Ezra Conant

Dudley, Massachussets

Ezra Conant was born on March 9th, 1724 in Beverly, Massachusetts. His parents were Benjamin Dea Conant and Martha (Davidson) Conant.  Ezra was the second child and oldest son of ten children.

When he was four years old in 1728, the family moved to Dudley, Massachusetts, about eighty miles southwest of Beverly. Ezra’s father, Benjamin, was a tailor by trade, establishing himself in the new community.

On January 1st of 1745, Ezra married Millicent Newell in Dudley. Ezra was twenty and Millie was nineteen years old. The couple’s oldest child, Asa, was born a year later in 1746.  Eight more children were born in the ensuing years – John, Ezra, Amos, Millicent, Ebenezer, Jemima, Stephen, and Benjamin.

Ezra had been thirteen years old when his father took the position of town clerk of Dudley in 1737.  When Benjamin retired in 1763, Ezra took over as Dudley’s town clerk.  He served in that position for six years, from 1763 to 1769.

Sadly, Millie died on July 6th, 1769, leaving Ezra a single father and widow at forty-five years of age.

That same year, Ezra moved his family to Warwick, Massachusetts, about seventy-five miles northwest of Dudley. In Warwick, Ezra also served as town clerk.

Ezra remarried in 1770.  He married the widow, Anna Bradish Fisk in Hardwick, Massachusetts on March 21, 1770.  Anna had been widowed twice, and had four children from her previous marriages.   Ezra and Anna had a daughter and a son; Anna, born in 1771, and Clark, born in 1773.  (Clark would become my husbands 4th great grandfather.) That brings the total number of kids between Ezra and Anna to fifteen, though I believe that two of Ezra and Millie’s children died as toddlers.

Ezra was the town clerk of Warwick during the revolution. The town of Warwick voted unanimously in favor of independence.  Here is a portion of the minutes of a meeting held in 1774, where Ezra was acting as Moderator of the Selectmen:  (notes found on Family Search website)

“Voted the sum of eight shillings, being this town’s proportion of the sum agreed on by the Honorable Council and House of Representatives in their session to pay a Committee of Congress. Voted to get two barrels of powder, and lead and flints, answerable for a town stock; and that the selectmen be a committee to procure the same. Voted to adhere strictly to our charted rights and privileges, and to defend them to the utmost of our capacity; and that we will be in readiness, that, if our brethren in Boston or elsewhere should be distressed by the troops sent here to force a compliance to the unconstitutional and oppressive acts of the British Parliament, and will give us notice, that we will repair to their relief forthwith. Voted to choose a captain, lieutenant, ensign, and that they enlist fifty men in this town to be at a minute’s warning to go, if called for, to the relief of our brethren in any part of the Province.” – Ezra Conant

800px-Warwick-State_Line(By ToddC4176 at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16944867 )

In the late 1700’s, many of the old families in Warwick began moving to Vermont in search of wild frontiers and inexpensive land.  By 1795, the Conant family was in Windsor, Vermont.  Ezra was 71 years old.

Ezra died on the 1st of December of 1804.  He is buried in a family section of the Old South Church Cemetery in Windsor, Vermont.

Conant, Ezra 1804 Windsor, Vermont

In Memory of Mr. Ezra Conant who died Dec. 1, 1804 in the 81, year of his age.

There is another inscription low on the headstone, but it has sunken into the ground enough that I wasn’t able to make it out.

Conant, Ezra Line

(Ezra is Riff’s (Richard) 5th great-grandfather)

Riff with Conant headstones



Clark and Sally Conant

Conant Headstones - Windsor, Vermont

Clark Conant was twenty-one years old when he married nineteen year old Sally Dean.  It was November 20th of 1794 and the young couple must have been so full of high hopes for their future together.   They married in their hometown of Warwick, Massachusetts.

Clark was the son of Ezra and Anna (Bradish) Conant. He was born in Warwick on June 23rd, 1773.

Sally was the daughter of Jeremiah and Rebecca (Scott) Dean. She was born in Warwick in 1775.

Many of the old families from Warwick began to move to Vermont in the late 1700’s in the search for inexpensive land and new frontiers.  The Conant family was no exception. We find them just nine months after Clark and Sally’s marriage living in Windsor, Vermont. Clark’s parents and at least one brother were there as well.

Windsor, Vermont

On August 11th of 1795, the couple welcomed their first child to the family; a daughter, Nancy, born in their new hometown of Windsor.

Old South Church, Windsor, Vermont

(The Old South Church. I believe the family would have worshipped here as they are buried in the cemetery surrounding the church.)

Clark went into business with a man by the name of Isaac Eddy.  The two business men took out the following add in the Spooner’s Vermont Journal, dated Friday, April 29, 1796:

The Subscribers most respectfully inform the public in general, and the inhabitants of Windsor and its vicinity in particular, that they carry on the Clothing Business, in all its various branches, about half a mile from the Court House in said town, at the Works formerly occupied by William Jewet. They assure the public, that said Business shall be attended to with punctuality, and executed with neatness and dispatch – They therefore earnestly solicit their generous patronage, to the promotion of a business so valuable and necessary in a new flourishing country.

Clark Conant,  Isaac Eddy.”

This seems to point to Clark being a tailor by trade.

Sally and Clark welcome their second child on March 10th, 1797. This time they have a boy and name him Roswell.

Two years later, another son is born. Dean entered the world on January 30th, 1799. (He would become my husband, Riff’s, third great-grandfather.)

The birth must have been hard on Sally, because she passed away just a little more than two weeks later on February 17th, 1799.  Sally left behind a grieving husband, a three year old daughter, a one year old son, and a two week old baby boy.  Sally was only twenty-four years old. She is buried in the Old South Church Cemetery in Windsor.

Conant, Sally - 1799 - Windsor, Vermont

Her headstone reads:

“In memory of Mrs. Sally Conant, consort of Mr. Clark Conant, who departed this life Febr’y 17, 1799 in her 25th year of age.”

The next record that I find of the family is and advertisement in the local newspaper.  Clark is selling a farm.  This ad was placed in the Spooner’s Vermont Journal, dated Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1802:

FOR SALE, A FARM containing 60 acres of Land, 40 under good improvement, well wooded – an excellent orchard- convenient buildings, situated about 100 rods south of the Meetinghouse in Weathersfield. Any person wishing to purchase will find the terms low – and a liberal credit given for one half the pay if wished. For particulars inquire of CLARK CONANT.”

The next fall, Clark is in possession of a pair of steers that seem to have wandered on to his farm. He would like to find the owner and get rid of them. The following advertisement was taken out in the Spooner’s Vermont Journal, dated Tuesday, Oct. 11, 1803:

TAKEN UP, By the subscriber, on the 24th, a pair of STEERS, supposed to be three years old – One of a bright red colour, with a white face – the other a pale red, with a star in his forehead. The owner is desired to prove property, pay charges, and take them away.  Clark Conant.”

There is no more record of Clark until June of 1808, when his own colt wanders away.  The following advertisement was in the Spooner’s Vermont Journal, dated Monday, Jun. 27, 1808:

STRAY COLT.  STRAYED from the subscriber,… a small yearling Horse COLT, of a light bay color. Whoever will return the same or give information shall be rewarded for their trouble.  Clark Conant.”

