Vintage Road Trip


Many of the family branches were more homebodies, but there were some rare road trips and although we have the photos, many of the details are lost to memory. Maybe by posting about them here, we’ll hear from cousins with some remnants of family stories.

McGhee – Road Trip

Jesse McGhee making tire repairs on the way home from Hole in the Rock.

Thank you, Mom, for labeling this one. Jesse McGhee with a bevy of females and a vintage car. Would this be 1920 (shorter dresses) or earlier with the girls being young enough to show their legs? It’s hard to see enough of the car to put a year on that. There’s another fellow in the background but I can’t guess who it is.


This postcard from 1912 shows that the Hole in the Rock near Baldwin, Kansas was an attraction back then. I found an article that gives the early history of the site from Santa Fe Trail days when pioneers would stop there and up to current times when it was threatened by highway development.

Vining – Road Trip

My grandmother, Ruth Vining McGhee, and some of her siblings took a road trip in the 1950s from Kansas back to their old home place. I’d seen the photos over the years but now as I work on the family history, I know where the home place was in Woodward County, Oklahoma.

I believe that they are standing by a hand-dug well and then later they stopped to see Will Roger’s memorial. They took along Ruth’s granddaughter, Susan Martin. The other people in the photos are Ruth’s brother, Albert Vining and his wife Vina (Melvina Tower). Maybe someone will give me the name of Ruth’s sister to go with these photos. Is it Lucy with them?

Here’s the old home place, but I doubt that any of the structure remained to be seen.

vining house woodward oklahoma

The sod house with a frame house attached.

I’m rummaging around for one more picture that goes with these. It shows Albert and Ruth standing by a car.

In the meantime, here’s Ruth McGhee with her sister, Lucy, for purposes of comparison with the photo above. This photo is not from the road trip but must have been another visit by Ruth to see her sister, Lucy Vining Bolte, who lived in Winfield, Kansas.

carol - my mother Ruth, with Aunt Lucy at Lucy's house.

V is for Vining Graves


A very kind person contacted the Vining family group on Facebook. For some years, she and her husband had cleaned up and decorated the graves of an unknown couple of Vinings. Before that, her parents had cared for the graves. She shared some photos that she took.

I answered, “Thank you so much for taking the photos of Nancy and Henry Vining’s graves. It means a lot to the McGhee/Vining/Martin family to know about our ancestor’s graves. We only have a few photos of Nancy, but none of Henry. We didn’t even know where their graves were.”

Henry Vining’s Civil War file (left) and Nancy Babcock Vining (right)

She told us that there were a lot of Babcocks in Harrison Cemetery. She commented, “I think the Civil War flag holder on Henry’s grave is very special. Not sure I have seen another one like it.”

Then she brought up a concern

Diana Osburn McPhail – Those two stones are very small and, quite frankly, that little country cemetery is not maintained well. Jack and I take tools there every year and reclaim the two stones and a few others from weeds, Bermuda grass, and even a large vine that in spite of brush killer will not die. If it were not for us, the stones would have disappeared years ago. We are in our early 70’s so someday we will be on the other side of the grass ourselves. Your family might want to consider pooling money and putting an upright headstone, maybe even with dates on it, to mark the graves. Just a suggestion.

I am pretty sure that within a couple of years the stones will disappear under grass when we are no longer around. Actually, when we arrived at the cemetery last week there was a large dead cedar tree limb laying over the stones. I had taken loppers with me so I cut off enough small branches so I could get to the stones, clean them, and add the flowers so I could take nice photos for all of you.

Virginia Allain – Whew, hadn’t thought about that issue. I’ll discuss it with my sisters and cousins. Thanks! 

Also in the Harrison Cemetery is Diana’s great-grandparents. She showed me photos of their grave. Yep, her great-grandmother was Sarah Elizabeth Babcock, so guess we are very, very distant cousins.

Now, we have to figure out how and who can fix the graves. My sisters, Karen and Cindy, and I are willing to chip in some money but I’m 1,500 miles away. Another person shared that they placed some large paving stones under their gravestone to raise it up above the grass.

