Hughes Springs "Government Girls" 1940-45

Posted in the Lone Star Forum

Andrea Stowers

Alexandria, VA

#1 Feb 11, 2011
I am writing a book about my mother, born Minnie Lee Rankin, to Sam and Beulah Rankin in 1918, with a particular focus upon her April 1942 move to Washington, DC, to become one of the first "Government Girls" here. I understand that Wright Patman was a friend of the Rankin family, may have been instrumental in assisting Minnie and several other young Hughes Springs women to find jobs, housing and friends here during that era of the WWII.

I would really like to know more about the Hughes Springs that my mother grew up in, loved, and always wanted to return to. Ideally, I'd like to interview individuals and families who remember those days either first-hand or through oral histories passed down.

I live in the Washington, DC area, where I grew up but would like to hear more about your town during this historical period, more about the families who lived there and more about Patman's family. I also understand that my mother's first husband was Vernon Ray, who played football in the high school.
Jann Lynn

Roanoke, VA

#2 May 10, 2013
Grandma's name was Belinda Beulah Smith before marrying Sam Rankin(Grandpa.) Us grandkids all knew her name to be Beulah. Now, Sam was a jack of all trades and had an number of businesses way back while our mom and siblings were growing up. One was a sawmill, and mom and some kids often helped him in it. He also had a little store, I guess a multi-purpose (besides gas)store, for which he obtained at one point a gas light for the outside, and I was always told that people would come from all around to see that light. Grandpa wasn't really successful with the store, due to extending everyone credit. You can only operate so long that way. One of grandpa's huge achievements was building the family a house also, a very unique house: it was 6 or 8 sides to it, and I have an old photo of it, as well as trying to complete what my Aunt Nina had started way back: a needlepoint/cross-stitch of that house. Grandpa had put nice details/finishing touches to the house, too: carved wood around doors and window sills, etc. The family we all visited most in Hughes Springs was Uncle Pete and family: early on, they were in the house up on a hill, but later moved to a home on the intersection of that dirt road and the paved highway, near a little general store. Our mom's oldest sister, Lillian, actually taught our mom and other kids at the school. If this info jogs anyone's memory to assist my sister (Andrea) in her search for info, please feel free to contact her.

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