Emily Permelia Sheffield Kenison

Emily, in black, at her Ashland, Kansas home with daughter Lizzie Lockhart and grandchildren. David Randall originally shared this photo to ancestry.com .

John Quincy Adams was president of the United States when Emily Permelia Sheffield was born on June 20, 1826 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. I’ve not been able to find definitive records of who Emily’s parents were, though I believe her father was a man named John Sheffield, and her mother, Anna Minor. The 1880 census indicates both Emily’s mother and father were born in New York state. If my information is correct, then Emily was the youngest of ten children.

The first record I find where I know for sure, yes–this is our Emily, is a marriage record from June 20, 1853 when Emily married David Kenison in Bowens Prairie, Jones County, Iowa. Emily was twenty-seven years old and David was a fifty-one-year-old widower with four children.

The 1860 federal census found Emily and David living in the area of Scotch Grove, Iowa where David is farming. Since their marriage, they have added three children to their family – John A. Kenison, Mary Ann Kenison, and Abram Martin Kenison. Over the next few years, Emily would give birth to three more children–Samuel Peter Kenison, Silas David Kenison, and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mariah Kenison–six children total.

For the 1870 and 1880 censuses, the Kenison family remains in Scotch Grove while the children grow up and David continues to farm their land.

When Emily was fifty-six, she became a widow. David passed away from severe gastritis on April 7, 1883.

In 1885, the state of Iowa took a census and found Emily still in Scotch Grove, with son Silas farming her land. Her address was listed on the census as SE SE.

Some historians mention that David had purchased land in Kansas, but died before he and Emily were able to make the move. Emily must have been a woman of resolve, because by the 1900 census, at the age of 73, she had moved to Center Township, City of Ashland, Clark County, Kansas where she owned her own home on 6th Avenue. (That home is shown in the photo at the top of this page.)

In the Thursday, Nov. 24, 1910 issue of the Ashland Clipper, we find a notice of Emily’s youngest daughter visiting:

Mrs. Carl Lockhart and two children came in last Thursday from their home in Higgins, Texas. Mrs. Lockhart is a daughter to Mrs. Emily Kenison.

Emily lived in Ashland until her death on December 12, 1911 at the age of eighty-five. Her cause of death was listed as “Senility.”

From The Leader-Tribune (Englewood, Kansas), dated Thursday, Dec. 14, 1911:

Mrs. Emily P. Kenison, an early settler of this county, died at her home in this city Tuesday morning about one o’clock, at the advanced age of 85 years. She was born in Ohio in June, 1826, and has lived alone here for several years. Her illness was of short duration and she peacefully passed away. Funeral was held from the Christian Church, Thursday.

Emily Permelia Sheffield Kenison is buried in the south part of lot 143 in St. Joseph’s and Highland Cemetery in Ashland, Clark County, Kansas.

A year before her death, Emily created a handwritten will:

Know all men by these presents that I, Emily P. Kenison of Ashland, Clark County, Kansas being of sound and disposing mind and memory and in my eighty-fifth year of age, do make and declare this my last will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made on this 13th day of December A.D. 1910.

First, I will and desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid and out of the funds remaining. I direct that my Executor erect a suitable stone at the head of my grave.

Second: I give, devise and bequeath my beloved son, John A. Kennison, the sum of five ($5.00) dollars.

Third: I give, devise and bequeath my beloved daughter, Mary A. Kennison, the sum of five ($5.00) dollars.

Fourth: I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved son Abram M. Kennison, the sum of five ($5.00) dollars.

Fifth: I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved son Samuel P. Kennison, the sum of five ($5.00) dollars.

Sixth: I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved son Silas D. Kennison, the sum of five ($5.00) dollars.

Seventh: I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved daughter, Elizabeth M. Lockhart, all the rest and residue of my property both real and personal that I may own or devised at my death wheresoever found, to have and to hold as her own to be disposed of as she may choose.

Eighth: I constitute, appoint, and declare my daughter, Elizabeth M. Lockhart, Executrix of this my last will and Testament and that she have power to collect all debts due my estate and transact all business pertaining to my estate and that, she have the power to sell and dispose of all my property and convey title on such Executrix to all my real and personal property.

In Testimony of I hereunto have set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of December A.D. 1910 at Ashland, Clark County, State of Kansas and do hereby acknowledge this to be my Last Will and Testament and hereby revoking all former wills made by me.

