Sunday, May 26, 2013

Isham Alfonso "Al" Steele (1870-1934)

Isham Alfonso "Al" Steele was born in Kosse, Limestone County, Texas on November 20, 1870.

He was the son of Francis "Frank" Marion Steele and Lucinda Chisum and the brother of Lula, Lydia Frances, Louella "Ella", Mary Allye "Madie", and Lena Rhoda Steele.

At the age of eighteen, Al Steele left Texas and headed to Louisiana where he would join his uncle, Thomas Jefferson Chisum who had moved to Louisiana several years earlier.  The trip on horseback took two weeks to complete.  Once Al arrived in Sicily Island he went to work for his uncle as a clerk in his general merchandise store.

On April 13, 1898 he married Mary Virginia "Mollie" Blackman and made Sicily Island his home.   Children born to this marriage were Edna, Mary Allye (Edmonds), Clara Lucille (Ogden), and Lena Juanita (Peck).  Al and Mollie also raised Theodore "Teddy" Stockmon after the death of Teddy's mother.

Around 1890 Al Steele had his wife's grandfather, James Luther Smith, build a house for him and Mollie.  The house originally had four bedrooms with a front and back porch.

Al and Mollie pictured with daughters Mary Allye and Clara Lucille
Additions were made to the house several years later, including a partially raised storm cellar that sat to the side of the house.

This house remained standing until it was destroyed by a fire in the early 1990s.

I grew up in this house and spent many fun-filled days playing out around the pecan trees that my great-grandfather, Al Steele planted back in the late 1800s.

Al built and operated a general merchandise store before selling it and moving to Childress, Texas in about 1910.  The family remained in Childress for a year before moving back to Sicily Island.

After returning to Sicily Island, Al Steele purchased 140 acres of land from Mr. Allie Hopkins where he built another house and farmed the land.

Around 1917 Al moved his family back to the house in town and built another general merchandise store.  This store was later owned and operated by Al's son-in-law, Wes Ogden.

Wes Ogden store
Isham Alfonso "Al" Steele passed from this life on December 4, 1934.  Thomas Jefferson Chisum died three hours after his nephew who had followed him from Texas to Sicily Island, Louisiana many years before.

Al Steele is buried alongside his wife in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.


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