From March through July of 1811, Clark took out multiple advertisements, in various newspapers, for the sale of his farm. I’m guessing that he purchased this farm after he sold the 60 acre farm back in 1802.  This particular newspaper that I am transcribing from was the Washingtonian from Windsor, Vermont, dated Monday, Apr. 01, 1811:

“FOR SALE, A valuable FARM, on Connecticut River Turnpike, two miles south of Windsor Street, containing 360 acres of excellent Land, a proportion of which is intervale, grazing, tillage, and woodland – On said FARM, is a large mansion house, two Barns, and all other necessary buildings; also, Orcharding which has produced one hundred and eighty Barrels of Cider in a fruitful season. – The whole will be sold at a reasonable price. For further particulars apply to the subscriber, on the premises. Clark Conant.”

We don’t know where Clark was going, why he was selling the farm, or what happened to his clothing business. We do know that he did not leave Windsor, because on the 23rd of November, 1811, Clark died, by his own hand. He was only thirty-eight years old and left behind three children, Nancy, 16; Roswell, 14; and Dean, 12.

From the Spooner’s Vermont Journal, dated Mon, Nov. 25, 1811:

DIED, In this town on Saturday last, by his own hands, in a state of insanity, Mr. Clark Conant, age 38.”

Clark is buried in the Old South Church Cemetery next to his wife, Sally.

Conant, Clark - 1811 - Windsor, Vermont

Life is messy and sad. We will probably never know why Clark chose to end his own life. Was life just too hard after losing Sally and being left with three small children to raise?  Was he selling the farm because he had money troubles?  Was he sick? Sadly, he just could not see another way out.

Riff in the family plot at Old South Church Cememtery - Windsor, Vermont

After some searching, we were happy to find the Conant plot.  Riff was able to spend a few minutes honoring his ancestors.  In this picture he is standing between the graves of Clark and Sally.

Conant, Clark Lineage

(Clark and Sally (Dean) Conant are the 4th great-grandparents of my husband, Riff Niziolek.)




Chester Leroy Dallas Photo

Dallas, Chester LeRoy

Chester LeRoy Dallas, circa 1940’s

Chester was the son of Walter Clark Dallas and Amy Mae Hovey Dallas. He was born November 8th, 1913 in Jackson, Wyoming.

He was an older brother to my grandmother, Leoma Dallas Simmons. In her diary, she referred to Chester as “Chess.”

Chester served in the Navy during World War II.  Family stories say that he was stationed at Pearl Harbor, but was on shore when the bombing started and watched his own ship being bombed. I have not verified that, but will update this when I am able to retrieve his military records.

Chester passed away on April 6th, 1982 at the age of 68. He is buried in the Sutter Cemetery in Sutter, California.


Chester is my Great Uncle on my mom’s side of the family.

Everett Jerome Dallas

Dallas, Everett Jerome - Arlington, Virginia

E. J. Dallas To Rest In Arlington Grave

Evening Star, Sep. 28, 1910

“Distinguished Career as Soldier and in Government Service in Washington

The funeral of Everett J. Dallas, for the last ten years a member of the board of pension appeals, who died Saturday evening at his apartment in the Baltimore, 1832 Baltimore street, will be held at Arlington tomorrow afternoon at 4 o’clock.

The pallbearers will be Senator Charles Curtis, of Kansas; Justice Thomas H. Anderson, of the Supreme Court of the District; Col. Harrison L. Bruce, chairman of the board of pension appeals; Charles N. Daizel, chief clerk of the dead letter office; James E. Tufts, Dr. Dorsey M. McPherson, John W. Bixter, and Lee T. Robinson.  

Mr. Dallas was born in Ohio, December 27, 1841, and removed to Kansas in 1859, with his father, Dr. L.J. Dallas, one of the pioneers of that state. A year later he returned to Ohio, and, in July, 1861, enlisted in the 12th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving until his discharge in 1864.

Later, coming to Washington, he entered the service of the Post Office Department. After a series of promotions he became superintendent of the dead letter office.

It was under his administration of that office that the first “Dallas Directory” was issued in 1881. It was alphabetical directory of all the streets in more than one hundred of the principal cities of the United States, complied for the use of the department returning misdirected letters and parcels. 

In 1885 Mr. Dallas resigned his office and returned to his adopted state of Kansas as junior partner in the law firm of Rossington, Smith, & Dallas, at Topeka, remaining with that firm for fifteen years. He then came back to Washington and re-entered the public service as a member of the board of pension appeals, in which he continued until his death. 

His widow and three children survive him.”


Everett Jerome Dallas was born on the 27th of December, 1843 to Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas and Nancy Beeks Hood Dallas. (Note that the year of his birth was printed incorrectly in his obituary.) Everett was the second of seven children. The family lived in Ohio, but it is unclear as to whether they lived in Guernsey county or Belmont county at the time of Everett’s birth. In 1850, Everett was seven years old. His family was living in Kirkwood, Ohio where his father was a doctor and a farmer.

By the time Everett was seventeen, in 1860, the Dallas family had moved to the Baldwin City area of Douglas county, Kansas.

On June 28th, 1861, Private Everett Jerome Dallas reported for duty at Camp Dennison, Ohio with the 12th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company E.  I have not been able to find much about his particular service, but I do know that his regiment fought in many civil war battles. In three years, they lost five officers and one hundred and seventy men to both the war itself and to disease. The company mustered out on July 11th, 1864 at Columbus, Ohio.  Years later, after his death, records show his widow receiving Everett’s veteran pension payment. The record has him listed as an “Army Invalid.”

By 1870, Everett is living in Washington D.C. in the household of his uncle, Thomas B. Hood. Everett is now working as a clerk in the United States Post Office.

USPS 1870 - Washington DC

On the 18th of June, 1872, Everett married Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Campbell in Washington D.C.

Just a little over a year later, Everett graduated from Georgetown College with his law degree.

From the Daily National Republican, Washington D.C., Jun 05. 1873

Twenty New Lawyers – Georgetown College Commencement

Brilliant Assemblage of Lady and Gentlemen Friends of the Graduates – Address of Attorney General Williams – Introductory Remarks by Hon. J. C. Banecroft Davis – Beautiful Floral Display – Father Healy’s Parting Advice.

A large and brilliant assemblage was gathered last night in Lincoln Hall to witness the interesting exercises of the annual commencement of the law department of the University of Georgetown, class of 1873. On the platform were seated several distinguished gentlemen of the learned professions, besides the graduating class, and among those who occupied seats in the auditorium were General Sherman and other prominent officials.”

The article continues, recounting all aspects of the commencement ceremony, including listing the graduates. Our own Everett J. Dallas, Kansas is listed among them.

In November of 1873, Everett and Lizzie welcomed their first child, Mary.

On January 23rd of 1875, the Evening Star reported a promotion for Mr. Dallas.

“MR. EVERETT J. DALLAS has been appointed chief of the dead letter office, vice Knowlton, promoted chief clerk.”

The couple’s second child, Everett Hood Dallas was born on December 5th, 1877.  Their third and last child wasn’t born until seven years later. John Campbell Dallas arrived on the 15th of January in 1884.

Suddenly, Everett resigns from the post office.

