Friday, May 26, 2017

A cousin through my grandma’s line helped me find a cousin through my grandpa’s line

My mother’s mother was Nannie Becker, who was married to Milo Flanders in 1906. I’ve found that most (or all) of the people with the Flanders name in America are descendants of the immigrant Stephen Flanders (1600-1684). A few days ago Veva Young, one of my cousins from the Becker line, saw this post on Facebook from the “Traces of Texas” page:

WA Strain house Lancaster, TX Per Wikipedia, the W. A. Strain Farm House is a farmstead located in Lancaster, Texas, United States. "It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the W. A. Strain House in 1978. A boundary increase in 2001 expanded the area covered from 2 acres to 163 acres and the property listing name was changed to W. A. Strain Farm-Strain House.
The Strain House is an example of late Victorian architecture. It was designed by J. E. Flanders & Moad of Dallas. This firm also designed the Trinity Methodist Church in Dallas, and the Shackelford County Courthouse, which is part of an historic district in Albany, Texas. Joe Lyon built the house in 1896. The two and a half story frame structure includes a gabled wood shingle roof and the brick foundation has an asymmetrical plan.
The Strain Farm is believed to be the oldest working farm in Dallas County and is one of a small number of farms owned and operated for more than 100 years by a single family. The heirs of W. A. Strain have continued to live in the old family home, maintaining it with very few alterations and much of the original furnishings still intact."

When Veva read that this house was designed by J. E. Flanders & Moad of Dallas, she shared it with me and asked if I might be related to this architect. I had to do a bit of research online to give her an answer.

This site at  provides a very nice page of information about James Edward Flanders. And here we read of Jim Willis’s Research Collection about James Edward Flanders. Mr. Willis offers this short biographical paragraph:

As one of Dallas’ first resident architects, James Edward Flanders was instrumental in shaping the direction and style of architecture in Dallas. His career spanned 55 years and the majority of his projects were located in Dallas and western Texas. His early career began as an apprentice and draughtsman in Chicago, probably around 1870. After the Chicago fire of 1871, Flanders set up his own office and began to work independently. Flanders moved his practice to Minneapolis around 1875. Soon after, he began corresponding with Judge A.B. Norton, the postmaster of Dallas. At that time, Dallas was going through a period of enormous growth, and the city was in need of architects. Norton convinced Flanders to move to Dallas in order to take advantage of the abundant construction opportunities there.

Flanders moved to Dallas in 1876 and started a brief partnership with an established Dallas architect, J.M. Archer. Over the next decade, Flanders designed many of the buildings in the downtown area as well as residences of several prominent members of the community. Flanders married Mary Stafford and they had four children. Flanders' two brothers also moved from Chicago to Dallas, and both were employed by Flanders from time to time. The 1880s were Flanders most prolific years; he continued to focus on commercial and residential buildings, however he expanded his practice by designing buildings throughout West Texas.

In 1887, Flanders moved to San Diego, California, drawn by the booming growth and industry of the town. By 1891, economic growth slowed down drastically, and Flanders moved back to Dallas. For the remainder of his career, Flanders designed primarily schools and churches. In 1913, Flanders retired to southern California. Although retired, he did design and build a few structures that remained under family ownership including the Hotel Dupont (1925) in Hollywood.

There are over 300 buildings attributed to Flanders. The majority of his projects are located in Dallas and West Texas; however, Flanders designed buildings throughout Texas as well as in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and California. Among Flanders' most notable projects are the first Texas State Fair (1908), Shackelford County Courthouse (1883), Navarro County Courthouse (1905), and the Heard-Craig house in McKinney (1900).

Flanders was also instrumental in the development and elevation of the architectural profession in Texas. He was a charter member of the Texas State Association of Architects and actively fought for the first Texas chapter of the AIA, which started in 1889. Flanders was also an active member of the Scottish Rite of the Masonic Order and designed the original Grand Lodge Temple in Waco (1904) as well as a Masonic Widows and Orphans Home in Fort Worth (1906). Flanders died in Hollywood in 1928.

On the Family Tree at I was able to establish the ancestral line of James Edward Flanders. This chart shows how I’m related as a cousin to this architect.

Becky Margheim to James Edward Flanders 5c3r

I’m grateful to my cousin Veva Young for opening the window for me to discover another Flanders cousin!

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