At the Cemetery – Marie Kennedy Joy


The 52 Ancestors’ blogging prompt this week is “At the Cemetery.” Appropriate for Memorial Day, of course, but a bit of serendipity for me. I’d pulled out a box of family memorabilia to sort and scan. The first thing out of the box was a yellowed envelope labeled “Deed to my lot in Blakely Cemetry – Marie Joy.” She is my great-grandmother on my father’s side of the family.

Inside was the deed form, nicely filled out and embossed with two seals. Very official looking. The lot was purchased in 1937, so probably at the time of her husband, Henry Alfred Joy’s death. It would have been a double lot.

The cemetery location in Greenwood County is known to me as many of the Martins, McGhees, and Joys are buried there. Their daughter Cora is buried there with her husband Charles Lorenzo Martin. Some of Cora and Ren’s children are there as well (Zella and Dorothy). Of the McGhees, there my grandparents, Clarence and Ruth McGhee and their daughter, Melba McGhee Harlan.

Also in the envelope was a list of expenses for a funeral. It’s unclear if it was from Alfred’s funeral or from Marie’s. The handwriting looks like that on the outside of the envelope so my guess is that Marie wrote this in 1937 after her husband’s funeral.

marie joy death burial 3

I’ll transcribe it here to make it searchable online.

  • Dr Fairbrother $5
  • Dr Manning $25
  • Lot in cemetry $10
  • Digging grave  $8
  • Minister  $5
  • Singer  $2
  • monument  $90
  • burial clothes $8
  • flowers  $5
  • Dr Lose  $38.50
  • Mr Cook $295
  • prescription, Dr Manning  $1
  • total  $492.50

So, it would appear that this includes the medical expenses for Alfred Joy’s last illness. A newspaper clipping tells that he was bedfast for 3 months before dying. One wonders if it was a stroke or cancer or another illness.

The newspaper also gave us the name of the minister (Rev. G. Russell Fosmire of the Madison Methodist Church) and the singer (Mrs. Lois Hamilton sang “Saved By Grace” and “Sweet By and By”).

The last bit of paper in the old envelope was labeled “Family of Mrs Marie Kennedy Joy.” Here’s the list (with my own notes in parenthesis):

  • Father – May 14, 1821 – 1906 (David Greacen Kennedy)
  • Mother – Nov 14, 1826 – 1918 (Elizabeth Jane Rosebaugh)
  • Ed – Feb 13, 1851 (Edward Newton Kennedy)
  • Jim – Apr 1, 1853 (James Kerr Kennedy)
  • Ella – Feb 20, 1855 (Ellen Kennedy)
  • B.T. – Aug 13, 1857 (Bayard Taylor Kennedy)
  • Walter – Mar 1, 1860 (Walter C. Kennedy)
  • Marie – Dec 1, 1864 (Marie C. Kennedy)
  • John – Oct 8, 1868 (John B. Kennedy)
  • D.G. Jr. – Jan 23, 1870 (David Greacen Kennedy Jr.)

marie kennedy joy list family dates

I started comparing the names and dates to the family tree that I maintain on Ancestry. Everyone matches up. I wish I had the rest of the middle names.

X is for Xenophon


I’m fixating on Xenophon, a third great-uncle on my family tree. It was just last month that I discovered him and his family. It appears that he and his wife Lucy raised my second great-grandmother, Dacy Richards, after the death of her father George W. Richards and her mother, Sarah, in New Michigan, Livingston County, Illinois.

x letter pixabay

The part that fascinates me is trying to track the movement of the family and collect information on their anti-slavery activities in the 1850s and 1860s leading up to the Civil War. Having abolitionists in the family tree brings to life from the pages of the history books. The underground railroad and settlement in Kansas to secure it as a free state are no longer abstract bits of our country’s past. I should have paid more attention in grade school.

Kansas reader & history books (2)

Tidbits on and from online searches give me a rough timeline for the Richards family:

  • 4 July 1804 – Xenophon Richards born in New York state (according to various census)
  • 1812 – brother George Richards born in NY state (Dacy’s father)
  • 1816 – brother Sardinia Richards born in NY state
  • 1819 – sister Diana Richards born in NY state
  • 1832 – Xenophon marries Samantha Whaley, daughter of an abolitionist, Otis Oliver Whaley in Jackson County, Michigan. Otis seems to have lived in Bruce in LaSalle County IL, in Cato in Cayuga County NY, in Skaneateles in Onondaga County NY, in Canandaigua in Lenawee Michigan, in Windsor in Eaton County Michigan, and in 1859 married Lydia Rumery in Livingston County, ILL. I detail all of those because the Richards, the Whaleys, and the Rumerys seem to have married into each other’s families, moved around in some cases together, and participated in anti-slavery activities together.
  • 1836 – still in Michigan. Son, Oscar Grinman Richards born.
  • 1848 – “In 1848, George, Sardinia, and Xenophon Richards, their sisters and brothers-in-law Russell Nelson, made the first settlement on the prairie in Illinois. They were from the state of Michigan.  This was the year of the completion of the Michigan and Illinois Canal and from this time forward, for several years, a good many emigrants came from Northern Ohio and Indiana and Southern Michigan by way of the canal. The Richardses settled in the vicinity of the site of New Michigan, naming it after their native state. They were enterprising and progressive men.”

