Saturday, May 20, 2017

Miss Hazel Boyd, Woman of Substance

Young Hazel

Hazel Una Boyd was born 13 years after her next oldest brother, Roy. She was born in Plainfield, Bremer County, Iowa on 17 Dec 1888 to Elizabeth Beams Cooper and Franklin Boyd. She was musical and bright. While she didn't feel the call of the mercantile life, she did help her father in his store as she grew up. But, after graduating from Plainfield High School, she felt the call of music and graduated from the Music Department at Iowa State Normal School in Cedar Falls. She taught private lessons to students in Floyd, Bremer, and Chickasaw counties, making her rounds by the Illinois Central and Rock Island railroads. She studied further at the Cosmopolitan Convservatory in Chicago and had further piano training under Victor Heinze. Heinze students have appeared in many of the great orchestras of the day in both Europe and the United States.

She took a job heading the music department at Nora Springs Seminary. She picked up a couple hobbies while there working in art and china painting, which she then also taught in private lessons when she returned to Plainfield.

Older Hazel Boyd
For a dozen years or so, she was Director of Christian Education for the American Baptist Publication Society.She worked primarily with children's programs and worked in Des Moines and later at the District headquarters in Chicago. She then worked out of the National office in Philadelphia, going wherever they sent her, mostly directing Bible Schools in cities across the country. She was working in Centralia, Illinois in 1934 when she got word of her brother Roy's death.

She eventually came back to Plainfield and taught music and worked as superintendent of the Sunday School and Young People's Work, along with providing leadership training education at the Plainfield Baptist Church. She wintered in California and Florida and taught music in the summer months.

My uncle Harold Ripley recalls Miss Boyd very well. As a teenager, he mowed her lawn. She was frequently traveling, he recalls. In the early 1950s, Hazel lived in Minneapolis, but returned home again. She died at the Salsbury Baptist Home in Charles City on 05 Apr 1976 at the age of 87.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Roy Boyd, Plainfield Merchant


Roy and Bessie
Roy Boyd was the second born son of Elizabeth Beams Cooper and her husband Franklin Boyd. He was born 15 Jan 1875 in Rock Grove, Stephenson County, Illinois and came with his family to Bremer County, Iowa between 1882 and 1888.

Roy married Bertha Mae Hunter, daughter of Mr & Mrs HS Hunter on 01 Oct 1902 in Plainfield. Bessie had been born on 09 May 1881 in Low Moor in Clinton County.

The young couple was quite dashing and seemed to have a lot of fun together. They spent their entire married lives in Plainfield with the exception of one year spent in Janesville, Iowa. Like many of her lady fellows, she was a member of the Plainfield Camp of Royal Neighbors and belonged to the Plainfield Methodist Church.

Roy, like his father and brother, followed the mercantile trade and operated a store from his building on the west side of Main Street in Plainfield. In 1904, his wife Bessie contracted typhoid fever, which she survived after a lengthy recovery period. In 1907, they remodeled the living rooms at his store and moved in some time after. In 1910, they purchased the A. Larkin home and then resided there. The couple had no children.  There is reference that in 1927, Roy sold his land to Frank Scoles, but it's unknown if that was his home, other property, or his store building, which he had rented out for some years. Roy would fill in from time to time at Gottschalls store during the holidays during his last years.

Bessie died at her home in Plainfield on 28 Sep 1929. She was buried in Willow Lawn Cemetery.

Roy would carry on for five more years until he died as a result of a car accident 04 Jan 1934, which was directly caused by a blackout from diabetes, which he'd suffered from for many years.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Boyds of Plainfield


Franklin & Elizabeth
To look back to the trajectory of the Coopers from Pennsylvania to Iowa, see this.

