Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backward Glance - Luella Mae Bemiss

When Luella Mae Bemiss Avery Epps died on July 2, 1988, I not only lost my 'Gram,' but I lost a great mentor and one of the best friends a girl could have. I miss her still.

As the oldest grandchild, I had the privilege of representing all of her grandchildren and speaking at her funeral. It was an honor, and helped us recognize and chuckle a little at her special-ness! Somehow, she made each of us think we were her favorite grandchild.

Gram was the eldest daughter in a family of nine children. She had five older brothers: William Elmer, Marvin Charles, Alan Edgar and James Edwin; and three younger sisters: Florence Olive, Nellie Virginia and Edna Marie. She was born in Grinnell, Gove County, Kansas, to Fredrick James and Maud May (Morgan) Bemiss on August 28, 1916. I'll bet Freddie and Maud were thrilled to have a little girl after five boys in a row. Look at that beauty!

On July 3, 1935, 'Lu' was married to Carl Orson Avery, the son of Hugh and Corinne (Brownell) Avery, in Denver, Colorado. Carl's  parents lived in Oakley, Kansas. Their first child, Virginia Gayle, was born March 23, 1936, in Oakley. In search of work, they traveled to Bakersfield, California, where their second child, Carl Alan, was born on March 6, 1937. By the time their third baby was born, Fred Wayne, on October 4, 1938, they were back in Grinnell. Sometime in 1939, Carl and Lu were divorced.

Howard Lee Epps, also of Oakley, asked Lu to marry him. She accepted, and they were married on July 6, 1940, in Denver, Colorado. Howard and Lu had two children, Gary Lee, born February 1, 1942, and Sally Louise, born July 29, 1945. Howard loved Lu's oldest three children as his own, and was always considered their 'daddy.'

When Sally was born in 1945, the family had removed to Seattle, King County, Washington. They remained there until about 1973, when Howard and Lu moved to Maple Valley, also in King County. Howard died in January 1977. Afterward, Lu moved back to Seattle, in the Ravenna area, where she remained until her death.

She left her family with many fun traditions and sayings. Among the sayings are these (or something very like them):
  • "he'll never have the guts to do that again" (when a bug hit the windshield)
  • "It's just the way I like it" (if you didn't like a meal when she was a child, you had to do the dishes; hence, this saying)
  • "mell of hess" (we would never swear)
  • "my stomach thinks my throat's been cut" (hungry?)
Gram also instilled in us a love for our heritage, with a special emphasis on the Irish. She and her sister, Virginia, loved to dance a jig, now and again! 

She had beautiful, blue, mischievous, sparkling eyes. She was kind and good and hardworking and gracious. She was willing to spend time with individuals, no matter what she might have been doing. She helped me sew, helped me can, helped me with my babies ("Ain't no big thing, Joley, it's just a baby"). I am grateful for her example. But, mostly, I am so, so grateful to have been loved by her.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Backward Glance - James Paxton Harper

James was born in Hendricks County, Indiana, on February 2, 1834. His parents were Jesse and Mary Ann (Clifton) Harper. James, also called Paxton, was the eldest of three sons. His brothers were Francis Marion and John Thomas.

Jesse and Mary moved their family from Indiana to northwestern Missouri by 1844 in what would be known as Jackson Township in Nodaway County. Jesse and some of Mary's relatives were among the earliest settlers in that area. James was a child about ten years old. It appears that Jesse died between 1851 and 1856.

picture taken shortly before his death
Sometime before 1856, James moved with his mother and brothers to Wolf River Township, Doniphan County, Kansas. In October of 1861, he enlisted in Company I, Seventh Kansas Cavalry and saw service during the Civil War. He was discharged because of disability in December, 1862.

After returning home, James married Barbara Jane Cowger, also of Wolf River Township, on April 4, 1864. They were the parents of eight children: Thomas M., James G., Rufus G., John W., Mary S., Minnie May, Chester L., and Inez Jane. Barbara died on April 25th, 1880, just 23 days after Inez was born.