Signed, Emily P. Kenison Witnessed by Lettie M. Snyder and Effie P. Smith

(Note: In 1910, $5 was equivalent to approximately $155 in 2023.)

Emily was my 3rd great-grandmother.

David Kenison – 1802 to 1883

David Kenison was born on April 21, 1802 in Shefford Township, Quebec, Canada. He was the fourth born child of Jacob and Mary (Berry) Kenison, and had a total of ten siblings. I haven’t been able to verify much information about his early life, but from several accounts it seems that David, along with a couple of his brothers, was a shipbuilder as an adult.

At the age of twenty-one, David married Mary “Polly” Allard on October 27, 1823 at St. John’s Anglican Church in West Shefford, Quebec. The couple had four children–Jonathan, Henry, Sarah Jane, and Miriam Roxanna–all born in Canada. Some historians say the family lived in Nova Scotia for a short time, but there are no solid records of the family’s time there.

The 1842 Lower Canada Census finds the Kenison family still in Shefford where it lists David as a yeoman. A yeoman was a person who owned and cultivated land, so David was a farmer at this point. He was forty years old.

In the spring of 1849, David and Mary moved their family to the United States. They arrived in Chicago, Illinois via Montreal on June 22, 1849. The following spring, on March 1, 1850, David’s naturalization papers were recorded in Lee County, Illinois.

In August of that same year, 1850, the census takers came around and found the Kenison family living in Lancaster Township, Stephenson County, Illinois. David was farming, Mary keeping house, and all four children were with them. The two girls were attending school.

Sometime shortly after, David became a widow when Mary passed away. I wasn’t able to find her death date with any certainty, but most family historians agree she died in 1850.

David married again on June 20, 1853 in Bowens Prairie, Jones County, Iowa. His bride was Emily Permelia Sheffield. David was 51 and Emily was 27. The couple would have six children together–John A., Mary Ann, Abram Martin, Samuel Peter, Silas David, and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mariah. David had a total of ten children, all told.

From History of Jones County, Iowa

In a history of Jones County, Iowa, I found a mention of David as having run a sawmill with one of his brothers about 1853.

An Iowa State Census was taken in 1856, and found the Kenison family living in the Scotch Grove area where David was still farming and owns the land he is farming and living on. The same for the 1860, 1870, and 1880 federal censuses. As the boys got older, they worked on the farm alongside their father.

David and Emily were respected members of the Presbyterian church.

On April 7, 1883, at the age of 81, David passed away from gastritis. A funeral service was held the following day at the church David attended and he was buried in the South Mineral Cemetery in Onslow, Jones County, Iowa.

(David is my 3rd great-grandfather.)

All For the Love of Milk

Harry and daughter Shirley, about 1925 (Harry’s father, Sam, is in the background.)

Little did Harry Kennison know the day he walked onto the Weaver farm in search of fresh milk, that his life was about to change. Harry was in the picturesque Wallowa Valley in Northeastern Oregon to build roads through this remote region. The road crew had been told that Lige Weaver had a herd of prize Jersey cows and his milk was the sweetest around. As it turned out, milk wasn’t the only sweet thing on the Weaver farm.

Harry Alvin Kennison had been born on February 28, 1903 in Cushing, Oklahoma as the second son of Samuel Peter Kennison and Sophia (Roddy) Kennison. His big brother, Billy, adored the new baby.

By early March of 1905, the Kenison family was living in Belleville, Kansas in Chautauqua County, but soon moved on to Larned in Pawnee county. A little sister, Ellen, was born in 1906 but both Harry’s baby sister and his mother died in July of 1907 from consumption. Little Harry was only four years old. What a sad time it was for the three Kennison men left on their own.

Not long after, Harry’s father packed up his young boys and moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Kennison’s lived in a boarding house while Harry’s dad went to work as a streetcar conductor. When Harry was seven, his dad remarried and Florence Ball, the woman who owned the boarding house they lived in, became his stepmother.

Harry and Billy – Probably 1910

Harry grew up in the midwest. His dad had become a civil engineer, building roads, and Harry followed in his footsteps and joined a road crew–which led him to the Weaver farm in Wallowa County, Oregon in search of milk. And that search for milk led him to the farmer’s oldest daughter, Edna Winifred Weaver. Harry became a regular to the farm. One day he popped the question and Edna answered, “yes.” The two married on October 28, 1921.

Edna and Harry – Shaniko, Oregon

From the picture above, it appears that Edna went on the road with Harry after they wed, at least until the babies came along. Their first child, my grandmother, was born on July 4th, 1923 in Wallowa. They named her Shirley Marcilee. The family lived in Wallowa Valley while Harry continued to build roads. Two more children followed–Harry, Jr. in 1926, and Laurena Winifred in 1930.

Harry began to have problems with his health. The doctors had told him that he needed to go to the desert to convalesce and regain his health. The Kennison’s weren’t wealthy and couldn’t afford to send him, so their friends and neighbors pulled together to raise the funds. It was the great depression and times were tough for everyone, but people donated what they could in the efforts to save Harry’s life. As family stories go, there was one well-to-do family, (I’m not naming names), who refused to donate to the fund raising, and my family has never forgotten that snub to this day.

Unfortunately, before enough funds were raised to send Harry to the sanitarium, he suffered a heart attack and died. The date was December 14, 1934 and Harry was only 31. In my research, I found a copy of his death certificate. Harry’s cause of death is listed as “chronic pulmonary nephritis”–code 131. I looked up the code and found that Harry had pulmonary and kidney failure caused by an autoimmune disease. The desert would not have saved him.

Harry is buried in the Wallowa Cemetery.

(Harry is my great-grandfather.)

Doctor L.J. Dallas (1812-1874) Poem by Shilo Niziolek

Doctor L.J. Dallas (1812-1874)

“May his memory by green.” – Obituary, Weekly Kansas Chief


With what hands can a man

lift his children toward sky,

suture up a lacerated wound,

dance with his aging wife,

set a broken bone, pluck garden weeds,

pet the coarse fur of his goats,

throw feed to chickens,

tug bright orange carrots from

silt loam soil of Kansas earth?


With what heart does a

teetotaler turn from drink,

build the state’s largest apiary,

pour time serving bees,

extracting their honey,

enveloped in a sea of buzzing,

spend days crouched low,

hunkered over hives,

studying culture of honey-makers?


What sir, did you learn?

Is it here, in my blood?

Am I honey-suckle lined,



Is it my lineage that pulls

me to the window,

draws me in to woods,

stoops my back

over dew green moss,

bends my knees in wonder?


Poem by Shilo Niziolek, 4th great-granddaughter of Doctor L.J. Dallas

Published by Ghost City Press in I Am Not An Erosion–Poems Against Decay

Rev. William Lewis Bostwick and Susan Maria (Smith) Bostwick

Masonic Lodge in Decatur, Illinois

Father William Lewis Bostwick preached to the congregation of St. John’s Episcopal Church in the basement of the Masonic Lodge pictured above. He was the first rector of the parish. In 1857, he decided the parish needed a proper church for the growing congregation, so purchased a lot on North Water Street in Decatur and had a church built for $1500. You can read more about the history of the church on the St. John’s website.

William was born on December 20, 1830 in Hammondsport, Steuben County, New York, to Rev. William Warner Bostwick and Mary (Lewis) Bostwick. He was the older brother of two sisters–Mary Jane and Celeste Parmelee. William’s father was not only a reverend, but he is also credited with planting the first grape vines in the finger lakes region of New York and establishing the area as wine country.

In the early to mid-1840’s, the Bostwick family moved west to Illinois, where William’s father took a church in Joliet.

William was a student at Trinity college in Newtown, Connecticut from 1849 to 1851. From 1854 to 1855, he was assistant to the rector of Trinity Church, and assistant to the principal of the academy.

Back east, and back in time, a little girl named Susan Maria Smith was born on January 21, 1933 to Perry Smith and Susan (Gurley) Smith. Susan’s mother died shortly after she was born, leaving her an only child. The Smith family lived in Hartford, Connecticut where her father was a respected grocer and local politician.

Sometime along the way, Susan and William met. When Susan was 22 and William was 24, the couple married. The date was July 25, 1855. They married in New Haven, Connecticut. The following year, the first of the Bostwick’s eight children was born – Emma Susan, Mary Annie, Harriet Gurley, William Perry, Ellen True, Francis Russell, Matilda Amelia, and Susan Celeste.

In 1855, William was rector of Christ and Grace Churches in Trumball, Connecticut before moving on to St. John’s in Illinois.

