A Dream Gone Bust


This story about my father didn’t make it into his book, Clyde Owen Martin: Family Stories of His Life And TimesHere’s what Mom said when I asked about including it, “Let’s leave the Dream Gone Bust out. I think it needs more to it. I wrote it and added the pictures as a sample for one of the Shepherd Center writing assignments, so it was really short. As I read it over it triggers more memories of that time.”

Unspoken perhaps was the feeling that Dad might not want to be reminded of this time of failure.

Clyde Martin farm sale roxio

In Gail Martin’s memory piece, she gave 1948 as the year of the mastitis, but the sale announcement is from 1947.

For some background, here are my sister Karen’s notes on that time, “As a young couple, they started a dairy operation with an Ayrshire herd, only to have that dream dashed when, after a particularly rainy season, mastitis spread through their herd. State health regulations forced them to sell the herd as butcher cattle at a loss.”

You can see from the sale flyer that they sold 33 head of cattle and some of the equipment is listed as “nearly new.”


Clyde Martin with his registered Ayrshire calf – 1946.

Mom’s Memories of

The Dream Gone Bust

In 1983 while writing about the places they had lived over the years, Gail Lee Martin wrote that when she and Clyde married, they lived on a rented farm south of Madison. To be exact, she described it as 4 miles south of Madison, 2 miles east, 1/4 mile south.

The next winter, we moved into the Martin homestead back west 1/2 mile. Dorothy (Clyde’s older sister) and Orville Stafford were still living there, while they were getting their house in town fixed up. Clyde’s folks had retired and moved into town.

We lived there and farmed the home place and had a herd of milk cows. Clyde milked them and we bought several registered Ayrshires to go with the other cows. In the summer, we baled hay for people with Haynes and Marion Redding. They gave the nickname Butch to our son, Owen. 

The winter and spring of 1948 were very wet and mastitis, a dairy disease, got in our herd and we had to sell them as butcher cows. The Ayrshires were separate so we were able to take them to Uncle Jesse’s in Missouri for awhile. Later, we were able to sell them when they didn’t get the disease.

Here are the topics Gail wanted to add to the piece but never did,

“Using milking machines, and the cream separator and the cleaning and reassembling of all the parts. cleaning the cows’ udders and putting on the restraints for the two cows that always wanted to kick.  Learning to help Clyde milk the cows before we got the milking machines. Selling the cream that was picked up each morning by a truck. The big garden space, all those baby chickens that grew into big ones and the grouchy old hens that didn’t want you to get their eggs. More about baling hay for hire with Haynes and Marian. Following in Cora’s footsteps was a hard act to follow.” 

1930 Farmington, NM Outing


I don’t have photos of any film stars in my family collection, but I do have ladies with cars. So for this Sepia Saturday challenge, I’ll share my great-aunt Bertha McGhee’s pictures. It also serves for the 52 Ancestor’s Challenge: Adventure.

Sepia Saturday Header 494 (2 Nov 2019) Filmstar With Car

These are from her time in New Mexico when she was working at the Navajo Indian School. Apparently, the staff at the school had some time off and went on excursions together.  That’s Bertha standing by the car.

Bertha by car in NM

I’ve made contact with two people who also had great-aunts working at this school. They’ve been able to identify their relatives in a few photos that I have. Sure would be great to hear from others who might recognize some of these teachers and school employees. The year might be 1929 or 1930.

I don’t know whose car this was or who owned the dog. Some possible names of the people are ones I’ve collected from the 1930 census for the staff names at the Navajo Indian Mission of Farmington, NM. The people below could be Mabel Huffman, Bessie Ullery, Clara Lenz, Emily Guigon, Nellie Hawthorn, Mary A. Leckliter or Eli Forman. There were two sisters in their twenties living at the school (Lois and Edith Hadley).

Bertha & dog on car in sandTop-4

These photos seem like they are from the same adventurous excursion. They are exploring on unpaved roads, quite sandy in places, in areas with scrubby growth. They take some photos on a rocky hillside and in an arroyo. I’m glad they didn’t get stranded out there in the sand.


Top-3_edited-1young woman in New Mexico 1930Bertha on right?bertha and teachers on hillside (2)

The woman in the dark hat is identified by her great-nephew as Bessie Ullery. At first, I thought the other woman with the scarf might be Mabel Hoffman, but her great-nephew says it isn’t her.

The man may not necessarily be an employee at the school. Possibly the young women hired a local driver for the outing or he might be a friend. I keep hoping that someone will recognize the rock formations as a destination near Farmington, New Mexico.


Read more about the Navajo Mission School and the people. To see what other bloggers are writing about for Sepia Saturday, just click that link.

