Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ripley: The Tale of Amelie Welles Pumpelly, Part 2

The Pumpelly family 1914 Left to right  Nursemaid, little Amelie, Mrs Pumpelly,
Raphael Pumpelly II; Ralph Pumpelly III  nursemaid and Ripley.

To read Part 1, go here. Amelie Welles Pumpelly was born on May 10, 1910 in New York City. The
oldest child of Raphael Welles Pumpelly and Amelie Sybil Huntington Ripley, she led a charmed young life until the separation and divorce trial of her parents in 1925.

UPDATE: My thanks to Amelie and John Henry Bates' daughter, Grace Ann, for clarifications to this article.

Raphael and his wife were incredible extravagant and they managed to get themselves into a lot of
John's brother Ad's Worker's Theatre
Publicity, 1933
hot water financially beginning in 1918. Amelie's mother reportedly gave a lot of money to what was termed a
"sect" out of her personal money, helping lead to their financial straights (she was Christian Scientist). Raphael and his sister Margaret were members of the Baha'i faith.

Raphael ended up with custody of his three children after a strong case was made that Mrs. Pumpelly had neither the knowledge or wherewithal to manage them. Raphael had been struck penniless after the divorce trial and led the children to their next stop. In 1925, he moved "into a cave he and Page (his former business partner) constructed 20 years earlier on Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. They survived by gathering fruits and nuts and trapping small game." Raphael went in got a job within a year and rebuilt his family's fortunes as a stockbroker.

Amelie Pumpelly's involvement in the Baha'i faith led to her meeting of John Henry Bates. Bates, an African-American, was the son of  Addison Bates, a porter, and Grace Brown. John's father died when the seven children were still young, sometime after 1910.  His father's people had been slaves in Dinwiddie, Virginia. John's brother, Addison, Jr. "Ad" was a noted carpenter of beautiful furniture, dancer, choreographer, artist, CPUSA-led union activist, and key player in the Harlem Renaissance. He also owned his own gallery in Harlem.

John Bates photo by Gordon Parks, Life Magazine, Aug 25, 1952
John boxed in the late 1920s and early 1930s under the name "Brooklyn Johnny Bates." According to Grace Ann Bates, "My father became a carpenter because his boxing career ended after he was in a car accident and had to have his jaw wired. He with his brothers Ad and Lenard had a very successful business in furniture and cabinet design using fine woods."

I would guess when the two married, it shocked society, but not those who followed the Baha'i faith's belief in the "oneness of the human race." They were married in Manhattan on August 1, 1935.

Grace Ann Bates said, "...mother did graphic designs for posters for the labor union. She was an artist-painter. It was at the end of the Harlem Renaissance that they met so many African American artist and writers were their friends."

They counted among their friends the likes of author Ralph Ellison. On one of the early visits of many to the family farm in Waitsville, Vermont, Ellison was inspired for the first time with the thought, "I am an invisible man." He began writing the first draft of his book during that visit. Regardless of their political affiliation, they continued practicing their faith, first in Haiti, where they attempted to build fellowship and then, in the late 1940s, to Mexico City, Mexico. According to the Baha'i newsletters I went through, it seems the pair worked well together on their mission and in life.  And such a different existence from family empire-building great grandfather WY Ripley's life. I wonder what he would have thought of it all.

In 1951, while living in Mexico City, Amelie died of a coronary thrombosis at the age of  41. She was buried in Panteon Jardin de Mexico Cemetery. Along with John, four daughters survived her.

John returned to Harlem after Amelie's death. He continued his friendship with Ralph Ellison, who at last had published his classic piece of literature, Invisible Man, and won a US National Book Award for Fiction. In the August 25, 1952 issue of  Life Magazine, John Bates was the model for the Gordon Parks photo essay on the Invisible Man (pp 9-11). I believe John died in 1975 in New York.

Death of American Abroad
Amelie Welles Pumpelly Bates
03 Nov 1951
Mexico City, Mexico

Ripley: The Tale of Amelie Welles Pumpelly, Part 1

Raphael, Amelie, and Ripley Pumpelly
This is not a complete story - nor does it even begin to touch on what I suspect was a fascinating and non-conforming life, but I wanted to get it started before I forget many of the details. I would love to hear from one of her surviving children - I understand there is at least one daughter still around.

UPDATE: Thanks to the kindness of Amelie and John Henry Bates' daughter, Grace Ann, for clarifications to this piece.

RIPLEY > William > RIPLEY, John > RIPLEY, Joshua > RIPLEY, Joshua II > RIPLEY, Joshua > RIPLEY, Nathaniel > RIPLEY, William Young > RIPLEY, Edward "Ned" Hastings, BG > RIPLEY, Amelie "Sybil" Huntington m. PUMPELLY, Raphael Welles >  PUMPELLY, Amelie Welles

William Young Ripley, of Rutland, Vermont, was a major player. He owned a huge marble business and had interests in numerous business ventures including banking. He had a slew of highly successful children, who in addition to having their own skills and talents, also had the money behind the Ripley name to clear their path in life. WY Ripley's youngest son, Ned, was described by one source as far more whimsical than his serious brother William, but he too was successful. During the Civil War, he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a Brigadier General and making a mark quite impressive.

After the war, he returned to Rutland to assist in the operation of the marble quarry business, but his father died and it was eventually sold. Ned moved to NYC, still unmarried, though quite eligible and handsome. He moved among the highest echelons of New York society and finally married Amelie Dyckman Van Doren, a member of an old and wealthy Dutch-American family at the ripe old age of 39.

Raphael II & father Raphael Pumpelly
Ned spent the next decades in major building and construction projects and founded a US-Brazil steamship line and traveled frequently to South America. Some of these projects flopped and some were successful, but it helped his wife's family was able to back some of his ventures. In some quarters, it was suspected that he did not always act in good faith.

His family - his wife "Minnie" (they did like their nicknames), and daughters, Alice "Ahlo" and Amelie "Sibyl" lived the good life in Manhattan all through Ned's financial ups and downs. One of the things he inherited from his father, was the family farm in Mendon, a bit east of Rutland along the Woodstock highway. It was there he also built cottages for his daughters to entertain and practice keeping house. They would use this farm as a getaway spot during their lives and it would play a role in his granddaughter Amelie's life as well.

