A HISTORY OF THE CLYDE McKINLEY SANDERSON FAMILY
By Wanda Sanderson Smith
The earliest proven ancestor of the large branch of the Sanderson family of Mid-Jefferson County was Asa Sanderson, who was born about 1797 in North Carolina. From there, he moved to Washington County, Alabama, where in 1829 he married Edna Long, who was born about 1795 in South Carolina. Their family consisted of nine children, one of whom was Oscar Percy Sanderson, born in 1834 and married in 1862 to Nancy Sumberlin (Summerlin). The third child of Oscar and Nancy Sanderson was Percy Eugene.
Percy Eugene Sanderson was born January 5, 1868, and married Emma Eugenia Irby on December 21, 1890, in Washington County, Alabama. Their children, all born in Alabama, were as follows: John Wesley, who married Winnie Martin; Annie, who married J. S. Gunn; Percy Frederick, who married Effie Bruinsma; Mattie, who married J. W. Davis; William Oscar, who married Jimmie Everett; Claude Myrick, who married Martha Talbot; Clyde McKinley, who married Clara Ivy Depwe; Grace, who married Herbert A. Reed; Howard Douglas, who married (1) Carmen Moore, (2) Mrs. Beth Burns, and (3) Mrs. Elma Wilson; Eloise, who married R. S. Bryan; Imogene, who married Eli Terry; and Jessie Edward, who married Altha Lee Davis.
When the family came to Jefferson County, Texas, from Alabama, a friend and neighbor, Mr. J. C. Moorer, drove a truck to assist in the move. (Mr. Moorer also settled in Nederland and later married a girl who lived next door to the Sandersons on Avenue H -- Wilma Terwey.
The house in which Percy Eugene and Emma Sanderson lived in was located in what today would be about the 1000 block of Avenue H (next to the Terweys who had a dairy). (Ed.'s Note: The Terweys lived on the south side of Avenue H, giving them actually a Port Neches address on 8th Street. Eighth Street, Port Neches, and Avenue H, Nederland, are the same street, both being formerly known as Block Road.) The family attended the Baptist Church. Their home came to be a gathering place for the various sons and daughters and their families. A granddaughter recalled that Percy Eugene Sanderson was a farmer. Although she didn't remember much about what crops he tended, she did recall that when she was a small child, cotton was planted up to the backyard.
Percy Eugene Sanderson died on April 25, 1942. Emma Sanderson died on December 7, 1951, and both are buried in the Oak Bluff Cemetery in Port Neches.
The sons of Percy Eugene Sanderson certainly made a contribution to the petrochemical industry of this area. Bill, Doug, and Wes all worked at Pure Oil Company (now Unocal). Fred and Ed worked at Texaco, and Clyde and Claude worked at Neches Butane Products, now Texaco Chemical.
One of the twin sons born to Percy Eugene and Emma Sanderson on September 5, 1903, was named Clyde McKinley. On November 21, 1932, he married Clara Ivy Depwe. She was the daughter of Henry Lee and Mamie Dunn Depwe, and some of her ancestors were pioneer settlers in what is now Orange County.
Clyde and Ivy Sanderson were parents of three children, as follows: Wanda; an infant (that died before it was named); and Percy Lee. After living at seveal places in Nederland, Clyde and Ivy finally moved to a house which at that time was in neither Port Neches nor Nederland, but which today is numbered as 2221 Port Neches Avenue (near Mobil tank farm gate). Perhaps living between the two communities accounted for the fact that Clyde Sanderson was an active member of the Masonic Lodge of Port Neches; First Baptist Church of Nederland was the family's church home; and Wanda and Percy each attended the Nederland schools.
Clyde Sanderson held a variety of jobs. For a while he was a pipefitter at the Pure Oil refinery. One year, 1940, he worked as custodian at the "new" Langham Elementary School, and he proudly showed the modern equipment in the boiler room to visitors whenever possible. Soon after the beginning of World War II, he went to work at the shipyard in Orange, as did many other area residents who shared rides across the Rainbow Bridge twice a day. He was employed by the Lummus Company, a construction firm, when the rubber plants in Port Neches were being built. Later, he went to work at Neches Butane as a pipefitter, a job that he held until his death on May 30, 1964.
