Abbott Rowe and Anna (Dial) Rowe

1836 Cabell County, West Virginia

Abbott Rowe was born on June 12, 1810 in Barren County, Kentucky. His father was John Benjamin Rowe, but I haven’t been able to determine with any certainty who his mother was. Some family trees on Ancestry have her as Elizabeth Woodland, some as Agnes Stanley, and others as Agnes Fry. I’m leaning toward Elizabeth Woodland, but haven’t found definite proof. I’ll keep looking! It does seem that Abbott had three or four siblings. I believe he was the second born of the bunch.

Meanwhile, a little girl named Anna (or possibly Mary Ann) Dial was born in 1814 in Stokes, Pitt County, North Carolina to John Anderson Dial and Mary Ann “Polly” (Sprinkle) Dial. Anna had two older brothers–Thomas Sprinkle Dial, and George W. Dial–an older sister–Chloe Etta Dial–and one younger brother–John Milford Dial. By 1815, the Dial family had relocated to Barboursville in Cabell County, West Virginia.

From what I can piece together, it looks like Abbott left Kentucky about 1836 and relocated to West Virginia as well. There he met Anna and the two married about 1838. By the 1840 census, they were married, living in Cabell County, and had a daughter. This little girl would have been Almeda Rowe, who was born in 1839. Abbott was farming. The couple had seven more children in the ensuing years–Eldridge Smith Rowe in 1840, Parker Lucas Rowe in 1842, George L. Rowe and Louis Michael Rowe in 1844, Mary Magdalene Rowe in 1846, John Michael Rowe in 1848, and Emmeline Rowe in 1852.

Seventy-five acres of land was granted to Abbott in 1845 on Four Mile Creek. In the 1850 census, the family’s real estate was valued at $400 and Abbott’s father, John, was living with them. Neither Abbott, Anna, or John could read or write.

Two years later, the Rowe family decided to head west, along with Abbott’s brother James and his family. The decision would have dire consequences. With all the children in tow, age 1 to 12, and Abbott’s father along as well, the family’s destination was Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri. They boarded a boat headed down the Ohio River. Below is an article pulled from the St. Joseph Gazette, (St. Joseph, Missouri), dated Wednesday, June 9, 1852:

CHOLERA. – Two brothers by the name of James and Abbott Rowe, with their families, were moving from Kentucky, to Maryville, Nodaway Co., and had reached St. Joseph, when Abbott Rowe’s wife was seized with the Cholera, and died the other day, between that place and this. A child was also seized with it about the same time, and died just as they reached Savannah, night before last. The same day Abbott Rowe was himself taken, and died yesterday. James Rowe and three of the family also have it, but it is hoped, that some of the unfortunate company, may yet recover. There has been no other case of it in town, and the health of the place was never better.–Savannah Sentinel.

By the time all was said and done, at least one more of Abbott and Anna’s children died of cholera, and possibly one more. We know for sure that George and Emmeline succumbed to the disease. The rest of the children were left orphans. Along with Uncle James (Jim) and their grandfather, they carried on to Iowa. From all accounts, Uncle Jim was not a nice man and the children all left as soon as they could, some while still quite young.

Because Anna and Abbott died of a disease that was considered a plague, there is no record of their burials. My guess is that, since they were on a boat, they may have been buried “at sea” if you will–dumped into the Ohio River. Even folks who died of cholera on land were usually buried outside of the city limits in unmarked graves. It’s a sad ending to a time when the family must have been looking forward to the new lives ahead of them.

(Abbott and Anna were my 3rd great-grandparents)

Albert Towner Rogers & Jeannette Malone Drumheller Rogers

Amherst County, Virginia

Albert Towner Rogers was born on April 15th, 1833 in Branford, New Haven County, Connecticut. His parents were Henry and Nancy (Towner) Rogers. Albert was the oldest of four children. His siblings were Henry Franklin Rogers, Harriet Louisa Rogers, and Homer Lewis Rogers.

By the time Albert was a teenager, things weren’t good in the Rogers household. In August of 1850 when the census takers came around, Albert’s mother was the head of household, and his father was nowhere to be found. The family lived next door to his Towner grandparents. Albert’s parents divorced at some point, and he went to Virginia to live with his father.

Meanwhile, a baby girl named Jeannette Malone Drumheller was born in Amherst, Virginia on July 4th, 1836. Her parents were John Adam and Susannah (Hestland) Drumheller. As an adult, the baby girl went by the name of Jenny, so that’s what I’ll call her from here on out. Jenny was the third born of six children. Her siblings were John Jacob Drumheller, Margaret B. Drumheller, Abraham Alexander Drumheller, Mary L. Drumheller, and Frances Drumheller.

With the 1850 census, we see Jenny’s father was a tanner. Her oldest brother, Jacob, also worked as a tanner, and a man named George L. Snead lived with the family and worked as a tanner as well. I believe the two younger men worked for Jenny’s father.

Ten years later, the Drumheller family is still living in Amherst where Jenny and her sisters, Margaret and Mary, are working as seamstresses. Her father is now listed as both a tanner and a currier. While a tanner tans hides to convert them into leather, a currier specializes in processing leather. Jenny’s brother, Abraham, is working as a tanner, as is a German gentleman by the name of Charles Pitty, who is now living with the family. The census taker visited the Drumhellers on June 12th of 1860.

Somewhere in the decade between 1850 and 1860, Albert Rogers moved to Virginia and met Jenny Drumheller. The young couple married on Jenny’s 24th birthday–July 4th, 1860. Albert was 27 years old.

A few short months later, the civil war would begin. Albert chose to fight for his new southern state, and on September 11th, 1861, he was mustered into the confederate army with the 31st regiment, Amherst Light Artillery under Captain Thomas J. Kirkpatrick. Albert was a wheelwright by trade and was assigned detail as an ambulance driver for at least three battles. Most likely the ambulance was nothing more than a standard wagon bed. Albert mustarded out in 1864.

Even with the chaos of war, Albert must have been home from time to time. The young couple had a daughter, baby Nancy, in 1863. Sadly, the baby died the same year, maybe even at birth. Next came Margaret Elizabeth in 1864.

The Civil War ended in April of 1865, and by September of that year, Albert and Jenny moved their small family back to his hometown of Brandford, Connecticut where they would stay for the rest of their lives.

Albert was my husband Riff’s 2nd great-grandfather. We know he had another 2nd great-grandfather who was a Captain in the Union army, and we’ve heard there was another grandfather who fought for the confederacy. The story goes that the two met after the war and became friends, but we didn’t know who the confederate soldier was until now. We’ve found him and verified the story!

In Connecticut, six more children were born–Frank Newton, Albert Louis, Grace Towner, Harry J., James E., and Emma Louise.

(Image of a wheelwright from History of Work)

The 1870 census shows Albert still working as a wheelwright, and the 1880 has him listed as working in an iron foundry. A note on another genealogy site says he was a blacksmith, which to me makes sense. Wheel making and blacksmithing seem to go hand-in-hand.

In a mention in a newspaper in March of 1881 we find that Albert and Jenny’s eleven-year-old daughter, Grace, had been ill with diphtheria. She recovered and lived to be 54.

The Rogers house in Branford had a former life as a tavern. It was large enough that the family took in boarders. I imagine they had many stories to tell about the people who stayed. Here is one I found in The Morning Journal-Courier (New Haven, Connecticut) dated Mon., Sep. 24, 1883:

A man giving his name as Thomas M. Simpson and his home New York, and Alice, the wife of William H. Webster, of this city, were brought from Branford Saturday forenoon by Deputy Sheriff Lindsley, and lodged in the New Haven jail, both being charged with adultery.

