31 May 2014

Biographical Record for Dr. Aaron Walker (1815-1898)

From Biographical Record of the Alumni of Amherst College During Its First Half Century, 1821-1871 by Edward Payson Crowell and Walter Stanley Biscoe (Amherst College: 1883) --

Dr. Aaron Walker was my 2xg-grand uncle.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

30 May 2014

Three Sisters: The Surpluss Girls

Lucy Turner (nee. Surpluss, 1874-1933), Anna "Josie" Armor (nee. Surpluss, 1866-1958), Mary Hembree (nee. Surpluss, 1870-1957).

My great-grand aunts on my mother's maternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

29 May 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Photo Restoration

I was so happy with the last photo restoration I had done by Miles at 399Retouch.com I always said I would go back to him with another.  So naturally when we discovered the picture of my 3xg-grandparents William McKee (1810-1873) and his wife Sara (nee. Moore, 1817-1895) was found in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, I knew immediately it was the candidate.



There is a certain romance to the original, and I indeed am a romantic.  But just for the practical purpose of seeing what the ancestors really looked like?  A photo restoration is worth every penny.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

28 May 2014

Sister Violet Mae Walker (Jan 5, 1920 - May 27, 2014)

Walker, Sr. Violet Mae, O.S.M.
(formerly Sr. Mary Daniel)
Jan 5, 1920 - May 27, 2014 
Preceded in death by parents; eight brothers and sisters. Survived by brothers, Paul Walker (Linda) of San Lorenzo, CA, and Wayne Walker of Sun City, AZ; numerous nieces and nephews; and the Servants of Mary Community. Memorials to the Servants of Mary.
VIGIL SERVICE Thursday, 7pm at Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel, 7400 Military Ave. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Friday, 10:30am, Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel. Interment, Servants of Mary Convent Cemetery. 
78th & West Center 402-391-3900
Published in Omaha World-Herald from May 28 to May 30, 2014 
Violet was my aunt, my father's older sister.  We were not real close separated by thousands of miles.  But she was sweet, intelligent, loving, and had a great sense of humor.  She will be missed.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Wordless Wednesday: Brenda Kay (Gibson) Walker Cox (1938-1989)

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

27 May 2014

Tuesday's Tip: Guardianship Records

This one actually came to me as advice from professional researcher Molly Kennedy whom I have used many times with great success.  She is working with me trying to find the death place and burial site of my 3xg-grandfather, who died before the county and state kept death records --
IF the decedent died leaving minor children – then there should have been a “guardianship” case filed with the county’s Circuit (aka Chancery) Court. The court-appointed “Guardian” was always male, and most-often was a close relative of the deceased or his widow.  If there was a guardianship case filed for minor children… that case file should provide his specific death date and death locale… which could lead to his burial location.
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

26 May 2014

A Poppy is to Remember Our Fallen Soldiers

Freedom ISN'T Free.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Amanuensis Monday: Belgian Hare Meat

From the Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital, Topeka, KS, December 28, 1900 (click to enlarge) --

E.W. Howe's report on Belgian Hare meat as a substitute for beef: "The editor of the Globe yesterday dined on the Duke of Burgundy, son of Harold the Mighty, a Belgian hare sent by William Gurwell, postmaster at Fanning.  A good many Belgian hares have been sold in this section at high prices, but so far as we know this is the first one eaten.  Belgian hare meat is very much like plain rabbit, and no one eats rabbit except the boys that kill them.  The Duke of Burgundy was young and fat, but not very much superior to ordinary cotton tail, except that he was not shot up."
William Gurwell of the article is my 2xg-grand uncle.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

25 May 2014

Remember to Wear the Poppy this Memorial Day

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Sunday Obituary: Assunta Filicina Augustina Molfino Casattas (1899-1982)

From Santa Cruz Sentinel, 13 June 1982, Page 75 --

Assunta A. Casattas
     Assunta A. "Sunny" Casattas, a former resident of Santa Cruz, died Saturday in Fremont.  She was 82.
     A native of San Francisco, Mrs. Casattas lived in the Santa Cruz area for 20 years.
     She is survived by a son Paul S. Casattas of San Jose; two daughters, Josephine Juhl of Santa Cruz and Sister Marie Julie SHF of San Jose; two sisters, Mary Mori and Pauline Whelan, both of Santa Cruz; a brother, Enrico Molfin of Santa Cruz, a son-in-law, Jens Juhl of Santa Cruz; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
     Mass will be celebrated at the Holy Family Convent, 159 Washington, in fremont on Monday at 7:30 p.m.  Friends and relatives are invited to visit at the convent on Monday after 2 p.m.
     Internment will be at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Santa Cruz on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
     Darling-Fischer Garden Chapel, 471 E. Santa Clara St., in San Jose is in charge of arrangements.
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