His daughters, Ahlo and Sibyl, managed to get engaged about the same time and had a grand, Manhattan double wedding. Ahlo's groom was Alexander Ogden Jones, son of Mahlon Ogden Jones and Vera de Trofimoff, the Princess de Trofimoff of Russia. Alexander was an artist, farmer, and held a Ph. B from Yale and resided at 74 Park Ave. After their marriage, in 1920, he purchased the orchard and vineyard and pecan groves at Niagara, in Pinehurst, North Carolina, in the Sandhills, where they spent part of their time each year.

Sibyl's choice in spouse also had a lot of cachet. Raphael Pumpelly II was the son of Professor Raphael Pumpelly and Eliza Frances Shepard. Professor Pumpelly was a noted geologist who graduated in 1859 from the Royal School of Mines in Freiburg, Germany. He began his career in directing Arizona silver mine operations and worked as a consultant for the government of Japan. He spent much of his life traveling the world, working for various governments and business entities on various mining issues. He became the first Professor of Mining at Harvard. They resided in Newport when in country.
Samarkand farm

Raphael Wells Pumpelly finished three years at Harvard prior to traveling with his father on an archaeological expedition to Central Asia in Samarcand.  He was of a quite handsome and striking stature. As a child, he had traveled extensively in Europe and Asia with his father.  After his marriage, they also purchased land in the Sandhills, like brother-in-law Ogden Jones, and he hoped to settle down to life as a gentleman farmer after his marriage. He partnered with an old Harvard chum to buy 500 acres near Eagle Springs in 1910 and he later bought his chum out of his share. By 1913, the couple had three children, Amelie, the purpose of this story, born in 1910, Raphael Ripley Pumpelly (1911-2006), and Ripley Huntington Pumpelly (1913-1967). Raphael lived it up big, even in the Sandhills of Eagle Spring, North Carolina, building a beautiful mansion he named Samarkand manor (named for the country he visited as a boy which so intrigued him).  This account of the divorce proceedings stated:
"However, years of lavishness sapped the farm’s entire earnings. By 1918, two years of failed peach crops, coupled with the collapse of both the peach and real estate markets crippled the Pumpellys financially, driving them deeper into debt. Samarkand Manor, a correctional facility for troubled women, was erected on 300 acres of land sold by Pumpelly to the state that year.
Life at home proved not so peachy. The Pumpelly divorce, described as a “carnival of sensationalism,” provided nearly as much entertainment as the parties. Curious neighbors heard Amelie’s sworn accounts of the “torrid affair” with his children's tutor. Pumpelly submitted this sad account to a Harvard alumni publication 25 years after graduating: “My wife is gone, my house is empty, my property ransacked, and I have endured two years’ war with my most intimate friend and former partner.” Pumpelly, accompanied by his three children, moved in 1925 into a cave he and Page constructed 20 years earlier on Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. They survived by gathering fruits and nuts and trapping small game.
Pumpelly, after bathing in the stream and donning his suit, caught the train to New York City where he applied for work. After a year in the cave, he found employment as a stockbroker, soon became the third highest producer in the nation and made a second fortune. Years later, his children remembered that wild year as the best of their young lives. The Samarcand property eventually passed to J.D. Parker, a wine maker and dairy farmer. He and his family occupied the space until his incarceration for tax evasion in 1955."
The Pilot, LLC, 2013  
The divorce itself was not actually finalized until 1942 in Dade County, Florida - how that happened, I will probably never figure out.

Name: Amelia R Pumpelly
Gender: Female
Spouse's Name: Raphael W Pumpelly
Divorce Date: 1942
Divorce Place: Dade, Florida, USA
Certificate Number: 9803

Perhaps it was her time living in the cave that gave young Amelie a different perspective on life that would guide her through the rest of her life. For whatever reason, she took a vastly different path, which I'll cover next in Ripley: The Tale of Amelie Ripley, Part 2.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Little More on David Owens

I had a lot of fun working on the family of David Owens - check the tag list on the sidebar to see all
the posts related to him which cover his arrival in Iowa, move to Davison, South Dakota, and the lives of his children.

I also love that they keep adding newspapers over at, my favorite source of news articles. Recently, they added Iowa State Reporter, a small press that published from Waterloo.

Here are a few tidbits that look into the life of David Owens' life in Iowa. What I see is a good farmer, a wise man, a sometimes frustrated father, and a responsible, participating member of his community. It also nailed down the time of the arrival of the Owens' party in Poyner Township. And I had no idea he was a fruit grower primarily. He had some rough weather years here in Iowa. These take him all the way to just after his move to South Dakota:

