Hubert Lee Musteen, Born Nov 1 1913

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert Lee Musteen in Uniform_ WWII

Hubert shared the middle name of Lee with his mother, Jennie Lee Brown Musteen. He worked as a teenager behind a drugstore soda fountain in Rogers, AR. Friends teased him by calling him “Susie-Q.” Years later, he was still fondly called “Susie” by some.

We know Hubert was a photographer in WWII, but his daughters and we first cousins have no details about his training or assignments. I wonder if he made newsreels or training films, since we found a photo of him with a movie camera. The last time I watched the famous documentary of WWII, True Glory, I wondered if he was in the midst of battle while filming. For anyone who hasn’t seen the awe-inspiring 80-minute film, it’s free on YouTube at this link.

He was almost 16 years older than the youngest brothers (twins, Dad and Uncle Jack). He died three months before my 6th birthday, and I remember pleading to go with Mother and Dad to his memorial service. I have only happy and loving memories of him.

One of my favorite pictures is a glossy 8″ x 10″ of Cary Grant taking Hubert’s photo! Must have been a USO tour…

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert filming in WWII

Uncle Hubert was the only professional photographer in our homtown of Rogers, AR, until his too early death (Jun 27, 1956). I knew him as a happy and outgoing man, who loved children. Directly below is the last photo that Hubert took personally for Jennie and me. Mother had sewn our dresses, and I recall going to the downtown studio. We were positioned just-so on a bench in the back room of his professional space. The lights were arranged to give a pleasing likeness.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Jennie & Becky_Dresses by Anita_Photo by Uncle Hubert_about 1955

One memory is a visit to our farmhouse on highway 62. It was the summer I was 4…running around in only a pair of cotton shorts because it was so hot. Hubert laughingly picked me up and tossed me into the air. When he caught me, I slid down from his shoulders, into his arms. An uncapped fountain pen was sticking up from his shirt pocket, and the tip unexpectedly skewered me in the navel. Mother, who tended to be a “worst case” worrier, was horrified that I’d get blood poisoning, but I played on with no ill effects.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Michael Wayne Musteen standing on Grandma Jennie’s table. Note Life Magazine cover composities on the dining wall.

Grandma Musteen prized several framed Life Magazine covers with her image and each grandchild photographically manipulated… long before PhotoShop! They hung on her living and dining room walls before her 2nd street house burned, the summer I was 7. Here you see my brother, Michael, standing on Grandma’s huge dining table. The table height made us easy to reach for sewing projects! Behind Michael is a framed photo of Hubert’s older daughter, Martha Jane.

Hubert Musteen

Hubert Musteen, year unknown.

I recently found the photo on the left…neither Martha or I had seen it before. We have no idea of his age, and this is the only childhood photo either of us had seen of Hubert.

He was a talented photographer and an enterprising businessman. His picture postcards of Rogers, AR, and surrounding area appear periodically on eBay and antique postcard sites.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert shot a few minutes of family video in old reel-to-reel format before Grandpa Musteen died in 1946. Grandpa, Grandma and the twins were hamming it up at Christmas. The VHS conversion is not a good quality to share, so one project will be to find the original films as our cousin David Musteen’s children sort through his estate.

In earlier family research, Shelia Snow Musteen posted this photo of Hubert. On the same page, you can see his headstone. Here is a photo with parents and siblings who survived (a brother and sister died as children). Videos of Grandma Jennie show her with a great laugh, so it’s surprising that the family photo looks somber.

Share

Nathaniel Baxter Musteen & Jennie Lee Brown Children

Nathaniel married Feb 14, 1898 in Rogers, Benton Co., AR to Zelpha Katherine Kennan,* who was born Oct 22, 1878, in Rogers, Benton Co., AR. She died of tuberculosis, leaving Nathaniel with four young children. Here is a link to show all 12 of Nathaniel’s children.

Nathaniel, as a young widower with four surviving children, married Jennie Lee Brown about 19 months later on Dec 8, 1912 in Rogers, Benton Co., AR. Jennie was born Jul 31, 1887 in Rogers, AR.

Viveline, the 2nd child, died as an infant.

Viveline M. Musteen

Nathaniel and Jennie had seven children. The last were identical twins, born when the couple were ages 53 and 43. The twins were 26 years younger than their oldest half-brother, Walter.

Jack and Joe were infamous for mischief! I found one newspaper article about summer camp as young teenagers…they won the title of “Camp Pests.”

Grandma said, when I dropped by to visit once, “My children were mostly born late at night after wash day.” We can imagine a back-breaking day, using a wooden paddle and scrub board. She bent over a huge cast iron kettle of boiling water filled with soiled clothes and shavings of homemade lye soap. Feet allowed a fire to be kindled outdoors under the tub to heat the wash and then rinse water. She still had a galvanized scrub board and made several batches of lye soap, both to use and to demonstrate the process, when her grandchildren were young.

Granddaughter Jennie Musteen Hill inherited the big cast iron laundry tub that Joe used as a planter for years, until his own death.

Aunt Mary, who was almost 8 when they were born, said in her 80s that she had no idea the twins were expected.

Jack and Joe Musteen

Jack (L) and Joe (R) MusteenGrandma was expecting Jack and Joe. The children slept on the floor above Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom in the house on 2nd street, with stairs going up though their parent’s bedroom. Mary said she came downstairs one morning to be surprised by twin babies!

The photo below is the only formal picture I know of their family group. I recently watched the few minutes of video that Uncle Hubert shot while Grandpa was alive, and I was surprised at how much Grandma laughed and smiled…what fun she was having while they opened Christmas presents with teenaged twins. Weeks after the twins returned from Korea, snippets of video captured great happiness in a holiday dinner.

Nathaniel Baxter Musteen

Left to right, Wayne, Mary, Hubert, Jack, Jennie, Nathaniel and Joe Musteen.

Parents
Nathaniel Baxter Musteen, b Aug 7 1876, d Nov 18 1946
Jennie Lee Brown Musteen, b Jul 31, 1887, d Mar 1975

Children
Hubert Lee Musteen, b Nov 1 1913, d Jun 27 1956
Viveline M. Musteen, b Jun 29 1916, d Feb 18 1918
Wayne Hebron Musteen, b Oct 29 1918, d Sep 21, 2003
Mary Virginia Musteen, b Jan 27 1922, d Feb 7, 2011
Bennie Dean Musteen, b Feb 5 1925, d Dec 31 1934
Jack Raymond Musteen, b Sep 15 1929, d Jul 19 1983
Joe Brown Musteen, b Sep 15 1929, d Dec 17, 1991

Bennie Dean Musteen

Bennie Dean Musteen

Viveline died as an infant. Bennie Dean lived to almost age 10. Mary’s son, Bennie Joe Stevenson has the names of her two brothers. This photo of Bennie Dean was taken at home. Grandma Jennie’s grandchildren will remember seeing that varnished oak side table as a constant in her living room over the years.

Until recently I hadn’t thought of Grandma as an older, single mother of teenage boys. Grandpa died when the twins were 17, and they were not quiet, introverted young men. She was living alone when the twins were sent to Korea.

Please add comments and information that I may not know or have listed here. Let’s compile interesting and enjoyable memories for ourselves and later generations.

*Zelpha’s name is shown in many online references as Zilpha.

 

Share