24 May 2014

Surname Saturday: McKee

From page 528 of The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History by George F. Black, as transcribed by James O. McKee in his book Descendants of Guian, McKee, Snr. and Abigail Lane, and Allied Families (self-published, 1979) --
MACKIE. This name is of considerable antiquity in Sterlingshire, and can be traced in Stirling to the fifteenth century. William Makke, charter witness in a Scone charter, 1491 (Scone, p. 199). John Make was 'Factour and inbringer of all annualis pertenyn to Sir John Patonsoun in Stirling, 1520 (SBR). Andrew Makky was burgess of Stirling, 1574 (RPC., ii, p. 418). Donald McCay in Porte of Locharne to answer to charge of violence and robbery, 1592, (RPC., v, p. 27). The Mackies of Mid Calloway, a powerful and prosperous family of the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth century, were enthusiastic supporters of the Covenanters. Vthreid McKie in Innermessene was accused of slaughter, 1606 (Trials, ii, p. 515). Alexander Makkie of Stranord, 1628 (Retours, Kirkceudbright, 173). McKie, McKee, McKey, Makie, Kee, all 1684 (Parish). Cf. MACKAY and MACKIESON.
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

23 May 2014

Friday Funnies: Burial With Benefits

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

22 May 2014

Meet the Great-Grands! The Hall Children (pic)

Standing left to right -- Corwin George Hall (1877-1952), Frederic J. Hall (1874-1926), and Jennie Mariam Hall (1879-1968).  Seated is my great-grandmother Elsie Rue Hall (1883-1957).

I am thinking circa 1886 for this picture.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

21 May 2014

My Hero: The Guy Who Digitized 27 Million Old Newspaper Pages from His Living Room

My philosophy about sharing genealogy records is pretty simple: The more that is out there, the more people will be involved; the more people involved, the more that is out there for me to find and investigate.  Or something like that.

So it is my pleasure to introduce you to Tom Tryneski, the retiree who digitized 27 million pages of old newspapers from his own living room.  And he is still going!  You can search his records HERE all for free.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

20 May 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Wallace "Hoot" Gibson (1905-1968)

No, not that "Hoot Gibson."  Have you ever checked to see how many "Hoot Gibsons" there are?  My gosh!  All it takes is one famous actor and everyone falls in line, in the case of my relative it was a nickname.

Wallace "Hoot" Gibson was my great-uncle.  I remember attending his funeral, that is all I remember.  I remember being told that he wasn't the famous actor he was a football player.  So I thought the adults meant a "famous" football player.  No, not that either.  He was just a hard laborer, mostly on oil fields and logging camps, along with his father and brothers.

I actually owe Uncle Hoot a lot.  It is his DNA through his living son, that I have used to trace my mom's Gibson surname.  That would make him smile.

Hoot was born Dec. 16, 1905 in Rose, Kansas and died Jul. 18, 1968 in Berkeley, California.  He is buried with his wife "Cindy" in Concord, CA.  They had two sons Don Wallace Gibson (1932-1979) and another living.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

19 May 2014

Amanuensis Monday: McKee Family Letter

COPY of a letter written by: William McKee of Danville, Illinois, Vermillion County, december 9th, 1845. (To his nephew William McKee, son of Guian McKee, Jnr.) 
Dear Nephew: 
I take up my pen to inform you that we are in a tolerable state of health at present thanks be to a kind Providence over us hoping these few lines may find you and all yours well. 
I now have a letter before me which you sent to Elijah A. McKee requesting him to try to get William Perry Lamphier from Benefield but word came up from Perrysville that the boy was bound but we have found out that it was a mistake, true the boy was taken to Perrysville with the intention of having him bound but William Hutsinpillar, our soninlaw living in Perrysville objected to him being bound believing that the man that wanted him was not capable of raising an orphan child.  William Hutsinpiller said when the boy went to Perrysville he was nearly naked and had one foot badly frostbit so that he will be hardly able to wear a shoe this winter, we told William to bring the child up to us and we would keep him till we would get word to you, so you could come and get him, so we have him safe and he is a smart healthy looking child.  Likewise I think it would be very proper for the administrator if there are one to look after Susannah's plunder.  I understand that Benfield never took it away from where she had lived till after she was dead, if it had been me I would not have touched it, therefore, I think it would be necessary for you to come prepared to look into it.  As to myself I have no grounds nor yet, not authority to do anything with it as I do not know anything about the arrangements of things.  Come on we live two miles East of Danville on the Covington road. 
I come to a close for the present by saying I still remain your loving Uncle and Aunt. 
William and Hester McKee 
To: Mr. William McKee
      Wilkesborough, McLain County, Illinois
      Postmarked Danville, Illinois., December 15th, 1845
This is a letter to my 3xg-grandfather William "Billy" McKee of McLean County, IL from his uncle William McKee of Danville, Vermillion County, IL.  There is a tremendous amount of meat still left on this bone!! What I do know is very little so far.  Susannah was Billy's only sibling, she was married twice once to Lamphier, and once to Benefield.  Like I said, a lot of meat still left to chew on this bone.  What happened to William Perry Lamphier?  Did Billy McKee raise him?  What is the story about Susannah and her husbands?  More to follow.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

