Monday, November 5, 2012

My Lambert Quest, Part 2

It was the first Saturday in October when I drove into Robeline, La. and I was startled to find the following crowd all lined up along the road.


I quickly parked the RV behind the town meeting hall and rushed out to the street to see what was happening.
I was told by one by-stander that it was the Robeline Parade and Heritage Festival and Ellie May Clampett was going to be on the first float!  And, in case you are too young to know, Ellie May (AKA Donna Douglas) was the sexy young daughter on The Beverly Hillbillies back in the 60's.

People were dressed in their best parade attire and excitement was building as they waited for that first float.  (Okay, some were merely waiting for the candy that was sure to be thrown to the crowds)

I found a spot next to these lovely ladies and soon learned their names were Carlene Wyatt and Annie Fuller.  Between them they knew just about everyone in town--including several Lamberts,  and they offered to help me with my quest.  It took them all of ten minutes to find and introduce me to a nice man named Terry Lambert.
I explained to Terry that I had come in search of my Lambert roots and he promptly informed me, "You must meet my brother, Dean.  He is the family genealogist."
When I mentioned I was going to the reunion the next day Terry told me that he would have Dean look for me.

 And then the parade started.  

Cheers when up as Ellie May passed by.  That hat was so big and floppy that I could have been sitting on that truck and no one would have known the difference.  

The floats were not going to compete with Mardi Gras...
 But no one cared.  The onlookers knew the participants.... 

and the participants threw lots of candy and beads to the onlookers.

By the time the third float passed I realized I was getting more exercise than I had in the previous six months.  There was candy everywhere and the crowd (okay! including me) was in a frenzy to grab every piece.  
There were vintage cars...  

Funny cars....
 and Farm cars.  Please note, that future farmer is hauling live chickens. 
After the parade I thanked Carlene and Annie, said 'Goodbye' then headed back to the RV where I spotted Ellie May signing autographs for her adoring fans.

When she saw me with my camera she gave me a big smile.  Wow! She looks alright for being 79 years old!

I spent the night in the meeting hall parking lot then got up at 6 AM and drove to the cemetery.  I was determined to be there in time for the first arrivals for the reunion.

The little church sits right next to the cemetery and people started arriving about 9 AM.  I introduced myself to the minister and learned that there would be a church service at 10, a business meeting at 11 and a pot luck dinner at noon.  And I was invited!  Pot lucks are my favorite--it's from those old Baptist roots.  There are usually Beanie weenies and Funeral Jello but there will always be some real gems as well like pecan pie, squash casserole and fudge brownies.  This was going to be another Serendipity Day.

About 50 people showed up for the reunion.  They came from all over the state and the one common connection was that they each had a family member buried in the cemetery.

The church service was barely over when this amazing person tapped me on the shoulder and introduced himself,  "My brother Terry tells me you would like to have this information...."
 Whereupon Dean Lambert handed me a very thick packet of papers.  It was the Lambert family tree and history all the way back to the 1700's! 
What a revelation!  I now have the names of seven generations of grandparents!  And I learned Dean and his brother Terry are my second cousins, once removed (I think).  Their father and my grandfather were brothers.
In the family tree are farmers, landowners, slave holders, revolutionists, royalists and fighters for the Confederacy.  But, with all this information I am still missing a very large chunk.  Dean knew about my grandfather, (Andrew Jackson Lambert) and his first three children (Eugene, Amy and Kate)  but Dean did not know about my father, Mac, or his brother, Clarence.  So I still have trails to follow and more to discover.  Did Mac have any more children? Do I have siblings? Nieces and nephews?  Who were the wives and what are their stories?   And did Utice Drew Lambert become an honest man?

So I will have to come back here again someday and see what unexpected discovery will open another door.
Everyone was wonderfully friendly.  Mary Jones (in the blue jacket above) invited me to park my RV at her farm and "Stay as long as you like!"
Dean and his wife, Amanda (in the pink jacket), went out of their way to get me the family tree information and make me feel welcomed.

I don't know if Mother would be pleased with me but, after all,  I am her daughter,  and she would never have passed up an adventure like this. 
  The oldest grave in the Lambert Town Cemetery belongs to the 16 year old fiancee of James D. Lambert who died during the 1860's.  Her name is unknown.  The marker reads:
Sweetheart of J.D. Lambert
Died early 1860's


  1. Wow Mom. That is great.

    That is pretty sad that the grave marker has no name. Only "sweetheart of..". Amazing that no on though enough of her to put her name on her own marker.

    What the heck is "Funeral Jello"? It sounds like something they pack bodies in to preserve them.

  2. Thanks, Hon.
    By the time the marker was made for the grave, no one was alive who knew her name--but it seems that the family knew about her enough to want to mark the grave.
    Finally-- a good many funerals have a pot luck luncheon for family and friends after the service. At those pot lucks there seems always to be a green jello with cottage cheese or pineapple in it. I've sometimes heard it referred to as "funeral Jello"--it kind of fits, don't you think?

  3. Funeral jello! I love that. My grandmother used to make it once a week, it was not my favorite.