At the Courthouse – Ashlock/Babcock Marriage


I’m carrying on my mother and grandmother’s work on our family history. In their time, working on genealogy meant trips to courthouses and cemeteries. If those were too far away, Mom sent a letter. It must have been an excruciating wait for that bit of information that might move the family line forward.

Here’s an example:

It seems that she already has the dates, location, and names, so I’m not sure what further information she felt might show up in the marriage application. Of course, it would be pretty nifty to see your ancestor’s signature.

Sadly, the requested document was not to arrive.

The record keeper in Gentry County, Missouri responded with a short two sentence reply that was thriftily typed at the bottom of Mom’s handwritten letter. “We are unable to help you on the above request. The Courthouse in Gentry County, Missouri, burned in the year of 1885, destroying all records prior to 1885.”

How disappointing. I checked on Ancestry to see if somehow a copy of the marriage papers might miraculously have been saved and now online. Nope, the ashes are long blown away in the Missouri winds and no record remains.

Now, Gentry County has an online site with the email address of the Recorder which saves the cost of a stamp and gets your query there much faster. To search their records online, you’ll need a credit card. Ten dollars buys a fifteen-minute search pass so have your questions well-thought out and ready to make the most of that time.

Here’s the new, since 1885, courthouse in Gentry County, Missouri.

Gentry County, Missouri courthouse (By Americasroof – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

So, how did the marriage of Burr Ashlock and Nancy Jane Babcock turn out? The couple had three children:

Sarilda Jane Ashlock 1867–1951
James F. Ashlock 1869–1879
Isaac Alonzo “Ike” Ashlock 1872–1945

Less than a year after the birth of the youngest son, Burr Ashlock died on the 22 of September in 1973 in Johnson, Missouri. I couldn’t find any old newspapers to explain why he died at the age of 30.

Nancy Jane (Babcock) Ashlock remarried six months later in Wilson County, Kansas at the home of her parents, Ezra B Babcock (1821–1886) and Ellenor Nancy Jane Wright (1820–1882). The groom was Henry Francis Vining who had come to Kansas from East Windsor, Connecticut in the 1850s. It was not unusual to marry fairly quickly in those days with young children needing support.

(This post is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge. Check back for future posts.)

A Surprise Death


It was just a few days before Christmas in 1896 when Joseph Harvey Mikesell suddenly died. The news appeared in The Neodesha Daily Sun, (Neodesha, Kansas) 24 Dec 1896, page 2. His wife Sarilda Jane Ashlock was my grandmother, Ruth Vining’s half-sister. They were 30 years apart in age, as Ruth was the youngest of the large family.

Joseph was described by the Wilson County Sun as a fisherman and trapper. He was just returning with wagon and team from a two or three weeks trapping expedition up the river. He had stopped at Dun station to sell his hides when he was stricken with apoplexy and died in C. S. Adell’s store, about nine o’clock at night.

Joseph Mikesell’s headstone (Photo by William Fischer, Jr. on Find-a-Grave)


At Dun Station, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 1896, Joseph H. Mikesell, of this city. Mr. Mikesell had been on a protracted hunting and trapping expedition, and was on his way back to Neodesha to spend Christmas. He stopped at Adell’s store at Dun yesterday at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and disposed of his game, hides etc., and had stepped outside the door when he suffered a stroke of apoplexy and died at 9 o’clock last night. He was unconcious almost from the time of the stroke and did not suffer. The stroke, it is supposed, was brought on by exposure, and was unheralded by any warning whatever.

Joseph H. Mikesell was born in Elkhart county Ind., April 17, 1847. During the year ’64 he enlisted and had the distinction of being the youngest soldier in the 16th Kansas Regiment, Company I, which was stationed at Fort Leavenworth. In the winter of ’64 he went with Gen. McCook’s brigade to Santa Fe, N. M . to quell the Indian-Mexican troubles. Returning to Kansas in the spring of ’65 he participated in the expedition against the Price raiders. At Neutonia, Mo., he was wounded, but remained in the hospital at Fort Scott only a few days, and returned to service while scarcely able for duty, and served until mustered out by honorable discharge.

He was married, Jan. 30, 1884 to Miss Sarilda Ashlock at this place, and leaves her with five children to mourn the loss of a kind husband and father.

The remains were brought home this afternoon and funeral services will he conducted at the home on Ohio street, between 5th and 6th, by Elder Bays, tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Here’s the actual funeral as described by the newspaper: There were so many people that the house could not hold them all.

J.H. Mikesell's FuneralJ.H. Mikesell’s Funeral Fri, Jan 1, 1897 – 5 · Neodesha Register (Neodesha, Kansas, United States of America) ·


These two accounts made me wonder about the effect it must have had on the family left behind. In an era with no safety net, few jobs for women, and with children aged 5 to 11 years, Sarilda faced an uncertain future at age 29. She only had a third-grade education (according to the 1940 census).


Sarilda Ashlock

Their Children

Grace Mikesell

Fayren Louis Mikesell

Ethel Mikesell

Inez E Mikesell

J Collins Mikesell

Joe Mikesell's funeralJoe Mikesell’s funeral Sat, Dec 26, 1896 – 4 · The Neodesha Daily Sun (Neodesha, Kansas, United States of America) ·

The Pound Party

The very next month, the neighbors and friends held a pound party for Sarilda. I’d never heard of this custom, but the clipping gives some insight into it. Searching further, I found that a pound party is where each person brings a pound of something as an offering of support. I suppose many of the packages would have contained a pound of flour or other food.

The widow of the late J. H, Mikesell was treated to a generous surprise Sunday evening. When she returned home from a visit of several days in Chetopa township and entered the little home so recently saddened by the death of her husband, she found new paper on the walls and overhead, a carpet which she had recently finished, all sewed together and nicely put down, and the table laden with packages, parcels and bundles of the substantial of life.