Location of the Harrison Cemetery:

From Highway 169 in Thayer, Kansas go West on Watermelon Road (north end of town). Travel 5 miles to Wichita Road. The Cemetery and Chapel are on the Northeast Corner of the intersection. It is located in rural Wilson County, Kansas, not quite halfway between Thayer (Neosho County) and Altoona (Wilson County).   The directions are from Find-A-Grave.

Before and After the Clean-Up in 2017

The photos below show how badly the grass and dirt get over the graves. Then the after-clean-up photos are next to the before photos.



P Is For Picnic at Hayrick Mound


Vining and McGhee families climb Hayrick Mound_Roxio

As told to Gail Martin by her Aunt Bertha McGhee

“On the 4th of July 1916, the McGhee and Vining families of the Tyro, Kansas area had a picnic up on Hayrick Mound, south of Tyro just over the state line in Oklahoma. Our family was all there. Ethel was just a year and a half old and I was thirteen. Besides Grandma Vining with Ruth and Albert, Francis Vining’s family and the Boltes, and Lucy’s family were there. Our family and the Vining family had become close friends in the 6 years we’d lived near each other.


Hayrick Mound is a bare hill, flat on top, not too high or steep. We were playing (tag) or ‘poison’ as it was called back in those days. Running and chasing each other. I ran over the side at a place steeper than I thought it was and fell face forward, then my body flipped on over leaving my head turned under. I couldn’t get up.

Albert was the first to reach me but he was afraid to lift me up. He thought I had broken my neck. My brother Jesse reached me next and persuaded Albert to help him get me up. They helped me up and with one of them on each side I was able to walk down to the picnic area although I was half-blinded by the pain. They carried me back down to the car and Papa drove me home and found Dr. Wadell to come check me over.   He decided my neck wasn’t broken so told them to keep me quiet till I could recover then he gave them something to give me for the pain.   I was kept in bed for about a week before I could lift my head without too much pain.

Vining picnic

McGhee and Vining picnic 1916

I don’t remember much about the rest of that summer but when I went back to school that fall I began to have severe headaches that would start before noon and be so
bad I couldn’t even go home alone. The teacher would have someone take me home.
After the 3rd day of that Dr. Waddell came up to the school and noted that the seat I had been assigned was a low desk in front of a high seat. He told the teacher that he would have to get me a seat that matched the desk. The doctor told the teacher that because of the injury I’d have to be very careful of sitting correctly.

After that I had no more head and neck pain and thought no more of that old injury till 1932 in Topeka I became ill, aching all over, especially my head, neck, and back. My doctor there treated me for the ’flu’ but I didn’t respond so he sent me to an orthopedic clinic. The x-rays revealed the old injury and they diagnosed arthritis of the spine which plagued me the rest of my life.”

Notes Clarifying Parts of the Story

    • From Wikipedia, here’s more about poison, a game they were playing:
      Jessie H. Bancroft’s 1909 book Games for the Playground… describes it as follows:
      Children form a ring clasping their hands around a much smaller “poison” circle drawn on the floor or ground. The players are trying to push or pull each other to step into the “poison”. As soon as some players touch the “poison” circle, the other shouts “Poisoned!” and run for safety. The safety consists of finding a piece of dead wood, step on it. Safe children would shout “I am standing on the wood! You can’t get me!” A part of the fun is to try and run from one safe place to another. Players tagged while caught off the wood become poisoned themselves and join the catchers. The game ends when as many as possible become poisoned.
    • Hayrick Mound is in Craig County, Oklahoma. It is 958 feet high at the peak.
    • People/families in the story – Grandma Vining was Nancy Jane Babcock Vining, mother of Ruth, Albert, Francis Henry, Lucy, and Bessie. Nancy, Ruth, and Albert lived across the street from the McGhee family. “Lucy’s” refers to Lucy Vining and husband Charles Edwin Bolte and their 4 children. “Boltes” could be any number of cousins, second cousins and in-laws of the Vinings.  Bertha’s brother, Roy, later married Viola May Bolte (daughter of Edward Bolte and Bessie Vining).


