J.R. and Rosalie

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. ~ Isaiah 44:3

A long time ago in a town far, far away, lived a man named J.R. West.

J. R. West

He was a handsome young doctor from Mississippi who blew into town like nobody’s business with his beautiful young bride, Rosalie White West.

Rosalie West - Big Mother

They lived a long and happy life together.

Kind of. One day, J.R. started a gun fight with someone, and ended up heading out of the local church feet first.

They say no one complained.

J.R.'s Grave

Here lies James Riley West.

But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children ~ Psalm 103:17

It’s in the same town; Wheatley, Arkansas.

J. R.'s headstone

And a close-up of that headstone. Remarkable, isn’t it?

An Olde Store

That’s a picture of J.R. and Rosalie’s store taken back in 1898.

I had never seen any of this before, and the entire family has been wanting to learn more about these two for some time. Thankfully Cousin Phil, who’s actually my father’s cousin, drove over to Wheatley and snapped these photos. Then, Great Aunt Alice (that’s Ah-Leese, not A[as in Apple] – Liss,) sent them out to everyone via e-mail.

Then I tried to clean them up with Photoshop, but we all know about Photoshop and me. (It’s a learning curve thing.)

Anyway, they had opened a store, which still stands next to City Hall. And inside of City Hall, there were these old photographs of J.R and Rosalie.

It’s very convenient when you’re looking up you’re ancestors and find they are well documented like this; very unlike the man who’s son married their daughter, who appeared from North Carolina and was born God only knows where. Mississippi was lousy at keeping track of these things in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

I have forgiven Mississippi’s record keeping, yet, still it’s a bit frustrating trying to learn more about the Allen family tree. We only know that everyone says the Allen’s are from Scotland, which always causes me to give thanks that we’re not from Ireland, which is a long story.

The Wheatlet Depot and Store

And there’s a painting of it as well.

The Same Spot Today

Why, here it is just the other day!

JR's store today

Only now it’s an antique store.

Rosalie, aged 68

Rosalie aged gracefully before passing (work with me here please…) She developed a formidable presence.

She was known as Big Mother, and lived in an enormous house with a wrap around porch, which everyone used to talk about with awe. In fact, everyone used to talk about her with awe. They still do.

Her grandson (my grandfather), great grandson (my father), and great great grandson (my brother), all bore the West surname as a middle name.

Rosalie's and Son's graves

She’s buried in Wheatley as well, with one of her sons. Lot’s of stories to learn about, no doubt.

Well, that wraps up today’s history lesson on some of my great, great, great grandparents. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! And if you haven’t well, God bless you. They were truly remarkable people.

For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. ~ Isaiah 65:22-24

The Rev. Kenneth Allen