Such was the method adopted by her many sympathizing neighbor friends who put into deeds their thoughts of love and pity. The pound party occurred and all was in readiness Saturday night for Mrs. Mikesell’s appearance but the inclement weather made her return home impossible, until Sunday afternoon. The great source of Good certainly has his abiding place in the hearts of many Neodesha people, for it has been our observation that such incidents as this have been more numerous here than in any of the surrounding cities during the past few years.

Clipped from The Neodesha Daily Sun04 Jan 1897, MonPage 4

What Happens Next?

The 1900 census shows Sarilda Mikesell, widow, supporting her five children by working as a washerwoman. The family is living in Neodesha, Kansas in Wilson County. In 1902, her oldest daughter, Grace, marries at age 16.

Sometime after 1900, Sarilda marries John B. Addis. I presume they divorce, as he continues living in Neodesha, Kansas while she leaves for Haskew, Oklahoma to prove up a claim she took there in the summer of 1903. She takes the two youngest children with her. Ethel Mikesell, the oldest girl at home, “will keep house for her uncle Dave here.”  (The Neodesha Daily Sun, May 24, 1904,  Page 4)

It was eight years after Joseph Mikesell’s sudden death that Sarilda was able to get a pension. I presume this is from his military service.

“B.S. Peavy, the pension agent of this city, has secured the allowance of original pension tor the minor children of the late Joseph Mikesell, in 73 days from the date of filing a claim therefor in the pension office, also the accrued pension due to Mrs. Sarilda Addis under widow’s certificate No. 463.504.” (Wilson County Sun, Neodesha, Kansas, 05 Feb 1904, Page 5)

Another Marriage

Addis (formerly Mikesell) marries John AugsburgerAddis (formerly Mikesell) marries John Augsburger Fri, Apr 21, 1905 – 4 · The Neodesha Daily Sun (Neodesha, Kansas, United States of America) ·

Sarilda and her new husband, John Augustus Augsburger, eventually move to Texas. By the 1920 census, the children are grown and out on their own. It says she is working as a midwife. Then in 1930, she’s working as a nurse. By 1935, Sarilda is widowed again. She lives sixteen years as a widow, dying at age 83 in 1951.

The Two Isaac Ashlocks


I was delighted to find a new photo on 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.

Confusing Marriages of the Ashlocks and Vinings


It was interesting trying to chart my grandmother’s half-brother Isaac Ashlock on the family tree. Here’s the final results and some notes to help you follow it.

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

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

When Isaac Alonzo “Ike” Ashlock was born on December 22, 1872, in Johnson, Missouri, his father, Burr Ashlock, was 29 and his mother, Nancy Jane Babcock, was 21. He married Jenettie E. Cox and they had three children together between 1912 and 1916 (Nancy Jane, Bessie and Isobell). He then married Ora May Keeling, his stepdaughter, after Jenettie died. Ora and Isaac Ashlock had one daughter (Iris Mae) together in 1940. Isaac died on June 11, 1945, in Athabasca, Canada, at the age of 72.

Chartin the Ashlock - Vining - Keeling marriages

Chartin the Ashlock – Vining – Keeling marriages

Fortunately my grandmother (Ruth Vining McGhee) passed some information to my mother, Gail McGhee Martin so that’s the basis for this. Click on the graphic to see it larger.

Here’s Gail Martin’s note about the marriages: “Uncle Luther Vining (Isaac’s half-brother) went to stay with Uncle Ike in Canada and then Isaac died, June 11 1945, Some time in the last half of 1945 Luther married Ike’s widow, Ora and brought her to Kansas. After their divorce Ora married Earl Nellis in Caney, Ks. Now that all took a lot of research. I corresponded with Ora in the 1980s from Hanover, Ks.”

Further note from Gail Martin: “If that isn’t confusing enough, Jenette’s older daughter, Laura Keeling married my mother’s cousin, Charles Augustus Vining (Fiddlin Jake) in Haskew, OK on Aug. 8 1911.”

Isaac Ashlock in Canada

Isaac Ashlock in Canada

I wish I knew the names of the grandchildren shown with Isaac here and which daughters are their mothers.

Almost Lost Picture of Nancy Jane Vining


Post provided by Karen Kolavalli:

We feel very fortunate to discover this large photograph on canvas of my great-grandmother Nancy Jane Ashlock Babcock Vining. It was in a tumble-down house in rural Madison, Kansas. Demolition was scheduled and before long it would have been gone forever. None of us even knew about this picture. It shows a younger, more vibrant woman than other photos we have of her when she was older.

Nancy Jane Babcock was born in Iowa in 1851, the daughter of  Ellenor Nancy Jane Wright and Ezra B. Babcock. When her husband, Burr Ashlock died, she had three young children to raise. She married Henry Vining in 1874.


The youngest of Nancy’s 12 children was my grandmother, Ruth Vining McGhee. Ruth was just a month old when her father died in 1897. The Widow Vining raised her 2 youngest children, Albert and Ruth, in Tyro, Kansas in the early 1900s.

Picture rescued by Karen Kolavalli and the photo edited by Virginia Allain

Nancy Jane Ashlock Vining (Rescued and framed by Karen Kolavalli)

You can read more about the discovery of this photo on my sister, Karen’s blog. There you see the condition of this family treasure.

(Virginia Allain touched up the photo shown here)



Well, my first foray into posting on this particular WordPress blog ended in failure!  It ended up as a very nice post on my OTHER WordPress blog, so you may just have to visit it to read the post:

I don’t see how to add photos to a post on this blog, although I see that you have used photos in your posts, Ginger.