    Article title: NEWTOWN HISTORY
    Website title:


  • 1857 – Came to Kansas, likely with the group of 27 emigrants that included his son Oscar Grinman Richards who had earlier been fighting under Lane in the skirmishes along the Kansas/Missouri border. Counted in Douglas County, Kansas 1860 census.
  • The rest of his life was lived in that area. He died in 1875.

Other Identified Abolitionists Associated with Xenophon Richards:

  • his son, Oscar Grinman Richards
  • brothers – George and Sardinia Richards
  • Dr. Horace H. Hinman
  • Otis Oliver Whaley
  • Moses Rumery
  • C. P. Paget
  • Capt. Wm Strawn
  • and perhaps James Stout

I need to track the Rumery and Whaley families to see where they were in Michigan and New York. This may shed more light on Xenophon and his brothers. If I can uncover the names of their parents, I can add my 4th great-grandparents, the Richards, to my tree.


The History of Livingston County, Illinois – Wm. LeBaron, Jr. & Co. – 186 Dearborn Street, Chicago (1878)


Family Histories P-R. (2019). Retrieved 15 January 2019, from

History of the State of Kansas (1883) by William Cutler

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (1918) by William Connelly

S Is For School Days


My grandmother, Cora Myrle Joy, went to school north of Burlingame, Kansas. I know this because there’s an old photo that I finally took the time to look closely at it and analyze what it meant to our family history. This 1907 school photo shows Cora (with the X) and her brother Harry (with the check mark).

prairie center school cora joy

We learn more about the school from a program that the family saved. The Prairie Center School, District No. 59 was in Burlingame Township in Osage County, Kansas.

The teacher was Jennie Aletta Morgan. She had 31 students of all ages and abilities to teach.
souvenir school program

I’ll group the other children attending the school by their surnames, though they may not be siblings.

  • Nellie Cozine
  • Lee Roy Cox
  • Grace Crouch, Mabel Crouch, Orba Crouch
  • Edgar Fisher, Edith Fisher, Marion Fisher
  • Alfred Gates
  • Pearl Gehring
  • Myrtle Gifford, Roy Gifford
  • Cora Joy, Harry Joy
  • Charlie Kemble, Maude Kemble, Robert Kemble
  • Josie Long, Nettie Long
  • Edward Lyons, Ethel Lyons, Herbert Lyons
  • Ralph McRae
  • Ida Moore, Nellie Moore, Tom Moore, Willard Moore
  • Austin Shipley
  • Jesse Tucker, Toney Tucker

Tidbits about some of the families that I found in the census or other sources:

James O. Crouch and wife Lena had children Orby age 14 in 1907, Mary/Mabel age 11, Grace age 8, and two preschool children Norvil and Lloyd. J.O. Crouch is listed on the program as the director of the school (probably school board).

Alfred Joy (my great-grandfather) is listed as the clerk. His wife, Marie Kennedy, was a school teacher in Douglas County before they married. Harry (age 8 at the time of the photo) and Cora (age 11) are their only children. They were only in Osage County for a few years, approximately 1906  – 1908. I was able to find a newspaper clipping showing their public sale when they left Williamsburg in Franklin County, Kansas in Feb 1904. I’m not sure if they went directly to Burlingame at that time. A September 1908 clipping shows another auction of their horses, cattle, and farm implements. Then the family appears in records at Hamilton, Greenwood County, Kansas in 1908.

Nellie Cozine, born in 1893, had a unique enough name that she was easy to research. Her parents were William and Lavinia S. Cozine. Nellie had 2 older sisters, Carrie and Minnie. At one point, an elderly Caroline Cozine was living with the family. Probably William’s mother.

Pearl Gehring must have been one of the older students at age 18. Her parents were William and Luthna Gehring. William was born in Germany but spoke English according to the census.

There were several Shipley families in the census, but the one with Austin L. Shipley included his parents William M. and Rosa B., a grandmother named Rebecca Shipley and a brother named Alvia C.