18 May 2014

Obituary Sunday: Thomas Nelson Barkdull

From "RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE FORTY-FIFTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE FIRELANDS HISTORICAL SOCIETY HELD IN THE FIRST METHODIST CHURCH AT NORWALK, OHIO. OCTOBER 23. 1901. 10 A. M." as published in The Firelands Pioneer (Norwalk, Ohio: The Laning Company, 1902).  Chapter entitled "Obituaries" --

Barkdull, Rev. Thomas, was the youngest son of Joseph and Mary Barkdull and was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, June 24, 1813.  In 1834 he attended school in the Norwalk Seminary, and in the same year was licensed to exhort, and was admitted to the Ohio Conference (Methodist) the next year and began preaching at Elyria, Ohio. In 1836 he was married to Miss Caroline Hendry, of Elyria. In 1837 he moved to Clarksfield and lived a year or so, then had the following appointments : Sandusky, Mt. Vernon, Ashland, Wooster, Canal Dover, Norwalk and Milan (1845), Maumee, Tiffin, Wooster, Plymouth, Shelby, Elyria, Cleveland. He died in Mt. Vernon in 1869.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

17 May 2014

Hopeful(?) Thoughts Provoked by a Visit to a Melancholy Cemetery

My son Ralph and I went to visit Cedar Park Cemetery in the village of Calumet Park, Cook County, Illinois.  We were hunting down three graves of some distant cousins and uncles.  You might be wondering how I can call a cemetery "melancholy?"  Isn't that, strictly speaking, a human emotion?

The employees were not melancholy, they were nice and friendly.  Although they would only tell me what was on the records, not give me copies or even let me see them.

Fifty or so years ago Calumet Park was a nice area.  But as is typical, as neighborhoods become older, they become less expensive to live in, and the area becomes depressed.  Cedar Park is a large urban cemetery, in one just such "once a nice neighborhood."  It is surrounded by tall iron and brick fencing, with recently added barb-wire on top.  The owner imported a breed of domesticated deer from Japan and turned them loose inside the fences to add to the sense of tranquility.  It is still easy to see the beauty it once had!  The trees, the grass, the monuments, the buildings, the design.  But it has lost all its lustre.

Newspapers report that thieves climb into the grounds and steal the gravemarkers and sell them for the value of the metal, $50 for what will cost relatives of the deceased $2000 to replace.  We saw evidence of that in our visit.  Relatives fight with the cemetery over responsibility.

Worse could be the treatment of the markers still there.  The caretakers have allowed the grass sod to cover over them.  We found markers literally under two inches of sod.  Seriously, no exaggeration.  The location of a 2 ft. x 3 ft. bronze gravemarker is now identified by a 4 in. x 1 in. break in the top of the sod.  And this is true for several hundreds of the markers.  If you are going to visit a relative, bring tools and know how to use cemetery maps.  Ralph is very much a graveyard rabbit and could hardly contain his anger, "This is so sad!"  More questions of responsibility?  Cemetery blames the relatives, and relatives blame the cemetery?

Many of the signs that identify the areas are missing.  The stakes that tell visitors the block and lots have been destroyed and lay on the ground in pieces.  Further examples of vandalism from the neighborhood, or the carelessness of the caretaker driving his mower?  The paved roads are in total disrepair and filled with deep potholes.

Like I said, you can still see all the former beauty hiding under all the.... all the.... sadness.  Cemeteries can be inherently sad places, why need we make them even moreso by the way we treat them?  Where are the people who care?  Neighbors who respect; employees with pride, relatives who remember?  It is not too late.  Or is it?

We visited on a day after it rained the night before.  The cemetery reminded me of a beautiful woman who had been crying and all her mascara has ran down her face.  She only needs a little clean up and a smile put back on her face to be restored to her previous beauty.  She only needs people to care, to be melancholy no more.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Surname Saturday: Gurwell

Today we return to Shirley Boyd's excellent family newsletter Gurwell Group (Vol.1, No. 1: May, 1996) --
The Historical Research Center of Deerfield Beach, Florida, says that the surname Gurwell, is local in origin and comes from the name of a place called Gorrel Farm in the county of Buckinghamshire, England which was earlier called Gorhale.  The Center furthers says that is could be a nickname from the Middle English word "Gorrell" which referred to a "fat-paunched person".  There are also places in the counties of Devon and Essex, when translated from the Old French, mean :a dweller by the muddy spring". The practice of using surnames did not  begin in Britain until the thirteenth century. 
Early written references to the name or a variation thereof are:  William Henry Gorel in Kent in 1176 and the same name in Devon in 1221, Cecily de Gorhull in the county Lancashire in 1246, Walter de Gorewell in Essex in 1274, Margeria Gorulf in Sussex and Worchestershire in 1296 and John Goroulfe in the same counties in 1327.   The Center also says that "the record shows that variant forms of the name were introduced into North America during the nineteenth century."
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

16 May 2014

"Had Dutton's nerve for a second wavered,....perhaps the result of the battle [would have] changed."