The 1924 Trip to Oregon


At age 57, my great-grandparents took an adventurous trip to the west coast of the United States. They left the plains and the rolling Flint Hills of Greenwood County, Kansas near Madison, on June 4th, 1924 for a two-and-a-half-month excursion with their daughter Faye (Anna Faye, age 22). The original plan was an auto trip of the Martins and a friend. When R. Wolcott canceled, John Thomas Martin and his wife Cordelia Jane (Stone) decided to go by rail.

They sent a card to R. Wolcott (I think this is Rolla Wolcott of Madison). The card was mailed from Tennessee, Colorado, which is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains. It has an elevation of 10,424 feet. The card said they had just passed through the Royal Gorge.

train 1924 - Colorado

 Sun, May 25, 1924 – Page 22 · The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) · Newspapers.com

The Martins were accompanied on the trip by Mrs. Effie Skaggs who was returning to Oregon after a visit to the Martins in Kansas. Effie was John Thomas’ sister. John Martin was the only one of the siblings who did not move to the west coast.

Miss Laura Brenkman went as far as Salt Lake City with them, where she would spend the summer with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Brenkman. (I haven’t been able to figure out how she may relate to the family)

The Oregon trip was for John Thomas Martin to visit his brother, Frank. M. Martin in LeGrande and sister, Grace (Cora Gozena) Payne, and her family in Enterprise, Oregon. Frank made annual trips to Kansas bringing train carloads of apples to sell from his orchard.

John Thomas Martin is listed in the 1925 census as a carpenter and must have done quite well with it to be able to take this much time off and pay the costs for a trip like this.

john martin in oregon

John Thomas Martin in Oregon in 1924

The Hamilton Herald of Kansas reported on Friday, Aug 15, 1924 on page 3 about the trip.

“J. T. Martin and wife and their daughter, Miss Fay, returned home from Oregon Sunday morning, where they spent the summer visiting relatives and seeing the sights. There was a good wheat crop out there and the apple crop is good. They attended the Rose Carnival in Portland. In Portland, they saw a garden in which 700 different kinds of roses were growing. Miss Fay took 13 dozen Kodak pictures while she was in the west and on the trip.”

I found a camera ad that shows the kind of camera used at that time. Perhaps more pictures survive from their adventurous trip. I’ll look further for those. Perhaps the Halligan family has them.
kodak camera sale graphicKodak camera graphic Tue, Jun 24, 1924 – 9 · The Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio) · Newspapers.com

Reunion – 71 Years Ago


Seventy-one years ago in July, the McGhee family gathered for a reunion. Thank goodness, someone labeled the photos or I never would have figured out the people in this photo.

1948 mcghee reunion ruth dora

July 1948 – McGhee family reunion

Even with the names, I’m hard put to match them up. I’ll have to put our Facebook cousins group to work figuring out this one.

The casual pose captures the relaxed camaraderie of siblings and their offspring gathered together.  Boards resting on barrels serve as tables with a checked table cloth to dress them up. The glass pitcher is probably filled with freshly-squeezed lemonade. The plate on the grass appears to have sandwiches on it. I’m sure there was fried chicken, potato salad, and baked beans too.

1948 mcghee reunion1948 mcghee reunion 2

The women are wearing dresses and the men have slacks and long-sleeved shirts. This is probably Kansas and therefore quite hot in July. It was a more formal time and the attire is what was appropriate in that era for a special picnic with the extended family.

Chairs were brought out from the house and impromptu seating concocted as well. Blankets were spread on the ground under the shade of a big tree.

1946 Reunion

Two years earlier, this 1946 reunion photo captures some of the McGhees. Neatly lined up, the names are more readily attachable to individuals. Left to right: Treva Mae Davidson, Viola McGhee (back), Frances McGhee, Nita Cleo Davidson, Melba McGhee (back), Viola Matilda Tower McGhee, Roy McGhee (back), Bertha McGhee.

Treva Mae, Viola, Frances, Nita Cleo, Melba, Viola Matilda, Roy, Bertha; 1946.

1946 McGhee Reunion

Although not as candid, it does give us a better view of people’s faces.

Let this be a reminder to us as we gather with family this summer. Take lots of photos and label them with names and dates. Future generations will appreciate your effort.

2000-03-01 gail martin celebration of life 001

1946 McGhee Reunion

Independence Day 1861


My mother, Gail Lee Martin, wrote this story in 2006 for the Our Echo website. We are so lucky that she instilled in us an appreciation of our family’s heritage and that she worked so diligently to research and preserve it. I’ve added some vintage graphics and a newspaper clipping to her written account.

1861 – Our Family’s Patriotic Heritage

Have you ever wondered how the early settlers celebrated the 4th of July in Kansas for the first time after becoming a state? I traced my Mother’s family from Connecticut to Iowa, through Missouri to the Kansas territory in 1859. I always wondered how my great-grandparents, James and Almira Vining, celebrated that special occasion.

