Dolton.org

THRESA ARTA LONDON

Thresa Arta London (1913-1982)
+ George Elmer Johnson (1908-1976)
Darlene Johnson (1931-2004)
+ Louis Dolton
Alton Johnson
+ Marion Miller (1937-2002)
Arta Ann Johnson (1937-1938)
Gerald Howard Johnson (1939-1998)
+ Marsha Kucherer (born 1948)
+ Sharon Lockhart
Richard Elmer Johnson (1940-1940)
Baby Johnson (1941-1941)
+ Jody Jay Kirby (1909-1997)

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect income taxes. Woodrow Wilson succeeds William Howard Taft as the 28th President of the United States. The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed, dictating the direct election of senators. Swedish American engineer Gideon Sundback of Hoboken, New Jersey, patents the all-purpose zipper. The 50th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg draws thousands of American Civil War veterans and their families to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Lincoln Highway (mostly gravel), the first automobile road across the United States, is dedicated. The beginning of The Great War is a year off and is already seen by many as inevitable because of the imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe.

Also in 1913, Thresa was born at Indiahoma, Oklahoma on May 2, 1913. Indiahoma, Oklahoma, is in Comanche county, about twenty miles west of Lawton, Oklahoma, and 91 miles SW of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It has never had a population of more than about three hundred people. She died January 6, 1982, at Yucaipa, California.

The 1920 US Federal Census for District 0234, Shawnee Ward 5, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, enumerated 27 Jan 1920 by Mildred Proffilt, has a record of the household of E. L. and Jewell London. E. L. London was the head of household, male, white, 26 years of age, married, able to read, write, and speak English, born abt 1894 in Oklahoma Territory, working as a carpenter in the house industry. His parents were born in the United States. Jewell London was his wife, female, white, age 24 years, married, able to read, write, and speak English, born abt 1896 in Texas. Her parents were born in the United States. Tresa London was his daughter, female, white, age 6 years, attended school in the last year, able to read, write, and speak English, born abt 1914 in Oklahoma. Rolen London was his son, male, shite, age 7 months, born 1920 in Oklahoma.

Thresa was sixteen years old when she and George Johnson were married in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on December 21, 1929. They had three children who survived to adulthood.

The 1930 US Federal Census for District 0133, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, enumerated 11 Apr 1930 by Grace Grenard, has a record of the household of Emry and Jewell London. Emry London was the head of household, male, white, age 39 years, first married at age 20, born abt 1891 in Oklahoma Territory, working as a carpenter in the building industry. Emry owned his home, had no radio in the home, and the home was not located on a farm. Jewell London was Emry's wife, female, white, age 36 years, married, first married at age 18, born abt 1894 in Texas. Roland London was Emry's son, male, white, ten years old, born abt 1920 in Oklahoma. Lawrence London, son, male, white, age eight years, born abt 1922 in Oklahoma. Arvola London was Em's daughter, female, white, age six years, born abt 1924 in Oklahoma. Thresa Johnson was Em's daughter, female, white, age sixteen years, married, born abt 1914 in Oklahoma. George Johnson, son-in-law, male, white, age 21 years, married, born about 1909 in Oklahoma, working as a carpenter in the building industry.

Thresa's daughter Darlene said, "My earliest memories as a girl are of moving days in Oklahoma City. It seems to me that just about the time we got settled in a house and I made friends, Daddy would come home and tell us that we were going to move to the other side of town. Moving was part of being in construction in those days. People never drove across town to work. Twenty miles was a long way. Darlene's mother made every move an adventure, finding a new house, new friends and the move. Where ever the family found itself George and Thresa made it a home.

Thresa's father, Emery London was boss for G.A. Nickle's Construction Company one of the biggest in Oklahoma City. They built all of the bigger, finer homes on the North side of town in Nichols Hills. Our world was in construction since that is what the family income was. George worked for his father-in-law as a carpenter for many years.

Thresa's family was very close and Darlene knew all the aunts, uncles, and cousins personally. Thresa was the oldest of six children. There was Uncle's Rolen and Laurence, Aunts Arvola, Lorene, and the other sister.