As near as can be learned the particulars surrounding the arrest are as follows: Last Thursday Simpson applied for board at different houses in Branford. He had with him a woman whom he said was his wife. He finally found board at the house of Albert Rogers. He said his wife was an invalid and he had come to Branford on account of her health. Friday evening Webster arrived in Branford and had some interviews with two or three of the people there. His business appeared to be kept pretty secret. At 2 o’clock Saturday morning Webster called the grand juror of the town from bed to sign a warrant for the arrest of the couple who were arrested at 4 o’clock at the house of Rogers. They were taken at 5 o’clock before Justice Zink and bound over on a charge of adultery to the October term of the Superior court. The bond on each case was fixed at $100.

In March of 1890, the same newspaper reported on a house party at the Rogers that would have been a hoot to attend. This article gives us some great history on the house.

A JOYOUS AFFAIR. — Pleasant Details of a jolly surprise visit to A.T. Rogers’ residence at Mill Plain, Branford–A Historic Old House –Days of Yore Recalled.

Branford, March 21.–Thursday eve A.T. Rogers’ residence at Mill Plain, Branford, Conn., was made the time and place of a grand surprise party which was given to Miss Grace Rogers by some New Haven friends. Ten couples came out in a four-horse barge from the city, but on account of the very bad traveling they did not arrive until 10:30 p.m., at which time the family had nearly all retired. They were quickly up, however, and welcomed the jolly visitors. The hours passed rapidly while the company enjoyed themselves in games and music, both vocal and instrumental. The guests had free access to the house and sat before the old fireplace at which Daniel Webster toasted his feet many years ago. They pronounced this part of the entertainment to be one of the chief attractions. Many recollections were rehearsed, among which the listeners were told how Daniel Webster warmed his feet and Lafayette took a glass of sling from an old “flip-glass,” though it was forgotten to have the friends drink out of the same, which they may do when they come again. About 12 o’clock a bountiful supper was provided by the hostess, supplemented by the large quantities of good things brought by the visitors. The toothsome spread was partaken of by twenty-seven individuals, who did ample justice to the midnight feast. The happy party broke up at 3 o’clock, at which time the friends departed for their homes in the city, carrying with them the recollections of their visit to the old and historic place, cheerily followed by the clash and din of horns and trumpets.

It will be remembered by the oldest residents that this place was once a tavern, owned by David Towner, who kept a hotel and such it is marked on the county map of ’56. It was the stopping place for the stages on the old stage line before the railroad was built. It has in later years passed into the hands of A.T. Rogers, one of the nephews of the former owner. Scarcely since 1857 has the old place seen such a good time, and could the walls speak of what has passed within their kind shelter in days gone by, they would fail to reveal a more pleasurable occasion than this, when liberal shelter and entertainment was provided for both man and beast as in days of old.

In June of 1900, the census takers came around once again. Albert was now 67 and Jenny 64. Albert was farming and Henry and Emma still lived at home. Daughter Grace and her husband, John Hoyt, were living with her family, and Albert and Jenny had two boarders living in the home as well.

On March 2nd, 1908, Albert became a widower. Jenny passed away at the age of 71. I haven’t found her cause of death, but from her obituary, it seems she’d been ill for about three years.

From The Morning Journal-Courier (New Haven, Connecticut) dated Wed., Mar. 4, 1908:

Mrs. Albert T. Rogers, who resided just beyond the power house on the Guilford turnpike, was found dead in her chair by her son, Louis A. Rogers, Monday noon; deceased had been in feeble health for a period of about three years, but more recently seemed more comfortable; her death, consequently was a surprise to her many friends. Deceased was born at Amherst Court House, Virginia, July 4, 1836, her maiden name being Jeannette Malone Drumheller. On July 4, 1860, she was united in marriage to Mr. Rogers, with whom she came north in September, 1865, since which time her home has been in Branford. Mrs. Rogers was a lady of a noble Christian character, esteemed and respected by all who knew her. She is survived by her husband, three daughters, Mrs. W.E. Comstock of Branford, Mrs. J. Emerson Hoyt of Williamsport, Penn., and Miss Emma Rogers, who resided at the old homestead; four sons, Frank N. of Miami, Fla., Louis A., Harry E., and James E., of Branford; a sister, Mrs. W.L. Thompson, resides in Tennessee, and a brother, John A. Drumheller, at Amherst Court House, Virginia. The funeral will be attended at the Baptist church Friday afternoon, interment being in Center cemetery.

Albert lived only three years without Jenny. He died on October 4th, 1911. They are buried side-by-side in the Branford Center Cemetery.

The Rogers Main Headstone
Jane M. Drumheller Rogers Headstone
Albert Towner Rogers Headstone
(Albert and Jenny are Riff’s 2nd great-grandparents.)

Martha Ellen Sipes Roddy

1920’s Larned, Kansas

Ellen Roddy and her husband David moved their family from lush rural Pennsylvania to the plains of central Kansas in March of 1878. They settled on a homestead near Pleasant Ridge Township, not far from Larned. She was thirty-eight years old and would spend over half of her life in Kansas.

Ellen was born Martha Ellen Sipes on October 28, 1839 to parents George and Rachel (Cornelius) Sipes in Sipesville, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. For part of her life, she was listed on legal documents as Martha, but for the majority of her adult life, it was Ellen, so I will assume she wanted to be called Ellen and that’s what I’ll refer to her as from her on out. Ellen was the third born of four sisters – Rebecca, Rachel, Martha Ellen, and Sarah Sipes. Her father was a tanner, merchant, and farmer. Both of Ellen’s parents were of German descent.

The Sipes family lived near Shade Gap in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania for many years. On the 1850 census, there were four young men living with them and working for Ellen’s father. Two of them were Sipes, so I have to assume they were cousins. On the same page, there are several Cornelious families living nearby, most likely Ellen’s mother’s relatives.

On the 1860 census, the Sipes family appears to be the wealthiest family on the block-or at least on this particular census page. Father George is listed as a merchant with real estate valued at $7,000 and personal property at $3,000. Eleven-year-old Willaim Cornelius was living with the family.

A year later, the civil war would be raging. Even though Pennsylvania wasn’t a border state, there were still many internal conflicts with family members supporting, and fighting on, both sides of the war. It was a quite tumultuous time with one of the worst battles of the war being fought only fifty miles from Shade Gap – the Battle of Gettysburg – in July of 1863. From what I understand, Ellen’s father did quite well as a merchant during the war years.

On April 12, 1865, less than a month before the end of the war, Ellen married David Rittenhouse Porter Roddy in their hometown of Shade Gap. David had fought for the union with the famous 2nd Bucktail Regiment, (Co. I, 149th Pennsylvania Infantry), until an extended illness forced his discharge. The couple made their home in Shade Gap where David farmed the land and worked for the railroad as a grader and a foreman. Ellen and David were both 25 years of age.

Interestingly enough, the couple welcomed their first child just two months after their wedding day. What a scandal that must have been! Rachel Sophia Roddy was born on June 22, 1865. Four more children would follow in the preceding years – John Hedding Roddy, George Sipes Roddy, William McKnight Roddy, and Gertrude Elizabeth Roddy.

As mentioned, in March of 1878, the Roddy family relocated to the Kansas prairie, where they continued to farm. I found an article in The Larned-Eagle Optic dated Sep. 19, 1879 that mentions David bringing “an immense sweet pumpkin” to the newspaper office and how they were very much looking forward to the pumpkin pie that would be made from it.

At some point, the Roddy’s moved into town. Town being Larned, Kansas.

The kids grew up and went their own ways, some marrying and staying close to home, others settling down in other parts of the country. Daughter Sophia married Samuel Kenison and stayed fairly nearby in Kansas; son John married Susan Lane and moved to Colorado where he worked as a fireman and a policeman. Son George traveled the country as a front man for a circus before marrying Mary Stanton and settling down to work in real estate with his father right in Larned. Son William fought in France in WWI, then married Ellen Raicevich and living, at least his last years, in California. Daughter Gertie married Steven Prather and lived just down the road in Garfield, Kansas.