Daily National Republican, dated April 01, 1885:

“The “resignation” of Everett J. Dallas as chief of the dead letter office was quite a surprise. The resignation takes effect to-day, and no one had been appointed to fill the place late yesterday afternoon. Mr. Dallas has been chief of the dead letter office twenty-seven years, and his resignation was unexpected. It is probable that Mr. Baird, of Georgia, will be appointed to the vacancy.”

Now, Everett was NOT chief of the dead letter office for twenty-seven years as the article states. That would have made him 15 years old when he took over. No, he was chief for ten years. The quotes around the word resignation seem to hint at something a little more then him simply leaving his job.

Dead Letter - 1887

In the years between Everett’s appointment to the dead letter office and his resignation, he was very busy, at work at least. In his obituary, you may remember that something called the “Dallas Street Directory” was mentioned.  It took a lot of research to find this, because when you are searching for Dallas, everything Texas comes up. Finally, I had success when I came upon a very lengthy article published in the Barton County Democrat newspaper in Great Bend, Kansas from September 3rd, 1891. This article is titled “A Work Compiled for the Benefit of Careless People.”  It’s a quite interesting article, but very long, so I am just going to hit the highlights here for you. In the beginning, it talks about how a new civil law is in the works so that dismissals would only be for cause and not because of partisan reasons or the whim of a superior officer with a bee under his bonnet. It then begins to talk about Everett and his work while at the Post Office.

“For about fifteen years previous to his departure from the public service Everett J. Dallas had been an employee of the post office department, during the latter part of his term being chief of the dead letter office. He was removed for political reasons in 1885, and now is practicing law somewhere in Kansas. He had been so long in the public service that he seemed to be a part of it, and it of him. All of his splendid abilities were directed to the improvement of the work of which he had charge and for which he was responsible. As chief of the dead letter office he was daily absorbed in the solution of the problem of how to devise adequate means to aid those tens of thousands of careless people in the country who are trying and failing to reach their friends through the mail; and that they need assistance is manifest from the fact that hundreds of thousands of letters, postal cards, packages, newspapers, and merchandise annually go to the dead letter office by reason of their misdirection or partial and imperfect direction………

For this class of careless people Chief Clerk Dallas, who was devoted to his work, compiled a volume which is of incalculable value to the government and to tens of thousands of careless people all over the country. He conceived the idea of compiling, in alphabetical form, a list of all the streets, courts, avenues, places, lanes, roads and wharves to which mail is delivered in all the principal cities of the republic. After giving the matter considerable attention and reaching the conclusion that it was feasible and ought to be done, Mr. Dallas consulted with several official superiors and was informed by them that the work could not be undertaken and completed in a lifetime, and that it would cost too much money. That was the last that was heard of the subject for about two years. Then the quiet, unpretentious, plodding official astounded his superiors by exhibiting to them a mass of manuscript which practically covered the ground, as originally proposed by him. He had given to that work his days and nights, his energies and ambition…..

In 1884 the manuscript was given to the public printer, and came forth a volume which to-day is regarded as a sine qua non in the dead letter office. It contained 437 pages, but has since been improved and added to until it is now a volume of over 800 pages, every line of which represents work of the most painstaking character by the brains of an intelligent official pioneer. 

Here is a sample of the work accomplished daily with the aid of this compilation: A letter addressed to “Mr. Henry Manchester, No. 126 Charter Oak Avenue”.  Where is Charter Oak Avenue? The postmaster sends it to the dead letter office, the clerk turns to the Dallas Street Directory, finds under the letter “C” that there is only one Charter Oak Avenue in the country, and that it is in Hartford, Conn. The clerk then adds the city and state….

These instances are sufficient to demonstrate to the reader the great value of the Dallas Directory….

Since his dismissal from the public service which he so adored and benefited, there have been four successors to Mr. Dallas, all of them reputable gentleman…but they have come and gone….The services of Mr. Dallas could not to-day be secured for many times the salary, $2,000, which he then received; and, for which he was willing to remain.”

I cannot imagine the hours and hours of work that he must have put in to this invaluable directory. One the age of the internet came, the directory was no longer needed, but it was used for a hundred years or more.

We know that after Everett was dismissed from the postal service, he went back to Topeka, Kansas to practice law. He joined the firm of Rossington & Smith, making it Rossington, Smith, & Dallas. I don’t know much about this time of his life, but have found him as an active member of the Kansas State Historical Society and an organization called Associated Charities, which provided emergency help for people in need.

In 1900, Everett went back to Washington D.C., accepting an appointment to the Pension board.

I’m not sure what happened between Lizzie and Everett, but they must have divorced at some point. On May 14th, 1904 Everett married a woman by the name of Mary O. Gittings.  He was 61 years old and she was 49.

Everett passed away on September 24th, 1910 in Washington D.C. from Bright’s Disease, a chronic kidney disease, and the same disease that killed his father. Everett was 66 years old.  His second wife, Mary, is buried with Everett in Arlington Cemetery.


Everett is my 3rd great-uncle.

Dallas, Everett Jerome Lineage


Mary Pearl Hulse Weaver

Mary Pearl Hulse Weaver 2

(Mary Pearl Hulse – about 1895. She would have been about 15 years old.)

Mary was born on October 12th of 1879 in Fort Collins, Colorado to Abijah M. and Mary Elizabeth (Harris) Hulse. She was the sixth of seven children and the only girl of the bunch.  By the time Mary was born, her two oldest brothers were already grown and gone.

When Mary Pearl was only eight months old, the 1880 United States Federal Census was taken.  Even though she was born in Colorado, the family was living on a farm near Monroe, Nebraska in Saline county.  Her uncles, Joseph Hulse and Perry Hulse, both had farms nearby.  I imagine a big family with lots of cousins running around, the women cooking meals in their houses, probably soddy’s, or sometimes on open fires in the yard while the men helped each other in the fields.  Corn was a thriving crop in Nebraska in the 1880’s.  I wonder if that was one of the Hulse men’s crops?

Whatever the case, by 1884 Mary’s family was in northeastern Oregon.  Family stories relate that Mary was just a baby when her family traveled from Colorado to the Wallowa country in Oregon by covered wagon.

Mary was four when her youngest brother, Edgar Herbert Hulse, was born on the 30th of August.  He was born in Enterprise, Oregon in Wallowa county.

Mary’s father died when she was sixteen years old. He had been taken to the asylum in Salem, Oregon where he died just two weeks later.  I hope to find more information on what happened and why he was there.  I believe by then Mary and her little brother, Edgar, were the only two children left at home. It must have been a hard time for the family.  I have not been able to find a census record for them during this time.

On May 8th, 1899, when Mary Pearl was nineteen, she married Elijah “Lige” Daniel Weaver and went from being a farmer’s daughter to being a farmer’s wife. Lige was thirty three years old. Quite the age difference! The couple immediately went to live on Lige’s homestead in the Lower Valley outside of Wallowa where they lived until after Lige passed away. They raised dairy cows and a very large family, thirteen kids all told, including two sets of twins.

Just a little over a year after the couple married, they welcomed their first son, Ellis Leslie Weaver to the family.   More children quickly followed, 10 boys and 3 girls.

