Bessie Vining Bolte


Bessie Vining Bolte, my great aunt is our featured ancestor for this week.

She was born October 5, 1887, in Wilson, Kansas. Her father, Henry Francis Vining, was 50 and her mother, Nancy Jane Babcock, was 36. Bessie was the 9th of 13 children.  Her father moved to Kansas from East Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut in the 1850s. Her mother was originally from Black Hawk, Iowa.

Her early schooling was at Pea Ridge School in Wilson County KS. The link takes you to a photo of Bessie and her siblings and school mates.

That area of Kansas was where oil was first discovered in 1892. She went to school through the 8th grade.The family moved to a sod house with a frame house added onto it in the Woodward, Oklahoma area. Although this is Oklahoma land rush area, they did not participate in that, but bought the land from someone else.

The sod house with a frame house attached.

The sod house with a frame house attached.

Bessie was 10 years old when her father died in 1897. After his death, the Vinings moved to Tyro, Kansas.

Bessie was 19 years old when she married 24 year old Edward McClullen Bolte on December 26, 1906, in Woodward, Oklahoma. Earlier, in 1902, her sister, Lucy, married Edward’s brother, Charley. Two sisters married two brothers.

Edward McClellen Bolte and Bessie Vining. This might be their wedding photo.

Edward McClellen Bolte and Bessie Vining. This might be their wedding photo.

Census records show:
►In 1910, Bessie Bolte was 22 years old and lived in Union City, Oklahoma with her husband, Edward, and son, Floyd Leon Bolte.

►In 1920, Bessie Bolte was 32 years old and lived in Penn, Oklahoma with her husband who is farming, They have 3 sons, and 3 daughters. (Hazel Irene Bolte, Roy Edward Bolte, Viola Mae Bolte, Ruth Lucille Bolte, Lewis Elbert Bolte, nicknamed Bus) Over a 12 year period, they had seven children.  (source: The Vining Family by Dorothea Vining Barnes)

►In 1925, Bessie Bolte lived in Fawn Creek, Kansas with her husband, Ed, by this time, their family was complete with the addition of daughter, Wanda Lee Bolte.

In the 1920s, oil was booming in Kansas, so an oil town sprang up in Teterville, in Greenwood County, Kansas. The two brothers moved there for the work. By now, Bessie and Lucy each had 7 children. Other siblings moved there as well. The oil boom didn’t last, and now the town of Teterville has completely vanished. Read more about the Vinings’ time in Teterville.

Formal portrait of Bessie Vining Bolte

Formal portrait of Bessie Vining Bolte

►In 1930, Bessie Bolte was 42 years old and lived in Salem, Kansas with her husband, and seven children. Ed was a truck driver in the oil field and the oldest son, age 22, was an operator at an oil refinery.

►On April 1, 1940, Bessie Bolte was 53 years old and lived in Salem, Kansas with her husband, Edward, 1 son, 2 daughters, a son-in-law and 2 grandsons (Warren, age 6 and Charles age 1) lived with them. Daughter Ruth was married to Lawrence H Bair.

All but Bessie are listed as working. The daughters worked as a servant and a housekeeper in private homes. Lewis was a laborer, the son-in-law was a mechanic’s helper for the railroad bridge and building. Edward was a contractor, hauling gasoline.

She died on October 10, 1941, in Eureka, Kansas, at the age of 54, and was buried in Robbins Cemetery near Coffeyville, Kansas. Her husband, Edward, died 8 years later.



2 thoughts on “Bessie Vining Bolte

  1. How interesting! And what a hard life it would’ve been moving from town to town with so many mouths to feed! My dad drove a truck in the oil fields in GW Co back then. Made ten dollars a month, which I’m told was more than a lot of people were making at the time. Hard to believe a guy could support a family on that, but he did.

    btw, there were a slew of VININGs in Republic and Cloud counties, KS who came out from PA and Henry Co, IL. Vining, I’m finding being a rather common name, I doubt that they’re any of yours. But someone googling Vinings might be, so I added this for their benefit. The Republic Co Vinings were a minor collateral line of mine that I haven’t bothered to track farther.


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