The 1860 census finds the family living in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois. William was an Episcopalian clergyman at St. Paul’s Church in the small town. The family consisted of William, Susan, three-year-old Emma, one-year-old Mary, and a servant girl named Mary Hoffman.

Sadness visited the Bostwick’s on March 15, 1864 when Emma, age seven, died. The family was now living in Hartford, Connecticut. Three years later in 1867, little Ellen, not quite two years old, died. I found a burial note stating that “this little child died very suddenly.” What a sad time. William was then the rector of Christ Church in Redding, Connecticut.

For the 1870 census, the Bostwick family had relocated to Wilton, Fairfield County, Connecticut. William was still preaching, this time at St. Matthew’s, and Susan “keeping house.” Five children, ages eleven to under a year, were living at home.

The next church William took charge of was Trinity Church in Northfield, Connecticut. He was rector there from 1871 to 1876. By 1876, his health was deteriorating, but he occasionally officiated as Assistant Minister, or preached in parishes who didn’t have a minister.

In 1880, they were in New Britain, Hartford County, Connecticut. William was fifty years old and still an Episcopalian clergyman, but now he was listed as having asthma that interfered with his duties. Susan was forty-seven, and five children, ages 18 to 4, were at home. Of those kids, son William, 16, was farming, and three of the children–Harriet, Francis, and Matilda–were all listed as disabled.

On March 13, 1895, at the age of 64, Rev. William Lewis Bostwick passed away. He was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut. Susan was a widow at age 62.

The following is from the Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) dated Saturday, March 23, 1895:

The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, tells of the death of Rev. William Lewis Bostwick, who was the first rector of St. John’s Episcopal church, this city. He was here from 1855 to 1860, the early services being held in the basement of the old Masonic hall and in a hall over the Fenton store, until the society took possession of the then new church on North Water street.

The Courant says: The Rev. William Lewis Bostwick, who died at Stamford last Wednesday, was a graduate of Trinity College in the class of 1851. He studied theology at the Berkeley Divinity School and his first ministry was in Newtown. He was afterwards rector and missionary in Illinois, from which he returned to Connecticut in 1863, his last regular parochial work being in Northfield. For nearly ten years before his death he resided in Fair Haven, his bodily infirmity not allowing him to undertake regular clerical duty. He was much interested in the work of the church and labored faithfully as he had strength, and he also found time to make himself proficient as an artist. Mr. Bostwick was a brother-in-law of the F.D. Harriman of Windsor. The funeral services are to be held in Christ Church in this city this afternoon at 2:30 o’clock.

From some genealogical notes, it seems the Bostwick family lived on Quinnipiac Avenue in New Haven. In January of 1900, Susan quit claimed that property to her son, William Perry Bostwick.

Three years after William died, Susan lost a son. Francis (Frank) died in March of 1898 at the age of 31. On October 3rd, 1902, Susan also passed away. William and Susan are both buried in Section I of Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford near their two small daughters, Emma and Ellen.

From The Daily Morning Journal and Courier (New Haven, Connecticut) dated Tuesday, October 7, 1902:

MRS. SUSAN BOSTWICK – Mrs. Susan Bostwick, widow of the late Rev. William Lewis Bostwick, died in New Haven Friday. She was the only child of Perry Smith, of Hartford, whose old-time residence still remains on Arch Street, being one of the notable homes in Hartford. The husband of Mrs. Bostwick, who was a clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal church, died six years ago. The surviving children of Mrs. Bostwick are Miss Anna Bostwick, of Short Beach: Mrs. Hallie Badger, wife of George Badger: William Perry Bostwick of Groton: Mrs. Matilda Foote, wife of Clifford Foote, of New Haven: and Miss Susie Fullerton, of Short Beach. Two children died in infancy, and Frank Bostwick died in New Haven after reaching maturity. The father of Mrs. Bostwick was one of Hartford’s wealthiest residents in his day. The remains of Mrs. Bostwick were taken to Hartford for burial yesterday afternoon. The interment was in Spring Grove cemetery. Rev. F.W. Harriman, of Grace Church in Windsor, who is a nephew of Mrs. Bostwick, conducted the committal services. Rev. George H. Phillips officiated at the services held at Short Beach Sunday afternoon.

(William and Susan are Riff’s 2nd great-grandparents.)

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)