Elizabeth Beams Cooper was the baby of the William Lloyd Cooper and Elizabeth Beams marriage. She was born 03 Aug 1849 in Rock Grove, Stephenson County, Illinois. She met the handsome Franklin Boyd while living in Rock Grove. Frank was born 04 Jun 1840 in Cochocton, Ohio. His parents came to Rock Grove in his youth. His grandfather was an Irish immigrant who settled in Ohio.

In September 1861, Frank joined the US Army as a private in Co B, 46th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry at Springfield. He participated in the battle of Fort Donelson, Kentucky and Shilo in 1862. His arm was severely injured at Hatchie later that year and he was briefly furloughed, but returned to service and finished out the war. George W Cooper (son of  John L. Cooper), Amos J. Cooper (son of John L Cooper), and Robert T Cooper (son of Chalkely Jared Cooper) all served in the same company.

Franklin & Elizabeth Cooper with
Roy and Frank Ross
Elizabeth was one of  few in her peer group who could say she attended the Lincoln-Douglas debates in Freeport, Illinois. On her later visits to the Freeport area, they spent their nights in the same hotel where Abraham Lincoln stayed during that time.

They married 24 Feb 1871 in Rock Grove and remained in the area through 1880. While in Illinois he followed the carpentry and building trade. They had three children: Frank Ross, Roy, and Hazel. Hazel was the only one born in Bremer County,

In October 1882, Boyd, along with his father-in-law William Cooper, and friend John Candy of Stephenson County, visited Iowa, at which time Frank bought a quarter section of land in Butler County and stated he had plans to move at some point. So, we can put their arrival there sometime between 1882 and 1888. The Boyd's settled in Plainfield where he followed the mercantile trade, which his sons both followed. The elder Boyd retired from business in about 1910.

Franklin died 31 May 1921 at his home in Plainfield at age 80. Elizabeth died 22 Oct 1939 in Plainfield, having reached her goal age of 90.

I'll be covering the children later.

Elizabeth Beams Cooper Boyd, 1931

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Hennich Family & the Burwell Tornado of 1905


CW & Eliza Cooper Hennich
Eliza looks incredibly like her mother, Elizabeth Beams
As you might recall, Amos Cooper and his family were Quakers who went west to Illinois in the late 1820s. Their son William Lloyd Cooper and his wife, Elizabeth Beams of Kentucky, had a large family, most of whom ended up in Iowa, but some of whom, like the children of William's siblings, ended up in Nebraska.

Eliza was born on 11 Sep 1846 in Stephenson County, Illinois. On 04 Oct 1866, she married Charles Wesley Hennich in Spring Grove, Green County, Wisconsin. Hennich was a Pennsylvania native born 17 March 1847 in Centre County, where the Smulls and many of the settlers in Stephenson County had hailed from. Many Cooper/Smull relatives lived north and south of the Wisconsin/Illinois border during those days as well.

James Holtgrewe, July 2012
They couple had their first two children in Iowa. It appears as though they started out in Nebraska about 1877, but were in Missouri in 1878, where their fourth child was born, and then by 1880, were living in Wheeler, Nebraska.They would ultimately have six children.

In 1900, the Hennich family was living in Rockford Township, Garfield County, Nebraska outside of Burwell. I believe they were there by the mid-1880s. Burwell is interesting for a couple different things. For one, they laid out their roads uniquely. Instead of a grid system used in most towns, they had roads radiating out from the center of town. Additionally, the railroad ended at Burwell, so the town constructed a massive turntable so the train could be turned around at the end of each run. It still exists.

The Hennich family entrenched themselves in the life of Garfield County. Charles became a state representative in 1890 and appears to have served two years at the Statehouse in Lincoln for the 49th District. While he was serving, his oldest son James Harlin "Harley," then 18, he was thrown from his "fractious" horse and was then trampled. Surgery was performed, but his skull was crushed and he died several hours later.