There are many, many mentions of the Roddy’s in the local Kansas newspapers over the years. Many instances of them visiting family and friends and family and friends visiting them. I love those old newspapers when having visitors was newsworthy. Here is one such instance:

Larned Chronoscope (Larned, Kansas) dated 15 Oct. 1897:

Mrs. D.R.P. Roddy and son J.H. Roddy left Thursday morning on a two months visit among relatives and friends in Pennsylvania and Maryland. They will visit a few days in Chicago and then leave for Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and Cumberland, Maryland, where they will visit relatives. J.H. Roddy is now employed as fireman on the Santa Fe, and is located at Pueblo, Colorado.

For many years, Ellen was quite active in a couple of different organizations. From 1897 to at least 1915, she held the offices of Chaplain and Assistant Guard in the Women’s Relief Corps. She was also a member of the Methodist-Episcopal church and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. I found bunches of articles mentioning Ellen’s positions and simply the fact she was at meetings. Several times over the years there was also articles about surprise birthday parties the ladies of these organizations threw for Ellen. She must have been loved.

In July of 1907, Ellen’s oldest daughter, Sophia, unexpectedly passed away from consumption. Sophia was forty-two, but I don’t care how old a child is, I’m sure this was devastating for Ellen. She went to Sophia’s home and accompanied her daughter’s body back to Larned where she was buried in the Larned Cemetery.

In the 1910 census, husband David and son George are working as real estate agents. Their agency was called Roddy & Son. Ellen’s sister-in-law, Margaret Roddy, lived next door with Margaret’s adult daughter, Eliza.

An article on April 2, 1914 told us Ellen had been sick with “the grippe” for two weeks, but was slowly improving. “The grippe” was the flu.

On April 12, 1915, Ellen and David celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. From The Tiller and Toil, dated 23 Apr. 1915:

MARRIED FIFTY YEARS – Mr. and Mrs. D.R.P. Roddy of Larned were married April 12, 1865, and celebrated their Golden wedding at the home of their daughter, Mrs. W.S. Prather, in Garfield, Sunday.

Only members of the immediate family were present. The dining room was beautifully decorated with gold and white carnations, and a son who lives in Florida sent orange blossoms. They were presented with a gold vase inscribed with the date of their wedding. Among the most valuable presents received by the aged couple was a gold pencil presented by Mr. and Mrs. John Prather.

The following summer, when Ellen and David were both 76 years old, they summered on the farm. From The Tiller and Toil, dated 12 May 1916:

Mr. and Mrs. D.R.P. Roddy went to Copeland, Kansas, the first of the week. Mr. Roddy says they expect to live there this summer at least. Mr. Roddy owns 320 acres of land. 200 of which is sown in wheat, and in addition to looking after that, he will open a real estate office there to deal in Haskell and Gray county land. The remaining 120 acres of his farm he expects to sow to wheat this summer.

When the census takers came around in January of 1920, Ellen and David were still living in Larned. They were 80 and David was still working as a real estate agent.

Ellen was 84 when she passed away on July 14th, 1924. She is buried in the Larned Cemetery right next to David, who outlived her by five years.

From the Mount Union Times (Mount Union, Pennsylvania) dated Fri, Aug. 1, 1924:


Mrs. D.R.P. Roddy died at her home in Larned, Kansas, on the 14th of July, 1924, aged 84 years, 8 months and 16 days.

She was born in Sipesville, Pa., on October 28th, 1839 a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Sipes. For many years the Sipes family lived at Shade Gap, Pa., at which place she and Mr. Roddy were married April 12th, 1865.

For a great many of years they have resided in Larned. They have the following children living: George Roddy, of Chicago; William Roddy, of New York City; John Roddy, of Pueblo, Colorado; and Mrs. Gertrude Prather of Garfield, Kansas; one daughter, Sophia, is dead. Mrs. Roddy was a sister of Mrs. McKnight Williamson, deceased of Huntingdon and Mrs. Headings of Hancock, Maryland. She also had a sister, Sadie.

Mr. Sipes was a merchant and quite successful business man in the Civil War period. Mr. Roddy is a brother of the late Jonathan and Thomas Roddy of Shade Gap. He is in health but is advanced in years. The Roddy farm was in the original Appleby homestead in the middle of the Valley immediately east of Shade Gap narrows. D.R.P. Roddy was a member of Company “O”, 149th Regiment, Pa. Volunteers and is one of the few surviving members of that famous company. Mrs. Roddy was a life long member of the Methodist church, and a good woman.

Roddy Headstone – Martha Ellen and David R.P. (Plot NC 383)

(Ellen is my 3rd great-grandmother.)

Margaret L. Harker Dallas Shade

Headstone of Margaret L. Harker Dallas Shade – Ottawa, Kansas

Little Maggie Harker was born to George Washington Harker and Eliza Jane (Thompson) Harker on a November day in 1857. The family lived in Mill Creek Township in Hamilton County, Ohio, which was near Cincinnati. (Now it has been absorbed into the city.) Maggie joined an older half-sister, Annie Thompson. The two sisters would remain close all of Maggie’s life.

Family legend says that Maggie was French-Canadian. I haven’t found any indication of that, though so far I have found very little information on her father. It’s possible he is where that French-Canadian heritage comes in. I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall with Maggie’s mother, as well, but on a couple of censuses, Eliza noted that her mother was born in Ireland. I will update this information if and when I find more.

It seems that all was not well with the Harker family. Just three years later, in 1860, Maggie’s parents were not living together. They were both still in Mill Creek, but in separate households – and I haven’t been able to find Maggie at all during this time. Perhaps she was living with grandparents or other family somewhere. Whatever the case, her father George was boarding with a family, and her mother and sister Annie were living with another family. I believe Maggie’s mom was working as a housekeeper for the family she was living with.

In 1864, her father went to fight the Civil war. He fought for the union as a private with Company E, 181st Regiment of the Ohio Infantry. He mustered out and came back to Ohio in July of 1865.

By 1870, when Maggie was 12 years old, she was living with her mother in Oxford, Ohio and attending school. The next time I find her is a mention in a newspaper. It seems that Maggie had been working since 1877 as a typesetter for the Vidette, a weekly paper in Columbus Grove, Ohio.

From The Lima Democratic Times (Lima, Ohio) – dated Nov. 29, 1879:

Miss Maggie Harker, for three years a typo on the Vidette, and as faithful an employee as we ever had in the office, goes to Lima next Saturday to take a “case” on the new Democratic organ there. – Columbus Grove, Vidette.

So then the 1880 census finds Maggie living with the Brice family in Lima, Ohio. She is 22 years old and working as a “typo” for the local newspaper – The Lima Democratic Times.

Not long after, Maggie and her mother moved to Kansas, where she met a charming fellow by the name of Chester Emery Dallas. Chester was a newspaper man himself and wooed the young lass. The two were married on Thanksgiving Day – November 24, 1881 – in Douglas County, Kansas. Maggie was 24 and Chester 31.

From the Independent-Journal (Ottawa, Kansas) – dated Dec. 1, 1881:

Mr. Chester Dallas, of Baldwin City, and Miss Maggie Harker, of this county (Douglas), were married on Thanksgiving day, at the residence of the bride’s sister, Mrs. Walter Clark, near Media. The JOURNAL adds its congratulations to the many other friends of the young couple.

(Media, Kansas was near Baldwin City and no longer exists.)

Three years after their marriage, on November 25, 1884, the couple welcomed their only child, Walter Clark Dallas, into the world. They lived just outside Baldwin City, in an area known as Palmyra, where Chester had grown up on the family farm.

Unfortunately, Maggie and Chester apparently didn’t see eye-to-eye. After just four years of marriage, the couple filed for divorce in September of 1886. Their divorce was finalized on October 20, 1886. Maggie moved to Ottawa, Kansas to be near her mother and sister, and went back to work.

From the Daily Mulberry News (Mulberry, Kansas) – dated Dec. 12, 1887:

Mrs. Maggie Dallas has accepted a situation in the Herald office.

Then, from the same newspaper on Dec. 31, 1887:

Mrs. Maggie Dallas has accepted a position with the Ottawa Printing Co.