One time, knowing they were not supposed to, Darlene and her siblings went down to the creek. They were told that if they went down there, the gypsy's would carry them off. They were on the way back to the house, crawling under a barbed wire fence. As Darlene was crawling under the fence, she got her clothes caught on the fence.

Another time when Darlene was young, in the summer, she would sleep on the back porch of their house. It was a screened porch and it was luxurious because she got to sleep by herself. She didn't have to share a bed with anyone. She recalled that again, years later, as we were watching a movie called "The Green Mile." In it two little girls were sleeping on the back porch of their house and were kidnapped and murdered. Darlene said she never thought about being unsafe sleeping on the back porch by herself. But, who did back then? Many folks didn't lock the cars or their homes for crying out loud.

When the Johnson kids were young and living at home in OKC, Grandpa George Johnson would go to an automobile pick-a-part store and take the kids with him to get them out of the house. During this time he was kind of a tinker or gypsy who would go around helping other folks fix what was broken. He worked on cars, farm equipment, or anything else in order to make some money. But, he would leave the kids out in the car, summer or winter, for long periods of time while he searched for the parts he needed. They wised up to this after a while and if it was cold they took along blankets.

Darlene told about when the Johnson's lived up on Capital Hill in Oklahoma City. She and Jerry used to watch the oil riggers. They would occasionally see them pulling up the pipes that formed the below ground portion of the well. They would hang the pipes on the derrick and clean them out. Then, they would push them back down into the ground. One time, when there were no oil men around the well and her mom and dad were gone, she and Alton decided to climb the derrick. They went up and started climbing it and wouldn't you know that's when their mom and dad came home. They were caught up in the rigging of the derrick and got in big trouble.

Darlene said that that every Sunday the entire London family, including George's family, would meet in Wheat-tang at Grandma London's house. This would have been Jewel Jane (Jobe) London. Grandma raised chickens for the families use. Mom said that Grandma would wring the necks of four or five chickens, cut their heads off, and hang them on the clothesline until they stopped flopping and had bled out. She would then scald them and Mom and her sisters had to pluck the chickens. (Note: Wheat-tang is not a city. It is the area between Wheatland and Mustang on the West side of Oklahoma City. All the rest of the family would bring main dishes, side dishes, desserts, or anything else at all. They all got together on Sunday and had dinner.

On December 7, 1941, America entered World War II with the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan. What an upheaval in everyone's lives! Both of Thresa's brothers, Rolen and Lawrence, went into the service. Rolen joined the 8th Air Force and Lawrence the 45th Infantry Division. Before anyone knew it they were shipped overseas. Rolen was stationed in England and everyone enjoyed the letters and photos he sent back. Lawrence had a tough time of it in the Infantry and there is a recording extant of his telling of his experiences.

Thresa and George lived all of their 14 years of marriage in Oklahoma City. No record is readily available as to when George and Thresa divorced, but it is thought it was sometime in 1943. The thirty-six year old George Johnson enlisted in the Navy 24 Jan 1944. It must have been rough going through boot camp at that age. If he thought he was going to war he was mistaken. He was a skilled carpenter and that's what he did stateside for his entire enlistment.

After the divorce, Thresa moved to California. Mother and Kirby were working in the same plant and started dating after the divorce. Kirby had just recently been divorced and his ex-wife got the kids. She said she loved the kids, they were her kids and she needed her children. During the war the family had moved to Richmond, California. Thresa Kirby was working in a war industry as a riveter while Kirby was working in construction.

Thresa and Jodie Jay Kirby were married September 29, 1944 at Van Buren, Arkansas. He used the first name Joe with those outside the family, but to most of those who loved him best he was "Kirby." Kirby, like Thresa's father and brothers, was a carpenter. He worked building houses just like the rest of the family. At some point in time he got careless with a hand, circular saw and lost most of two fingers off his left hand. He worshiped Thresa and was always picking her up and twirling her around and smooching on her. They both cherished their own and each other's children.