Tyro, Kansas – School Photo

In her story, Bertha talks about the school she attended in Tyro. This photo shows her younger brothers in their classroom. Bertha would have been in another classroom for older children.

elmer and austin mcghee school tyro (1280x768)

Elmer and Austin McGhee, Tyro, Kansas

Meet the Richards – A Pioneer Family


In an earlier post, I profiled Dacy Eliza Richards but realized by the end of writing it, that the dates and names didn’t line up properly. It was pretty improbable that she should be the daughter of George Richards and Sarah Ann Sasscer of Maryland and Pennsylvania, who both died within a few years of her birth. Supposedly, Sarah Ann was 59 at the time.

dacy richards tree mistake

Here’s the ancestors that I now realize were mistakes. Some other trees have these names too but I’ve removed them all from my family tree.

Casting about for a more likely family, I found three families of Richards in the 1860 census (Eudora, Kansas Territory). There was a female Dadey in one household. Was it Dacy? The age of 18 was a match, as she was 20 when she married George Washington Joy in Eudora in 1862. The handwritten record is hard to decipher, so  I think it could be Dacey.

Fortunately, as a pioneer Kansas family, and as early settlers in other states, there was quite a bit of documentation. One of Dacy’s brothers, Oscar Grinman Richards, later served in the legislature and earned space in the Kansas Biographical Dictionary of 1879 (pages 300 – 301).

Xenophon Richards (Dacy Richards father)

The entry mentions the father, Xenophon Richards who was prominent in the Indian wars and was a soldier in the Blackhawk War.

Xenophon is an ancient Greek name with some history to it. For our Zenophon Richards, the Biographical Dictionary says he was “a man of but fair common school education.” It went on to say that he was “of superior mental abilities and the highest moral character; universally respected for his integrity, generosity, and philanthropy, and in every respect an eminently good man; he was of Scotch-English descent.” Now perhaps that is just the rhetoric of the times, but it’s fascinating to have this insight into your 3rd great-grandfather.

family histories oscar richards - eudora site

Oscar Grinman Richards. Photo Citation: Family Histories P-R. (2019). Retrieved 15 January 2019, from

Oscar Grinman Richards (Dacy Richard’s brother)

His son Oscar Grinman Richards was with the Kansas forces under General Lane during the border-ruffian war. He took a claim near Manhattan, Kansas which he improved and cultivated and then sold in 1857. He moved to the Douglas County area, then known as “the Shawnee Absentee Lands” bringing with him a party of 27 settlers. Those early Kansas settlers included his father, brothers, and others.

ancestry com kansas biographical dictionary 1879 oscar g. richards

1879 Kansas Biographical Dictionary – part of the entry for Oscar Grinman Richards.

This gets us to the point where Dacy Elizabeth Richards meets and marries George Washington Joy in Eudora, Kansas Territory in 1862.

I’m glad to know that my ancestors played a role in keeping Kansas a free state and blocking slavery. It’s sad to see that they also played a role in suppressing the Native Americans and taking their lands in several states. I’ll need to read more about the Indian wars in Illinois and the removal of Indians from Kansas.

One last bit of evidence connecting Dacy to this family. In 1865, Oscar Richards marries his second wife and the wedding takes place at the home of George Joy.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about Dacy as an unusual name. Now, I find that her father and brother had even more unusual names.

Week 3 of the #52Ancestors Challenge – The topic for the week was Ancestors I’d Like to Meet.

Update – January 20, 2019 – I’m in a quandary, as there is another possibility for Dacy’s parents. Since at age 18, she was in the household of Xenophon Richards in Eudora, Kansas in 1860, I assumed that was her father. That was one of the census forms that did not include relationships for the household. Then I found in the 1850 census in Illinois, that Dacy Eliza was living (age 8) with George and Sarah Richards. George was Xenophon’s brother.

So, the question is which one is her father and which is her uncle? I’ll keep looking for further documents relating to her life that might shed light on this mystery.

