My great grandmother Alice Stubbs Isaacs had quite a history, beginning in Texas in February 1881. She didn't know the exact date because the mob burned down their house with the family Bible in it. Her father, B.J. Stubbs, left the family when she was still a young girl, and for many years we thought he had been lost looking for gold on the Feather River. For a time she and her mother Lucinda lived with Lucinda's brother Jim. When he was murdered by the mob in San Saba County before the Texas Rangers stepped in to restore order, Lucinda and Allie were on their own.
They made their living picking cotton, but as soon as they had enough, they moved to Clayton, New Mexico. Later, when someone asked her "Why Clayton?" Allie replied, "It was as far from the cotton fields as our money would take us." In Clayton, they hired on with the Eklund Hotel as chambermaid/laundresses.
At about the same time, Robert W. Isaacs began his hardware business across the street from the Eklund, and in 1905, he and Alice were married. She converted to Judaism so they could be married at the Temple Aaron Synagogue in Trinidad, Colorado, where the Isaacs family were members. They had two children, Lucille, who now lives in Lawton, Oklahoma (and will be celebrating her 102nd birthday in another month), and my grandfather Robert P., who died some years ago.
Great-Grandmother Isaacs was a redoubtable woman. One night when members of the KKK came to the family's front gate demanding Bob Isaacs, they got Allie instead. Great-Granddaddy was nearly deaf and slept through the ruckus, but she took up her pistol and went onto the porch to confront the men. She told them that the first one through the gate would get shot. They knew Miz Isaacs, and they knew she wasn't bluffing. They left.
If you're ever in Clayton, New Mexico, make sure you stop on Main Street. Have lunch at the Eklund, or even spend the night, and then cross the street to the R.W. Isaacs Hardware Company. You can even ask for R.W. Isaacs - my Uncle Richard will be happy to help you. Or, should my dad happen to be there, you may even have your choice of R.W.'s, since he's Robert W. just like his grandfather.
Do you remember B.J. Stubbs, who disappeared early on? A few years ago, I found out where he went after he left Texas and gave up on gold mining. He had divorced his first wife, and although he doesn't seem to have actually moved in with her, he moved to the same town in Wyoming where she and several of their children lived. Whenever my dad gets on his high horse about the questionable antecedents of his great-grandson, who can't help it, I remind him of his own great-grandfather who really was a black sheep.