Leatherwood
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A HISTORY OF THE FRANKLIN PIERCE LEATHERWOOD FAMILY

By Helen Leatherwood Craig

My father, Franklin Pierce Leatherwood, was born near Atmore, Alabama, on June 10, 1876. My mother, Belle Leatherwood, nee Corley, was born in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, on June 25, 1883. They were married in Sabine Parish in 1903. My father was a carpenter by trade, and the family moved from place to place in Louisiana and Texas while he followed his line of work. Later, as the children were born, my mother stayed on their farm near my grandparents in Sabine Parish.

In 1918, while he was working in a shipyard in Beaumont, my father fell and injured his back severely, was in a plaster-of-Paris cast for two years, and thereafter, he wore a heavy steel and canvas brace for as long as he lived in order to get around. He established a broom and brush business and sold Zanol products around the sawmill, logging and turpentine camps in Sabine Parish. When the camps moved too far away for my mother to drive him in a horse and buggy, they decided to move to Nederland so that he could continue his business in Nederland and the surrounding cities.

Dad and my oldest sister, Ruth, arrived in Nederland in mid-August, 1925, and bought a house in Wagner Addition. In those days, Wagner Addition was very sparsely populated, with a house about every two blocks. Mother and the remaining five of six children arrived in Nederland on October 25, 1925. Mother and Dad Leatherwood lived in the same house until their deaths, Dad in 1943 and Mother in 1960.

Carl Leatherwood, my oldest brother, had earlier moved to the oil fields around Mansfield, Louisiana. He later joined the Army and, while he was stationed in San Antonio, he met and married Evelyn Dorris from Alabama. They settled in Alabama, had three children, and lived in Birmingham until his death in 1982.

Ruth Leatherwood married Alson Beldon (Dutch) Crane in 1928. They had two children, Alson Beldon (Bill) Crane, Jr., who married Margie Theis from Port Neches, and they still reside in Nederland. Ruth's second son, Jerry Crane, lives in California. Bill graduated from Nederland High School in 1948.

Ruth Crane lived most of her married life at her home at 408 Thirteenth Street in Nederland. After her sons were grown, she worked in public relations and newspaper work for the next thirty years. She began as manager of the Nederland Chamber of Commerce from 1948 until 1953. She then worked as a reporter and social editor of the Midcounty Review from 1953 until about 1962. After leaving the Midcounty Review, she worked for Port Arthur News in Port Arthur for the next ten years as general reporter and assistant to the editor. For six years following 1972, she returned to the location of her first employment, as manager of the Nederland Chamber of Commerce. Dutch Crane died in 1950, and Ruth Crane died in 1986. Many Nederlanders still recall with fondness the days when Ruth served them with her winsome smile and disposition at the newspaper or chamber offices.

Houston Leatherwood graduated from Nederland High School in 1931. He then joined the Air Corps before returning to Nederland to marry Allie Billiot. They had two children and reside in Groves, Texas.

Chester Leatherwood graduated from Nederland High School in 1932. He then joined the Navy and won appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy. After two years there, he was forced to leave the Academy because of ill health, and he moved to California. He was married twice, but he never had any children. He died in 1977.

I (Helen Leatherwood) graduated from Nederland High School in 1933. I married J. V. Craig in 1935 and became the mother of four daughters. My husband worked for Texaco; we were transferred several times, but always in Texas. I was a legal secretary from 1953 until 1979. J. V. Craig died in 1985 in Longview. I presently live in Longview with Bill Petty, who is also retired. We have travelled extensively in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Hester Leatherwood graduated from Nederland High School in 1934, married George Capps, and had two daughters. They lived in Port Arthur. She later married Floyd Todd, who was working in Saudi Arabia. When he retired, they built a home in Brownsville and, about three years later, they took a boat trip back to Europe. As the ship entered the harbor at La Havre, France, another ship rammed the ship they were on. Hester Leatherwood Todd was thrown into the water, and she was killed in 1970.

Louis "Bob" Leatherwood graduated from Nederland High School in 1938. He then joined the Navy and served in the Pacific Ocean Theater all through World War II. He then graduated from the University of Maryland, with a Master's degree in Business, and he then worked for the Internal Revenue Service in the Pension and Trust Division until he retired. He has one daughter, and he and his wife now live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvlania, where he is in the insurance and securities business.

Franklin P. and Belle Leatherwood are still fondly recalled and sorely missed by their surviving children, grand children, great grand children, and a host of friends whose lives they touched.

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