Reunion – 71 Years Ago

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.

Washington_Crossing_the_Delaware_by_Emanuel_Leutze,_MMA-NYC,_1851wikipedia

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

Standard

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

Standard

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)

Obituary

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.