  • Ellis Leslie – born on June 3rd, 1900
  • Edna Winifred – born on November 25th, 1902 (my own great-grandmother!)
  • Ronald Jay – born on December 7th, 1904
  • Blanche Violet – born on February 1st, 1907
  • Wayne Robert – born on February 19th, 1909
  • Lloyd Wallace “Chuck” – born on February 20th, 1911
  • Wilbur Gregory – born on April 21st, 1913
  • Kenneth Weldon – born on April 11th, 1915
  • Selby Granville and Shelby – twins born on September 20th, 1917 (Shelby died as an infant)
  • Leona “Myrtle” Marie – born on July 14th, 1919
  • Martin Tucker “Doc” – twin of Marshall, born on October 20th, 1922
  • Marshall Thomas – twin of Martin, born on October 20th, 1922

Several family members remember being told that Grandma Weaver actually carried three sets of twins but one set died at childbirth of shortly thereafter. I’m sure that is probably true, but because I can’t find anything solid about them, I haven’t put them on the list of children.  If that story is correct, then there would have been 15 kids.

Mary Pearl always remained a small person with a tiny waist, even after all of those babies!

Weaver, Edna in the middle holding the baby

Lige and Mary’s oldest son, Ellis, had epilepsy.  In that era, there was not any consistent treatment for this and many times, especially if a family was poor, it was recommended that the patient be placed in an institution. The family thought that this would be the best thing, that Ellis would get the help that he needed.  Unfortunately this is not what happened, and this part may be hard to read but it is a part of our family’s history.

Ellis was taken to the asylum in Salem.  In the institution the treatment for epilepsy was electric shock treatment. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that poor Ellis, at age 20, was admitted to an insane asylum for a seizure disorder and the treatment made him insane. It’s an incredibly sad and hard story. I cannot imagine what the family went through emotionally because of this. Ellis was never able to return home, living out the rest of his years, until the age of 37, in the institution.  He passed away on December 25th, 1937 and is buried in the Wallowa Cemetery.

Lige passed away on the 3rd of March, 1928, leaving Mary Pearl a widow at the young age of 48 years.  The boys stepped up and helped to keep the farm running.

When the depression hit, they could no longer hang on to the farm.  Mary Pearl then moved to a small house in town where she lived for the rest of her life.

Some time later, her daughter, Myrtle and husband Francis Armon, were able to rent the old family homestead so the Weaver family was able to spend more time there.  There is a pond on the property that is still known as Weaver Pond.

On the 1940 census, “Pearl” is sixty years old and working as a Practical Nurse for a private party.

Weaver, Mary Pearl and Tommy Sannar - abt 1941

Mary Pearl Weaver holding her great-grandson, Tommy Sannar. Circa 1941

Mary Pearl Hulse Weaver - 1942 Wallowa Oregon

Mary Pearl Weaver – age 62 – 1942


1942 Weaver Family Reunion on the Old Homestead

My dad, Tom Sannar, remembers riding the train with his great-grandma several times.  He says that during the war, when all the men were gone, Grandma Weaver liked to go places. Apparently she loved to shop in the dime stores and Dad remembers riding the train with her all the way from La Grande to Enterprise just to go shopping at the Five-and-Dime. He says that she was a “Gad-About”.  🙂

When the boys came back from the war, Martin, or “Doc” as we all knew him, was never the same. He was a very sweet and gentle soul and the war was too much for him.  He was shell shocked, which is now called PTSD, but severe. He never came out of it. Even though his mind was no longer right, he was still a gentle soul. There was a time when he was taken to an institution, but that scared Mary to death because of what had happened to Ellis.  She would not allow him to stay there and went and brought him home instead.  I remember him at family reunions when I was a kid, sitting by himself, drinking his “near-beer”, and talking and giggling to himself.

My dad also told me about a time when his family had moved from the logging camp at Mount Emily into a house in La Grande.  Grandma Weaver came to stay for a few days.  They had a wood burning stove in the living room that, without thinking, his mom had thrown some old batteries into.  Grandma Weaver was getting up in years and she walked fairly slow.  She was coming along in front of the wood stove when those batteries exploded. She sure moved fast then!

Mary Pearl passed away on March 16th, 1955 in La Grande, Oregon.  She was 75 years old.

Weaver, Mary Pearl Hulse Headstone

Mary Pearl is buried in the cemetery in Wallowa, Oregon.


Now, I know that some of you remember her. Please share your memories of Grandma Weaver so that we can all know more about who she was.   Thank you!


Weaver, Mary Pearl Hulse Line

(Mary Pearl Hulse Weaver is my 2nd great-grandmother on my dad’s side of the family.)


Memories of Mary Pearl

My Sweet Grandmother..she was the only one I had since my Grandmother Boyd died before I was born..I spent many nights with her and in the same bed..she would be talking with me sharing life stories (how I wish I could hear them again)as I have forgotten most..and then..she was snoring..lol..she was a tiny little thing..short and spry..and didn’t sit still for long..one story I’ll always remember is the time she and I rode the bus to LaGrande..I had spent the night again..Mom had just bought me a new red coat..and as Grandma and I were walking out of her house to catch the bus a big dog came after me and grabbed the hem of my new coat and ripped it..she swung her purse and hit him hard..he never bothered us again..” ~ Janice Weaver McLaughlin

I remembered her being left handed and how fast she could do things with her left hand. Being little I thought it really strange that she was using the wrong hand :)” ~ Lynda Weaver Mattson

“My mother shared some things about Grandma Weaver.  She had a tiny waist.
Their house burned down and the family lived in a tent out Bear Creek for a time, if my memory is accurate.  At some point during that time, my grandmother, Blanche, a widow & one of Mary Pearl’s daughters, had my mom, Wanda, live with Mary Pearl so Blanche could work in La Grande.” ~ Lorrie Goebel Wade


Memories of Elijah and Mary Pearls Children

Kenneth was a fantastic carpenter. He was building a metal airplane at one point. Us kids would go out and sit in, pretending we were flying. He never finished that one but later he built a wooden plane. It was gorgeous when it was finished. He never flew it but sold it to someone who did.”  ~ Tom Sannar

Selby was my dad. He was a barber in LaGrande.” ~ Dawn Rogers

” I remember many family get togethers as a small child. All the music and so much fun. I think often of those times. I feel totally blessed to have been brought up around the complete Weaver Family. Those days are surely missed.  I love it all and still have a deep feeling of closeness to all.” ~ Sherry Ireland


Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas


Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas was born in Belmont county, Ohio on August 21st, 1812.  His parents were Robert Armstrong Dallas and Priscilla (Israel) Dallas.  I believe that Leander, or “Lander” as he was known to his family, was the oldest of fourteen children.

(I don’t like it when the only picture that I have to start out with is a picture of the headstone, so decided to use this bee apiary photograph instead. Keep reading to find out the significance!)

I was able to find out quite a lot about Leander from an 1894 article that was published in a book about the history of Ohio.  I later found the same article published in a Kansas history book.  As we travel through Leander’s life, I will be adding in quotes from this article and from many more that I found in various newspapers.

As I mentioned, it seems that Leander’s family called him Lander, but as he grew to adulthood and a prominent citizen of the community’s where he lived, I believe he went by L.J.  It was not uncommon for newspaper articles of the time to call a man by his initials, but in Leander’s case, every article is done that way, including his obituary.  Other men’s full names in the same articles where Leander is referred to as L.J.  I believe we can assume that that is what he went by.  Since this seems to be his preference, I will refer to him as L.J. from here on out.