Notice is hereby given that I have, this day, given my son, James D Owens, his time and that hereafter I will not be responsible for any debts or business engagements he may make. David Owens, Poyner Township, May 27, 1874
Iowa State Reporter May 27, 1874
Sheriff's Sale
State of Iowa, Black Hawk County > xx
Notice is hereby given, that on the 30th day of May AD 1874, at 10 o'clock am at the Court House, in the city of Waterloo, and county aforesaid will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder, for cash, the following described real estate, levied upon and taken by virtue of a general execution issued from the office of the clerk of the circuit court within and for the county of Black Hawk, State of Iowa, in favor of Rena Chapman and against the property of EE McStay, Charles B Case, and David Owens, to-wit:
Lot No four (4) in block No nine (9) in village of Raymond, Black Hawk County, State of Iowa, excepting the north forty-two feet (42) of said lot or so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy said writ of execution and all accruing costs. GW HAYZLETT, Sheriff of Black Hawk County, Dated at the Sheriff's office, Waterloo, April 30, 1874.
Iowa State Reporter May 27, 1874
David Owens, of Poyner township, tells us that his section the storm destroyed the fences and quite a few and quite a number of trees. Fifteen of his large fruit trees were either entirely destroyed or badly injured.
Iowa State Reporter June 10, 1874
David Owens, of  Poyner township, has sold to Thompson Bros., forty barrels of apples this year. They were mostly of the gros pommier variety and as handsome as any apples ever seen in this market. Mr Owens has been one of the most successful fruit growers in the county.
Iowa State Reporter October 21, 1874
...In 1855, L Doud, C Chamberlin, David Owens, William Wheeler, Albert Taylor, John Helton, John Hollar, Henry Kimble, John Linderman, IT Corwin, Martin Zimmerman and James Poyner settled in the southern part of the township.
Iowa State Reporter May 26, 1875
David Owens of Poyner Township came in on Monday with a big egg, expecting to beat the Lester township production furnished by Enos Wood. It was not quite large enough to do that, and Mr Owens has gone back to induce his hen to make another effort.
Iowa State Reporter August 18, 1875
...The reports in regard to corn are just as varied. David Owens, of Poyner Township, tells us his opinion, made up from actual observation, is that the crop will not be more than half the usual yield, taking the average into consideration. The weather recently has been too cool to make a crop, for the late planted. Oats are potatoes are generally good.
Iowa State Reporter August 18, 1875
David Owens of Poyner, exhibited twenty varieties of apples, making a very fine show.
Iowa State Reporter October 3, 1877
Justices - J. N. Marble, J. P. Keiffer.
Assessor - James K. Winsett.
Clerk- J. J. Hoxie.
Trustees- Ed. Marble, W. S. Deitrich, David Owens.
Constables- Joseph Barker, C. Miller
Iowa State Reporter October 16, 1878
David Owens of Poyner township says his apple crop will be about six hundred bushels of excellent fruit. He also tells us that for the last two years he has been getting all his fuel from groves of his own raising.
Iowa State Reporter September 24, 1879
...The following bills were audited as follows viz:
David Owens, vinegar and apples for poor house $2.37
Waterloo Courier October 26, 1881
David Owens, of Poyner, who has one of the large orchards of the county, informs us that the prospects now are that he will not have more than a quarter or a third of a crop. At first he expected an immense yield, but the last frost injured the fruit so that it has been dropping from the trees ever since. He also says his cherry crop will be light.
Iowa State Reporter June 28, 1882
The Mount Vernon, Dakota Gazette says that David Owens of this county has purchased a timber claim four miles southeast of that town.
Iowa State Reporter March 8, 1882
WG met David Owens of Poyner township the other day. He has for a good many years given much attention to fruit raising. he thinks the past winter killed about 70 per cent of his trees, notwithstanding a good many have budded and blossomed this spring. He says the wood is already turning black under the bark and by August will be dead. The trees that stood the winter best with him are the Haas, Duchess, Walbridge and the Perry Russett. The last he pronounces a poor thing in the way of fruit, but he has a good opinion of Walbridge, both as to fruit and tree.
Iowa State Reporter May 23, 1883
David Owens, formerly an old resident of Poyner township, came in Tuesday night from Dakota, where he is now living, near Mt Vernon. He has left at this office specimens of sod corn, wheat and American and Russian flax. He is loud in praise of the productiveness of the soil, and in his general surroundings, and the specimens we have from him certainly corroborates his enthusiasm. He will spend a couple of weeks among his old neighbors.
Iowa State Reporter October 16, 1884

Mystery Muddle: Abraham Owens Family Tree

David Owens is my 3rd great grandfather and I have written about his family extensively over the course of the last few weeks. Many gaps have been filled in, but the story behind his beginnings and parental line remain a mystery to solve. You can read about his children here.

According to the work of several amateur genealogists like myself, David's father was Abraham Owens of North Carolina. However, an extraordinary number of people have made, I believe, a big mistake in put my Abraham Owens together with a particular parental line.

Many of those who have put up family trees on Ancestry have Abraham tied to a man named Peter Noe as father. The information on "Peter Noe, Immigrant" is summed up for me very well, in this post. This information would also preclude my Abraham Owens of Indiana from being the "Abraham Sr" Noe cited in Emily (Noah) Yost's  The Noe/Noey/Noah Family (1993) and scores of unsourced family trees on Ancestry as Abraham Owens

1. Abraham Noe Sr is cited in Yost's work as going from NC to Paint Rock, Alabama in 1819 along with many other family members. Abraham Noe is trackable for the most part and lived in Alabama much of his life.

2. Abraham Owens, based on his children's known birthplaces, went from NC to Tennessee (at a minimum) and eventually to Lawrence County, Indiana. He is shown in the 1850 census as living in Bono, Lawrence County. My belief is he died between 1850-1860 and his wife survived him. There is no proof of movement in that year from Indiana to Alabama where many trees cite he died in 1850.

3. His wife, who shares the first name of Abraham Noe's wife, Elisabeth, is trackable through the 1870 census and is living with her eldest son in Shelby County, Illinois. She did not die in 1850 in Alabama as many, many trees indicate on Ancestry.

4. Why would his last name have changed so radically when the Noe's who went to Alabama maintained their name. There is no substantiated proof to that claim.

5. 1850 Lawrence County, Indiana there were literally over 50 people with the Owens family name living in three townships within Lawrence County. All were early settlers. Most had come from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. That's an awful lot of people sharing a name in a very small space it does tend to lend credence to the fact that Abraham Owens is more likely related to them and not Peter Noe.

I am only able to put together about 9 of what could be as many as 15 children of Abraham and Elisabeth Owens. Among them is my 3GG, David Owens. I still do not know Elisabeth's maiden name, but I am positive it is not Rich (wife of Peter Noe).

Perhaps it's a mystery never to be solved, but it is highly frustrating when no one cites any sources for huge leaps of connection which are verifiably not possible.

I would love to hear from someone who has ANY proof of Abraham Owens origins, wife's full name, and all of his children's names. Or, proof that the claims made on Ancestry by scores of genealogists could in fact, be true (but I doubt that!).

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Prolific David Owens: Where They All Ended Up

Click the name to go to their story
Founding Families of Poyner Township
Mystery Muddle: Abraham Owens Family Tree
A Little More on David Owens

The Prolific David Owens: His children:

Mother: Sarah Holler
Enoch Nicholas "Nick" Owens
Martha E Owens
Emily C Owens
Lucy Jane "Lizzie" Owens
    Josie Miller Must Have Liked Quirky - Coming 10/8/17
    Remembering Florence Miller - Coming 9/16/17
    Cappoens/LeRoy Line - Leo Linsey
    He Looked Down Upon Me And Laughed 
George Franklin Owens
James Dennis Owens
Sarah Edna Owens
    Back in the Bad Old Days: Bradford J St Charles
David C Owens
Harriet "Hattie" Estella Owens

Mother: Anna Eliza "Eliza" Barker*
William Lincoln Owens
Emery Ellsworth Owens
Carrie Elnora Owens
Mary Owens (died at age 3)
Infant Owens

*Information has recently come to light that Eliza may have been previously married to George W. Barker. Barker is most likely not her maiden name. George may have died or they may have divorced, but no confirmation is yet made. The timing and other biographical facts fit. For the time being, I'll let the name Barker, now associated with her, stand.

