Wessie Leland Nickens was the seventh child of Henry Y. Nickens and Julia Elizabeth Collins. He was born 14 Jun, 1900 at Galvez, Ascension Parish, La. His grandparents were Jordan Nickens and Annerette West. Julia Collins' parents were John Franklin Collins and Elizabeth Raiford. Wessie married Maybel Viola McSherdon on 15 Jul, 1922 and they raised four daughters. Wessie died 28 Mar, 1970 in Waco, Tx. Maybel lived until 21 Jun, 1988, also in Waco. They are buried together in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco under the name of Joe and Maybel Thompson. Joe's marker also bears the inscription "W.L.N.". It is believed that Wessie assumed the name of Julia Celestine Thompson's father or brother, Joseph Thompson. The "Joe Thompson" name was assumed sometime between 1932 and the birth of Julia Elizabeth Thompson in 1937. The year 1932 is significant because it is the last time that records can place Wessie anywhere as Wessie Nickens. Records indicate he was in Florida at that time. Recent interviews with some longtime Prairieville residents indicate visual sightings of Wessie about 1932 or 1933. Another interview suggests that the twin girls Lolita and Gloria were registered for school about this time but never attended class.
Joe and Maybel's children are: