The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

May 31, 2013

Our Town: Woman publishes book on local families, history

PALESTINE — By interweaving old letters, pictures, land documents, Bible records and historical references with an account of one family’s life and movement through seven generations, a Kansas woman with ancestral ties to Anderson County and neighboring areas has written a second non-fiction book in a series called “A Journey of Voices: Stewards of the Land.”

This 349-page book about the Crume family, written by author Diane McAdams Gladow of Emporia, Kan., is truly the story of American history from 1746 to 1946 — and the story of American agricultural life and how it changed over 200 years.

Whether flatboating in the frigid winter weather down the Ohio River, building homes in the wilderness, fighting in the American Revolution, enduring the Civil War in a border state, dealing with Indians in Texas, surviving the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and experiencing the misery and uncertainty of two world wars, this family lived it all.

“Over half the book concerns the family’s life in Texas, and a big chunk of that was in Cherokee County. One of the Crumes married a Ferguson from Anderson County,” Gladow told the Herald-Press. “I used a lot of history about the Rusk, Maydelle, Pine Town and Palestine area in the book, and I know there are a lot of descendants of the Crumes living in the Palestine area.

“The Crume name has pretty well died out, but the people are still there.”

Gladow’s connection to the Crume family starts with her mother, Gladys Crume McAdams and goes further down the line.

 “Specifically, readers who are interested in Anderson County, Cherokee County and East Texas will be interested in the many references in this book to county history — the old Palestine to Rusk road and stage line, the Texas State Railroad, the penitentiary at Rusk and the iron ore mines, the founding of Maydelle, and the ghost towns of Pine Town, Gent and Java in their heyday.

The Crumes lived at Maydelle for a large portion of their lives, so 1940-50s Maydelle also is pictured in the book. The history in the book is endless, stretching backward as far as the pre-revolutionary period in America and forward as far as World War II, and it is fascinating to watch one family traveling through that much time.

Her first book in the series, “A Journey of Voices: Chasing the Frontier,” was published in 2010 and also included Palestine-area information. She is currently working on the third book for the series.

“Generally speaking, so many of the stories in my books are not common just to my family. Everyone's family members were a part of the history of the time in which they lived,” Gladow said. “Often I get the comment from readers that their family experienced some of the same things that mine did.

“I want my readers to see American history as the lives of their ancestors,” she continued. “The old letters are a fascinating glimpse into how people lived in a distant time period, and many readers enjoy experiencing history first hand this way. It is more interesting reading for them.”

Gladow also reported many unexpected reactions to the information found in her books.

“One reviewer was fascinated with the handwriting in the old letters. Another was interested in the maps in the books,” she said. “Military buffs like the war accounts, and people who live in the locations pictured in the books enjoy reading the local history and descriptions of the area.”

 Many of the pictures, letters, old land records and documents in the new book were contained in an old hump-back trunk which was passed down from generation to generation in Gladow’s family.  

“I actually had two trunks, one from my father's side of the family and one from my mother's,” she said. “I have around 400 letters which stretch from the Civil War period to the 1950s and many pictures, some of which I cannot identify — everything from ambrotypes, tintypes, pictures on glass, to portraits done on heavy cardboard to snapshots.

“I have added to these old pictures modern digital pictures taken on the many trips that my husband and I have completed in search of the answers to some very old questions,” she added. “We have traveled all over the United States looking for the land and burial places of the ancestors and also any information about them, and we have added maps to the book illustrating much of what we have found.

“This book is the end product of a long journey and a lot of detailed research.”

While her first book featured 60 old letters, this second book has 55.

“I supplemented the old letters in ‘Stewards of the Land’ with newspaper accounts, personal memoirs and old records of all kinds,” Gladow said. “There are a few more original maps in ‘Stewards of the Land.’ Map making was a big part of the research for the second book — showing the ancestors' land on modern-day maps.”

The book is available for $15.95 at www.dianegladow.com, amazon.com and at barnesandnoble.com. It can be ordered from any bookstore.

Gladow is a former English composition instructor at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan.

During her nine years at the university, she also served as a director of the Writing Center on campus and was the voice of the Grammar Hotline, a telephone service from which the public could obtain answers to English grammar questions.

She was born and reared in New Mexico, graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso, and obtained a Master’s degree from the University of New Mexico.

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