David Owens married Sarah Hollar. The majority of the Holler/Hollar clan lived for generations in southern Indiana, while the children of Johannes' first wife remained in North Carolina. Sarah descendants are listed above. Other Holler stories below

Where There's a Will
Israel Holler
Hollar Out: The Tragic Tale of Grant Hollar
Isaac Walter Hollar
William Holler's Not So Fortunate Kids
The Confederate Hollers: Sidney & Franklin Cicero Sipe
Yin/Yang: The Bandy's in a Minute

The Prolific David Owens: Daughter Lucy Jane "Lizzie" Owens

Polk Township, Benton County, 1875

You can read about David Owens' beginnings here. This is my 2nd great grandmother and a product of David Owens' first marriage to Sarah Holler. It is also the last in the series on the David Owens children.

She was born 22 Jun 1850, in Bono, Lawrence County, Indiana, where the Owens' resided prior to their trek to Illinois and then Poyner Township, Black Hawk County, Iowa.

At age 19, on 04 Nov 1869, she married Ira Smith Miller, son of George Miller and Mary Ann Leroy.

Mary Ann provides our direct link to one of the wealthiest and one of the most prominent people of the New World, Christina Cappoens, who was a wealthy, wise, and wily matriarch in New Amsterdam in the 1600s. I hope to publish more about this family as I have time, but you can get a taste here.

Ira's family came to Iowa from Indiana prior to 1860. They settled in Benton County, a county over from Black Hawk. The young Miller's farmed in Polk Township in Benton County in the Center Point/Urbana area through the 1900 Census. Before 1910, they had picked up and moved to Jefferson Township in Butler County. This was moving from southeast of Cedar Falls over an hour to north of Cedar Falls, close to Oelwein. A pretty big move, and I haven't discovered the reason for the move.

Miller daughter Florence, her son Leo Linsey,
his son Larry Linsey and his daughter
The Millers had nine surviving children:

Emma, 1870-1954; married George Simpson
Charles, 1874-1925; never married; died of uremic poisoning
Fred H, 1877-1941; married Glennie Lott
Edith Elnora, 1879-1963; married Frank Hudson
Josephine "Josie", 1882-1954; married Charles Swanger (who married 3 times)
Florence S, 1884-1983; married Charles Linsey (my great grandmother). Read about her here.
George David, 1889-1923; married Luella May "Ella" Decker. Ella died in childbirth with their third child in 1914. Their two children's upbringing is another mystery since George died before they reached their majority.
Harriet "Hattie" Stella, 1892-1963; married (1) Charles Babcock, (2) Leroy "Roy" William Bushnell. You can read about her here
Jessie E, 1895-1975; never married.

But, by 1920, back in Benton County they were, only this time in Harrison Township. The Miller's were getting old and son Jessie lived there also working on the farm.

Quite elderly, 1930 found them moved "into town." They lived at 714 E 2nd St in Vinton, which even today is somewhat semi-rural yet still in town. Ira died in May of that year and Lucy joined him on 17 August of 1931. Lucy died in the home of her daughter, Mrs Josie Swanger in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa five weeks after she moved from her Vinton home to her daughter's care.

Like most people in the day, they lived, they farmed, they died. A story lost to time for nothing remains to tell their story but a few dry facts.

The Prolific David Owens: Son Enoch "Nick" Owens

Siege of Vicksburg, MS 1863

You can read about David Owens' beginnings here. Enoch was the eldest of the David Owens/Sarah Holler union. He was born June 22, 1844 in Indiana. The 1850 Census has the family in Lawrence County. Sarah's widowed mother, sister and husband Edna and William Wheeler, and brother John B. Holler trekked with the Owens family to Illinois and then to Poyner Township, Black Hawk County, Iowa over the course of 1854-55.

Enoch, or Nick as he was called, enlisted at age 18 on 24 Sep 1862 serving with Company C, Iowa 31st Infantry Regiment. He served with his unit until 27 Jun 1865 when he was discharged at Louisville, Kentucky. That unit engaged in the following battles. Not many of this group died in battle, but over 20% died of disease during their service:

Siege of Vicksburg
Battle of Lookout Mountain
Battle of Missionary Ridge
Battle of Resaca
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
Battle of Atlanta
Battle of Jonesboro
March to the Sea
Battle of Bentonville

Enoch in 1870 was living in the home of his grandmother Lucy and her second husband Rev Nathan Poyner, founding member of the community. For a time he was a railway engineer, but he had purchased some of his own land to farm. He would not stay in these parts, as was the case with the children of  many of the original group, and moved on back to Brown in Washington County, Indiana.

On 03 Nov 1874 he had married Eliza Ella Russell, daughter of George and Bethire (Barnard)
Enochs stone at Maple Hill Cemetery
He died at the end of 1916; stone error of 1917
Russell. In about 1884, they moved on from Indiana, to Wayne County, Illinois. During the rest of his life, he primarily farmed. They had two children:

Pearl was born in about 1875 and who would later marry Andrew David Weller and move to Rose, in Carroll County, Ohio. After Andrew's death in 1841, would move to Stark County in 1844.They had no children.

Son Sebert, who we can presume was born between 1877 and 1894, and for whom I've located no information, was living in Brazil in South America at the time of his father's death, according to Nick's obituary.

Ella died 29 Nov 1893. Nick remarried on 17 Sep 1896 to Mrs. Para Lee (Shaw) Brown. Nick died 27 Dec 1916 in Fairfield. Mrs Owens died 28 Mar 1926 in Big Mound, Wayne County.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Prolific David Owens: Daughter Harriet "Hattie" Estella Owens


You can read about David Owens' beginnings here. Hattie was the last child born to David Owens and Sarah Holler. She was born in 1861 in Poyner Township, Black Hawk County, Iowa. The month following her father and his third wife's departure for Mt Vernon, South Dakota, she married James Fleming Reynolds, originally from Michigan and son of Anthony J. and Frances Reynolds on 01 May 1884 in Woodbury County, Iowa. In the 1885 Iowa Census they resided in Rutland Township in Woodbury County.

According to his obituary, they spent some time in Davison County, South Dakota and James was both a bank president and an operator of a hardware store, and quite prominent in the development of Davison County, though I cannot confirm this independently.  I can confirm the birth places and dates of the four sons which helps with the timeline:

Claude Anthony Reynolds born 12 May 1885, Woodbury County, Iowa
James Leonard Reynolds born 21 Nov 1886 in Kingsley, Plymouth, Iowa
Dr. Earl Owen Reynolds born 10 Apr 1890 in Mt Vernon, Davison, South Dakota
Romaine Russell Reynolds, born 16 Jul 1899 in Davison County, South Dakota

So, for the sake of this piece of research, they lived in Davison County from at least April 1890 to July 1899. Because by 1900, they were living in Dodge, Union County, Iowa farming and in 1910 they had moved on. living on Crouter St in Scott, Montgomery County, Iowa living with son Claude and his wife Minnie, and two of Claude's brothers, James and Romaine.

Between 1910 and 1920, they arrived in Greenfield, Adair County, Iowa.  And, in the 1925 Iowa Census, they lived in Buchanan, Page County, Iowa. FindaGrave 67585755 indicates he died in Braddyville, Page County, but again, I can't find the supporting documentation to confirm that. The obituary says they lived in Braddyville 26 years, but that's just not right.

James died 21 Jul 1928, probably in Braddyville. Harriet began traveling between Greenfield and Braddyville and later Creston visiting her sons. She died 03 May 1950.  Again, there is no confirmation she actually died in Braddyville. They were, however, both buried there.

If you have supporting data to prove anything listed in the obituary, I'd love to know more!

The Prolific David Owens: Daughter Emily C Owens

Buried in Phillips County, Kansas

You can read about David Owens' beginnings here. Emily was an early child for the Owens and made the trek from Washington County, Indiana to Illinois and Iowa with her family in 1853-1854. She was born 19 May 1848.

On 12 Sep 1872, she married Emory Clark, son of Jacob and Mary Salome Clark, also settler in Poyner Township who came by way of Ohio. Emory would be the first of two brothers who married into the Owens clan. His brother James Riley Clark married Emily's sister Sarah in 1874. You can read about them here.

Emory and his bride lived in nearby Barclay Township, where they farmed. Sometime between 1880-1885, they were living in Liberty, Gage County, Nebraska. Only Emory and Gertrude (their only child) are listed in that Nebraska Census of 1885 which had Gerty working as his housekeeper and he was a real estate agent. Where was Emily?

They picked up and again and between 1885 and 1900, they moved to Walnut, Phillips County, Kansas, where they are all again represented.

Gertrude Evaline Clark married William Hosea in about 1894. The Hosea's lived in Phillips their entire lives. They, too, had only one child, Harry Clark Hosea, born in 1895.

Emily died in 1917 while living in Phillips County and was buried in Phillips County. Her husband, lived on and reportedly died in Waterloo, Iowa in 1926, but I cannot confirm that information and no grave is available in either location to view thus far.

Little is known about the Clark family based on records and newspaper accounts. I do wonder where she went in 1885.

The Prolific David Owens: Son James Dennis Owens

Lucinda Burroughs Owens

You can read about David Owens' beginnings here. Just looking at records with facts and data cannot a story tell. But for James Dennis, who was born in Poyner Township, Black Hawk County, Iowa on 12 Jul 1855, my first meeting with him outside of records was with this:
Notice is hereby given that I have, this day, given my son, James D Owens, his time and that hereafter I will not be responsible for any debts or business engagements he may make. David Owens, Poyner Township, May 27, 1874
Iowa State Reporter May 27, 1874
James was then 19 years old and had done something to vex his father. But, James soldiered on, marrying Lucinda Artemesia Burroughs,born 1855, daughter of James W and Julia (Clark) Burroughs in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa. The wedding was held in Black Hawk County 14 Mar 1878.

James started out farming in Black Hawk County and the couple had their first two children: Beatrice (1879) and  James Jay (1883) while still in Iowa. Before 1891, they were living at 54 Rio Grande Ave, Salt Lake City, Utah in what is now smack-dab in the middle of a major modern shopping complex. They also added to the family a son. Arthur, who was born in 1891 in Salt Lake City. James made his living as a boilermaker for the railroad.

By 1910, they purchased their own home and were living at 446 Post Street in Salt Lake City. He was still working for the railroad as a boilermaker. His daughter Beatrice had married Thomas FitzPatrick Coleman in 1898 and they had made their own home. Thomas was a mining engineer.

On 20 Feb 1918, a horrible accident occurred. James, operating his smelter, experienced a traumatic amputation of his great toe. The resulting septicemia killed him on 05 Mar 1918. Wife Lucinda was found in 1920 living with son Arthur and granddaughter, Tesora Coleman on Post St. Lucinda died on 12 Dec 1938 after a brief bout of pneumonia.

James Dennis Owens Death Certificate

The Prolific David Owens: Daughter Carrie Elnora Owens

Early 1900s postcard for Mt Vernon, SD

You can read about David Owens' beginnings here. One little caveat discovered when working on
mother Anna: Barker may have been previously married to George Barker when they came to Black Hawk County. I don't know if George died or they divorced, but I'm fairly certain this is the Anna Eliza Barker David took as his third wife. I have not discovered Anna's earlier beginnings.

Carrie Elnora was born in Poyner Township, Black Hawk County in 1875 date according to her tombstone). She was the first daughter and third child of David and his third wife "Eliza." When the Owens' packed up and moved to near Mount Vernon, Davison County, South Dakota in April 1884, Carrie was nine years old. She married Thomas Benjamin Haynes in South Dakota in 1892. Thomas' parents had come from England and he was born in Wisconsin. Thomas was a farm implement dealer in Mount Vernon.

They resided in Mount Vernon their entire married lives, Thomas dying in 1949 and Carrie following him in 1950.

Owen Haynes
Their children were Hazel Lorraine, born 1896, who married James Earl Wells, Jr. James was an economist and analyst for the Department of Agriculture's Farm Board in Washington DC beginning in 1927. He was made secretary of the Commodity Credit Corp by Franklin Roosevelt and later was named second vice president and director, a post he held until 1936. He continued to work for the Federal government until at least 1940. After retirement, they lived in Minneapolis until their move to Tucson, Arizona in about 1966. James died in 1967 and Hazel in 1987.

Son Owen James Haynes, born in 1899,  was the first man in Mount Vernon to enter the service during World War I. He went on to Camp Cody, Demin, New Mexico and spent a year there before being sent to France, where he served with an ambulance company. When he returned, he left for Vermillion, where he attended the University of South Dakota. While there, he received his undergrad and law degrees. He practiced law in Belfourche, South Dakota before he joined Standard Oil Co in 1923. He rose to the rank of Vice President of California Explorations, a subsidiary of Standard Oil, that was in charge of lands, leases, and government relations. He died in 1971 in the wealthy enclave of Burlingame, California. His wife, Florence Nelson and daughter, Marilyn survived him.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Prolific David Owens: Son David C Owens

Nodaway County Poor Farm
David served as superintendent

You can read about David Owens' beginnings here.

Young David C Owens (middle name is reported as Casper and Crockett, though I have no confirmation in records of either) was born the last son of David Owens and Sarah Holler on 13 Aug 1859. He was born in Black Hawk County, Iowa. I think a lot happened to him between 1880 to 1900, but all of this is put together from other records and news articles.

Brother George Franklin lived in Sheridan County, Nebraska in the 1890s, and it appears, that for at least time, so did David C. David is the one who received three land patents from 1890-1894 for a total of 467 acres in Sheridan County, but George is the one who stayed there to farm. My hypothesis is that David sold his land to George before moving on.

In 1891, while in Nebraska, he married Laura Josephine Shafer, born in Indiana in 1862 and daughter of Dr. George and Lydia (Faustknaup) Shafer in Indiana. Dr Shafer was a widower living in Bowen, Sioux County, Nebraska in 1900.

In 1900, the Owens' were located in Lincoln, Nodaway, Missouri, just south of Braddyville, Iowa, where sister Harriet Owens Reynolds resided. David was a hardware salesman at the time. By 1910, he was farming in Nodaway County.

They had five children: Cecil Arthur (1894-1958), Aden Dwight (1895-1963), Bryan (1897-1907), Frank Leo "Leo" (1901-1962) and Neva Ruth (1903-1990). All five children were born in Braddyville, Iowa and son Bryan died in Braddyville. I can only surmise that they moved around a bit between the two counties, only 50-ish miles apart or may have had the farm and a house in the town. It's a question I'd like to find the answer to!

By 1920, he was superintendent of the Nodaway County Poor Farm, housing 25 inmates. 1930 brought him back to farming in Nodaway County. In 1937, his beloved wife Laura died in St Joseph, Missouri at age 74. David in 1940 was also living in St Joseph, in the home of his daughter Neva Ruth and her current husband, Paul Reeves. Paul died in 1942, which is about the time I believe  David moved to his son Cecil's home in Kitsap County, Washington where he died in 1944. Both David and his wife were buried in Braddyville Cemetery in Braddyville, Iowa.

Hollar Out: The Tragic Tale of Grant Hollar

Grant Hollar had a temper

When Lucy Holler, widow of George, her daughter and son-in-law Sarah and David Owens, daughter and son-in-law Edna and William Wheeler, and son John B Hollar headed to Iowa from Indiana, they were joining a small farming community of like-minded Baptists in what would become Poyner Township in Black Hawk County Iowa. You can read the tale here.

As time went on, most of them moved on to other parts. John B. Holler, who was born in Washington County Indiana, in about 1834, moved along with is wife Harriet Shinn (married, 1857 in Black Hawk County) and their four young children to near Monticello, Jones County, Iowa, about an hour's drive today east of Black Hawk County some time before the 1885 Iowa Census and after the 1880 US Federal Census. There, the lived until before the 1900 census, where they farmed in Delaware County. By 1907, they had moved to Waterloo, back in Black Hawk County, in their retirement.

Their son Alonzo Granville "Grant" Hollar seemed to have quite a time of things his entire life, In 1889, he was arrested for assault that damaged dignity more than anything. See article above.

In 1890, he married Miss Bessie Belle Brush, daughter of Adam and Rosa (Forsythe) Brush in
Monticello. Three months later, their son George Alonzo Hollar was born. It looks like it was rocky from the get-go, as demand marriages seemed to be so often. By 1895, their child George, was living with JB and Hattie Hollar. And, it appears that Grant had a wicked-awful temper. The young Hollar couple had separated and violence again erupted. In 1895, he was arrested and sent to Anamosa jail to await trial for attempted murder - of his young wife. (See article)

Finally, a divorce was granted to Mrs Hollar in mid-December 1895. Their child remained with the elder Hollars and would do so for the remainder of his youth. Bessie married Walter Flansburg September 5, 1896. They would have two children and be divorced prior to 1920. Mrs Flansburg lived with her son Elery Flansburg in Illinois until her death in 1959. Mr. Flansburg would die destitute in the IOOF Home in Mason City, Iowa in 1961. No mention of Walter's children with Bessie is made in his obit and no mention of her son George Hollar is mentioned in her obituary, nor the earlier marriage.

Grant, it seems, was not destined for long or happy life. Just months after his divorce and two months before his wife remarried, he would be killed in a train accident, the blame for which was placed on him by the coroner's jury.

Young George Alonzo would live a long life, married in 1925 to his wife and had no children. He died in 1972 in Waverly, Bremer County, Iowa after many years as a businessman and grocer. His wife Florence Bennett died in 1977.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Trailblazing Women: Marjorie J Bennett, Army Nurse Corps

Commissioning Photo 1950
Sideroad: Munson/Woodington Family

Marjorie Bennett was the daughter of Arthur Bennett (1891-1934) and Emma L Otto Bennett Cohoe (1894-1988) born 15 Jan 1919 in Cassville, Grant County, Wisconsin. When she was 15, her father died and her mother moved the family to Lancaster in Grant County. Marjorie had two brothers who both served during World War II: Robert Henry Bennett, who served in the US Army Air Corps and Arthur Richard Bennett who served in the US Navy.

Marjorie completed her undergrad degree at Plattsburgh State Teacher's College in Wisconsin, then attended Finley School of Nursing in Dubuque, Iowa. She then attended the University of Wisconsin for public health training. In 1945, she began her work as the Assistant then Public Health Nurse for Grant County. While attending school in 1944, she had joined the cadet corps for the Women's Army Corps Reserves and asked to be activated in 1950. She left soon after for Ft Sam Houston, where the Army nursing course was held and was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant. She graduated in July 1951.

8167 Tokyo Army Hospital 1950s
After her training, she was sent to the Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan where she served briefly before being assigned to the 8167th Tokyo Army Hospital during the middle of the Korean Conflict, supporting soldiers whose injuries were severe enough to have them transferred from the Korean theatre. She then did war duty in Korea, assigned to the 11th Evac Hospital. This was fast-moving, tactical medicine, but they were also among the first nurses to help patients with hemorrhagic fever on a first generation artificial kidney machine. The work of the doctors and nurses of the 11th would influence future improvements in renal failure treatment for the world. Only between 500-1,500 nurses served during the Korean conflict (funny how they didn't really keep track), but the women who served suffered the same hardships and trauma as their male counterparts, without the resources to identify at treat conditions like PTSD, especially in women. I'm sure all those who served saw too much.
11th Evac Hospital, Korean War
Looks amazingly like a publicity shot for the
TV show M*A*S*H*

After her tours overseas, she returned to the States and was assigned to Fort Benning Georgia's Army Hospital. She spent 3-1/2 years there before heading overseas again, this time to Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu. That had to be a sweet assignment.

Her last assignment was in Georgia, once again and she moved her mother to her home after her stepfather's death. Marjorie retired as a Lt Colonel in about 1970 but stayed in Augusta, Georgia. Brother Robert lived nearby in Columbus, Georgia. Her brother died in 1976. Marjorie remained in Augusta until after her mother's 1988 death, residing in Marshall, Wisconsin until her death in 1995.

Marjorie was an active member in the Retired Officers Association, Retired Army Nurse Corps Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans. She picked a career path completely apart from other women of her day and served with distinction in peace and war.

The Prolific David Owens: Son William Lincoln Owens

A typical blacksmith shop
You can read about David Owens' beginnings here.

David and his new wife Anna Eliza "Eliza" Barker's first child was a boy. William Lincoln Owens was born 17 Jun 1867 inBlack Hawk County, Iowa. In 1884, the family moved to Davison County, South Dakota, settling near Mount Vernon. William was 16 at that time.

1891 found William visiting in Hartington, Nebraska, located west of Sioux Falls and south of Yankton, South Dakota, It was there he met and then married Aretta "Retta" Hamilton, who had come to Hartington to visit her uncle. The visit lasted though, when she decided to teach school there. They married at the Presbyterian Church there. According to a news article, the officiating minister, Rev Mr Martin said to the young couple, "I have performed many marriages in my time and not a single one has ended in divorce."

The article also stated he was raised in his early years in Raymond, Iowa, but in fact, spent his early years on a farm, near Raymond. Retta was the daughter of Jasper and Mary (Miller) Hamilton and was raised in Ellsworth, Wisconsin.

They moved to Davison County where William was a blacksmith. "I have been blacksmith in Mount Vernon for 45 years and have shod horses for 65 years," he said in the news account. For a brief time they lived on a farm outside of Mount Vernon, then moved to a farm near her parents in Wisconsin. The more rugged life seemed to suit them though, so they returned to South Dakota. William is well-known for his love of horses and hunting and at the time of the article in 1957, he was registered as the oldest licensed hunter in the state. He plied his blacksmithing trade from that point on.
"When asked what he thought of the change in transportation from the old era to the new, Mr Owens said that in his blacksmith shop in Mount Vernon, he made the "Owens Special" the first car in the city in 1908. It had rubber tires, high wheels, and a 24-horsepower engine." 
They moved to Mitchell in 1945.
Crappy news photo - but all I gots!
"Today, Mr & Mrs Owens live quietly at home. He drives her to the grocery store; if he shops for her and does not get just what she thinks is right, back it goes. Mrs Owens is a woman of firm convictions. Petite and fragile looking though she is, she does all her own housework, washing walls when needed, and plenty of canning. She is a charter member of the Rebekah Lodge and the Women's Relief Corps in Mount Vernon. Her husband is a former member of the IOOF lodge in Mount Vernon. Baptized a Methodist, she used to attend the Congregational Church. Now the two of them enjoy listening to the church services on the radio. According to Mrs Owen, they play a great deal of cards in the evening for a past time "Nobody has been taken any better care of than I," Mr Owens said in speaking of their long married life together. "You bet your life it has been happy and my wife is wonderful." he said. Mrs O retaliated with "Oh, yes, we have our disagreements, but they never last long and are never serious." Undoubtedly a powerful tall big man in the prime of life, he still towers over a person, even though now a little stoop shouldered. His large hands have a firm, strong grip. His good health he said is caused by the fact he has, "no bad habits: no liquor, no tea, or coffee, and no tobacco." Their ages? Mrs Owens will be 86 next June 9 and her husband will be 91, June 17. Mitchell Daily Republic March 1, 1958
William and Retta had only one child, a daughter, Lorraine, born in 1893 in Wisconsin. Lorraine married first John Wagner, who died before 1926 and Elmer Locke in 1926. There were no children of those marriages.

William and Retta made it to their 69th year of marriage before W. L. died in 1959. Retta followed him in 1965.

The Prolific David Owens: Daughter Martha E Owens

Newburgh Downtown, 1920s
David Owens' story can be found here. Charting the course his children took has become quite a job. They spread across the country to all different locations to do all sorts of things.

Martha is exceptionally challenging because the records are sparse until 1900.  Martha was the second surviving child of David Owens and first wife Sarah Holler. She was born in Indiana in about 1846 prior to the family's move to Illinois and then Poyner Township, Black Hawk County, Iowa.

Enos Bronson, had the distinction of being born, marrying, and dying on the 01 Oct. He hailed from near Waterbury, Connecticut and was born 01 Oct 1833, making his way to Black Hawk County with several family members in 1858. Enos' father, John W. Bronson settled in Poyner Township with his second wife. John W. ended up having at least 14 children with his three wives. According to his obituary, Enos enlisted for service in the civil war in Iowa, though I could find him in no rosters yet. It was there he met and then married Martha on 01 Oct 1864.  He became interested in the manufacture of plaster when a young man and is said to have been the inventor of so-called "hard plaster" which comes in bags, ready to be mixed with water. At the request of J B King & Co, he went east to Staten Island, NY, one of the largest dealers in mason's supplies in the country. He went to Newburgh in 1899. He was active in business up to the time of his death, despite his age.

95 Rennwick St, Newburgh, NY
This is a multi-family home.
After their marriage, nothing is known of what became of them in records until the 1900 Census, where they were living in Newburgh, Orange County, New York. Newburgh is about 60 miles north of NYC and the west bank of the Hudson River and was once the headquarters of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. In the early 20th Century, it was booming with hundreds of manufacturing industries from textiles to shipbuilding. During World War 1 and beyond, it continued to thrive as both a commerce and recreational area.

Enos and Martha by 1900 were fairly old, and were living at 95 Renwick St in Newburgh with granddaughter Enid (b. 1887). Enos was still working as a traveling salesman selling brick and construction supplies.

54 Overlook Pl, Newburgh, NY
The Bronson's had one child of three survive, Elnora "Ella" Bronson who first married Clark Albert
Wilder, DDS and had a child, Enid Wilder, with him. He moves on in short order and remarries, moving to Montana. She remarries a fellow named Emanuel Perrot who was born in Ireland to Richard and Ann. Emanuel seems to be fairly well connected, for in 1894, he is appointed by Mayor Odell as Marshall of the Police Force (Police Chief) for which he served from his appointment date until 1915. Emanuel, after serving as Police Chief for 20 years, became a probation officer for the City of Newburgh until his sudden death in 1941. Emanuel and Ella had no children, but her daughter Enid lived with the family her entire life.