Omaha World-Herald, Tuesday, January 27, 1891 

In 1905, a deadly tornado struck the town and surrounding area of Burwell, deeply impacting nearly every resident.
The Burwell Tribune in a supplement to the issue of Thursday, September 21st, tells the story of the disaster in the following language:
Burwell Town Square
"Friday, September 15, 1905, will be remembered for years by the present inhabitants of Burwell as the day of the great tornado. "Weather conditions that day were very peculiar. The day dawned clear and bright, but within an hour or two a dense fog enveloped the earth. This lifted and the sun shone brightly for a short period of time. Then fog again descended and obscured the landscape. The afternoon was hot and close; clouds black and threatening festooned the horizon to the north. "About six o'clock the death-dealing funnel-shaped cloud appeared to the northwest of town and in a few moments death and destruction were dealt out. "But few of the people of the town saw the awful creature of the elements. Those who did took hasty refuge in storm cellars. Others did not know that anything more serious than a rain storm was brewing till the alarm was sounded.
"The tornado seemed to form in The forks —the confluence of the Calamus and the Loup—just northwest of town a couple of miles. Its first work was on the farm of M. J. Scott, close to where the funnel formed, where several grain stacks were promiscuously scattered over the country. A cornfield near Scott's was demolished. Then the residence of Mr. Costello was razed. The family had gone to the cellar and thus escaped injury.
"C. W. Hennich's stable and outbuildings were next destroyed. Frank Hennich was in the stable when the storm struck it and attempted to get into the house when a flying timber struck him down, crushing his ribs and injuring him internally. He grittily crawled to a clump of bushes and waited for the passage of the storm. His mother and sister were frantically trying to get to his aid and were tossed about by the wind but happily escaped injury.
"The storm passed east from this point, demolishing stables, cribs and outbuildings at Kirby McGrew's, destroying part, of the Bartholomew house, occupied by Leslie Baker, then swinging a little south, it overturned John Dinnell's dwelling and razed Mike Saba's store.
"R. W. Hanna'a home, north of Saba's store about two blocks, a fine two-story dwelling, was totally destroyed—smashed, I guess would express it about as well as any detailed description. Mr. Hanna, his wife, their son, and Mrs. Hanna's mother were in the house at the time and how they escaped unharmed is nothing less than a miracle. The building was picked up bodily, carried a few feet and literally crushed into kindling wood. The four people were right in the midst of the wreckage and yet escaped without a scratch.
"The Haas house north of Hanna's, occupied by Ed. McGuire, escaped destruction, but the barn, outbuildings, trees, etc., were swept away. Martin McGuire lost a horse, wagon, harness, etc.
"J. H. Schuyler's fine home, a little south and cast of Hanna's, was perforated by flying timbers, racked and wrecked. Clothing which hung in a closet in the house was whisked out of the window and disappeared. The house is almost a total wreck. His stable was entirely blown away.
 To read the complete dramatic article, go here

Hennich losses were calculated at $500.00. The town's loss was over $50,000.

Charles died 03 Feb 1925 in Burwell. His wife Eliza died while residing with her daughter Hattie Hennich Evans, in Grand Island, 09 Jul 1937.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

William Lloyd Cooper and Elizabeth Beams


William  Lloyd Cooper & Elizabeth Beams
about 1865
Sometimes, I wonder just how some of the old relatives met one another. In the case of my 3rd great grandparents, William and Elizabeth, I finally found the solution. This story took a while to unfold.

Let's go back for a moment to the Quaker couple Amos Cooper and his wife Hannah Lloyd who were living in Pennsylvania and then decided to move west to Illinois in the mid-1820s. The arrived in Crawford County, the county where a very large settlement of Quakers had started settling. Many of the residents were from Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The family remained there and then moved to neighboring Clark County for some time, but several of the family moved on to Stephenson County over the course of time.

William Lloyd Cooper was born the middle child on 11 Apr 1807 in Delaware. The birthplace is listed in the 1850 and 1870 census, so is probably accurate, but he is the only child in the family born there; the rest being born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. According to The History of Stephenson County, Illinois, his parents had removed briefly to Delaware and returned to Pennsylvania a year or two later.