After becoming a widow, Ivy Sanderson continued her faithful participation in church activities and in volunteer auxiliary work at Mid Jefferson Hospital. Her auxiliary "pink lady" duties at the hospital ultimately led to employment there in the kitchen, where her skills as an excellent cook must have gladdened the hearts and palates of both patients and staff. Ivy Depwe Sanderson died May 19, 1974. Both she and Clyde McKinley Sanderson are buried in Oak Bluff Cemetery in Port Neches.
The eldest child of Clyde and Ivy Sanderson is Wanda, born November 23, 1933. For several years she served as pianist for the First Baptist Church. In 1952 she graduated from Nederland High School. While attending Lamar College, she met Paul Smith, whom she married on December 27, 1954. Paul is the son of Romie and Mildred Hatcher Smith of Port Arthur. From October, 1954, until September, 1956, Paul was with the U. S. Army in Oklahoma and Korea. After he returned home, Paul and Wanda lived in Nederland until 1979, at which time they moved to Pinewood, on Highway 105, northwest of Beaumont. Paul is a supervisor at Dupont, having worked for that company since August, 1959. Wanda is a homemaker.
Paul and Wanda Smith are parents of two daughters. Sheila Lorraine Smith was born November 16, 1955. She graduated from Nederland High School in 1973 and attended Lamar University. She is employed by Gordy and Huffhines, Architects, Inc., in Beaumont. Suzanne Smith was born November 9, 1958. She graduated from Nederland High School in 1977 and from Lamar University in December, 1980. On February 4, 1984, Suzanne married Ricky Frazier, son of Frank and Mhyrl Frazier of Nederland. In addition to owning ASR Construction Company, Ricky also works at Mobil Chemical Company. Suzanne currently works at Entre Computer Center in Beaumont. They live at LaBelle and are parents of Lacey, born November 18, 1985, and Bret, born September 27, 1987.
The youngest child of Clyde and Ivy Sanderson is Percy Lee, who was born July 8, 1938. He graduated from Nederland High School in 1956 and distinguished himself by earning letters in football, basketball, baseball, and track all four years, something which had never been done before in Nederland. This unparalleled record prompted a 1976 article by Lance Morgan in the Nederland High School "Bulldog Beat," entitled "Percy Shows No Mercy As The Better Letter Getter." Percy was awarded a baseball scholarship which allowed him to attend Texas A and M University. On June 1, 1957, he married the former Margie Harris, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. L. C. Lucke of Nederland. For the past several years, Percy has worked for Fluor Comstruction and VECO Construction Company in Saudi Arabia, Holland, Alaska, and California.
Percy and Margie Sanderson have two daughters. Joni Carol was born March 20, 1958, and graduated from Nederland High School in 1976. On December 16, 1978, she married Gerald Ray Maas of Nederland. Their two children are Kari Ann, born November 12, 1980, and Kelly Rae, born October 5, 1987. Joni is employed by the Randy Fontenot State Farm Insurance Agency. The younger daughter of Percy and Margie Sanderson is Teri Lea, who was born June 17, 1959. She graduated from Nederland High School in 1977. Her first marriage was to Bill Sory, and her second marriage was to Glenn Moore of Port Arthur. Teri and Glenn are parents of Danny Lee, born January 12, 1988, and Linsey Leann, born July 2, 1989. Glenn is a State Farm Insurance agent.
When Percy Eugene and Emma Irby Sanderson brought their seven sons and five daughters to Jefferson County over sixty years ago, they could not have foreseen the large number of descendants who would one day populate this area. No doubt, they would have been pleased to know that these relatives gather for a reunion each year in October to remember those who have gone on before them, to welcome new additions into the family of descendants, and to celebrate their heritage.