2nd Update – January 25, 2019 – I’ve found gravestones in New Michigan, Illinois for Sarah and George W. Richards who died in 1851. It seems likely that the 8-year-old Dacy in their household in 1850 was their daughter and that after their deaths, she was taken into the family of her uncle, Xenophon and Lucy Richards. Later, they ended up settling in Eudora, Kansas in 1858.

3rd Update – May 2019 – I have 2 DNA matches who link through siblings of Dacey Richards with a common ancestor of George Richards. This seems to verify that George is her actual father.


Dacy Richards Joy


I’m puzzled by the first name of my 2nd great-grandmother, Dacy Richards Joy. Dacy is sometimes seen as a surname, and passing surnames down as a first name is a common practice. Generally, the Dacy surname when given to a baby girl, it becomes Darcy.

Looking back on her parents and grandparents, there are Richards, Sasscer, Throne, and Wight. I’ve yet to find any Dacys among the last names. I’ll try to follow these lines back further to see if there are some Dacys somewhere.

Dacy Elizabeth Richards was born on March 18, 1843, when her father, George Richards, was 53. Her mother’s name was Sarah Ann Sasscer and she died in 1843. Her parents had moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania where she was born. Her father had been a postmaster in Bryantown, Charles County, Maryland.

The records I have are rather skimpy. Did her mother die giving birth to Dacy? Her father died a few years later in 1855. Who raised Dacy and how did she end up in Kansas? The further I look into the Richards and the Sasscers, the more questions pop up. The Sasscer listed as her mother was 59 at the time of Dacy’s birth. That makes me wonder if there were 2 Sarah Anns and the trees are leaving out a generation.

In the 1870 census, Dacy is shown as being born in Ohio. Other family trees show her as being born in Illinois. I’m going to look at census listings in both of those states, but also in Pennsylvania and Kansas. Perhaps she’s not a Sasscer at all or even a Richards. She could have been married before with Richards being her married name.

She married George Washington JOY on March 22, 1862, in Douglas, Kansas. They had eight children in 12 years. She died as a young mother on May 25, 1876. I noted that she died the day after the twins, Frank and Ella, were born. The babies, Frank Peter and Ella Susan  lived less than 3 months, then died too. That leaves her husband with 2-year-old Henry, 5-year-old Hattie, 7-year-old Will, 9-year-old Lois, 11-year-old Sarah, and Mary Frances age 13 to raise.

gw joy life clipping from eudora ks paper

Eudora Weekly News

With the Joy names and dates, I’m on more solid ground. The family has a photo of Dacy and George W. Joy. We have his newspaper obituary which gives her full name and their marriage date. I still don’t know where Dacy is buried, so that and the other questions need further attention.

She is not listed for the Eudora City Cemetery where other Richards are buried or in the Hesper Friends Church Cemetery where her husband was later buried or the Deay Cemetery.

george washington joy and dacy

George Washington Joy and first wife, Dacy Richards

Later on, I see a granddaughter named Daisy Oshel. I’m wondering if she was named after her grandmother, Dacy, but the family went with the conventional spelling of Daisy. Sadly, this granddaughter died quite young.

This post is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. The topic for the 3rd week was an unusual name. #52Ancestors

Further research led me to cross out 4 paragraphs above. I’ll make a new post about Dacy’s family who are unlikely to be the Richards and Sasscers that I previously had attached to her. It seems that her father’s first name was much more unusual and I’m still grappling with what the correct spelling for it is.

What Happened to Sarah Vining?


Her name was Sarah Vining but her family called her Sadie. She was born in Missouri on November 17, 1876. Her father, Henry, was 39, and her mother, Nancy, was 25. She was the second-born of their 13 children. She had a half-sister and two half-brothers as well, who were older than her.

The family moved to Wilson County, Kansas when she was only 2 years old. Her 9-year-old half-brother, James Ashlock, died that year. When she was 3, a new brother arrived, but baby William H. Vining died after three months.