From the Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio

“Leander J. Dallas, one of the earliest, most prominent and useful of the free-state pioneers of Kansas, was descended from the Scotch, born in Belmont county, Ohio in 1811, (Everything else points to 1812.), and the early members of the family had some tradition by which they showed a descent from the same ancestry as George M. Dallas, ex-Vice-President of  the United States. His father, Robert Dallas, was among the earliest pioneers of Ohio, and had quite a local prominence in its early history.  His mother’s maiden name was Priscilla Israel.

Dr. Dallas was educated in Kenyon College, at Gambier, Ohio, and subsequently studied medicine at Fairview, Guernsey county, Ohio, in the office of Dr. James Hood, and commenced to practice at Birmingham, Ohio where he remained but a short time.”

Bexley Hall (three-quarter view, mid to late 1870s), Kenyon College

This picture shows part of Kenyon College in about 1870.  L.J. would have studied there in the early 1830’s.  Kenyon College was the first college in Ohio. It opened in 1829, so I believe that L.J. would have been among the first students.  The buildings at the time were just log structures and apparently barely kept out the cold. You can read more about the college at the time here. 

On March 20th, 1838 L.J. married Nancy Beeks Hood. Nancy was the daughter of Dr. James Hood whom L.J. had studied medicine under.  I was actually able to find a photo of the actual marriage register. It’s not a good enough photo to add here, but still!

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He was married at Fairview, Ohio, December 11, 1838, (again, this article has the day wrong. The marriage register clearly says the 20th day of March, 1838.), to Miss Nancy B. Hood, daughter of Dr. James Hood, of that place, a lady of superior education and accomplishments…”

The couple moved to Sewellsville, Ohio where L.J. had a thriving practice and the families seven children were born.  (Sewellsville’s post office close in 1907.  It is listed as a ghost town now. I must go there!)

In 1841 Wilbur Fisk Dallas was born, he was L.J. and Nancy’s first child. Wilbur was followed by Everett Jerome in 1843, Walter Israel in 1844, Clinton Hood in 1848, Chester Emery in 1850 = (my own 2nd great-grandfather!), Mary Cordelia in 1853, and Adda Elizabeth in 1857. Thank goodness for Nancy that she was finally blessed with some girls after five rowdy boys!

I found several pieces of information during the Dallas families time in Sewellsville.

~From the Belmont County, Ohio 1853 Business DirectoryL.J. Dallas is listed in Sewellsville as Physician and Surgeon.

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 02 Sep 1853 – “To the Whig, Democrat and Freesoil nominees for Representatives and Senator of Belmont County and this Senatorial Dist.:  Gentlemen:-In discharge of a duty imposed upon us by a meeting of the Belmont County “Temperance Alliance”, held at Barnesville, Aug. 3d, 1853., and believing that it is our right and our indispensable duty to know the views and sentiments (on all subjects of legislation) of those claiming our suffrages, as legislators; therefore, to the end that we may vote understandingly, we respectfully take the liberty of putting to you individually, the following interrogatory:  Will you (if elected to the office for which you have been nominated) use influence, and vote in the next Legislature of Ohio, to secure the passage of law in Ohio for the suppression of the manufacture and sale of ardent spirits as a beverage, known as the “Maine Liquor Law,” or its equivalent.  By answering the above through the same channel that you receive this, you will much oblige many voters as well as      Your ob’t Servants, Wm. Smith, L.J. Dallas, Robt. Hamilton, Thos. Michner, W.H. Clark, Com. in behalf of the Alliance.

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 10 Oct 1853 – “Hendrysburgh, O. Sept. 28th, 1853.  The semi-annual session of Belmont County Council of the Sons and Daughters of Temperance met pursuant to adjournment in the Hall of the Sons of Temperance, …..(article goes on)… On motion it was Resolved That a committee of nine be appointed for the purpose of selecting such candidates from the three parties, that Temperance men could consistently vote for.   The President appointed the following persons on said committee;  Wm. J. Stubbles, John Morrow, Dr. Hamilton, Dr. Steel, Cornwell, John H. Johnson, Wm. Smith, L.J. Dallas, and R.S. Clark.”

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 14 Oct 1853Belmont County Fair – “JACKS, JENNETS & MULES, CLASS E – best single mule, L.J. Dallas

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 11 Oct 1855 -“Premiums Awarded at the Seventh Annual Fair of the Belmont Co. Agricultural Society, Held on the 3d, 4th, & 5th of October, 1855.  – Jacks, Jennets & Single Mules – L.J. Dallas 2nd, $1.00;   Poultry – Sears, Grestest and Best Display – L.J. Dallas, $3.00.

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 20 Mar 1856 – “Petitions, &c. – Mr. Hamilton presented the petition of L.J. Dallas and 26 others, of J. Waddell, and 4 others, and R. Nagor and 4 others, citizens of Belmont County for a prohibitory liquor law; for a law authorizing the payments of taxes in the townships; a law for the protection of game.”

It seems that Dr. Dallas was a teetotaler and very involved in the Temperance movement.  I love the blurbs about him showing his mules and chickens at the county fair. We grew up doing that and I love that tie to him.

In 1859, the Dallas family picked up stakes and moved to Kansas Territory.  They settled in what is now Douglas county, in an area that was known as Palmyra and was close to Baldwin City.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He had a successful practice in Sewellsville, Ohio were he remained until he removed to Kansas in 1859, where he resumed his profession, gaining a large and successful practice.”

Now, just three miles from Baldwin City was what is considered the first battle of the Civil War. This was the Battle of Black Jack and took place in 1856, just a few years before L.J. and Nancy moved their family there.  Bleeding Kansas is the term used for this exact time period and place.  It begs the question, did L.J. know what was going on here before he moved his family here?  They seem to have thrived and done well. Maybe he went because doctors were needed?

What I do know is that he was just as involved with his community in Kansas as he had been in Ohio.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was among the most influential men in establishing Baker University. Originally a Whig, he became a Republican on the organization of the Republican party.”

Baker University was the first university in Kansas. It was founded by the Methodist church.

I did find a note in a Kansas paper that listed L.J. Dallas as a trustee of Baker University, and some information that Nancy was involved as well. Their son, Chester, went to school there.  Most likely some of the other Dallas boys did, too, I just haven’t done the research to find them there yet.

Original building of Baker University - Baldwin City, Kansas

This is the original building of Baker University, now Old Castle Museum and still on the university grounds. It holds history of the university and of eastern Kansas.  My husband and I went there for a tour, but nobody showed up for our appointment. We will try again if we are ever in the area.

L.J. was also a beekeeper.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“In the latter period of his life he devoted himself to the propagation of bees and the production of honey. He made many discoveries in bee culture, and acquired the largest apiary in Kansas, was president of the State Bee Keeper’s Association, vice-president of the National Association, and was several times a delegate to the National Bee Keeper’s Association, taking several premiums for the quality of his bees and their productions.

A good deal of the latter part of his life was devoted to the cultivation of his excellent farm near Baldwin City, and especially to horticulture, in which he took great pride, but his particular branch was the scientific culture of the bee.”

In my research, I reached out to the Kansas State Honey Producers, formerly the Kansas Bee Keeper’s Association, to see if they had any more information on Dr. Dallas.  As far as they know, their organization was formed in 1903.  That very well may be because they simply don’t have any records before that period.  My contact is going to keep looking and let me know if he finds any other information. I promised to do the same for him!

I did, however, find an advertisement where L.J. is selling some bee’s.

~From the White Cloud Kansas Chief dated 28 May 1868: “Italian Bees. American Bee Hive. County Rights sold at $50 to $100; Township Rights, $20 to $40; Individual Rights, $5. Bee-Keeper’s Text Book, 40 cents by mail.  Italian Queens, $5 to $7, sent by express; safe arrival and purity warranted. Full stock of Italian Bees in American Hive, $20.   Send for circular. Minute directions for making American Hive will accompany all rights.   For further particulars, address:  L.J. Dallas & H. Barricklow, Baldwin City, Kansas.

L.J. was also involved in getting the railroad pushed through in his area of Kansas.

~From the Leavenworth Weekly Times, dated 10 Nov 1870 – “LAWRENCE & PAOLA RAILROAD.-We are glad to see that this enterprise is taking shape. A charter for the road has been obtained, and an organization of the company will be made on Thursday next, at Wellsville, after which we may expect some action taken toward the construction of the road. The corporators of the company are Elijah Sells and L.J. Dallas, Baldwin City; H.J. Canniff, Prairie City; P.P. Elder, Ottawa; G.W. Mitchler and Capt. Shannon, Paola; Gurdon Grovenor, P.D. Ridenour, Wm. H. Sells, Wm. M. Haseltine, W.C. Ransom and James S. Crew, Lawrence; and H.M. Brockway, Wellsville. – Paola Republican.

L.J.  was also an active member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was especially enthusiastic as an Odd Fellow, having been deputy grand master of Kansas in 1872.  The Grand Lodge was in session at the time of his death, and after passing resolutions in honor of his memory, adjourned to the following day in respect to his services as an Odd Fellow and his work as a citizen.”

~From the Weekly Kansas Chief, dated 17 Oct 1872: “I.O.O.F.- The Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows of Kansas held its annual meeting at Topeka, last week. The Order is in a flourishing pondition throughout the State. The following officers were elected for the coming year: George W. Martin, of Junction City, Grand Master; L.J. Dallas, of Baldwin City, Deputy Grand Master; Sidney S. Smith, of Columbus, Grand Warden; Samuel F. Burdett, of Leavenworth, Grand Secretary; James S. Crew, of Leavenworth, Grand Treasurer; Fred Speck, of Wyandotte, Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of the United States. ”

It seems that L.J. was a very busy man, involved in many aspects of his community’s life.

Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas passed away on the 14th of October, 1874.   He had been sick for six weeks and passed away from what was called Bright’s Disease, a chronic inflammation of the kidney’s that most likely resulted in kidney failure.  He was 62 years old.

He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin City, Kansas next to his wife, Nancy.

Dallas, Leander Jerome Headstone - Baldwin City, Kansas


Paula - Leander J. Dallas and Nancy B. Hood Dallas Gravestone - Baldwin City, Kansas - April 2019

(Here I am, “meeting” my 3rd great-grandparents for the first time.)

~From the Weekly Kansas Chief, dated 22 Oct 1874: “DEATH OF DR. DALLAS.-The long illness of Dr. L.J. Dallas of Baldwin City, has at last terminated fatally.  The Doctor is an old resident of Douglas County, having lived here since 1859. Of late years he has paid great attention to apia-culture, and it was a pleasant sight to see him working about among his swarms of bees or extracting honey from the combs. He was a man of great intelligence, an earnest, faithful member of the Methodist Church, for many years one of the trustees of Baker University, and a man respected and loved by all who knew him. He was a constant subscriber to the Journal, and made as many a pleasant call when he visited town. May his memory be green.-Lawrence Journal, 16th.”

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“His wife, Nancy, survives him and resides at the homestead in Douglas county. They reared seven children – Wilbur, a physician in Linn county, Kansas, married to Miss Mattie Churchill; Everett J., chief clerk of the division of dead letters in the post office department of the United States, and married to Miss Lizzie Campbell; Walter I., a prominent business man at Independence, Kansas; Clinton H., in business in Missouri, married to Miss Mary Keller; Chester E., residing on the homestead; Mary C., married to Henry C. Speer, a prominent educator and superintendent of public schools at Junction City; Addie E., residing with the family at the homestead.

Few men have done more for the promotion of good works, as a pioneer in establishing institutions of learning, good order, the cause of temperance, and the free institutions of Kansas, then Dr. Dallas. He was liberal-hearted and generous- a humane, upright man, whose memory will long be perpetuated for deeds of charity, and his devotion to the best interest of his State.”

dallas, leander jerome headstone plaque

Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin City, Kansas.

dallas, leander jerome lineage

(L.J. Dallas is my 3rd great-grandfather. )

Martha Alameda Rowe Sagers Simmons

Simmons, Martha A. Rowe

Martha Simmons – May 15th, 1940

Martha Alameda Rowe was born on November 8th, 1887 in Plattsmouth, Nebraska to Louis Michael and Lucinda Jane (Curtis) Rowe.

In the 1900 census, Martha was listed as attending school. She could read and write and had five brothers and sisters. The family lived in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Nebraska City is located on the banks of the Missouri river and was a good place to cross, so river trade was a big part of the community. The Burlington and Missouri River railroad also came right through town, making Nebraska City a bustling place for industry.  Right around the early 1900’s, river trade slowed and the railroad pushed west.  These two things combined to slow the growth of industry in Nebraska City.  The population of the town lagged, many families pushing west with the railroad.

1880NebraskaCity - Rowe, Louis, Jane, Martha

This picture shows Nebraska City in the 1880’s, about the time that Martha was born.

By 1904, Martha, who was just 16 years old, was in Oregon.  She married Thomas W. Sagers in Harney county, Oregon. Thomas was thirteen years older than Martha.  I would really love to find out how Martha and Tom met and why she was in Oregon, seemingly without her family at such a young age.

On the 24th of December, 1905 the couple welcomed a daughter, Alta Isoline Sagers.  They were living in Soda Springs, Idaho.

Four years later, on September 1st, 1909, a son Estel Thomas Sagers joined the family.

The family must have moved back to Oregon shortly after Estel was born. In October Martha was entering handiwork in the Harney county fair!

From the Times-Herald (Burns, Harney County, OR) dated 16 Oct 1909:

‘A list of premium winners at the county fair last week:

Mrs. Thos. Sagers, first on embroidered center piece, first on embroidered cushion.’

On the federal census of  April 1910 Thomas is working as a bookkeeper in a store and Martha’s mother has come to live with them.

Two years later, the local newspaper reported that Martha has filed for divorce.

From the Times-Herald (Burns, Harney County, OR) dated 13 Apr 1912:

Circuit Court Work:

Martha Sagers vs. Thos. Sagers – Divorce. Referred to official reporter.’

In October Martha’s mother, who was still living with her, passed away. It seems like it was a tough year for her. She not only became a single mom, but lost her own mother as well.

About 1916, Martha married Clay Taylor Simmons. My uncle Randy tells me that Martha had gone to school in Burns, Oregon and was friends with one of Taylor’s sisters.  He had a big crush on her and they rekindled their friendship after Martha and Tom divorced.

Martha and Taylor had a son, Rolin Clay Simmons, born on February 20th, 1918 in Ontario, Oregon.