Elizabeth Beams was born to James Beams and Nancy Lay on 19 Nov 1810 in Whitley, Kentucky. The Beams had many children and lived primarily in Whitley, Kentucky, though both hailed from Virginia. They were early settlers along the Cumberland River. Four Beams sisters; two married, two unmarried, removed to Crawford county in Illinois. They all lived near one another in this heavily Quaker area. Many of the Beams extended family were Quaker, including sister Anna's family, the Michael Cox's. Most of the Beams family remained in Whitley County. I have an interesting story about her other unmarried sister, Jane, and what happened after her marriage, which I'll save for another time and add to the Mystery Muddles file. We can surmise that the Beams were Quaker, though I haven't located any Quaker documents on the Beams family specifically so far.

Elizabeth and William Lloyd married on 10 May 1831 in Crawford County. Ten months later, the first of eight children arrived, Ann, whose progeny cross the Smull family lines in several places. My 2nd great grandmother, Mary Jane Cooper, landed about right in the middle of the group of eight kids. The Coopers lived in Clark, then moved on to Will County about 9 miles from Joliet for a year. He came to Stephenson County the following year (1841) and started working an uncultivated farm he entered with the government. He farmed for a dozen years, then retired, selling the farm and moving to the village of Rock Grove.

Of their eight children, seven survived them both. Son George Washington Cooper, born about 1838, died in 1856 at Rock Grove in Stephenson County at age 18.

Older Elizabeth Beams Cooper
In April of 1883, the news reported that William Cooper had recovered enough from injuries to be out and about:
We are pleased to find William Cooper out again. Sometime ago he fell and broke a rib and fractured some more.
Freeport Daily Bulletin
Wednesday, April 18, 1883, Freeport, Illinois
Just a month later, he had a severe stroke, from which he never fully recovered:
Last week our friend William Cooper had an apopletic stroke. We understand he is convalescent.
Freeport Daily Bulletin
Wednesday, May 30, 1883, Freeport, Illinois

William Cooper is still confined to his room. His recovery is slow and painful.
Freeport Daily Bulletin
Wednesday, June 6, 1883, Freeport, Illinois
W.L. Cooper died 08 Oct 1886 in Rock Grove. His wife Elizabeth moved to Bremer County, Iowa and spent the rest of her days living with her daughter, my 2nd great grandmother, Mary Jane Cooper Smull. After Mary Jane's husband Johnathan's death in 1885, the family moved into the town of Plainfield from their farm. Mrs Cooper died in June of 1897 in Plainfield and was buried near her husband in Union Cemetery in Rock Grove, Stephenson County, Illinois.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The USC Trojans: Willis Smull's Children


1132 W 36th Pl, Los Angeles
The address is now an apartment building, but was a house
like the one to the right of the apartment complex
A while back, we talked about how the lines of the various family intersected. Lee's parents were an intersection of the Coopers and the Smulls, both major lines of my genealogy. Lee and Bessie farmed in South Dakota for several years, then moved into town to ensure their children got a good education. After Lee's untimely death from surgical complications in 1921, the family moved to Los Angeles, California. They lived at 1132 W 36th Place in Los Angeles, just blocks from the USC campus.

Lee and Bessie's four kids thrived in California. At least three of them graduated from USC in Los Angeles and all had successful careers. The two daughters never married.

Marlyn Smull and Carol Sharpe
Marlyn Archie Smull was born 21 Apr 1901 in Clark County, South Dakota. He married Carol Ophelia Sharpe on 30 Nov 1927 in Clark County. She was born 11 Aug 1902 in Clark County. While still in South Dakota, he attended Dakota Wesleyan, where he took part in football and basketball, band (piccolo), was on the debate team and belonged to the literary society.

Once in California, Marlyn attended USC and graduated with a degree in Commerce in 1925. During his time at USC, he was a faithful and devoted member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and stayed deeply involved with the fraternity for his lifetime. After his marriage, he was employed by the Adohr Creamery. In 1931, he was assistant route superintendent. He then began teaching school, spending a year teaching at Compton High School. He then took a position teaching at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he advised the Sigma Phi Epsilon's. Eventually, he returned to California and moved to San Bernardino, where he taught at CSU-San Bernardino for the remainder of his career. He and his wife had no children. He died 07 May 1977 in San Bernardino and she died 20 Jul 1990 in San Diego County.

Mary Lorene (left)
Mary's co-author and landlord, Dr Gladys Vail (right)
Mary Lenore Smull was born 18 Jul 1902 in Clark County. She graduated from USC in 1926, her specialty being a dietician. She spent ten years after graduation working as director of dietetics at Methodist Hospital. In the late 1930s, she moved on to Kansas State University in Manhattan, where she directed campus cafeteria operations. While there, she with Dr. Gladys E Vail, authored School Lunches for Kansas Children, published in 1944. She also boarded with Dr. Vail during her time in Kansas.

She eventually returned to California and took a position as dietitian at South Bay Hospital in Redondo Beach. She also co-chaired an effort in the Southland to create a "Dial a Dietitian" so citizens could ask diet/food/health questions. That service started in 1964. Mary retired to the Chula Vista area, where Lois and Myron lived, and died in Bonita, San Diego County, 04 Apr 1999.

Myron at USC
Lois L Smull was born 08 Sep 1906 in Clark County. I'm not sure where she went to school, but couldn't find alumni info on her at USC. She was a bookkeeper by trade and prior to 1959 had been bookkeeper at the Fredericks Nursing Home and later at the Pacific Homes in Burbank. She retired to the Chula Vista area, where brother Myron and sister Mary lived. She died 10 May 1991 in Chula Vista.

Myron Leon Smull was born 14 Nov 1907 in Clark County. He graduated from with a physical education degree from USC in 1932 and got his teaching certificate and taught at Taft in Perris, California in 1935 in secondary education. He also received advanced degrees from USC in education and administration.While there, he suffered a broken leg while playing a night baseball game at a local diamond. By 1941, he was teaching at Sweetwater High School and by 1944 was assistant district superintendent of attendance. His early years he also assistant coached a number of sports. He married Wilda French and had two sons, Michael and Robert.

Older Myron
In 1946, he became principal of Southwest Junior High and principal of Mar Vista High School in 1955. He retired in 1969. He was also very involved in the community and served in many capacities including being  was past president of South Bay Kiwanis Club; board member of Imperial Beach Boys Club; board member, Imperial Beach Parks and Recreation Commission; honorary life member, Mar Vista PTA; member of South Shores California Retired Teacher Association; San Diego County Officials Association; National Educators' Association; Sweetwater Education Association; the Accreditation Committee for Western Assocation of Schools and Colleges and past member of Southwest Lodge No 283, F&AM.

He died in a hospital at age 66 on 04 Dec 1974 in San Diego County. His wife remarried in 1979 to John L White. Wilda died 01 Sep 1992 in San Diego County.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Captain Grant & Mrs Mary Jane Scoles Walker

Mary Jane Scoles Walker

Mary Jane Scoles was the youngest child of Minnie Luella Smith and Charles Scoles. She was born 20 Aug 1927 in Bradford, Chickasaw County, Iowa. As a high school senior, she was chosen as a Queen entrant at the North Iowa Band Festival in Mason City by her class band from Nashua high school. She was a member of both the concert and marching bands, glee club, and mixed chorus and was also the state champion student band director. She was also an attendant to the Nashua High Homecoming Queen as a senior. Immediately after graduation, she belonged to The Majel Club, a social club of young women of the Congregational Church in 1946/1947 and served as secretary. She taught rural school for two years after graduating.

