My post this week is very short. One week ago today, a family member died. Jerry Donald Ellerbee, aged 81 years, 1 month, 1 day, died on 17 February 2019. He died peacefully in his sleep at home. I am blessed to have known Jerry as my father-in-law. His commitment to family reaches far.
When I was a novice genealogist, Jerry shared many stories of his family, especially the Ellerbee side. I remember walking the Mount Hope Cemetery in Wells, Texas, with him. He pointed out graves of many relatives and knew exactly how all of the distant cousins were related to him. I am the proud owner of an Ellerbee family history because of him.
SOURCE: Ronald William Ellerbe. The Ellerbe Family History. Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, 1986.
Jerry related that he knew his maternal grandfather’s name, Clay Simmons, but little else about the Simmons family. So, I decided to find out for him. In 2014, my husband and I traveled to east Texas as part of that search. We discovered that the Simmons family had migrated to Texas from Alabama just before the Civil War. I even found an Oklahoma connection. Jerry’s third cousin, Gappa Malachi Rushing, moved to Oklahoma before statehood and practiced medicine in Durant, Bryan county, Oklahoma. For Christmas, 2014, I gifted a scrapbook about his Simmons ancestors to Jerry.
I promised Jerry that I would do more research about the Ellerbee family. For his 80th birthday, Jerry received that scrapbook about the Ellerbee family. It was my privilege to share the information with him.
It’s been a long week for all of us left here. So, here’s my brief tribute to Jerry Donald Ellerbee, my father-in-law. Thank you for sharing your family stories with us. Thank you for the honor of being your family’s genealogist.
Susan Posten Ellerbee, daughter-in-law
©Susan Posten Ellerbee & Posting Family Roots Blog, 2019