From An Army Life: From a Soldier's Journal, 1861-1864 by Albert O. Marshall (Joliet, IL: Self-published, 1883).  Here is an excerpted portion of the soldier's account of the Battle of Cache River, July 7, 1862, Woodruff County, Arkansas --
.....This second charge was soon broken by our accurate, telling fire. In a spasmodic form it continued.  The fight became continuous. Heavy forces of the enemy were in front of us; some upon our flank, and often many were, by their fierce ride, carried through to our rear. It was fighting all around. Every few minutes a desperate band of rebel cavalry would rush upon us. During one of these fierce charges a powerful rebel, upon a superb horse, came dashing through our lines at the head of his band. The first man he reached was Sergeant Dutton of our company. Dutton had just fired and was reloading his rifle. Seeing his advantage the athletic rebel drew his heavy saber and with a cry of desperate rage went fiercely on to strike and ride the Union soldier down. None of our boys within reach had at that critical moment a loaded gun so as to fire and save Dutton from his threatened doom, and besides, just about this time each of us had about a dozen rebels of his own to attend to and was kept mighty busy dodging out of reach of rebel balls while putting each fresh load in our rifles. Being just then near a fence which blocked his retreat, with an open space of ground in front of him, giving the rider an unobstructed way, no escape seemed possible and Dutton's doom seemed at hand.  Just as the fatal blow was about to fall, the little sergeant whipped a revolver from his belt, without moving a single step, and fired. The uplifted hand fell helpless, the bold rider dropped dead to the ground, and the riderless horse passed on through our lines and out of sight to our rear. Had Dutton's wonderful nerve for a second wavered, had he even given a single glance to look for a way of escape he would have been a dead man, and perhaps the result of the battle changed.
Late on in his journal the author recalled that the soldiers of Company "A" voted 20-4 to elect Sgt. Dutton there next Second Lieutenant.  Go on further in the journals, and we discover Dutton has been promoted to Captain!  And he was still looking out for the welfare of the men serving under him.

This soldier "Dutton" is my 2xg-grand uncle Harvey James Dutton (1836-1928).  We are duly proud.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

15 May 2014

Ruth Walker (1911-1977) - competitve debater

The future Dr. Ruth Richardson, accomplished professor of education, was on the debate team in college.  From the 1932 yearbook for Illinois State University (click to enlarge) --

Am I supposed to be happy or sad she defeated my alma mater Wheaton College (IL)?

Dr. Ruth (Walker) Richardson was my 2nd cousin 1x removed.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

14 May 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Research

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

13 May 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Diane Mary Barkdull Surpluss (1811-1869)

Oxford Cemetery, New Windsor, Henry County, Illinois, USA

Mary D.
Wife of R. Surpluss
Died Sept. 18, 1869
Aged 58 ys. 1 mo. 7 ds.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

12 May 2014

Amanuensis Monday: From Family Researcher to Family Researcher -- "Cousins" II

This is the transcription of a letter from my g-grand aunt Jennie (Hill) Long to her cousin and fellow McKee family researcher James O. McKee, Jr.  The first letter dated two months earlier is published HERE. (click to enlarge) -- 

El Dorado, Kansas
July 24, 1966 
Dear Cousin: 
Im sure I've received all your data, even tho i've been out of town.  Many years ago I tried to identify all 11 McKee Brothers.  Some encouragement from solicited lines I believe I have the most of them in written notes.  In the interim I had mother 15 years and my gr-son (whose father died) 4 years.  My notes are in various places.  My trouble is, I loan magazines and other data and its sometimes returned some months later.  I got discouraged and stopped trying.  a Mr. & Mrs. Dick Woodward, here, both Attys are interested in research, one of her ancestors is a Dillon McKee.  I discontinued my subscriptions to most of the magazines and you contacted me thru Washington Genealogy and History.  I got Guians War data and become a member on his line I had to have his wife's name and data so I sent to G & H.  A Miss Mary Dea Carter of Danville, Ill., wrote me, She's a D.A.R., and had a Vermillion County, Ill History, she copied Williams record for me.  I was born in that part of Vermillion County that became Ford County, Ill, Well, a Mrs. J.W. Nagge of Emporia Kansas contacted me as her Gr-mother was Abigail (McKee) Hutsonpillar, was daughter of William McKee, and wanted Guian's Military record as she was joining D.A.R.  Her husband had to go to Army.  Her parents lived in Denver, had a lumber yard.  Name was Hughes.  we corresponded all the time.  Parents dec'd and they run the yard.  Then there is a Gertrude Perishes at Douglas Kansas a dec'd of Samuel McKee of Kentucky.  I'm enclosing some very precious letters you may copy and return to me.  My typewriter is out due to 3 generations of use.  Do you have photostatic reproduction near you?  If so, photostatic them.  I feel that Guian, Jnr., was married 3 times.  He was very stoop shouldered from carrying a load.  He and Mary Hays had 2 children, Wm. (Billie) McKee, my grandfather, and Susanna (McKee) Lamphere.  I have a letter from William and Hester Adams McKee, about her son, for Gr-pa to come and get us, she had passed away.  Anyway Wm (Billie) McKee, said his father died and his step mother was a mule driver and he just walked off and never looked back.  He never corresponded with Ky.  Susanna Lampheres husband was once living in Peoria, Ill.  Census might tell us something.  I feel if Abigail Lane was born in England the family could have been Quakers.  We should be able to get a History, Guian McKee, Snr., had frozen feet at Valley Forge.  Hunt Pa records for confiscated estates, maybe reason he had 100 acres by 1788.  Rather early for Soldiers given land.  Somewhere I have "Your Family Tree'" giving the year he (Guian McKee, Snr) came to Pennsylvania, and the name of the man who took him to work his passage over, and I've a letter from Mary D. Carter of John McKee, at Danville and across the line in Indiana, and a Lela welch of K.C., Mo., her mother a McKee of Kentucky, Murdered and her brother accused.  Hope I've helped you.  Return the Letters. 
very sincerely, 
/s/ Jennie M. Long 
Note: Jennie was about 90 years when this letter was written.  She died in August 1968.  She had been working on our McKee Line for more than thirty years. (J.O.M.)
I have the same problems with this letter as I did the previous one I posted.  Jennie was an incredible family historian!  But without her records I have to treat most of these anecdotes as "clues" and not facts.  I hope they prove true!  A few of them already have.  But I need to find the proof for all of them.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