The first few years they lived in Oklahoma City. Darlene tells a story about when she was a freshman in high school. The Kirby family was living on Walt's place down by Moore, Oklahoma, on a creek. One harvest time some gypsies camped down by the farm. They were transient workers there to pick cotton. The Kirby kids were told to stay away from them because of stories of kids being carried off. Joe and Thresa went to town and the girls went fishing with some of the gypsy boys. Darlene was crawling under a barbed wire fence with her pole in her hand and the hook between her thumb and forefinger. She saw a snake about a yard long and tried to back away from it through the barbed wire. In the process she ran the fishing hook through her finger. When Joe and Thresa returned one of the gypsy boys was trying to cut the hook out. Thresa insisted on taking Darlene to the hospital to have the hook removed.

In 1947 or 1948 the Kirby's moved to Wilmington, California. Here they lived in a lovely ranch style house that had lovely walls of Sweet Pea vines climbing the fences in the back yard. When the flowers were in bloom the yard and home was filled with the scent and it was heady. Darlene remained in Oklahoma to finish high school. Jerry was still living with them at this time. Jerry had a career with and eventually retired from Ford Motor Company. But, he was still a young man at this time and had picked up the habit of expressing his enthusiasm for the day by barking like a seal. He would go out in the morning to go to work and bark like a seal. One morning Thresa went out after he had gone to work and found some fish on the doorstep with a note. It said something to the effect that these fish were for the seal and that maybe if they fed him better the seal wouldn't disturb the neighbors with his barking in the early morning.

Sometime later JJ and Thresa learned that his ex-wife had taken all but one of their kids down to the Baptist orphanage. So JJ quit his job and they went to the orphanage and got the kids. The ex-wife didn't put Walter in the orphanage because he was running a telegraph delivery job and was bringing in some money. But, one day, sometime after she had dumped his brothers and sisters, Walter came home and found his mother in the sack with another man. He hadn't believed it was happening before the separation. Walter tried to run the guy off but his mother and this guy ganged up on him and chased him into the bathroom. He climbed out the window and showed up at Thresa's place in California with a pair of underwear and a pair of socks in a brown paper bag. That's all he got away with.

In 1953 the Kirby's moved to Lomita, California, where they lived in a neat little white, stucco, house that looked like an old Spanish home. It had a little yard and the grandkids always had a place to play. It was right across the street from grandson Garland's paper route, at the furthest point from his home, and he could always stop in on cold, drizzly mornings and warm up before finishing up his route. Their home was only about a mile from the home of Thresa's daughter and son-in-law, Louis and Darlene Dolton. They were often at each other's home for dinner and to play dominoes. After Kirby got cancer of the throat and retired they sold this home and moved into a mobile home (also known as manufactured housing) in Torrance, California, just a few blocks from Darlene's house. Kirby really enjoyed playing pool with the other guys in the mobile home park and was always willing to take the grandkids to play when they visited.

The following article was published in the local paper on the occasion of their silver wedding anniversary, "Jody Kirbys Honored at Anniversary Party - LOMITA - Mr. and Mrs. Jody J. Kirby of 24805 Eshelman Ave., were guests of honor at an open house on July 27, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. The anniversary party was given by the couple's daughters, Mrs. Louis Dolton [Darlene (nee Johnson) Dolton] of Torrance and Mrs. Alton Johnson [Marion (nee Miller) Johnson] of Redondo Beach. Married in Hot Springs, Ark. on July 29, 1944, the Kirbys moved to the Lomita area in 1953 from Oklahoma City. Honored guests were Mrs. Kirby's mother Jewel London [Julia Jane (nee Jobe) London] of Oklahoma City, and her sister Mrs. Bob Davidson [Dorothy Lorene (nee London) Davidson] and family of Lubbock, Tex. Approximately 50 friends and neighbors called to congratulate the couple. Attending were four of the couple's eight children and seven of their 20 grandchildren."

Joe and Thresa moved to Yucaipa, California, about 1974. That's where Alton and Marion, their kids, and grandkids lived. Joe and Thresa really enjoyed living close to them and having the family stop by all the time. They lived in a place on Avenue E when they first got there and later purchased and lived in a nice mobile home. They were often over at Alton's house. Thresa had a stroke a year or so before her death. Joe lovingly cared for her in her illness just as he had throughout their 38 years together. Thresa died January 6, 1982 in Yucaipa, California after a long illness. Joe continued to live in Yucaipa until his death three years later.



About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2006, 2015, 2018 Louis Dolton