Taking a Break (Sepia Saturday)


I’m trying out a challenge to get myself to post more family pictures. Sepia Saturday posts a vintage photo each week and asks bloggers to find one in their own family albums that relates to the theme.

Their photo triggered me to look for boys taking a break, boys wearing hats, etc.

Bleach Room Boys (Sepia Saturday 475)

I found one that relates to the theme and it includes my grandfather, Clarence McGhee. It’s not the same kind of hats as the boys by the mill building are wearing but close enough.

In my photo, these small-town Kansas boys are wearing broad-brimmed hats suitable for the hot sun of a prairie summer. Even so, they are squinting into the sun as the photo is taken. Clarence is the shortest boy in the back.

Clarence McGhee_boy in back_Tyro brick_edited-1

Although he worked at the glass plant in Tyro, I think he looks too young here for that. I don’t think this is a work break. Some of the boys are even younger and barefooted. Probably this is one of their backyards and that’s a garden shed or even an outhouse.

They could have been pulling weeds in the garden or performing other chores expected of boys in 1910 – 1915. Did you see the baby bunnies that the one boy has? I’m not sure if the other boy has rabbits or maybe chicks.

You can take a look at what other bloggers posted for this theme. Lots of fun old photos.

My Earliest Conclusion Was Wrong


I pulled out another mystery photo from my mother’s boxes. Across the bottom of the photo’s mat was written “Walter Baker”. Aha, I’d seen a Baker on my recent searches so I went in hot pursuit of this Walter Baker.  I found him, born in 1924. I set to work trying to find out more about this 3rd cousin. Frustrated by his parents’ early divorce, the multiple marriages of his mother, and a lack of siblings, I took a closer look at the picture.

It looked like it was from an earlier era, which wouldn’t work for someone born in 1924. There was a photography studio name on the mat but it wasn’t any help to determine the location as the decorative border obscured part of it.

carl, nellie, rosie, walter, baker babcock

The name was penciled on the dark background, so I scanned the photo and brightened it up. To my surprise, I discovered more names on the mat and they seemed to align with the people above and below them. It wasn’t Walter Baker at all, but separate males named Walter and Baker. The back row showed a young boy named Carl and two women named Nellie and Rosie. My first conclusion was totally off-track.

Now the hunt was to find a family on my tree with siblings or cousins that included those five names. Keep in mind that there are over 9,000 people on my tree, so I was prepared for this to be a prolonged search. I started sorting through the 8 people who had Baker as a first, middle, or last name. Checking their dates, then their siblings, narrowed it down to a likely fellow. BINGO, his siblings matched the names on the photo.

The People in the Photo

  • Albert Baker Babcock, born 12 Dec 1878 in Seneca, Newton, Missouri and died 18 Feb 1941.
  • Walter Leroy Babcock, born 26 Nov 1882 in Seneca, Missouri and died 7 Jan 1943 in Fremont, Colorado.
  • Carl Lowell Babcock, born 26 Jan 1897 in Stroud, Lincoln, Oklahoma and died 23 Sep 1963 in Watsonville, Santa Cruz, California
  • Nellie May Babcock, born 12 Jan 1888 in Missouri and died 1963.
  • Rosa Babcock, born about 1877 in Kansas and died 3 Sep 1960 in Watonga, Blaine County, Oklahoma.

I’d researched another photo a while ago that had Carl Babcock in it with his parents. At that time, I didn’t pay much attention to his siblings. Here’s the Babcock’s story.

Elias, Carl, Ida Babcock

Elias, Carl and Ida Babcock (photo from the collection of Gail Lee Martin)

I love the feeling of accomplishment from sleuthing out these names so I can put this photo online with the blog and with Ancestry for other relatives to find. It’s saved now from anyone just tossing it out because they don’t know who the people are and don’t care.

Somewhere, someday, a descendant of one of these Babcocks will search and find this photo. I can imagine their thrill to have their great-great-grandmother or grandfather’s picture.

A Shocking Death – William Stone


It saddened me to find this clipping about my great-grandmother’s younger brother. In genealogy, one sees births, marriages, and deaths but they are just dates on paper until you find the story behind those dates.

My great-grandmother Cordelia Jane Stone was married to John Thomas Martin and they had a young son, Archie. They lived not far from her brother William B. Stone and probably saw him often. What a shock it must have been to hear that he committed suicide.

stone suicide

The Leader Virgil, Kansas 15 Jun 1900, Fri • Page 1

Here’s the rest of the story,  which I transcribed from The Leader newspaper of Virgil, Kansas (22 Jun 1900, Friday, page 1)

Destroyed By His Own Hand.