I’m not sure if the family moved several times or if her mother just went to different places for the birth of the children. The towns or townships were Cedar, Thayer, Wilson, Newark, and Neodesha. The census taker listed them at various times for Newark with Henry’s occupation recorded as farmer.

The children attended Pea Ridge School and the students were photographed in 1893 with their teacher, J.F. Haas.  Sarah is the girl in the back row with the X above her head.

karens pc stitch version of pea ridge school vinings

Pea Ridge School, Wilson County, Kansas, 1893. Top to Bottom, then L to R: Jacob Vining, Sarah (Sadie) Vining, Lucy Vining, Francis Henry (Frank) Vining, Lilian Belle (Belle) Vining, Laura Mae (Mae) Vining, Bessie

Sarah’s life changed abruptly when she fell ill of typhoid fever. It apparently affected her greatly. The newspaper in November 1894 said she had been ailing for three years.

Sarah Vining committed to insane asylumSarah Vining committed to insane asylum Fri, Nov 30, 1894 – 3 · Neodesha Register (Neodesha, Kansas) ·

“Untreated typhoid can cause permanent psychiatric problems such as delirium, hallucinations, and paranoia over the long term. Delirium is a sudden state of confusion due to physical or mental illness. Hallucinations are false and distorted perceptions of events. Paranoia is a symptom of a psychotic disorder in which patients become suspicious of others and feel that the world is out to get them. (”

Main causes of death in KS in 1890s include typhoid, consumption, pneumonia.Main causes of death in KS in 1890s include typhoid, consumption, pneumonia. Fri, Jan 27, 1893 – 2 · Wilson County Citizen (Fredonia, Kansas) ·

Although Sarah Vining survived the typhoid fever, several news reports show what happened next. The news tidbit from November 1894 reported that “until about a year ago she was remarkably bright.” The probate court presided over by Judge McPherson, and with a jury of six men agreed that Sarah was insane.
Sarah Vining - More details of her becoming insane.Sarah Vining – More details of her becoming insane. Fri, Nov 30, 1894 – 3 · Wilson County Sun (Neodesha, Kansas) ·

She was placed in her father’s keeping until she could be admitted to the state asylum at Osawatomie, Kansas. This clipping attributed her insanity to “female trouble” and spoke of “her aberration.”

Sarah Vining - cause of her insanitySarah Vining – cause of her insanity Fri, Dec 7, 1894 – 3 · Wilson County Citizen (Fredonia, Kansas) ·

The sheriff transported the “unfortunate young lady” to the asylum. Her mother accompanied her on the journey of 85 miles. Sarah was one of 434 people committed to Osawatomie in 1894.  Most of the patients were older. She and 19 other young women under the age of 20 were admitted that year.

Sarah Vining lived in Osawatomie from age 18 to age 77 when she died in 1953. I checked on Find-A-Grave but discovered there were about 350 headstones in the Osawatomie State Hospital Cemetery but only one bears a name. The rest have only numbers. It is possible that she is buried elsewhere.

You can read the two-year state report on the institution online. Below is part of a page from it that lists the causes for patients admitted during that time.

sarah vining 1894 Osawatomie reasons for insanity

A partial list of the reasons for insanity in the patients at Osawatomie Asylum in 1894. Note that there were 7 men and 5 women with typhoid fever listed as the cause.

I wish we knew the rest of the story, but doubt that individual patient records can be accessed. Were they able to treat Sarah’s condition at all? Did she live in reasonable comfort during those many long years in the institution? There are scary stories from institutions in the early 1900s about the treatment of the mentally ill entrusted to their care.

Did the family ever visit her? My grandmother Ruth Vining was Sarah’s sister, born 3 years after Sarah went to Osawatomie. Also in 1897, their father (Henry Vining) died, putting the family in crisis. They moved to a homestead in Oklahoma for a short time, then to Tyro KS. I doubt that there was time or money to visit poor Sarah.

vining house woodward oklahoma

The sod house with a frame house attached.

Vining Family Deaths in March 1870


In a recent post, we sorted out the people in a photo (John/Jack Vining, his daughter, and four grandchildren). If you missed it, here’s the story. Also in the photo was Jack’s second wife, Ellen Babcock. He married her after his first wife, Josephine died.