11 May 2014

Mother's Day: Brenda Kay (Gibson) Walker Cox (1938-1989)

Mugging for the camera before her Senior Prom in 1956.

Remembering you, thinking about you, having good thoughts.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Obituary Sunday: Mattie May Walker (nee. Needham, 1884-1938)

More of a death announcement really, but this was as much obituary as she got. From the Arnold Sentinel (Arnold, NE) September 29, 1938 --

Mrs. Keith Walker of Dix, Nebr., formerly Mattie Needham of Arnold, passed away Tuesday at a hospital in Omaha where she had undergone an operation several weeks ago.  Mrs. Walker is survived by her husband and several children and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Hattie Needham, of Arnold. 
Funeral services and interment are t be at Dix, Friday afternoon, according to word received this morning by local relatives.
Mattie May (Needham) Walker was my grandmother, dying twenty-two years before I was born.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

10 May 2014

Surname Saturday: Frank

From pages 792-793 of History of Pettis County, Missouri by Mark A. McGruder (Topeka, Indianapolis, Cleveland : Historical Pub. Co., 1919) --
Dr. Elmer C. Frank, a prominent dentist of Sedalia, is a native of Pettis County. Doctor Frank was born at LaMonte, Missouri, May 12, 1872, and is a son of Abraham and Catherine (Cloes) Frank. Abraham Frank was born in Germany in 1818 and came to America with his parents in 1832, when he was fourteen years of age The family located in Ohio, where the parents spent the remainder of their lives. Abraham Frank went to Illinois about 1845, and was living in that State when the Mexican War broke out. He enlisted and served in the United States Army during the Mexican War, and during the gold excitement in California, he went to the Pacific Coast. After remaining there three years, he returned to Illinois. Shortly after the Civil War, he came to Pettis County, Missouri, and bought a farm of 210 acres, north of LaMonte. Here he was engaged in farming and stock raising, during the remainder of his life. He was a conscientious man and a good citizen and met with a reasonable degree of success in a financial way. He died November 8, 1894. His widow survived him for a number of years and departed this life in 1912. Their remains rest side by side in the LaMonte cemetery. To Abraham and Catherine (Cloes) Frank were born the following children: Henry, deceased; Sadie, married Harvey Walls, Jefferson City, Missouri; Lizzie, married Gilbert Scott, Sedalia, Missouri; Hiram, lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; William, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Walter I., Salt Lake City, Utah; and Dr. Elmer C., the subject of this sketch. Doctor Frank was educated in the public schools of Pettis County, the State Normal School, at Warrensburg, and the Sedalia Business College. He then entered the Western Dental College at Kansas City, Missouri, where he was graduated in the class of 1900, with the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. He immediately engaged in the practice of his profession in Sedalia, his first office being in the Central Building. Two years later he established his office in the Ilgenfritz Building, where he has since been located. Doctor Frank has built up a large practice and is one of the leading dentists of this section of the State. He has been very successful in the general practice of dentistry, although he specializes in that sphere of his profession which has special reference to crown and bridge work. Doctor Frank was united in marriage, November 18, 1915, with Mrs. Ida Gresham, daughter of Isaac Warren of Sedalia, Missouri. Doctor and Mrs. Frank have a pleasant home on South Park street and both have an extensive acquaintance in Sedalia and stand high in the community.
Nice find!  This profile of my wife's great-grand uncle Dr. Elmer C. Frank, spends half of the time profiling her 2xg-grandparents Abraham and Catherine (Cloes) Frank!

