has been written in parts by Beth Terry Murray. She has approved our posting some of them here. They will come in the parts as written. Enjoy.
My Daddy was killed in an accident…
For those of you that might be wondering what type of accident my daddy was killed in, then here is your answer. He had been using a drill earlier in the morning of October 3rd and it flew out of his hand because of a short in it. My daddy was used to being a jack of all trades so at lunch he went to the truck and “fixed” the drill. I can see him in my mind as I had watched him “fix” things many times. I’m sure he wiggled the cord, maybe even found a place where there was wire exposed and used electrical tape to fix it. My guess, not sure about that at all. Anyway, he wanted a color tv which were not cheap back in those days, so he was doing extra odd jobs for different people.
That afternoon he was under a ladies house in Leighton, lying on a piece of tin, which had water under it, whatever the job was he had finished and asked the lady to unplug the drill. As she was going into the house to unplug it, he reached for it, and was electrocuted. His death was instantaneous, and the palm of his hand had been burned where the electricity had entered. Later, probably years later, it occurred to me that this was a man that would not wear a wedding ring because too many electricians had been electrocuted that way. Yet on that day he was lying on a piece of tin, with water underneath, using a drill that had flown out of his hand earlier. Some might say “He had a bad day.”
I would have to say, “It was the day that had been appointed for God to take him home.” That day will come for all of us, I pray each of us will be ready.
A note to all of you that read these posts: they probably were not the most pleasant thing you have ever read, but I did not mean it to be that way. Daddy never felt sorry for himself, he always was very happy go lucky. He attempted to swim across the river one time and almost made it, before giving out. He was always cutting up with someone or pulling a prank on someone, he loved to laugh, and the only time he ever whipped me with a belt I think he cried more than I did. Anytime I was scared at night, I would run across the hall to my mother and daddy’s bed, my mother would tell me to go back to my room, but my daddy who was on the other side would call me over there, hold up the covers and let me lay down with my back to him. He would wrap his long arms around me and whisper in my ear that “everything was all right and he loved me”. He definitely was something special.
In an article on al.com from 2013, another Isbell home was featured. This was the Roberts-Taylor-Isbell home. The article is reprinted below:
Roberts-Taylor-Isbell House ‘just full of history’
The 1854 Roberts-Taylor-Isbell House, the lovely, Greek Revival townhouse on Government Street
near the Broad Street intersection, is one of the main attractions on the Mobile Historic Homes Tour this weekend, and it’s worth the price of admission all by itself. “It’s just full of history,” Roy Isbell said.
The Isbells, who have done a great deal of the work on the house themselves, see their project as a preservation rather than a restoration. The house caught fire in 2009, but wasn’t badly damaged. “The fire is such a small part of the house’s history,” Debbie Isbell said.
Visitors will notice different wallpaper styles in every room, which was very much in style at the time it was decorated. “Every inch of the house was covered in paper,” Roy Isbell said.
To reproduce the original wallpaper in the foyer, Roy and Ray commissioned a stencil, which was copied from the 1890s wallpaper they found under the staircase, then did the walls by hand. The trompe-l’oeil border is also a reproduction from the 1850s.
“It’s not that they couldn’t afford crown molding,” Ray Isbell explained. “Paper was ‘in.’”
When the Isbells bought the house in 1994, it was filled with furniture and memorabilia from the three related families who had occupied it since it was built. The Roberts and Taylors loved to collect things, and the Isbells have set out many treasures for tourgoers to enjoy, from 1930s Shakespeare Club pamphlets in the parlor to the 1875 china in the dining room.
The Isbells have also written a history of the home for the docents to narrate during the tour. A few highlights: Joel Abbot Roberts, a local banker, built the main house in 1854, but the first house on the lot was built circa 1837 by Joel’s father, Dr. Willis Roberts of Georgia. Joel Abbot Roberts’ ledger, on display in the front parlor, shows that he paid $24 for the parlor pocket doors.
Mirabeau Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas from 1838-41, was a family friend who visited often; his portrait hangs just outside the dining room, and the Isbells have a copy of a poem he wrote in tribute to Joel Roberts’ wife, Mary, called “Flowers from the Heart.”
Four generations of the Roberts family lived here until 1897, when the home was acquired by R.V. Taylor; in turn, four generations of Taylors occupied it until 1988. The west wing was R.V. Taylor’s home office at the turn of the century when he was the mayor of Mobile. His only daughter, Helen Buck Taylor, married Captain J. Lloyd Abbot III, who counted among his ancestors Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines – for whom Dauphin Island’s Fort Gaines is named.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what guests on the home tour will learn about Mobile history and the Isbell House’s place in it. If you’re from Mobile, you may even discover some anecdotes about some of your relatives. The Roberts, Taylors and Isbells had quite a few cousins, including Herndons, Toulmins, Langdons, Pillans, Inges, Wallers and more.
“This house was never the grandest in Mobile,” Ray Isbell said. “But at the same time, it has so many original features to it.”
The Taylors had been quite wealthy, but were wiped out in the 1929 stock market crash, he said, and after that, couldn’t afford to do much in the way of renovations. “The true value of the house is that so little of it was changed,” he said.
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Beverly Curtis Foust is the winner of our LIKE US AND WIN promtion.
Beverly is entitled to a family history researched in time for Christmas, and one family photo restored if she chooses. Beverly, please email information on your family back to 1930, if possible, and we will take it from there.
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