Last Friday morning a deep gloom was spread over our community by the startling report that W.E. Stone had committed suicide. The report seemed too awfully shocking to be true, but upon investigation, it was learned to be a fact and not a rumor.

On the evening of June 14th Mr. Stone’s wife was somewhat alarmed at the despondent actions of her husband but being a woman of more than ordinary nerve she did not become very much alarmed and after spending the evening with their neighbor, Mrs. W. L. Evans, returned to her home and retired as usual.

On the morning of the 15th, Mr. Stone arose and went about his morning work as usual for some time, when coming into the house he made inquiry concerning the carbolic acid, Mrs. Stone having anticipated his motives had emptied the poison out. After parlaying some time about the carbolic acid, he next sought the razor, but Mrs. Stone was again too shrewd for her despondent husband and had taken the razor and given it to a Mr. Cooper who was doing some farm work for Mr. Eble and had come to the house to get a mowing scythe.

But Mr. Stone having fully made up his mind could not be so easily thwarted and next sought his revolver, a 38 caliber, which his wife had locked up in the sewing machine drawer. Upon finding the drawer locked, he at once proceeded to break it open, whereupon Mrs. Stone’s courage failed and she started with her two little children to Mr. Evans. She had only gone a short distance when she heard the report of the pistol. Mr. Cooper in the meantime having returned to the field where Mr. Eble was, reported to him what he had observed and Mr. Eble at once started for the house but was only about halfway from where he was working to the house when the fatal shot was fired.

Coroner Dillan was called and after making an investigation, decided not to hold an inquest.

(on the same page of the paper, his obituary was printed)


W.B. Stone was born in Dekalb County, Mo April 5, 1868, and died at his home near Virgil, Kansas June 15, 1900, age 32 years, 2 months, 10 days.

He was converted and joined the Christian church when a boy, and remained a member of that church until he came to Kansas with his parents in 1884. After coming to Kans. He joined the U.B. church.

He was married to Ella Walker Dec. 24, 1891. To them were born three children one of which died in infancy.

Bro. Stone was a kind husband, good neighbor, an honest man and a hard worker. Many think that it was overwork and bad health that caused his untimely death. A.W. Potter

More about This Story

His wife’s full name was Margaret Ellen Walker. Their two children were
Dow Lafayette Stone 1893–1905 and Erick Asiel Stone 1898–1930. Just 5 years later, the eldest son died of typhoid fever at age 12. An earlier news report praised Dow for 3 years of perfect attendance at school.

How the Family Coped

Many times a widow with young children would remarry quickly to have the family taken care of. The news clippings below show that Ella rented out part of her home and also started selling hats from her home. (All bits of news from The Leader, Virgil KS newspaper)

June 1900 – Two weeks after William’s suicide, the Woodmen, a fraternal organization, came to plow the 47 acres of corn. Sixteen volunteers with their teams did the work. I’m sure they made fairly quick work of this job that would have taken William a long time on his own.

widow w.b. stone newspaper clipping (read the rest of the story)

The Leader Virgil, Kansas 29 Jun 1900, Fri • Page 1

August 1900 – “Mrs. Ella Stone has purchased the house and lot owned by W. F. Osborn. Uncle Frank expects to move out on his farm south of town in a short time.”

Oct 1900 – “Miss Susie Pinon is staying with Mrs. Ella Stone and going to school.” (Rural students often had to board in town to continue their education on the high school level.)

March 1901 – Ella placed an advertisement in the paper, “I’ve just received an invoice of spring hats. Call at my residence, get prices, and see the latest styles.”

ella stone millinary clipping

The Leader Virgil, Kansas 29 Jun 1900, Fri • Page 1

March 1902 – “Prof Reno and wife have moved into the front part of Mrs. Ella Stone’s house.”

March 1903 – “Mrs. Ella Stone has purchased M.C. Mallicoat’s house. She is having a porch put on the front of the building and a stable built at the back of the lot. W. A. Barnes is doing the carpenter work.”

Mar 1903 – “A. L. Walker moved last Monday into the house lately purchased by Mrs. Ella Stone of M. C. Mallicoat. P. L. Cranmer moved into Mr. Walker’s house.”

ella stone switches houses again

I can’t keep up with all the moving and switching of houses. The Leader Virgil, Kansas 08 Jan 1904, Fri • Page 1

Named After Lorenzo Dow


I’d wondered why my grandfather’s middle name was Lorenzo (Charles Lorenzo Martin).  We weren’t Italian and to my mind, Lorenzo was an Italian name. It didn’t intrigue me enough to search further. Later, as I started working on the family tree, I found his namesake must have been his grandfather, Lorenzo Dow Stone. If you are trying to follow along, that’s my great-great-grandfather who was born in 1833 in Elk Creek, Grayson County, Virginia. 