The Vining family settled on a small homestead near the Verdigris river three miles east of the tiny community of Madison Centre in April 1857. At that time the family consisted of James and his wife, Almira; their children: Henry, my grandfather, 21; Erastus, 19; Isreal, 15; Charles, 13; James Jr. 11; Franklin, 6 and their only daughter, three-year-old Jane. When Kansas became a state the four older boys had already enlisted to serve in the United States Calvary and were away fighting in the Civil War. With four sons in the service of their country, I’m sure the Vining family attended the patriotic ceremony that was held in their neighborhood that July.

In July 1861 Madison Centre was in Madison County twenty miles south of Emporia. The Emporia News, the only newspaper in that area at that time, reported the following:

Madison Centre, Madison County
Mr. Editor: Early in the day, a number of citizens of this township assembled for the purpose of raising a Union flag, which was accomplished to the satisfaction of all present. The Declaration was then read by John J. Greenhalgh, in a loud, clear distinct tone. He did justice and honor to the memories of the great and good men who made it.” Then the news report went on to tell about the bountiful dinner everyone enjoyed. “The meal was furnished by the ladies of the community including roast mutton, roast and boiled chickens, chicken pies, cakes, tarts and other ’knicknacks’ too numerous to mention.”

How proud I am that my ancestors were there to observe the raising of the first Union flag in Madison Centre, Kansas.

Our family still celebrates July 4th with lots of good home cooked food and a few fireworks, mostly sparklers. For many years we had family picnics at Peter Pan Park in Emporia on the 4th of July. We still remember the lovely rose garden and who could forget the funny antics of the monkeys on Monkey Island?
1948 reunion clipping

In 1948, the Martin family reunion was delayed until July 18th.

My husband’s grandmother, Marie Joy, always made a big heavy crock full of “thick fruit salad” because invariably the weather was hot and we didn’t have ice available on almost every corner as we do now. Grandma Joy would use twice the amount of Jell-O that the recipe called for then added lots of fruit with bananas and marshmallows until it was almost solid. But we loved it! Since we raised our own chickens, we always had big containers of fried chicken with all the pieces including the neck, liver, heart, gizzard, and the coveted wishbone. As a special treat, we sometimes had store-bought “pork & beans.”

High flying flags always arouse my patriotism and I see them flying in so many different places. For instance, postage stamps through the years have been one way of showing patriotism for our country. I delight in sending my mail with stamps showing flags or eagles. Every year the postal department issues new designs. I recall one I especially liked. It had the flag flying briskly over the words, “I pledge allegiance …” I guess I thought flags could only fly briskly in Kansas.

Hugh Martin and George Washington


Our family had a legend that was passed down that a Martin ancestor was in some way involved with George Washington. In my childhood years, I pictured this ancestor in the boat as the general crossed the river to attack the British.


In retirement, I started following my mother and grandmother’s trail of bread crumbs back through our family history. I found a mention of Hugh Martin in Kentucky and my sister Karen has been researching him the last couple of years. Since Hugh Martin lived in Kentucky and fought in the militia there during the Revolutionary War, it is unlikely that he was crossing the Delaware River with George Washington. 

karen in ks 2

Sister Karen, retired librarian and avid genealogist.


What she did find was still pretty exciting. There’s a letter in the National Archives from Hugh Martin to George Washington. Apparently, they were corresponding about a treatment for cancer he learned from the Indians. Washington’s mother and sister had cancer. This link has details about Hugh Martin’s discovery.
“Dr. Hugh Martin had allegedly learned the formula for his famous “cancer cure” from the Indians while stationed as a military surgeon at Fort Pitt during the Revolutionary War.”
Here’s part of the letter from Hugh Martin to George Washington:
Acknowledge I was in suspence whether you remembered me or not, as I have grown Considerably Since 79 when I had the honor of being introduced to you, at the time we lay at Middle Brook when your Head Quarters was at Mr Wallaces, But I hope my youth and a want of more Experience will Appologize for my freedom….”

So it was in New Jersey in the Revolutionary War that Hugh Martin and Washington met. Here’s some historical background on this.

After looking at these sources, I’m thinking somehow, it isn’t adding up. I don’t think our Hugh Martin was a doctor. Hugh Martin built a number of handsome houses in Muhlenburg County, Kentucky and was quite a successful man according to histories of that area. But none of those name him as a doctor.

We have evidence that he served in a Kentucky militia, so he’s unlikely to have also been in the 8th Pennsylvania. The DAR database lists Hugh Martin’s service in the Revolutionary War as part of George Rogers Clark’s Illinois expedition in 1778.  This is apparently the picture that I’ll have in my mind now.

March_to_Vincennes clark expedition hugh martin

March to Vincennes – Clark Expedition (public domain picture from Wikipedia)

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.