The Fishers were age 7 (Edgar), age 10 (Marion), and age 13 (Edith) in 1907. Their parents were Joseph C. and Katie M. The younger children in the family were Effie, Emma, and Douglas. The children were all born in Kansas.

The 1910 census lists Vera Gifford and Leroy Gifford in different households, so likely they are cousins. I found 8 different Gifford families, but couldn’t find Myrtle. Perhaps she was older and by 1910 had married or maybe she had died.

The McRae family consisted of parents William and Maude, with Elsie, Ralph, and Hazel. Elsie was 8 in 1907 and Ralph was 11.

Herbert – age 8, Edward – age 14, and Ethel – age 16 were the children of John P. Lyons. By the time of the 1910 census, they’d lost their mother.

The Moores were a large family. Besides Ida – age 14, Nellie – age 12, Tom – age 10, William – age 9, there were three younger children (Frank, Pearl, Rubie) and the parents Robert and Sadie.

Prairie Center School report 1907Prairie Center School report 1907 Thu, Oct 17, 1907 – Page 5 · The Burlingame Enterprise (Burlingame, Kansas) ·

In this report, we see a few names that weren’t in the list that I extracted from the program. The additional students are Edna Tucker, Elsie McRae, Frank Moore, and Bernice Morgan. I wonder if Bernice is related in some way to the teacher.

Prairie Centre School reportPrairie Centre School report Thu, Nov 14, 1907 – Page 3 · The Burlingame Enterprise (Burlingame, Kansas) ·

Again, this report includes some new names: Norval Crouch, Mary Crouch, Cecil Gifford, and Vera Gifford.

Out of Place


The 52 Ancestors Blog Challenge theme this week is “Out of Place.” I’m struggling with an ancestor and trying to reconcile the records. All her life seemed to revolve around southeastern Kansas, then suddenly, late in life, she marries and dies in Dodge City, Kansas. At least that appears to be her in several family trees. Is there something out-of-whack here?

Nellie Oshel’s full name was Arnell Gracia Oshel. She was born on March 19, 1890, in Johnson, Kansas, when her father, Thomas, was 28, and her mother, Sarah Amelia Joy, was 25. She seemed destined for spinsterhood as at age 20 and age 30, she is still living at home with her parents in 1910 and 1920 in Gardner, Kansas. For a while in 1914, she helped as a live-in housekeeper for her elderly grandparents and her uncle on his farm. But both Mary and George Joy died that year.

I had no picture of Nellie, but imagined her as looking similar to her mother, Sarah. My thanks to Dick Joy for this photo.

sarah amelia joy oshel

Sarah Amelia (Joy) Oshel, mother of Arnell Gracia Oshel who was called Nellie.

At age 40, she’s still single and is back in the household of her bachelor uncle, Stephen Garfield Joy who was age 49. The year was 1930 and the census taker recorded her as Grace Oshel instead of her nickname, Nellie. Her mother died a year later and her father died eight years after that.

Her uncle, Stephen, died the same year as her father. Grace was all alone and took a live-in job as housekeeper for a couple in their eighties, W.B. and Mary Woodburn of Ottawa, Kansas. At this point, she is listed as widowed, though I found no record of a marriage. One wonders if she was still a spinster but thought that “widow” gave her more status. I’ll search further.

Then she shows up on Find-A-Grave in Dodge City, supposedly married to Arthur Gregg Elliott and buried there in 1950. This raises red flags to me.

Where to Search Next

  • I’ll hunt up some Kansas census records which fall in between the U.S. census years.
  • I’ll ask in my cousins’ group on Facebook where a few people might have childhood memories of great-aunt Grace. Perhaps they’ll remember if she ever married.
  • I’ll query the genealogists who have the husband listed for her in their trees.
  • I’ll search the Dodge City and Gardner, Kansas, newspapers for 1940 to 1950 to see if I can find a marriage notice or an obituary.

I did find a photo that is labeled Arnell Gracia Oshel. To me, it appears to be a young lady in her teens or twenties which for it to be Grace would put the picture’s date around 1910. The dress isn’t right for that era. It seems more Victorian and appropriate for 1880s or 1890s.

nellie or grace Oshel from Ancestry may not be right

Is this Arnell Grace Oshel (Nellie) or someone else?



J Is For Joy News 1913 – 1914


Searching through the Eudora Weekly News, I found some sad times for the Joy family in 1913 and 1914. First, I’ll set the scene.

George Washington Joy had remarried after the death of his wife, Dacy Richards. His new wife, Mary Weisinger was 42 at the time they married and had a son, Stephen Garfield Joy, a few years later. By 1910, that son was grown up and had his 71 and 73-year-old parents living with him while he farmed.


George Washington Joy’s 2nd wife, Mary Weisinger

Also in the household was a hired girl, Nellie Oshel. Nellie was the daughter of Stephen’s half-sister, Sarah Amelia Joy Oshel. Her job is listed as a housekeeper so it is likely that she was cleaning the house, cooking, and providing assistance for the older couple, her grandparents.

1913 – 1914 Joy Family News

  • October 1913 – The newspaper reported that Mrs. Joy “seems much improved in health this summer.” Their son also got a mention, “Steve Joy got a fine well on his farm west of the Daugherty place.”
  • December 1913 – Mrs. Joy had a stroke that resulted in a slight paralysis.
  • January 22, 1914 – “Mrs. George Joy lies critically ill at her home in Belleview.”
  • February 19, 1914 – the newspaper reported that she was “no better.”
  • March 26, 1914 – “Death has claimed one of our neighbors, Mrs. Joy. She was a kind-hearted woman. We will all miss her. Our hearts go out in sympathy to the son and husband.” Mary Joy - deathMary Joy – death Thu, Mar 26, 1914 – 1 · The Eudora Weekly News (Eudora, Kansas) ·
  • Shortly before Christmas of 1914, Mary Joy’s husband also died. In his case, it was unexpected and quite sudden.

G.W. Joy dies suddenly - heart attackG.W. Joy dies suddenly – heart attack Thu, Dec 24, 1914 – 2 · The Eudora Weekly News (Eudora, Kansas) ·
G.W. Joy's life - obitG.W. Joy’s life – obit Thu, Dec 31, 1914 – 2 · The Eudora Weekly News (Eudora, Kansas) ·
Because of his long-standing role in the community, there were multiple articles in the paper about his life and death.
G.W. Joy's life - obitG.W. Joy’s life – obit Thu, Dec 31, 1914 – 2 · The Eudora Weekly News (Eudora, Kansas) ·

F Is for Flora Rayson


My grandmother had several cousins who stayed single all their lives. Flora Rayson and her sister Galena were two of those. Their early photos show two winsome children.

Flora Bell Rayson was born on August 6, 1896, to Harriette Elizabeth “Hattie” Joy, age 25, and George Thomas Rayson, age 39 in Hamilton, Greenwood County, Kansas. Two years later her sister Vida Galena P was born on May 30, 1899. Their Rayson grandparents immigrated from England and were early settlers in Douglas County, Kansas.

flora and galena Rayson

Baby Galena and her older sister Flora Rayson in 1899 or 1900.

The photo below shows the Rayson sisters and their younger cousins, Harry and Cora Joy (Cora is my grandmother).

rayson and joy childrenTheir direct gaze but unsmiling faces are charming. Flora and Galena have no children or grandchildren to remember their lives so we will remember it here.

Perhaps when they were of marrying age, the young men had gone to France for the Great War. Many died and were buried in Flander’s Field in 1918. It’s doubtful, now that time has passed, that we’ll ever know the reason they didn’t marry.

Flora attended four years of college and taught for many years in the Great Bend area. The 1940 census shows that she owned her own home and her 68-year-old mother lived with her.  The third person listed in the household was a lodger, another teacher. The 1959 city directory shows her teaching at the Riley School.

A newspaper clipping in 1960 shows that her older sister Beulah Rayson spent two months visiting her from Pasadena, California. Apparently, she also remained single and I’m guessing she was a teacher as well.

I found 39 newspaper mentions in the Great Bend paper for Flora Rayson. She traveled with friends in 1958 for three weeks to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec, then on to New York City and Washington D.C. A number of times Mrs. Frances Brandt is mentioned as well, so she seems to have a good friend.

Galena died fairly young at age 39 in 1938. Flora had a long life, dying in 1985 at age 88.

Flora was active in clubs, service activities, and furthering her education with lectures, cultural events, conferences, and tours. In 1954, she was elected president of the Wesleyan Service Guild, a club for “gainfully employed women.” She was also a member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW).

Photos Over the Years

The photo below shows the Rayson sisters (wearing white, front row) with assorted cousins, aunts and uncles, and a horse.

joy rayson coate family group

The Joy and Rayson families and a horse

More About This Picture

Back row (l-r): George Rayson, William (Will) Gardner Joy, Harriette (Hattie) Joy Rayson, Marie Kennedy Joy, Elma Joy, Alfred Joy
Front row standing (l-r): Susan Elizabeth Coate Joy, Galena Rayson, Flora Rayson, Cora Myrle Joy, Harry Joy
Front (seated): Loren Henry Joy

Family groupings in the picture:

Hattie, Will, and Alf are siblings. Parents are George Washington Joy and Dacy Elizabeth (Eliza) Richards Joy.

  • George Thomas Rayson, Harriette Elizabeth (Hattie) Joy Rayson (wife), Vida Galena (Galena) Rayson and Flora Belle Rayson (daughters).
  • William Gardner (Will) Joy, Susan Coate Joy (wife), Sarah Elma (Elma) Joy (daughter), Loren Henry Joy (son).
  • Henry Alfred (Alf) Joy, Marie Kennedy Joy (wife), Cora Myrle Joy (daughter), Harry Earl Joy (son).
    (I’ve never seen a middle name for Marie, so I’m not convinced that the caption showing “Gladys” is correct. Her gravestone doesn’t show a middle name.)

The Rayson Sisters and Their Mother, Hattie Joy Rayson.

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C Is For Cora and Ren’s Wedding


I pulled out a photo of my grandparent’s wedding party and wondered who all those people were. Recently, I found a list of guests to go with it. Now, I must enlist family members to help me assign the names to the faces in the photo.

The wedding of Cora Myrle Joy and Lorenzo Martin


For details of the wedding, I found their announcement in my mother’s collection. They were married on the 24th of February in 1915. The wedding was in Madison, Kansas.

cora and ren wedding invite

When I look at the people in the group photo, they are aren’t wearing coats so it wasn’t a very cold day or else they stepped outside briefly for the picture and then hurried back inside. Here’s the newspaper clipping with the various guests listed.


guests at Cora and Ren Martin's wedding Newspapers com

Let’s expand on that list of names which like many old newspapers neglected to give married women’s first names. I’d added details from and from our family records collected by my mother, Gail Lee Martin.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Martin (Archie Lloyd Martin was Lorenzo’s brother, Lloyd’s wife was Anna Mabel Storrer)
  • Grace Oshel (Cora’s cousin, Arnell Gracia Oshel, called Nellie by the family)
  • Flora and Galena Rayson (first cousins of Cora. They never married.)
  • Elma Joy (another cousin of Cora. Daughter of William Gardner Joy and Susan Coate)
  • Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Martin (Ren’s parents, John Thomas Martin, and wife Cordelia Stone)
  • Mr. and Mrs. M.H. Payne (Martin Henry Payne and wife, Cora Gozina “Grace” Martin. She is Ren’s aunt, sister of J.T. Martin.)
  • Mrs. Kennedy (likely Cora’s grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Rosebaugh Kennedy. She died in 1918)
  • Forrest Payne (son of M.H. Payne and Grace)
  • Robert Martin (Ren’s younger brother. He married Sarah Clark the next year.)
  • Fay Martin (Ren’s younger sister, Anna Faye. She later married Ivan Halligan.)
  • Harry Joy (Cora’s younger brother. Three years later, he married Mildred Evelyn “Millie” Holland.)
  • Glen and Vern Payne (ages 8 and 12, sons of Martin Henry and Grace Payne. Glen is likely the boy in overalls in the group photo. Vern may be the taller boy behind him.)

The Olpe Optimist newspaper of March 3rd described the wedding PRAIRIE BELLE Martin-Joy. Miss Cora Joy and Mr. Lorenzo Martin were married Wednesday noon at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Joy, by Rev. R. H. Beall. They were attended by Miss Nellie Oshel. of Gardner, Kansas, and Mr. Robert Martin. They will go to housekeeping on the Joy farm, three miles west of Prairie Belle.

A reception was given by the bride’s parents at their home Wednesday evening. About twenty-five young people were present and the bride and groom received several beautiful presents. All departed at a late hour having enjoyed a pleasant evening and wishing them a long and happy married life. Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo Martin spent from Thursday until Sunday evening with relatives at Emporia.

The Hamilton Grit newspaper of March 4th gave additional details, Joy-Martin Married: At the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Joy, in the Prairie Bell neighborhood, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 1915, at high noon, their daughter, Cora Myrle to Mr. Charles Lorenzo Martin, Rev. R. H. Beall officiating. After the ceremony was performed a sumptuous wedding feast was served to the young couple and the invited guests.

The bride was dressed in a lovely gown of beaded net over white satin, and the groom wore the conventional black. Both of these young folks are highly respected in the community in which they live and their many friends wish them all the happiness of a wedded life of health and prosperity. Many beautiful and valuable presents were received by the bride. Mr. and Mrs. Martin will be at home after March 1st on the old Joy farm.”

Cora Joy and Lorenzo (Ren) Martin on their wedding day February 24, 1915.