From The Times-Herald (Burns, Harney County, OR) dated 02 Mar 1918:

‘Born – Feb. 20 to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Simmons at Ontario, a son. Mrs. Simmons was formerly Martha Sagers and is a sister to Mrs. Ed. Springer.’

Martha was an active member of the local Eastern Star chapter. The Eastern Star is a Masonic group that is open to both men and women.

From The Times-Herald (Burns, Harney County, OR) dated 01 Mar 1919:

‘The installation of the officers of Burns Chapter, O.E.S., took place last Wednesday evening at the Masonic lodge rooms. The ceremony was followed by a social meeting and refreshments. This event has always been an occasion of much enjoyment in former years but because of the “flu” ban the election was not held on the usual date and the installation of the Masons, which had been customarily held jointly with the Star before, had already taken place, it did not bring together the usual number of members. However, it was an affair that will be remembered by those present. 

The following were installed:

Virginia Gemberling, Worthy Matron; Fred Williams, Worthy Patron; Etta Jones, Secretary; Eugenia Faulkner, Treasurer; Martha Simmons, Conductress; Leona Thompson, Associate Conductress; Ellen Geer, Ada; Enid Gowan, Ruth; Neva Geer, Esther; Helene Dalton, Martha; Edith Sizemore, Electa; Inez Geer, Warder; I.S. Geer, Sentinel; Florence Dalton, Chaplain; Ella Voegtly, Marshal; and Sarah Farre, Organist.’

As Conductress, I believe that Martha would have been in charge of any new visitors to meetings and would have conducted all new initiations.  This whole thing is interesting to me, because all the documentation has the Simmons family living in Ontario, yet it seems that Martha is still active with this organization in Burns. The two towns are a little over 100 miles apart. That would have been quite the commitment and must have been a very important group for her.

The 1920 census shows the family in Ontario. Taylor is listed as a Farmer and Martha’s uncle, George Curtis is living with them.

Somewhere in the next few years, the Simmons’ moved to northern California, where Taylor was from. They lived in Oroville when the 1930 census was taken. Martha was 43 years old and taking ironing in to help with the household funds. Taylor was doing bridge work and the family had a boarder living with them. By this time, Martha’s daughter Alta had been married and divorced. She and her young son, Norman, were living back at home with her parents. Rolin was twelve years old.

Simmons - Clay, Martha, and Rolin

Taylor, Martha, and Rolin. Date unknown. 

1940 found Martha and Taylor still in Oroville, but their household had shrunk to just the two of them. Martha was no longer working and Taylor was still building bridges, working as a carpenter.


Taylor and Martha in their garden.  Look at those sunflowers!

Simmons, Martha A. Rowe - May 15, 1940 Oroville, CA

Martha A. Simmons – 1940 – Oroville, California

Martha passed away on December 26th, 1943 in Redding, California from complications of diabetes. She was only 56 years old.

From family members, I understand that both Martha and Taylor are buried in a cemetery in Redding, California. I haven’t been able to verify that. I will update this when I find the correct information.


“Grandma Martha passed when I was about two or younger. She had diabetes. She was 4’10”. She could walk under Grandpa Rolin’s arm when he held it straight out. She was short.”  ~ MJ Simmons

“The family story about Martha Rowe is that she went to school in the Burns area and was friends with one of Grandpa Taylor’s sisters.  That is how he met her.  According to the story he developed a huge crush on her.  She went on to marry Thomas Sagers and gave birth to Aunt Alta and Uncle Estel.  Later when Martha divorced Tom Sagers, Taylor renewed his friendship with her and they eventually married and gave birth to Rolin, my Dad and your Grandpa.” ~ Randy Simmons









Joseph G. Hovey and Martha A. Webster Hovey

Hovey, Joseph Grafton - picture

Joseph Grafton Hovey grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts area in the early 1800’s.  He was born on the 17th of November, 1812 in Cambridge to Thomas and Elizabeth (Seaver) Hovey.  Joseph was the youngest of ten children.

When he was just three years old, the family moved to a small farm near Newton, which was about seven miles outside of Boston.  The whole family worked and enjoyed the living on the farm for the next fifteen years.

Thomas, Joseph’s father, made a good cider that was in demand. Every fall he took his cider to Boston and returned with a wagon load of supplies.  In the fall of 1830, Thomas took his cider to town and loaded up his wagon with lumber for a barn that he was building.  During the return trip home, he fell asleep and fell off and under the wagon, which then passed over his neck and shoulders, killing him.  This was very hard on the family. Joseph’s mother took the lose of her husband especially hard.

Joseph was seventeen when his father died.  He decided that he wanted to learn a trade.  He took himself off to Boston and learned to be a carriage maker. Joseph did quite well in this business for the next few years until poor health made him take a break for some time at the age of twenty-two.

This same year, 1833, Joseph married Martha Ann Webster in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Martha was seventeen years old and the daughter of Josiah and Hannah (Grant) Webster.

Martha was born on the 24th of December, 1814 in Portsmouth.  The young couple married on July 2nd, 1833.  I know that while Joseph was sick, one of Martha’s uncles had been his doctor. This is purely speculation, but I’m imagining that is how the two met.

After the wedding, the couple moved to Boston and Joseph took up the carriage business again.  After a short time, he became ill again.  The couple then moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts where they stayed for the next couple of years.

Joseph and Martha’s first two children were born, twin girls, Elizabeth Woodville and Martha Ann, on the 11th of May in 1835.

Two of Joseph’s brothers, Orlando and Stephen, were living in Quincy, Illinois and wrote several times, encouraging their younger brother to join them.  On June 12th, 1837, the young family started off on their journey.  They went by railroad and steamboat. It took them twelve days to arrive at their destination.   One of the twins, Martha. was sick with consumption by the time that they arrived at Joseph brothers house.

Joseph’s brother, Orlando, was a doctor, practicing the Tomsonian system of medicine. This was an alternative medicine, herbalism, that Joseph was familiar with because it is how he had been treated during his illness back in 1833.  Orlando asked Joseph to join him in his practice.  Both the Hovey brothers worked as doctors for some years.

Tragedy struck the small family on the 11th of October, 1837 when little Martha died of consumption.  Two months later, Martha gave birth to the couples first son. They named the little boy Grafton Wallace, but he only lived to be eight months old, dying on August 26th of 1838.

In 1839, the Joseph Hovey family moved about 50 miles away to Pike county, Illinois.  Joseph continued to practice medicine there for the next two years.

On June 8th of 1839, Martha gave birth to a second son, Joseph Grafton II. (Who became my 2nd great grandfather!)

Some of the Mormons who had been run out of Missouri were living in this same area.  One day, an elder of the church came to the Hovey house for medicine. Martha knew that he was one of the newcomers, so started to question him on his religion.  Joseph and Martha liked what they were hearing and begin to study the Book of Mormon.  On the 4th of July, 1839, the couple were both baptized into the Mormon religion.

A call was put out for the people of this religion to gather at Nauvoo, Illinois, about eighty miles from where the Hovey family lived.  They decided to go, selling their possessions in preparation.