But poor Maggie was having a rough go of it. She became seriously ill shortly after accepting her new position. This next blurb was found in The Sunday Bee (Ottawa, Kansas) – dated Jan. 15, 1888:

Mrs. Maggie Dallas is prostrated with a severe attack of malaria.

Terrible. I wonder where she contracted malaria. Kansas in the winter seems unlikely, so did she have the disease for some time and this was just one bout with the symptoms?

Things began to look up for Maggie. On September 30, 1888, she married a man named John B. Shade. Maggie was 30 years old. From The Ottawa Lever (Ottawa, Kansas) – dated Oct. 5, 1888:

SHADE-DALLAS-At the bride’s residence on Mulberry Street, Sabbath evening, Sept. 30, by Rev. E.C. Boaz, Mr. John B. Shade and Mrs. Maggie L. Dallas, all of Ottawa.

The LEVER takes especial pleasure in extending this happy couple its heartiest congratulations.

For over a year the bride has been identified with the LEVER office, and has won the respect and esteem of all. The groom is a young man of most excellent character, steady, industrious and thrifty. That they may enjoy a full measure of happiness and prosperity is the heartfelt wish of their many friends. The happy couple will reside at Mr. Shade’s Tremont avenue residence.

It seems that with this second marriage, Maggie left behind her childhood nickname and began being referred to as Margaret instead. On August 14, 1890, the Shades welcomed a little girl to their family – Clara Antoinette.

On Maggie and John’s tenth anniversary, their friends surprised them with a party. From The Evening Herald (Ottawa, Kansas) – dated Oct. 1, 1898:

Mr. and Mrs. John B. Shade of Tremont Avenue, were surprised last evening by the members of Loyal Council, No. 366, F.A.A., the occasion being that of the tenth anniversary of their wedded life. There was a good sized crowd present. Music, conversation and games occupied the evening and all enjoyed themselves. Dr. Van-Schoiack added to the evening’s entertainment by several selections from his phonograph. Mr. and Mrs. Shade were presented a beautiful desk by those present.

Sounds like a fun party! Speaking of parties, a couple of years later, Margaret again made the newspaper when she threw a birthday party for her sister, Annie. It seems the party started at the Shade home and progressed to Annie’s house where games, music, speeches, and refreshments were enjoyed by all. The birthday girl was presented with a very handsome lamp. Annie would have been turning 52.

It seems that the Shade family was having a bit of money trouble, (who doesn’t from time to time!). I found quite a few notices where John was a defendant in an ongoing lawsuit that had something to do with some property. He was not the only defendant and the lawsuit went on for quite some time. I wonder if that had anything to do with his next decision. From The Evening Herald (Ottawa, Kansas) – dated March 25, 1902:

John B. Shade left today for Colorado Springs to locate. His family will remain here for a while. Mr. Shade has been employed in Crane’s Excelsior mill for seventeen years.

Margaret is left behind to try to sell some property the couple owned.

But John didn’t stay in Colorado long. By May, the newspaper reported that he had been in Colorado working as a carpenter but had returned home. A couple of weeks later, there was a notation that Margaret had sold the land. Then in September the newspaper told us that John was now working as a truckman in the Santa Fe shops. I’m guessing the Santa Fe Railroad.

In April of 1903, there is once again a real estate ad taken out by Margaret. This time it is for the home the Shade family has been living in.

About this same time, Margaret’s name begins appearing regularly with an organization known as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. This was a national organization with local chapters all over the country. They were a religious organization who sought to use their faith to change the ways that alcohol effected family life. Margaret, her sister Annie, and their mother were all involved, often hosting the meetings in their homes. They met every first and third Friday afternoon and would have prayer, speeches, singing, and “lovely” lunches. In August of 1904, Margaret was elected secretary of their local chapter, and Annie was elected treasurer.

Now, sometime between April of 1904 and September of 1905, Margaret and John have moved to Kansas City. They have put another Ottawa house up for sale, and they seem to be in need of money.

It wasn’t until August of 1907 that the property sold and the transfer of deeds was announced in the paper.

But let’s back up a few months to a time when Margaret came back to Ottawa to visit her sister, bringing her dog with her. This funny article is from The Ottawa Daily Republic (Ottawa, Kansas) – dated Feb. 16, 1907:


Brought Return of Mrs. Shade’s Lost Fox Terrier.

Mrs. Margaret Shade of Kansas City, who is the guest of her sister, Mrs. Walter M. Clark on north Main street, brought with her on her visit a valuable fox terrier, “Teddy.”

Day before yesterday, while downtown, Mrs. Shade lost her dog. She knew of the efficacy of ads on the Searchlight Page and at once inserted a “lost ad.”

It brought results. Yesterday a resident of south Sycamore street telephoned Mrs. Clark’s residence that he had found a dog and Mrs. Shade promptly called on him to find “Teddy” safe and sound.

Mrs. Shade was delighted over the return of her dog and equally delighted because the Searchlight ad brought about the restoration.

In October of 1908, an announcement is made of a visit in the same newspaper – dated Oct. 10, 1908:

Mrs. John B. Shade and daughter Miss Clara, after a visit to the family of W.M. Clark, left for Kansas City last night. Mrs. Shade is in poor health. She was benefitted by the visit here.

Five months later, we receive news of Margaret’s death. She passed away on March 1, 1909 at 51 years of age. A newspaper out of Kansas City says that Margaret died of heart trouble. I wonder if the malaria she suffered from caused the heart problems. Apparently, that is a definite possibility. It seems that heart problems can also be caused by the medication that was used to treat malaria. This is all just speculation on my part. Here is the notice of her death taken from The Evening Herald (Ottawa, Kansas) – dated Mar. 2, 1909:

Mrs. John B. Shade, formerly of this city, died at her home in Armourdale yesterday morning at eight o’clock. Mrs. Shade had been a sufferer since last August. She is survived by a daughter, Clara. The body will be brought to this city this evening at 6:30, and taken to the home of Mrs. Walter Clark, 518 North Poplar, a sister of the deceased. The funeral will be held from that place tomorrow afternoon at 2:30. It will be in charge of Rev. C.I. Rose, of Princeton, and Rev. H.A. Cook of this city. Burial will be in Highland. Mrs. Shade was a member of the local council of the Fraternal Aid, and the pallbearers will be chosen from that order.

The notice failed to mention that Margaret was also survived by a son, Walter Clark Dallas, as well as her husband, her sister, and her mother. She is buried in the Hope Cemetery in Ottawa, Kansas.


(Maggie is my 2nd great-grandmother)

William M. and Susan C. (Bostwick) Fullerton

Will and Susie lived in the Short Beach neighborhood of Branford for many years.

William Merton Fullerton was fifteen years older than his bride, Susan Celeste Bostwick. Susie was just 17 years old when she married Will in 1892. Together they would raise a large family on the Connecticut shoreline.

Will was born on September 28, 1860 in East Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, the only child of William H. and Mary H. (Ford) Fullerton. His father was a shoemaker by trade.

In June of 1870, the Fullerton’s were living in Abington, Massachusetts, which is very near East Bridgewater where Will was born. His father was still listed as a shoemaker, his mother keeping house, and 10-year-old Will was attending school. The family’s real estate was valued at $2,000.

Susie came into this world on July 27, 1875 in Hartford, Connecticut. Her parents were William L. and Susan M. (Smith) Bostwick. She was the youngest daughter of a respected Episcopalian minister.

By June of 1880, the Fullerton’s had left Massachusetts and were living with Will’s uncle, Augustine Fullerton and his family in New Haven, Connecticut. Both Willie’s father and uncle were listed in the census with the occupation of “Grocery Store.” This makes me wonder if they owned the store. I think if they were employed there, they would be listed as “grocery clerk” instead.

Susie was 4 years old that same year, and the Bostwick family was living in New Britain, Connecticut where her father was still serving as a minister. All four of her older siblings, ages 18 to 10, were living at home.

Somewhere along the line, Will and Susie met, marrying in 1892 as previously mentioned. In 1895 the couple welcomed their first child, a son – Merton Bostwick Fullerton. As the years passed, six more children were born to this union – Ione A., Frank Ford, Muriel G., William Harvey, a child who died as an infant, and Charles Fredrick.

When the census takers came around on June 16, 1900, the Fullerton family was living on Lighthouse Road in New Haven, Connecticut. The lighthouse that the road was named for was already dark, having been replaced by a light farther out in Long Island sound that had better visibility for the ships. For some reason, the census taker failed to record an occupation for Will. Both Will and Susie could read and write.

Published in the Daily Morning Journal and Courier – New Haven, CT, dated Fri., August 10, 1906

The above article was the only reference I have been able to find about this child, so we don’t know the baby’s name or sex. This baby was the sixth child born to Will and Susie. Their youngest, Charles, wasn’t born until eight years later. This notification is also the first time we see the family living in Short Beach, which is a neighborhood of Branford, Connecticut.

Short Beach was a vacation village where many wealthy people owned vacation homes. It wasn’t until the late 1950’s that it transitioned into mostly year-round residences, though there are still multi-million-dollar vacation homes lining the shore. Will worked as a gardener for his entire life. He worked for a private family and the Fullerton’s rented their Short Beach cottage for $40 a month. I found one mention that stated they lived in Cottage Irene. I wonder if their home was a cottage on the grounds of the people that he worked for. It’s possible.

In 1917, Will filled out a military questionnaire. He was 56 years old at the time and from the information provided, we know that he was 5’10” and weighed 120 pounds. He had only ever worked as a gardener. Will could ride a horse, sail a boat, and was a fair swimmer, but he could not operate a car or a motorcycle.

The 1920 census states that sons Merton and Harvey (William Harvey) are both working as gardeners along with Will.

By 1930 the family is still in Short Beach, living on Beach Street. They do not own a radio. What I find interesting from this census is that both of their adult daughters – Ione, 32, and Muriel, 26, are still living at home. A 3-year-old grandson, Gene Robert Fullerton, is living with them now as well. He is Ione’s son. I don’t believe Ione ever married.

The 1940 census finds Will and Susie living in the same residence. Will is now 79 and no longer working. Susie is 64. This time, more of their adult children are living at home with them. Merton is back and working in construction and repair. Ione and son Gene are still home. Frank is back and working as a boat builder. Daughter Muriel is living at home as well. The only children who are out on their own now are Harvey and Charles, who were both married. What a full household!

Will passed away on March 10, 1951 at the age of 90. Susie followed on September 21, 1953 at the age of 78. I haven’t been able to determine where either one of them are buried. If anyone knows that information, please let me know!

(Will and Susie are my husband’s great-grandparents)

John Thomas Sannar

Babcock State Park – West Virginia

John Thomas Sannar came into this world in 1824 in Fayette county, Virginia (now West Virigina). John was the second born of eight children to Isaac Allen Sannar II and Elizabeth (Taylor) Sannar. James Monroe was President of the United States and the very first written history of America was published.

From an account by a distant cousin, it is stated that the Sannar line can be traced back to the immigration from Northern Ireland and Scotland.

On September 6th, 1850 the federal census takers came around, leaving us the first paper trail for John’s life. From this, we can see that John was 24 years old and living at home with his family still. His dad was a farmer and John was working beside him as a farm laborer. The family’s real estate was valued at $800, which translates to a little over $28k today. (2021) Also in the household is John’s mother, an 18-year-old sister Elizabeth, 16-year-old sister Mary, and 14-year-old brother Hiram. Just down the road from their farm lives the family of Benjamin and Nancy Taylor. John’s mother, Elizabeth, was a Taylor so it’s likely they are related to the Sannars.

The following year John gets married. On April 17, 1851, he marries a girl named Rebecca Amanda Ford. Mandy as she’s known to the family, is 19 years old. The couple were married in Raleigh County with a fellow named Clayborn Curtiss performing their marriage ceremony.

I haven’t been able to find enough information about Mandy to determine for certain who her parents were. I’ll keep digging!

Just a bit over nine months later, the couple welcomes their first and only child to the union. William Isaac Sannar is born on January 31st, 1852.

I’m not sure if Mandy had a rough childbirth or if something else went wrong, but sadly she died about six weeks later on March 15, 1852. It was her 20th birthday. John became a widower at 28 years old and little Billy would grow up without a mother.

Two years later, John would marry again. His bride is Emily Smith and the couple is married in Fayette County with Samuel S. Honaker performing the ceremony. Emily is 18 years old.

When the census taker once again comes around, it is August 9th, 1860. John and Emily are living in the Rocky Hill district of Fayette County where John is farming. An 11-year-old boy named Harvey Bennett is living with the couple, most likely as a farm hand. There is a Bennett family just down the road, so it’s likely that is Harvey’s parents. Little Billy Sannar is 7 years old now, but not living with his dad and stepmom. Instead, he is living with his grandparents, John’s mom and dad.

The civil war is soon to begin and Fayette County was right in the heart of the battle. I found a record that indicates John fought in the war, but I haven’t been able to determine with all certainty that it is him – or which side he fought on if it is him. I did find that his father and one of his brothers were held as prisoners for not fighting for the confederacy. I’ll save that story for when I write about John’s father.

By June 21st, 1870, those pesky census takers are back. The Sannars are now living in the Sewell area of Fayette County. John is still farming and Emily keeping house. Billy is now 17 and living with the family. He’s working as a farm laborer, as is another 17-year-old named Franklin Kincaid. A 16-year-old girl by the name of Emily Hart is also employed by the Sannars as domestic help. John and Emily have never had any children together.

Now, Sewell was located along the New River Gorge and had a ferry that crossed the river that folks headed between Charleston and Lewisburg used regularly. From the 1850’s to the 1950’s, Sewell had a large coal mining coking operation with nearly 200 coke ovens in operation. That operation was shut down completely by 1956 and the last resident of the town left in 1973. Today, Sewell is ghost town and sits within the boundaries of Babcock State Park. I’m not sure how long the John Sannar family lived in the area, but perhaps even until John’s death.

Speaking of John’s death, it seems that he knew it was coming. He was 62 years old when he wrote his last will and testament on June 30th, 1886. He died just a few days later on July 2nd, 1886. I haven’t been able to determine where he was buried. Could it be inside Babcock State Park?

It seems that John had a beef with his mother-in-law and a brother-in-law. His will states clearly that he wanted to make sure that neither of them got a piece of his estate. Read on:

John Sanner Last Will – I, John Sanner, being in my right mind do say that this is as follows my last will and desires, as to the disposal of all my personal property and real estate, and I do of my own free will grant give and bequeath all of my land and real estate to my wife Emily Sanner to her and for her benefit alone during her life. It is also my desire that my wife Emily Sanner be relieved of the support and maintenance of her mother Mrs. Hannah Smith and her son Samuel Smith who is also a brother of my wife. Should my wife Emily Sanner perish an attempt to assume the support or maintenance of either of the above named Hannah or Samuel Smith against my will and desire, out of the proceeds or income of my said real estate or personal property – then in that event she the said Emily Sanner my wife shall perish and all the benefits and intentions of this my will, and said property- shall become the property of my son Wm. Isaac Sanner. I do however provide and agree that if it is the desire of my wife to keep her Mother “Hannah Smith” on as a companion and to care for her, she shall have the right to do so provided that the said Hannah Smith is supported and maintained by her sons and daughters outside of any effort by my wife or any expenses to my estate. (I desire that if her mother stay with my wife that her children pay the board and furnish her with the necessary clothing without any expense to my wife or estate) I do also grant give and bequeath to my wife Emily Sannar one cow known as the roan heifer. And I do also grant, give, and bequeath all my other property – such as furniture, bedding, and other fixtures, and all my stock after paying all my indebtedness. It is also my desire and request that my wife close and settle up all of my business and pay out of the proceeds of the last mentioned stock all my debts, and after said accounts are paid she my wife is to have all of the remaining stock or moneys. After the death of my wife Emily Sanner, I grant give and bequeath all of my said property remaining to my son Wm. Isaac Sanner or his heirs forever. Given under my hand and seal this 30th day of June 1886. John Sanner (seal) Witness, W. Priner, L.J. Bragg, Jas I. McCrury

I would sure like to hear the story behind that relationship! Talk about not getting along with your mother-in-law!

(John and Mandy are my 3rd great-grandparents.)

Katharine Jeanette Rogers Fullerton

Kay Fullerton on her horse, Mischief

“Grandma Kay was a remarkable woman. She could do anything she set her mind to.” Anytime a family member mentions Kay. that statement comes up. From everything I’ve heard about her, I have no doubt that its true.

When Kay Rogers was born, the world was at war. Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States, who hadn’t yet entered World War I. Kay entered the world on September 22, 1916 in Northford, Connecticut. Her full name was Katharine Jeanette Rogers. She was the only child of Albert Louis Rogers and Eleanor Bonney (Linsley) Rogers, though she had several older half-siblings from her mother’s previous marriage.

On January 7th, 1920, the federal census taker came around. They found the Rogers family living in New Haven. Kay was 4 years old. Her father was working as a carpenter and her two half-brothers, Arthur and Walter, were living at home and working as farm laborers.

Sadly, six years later in 1926, when Kay was only 9 years old, her father passed away. By the next census in 1930, Kay and her mother were living with her oldest brother, Arthur, and his family in North Branford. Kay was 14 and attending school while Arthur was working as an accountant and his wife, Adele, was listed as a farmer.

During her childhood, Kay was a hard worker. She picked strawberries and vegetables to help with the family finances. On Sundays she played the church organ and was paid 50 cents. For a time, she worked as a live-in mother’s helper, earning $3 a week plus room and board.

At about 16 years old, Kay quit school to go to work full time. She worked at A.C. Gilbert’s as a machine operator where they manufactured erector sets, magic sets, and model trains, among other things. Eventually, she earned her GED, then went on to take college courses at night.

She also taught swimming and lifesaving for the American Red Cross along the Connectictut shoreline from Milford to Clinton.

Kay moved to Middletown, Connecticut for a time, working as a rehabilitation therapist for lobotomy patients at Connecticut State Hospital.

Connecticut State Hospital – Middletown, CT

By 1938, Kay was living and working in New York, where she was employed at Manhattan and Creedmoor state hospitals as an occupational therapy instructor. She was also directing plays both in New England and New York for the Community Players of Boston. While there she met and married William Harvey Fullerton. The couple married in Greenport, New York on June 19th, 1938. Kay was 21 and Bill was 34.

The Fullertons moved back to Connecticut where they raised three daughters – Nancy, Alice, and Marjorie. Once they returned to Guilford, Kay went to work at the Old Guilford Forge as a salesperson. It wasn’t long before her bosses realized how skilled she was and had her repairing and restoring damaged products.

The 1940 census found them living in Guilford, Connecticut where Bill was working as a carpenter for a private family. Later, Kay and Bill operated the Guilford Duck Club, where they catered to duck hunters with Bill working as a hunting guide. Together they carved and sold wooden duck decoys, as well as several other types of animal carvings. The couple also built several houses together that Kay designed.

Kay was a horsewoman, well known in the Connecticut equestrian community. She spent much of her free time showing horses and later trail riding. A line in an obituary published in the New Haven Register states, Kay “was remembered by friends as an amazing character, a tomboy and a real neat lady.” She was a longtime member of the Eastern Connecticut Trail Riders Association.

Sometime in the early 1950’s, Kay and Bill went their own ways. They never divorced, even getting back together at one point, only to separate again later.

At some point, Kay began raising goats in order to sell the milk. She got her milk certified and sold it locally, some even being purchased by the hospital in New Haven. She received second place in a national goat milk contest.

About 1955, Kay began working as a machine operator for Chesebrough-Ponds in Clinton, Connecticut. She also became a lab technician, working on engineering the company’s packaging for their products.

Kay took a job working part time for a professional photographer named John Howard. She was doing darkroom work for him, and it sparked a new passion. Soon Kay was freelancing as a photographer at many sporting events for the Shoreline Times and the New Haven Register. She built a darkroom in her home and developed her own prints. She became the official photographer for various horse shows and trail rides in New England. One of her photos was selected as the cover photo for the April 1964 issue of the Arabian Horse World magazine.

She also wrote several articles that were published in various horse magazines, and had a poem published in Ideals magazine.

About 1973, at the age of 57, Kay competed in her first 100-mile trail ride, the Tevis Cup in California. She completed the ride within the 24 hour time frame and received a silver belt buckle trophy for her efforts. She went on to complete seven more 100-mile rides, including the Old Dominion in Virginia where she placed second and got the Best Condition award for her horse at the end of the ride.

In 1975, Kay retired from Chesebrough-Ponds after twenty years with the company.

In 1988, Kay packed up her little mare and moved to Cody, Wyoming to be near her youngest daughter Marjorie (Lee) and family. In Cody, she worked part-time at the nursing home helping to feed the residents. She continued to ride her horse and fish, as well as pursue her other hobbies and activities that included archery, woodwork, leatherwork, writing, knitting, sewing, cooking, and playing the piano and harmonica.

Kay rode her horse in the Pony Express for Wyoming’s centennial in 1990. She was 75 years old and her horse was 25. She liked that together their ages added up to the same age as the state.

Kay died at 81 years young, on February 14, 1997 at the long-term care center in Cody, Wyoming from complications of heart and lung disease. Per her wishes, she was cremated, and her ashes were scattered in her favorite fishing holes, with some interred at Valley Cemetery outside of Cody.

(Kay is Riff’s maternal grandmother)

William Harvey Fullerton

Connecticut Shoreline near Clinton

William Harvey Fullerton was born on a chilly Sunday morning in New Haven, Connecticut. It was February 21, 1904. Theodore Roosevelt was president and America had recently ended its occupation of Cuba. Japan and Russia had just declared war on each other.

Bill was the fifth of six children born to William Martin Fullerton and Susan Celeste (Bostwick) Fullerton, all in New Haven. The Fullerton family lived in Branford where the elder William worked as a gardener. In the 1920 census, Bill is fifteen years old. He is listed as a gardener, as is his father William, and his brother Merton. Bill’s grandson, Riff, remembers his grandfather teaching him the proper way to turn over the soil to get a garden ready for spring planting.

For most of Bill’s life, he worked as a carpenter and a fisherman.

When he was 34 years old, he married Katharine Jeanette Rogers. It was June 19, 1938, and the couple was living in Greenport, New York. Greenport is a village inside the Brooklyn borough of New York City. That same year the couple’s first daughter, Nancy, was born. She was followed by two more daughters, Alice and Marjorie, in the next few years.

When the census takers came around on April 16th, 1940, the Fullerton family was living on Mulberry Point in Guilford, Connecticut. Bill was working as a carpenter and the family rented their home for $10 a month. That amount would translate to about $200 today. (2021)

On December 11, 1941, the United States officially entered World War II. Two months later, on February 16, 1942, Bill filled out his draft registration card. He was 37 years old and described as white, 5’8″, 148 pounds, with a light complexion. As far as we know, he was never called up to serve.

On Thanksgiving day in 1951, Bill rescued a couple of duck hunters when their boat capsized. The Meriden Record newspaper out of Meriden, Connecticut published an article about it on Saturday, November 24, 1951. Here are the highlights from the article – (where you see … I have removed some words.)

‘Part of Thanksgiving Day was spent in misery by two young duck hunters…who were stranded for about two hours, “wet and cold,” on projecting rocks in a choppy sea after their row boat capsized about one mile out from shore at Mulberry Point, Guilford.