Enos and Martha lived with the Perrott's at 54 Overlook Pl, Newburgh, NY from sometime in the decade of the 1900s until their deaths. Enos is not listed in Census after 1920 and Martha is not after 1930. A recently discovered obit for Enos indicates he died 01 Oct 1924 and was published in a Waterloo, Iowa paper.

I would surmise that daughter Ella died sometime around 1948 because her daughter in 1949 is shown in the city directory living in the "City Home," but not in previous annual directories. The Newburgh City and Town Home, Newburgh, was an almshouse for the elderly and infirm. I would surmise she was placed here for some sort of infirmity. There is no record for her either after 1949.

The Prolific David Owens: Son George Franklin Owens

Rushville 1910
Sheridan County, Nebraska was originally part of a hodgepodge of sections of NW Nebraska, near
the South Dakota border that were governed very loosely from varying locations. A major Sioux Reservation is across the border from Sheridan County in South Dakota and has always been an integral part of trade and commerce for towns in Sheridan County, like Rushville. It became the county in its current form in 1885. Back then, the train went only as far as Valentine in neighboring Cherry County, making it necessary to hire a team to get to the next destination. A depot for Rushville, the major hub of Sheridan County, wasn't built until around 1910. It was the wild, wild west, but there was good grazing lands, full of Buffalo grass along the edge of the Sandhills. Like most of new settlements on the prairie, where trees had limited availability, many of the early homes in Sheridan County were soddies. Life was challenging and many settlers moved on.

George Franklin Homestead in Milan Precinct, near Rushville,
Sheridan County, Nebraska. Since it's a frame house, it might
have been built sometime after 1910.
David Owens many children, by two of his three wives, spread out far and wide after he and his third wife moved from Black Hawk County, Iowa to Davison County, South Dakota in the 1880s.  George Franklin Owens was the sixth surviving child of David and his first wife Sarah Holler and was the only child born during the elder Owens' brief layover in Illinois prior to their big move from Indiana to Poyner Township, Iowa.

George somehow ended up in Mission Creek, Pawnee, Nebraska prior to 1885. Mission Creek was
down on the Nebraska/Kansas border south of Lincoln.  He worked there as a farm hand for E. M. Berry. Sometime later, he met Mary Josephine Teller, whose parents settled in Bone Creek, Butler County, Nebraska (near Columbus) and they married in 1892. Then we get to the part where no Census records are available for the critical 1890 Census...yet, in 1900, they were living in Sheridan County in Milan precinct with their three surviving children. One had died in infancy. They had a homestead and were stock farmers (cattle ranchers).

Alfred Teller (Mary's brother), unknown young man and child,
George Franklin Owens and Frank Owens
I'm not quite sure how George fell into land ownership here since the Land Grant data suggests that his brother David C. Owens, purchased 467 acres over the 1890-1894 period. David, was by 1900, living in Nodaway, Missouri, so we might hypothesize that David sold his land to George.

By 1920, they were of retirement age and lived in a home at 143 Sommer St in Rushville with son Franklin and his daughters.

Their son Franklin was a merchant in town. He'd lost his first wife Minnie Rohwer in 1919 and his parents helped him raise his two girls (Ruth and Bernice) from that marriage before he married Florence Taylor in 1924. Franklin had another child, son Lowell, with Florence. By 1930, Frank and family were back on the Milan Precinct farm, where they farmed past 1940.

Daughter Hattie Belle Owens married Robert "Bert" Watson in 1912 in Rushville. They had a number of children and farmed in Milan Precinct. Bert died in 1946 and Hattie Belle died in 1989 in Rushville. They had nine children, most of whom would end up in Stanislaus County, California.

Daughter Ethel Josephine would marry Clinton C Millslagle in 1916. They would have seven children and would move on to Washington State. Ethel died in Centralia in Lewis County (date unknown) and husband Clyde would die in Olympia in 1962.

George Franklin would die 28 Jul 1935 in Rushville and his wife Mary Josephine Teller died 10 Jul 1920 in Rushville.

*Sources for this information are available upon request.

Personal Interview: When an Interview Flops!

Where the Smiths-Smulls First Collide
James Smith & Jennie Smull Wedding
My interview subject's grandparents


I had traced a woman, who was still living and in her 90s, AND was willing to talk to me after a brief phone call. She is related to me on both the Jacob SMITH and Jonathan SMULL sides of the family so I thought this was going to be a major score. The trip would be 300 miles round trip to the southwest part of the state and would take an entire day of my copious free time.

I arrived and was let into their home by their 69-year-old son who I'm sure wanted to be there to ensure I wasn't an ax murderer. The couple I would speak to were both from the Plainfield area originally and lived there from the 1920s through the 1940s with stops in Cedar Falls and Ames. They maintained close ties to their extended family and the town where they started. They settled in another small Iowa town, where he worked as a large animal vet. The Dr., though a couple years older, seemed to have better recall than his wife.

The problem was that the Mrs.was lost in specific stories, which she repeated verbatim throughout the time I was there and then asked me repeatedly who I was and who I was related to. It reminded me a great deal of conversations I had with my great grandmother as she slipped in and out on a dime into her Alzheimer's ravaged mind.

Jennie Smull & James Smith
She is my great grandmother's sister.
That looks like a wedding cake
for an anniversary
but then look none too happy, do they? 
Her recollections and storytelling ability were naught. The Dr. was able to fill in some blanks and I was able to pull some information out of him without too much effort, but it had entirely shifted the focus of the interview. And, they were lovely and gracious people, I'd just arrived 10-15 years too late.

I spent about an hour there and got a few little nuggets on them, but little else. With the exception of a photocopy of a photo that ended up making this 300-mile trek part of the discovery of 2016 for me. I'm not going to publish that here yet.

They handed me a sheet of paper with a photo of my entire family - my great grandparents and all of  their kids, including my grandmother. It was taken, it appears, in the late 1920s  and is the only photo in existence that includes all of them. I'd never seen Edwin Smith, my great grandfather, nor Mary, who I've written about here before. And, now I've seen them.

After I left there, I traveled back towards home, but veered even further north and went to the Willow Lawn Cemetery in Plainfield. I'd been there once before, early in my genealogy work, and took selective photos of those I knew were related. I had no idea where the journey would end up taking me then and went home with a few dozen photos.

This time, I walked the cemetery again and again focused only on those I knew were related to me and it took 2.5 hours to take all the hundreds of photos.

I'll not look at this as a wasted day.