Arriving in Nauvoo in early November, the family found that there were few houses to take shelter in. It was bitterly cold and the only place they could find to stay was a stable that was partly falling down. It rained so hard that night that they had to find a tent instead.  Joseph soon received a one acre lot from the church and built a small log cabin. In the meantime, the family lived in the tent for two months until the cabin was ready.

The Saints were not left to live here peacefully. Some were kidnapped, houses were burnt down, people arrested and hanged. The locals did not want them there.  The people went ahead with their plans to build a city and a temple.  Joseph continued helping people with his medicine and soon found himself working as a stone cutter in the quarry as well.

By 1842, things had settled down. The village was thriving, the temple in progress, the farmland providing food.  Martha had another son, Thomas Josiah, named after both Martha and Joseph’s fathers. Just seven months later, little Thomas took sick while he was teething and died on August 2nd of 1843.   Three of their five children have now passed away. I can’t even imagine how hard that must have been.

There was more turmoil, more hatred and arrests of some of the Mormon leaders.

During this tumultuous time, Martha gave birth to another son on June 13th, 1844.  This poor babe only lived a month. That poor mama.  How heartbreaking for her.

A year later, on July 17th, 1845, a baby girl was born.  They named her Hannah Adelaide. It was the easiest labor Martha had ever had.  The two living older kids, Elizabeth and Joseph, both had the whooping cough.

More houses and properties are being burnt by the mob. Two hundred buildings and a lot of grain went up in flames.  It must have been such a scary time.  About this time, the Saints decided that they needed to move on, to go into the Wilderness and find another place.

On December 1st, 1845, Joseph finished his stone work on the baptismal fount and agreed to build a shop and begin to build wagons for the journey into the wilderness.

His diary tells how he worked himself night and day to get all of the work done. How he didn’t get the provisions that he was promised for his family but he worked himself sick anyway.  How his constitution was broken down before the trip even begin. How he drove his family in the wagon while he was sick and shaky, how he could barely stand.

They left Nauvoo on June 28, 1946.  Joseph had to secure a boat to get their wagon, cattle, and their oxen to the other side. Martha was afraid that the boat was so heavy that they would all drown, so she kept the children and stayed on the ground.  Joseph came back for her and the kids once he got the rest of their load situated on the far side of the river.

Joseph wasn’t the only one sick.  He was called on to doctor about ten people on the first few days out on the Mormon Trail.  They traveled for for a month and a half before Martha finally had to admit that she too was ill.  She hadn’t wanted to admit it to Joseph because she thought he might get too discouraged and not want to go on.   Brigham Young drove their wagon for a time because Joseph and Martha were both to sick.

By the time the party had reached winter quarters, Martha was extremely sick.  Joseph wasn’t much better and baby Hannah was sick as well.  Martha was very concerned for her husband and baby and asked for someone to please go care for her husband.  Those were the last words Martha spoke. She slipped into what seems like a coma from Joseph’s description in his diary.  He was able to sit with her for her last few hours and mentioned how peaceful she looked. It was the 16th of September, 1846.

Martha is buried in the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery in Florence, Nebraska.

Hovey, Martha Ann - Omaha, Nebraska

After she passed away, Joseph renamed their youngest daughter in her honor. He changed her name from Hannah to Martha Jane.  Joseph was still so sick that he boarded the baby with another family at winter quarters for $1 a week.

Sadly, baby Martha contacted the measles and passed away on January 19th, 1848.  She was 2-1/2 years old and is buried in the same plot as her mother.

Joseph married for a second time.  Sarah Currier was his second wife and they married at Winter Quarters.  The couple had a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth born in 1850 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A third marriage was to Sarah Louise Goodridge.  Sarah and Joseph had a son but both the mother and the baby died in childbirth.

In 1852, Joseph married for the fourth time to Lusanna Goodridge.  They married in Utah and went on to have eight more children.

Once in Utah, Joseph was one of the first settlers in Millville, about eighty miles north of Salt Lake City.  In 1860, Joseph was chosen as the Bishop of the Millville ward. He served there for three years. Back in Salt Lake City, he helped to build the temple.

Salt Lake City Temple

Joseph Grafton Hovey was a stone cutter on the temple and other buildings in temple square.

Salt Lake City Temple Information

Salt Lake Temple Information sign says that the stone was granite and was hauled 23 miles by ox-drawn wagon from Little Cottonwood Canyon to build the temple. That would have been Joseph doing some of that work since he was a stone cutter.

Joseph passed away on May 6th of 1868 in Salt Lake City. He was 55 years old.

Joseph is buried in the Kimball-Whitney Cemetery in Salt Lake City.

Engravings on the grave marker - Joseph Grafton Hovey

Stacey Roth and Paula Niziolek with 3rd great grandfather - Joseph Grafton Hovey

Finding our third great-grandfather’s grave. I’m on the left and my sister, Stacey Roth, is on the right.

Kimball Cemetery Sign - Salt Lake City


(Joseph and Martha are my 3rd great-grandparents on my maternal side.)

Hovey, Joseph Grafton Line











Laurena Winifred Kennison Vance

Laurena Kennison High School - 1948

Laurena Winifred Kennison was born on April 24th, 1930 to Harry Alvin and Edna Winifred (Weaver) Kennison in Wallowa, Oregon. She was named after her Uncle Billy Kennison’s wife. (Billy had passed away in 1922.) Laurena was the youngest of three children, joining her sister Shirley and her brother Harry in the family.

When Laurena was only four years old, her dad passed away of a sudden heart attack in December of 1934.  The family struggled on until 1940 when Laurena’s mom married Trell Coleman.  Laurena was almost ten years old at the time and Trell was a wonderful stepdad.

Laurena Winnifred Kennison

(Laurena, age 13)

Laurena went to Wallowa High School, graduating in 1948.  I think that the first photo above is her senior picture. I love that her signature is on it.

As soon as Laurena graduated from high school, she married Ray Thomas Vance. The wedding took place on the 23rd of May, 1948.  Laurena was eighteen years old.

Laurena Kennison and her cat

Nine years later the couple was blessed a son, Kenton.

Vance, Ray and Laurena Kennison 15th wedding anniversary

(Ray and Laurena celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary.)

The couple had moved to Alaska fairly early in their marriage, I believe.

I did find two little mentions of her in the Sitka, Alaska newspaper.

From the Sitka Daily Sentinel, Sitka Alaska – September 1, 1982

Laurena Vance will speak on the importance of nutrition in the treatment of alcoholism. 

Then, May 5th, 1983:

Discussion leader will be Laurena Vance, SCAODA outpatient supervisor.

SCAODA is the State Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Laurena and Ray divorced at some point, but I’m not sure the dates on that either.

Laurena was living in Salem, Oregon when she passed away.  She had a form a leukemia and I remember that she had been tired, bone weary, really. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with leukemia only a couple of short weeks before she passed away. She was 72 years old and passed away on the 16th of March, 2003 just shy of her 73rd birthday.

I personally barely remember Laurena and Ray, except for some reason I can clearly remember the raspy sound of my Aunt Laurena’s voice and her laugh. There are a lot of holes that I’m hoping family members can fill in with Laurena’s story.  Can you help?  Please either leave a comment here or send me a private message. Thank you!

Kennison, Laurena Line

(Laurena is my great-aunt. She is my dad’s mother’s sister.)


“Her hair was naturally curly as was Edna Weaver Kennison’s hair.” ~ Kara Kennison