VENICE CARRIE JOHNSON
Born Sept 27, 1882 and was the 4th child (and only daughter) of William Harrison Johnson and Nancy Wood
Venice Carrie and James Davis Sanders were married in Grayson County, Texas, on 27 August 1899 and moved to Oklahoma not long after their marriage where they had four children: Riley Tillman (Big 'Un), born 12 September 1900; Winifred Alton (Slim), born 26 January 1902; James Leslie (Fat), born 16 March 1903; Alta Darling (Haltie), born 16 December 1904; Raymond Johnson, born 1 January 1907, who died suddenly and peacefully in his mother's arms 23 December 1907; Sibley S., born 28 July 1910, and Baby Boy, born and died 7 July 1921. Sibley died of tuberculosis at twenty-five. James Davis Sanders was the son of James Lillard and Emmaline D. Teague Sanders, and James Lillard Sanders was the son of J. H. and Nancy Lillard Sanders from Kentucky.
The elder Sanders lived in Grayson County, Texas, before they left to homestead in Oklahoma. James Davis Sanders went to Oklahoma with his parents to help homestead land before he and Venice were married. In the possession of Jolene Doering is a letter to Venice from her future mother-in-law Emmaline Dorothy Teague Sanders:
Louis, Greer Co., Okla.
Jan 29th 1899
Miss Venice Johnson
Dear Friend. Jimie asked me to write to you. He would never let me read any of your letters so you can see that I hardly know what to write to interest you. We were thinking we would have you for a neighbor. Ethel would have been so glad if you had come. I guess Jim told you she calls her doll Venice. I cant say whether you would like this country or not. I would be glad if there was more timber but then I would rather make out with less timber and be at home. Maybe we can buy coal when the muskete gives out with what we would have had to pay for rent if we stayed there. Guess Jimie has described our house to you. Well I like it fine Would rather have it than just a house on top of the ground and no dugout for when the wind blows we are uneasy. We just let it blow and then when we are able to build a house we will already have a stormhouse and then we are not by ourselves. I have been to one of our neighbors that lives in a house and one that lives in a dugout. That is of the Greer Co. people. Bird Teague our nephew lives about six hundred yards a little north of west from us. They have ___?___ . Jimies building place isnt hardly so far a little south of us. That is we thought it would be the nicest place but maybe you wouldnt think so. We went up there one evening and I just looked back home and thought what a nice walk it would be. Think your Pa ought to see this country before he concludes it wont do. I am proud of your southern principals. Come to see us first chance. You write to me.
Venice's father-in-law fought in the Civil War and then went to look for gold in California for several years. He traveled among the Indians and had no trouble with them. Once he met a band of Crows and the Chief put his hand to his mouth and said, "Chow-way, Chow-way." Mr. Sanders handed him a plug of chewing tobacco. The Chief broke it in half and handed back half of it. The Chief then waved his hand and the Indians left as hard as their ponies would go, and Mr. Sanders continued on his way. A mile further down the road where he had planned to spend the night, Mr. Sanders found the Indians had raided the station and scalped the station keeper. Mr. Sanders said that was the only time he was "sure 'nuf scared" of the Indians.
Venice and James did move to Oklahoma in 1899, and Thomas Vestal Johnson accompanied them. Venice stayed in Oklahoma and died 12 June 1921, from complications of child birth five days after the birth of her baby. Venice and the stillborn baby boy are buried in Gibson Cemetery in Haskell, Oklahoma. The spring of 1921 was so wet that none of Venice' brothers could get to the funeral because even some of the railroad bridges were out. Jolene Doering has a letter her grandfather received from Claud and Daisy Johnson:
Dear Bro & Children,
Will write a few lines. We are all so grieved to hear of
Venice going so suddenly. But we may all find comfort in
the thoughts of her good Christian life and the hope that we
all have of meeting again. It is impossible for any of the
boys to go and be with you on account of the awful wash outs
between here and there, but we are all with you in mind and
spirit and are sympathising with you for the great loss of
wife and mother and dear sister. Let us hear from you and
more particulars when you feel like writing them. Claud and
Pearson would have come anyway if they could have got there.
So please don't have any hard feelings against any of us for
we are all grieved that things are like they are.
Write soon & may God comfort you.
Your Bro and Sis
Claud & Daisy
Eight years after Venice's death, in 1929, James Davis Sanders married Lula Rainwater, who was a good stepmother to Venice's children.