Our Almost-Pilgrim Ancestors


People want to trace their family tree back to the Mayflower so they can claim Pilgrim ancestors. I joke that our ancestors missed the boat and came over a few years later.

In 1620, the Mayflower reached America, and most of us are familiar with the story of the Indians bringing food to the Pilgrims. Some the passengers were Separatists, escaping religious persecution in England.

Our ancestor came 17 years later in 1637. Here’s the start of the story from the Tower Genealogical Society, ” John Tower(1), and his friend Samuel Lincoln emigrated from Old Hingham, England to Boston, Massachusetts, by ship, a voyage that took eleven and one-half weeks. After disembarking in Boston, John and Samuel traveled together by horseback to Hingham, Massachusetts, where they both settled.”

Hingham Invitation
Hingham Invitation by GoingPlaces

Why did they leave Hingham, England for America? The history page for Hingham says, “Puritan residents of Hingham, led by the former vicar of Hingham, Robert Peck and his associate Peter Hobart, emigrated to the then colony of Massachusetts. Those who left were so prominent in the community that the town was forced to petition Parliament for help, claiming that it had been devastated by the loss.”

The Church of England sought to enforce its practices and those who did not want to follow the government sanctioned religion opted to emigrate. It was not only religion that inspired their travel across the ocean. Samuel Lincoln writes in his early history that a spirit of “adventure and enterprise” motivated the settlers.

John Tower married Margaret Ibrook. They had ten children together. She lived to be 83, and he lived to be almost 93.

You can read more about them and their descendants in this book, available from Amazon in hardback and also as a 99 cent Kindle book.

It’s Grandparents Day


I’d like to feature my father’s parents, my grandparents, Cora Joy and Lorenzo Martin. It’s National Grandparents Day!

Cora Joy and Lorenzo (Ren) Martin on their wedding day February 27, 1915.

Cora Joy and Lorenzo (Ren) Martin on their wedding day.

When Cora Myrle Joy was born on November 18, 1896, in Baldwin City, Kansas, her father, Henry Alfred Joy, was 22 and her mother, Marie Kennedy, was 31. She married Charles Lorenzo “Ren” Martin on February 27, 1915, in Madison, Kansas. They had eight children in 24 years. She died on November 16, 1969 at the age of 72, and was buried at Blakely Cemetery.

When Charles Lorenzo “Ren” Martin was born on May 26, 1891, in Madison, Kansas, his father, John Thomas Martin, was 24 and his mother, Cordelia Jane Stone, was 26. Ren died on March 28, 1968 at the age of 76, and was buried at Blakely Cemetery, Madison, Kansas.

George H. and Pearl L. Vining


George Vining and Pearl Byers wedding photo 1916George Howard ViningPearl Leona Byers Vining

George married Pearl Byers Sept. 28, 1910, both were teachers, and George was also the superintendent of the public high school in Edna, KS.  George and Pearl never had children.

George is the grand uncle of Nancy Henning, and was James M. Vining’s 5th oldest son. He always seemed to be quite prosperous. When Nancy, her mother, Lorene Vining Brown and her sister Sherri, would visit them in Chanute, KS, they would stay in their beautiful two-story home. Pearl was such a refined appearing lady.

George was the superintendent of Edna High School when Lorene Vining went there. In his later years after teaching, he sold insurance. At times George and Pearl would rent out portions of their home, as well as, complete living quarters upstairs with a full kitchen.  In the 1940’s George also was part owner of a farm that he shared with his brothers’ Harry and Lawrence.

George taught highschool and was the superintendent

(the photos above are in the collection of Nancy Henning)

George Howard Vining

BIRTH – 17 FEB 1883 Kansas City, Wyandotte, Kansas, United States

DEATH – 5 DECEMBER 1964 Chanute, Neosho, Kansas, United States

Pearl Leona Byers

BIRTH – 17 NOVEMBER 1890 Kansas

DEATH – 7 OCTOBER 1972 – Chanute, Neosho County, Kansas, USA



The Two Isaac Ashlocks


I was delighted to find a new photo on ancestry.com of Isaac Ashlock, my grandmother’s half-brother. It’s always a great discovery to find family photos from the 1800s and someone’s family tree with marriages and children’s names all laid out for you.

Unfortunately the more I collected from the other tree, the more I noticed that something wasn’t right. Finally I had to acknowledge that there were two men with almost identical names and dates and both born in Missouri in the 1870s.

Here’s my effort to sort them out:

►Isaac “Ike” Alonzo Ashlock born 22 December 1872 at Rosehill, Johnson, Missouri, USA. Parents: Burr H Ashlock 1843 – 1873 and Nancy Jane Babcock 1851 – 1924. Nancy Jane is my great-grandmother. Isaac died 11 June 1945 at age 72 in Alberta, Canada. My grandmother, Ruth Vining said her half-brother’s wife was Jennette and after she died, he married Ora. Ora was Jennette’s daughter from a previous marriage, so she was Isaac’s step-daughter. After Isaac died, his brother Luther married Ora later the same year and brought her to Kansas. She later divorced him.