Grant Walker was the son of Mrs Celia Walker and was raised in Pennsylvania, born at Ramey and graduated from the Madera and Ramey area high school. He entered the Navy in 1943 at age 17. He attended Pennsylvania State and Georgia Tech in the Navy Y-12 program and entered midshipmen's
Capt Walker's Columbia
Roomie, Johnny Carson
training at Columbia University in March 1945.

While he was at Columbia Midshipmen's School, his roommate was young Johnny Carson. Captain Walker said, "He was in love with his high school sweetheart, who he later married. We only had Saturday night to go out to drink and he had his friends and I had mine. We got along just fine though."

He was commissioned in July 1945 and first assigned to the USS Chandeuer, a seaplane tender. Then, he was transferred to the USS Rockingham, a Haskell-class attack transport.

While on that ship, they were doing atomic bomb testing in the Bikini Atoll late 1945/1946. He was aboard the ship during the test blasts and also was required to take radioactivity readings on the various test ships (he said, "Some sunk, some didn't.") Captain Walker said they weren't allowed to look directly toward the blast, but had to turn their backs and protect their eyes, but post-blast, he could see the mushroom cloud.
Grant & Mary Jane's

Mary Jane's sister Margaret had married Dale Williamson and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Mary Jane moved to Atlanta and got a job as a reservations agent for Eastern Airlines. One night, she went out with some others girls from work and went to a bar. That night, Grant Walker, USN, was there too. He had been attending a chemical warfare school in Alabama and had come to Atlanta for a weekend of fun. He had decided to ask one of Mary Jane's group to dance, but by the time he got over there, she got up and left and he was left standing there. So, he asked Mary Jane to dance.

The couple married on 28 May 1953 in Atlanta and began their lives as a Navy family. Each year, they would come to Nashua/Plainfield for a visit with family. He recalls Minnie, Mary Jane's mother, as a bit aloof and difficult to know. She "had her opinions and those were her opinions," he said. Betty Smith Hahn and her husband Lee lived next door to Minnie. Betty was Minnie's adopted sister.

He attended Naval War College in 1963 and was in the same class as Jeremiah Denton, who was a POW for eight horrific years and later served as Senator of Alabama and Sam Gravely, the first African-American Admiral in the US Navy.

Commander Jeremiah Denton
Grant's career flourished. He, over the course of his career, commanded four ships. At the apex, he did three tours in Vietnam as Skipper of the USS Waddell, an Adams-class guided missile armed destroyer, beginning in 1966. During his time there, he recalls not only being fired upon, but firing back, and said his ship was the first to fire north of the South Vietnam border.

His last command was as Skipper of the USS Coronado, an Austin-class amphibious transport dock (LPD) built with additional superstructure for command ship duties. Keel was laid 01 May 1965 and she was commissioned 23 May 1970. Walker was its first Skipper. Captain Walker recalls that in the time it took him to get the ship underway and to its next port, his wife Mary Jane had driven the girls cross-country to Virginia Beach and found a church and joined before he got there. He said, "I didn't get any choice in church, but I'm a Methodist anyway, so it was fine."
Captain Grant Walker, USN

He retired in 1976. Sadly, his wife Mary Jane died months later on 25 May 1977 in Virginia Beach. She died at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital of encephalitis. She had suffered from leukemia for the previous four years.

The couple had four daughters, two of whom reside near him and the other two are only a couple hours away. He has eight grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Captain Walker remarried after ten years alone to Dorothy, who preceded him in death in 2007 of cancer. He likes to sing in the church choir at St Andrew's Methodist Church, to which he's belonged since 1970. His daughters sing in the choir with him. In earlier days, he was very active in  the community with organizations like the Red Cross and as president of the Civic League, but he mostly takes it easy these days. He still plays poker with the folks in his 40-year-old poker club, though Captain Walker says, "Five had died."  Captain Walker is 91 this year but still goes to the Outer Banks with his kids every year and sees them frequently-a situation he likes just fine.

USS Waddell