…after considerable hand-waving to attract attention, were rescued by a Mulberry Point year-round resident, William Fullerton who…came out to rescue them in a 12-foot homemade boat propelled by an outboard motor.

Prior to being rescued by Mr. Fullerton, two other boats tried to approach the stranded youths, but because of lashing waves were unable to do so. From shore, Mr. Fullerton noticed the plight of Richard and Donald, and rescued them. …

Bill had a tumultuous family life. From all accounts, he was talented and likeable, but he was a drinking man and it interfered with his ability to provide a stable home for his family. The following article was published after his death in The Shoreline Times out of Guilford, Connecticut:

LIVING OFF CLAMS AND DUCKSA bent over figure in cold weather, clam hook in hand, with a heavy bucket nearby…hip boots and heavy oysterman’s gloves…a man knew where to dig for quahogs…all this added up to one of Guilford’s more colorful characters, Bill Fullerton. Bill was married to his wife, Kay, a capable woman who could swing a hammer or saw a straight line with a handsaw as well as most men could. Bill was a carpenter/handyman/fisherman – a man who could drop a flying duck with a single shot. He was one of the guides who transported duck hunters to the best locations on outlying rocks during fall duck season. Between Bill and Frank “Nook” Dolan, there was hardly a rock that did not contain several hunched figures waiting for a flight of ducks to come within shotgun range. Bill had a reputation for being nearby when the ducks dropped in the water-he retrieved them in his own boat, built by himself and, presumably, his wife. It was a risky business because of the changeable weather in the fall months, so Bill learned to watch the wind and water for signs that meant no more duck hunting. Picking up strings of decoys and shivering hunters required a bit of seamanship and knowledge of the rocks. Many of the ducks his customers shot were essentially poor eating-but not for Bill. He hung ducks on the walls of his garage so that they were beyond the reach of coons and foxes. After all, when winter set in, ducks and clams were his food. Bill and Kay built several sturdy houses along the shore and raised three fine daughters. Somehow, they lost ownership, whether by default or living too high. Kay had a horse, which was housed beside the house. Some claimed she preferred the horse to Bill-an understandable situation as later events proved. As a handyman and country carpenter, Bill had physical limitations. He was horribly burned when his lobster boat caught fire in Guilford harbor. His daughters barely escaped by jumping overboard, but Bill’s third degree burns kept him hospitalized for months. Sympathetic friends paid his bills, but later regretted it as he began to think he was a hero of some stature. Soon afterward, his drinking habits made him a pitiful figure around watering holes in the area. His family moved away and left him a rather forlorn figure. Then came another blow to his work ethic. While remodeling a house, Bill was cutting a wall with his electric Skil Saw. He had removed the guard that was designed to cover the blade in the event the saw “kicked.” But the saw did indeed kick back with an uncovered spinning blade. His arm was nearly severed and his recovery was in doubt for months. Muscles were mangled so badly that his use of the arm for any purpose seemed unlikely. Again, Bill made good use of the neighbors, who fed and housed him. His family didn’t abandon him, but it must have been a tempting option. The last years were spent wandering around town, for the arm was nearly useless to him. He was one of those who seem to have so much to offer, yet seem to fail, partly due to bad luck and their own carelessness. Yet he left many of his wooden duck decoys to hunters and collectors. They were casually finished, but from fifty yards away, they looked good to a duck. After Bill died his small group of daughters and friends held a simple ceremony on the beach opposite his first and best house. All seemed to feel that knowing Bill Fullerton had been a unique experience. He was a good fellow with a run of bad luck. Glad we knew him!

Even though this article doesn’t paint Bill, or Pappy as everyone knew him, in the best light, I really like it because it shows us a bit of who he was.

William Harvey Fullerton died, at the age of 79, on August 11, 1983 in Pinellas, Florida.

(Bill – Pappy – was my husband’s maternal grandfather.)

Louis Michael Rowe

Headstone of Louis “Lewis” Michael Rowe and his first wife, Mary Frances Midkiff Rowe – Union, Nebraska

Louis Michael Rowe was born on November 2nd, 1844 in Cabell County, Virginia (now West Virginia) to Abbott and Anna (Dial) Rowe. He was the fifth born of nine children. Some documents that I found have his names spelled Louis, and other show Lewis. Since both his marriage certificates and death certificate have it spelled the first way, that is how I will refer to him, even though his headstone shows Lewis.

Cabell County Marker

In the 1850 federal census, the Rowe family is still living in Cabell county and Louis’ grandfather, John Rowe, is living with the family. Both grandfather John and Louis’ father, Abbott, are listed as farmers. Neither of Louis’ parents or his grandfather can read or write.

When little Louis was seven years old, he lost both his parents. The family had headed west on a steamship on the Ohio River, but there was a cholera outbreak. Unfortunately both father and mother and two siblings died from the disease. The poor little boy must have been heartbroken. Thankfully the kids grandfather, John Rowe, was with the family. He took the remaining children and continued the journey west.

From an account I found online, by 1856 the kids were living with their Uncle Jim Rowe in Iowa. Apparently Jim wasn’t a nice man, and a mean drunk to boot. Some of the boys ran away, but I haven’t been able to determine if Louis did, or if he stayed with Uncle Jim longer. You can read about his little brother John’s escape here.

The next time I find Louis in any records is on December 1, 1867 when he marries Mary Francis Midkiff at the home of the local Justice of the Peace in Otoe County, Nebraska. Louis was twenty-three years old and Nebraska had just become the 37th state in the union.

In 1869, the couple welcomed their first child, a girl – Lucilla Frances Rowe. Four more children would be born to this union – John Michael Rowe in 1872, Samuel in 1873, Rachel Vina Rowe in 1877, and Effie Rowe in 1878.

In the 1870 federal census, the Rowe family was living in the area of Liberty, Nebraska in Cass County. From what I can find, it looks like there has never been a town at Liberty, but instead a rural area known as Liberty. Cass County is located in the eastern part of the state and borders Iowa. The family owned their home, valued at just $400 and Louis was farming. He could not read or write, but it seems that Mary could.

In 1871, tragedy struck the family when little Lucilla died on October 5th. She was just two years old.

In 1873, a son was born and died at birth. That poor family.

Seven years later, in 1880, they are still living in the same area, but now Louis’ brother Parker is living with them and they have taken in a boarder named Judson Rhodes. Louis and Parker are both farming, and Judson’s occupation is listed as “Standing Stallions” which means he owned breeding stallions. There is also a note on the census stating that Louis suffered from rheumatism. He was 33 years old.

In the spring of 1885, the state of Nebraska took a census. It shows that the Rowe farm was 115 acres and valued at $5,000 with $400 of livestock and $100 worth of machinery.

Then on August 22, 1885, Louis became a widow. Mary passed away at the age of 36, leaving behind Louis, 13 year old John, 7 year old Melvina, and 6 year old Effie. I haven’t been able to find anything to tell us why she died so young.

As happened a lot in this era, Louis remarried just four months later. His bride was Lucinda Jane Curtis Walters, a woman who also had young children. Lucinda, or Jane as she was known, lived in Iowa. My theory is that the two knew each other already or were set up by family. If you remember, Louis’s first wife’s maiden name was Midkiff. Jane’s mother’s maiden name was also Midkiff, so it is possible that Jane and Mary were cousins. Whatever the case, Louis and Jane combined their families on December 23, 1885 at the county courthouse in Otoe County, Nebraska. The couple would have two more children – Oakley Venila Rowe in 1886 and my own great-grandmother, Martha Alameda Rowe in 1887.

The couple seemed to have some troubles, though I don’t know if it was money issues or something else. In 1893, they are among a list of Cass County, Nebraska lawsuits:

William J. Armstrong v. Louis M. & Lucinda J. Rowe, 1893 – and then –

Louis M. Rowe v. John C. Roddy, 1893

In 1895, we find Louis mentioned in an article in the Omaha World-Herald, dated February 19, 1895:

The county court had a multitude of witnesses from Union in a case where Louis Rowe sued the Union Bank for damages for selling certain cattle of Rowe’s under a chattel mortgage at less than their value. Almost every inhabitant of the village was before the court to tell what he knew of the transaction.

