Monday, November 15, 2010

Robert Boyer Sauls

Robert Boyer Sauls is my paternal grandfather. I never met him because he and my grandmother were divorced many years before I was born. I posted this to my Facebook account, to try to learn more from other family members. I have included some of their comments, but have removed their names.

Robert Boyer Sauls was born April 5, 1895 in Wynnewood, Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma, the fourth child and third son of William David Sauls and Elizabeth Enice Aker Sauls. He was named Robert for his paternal grandfather Henry Robert Sauls, and Boyer for his maternal grandfather Johnson Boyer Aker. His siblings were Verta May, Quincy L., Roy Eugene, Neta L., and Helen Burdette. Robert was counted with his parents in the 1900 Census of the Chickasaw Nation in McClain County, where his father was working as a Methodist minister.

In 1910 Robert was in Wister, Oklahoma doing farm labor, and in 1920 when he was 25 years old, he was in Stanislaus County, California, workng as a hired man. Since the picture I have of him shows him in a military uniform, and he is buried in a national cemetery, I am sure he has military records, but so far I haven't seen them.

On 3 Nov 1920 Robert married Eunice Dale Broadwell, probably in Gila Bend, Arizona. She was 14 years old when they married, and a cousin shared that although her parents were against it, she agreed to meet him at the railway station and go to a nearby town to marry. Her father followed them, but by the time he arrived, the marriage had already taken place. A year later they had their first child, Robert Dale Sauls. My father Alva Fay was born in 1923, then Jack N. in 1929, and R. Glen in 1931. All the children were born in Stanislaus County, California. Robert and Eunice divorced after Glen was born, and she remarried in 1938.

Robert also remarried; his second wife was Esther A. Krenzler, and together they had 10 children, some of whom I have become acquainted with on Facebook. From them I have learned that he was not a tall man, that he had curly hair, and that he wore a fedora. Unfortunately, they don't know very much about him, either.

Robert died June 17, 1965 in Napa County, California according to the Social Security records. He is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California, in plot 14415F.

Some tidbits about Robert:

My grandmother told me once that Robert's mother was a twin, and that he was "brilliant." She also related a story about standing between him and one of the children with a gun when he was about to beat the child with a halter chain. This is not a "nice" thing, but I have learned that genealogy is not for anyone who wants to keep their fantasies about their ancestors; I hope those who read this are not offended.

Robert's eldest child, my uncle Robert, told me that his father used to tell the children that they were descended from Chief Big Toe (I think that was the name he used). This helped me understand the story my mother told us about being part American Indian. I have found no proof of this at all, and have discarded the idea as a misunderstanding which became a legend. My uncle also told me that his mother's family, the Broadwells, were in Arizona trying to raise cotton at the time Robert and Eunice married.

One of my newly found aunts related that Robert was uneducated and had health problems, and that their life was hard.

One of his grandnieces said, "That was an interesting story you told about Robert going to beat one of the children with a halter chain. My Father told me that his Father (Roy) said that William David was very harsh with his sons. Kicking them out as soon as he could so he would not have to feed them. He even sold the team of horses that my Grandfather had been using to work at his job of building a highway without telling him. He just work up one morning and they were gone."

One of Robert's daughters said, "Mom and [Dad] divorced when I was 12 around 1959. He died in June 1965 the year I graduated from high school.

Robert's youngest son said, "I remembered him as being about [one of my brother's] height but stupped over, but I only remember seeing him in person 2-3 times... and really by the time I came to be he was old....."

I suspect that Robert Boyer Sauls will always be something of a mystery to me!


  1. dear dimple...this was such interesting reading
    your grampa that was so strict reminds me of a book i read several times as a child. "light from heaven". you might of heard of it. it is a real sad story but the guy in it was just like your grampa, i think.
    i will be very interested in your family history.
    i love stories about families, especially if i know the main character[you!]
    keep it up dimple...i wonder if sonny has seen this. i am sure that he would just love terry

  2. "Dimple"...I have been reading you blogs. You are a really neat lady that has a rich family history. I admire that. Thanks for all the good reading.