that scandals are the foundation for the creation of British imperialism, and that scandals led to “modern understandings of corruption, sovereignty, public virtue, market economy, bureaucratic state, history, and tradition” (5). Based on these nine themes, Dirks organizes his book accordingly. The first three chapters chronologically build up to the Warren Hastings impeachment trial and Dirks arranges each of the other six chapters around a single thematic concept. While the opening chapters flow in a chronological manner, the remaining chapters bounce around and seem jumbled in their organization. I think The Scandal of Empire would have flowed better and read less repetitious if all chapters followed a chronological arrangement.  
The Scandal of Empire is informative about the origins of British corruption in India. Dirks argues that the right to private trade by East India Company officials is the “alleged scourge of Company integrity and managerial probity” (37). When Mughal authorities granted the right of trading privileges to the Company for private purposes, the Company servants accumulated great fortunes. The Company grew in domestic importance and influence in Parliament increased. This allowed Company servants in India to, essentially, “pay off” the Crown with the spoils of India.
As evidence of the profitability of corruption in British India Dirks turns to Robert Clive. The son of lower-level gentry in Britain, Clive went to India at age seventeen to augment his family’s social and financial position. He earned the distinction of valor on the battlefield at the Battle of Plassey and eventually rose to a position of high rank in the Mughal court. There Clive accepted land grants, secured plunder, captured military spoils, and accepted gifts. When detractors in England soffed at his growing fortune Clive argued on behalf of himself that it was acceptable to receive gifts voluntarily given for genuine purposes and posed no harm to the Company or England (44).
I think Dirks is correct to affirm that private trade in India by British officials marked the beginning of corruption for the British Empire. As long as the Crown received revenues, a blind-eye would, for a time, be turned from the enrichment of British officials in India. The rights of private trade and the implications of the Hastings scandal that would follow launched the British Empire into the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Without these scandals, it is possible to argue that the empire would not have emerged as so dominant a force (31).
Dirks focuses much attention to the build-up and eventual impeachment trial of Warren Hastings. Following Clive’s example, Hastings served as governor-general of Bengal and took in presents and gifts that amassed his great wealth. Hastings role in the judicial murder of an Indian maharaja, Nandakumar, would also be brought to light at trial. Edmund Burke, who had served on secret and select committees to investigate “the capricious abuse of British power and position” (89-90) of British India, spearheaded the impeachment trial. The ferocity of Burke’s pursuit of impeachment of Hastings is interesting, and Dirks hints at the reasoning behind the vehement pursuit. This aspect was most interesting for me and a slant that I believe Dirks could have explored further. Dirks mentions that Hastings was much less corrupt than either of his two predecessors, Clive and Paul Benfield, but Burke still pursued Hastings for over seven years. That Edmund Burke’s brother, William, had previously been injured in a duel with Hastings probably had a great deal to do with Burke’s impassioned quest to impeach Hastings.
The impeachment trial of Hastings did bring to light many instances of imperial abuse, but the trial failed to reform British activities in India. Dirks convincingly argues that the Raj that emerged after the Hastings trial was largely implementations of measures “of which Hastings had been the primary architect” (237). “The trial produced conditions not just for empire’s success, but also for its transformation into a patriotic enterprise” (125). Hastings’s reputation was ruined and he complained that the seven-year-long trial sent him into bankruptcy. Lord Cornwallis replaced Hastings as governor-general and it was Cornwallis who would be seen as the savior of India.
Dirks addresses an important topic regarding sovereignty in British India. Initially the Company was a mercantile company with an eastern monopoly guarantee by Parliament (13). Eventually, through the Company, India had become a rogue state and the precise nature of sovereignty was unclear. Dirks is able to explain the transition to a rogue state, and this is most interesting to me. The Company was engaged in almost constant warfare against the French and native Indians. The 1765 Bengali Diwani transferred the right of revenue to be collected directly from Bengali landowners, in what Dirks terms part of a massive bribe to Parliament to maintain the Company’s eastern monopoly (14). Company officials used bribery to propagate sovereign rights over conquered territories. 
The East India Company came to be in possession of India, economically, politically, and financially. The Company had several expanding characteristics that make clear the true sovereign status, including waging war, peacemaking, tax assessment, coin minting, and the administration of justice (168). Dirks is able to convince readers that the Company was a “fully functioning state that was sovereign and autonomous,” in essence, an independent entity (169). Dirks quotes Clive concisely summarizing the Company’s position in India, “We can never be less without ceasing to be at all” (174).     
Another interesting aspect of The Scandal of Empire is how Dirks ties together the British imperial project with modern-day American occupation in the Middle East. He compares the way the British sought to justify their own imperial project by saving Indians from their sins to the way in which “the United States has more recently represented its primary role in Afghanistan as the liberation of women from the oppression of the fundamentalist Taliban and the protection of all Afghanis from the ruthless warlords who controlled the highways and trading routes of the region” (310). If Dirks’s claim that empire is built with scandal, then the scandals in British India should serve the United States as a warning of the effects of empire.
In line with the title, The Scandal of Empire, I would have liked to read more about individual scandals faced on the Indian subcontinent. Dirks framed the book around the Hastings impeachment trial, but more comment could have been given to the “Black Hole” of Calcutta or the “Sepoy Mutiny.” The Hastings trial captivated Britain and created a spectacle, especially when speeches and descriptions centered on the most harrowing, most horrific, and most inhuman treatments were brought to light. The “Black Hole of Calcutta and the “Sepoy Mutiny” would have been perfect examples in which to examine the macabre. The veracity of the “Black Hole” of Calcutta event has been called into question, but I think Dirks could have spent more time calling to question the eyewitness account and verification of the supposed event.   
One significant way The Scandal of Empire to Cohn’s work, Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge concerns codification of language. Cohn highlights the role of codification in imperial expansion and rule, and according to Dirks, would have found a comrade in Warren Hastings. Hastings “inaugurated the British colonial interest in codification” of the Indian legal system (232). At his impeachment trial, Hastings made special effort to draw attention to his record in India for his institution of new codes and procedures, and for civil and criminal justice in compliance with Indian constitutional traditions and norms.

Dirks successfully argues that scandals did not cause empire to be abandoned, but instead led to reform so that excesses would be attached nationally to Britain, instead of individually, as was the case with Hastings. He illuminates the scandal surrounding the Hastings impeachment trial and shows how the scandal proved to be the prerequisite for the British restructuring, acquiescence, and institutionalization of empire. In addition, Dirks expertly draws important comparisons to our modern world by noting the American occupation in the Middle East. For me, this historical warning was my biggest take-away. In conjunction with Cohn’s Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge, The Scandal of Empire is essential reading for those interested in British India or imperialism. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Artie Lee Fulgham Alexander

birth: April 16, 1905
location: Texas
death: September 9, 1987
location: Texas

father: Henry Jackson Fulgham
mother: Frances Ellen Morris

spouse: Lee Roy Alexander

1910 census

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census


Lillie Fulgham Stanford

birth: July 11, 1900
location: Texas
death: August 1980
location: Texas

father: Henry Jackson Fulgham
mother: Frances Ellen Morris

spouse: Charles Roy Stanford

1910 census

marriage to Charles Roy Stanford - 1918

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census



children with Charles Roy Stanford:

Charles Earl Stanford - 1919
Lillian Aleene Stanford - 1925
Margie Fay Stanford - 1929