The Duncan Banner

July 6, 2009

Siblings reunite after 41 year separation

John Walker

DUNCAN — In 1968, Pat Hague, Debbie Batterton and Charles Manous Jr. met their half sister, Becky Magee, in California.

They all have the same father, but Magee had a different mother.

That was the first and last time all four were together — until recently when they and some of their respective children and grandchildren met at Halliburton Park in Duncan.

In all, about 30 members of their families showed up.

“It’s been real nice,” Magee said.

They plan to meet more in the future.

After the first meeting between the siblings 41 years ago, the siblings lost track of their half sister as they were only children at the time.

It wasn’t until Hague’s son, Roy Wilkerson Jr., became seriously involved with genealogy that contact was finally made with Magee again for the second time.

Wilkerson became interested in genealogy as a teenager when he would hear stories from his great-grandfather about the family history back to the 1800s.

His hobby led Wilkerson from one finding to another before he started to tackle the problem last year of where his aunt was located.

“I searched the Internet and public records,” he said. By coincidence, a search for an old family headstone intertwined with Wilkerson’s search for Magee.

A Dallas, Texas, newspaper covered the story of how Wilkerson found their 1800s-era family head stone from Sulphur that somehow ended up in Denton, Texas. Magee had previously moved to Royse City, Texas, and had read that story in the newspaper, but it didn’t click with her because Wilkerson is not the last name of her father, Charles Manous Sr.

During Wilkerson’s searching over the last year, he also became aware of another brother of the four siblings.

“We didn’t know of another sibling,” Wilkerson said. “Now we know there are five siblings.”

Wilkerson and the family have tried to make contact with the newfound sibling, but so far their outreach has remained fruitless. They also wonder whether there are other siblings they don’t know about.

“Dad was kind of a drifter,” Hague said.

The siblings’ father died in June of 1986 in the Arizona desert as he was traveling from California to Oklahoma.

He missed his bus in Phoenix and wandered outside to the freeway. He was found three weeks later under a tree with his boots and hat by his side. But while he was alive, he made sure to stay in contact with his children, rare as it was, although he seemed to know what was always happening with the siblings.

“Somehow, he kept up with all of us,” Hague said. “It’s really amazing, the more you think about it. We don’t know how he did it.”

Hague now lives in Duncan, Batterton lives near the traditional family homestead in Sulphur and Manous lives in Ada.