►Isaac Olonzo Ashlock (in some trees showing the same birth and death date and locations and parents as the Isaac above) But cperk69’s tree shows a wife named Winnifred Sarah Guffey 1874 – 1973. Arrbaldwin’s tree has Wineyfred Sarah Guffey married to Isaac Olonzo Ashlock who died 16 Nov 1957. That tree shows Isaac O. Ashlock’s parents as James Henry Ashlock 1837 – 1912 and Margaret Elizabeth Sebring 1840 –. This Isaac was born 22 September 1873 in Adair, Missouri, USA. He is nine months older than the Isaac in my family and died 12 years after our Isaac. This tree looks authentic with a number of photos of Winny and Isaac who it also calls Ilonzo. There’s even a 50th wedding anniversary photo. He lived in Missouri until 1930 the couple shows up in the Washington state census.

So the photos I found are of the second Isaac, not the one in my family tree. Unfortunately a number of trees on ancestry have a mixture of dates, locations, relationships from the two men. I’ll try to get the correct info in place and inform the owners of the other trees so they can correct them.

Here’s a photo of our Isaac Alonzo Ashlock with his sister.

Isaac Ashlock and his sister Sarilda. (photo from the collection of Gail Lee Martin)

Issac Ashlock and his sister Sarilda. (photo from the collection of Gail Lee Martin)

Read more about Isaac Ashlock’s marriages and how he is related to the Vinings.

William McGhee’s Estate Sale


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.


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.

Bertha McGhee Goes to College


This is Women’s History Month, so I’ll profile the women from our family tree. here My mother’s aunt, Bertha McGhee, born in 1903, went to college in an era when that was uncommon for a woman. She graduated from Baker University with a BS in 1929.

Bertha McGhee in 1924 - Independence High School.  She's the standing girl with the sailor dress.

Bertha McGhee in 1924 – Independence High School. She’s the standing girl with the sailor dress.

The flu epidemic of 1918 interrupted her high school years. She was finally able to complete her secondary education by 1924. In the fall of that year, she entered Baker University.

The back of the photo says "arriving in Baldwin, 1st time" She worked for her room at Miss Bennet's place. I think Bertha is the young woman with a pole behind her.

The back of the photo says “arriving in Baldwin, 1st time”
She worked for her room at Miss Bennet’s place.
I think Bertha is the young woman with a pole behind her.


I looked for a photo of the train station and found that they currently run excursion trains from Baldwin. The station dates back to 1906.

After attending Baker, she took a job in Farmington, New Mexico at the Navajo Indian Industrial School. It had been her dream for many years to help the native Americans. You can see her photos of 1929 and 1930 on this page: Navajo School – Farmington, NM.

Indian girls doing beadwork at the Navajo School in Farmington, NM. Photo by Bertha McGhee.

Indian girls doing beadwork at the Navajo School in Farmington, NM. Photo by Bertha McGhee.

In 1939, Bertha returns to college, but this time in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. She is 37years old and living in Fisk Hall. The school is the Kansas City National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries.

She is the oldest of the students in Fisk Hall, with the youngest being just 20. Also staying at Fisk are the Dean of Women, the registrar, some teachers, a secretary, a deaconess, a dietitian, an assistant dietitian, a housekeeper, an office assistant and a librarian.

I’ll list the residents of Fisk Hall, in case anyone is looking for them. I’d love to find photos from her time there. Maybe someone has some group photos and Bertha would be in them.

The census lists Dagny B Gustafson, Ruth E. Decker, B. Eureath White, Dale Clarissa Kuler, Mary F. Smith, Martha M. Hanson, Grace Hutchinson, Aletta M. Garretson, Louise E. Dutcher, Ellen E. Smith, Elizabeth Hartman, Grace A. Vause, Minnie Pike, Pearle W. Tibbetts, Mary Blasckko, Bertha Cowles, Hazel May Gilmore, Anna Altmanna, Anna R. Barman, Nettie M. Judd, and Marion C. Cannady.

The students were Eletha M. Rogers, Laura E. Byers, Ruth Gish, Esther Beaman, Eunice Stockton and Reva I. McNabb. I look at the names and wonder which ones might have befriended Bertha.

After completing the program in Kansas City, Bertha moved to Seward, Alaska for her work at the Jesse Lee Home and lived there until her retirement.



Lester Vining’s Photo – A Comparison


lester_vining_son_of_francisLester Vining headshot 1900

Just for fun here is a side by side of the unknown picture of a Lester Vining, left,

and a picture of James Vining Jr. and Jane’s 1900 picture of their son Lester, right

Same style of clothing for both.

Heytoto asked to see the rest of the group photo. Here’s the whole family (Nancy Henning’s photo) around 1900.

Fred, Lester. Aaron, George, Harry, cousin Ralph and son Earl (top row) Elnora and Irene (center) Lawrence, James Jr., Sara Jane McFall Lindsley (Jane's mother) and Jane (affectionately known as grandma Jennie)

Fred, Lester. Aaron, George, Harry, cousin Ralph and son Earl (top row) Elnora and Irene (center) Lawrence, James Jr., Sara Jane McFall Lindsley (Jane’s mother) and Jane (affectionately known as grandma Jennie)