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

09 May 2014

SCORE!!! Genealogy Happy Dances All Around -- Meet my 3xG-Grandparents! (Picture)

William McKee (1810-1873) and his wife Sara (nee. Moore, 1817-1895), found in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, Illinois (click to enlarge).

Research is ongoing, but I couldn't wait to brag about it.  It was apparently donated to the IL State Library by their daughter and my 2xg-grand Miriam (McKee) Hall, or her daughter and my g-grand aunt Jennie (Hall) Long.  After the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library was built, it was transferred over there from the IL State Library, and it was at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library where it was found.   More to follow.

The date on the back says "1883" but we know William died in 1873.  We are guessing circa 1870, maybe earlier.

To give you a sense of the age, William was too old to fight in the Civil War of the 1860s.  He fought in the Black Hawk War of 1832.  Sarah's father fought in the Revolutionary War.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

08 May 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Emma's Mug

In a previous post here I lamented my not knowing where is my mug that was hand-painted by my great-aunt Emma Gibson.  My brother saw the post and sent me pics of his, so that I can now share her talent with the readers of this blog.  Great-aunt Emma passed away in 1975 age seventy-seven.  This mug is about fifty-one years old.  My brother has done an excellent job of caring for it. (click to enlarge) --

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

07 May 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Everyone is a "Library" Meme

My mother died in 1989 at age fifty.  Not exactly an "old person," but this was indeed my first thought when she passed -- the loss of all her knowledge; The loss of all her experience.  Gone.  All lost, with no chance of recovery.

We live in an age where pictures, audios and videos of you and your relatives are so very easy to make and produce.  Don't think about it, just do it.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

06 May 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: William "Billy" McKee (1810-1873)

"William McKee
Aug. 22, 1873, 
63 Ys & 11 Ds"

William McKee is my 3xg-grandfather along my mother's maternal line: William McKee -> Miriam (McKee) Hall -> Elsie (Hall) Surpluss -> Thelma (Surpluss) Gibson -> Brenda (Gibson) Cox -> me.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

05 May 2014

Amanuensis Monday: From Family Researcher to Family Researcher -- "Cousins"

This is the transcription of a letter from my g-grand aunt Jennie (Hill) Long to her cousin and fellow McKee family researcher James O. McKee, Jr. (click to enlarge) -- 

El Dorado, Kansas
May 23, 1966 
Dear Cousin:
I was so glad to hear form you.  I am almost the youngest of 27 grand children of William McKee and wife Sarah Moore of Eureka, Illinois (Woodford, County) and the line is Guian McKee, Snr., (1).,Guian McKee, Jnr.,(2).,William (Billy) McKee.,(3).,and Miriam (McKee) Hall,.(4).,of El Dorado, Ks., and I am the only one of the 27 of the 5th generation who ever joined the D.A.R. or S.A.R., organizations.  I joined on the Charles Moore and Sarah (Moore) McKee who was a real daughter of Charles Moore Revolutionary Soldier of North Carolina who was only 18 years old in the battle of Kings Mountain which turned the cause for the Colonists.  I'm chuck full of History and my youngest grandson finished Boot training on Friday last, the 20th.  Is home for a week but I don't know where to next.  He didn't enlist for Combat.  He's a Hi School grad, a grad of Drury College of Springfield, Missouri, and has one year of Law at Washburn at Topeka, Kansas, said he wouldn't be drafted.  He passed the mental test for the Pentagon.  So we are waiting. 
Guian McKee was born in Scotland, I'd like all data on Abigail Lane, his wife, so as to complete my supplemental lines.  Guian's son William married an Adams of Kentucky and came to Danville, Illinois, and Guian's son, Guian, Jnr., and wife Mary Hays of Bowling Green, Kentucky, his parents.  At death of his father, came to his uncle William of Danville, got to Eureka, Illinois, was in the Black Hawk War with Abraham Lincoln, and in Jefferson Davis Company.  And Abraham Lincoln spent Sunday at their home whenever in the vicinity.  I'll be glad to exchange data.  There have been many events in their lives.  I've consulted the Genealogical Shelf in the Wichita Kansas Library plus magazines etc,., and have many places vacant to fill. 
I see you are located on the Miss-River.  My father of Yankee extraction, served 4 years in the Civil War, was wounded at Jackson, Miss., the Federal Hospital at Keokuk, Iowa had him for 3 months.  He later joined his Company and in all served 4 years.  I was raised on History.  I hope to hear from you again.  Guian was in the 8th Pennsylvania to fight the Indians in Western Pennsylvania and was needed so bad he was moved to Valley Forge. 
very sincerely,
Jennie M. Long
Added by J.O.M. -- Jennie M. (Hall) Long was descended from Guian McKee, Jnr., and his wife Mary (Hays) McKee of Fleming County, Kentucky
I don't know where to begin.  My great-grand aunt Jennie was eighty-seven years old when she wrote this.  She took her family history seriously, everything she has reported as factual, that I have been able to check out, has proven to be factual.  But I am unable to yet concur on some of her assertions in this letter.  My research so far says William McKee of McLean County was in the Fifth Regiment, Captain Covell's Company;  Abraham Lincoln commanded a company in the Fourth Regiment, and Jefferson Davis was in the First Regiment and was on leave through most all of the Black Hawk War.  The comment about Guian McKee and Valley Forge does not make any sense yet.  And how could I ever document Abraham Lincoln being tight with the McKees?!