I heard from a descendant of one of the grandchildren after I posted the photo on Ancestry. She is the great-granddaughter of Edwin, the older boy. He’s the one in the picture wearing suspenders. She was thrilled to see her great-grandfather, great-great-grandmother, and great-great-great-grandfather all in one picture. As you see, Edwin is my 2nd cousin 1x removed.

Edwin R Frost pic and dates

I was curious about Josephine, the first wife. I didn’t have a maiden name for her but did have that she was born in 1942 in Connecticut and that’s the state the Vinings were from also. I haven’t been able to find their place and date of marriage. Was it in CT, Missouri, or Iowa? The Vinings moved a lot. Josephine and John Vining’s first son was born in Illinois in 1859, so the couple could even have been married in that state.

I did find the 1870 Mortality Record for Belmont, Woodson County, Kansas that listed Josephine Vining. She died in March of that year from “dropsy of the chest.” Today, that would be called pulmonary edema, where fluids accumulate in the chest. I found another description that said it could be caused by “inflammation of the membrane covering the lungs” and it mentioned pleurisy.

The very curious part of the Mortality Record was that two other Vinings were listed as dying in March 1870 in Woodson County. There was William Vining, age 4, who was born in Kansas. He died from typhoid fever. There was also a baby girl named Zora Vining, just a month old who was also born in Kansas. She died from inflammation of the brain. Are these Josephine and John’s children? The record was quite hard to read.

Ancestry com U S Federal Census Mortality Schedules 1870 Zora, William, Josephine Vining

Next, I looked at the 1870 census for John and the remaining children. The census was conducted June 7, 1870, so three months after the death of the three Vinings. It shows four families named Vining, all living adjacent to each other.  That complicates the sleuthing, as the William and Zora might be from those instead of from Josephine and John Vining.

Let’s sort out the possibilities:

Here are the family groupings with name, age, and place of birth.

  • James Vining, age 58 CT
  • James Vining, age 21 CT
  • Franklin Vining, age 15 CT
  • Jennie Vining, age 14 CT

James is my 2nd great-grandfather. His wife Almira died in 1864.

His second wife (Rhoda Harrison) was 53 when they married in 1864 so these are unlikely to be children born to her. Since they divorced in 1867 the infant girl, Zora, who died in March 1870 is definitely not theirs.

It is possible but unlikely that the baby was Jennie’s. She is just 14.

The three households below are three sons of James and Almira Vining. Most likely, they have each taken up homesteading claims adjacent to their father.

  • John Vining, age 37 CT
  • John Vining, age 12 IL
  • Ida Vining, age 4 IL

John Vining lost his wife Josephine in March 1870. Their daughter, Clara (age 3, Missouri) is missing but shows up in the 1880 census as back with the family. Possibly she lived with another family for a short while after her mother’s death.

It seems unlikely that William would be John and Josephine Vining’s son, as he is the same age as Ida. They could be twins, but William was born in Kansas and Ida in Illinois.

  • Henry Vining, age 32 CT
  • Charles Vining, age 25 CT

Henry and Charles Vining are brothers and are listed as “farmer” and “farm laborer” in the census. Four years later, Henry Francis Vining married Nancy Jane (Babcock) Ashlock. These two bachelors are unlikely to have lost 2 young children in March 1870. I’m going to rule them out.

  • Erastus Vining, age 27 CT
  • Elizabeth Vining, age 21 KS
  • Dora Vining, age 8 months KS

Erastus Vining married Elizabeth Richardson in 1865. It is quite possible that they lost a 4-year-old son named William in March of 1870. It is fairly impossible for them to have had a daughter Zora though just 3 months before Dora.

What have we deduced from all this?

The boy, William Vining, could be Erastus’ child. The one-month-old Zora Vining who died in March 1870 is most likely John and Josephine’s.

That’s as far as I can go without taking a trip to Woodson County, Kansas and checking first-hand some courthouse records.