Tommie and Virgil Byers c.1940

Relationship: Im/migrant

During the very early onset of the dust bowl in northern Texas my grandmother, Tommie Rey Moore, and her family were forced to migrate to California. Her parents went from cotton farmers in Abilene Texas to working domestic and blue collar jobs in Los Angeles. Although it was hard to start over after loosing everything, Tommie and her siblings lived an exciting life in Los Angeles. There were movies filmed in her neighborhood, party boats, and even a lion tamer boyfriend. Eventually Tommie would move to Watsonville California, and meet my Grandfather Virgil Byers. Surprisingly, Virgil was born only 20 miles away from Abilene Texas where Tommie was born! He too had moved to California, because of the dust bowl in Texas. Virgil's life was just as exciting as Tommie's had been. At the age of 16 Virgil ran away from home, and joined the Circus. After returning home, he and his brothers made money as migrant farm hands as well as professional boxers. Tommie and Virgil were married until Virgil's death in 1986. Tommie passed in 2014 at the age of 102. 

Place(s): Salinas valley, California, texas
Year: 1930

– Gretchen Byers

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant