Another McGhee Reunion

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It wasn’t easy for the McGhee siblings to get together with some on the west coast, some in Kansas, and Bertha living in Alaska. Here’s one occasion preserved in a snapshot. I’m labeling it here for the benefit of future generations. I believe the photo was taken in front of Austin’s church in Oregon.

1971 mcghee reunion from bob harlan

The 1971 McGhee reunion (photo from the collection of Bob Harlan)

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The six McGhee brothers and sisters are marked in bold in the list below. The rest are their spouses and children and grandchildren. The extended family is much larger, of course, as many could not travel to the reunion.

  1. Ronda Ayers (Cheryl’s son)
  2. Randy Ayers (Cheryl’s son)
  3. Jeffry Hauser (Melba’s son)
  4. Melba Hauser (Austin’s daughter)
  5. Allen Hauser (Melba’s son)
  6. Tammy Hauser (accidentally labeled as 5)
  7. David Robbs (Neita’s husband)
  8. Neita Robbs (Ethel’s daughter)
  9. Janice Hauser (Melba’s daughter)
  10. Bertha McGhee
  11. Edna
  12. Dan Robbs (Neita’s son)
  13. Dana (Austin’s daughter)
  14. Kerry (Austin’s daughter)
  15. Neita McGhee (Austin’s wife)
  16. Ethel Davidson
  17. Edna McGhee (Clarence’s wife)
  18. Austin McGhee
  19. Nell (Lealon’s wife)
  20. Lealon McGhee
  21. Roy McGhee
  22. Loren McGhee
  23. Cheryl Ayers (Austin’s daughter)
  24. baby? doll? blanket?
  25. Rodney Ayers (Cheryl’s husband)
  26. Frank
  27. Kenneth Robbs (Neita’s son)
  28. Clarence McGhee

 

Tyro Family And Friends

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Playing Croquet – Vintage Photo

This mystery photo was with a batch of family photos from Tyro, Kansas. My mother said these weren’t relatives, so must be friends in Tyro who came to have a game of croquet with our relatives.

Tyro friends playing croquet

The photo is labeled “Tyro friends playing croquet”

I’m guessing the photo is from 1910 to 1917, so before The Great War. They are dressed formally so maybe this was an after-church activity. The young men are wearing newsboy style caps, vests, long-sleeved white shirts, and ties (bow ties and a narrow tie). The McGhee family belonged to the Methodist Church.

In the background of the croquet game is a garden, I think. I’m guessing this might be at the Samuel and Viola Matilda (Tower) McGhee family home. They had a large garden according to their daughter Bertha’s account. She said, “The garden included a strawberry bed, huckleberries, blackberries, raspberries, dewberries, and the orchard had three kinds of peaches, apples, plums, pears as well as the grapes.”

The other option might be at the home of the Vinings, also my ancestors, but I doubt that their yard was this large. Another neighboring family was “the Galliger family with one daughter, Margaret, a little older than me and 3 younger brothers. The three families were soon doing many things together.”

I checked the 1915 Kansas census for Tyro and the 1920 U.S. census for Tyro and don’t see the Galligers listed. It would have been wonderful to look the family up on Ancestry and see if there were any photos of the three younger brothers. No such luck.

Methodist Episcopal Church in Tyro Kansas

Methodist Church in Tyro, Kansas (photo provided by Jack Irwin)

Four Generations of Mothers

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Originally posted on my mother’s blog.

Discovering Mom

Researching family history becomes more meaningful when you can see the faces that go with the names and dates. For Mother’s Day, I pulled together my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. Beyond that, I have just the names and information, but no photos.

I like seeing them all lined up like this. Looks like that high forehead and the nose came down through the generations. I must have gotten my nose and blonde hair from the Martin side, but I do have the forehead.

Here are their names and dates (left to right):

    • Gail Lee McGhee Martin 1924-2013
    • Ruth Vining McGhee 1897-1960
    • Nancy Jane Babcock Vining 1851–1924
    • Ellenor Nancy Jane Wright Babcock 1820–1882

These four women had 36 children and that doesn’t count the miscarriages or ones that died at birth. Nancy Jane remarried not long after her first husband died. In 1873 Kansas, a woman with children didn’t have the…

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Nancy Melvina Tower Vining

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As part of the 52 Ancestors Blogging Challenge, I’m featuring my great-aunt Vina. The photo shows her (in a white dress) with Lealon McGhee and an unidentified young woman holding a doll.

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Lealon McGhee and Melvina Tower with an unknown girl holding a doll.

She was born the 8th of August in 1899 in Jet, Missouri and named Nancy Melvina Tower. Her father, William Warren Tower, was 28 and her mother, Margaret Ann Peller (or Pillar), was 25. She had three sisters, Myrtle, Bessie Pearl and Edith and a brother, Charles.

 

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Nancy Melvina Tower and her younger sister, Bessie Pearl. Probably ages, 5 and 1.

In 1920, Vina Tower was 20 years old and lived in North Seminole, Oklahoma with her father, mother, and 2 sisters. Her older siblings, Charles and Myrtle, were no longer living with the family.

The highest grade Vina completed in school was 8th grade. High school was not always available in small towns or for country folk.

I presume her mother Margaret died, as her father married a second time to Emma Hill Roberds. Emma was widowed and had two sons (James and Almeda) from her previous marriage. William Warren Tower and Emma had a baby, William Lee Tower February 9, 1925.  He was usually called Billy.

 

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Looks like Bertha McGhee (rear, left). Gail Martin indicated on the back of the photo that it included Edith and Pearl Tower. Could one of these be Vina Tower or Ruth Vining?

In 1925, Melvina Vining was 25 years old and lived in Tyro, Kansas with her husband, Albert. They were newly married. He had served in France during WWI. You can read more about that at this site: Albert Vining in World War I. Albert’s first wife, Edith Flossie Hawkins died in 1923.

 

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Albert Vining and his first wife, Edith Hawkins.

 

Five years later, the census shows Melvina Vining was 30 years old and lived in Jefferson, Oklahoma with her husband, Albert, age 36.

Vina Tower Vining and nephew Donald Vining 1944

Vina Vining and nephew, Donald Vining

The next census on April 1, 1940, we find Melvina Vining at age 40 and living in Jefferson, Oklahoma with her husband, Albert.

Also with them was their 18-year-old nephew, Donald Vining. Family lore does not record why he was living with them instead of with his father, Luther Vining. Albert worked for the Canary Oil Company as a pumper and Vina was a homemaker. They never had children of their own.

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Albert and Vina Vining

She was a widow for 33 years after Albert died in Tyro on September 10, 1960.

This is my mother visiting her aunt Vina Vining. We were related both through the Vining and the Tower family. This might be Vina’s birthday. I see a balloon in the picture.

 

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Gail Martin visiting her aunt, Vina Vining in the nursing home.

 

Nancy Melvina (Tower) Vining died on December 17, 1993, in Coffeyville, Kansas, at the age of 94, and was buried there. The Tower family were very long-lived.

Her Tower family line is Nancy Melvina Tower -> William Warren Tower -> Abraham Bates Tower

The photo below shows her grandfather, father, brother and nephew. Abraham Bates Tower with a beard, his son William Warren Tower, holding the child, Billy Tower in overalls and the child is Troy Tower.

 

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Four generation photo – Tower family

 

Minda or Armin or Arminta or Amanda?

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My great-great-grandfather had a step-daughter that has me puzzled. The 1880 census lists her as the 18-year-old step-daughter of William Newton McGhee. The handwriting is hard to read, but it looks like Arminta or Arminda Micheal.

There don’t seem to be any hints on the ancestry site to help me out, so I’ve been poking around in other people’s trees looking for clues. I’ve tried variations on her name and stumbled across a possible husband for her (Lewis Davis).

Dresses on display at the Eureka, Kansas historical society.

Dresses on display at the Eureka, Kansas historical society.

Mitchell seems to be the maiden name for her mother, Elsie Jane, and possibly the census taker didn’t know how to spell that. Elsie Jane (also called Elsa in one family tree) appears to have a previous marriage as her name was Evans when she married William.

I found two Evans brothers to go with Arminda/Minta and even found Evans as a last name for Arminda on some trees. The brothers are Andrew and John W.

This raises the question of who was Minda’s father? Was it Thomas Evans who seems to be the father of Andrew and John, or was Arminda born out of wedlock before Thomas Evans married Elsie Jane?

As I mix and match the first and last names for her, I’ve found the listings for the husband and the brothers, but none of the trees include documentation like the census or a gravestone.

I wish I could solve the mystery of Arminta/Amanda/Armin/Minda with the last name of Evans/Micheal/Mitchell. She was born around 1862 in Arkansas.

Here’s what Velma Ann Roger’s had in her notes, with some additions of mine in (bold):

Samuel Newton McGhee was the second of three children born to William Newton McGhee and Elsa Jane Mitchell Evans.  Children of Wm. Newton McGhee and Elsa Jane were

1-John McGhee

2-Samuel Newton McGhee

3-Houston McGhee

William Newton McGhee had seven children by a previous marriage.  The first wife’s name is unknown. (I have Matilda E. Booker)

Their Children

1- Fate (Solomon Lafayette McGhee)

2-Lucinda (Lucinda Pearl McGhee)

3-Jane (Zilloh Jane McGhee)

4-Margaret

5-Eveline

6-Victoria (Victoria Isabell McGhee)

7-Matilda (Harriet Matilda McGhee)

8 – (Fidomia)
Elsa Jane, nee Mitchell, Evans had three children by her first marriage. 1- Andrew Evans, 2-Minda Evans (see the story above), 3-John Evans. According to scant information her husband’s name was Thomas Evans.

*An interesting footnote; Andrew Evans married Lucinda McGhee, and John Evans married Matilda McGhee. Brothers married stepsisters.  When Andrew died and Matilda died, John then took Lucinda as his 2nd wife.

What’s Next? I need to do more work on the whole batch of McGhees, Evans and Mitchells in Perry County, Arkansas. There’s a McGhee family cemetery on Find-a-Grave, so I’ll chart out a bunch from there and see if any fill the gaps in our tree.

mcghee martin family tree

mcghee martin family tree

Elmer McGhee

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When Elmer Lee MCGHEE was born on February 6, 1910, in Tyro, Kansas, his father, Samuel Newton McGhee, was 34 and his mother, Viola Matilda Tower, was 37. He had seven brothers and two sisters. He died as a child on April 5, 1921, in his hometown.

Here’s the bare bones information from the U.S. Federal Census:
►1910 -Elmer McGhee was less than a year old and lived in Caney, Kansas with his father, mother, 5 brothers, and sister. His siblings are Clarence, Jesse, Roy, Bertha, Lealon, and Loren.
►1920 – Elmer Mcghee was 9 years old and lived in Caney, Kansas with his father, mother, 4 brothers, 2 sisters, and 82-year-old grandfather, Abraham Tower.  Added siblings for Elmer are Austin and Ethel. There was an 18-year-old boarder living with them who worked on the public road.

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The occasion above seems to be a visit from the Texas branch of the Tower family (Alice and daughters, Helen and Willie Bell) to Tyro. Elmer and Austin McGhee are in the front.

Samuel Newton McGhee and son Elmer in Tyro KS

Samuel McGhee holding his son Elmer. Their home in Tyro, Kansas, with the smaller Vining family home in the background.

The background story on Elmer is he and his brother Austin had polio at a very young age. You see Elmer and his father, Samuel Newton McGhee here in front of their home in Tyro.

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Austin McGhee, still in baby dress and his older brother Elmer. Note the step made from a packing box.

The family got a pony so Elmer could go to school. The other children walked to school, but Elmer was too disabled by the polio.

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Elmer and Austin McGhee, Tyro, Kansas.

Here’s the Tyro School picture with Elmer and Austin.

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Elmer and Austin McGhee, Tyro School, guessing it is around 1919 

Elmer and Austin McGhee are in the 2nd row from the blackboard…the 1st two boys in dark shirts.

Elmer McGhee was buried in Robbins Cemetery near Tyro, Kansas. You will find a number of Tower, McGhee, and Vining graves there.

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Bertha writes about the photo of her father Samuel holding Elmer.

William McGhee’s Estate Sale

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According to the book, Washington County Tennessee, Settlement of Estates 1796-1841, William McGhee’s estate was totaled up after a public sale in 1828. He would be my 5 X great-grandfather.

Here’s the line: Samuel Newton McGhee > William Newton McGhee (3) > Solomon McGhee  > William McGhee (2) > William McGhee (1). Quite a few trees on Ancestry.com have this line but I’m not seeing documentation linking the William > William.

It seems the McGhee name shows up in censuses and other documents with many variations in spelling. McGee, McGeehee, Ghee, Magee.

It’s interesting as many of the names that were buyers at the sale seem to be family members. It’s also interesting to see the value of items almost 200 years ago and what things he owned.

 

Wm McGhee (2) bought from the sale after the death of William Ghee (possibly his father):

one hoe .25, rifle 10.00, Cow & calf 9.00, Mans Saddle 10.00, Silver Watch 5.00, 2 Books .50, quantity of clothing 3.00, saddle blanket 1.00, Great Coat 5.00, 1 Scythe & Cradle 2.00, Sow & six pigs 3.00, ten bus corn at .25 per bushel 2.50, ten bus corn at .31 per bushel 3.10, a quantity of Corn at .31 per Bushel 18.60.

one pair upper leathers .27, one Bear skin 1.00, one fine hat 5.00, one fur hat, one wool hat 1.50, fifteen Bushels wheat 5.00, 150 bushels corn .33 1/3 per bushel 50.00

William McGhee signed with an X, his mark.

John McGhee (possibly William’s brother) bought 5 pounds iron at .03 per pound .15, one horse collar .75, five hundred Bundles fodder 5.51, Eighteen Bushels rye 6.12,Two pair Bridle Bits .50

Another person who bought at the sale was William Broyles. (The younger William McGhee’s wife is Leah Ann Broyles). There is a William Simon Broyles living in Tennessee, who was a cousin of Leah Ann. It seems likely that it is him.

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Photo by Virginia Allain

A few others bought items from the estate sale. They were Matthew Clark, Willam Felken (or Fulker), William Forgeson, John Harman, and John McNeal. William McGhee’s horse sold for $75.

Although it doesn’t state in the record that William (2) is the son of William (1), it places the two of them in Washington County, Tennessee in 1828, along with the Broyles.

Some additional things we might interpret from this. It’s likely that William Ghee or McGhee was a widower since the things he owned were being sold after his death. It seems he grew crops of corn and rye and hay (the bundles of fodder). There was one horse and a saddle and a horse collar so the horse served both as a saddle horse and a plow horse. No wagon was mentioned.

His most valuable personal possessions were a rifle, a silver watch, a greatcoat and a fine hat. There were 2 books so either he or his deceased wife could read, but his son signed the sale paper with an X.

I’m glad to see no mention of slaves, though it is likely that he could not afford any.

Source for the information: “Pedigree Resource File,” database,  FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:2:SBJS-P7M : accessed 2015-03-18), entry for William /McGhee/.