That name seemed unique enough that Google might find some information on him. Instead, I found hundreds, maybe thousands, of parents had named their child “Lorenzo Dow.” Who was this man that so many people in the early 1800s respected enough to perpetuate his name? I found three people on my family tree who were named after him.

ancestors named Lorenzo Dow

I have a Blair, a Babcock, and a Stone named after Lorenzo Dow. I found so many Lorenzo Dow Babcocks that I must revamp entirely my research on that fellow. Apparently, I mashed a bunch of them together in my zeal as a beginner.

You will notice that all these were born in the early 1800s. Here’s more about this rather odd but dedicated and charismatic man who drew large crowds as he traveled around the country. He preached in churches, schools and out in the open air, converting thousands to the Methodist Church.

lorenzo dow life story

Clipped from the Alexandria Gazette Alexandria, Virginia 28 Jun 1867, Fri • Page 1

There’s a Youtube video that’s quite entertaining and it tells about his style of preaching that drew such crowds. Take a look at your own family tree. Are there any named after Lorenzo Dow on it? Now you know where that originated.

Lorenzo_Dow_by_Lossing-Barrett from Wikipedia

Lorenzo Dow preaching, engraving by Lossing-Barrett, 1856 (Creative Commons – Wikipedia)

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.

Family Dates for June



Clyde Owen Martin and Gail Lee McGhee (parents)
Married – 3 June 1945 in Neodesha, Wilson, Kansas

Ruth Vining (maternal grandmother)
Born – 10 June 1897  Wilson, Marion, Kansas

Austin Leonard McGhee (great-uncle, maternal side) 
Born – 10 June 10 1912 • Tyro, Montgomery, Kansas

birthday banner (3)

Solomon McGhee (3rd great-grandfather, maternal)
Born – 12 June 1808 in Washington, Tennessee

Viola Matilda Tower (great-grandmother, maternal)
Died – 13 June 1969 in Wellsville, Franklin, Kansas 

John Thomas Martin (paternal great-grandfather)
Born – 21 June 1866 • Ellisville, Fulton, Illinois

Prudence Burns (paternal 3rd great-grandmother)
Born – 21 June 1796 • Butler, Butler, Pennsylvania

birthday banner (2)

David Greacen Kennedy and Elizabeth Rosebaugh (2nd great-grandparents, paternal)
Married – 22 June 1848 in Butler County, Pennsylvania

The format is what genealogists use (day month year) and for locations (town, county, state). Paternal and maternal refer to whether it is my father or mother’s side of the family. The relationships are how they are related to me, but other family members like cousins will have to adjust that to fit themselves. For privacy reasons, no living names were included.


Painting of Our Ancestor – Thomas Ellison


I was excited to be contacted by a DNA match last week. He has a photo of a painting of our mutual 3x great grandfather. It was painted by Effie Skaggs who started life with the name Upha Penina Martin. Early on, the family switched to calling her Effie. She’s the sister of John Thomas MARTIN, my great-grandfather.

The parents of Effie and John Thomas Martin was Charles Coleman Martin and Sarah Ann Ellison. This brings us to Sarah’s father, our 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Ellison which is the shared ancestor between me and this DNA match who is showing as approximately a 3rd cousin.

It was his wife who’s working on making the connections. The family story was that the painting shows Effie as a baby sitting on her grandfather’s knee. They didn’t know the name of the man in the picture, but I recognized him right away. He’s a match for a photo that my first cousin, Lori Hunnicutt Herman has.

Surely, there aren’t two men out there with this beard, eyes, and hairline. I think Effie Skaggs did a wonderful job capturing this man. One presumes there’s a photo out there somewhere and that’s what she made her painting from.

The people in the painting:

Thomas Ellison
Birth – 10 JUL 1809 • Madison, Kentucky, USA
Death – 31 AUG 1896 • Cedar Township, Knox, Illinois, USA
3rd great-grandfather

Upha Penina “Effie” MARTIN
Birth – 13 APR 1858 • Ellisville, Fulton, Illinois, USA
Death – 17 FEB 1935 • Enterprise, Wallowa, Oregon, USA
2nd great-aunt


The new cousin’s wife says they have more pictures and need help giving them names.  “We have an album of photos from the 19th century with no names. Maybe you know some of those people? We also have photos of Martins from the 19th century.”

I’m thrilled. Some people question whether DNA really is much help in genealogy. To me, this new connection across the miles and across the generations proves that family history will definitely benefit from the science of DNA.