On August 24, 1884, James was married to Mrs. Polly Morgan in Dekalb County, Missouri. They were married in her father's home, but the record doesn't state where that home was. Their children are Myrtle A., Stella A., Raymond Paxton, Ernest Miles and Hazel Dora.

James was a farmer for much of his life. In 1908, he went into the lumber business in Leona, Kansas, for about seven years. He retired in 1915 to his farm about 1/2 mile northwest of Leona. He died there on September 7, 1915, and is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Doniphan County. Both of his wives and some of his children are also buried there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Backward Glance - Mary Jane Clark

What I know, and what I don't. As time goes on and I attempt to document the lives of my ancestors, I feel pretty good about what I know. I also realize how much there is still to discover. This is the case with Mary Jane Clark. I've been lost in a two-hour search to find out more about her family and her life. I've picked up some new information, but I could spend days (or years) seeking satisfaction. So, here is what I know.

Mary Jane was born on June 17, 1831, in Oxford Township, Delaware County, Ohio. Her parents were Isaac Rumsey and  Clarissa (Gale) Clark, who married in Oxford Township in about 1830, where Isaac had lived for about 15 years. Mary Jane was their first child. She was also called Molly. It is said they had a total of twelve children, but I have only been able to document eight, so far.

On April 7, 1859, Mary Jane married Edgar Lansing Morgan, in Delaware County, Ohio. Edgar's mother, Sabrina (Merry) Morgan had married a man named Jacob Kesler there and moved to Burlington, Wisconsin. 

According to both Edgar's and Mary Jane's obituaries, they also went to Burlington, Wisconsin, in 1864 or 1865. However, they seem to have moved between Page County, Iowa, and Lincoln Township, Nodaway County, Missouri, because, they're enumerated in those place in 1870 and 1880, respectively. Edgar died in Nodaway County, near Elmo, in 1889, but is buried in the Blanchard Cemetery in Page County, Iowa.

In 1893, in company with her son, Charles Clark Morgan, and his family, Molly moved to a farm about four miles south of Grinnell, Gove County, Kansas. She continued living with her son until her death on April 7, 1915 (her wedding anniversary!) and is buried in the Grinnell Cemetery.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Backward Glance - Corinne May Brownell

This is one of Corinne's wedding rings.
Making her debut on December 14, 1897, in Leona, Doniphan County, Kansas, Corinne May (Mae) Brownell was the second daughter of six born to James Orson and Minnie May (Harper) Brownell. Her sisters were Frances Rachael; Marguerite Merle and Myrtle Pearl, who were twins; Elwinna Grace and Erma Elsie. The family lived in Gove County, Kansas, in 1910, but had removed to Rooks County by 1915 when the Kansas State Census was taken.

In Rooks County, Corinne met Russell Hugh Avery, the son of Austin and Nettie Avery. Hugh and Corinne were married on September 13, 1916, in Phillips County, Kansas. They had one son, Carl Orson, who was born on September 25, 1917. Hugh and Corinne were still married when the 1930 census was taken, and on October 20, 1930, when they signed paperwork as husband and wife selling land to Hugh's sister, Emma; but they eventually divorced.

Some time before 1952, Corinne was married to Melvin Horace Switzer. They lived in Midway City, Orange County, California, and Bakersfield, Kern County, California. Mel died on November 22, 1953, in Los Angeles County.

Corinne's third husband was Henry K. Mauldin. Henry was very interested in the history of Lake County, California, where they lived and where his family had settled early. Both he and Corinne were active in the historical society there. Henry wrote at least four books relative to their local history, as well as helping write numerous articles for the newspapers. He is considered Lake County's first historian.

Corinne died on September 4, 1969, in Lakeport. She is buried there in the Hartley Cemetery. Henry outlived Corinne by many years, dying on September 2, 1981, in Lakeport, California, after being hit by a car.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Puterbaugh

Martha Puterbaugh
September 17, 1817 - April 10, 1899
Wife of David Puterbaugh
Kidder Cemetery
Kidder, Caldwell County, Missouri