A chattel mortgage is a loan used to purchase moveable personal property -cattle in this case, I would guess. It would seem that the bank took and sold some of Louis’ cattle as payment for the loan.

If that wasn’t enough, it seems that there was trouble inside the family as well. The following is a note found on the Family Search website with a notation that the original document is in the possession of one Clia Richardson Price. (Clia, thank you for sharing this.)

Nebraska City, NE – dated 5, Nov. 1899-

On this day I disinherit John M. Rowe from the family for disobedience for stealing property, grain, and Money and everything he could get a hold of. Money amounting to three thousand four hundred and sixty eight dollars and fifty cents ($3,468.50) This is to cut him out of any part or portion of any estate that may fall in his fathers hands. L.M. Rowe X “his mark” signed in the presence of Don/Dan Clapsaddle – Samuel Woods who believe him to be of sound mind and judgement.

When the federal census takers came around in the summer of 1900, the Rowe family was living in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Louis was now working as a teamster, son John and stepson Albert as laborers, and daughter Melvina as a seamstress. The two youngest girls, Oakley and Martha, were attending school. Interestingly enough, son John is living in the household. Maybe father and son reconciled.

Sometime that same year, Louis found himself once again without a wife. Not from death this time, however. For whatever reason, Jane packed Oakley and Martha up and headed to Oregon where a couple of her brothers were living. Maybe she’d had enough. They settled in Burns, Oregon, leaving Louis in Nebraska. He was 56 years old.

Louis passed away at the age of 62 on July 3rd, 1907. He’s buried in the East Union Cemetery in Union, Nebraska, next to his first wife, Mary. I find that interesting and would like to think that they are buried together because she was the love of his life, though that makes me sad for my own 2x great-grandmother, Jane.

From some Nebraska newspapers:

LOUIS M. ROWE, died 3 July 1907 in Otoe Co. at the County Infirmary. Cause of death was Creeping Paralysis, which he had ten months. He was 62 years, 8 months and 1 day old. Birthdate was 2 Nov. 1844 (Informant was Parker Rowe of Nebraska City) says Louis was married and was born in Lincoln Co. WV, father was Abbott Rowe b. KY, mother Annie Doyle born South Carolina, his occupation was Farmer. He was buried 4 July 1907 at Nebraska City, NE.

Nebraska City Newspress Film #348 – Nebraska City, Nebraska Wed. July 3, 1907: Lou Rowe, who has been an inmate of the county infirmary for sometime died this morning at 11:25. He was about 65 years old, and the remains will be taken to Union for interment.

Nebraska Daily Press Film #381, Nebraska City, Nebraska – Saturday Morning, July 6, 1907: DEATH OF LOUIS ROWE……Louis Rowe, aged 62 years, an inmate of the county farm died at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday from softening of the brain and paralysis. Deceased was an invalid and went to the farm about a year ago, having been a resident of this county for some years. He leaves a daughter, Mrs. S.M. Taylor of Union and a son in Colorado. Mr. Taylor, son-in-law of the deceased came to the city Thursday and accompanied the remains to Union where funeral services were held and interment made.

Interesting that his two youngest daughters, now residing in Oregon with their mother, were not even mentioned in the obituaries. I don’t have any pictures of Louis and I really wonder what kind of a man he was.


(Louis is my 2x great-grandfather.)

Lucinda Jane Curtis Walters Rowe

Lucinda Jane Rowe is buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery in Burns, Oregon. The tall headstone marks her brother, Warren Curtis’ grave. Lucinda should be to the right of him.

Lucinda Jane Curtis was born on April 27th, 1848 in Kanawha county, Virginia (now West Virginia), to Preston Peter Curtis and Martha Jane (Midkiff) Curtis. Jane, as she was known to her family and friends, was the oldest of fourteen children.

When Jane was two-years-old, the Curtis family was living in Boone county, Virginia where the family owned their property and her father was farming. Her grandparents lived just down the road.

When the census takers came around ten years later, in July of 1860, the Curtis family had moved to Delhi township in Delaware county, Iowa. Jane was now 12 years-old and had ten younger siblings at home with her. Her father was farming the land and Jane and four of her siblings were attending school.

In July of 1870, when Jane was 22, the family lived in the same county, but now the census had them listed in Hazel Green, which I believe was just a few miles down the road from Delhi. Hazel Green no longer exists in 2021. The family’s farm was listed as being worth $8,610, so they must have been doing fairly well. Other farms on the same page of the census had a value of just $1,500, with one well-to-do farmer having land valued at $25,000. Of the thirteen listed Curtis family members, all could read and write.

At the age of 24, Jane married for the first time. Her new husband was John J. Walters, age 26. The couple took their vows on December 25th, 1872 in Delaware county, Iowa. From what I can find, John was born in Switzerland and was a brewer by trade. By 1880, the couple was living in Vernon Center, Blue Earth county, Minnesota where John was brewing, Jane was keeping house. They had a six-year-old son named Albert Edward Walters and a two-year-old daughter named Esther Evelyn Walters.

I haven’t been able to determine what happened, but I believe that John died sometime in the next few years. On December 23, 1885, Lucinda Jane Curtis Walters married Louis Michael Rowe in Otoe county, Nebraska. Jane was 41-years-old. The couple were both widowed and had small children. I believe that Louis’ first wife and Jane were most likely cousins. Jane’s mother’s maiden name was Midkiff and Louis’ first wife’s maiden name was Midkiff as well. It’s very possible that this was a marriage of convenience since both parties had young children. (Keep reading to find out why I have come to that conclusion!)

Together, the couple had two more children – Oakley Venila Rowe in 1886 and my own great-grandmother, Martha Alamdea Rowe in 1887.

In the 1900 federal census, the Rowe family is found living in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Jane is now 52 and “keeping house.” Louis is working as a teamster and Jane’s oldest son, Albert Edward is working as a laborer. Everyone in the family can read and write except for Louis.

Now, that same year, 1900, or thereabout anyway, Jane took her daughters and moved to Oregon, leaving Louis in Nebraska. The women settled in Burns, Oregon where some of Jane’s brothers were already living.

Seven years after the Rowe women took their leave from Nebraska, Louis passed away. I find it interesting that he is buried next to his first wife. Maybe she was his true love – or maybe their kids made that burial decision – whatever the case, it seems that Jane had enough and went west to live out the rest of her life.

By 1910, Jane is listed as widowed and is living with her youngest daughter, Martha and family. By this time she is an invalid.

Jane passed away on October 17th, 1912 at the age of 68. The following is from The Times-Herald in Burns, Oregon, dated October 19, 1912:

Died – At the hospital in this city Thursday, Oct. 17th, Lucinda Rowe, aged 68 years. Deceased had been an invalid for the past seven years and her death came as a relief to her long suffering. Mrs. Rowe came here with her daughters 12 years ago and had since made her home in this county. She was the mother of Mrs. Martha Sagers and Mrs. Ed Springer, Geo. and Van Curtis were brothers. She is also survived by three other brothers and a sister, the latter a resident of Portland. Two other children, Ed Walter by a former marriage, living in Canada, and a daughter, Mrs. Esther Roush in Texas. Funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock from the Presbyterian Church the service being conducted by Rev. Dr. Babbidge. The bereaved relatives have the sympathy of this community.

According to Jane’s death certificate, she died from dementia with a contributing cause of asthenia, which lasted for five years. The definition of asthenia is an abnormal weakness and total lack of energy, which explains why she was an invalid for so long. From the records I can find, Jane is buried in the cemetery in Burns, Oregon, next to her brother Warren Curtis. We visited the cemetery in October of 2021 and found Warren, but there is no marker for Jane, just an empty spot where she should be. I will be contacting the cemetery to find out for sure if that is where she is and have a marker placed.


(Lucinda Jane is my 2x great-grandmother.)