But I wouldn't put it past Jennie to have it all documented.  I am seeking out her descendants looking for copies of her research.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

04 May 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Dr. Ruth Richardson (nee. Walker, 1912-1977)

From the Edwardsville Intelligencer, Wednesday, September 7, 1977 (click to enlarge) --

Ruth Walker Richardson, 65, of 516 Sunset Drive,  noted educator in Illinois, died at 1:10am today, Sept. 8, 1977, in Springfield Memorial Hospital. 
Mrs. Richardson received her doctorate degree from Pennsylvania State University and was considered an authority in education.  She was a member of the Department of Education at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville from 1964 to 1976, and was involved in training reading teachers.   
In 1971 she received the Teaching Excellence Award offered by the Standard Oil Foundation and given to teachers considered most excellent in various disciplines. 
She was born May 8, 1912, at Bloomington, a daughter of the late Guy. T. and Nellie L. Walker. 
She was married to Robert Richardson of Springfield, who survives. 
Also surviving is a sister, Mrs. Ben R. Trent of Bloomington. 
Mrs. Richardson was a charter member of the Tau Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa.  She was a member of the International Reading Association, the International Parliamentarians Association, and Pi Kappa Delta. 
She was a sponsor and organizer of the Psi Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at SIU-E.  She was a member of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. 
Friends may call from 5pm to 8pm Friday in the Boardman-Smith Funeral Home at Springfield.  Funeral services will be at 1:30pm Saturday in the funeral home. 
Burial will be in Roselawn Memorial Park, Springfield. 
Memorials may be sent to the Ruth O. Richardson Scholarship Fund at SIU-E. 
Dr. Ruth Richardson was my second cousin, once removed.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

03 May 2014

Surname Saturday: Barkdull

I was seriously shocked to look at my blog and see that I have posted nothing on my Barkdull ancestors.
Ohio The Crossroad of Our Nation: Records & Pioneer Families
(Volume IV No. III: July-September 1963) Published by Esther Weygandt Powell 
Contributed by Mrs. Jack Hyman, Stockton, CA 
Joseph Barkdull Born: 1764 (?) Md. probably Hagerstown; lived Somerset Co., Pa. c. 1784; deeds recorded in Columbiana Co., Ohio 1809-1824; Williams Co., Ohio 1824. Died: 27 Sept. 1828 (?) New Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio.
Mary M. (Freeman?) Died: 1836 Columbiana Co., Ohio 
Children of Joseph and Mary M. Barkdull
  • 1. John Freeman b. 1784 Somerset Co., Pa.; d. 1 Oct. 1865 Henry Co., Ill.; Married 1st. Nancy Slater 12 Oct. 1810,  Columbiana Co., Ohio. Married 2nd Sarah Dicks 12 Nov. 1816, Columbiana Co., Ohio.
  • 2. Joseph b. 13 Dec. 1787; d. 31 July 1859; married Anna Douglas 25 Jan. 1814, Wayne Co., Ohio.
  • 3. Elizabeth married S.S. Crawford
  • 4. Peter d. 6 May 1834; married Sarah Lasure 12 Feb. 1818, Wayne Co., Ohio.
  • 5. Michael b. 3 Sept. 1798, Somerset Co., Pa.; d. 25 July 1839 Quincy, Ill.; married Prudence Tremayne 6 May 1824.
  • 6. Samuel d. 27 Sept. 1828; married Mary Sharp 14 Mar. 1820, Columbiana Co., Ohio.
  • 7. David d. 11 Jan. 1861; married Permina Ingledine 20 July 1826.
  • 8. Phillip married 7 May 1826 Rachel Mitchell, Columbiana Co., Ohio.
  • 9. Jacob died 6 Nov. 1828.
  • 10. Thomas b. 24 June 1813; d. 4 Jan. 1869 Shelby, Ohio; married Caroline Hendry.
1. John Freeman Barkdull and Nancy Slater had: 
  • a. William b. c 1814, Columbiana Co.; d. April 1840, Knox Co., Ohio.
  • b. Diana Mary married Robert Surpluss.
    John Freeman Barkdull and Sarah Dicks had: 
  • a. Robert K. b. 18 June 1817 Columbiana Co., Ohio; d. 1 Dec.1870 Delaware, Ohio; married 7 Oct. 1830 Prudence Beal, Union Co., Ohio.
  • b. Jane married Josiah Elliott, 2 July 1846, Union Co., Ohio.
  • c. Silas Freeman b. 12 Feb. 1827, Richland Co., Ohio; d. 3 Feb. 1898, Crawford Co., Pa.; married Anna Pool, 18 July 1847, Union Co., Ohio.
  • d. Sarah Mahal b. 26 Dec. 1830, Union Co., Ohio; d. 1 June 1911, Kidder Co., N.D.; married Andrew Jackson Ennis, 31 Aug. 1856, Marshall Co., Iowa.
Joseph Bardull's children were an interesting lot --John was a Lt. in War of 1812; Joseph an early sheriff of Wayne Co., Ohio; Michael converted by Joseph Smith personally and this line thick in Salt Lake City area; Phillip was a converted Quaker and an early settler in Howard County, Indiana; Thomas was a presiding elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Ohio; even daughter Elizabeth distinguished herself somewhat by having 13 children. 
Howard Barkdull of Cleveland, past president of American Bar Association, was of John's line.
Joseph Barkdull was my 5xg-grandfather.  The lineage: Joseph -> Lt. John Freeman Barkdull -> Diana Mary (Barkdull) Surpluss (1811-1869) -> John Nelson Surpluss (1839-1901) -> James Alexander Surpluss (1867-1948) -> Thelma (Surpluss) Gibson (1903-1991) -> Brenda (Gibson) Walker Cline Cox (1938-1989) -> me.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker


The Descendants of Guian McKee, Snr., & Abigail Lane and allied families was self-published by James Oscar McKee, Jr., in Avon, Illinois in 1979.  The "book" is really nothing more than the following introduction, then copies of his family group sheets, then copies of all his primary sources and correspondence with other McKee descendants.  I don't mean to sound like I am demeaning it, I am not!  Just the opposite!  If only all the genealogy books were so research focussed.  "Here are the facts as I found them, now you make up your mind."  Wow.  I am seriously, seriously indebted.  It is worth noting that some of the correspondence he reproduces are that with my great-grand aunt Jennie (Hall) Long, whom we are all here on this blog quickly becoming more and more acquainted with as we research her related lines.  Here is the introduction --
The undersigned and compiler of the McKee Genealogy started his search for his Ancestry in the year 1963, and in 1979 is still finding new evidence and Descendants.  The search goes on and on.  The past 17 years of research has been most interesting and at the same time most difficult due to the fact that every shred of evidence obtained has been ferreted out of County Court House Records, Military Records, Census Records, School Records, Cemetery Records, Death Records, Wills, Deeds, Probate, Tax, and Marriage Records.  Obtaining family data from living descendants of Guian McKee, Snr., in the State of Kentucky (Fleming and Lewis Co) has been an impossible and disappointing experience since they have been reluctant to talk about their family or branch of the McKee-Line.  Whenever they do, the common phrase is spoken. “Quote:  We know nothing about our McKee-Line, all the old folks are gone, anyway we are from a different branch than you”, Unquote.

Guian McKee, Snr., came to the Colony (Pennsylvania) when he was a small laddie of ten.  The first trace of him was found in the Court House at Carlisle in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  He was apprented out to James Moore to learn the trade and mystery of a Miller.  In James Moores Will of Sept 18th, 1767, he gives and bequeaths various items and money to his children.  To Guian McKee he makes the following statement:  I give and bequeath to Gaven McKee, the sum of five pounds (Current Money), also his freedom dues provided he stays with my sons until he arrives at the age of twenty-one years.

In 1776 he entered the Army and served in the Revolution for a period of three years in the 8th Regiment, Pennsylvania Line.  He must have been discharged in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, since he patented 133 acres of land in that County on June 15th, 1787, in Plum Township, later Allegheny County, where the present city of Pittsburgh stands.  His first child was born while he was in service.  All of his children were born in Pennsylvania, except for the youngest son, David, he was born in Fleming County, Ky (then Mason Co) in 1791.

From the early Tax Records for Westmoreland/Alleghany Counties, Pennsylvania and for Mason County, Kentucky, Guian McKee, Snr., migrated to Kentucky circa 1788/89.  It is believed that the migration took place via the Ohio River on Broadhorns which landed on Limestone Creek where present city of Maysville stands.

Guian McKee, Snr., was married to Abigail Lane.  She was the mother of his children.  The compiler searched all available church and court house records for their marriage but did not find any record.  The early marriage must have been lost.  Very few remain available from that early period.

Available records indicate that he lived for a short time near Washington, Ky before removing to Fleming County where he lived the remainder of his years on Fleming Creek, Fox Creek, Pea Ridge, Park Lake, Anderson Branch, and on Brushy Fork where he died in 1827.  He was born in Scotland in the year 1750.  Abigail Lane, his wife was born in England in 1754, and died in Fleming County, Kentucky in 1830.  Some Folklore and traditions indicated they are buried on Anderson Branch.  They had the following children:               
Sarah McKee,  John O. McKee,  David McKee,  Margait McKee *,  William McKee,  Mary (Polly) McKee,  Guian McKee, Jnr.,  Robert McKee,  Abigail McKee                
The compiler has proven from available records that the above are his children of Guian McKee, Snr., and his wife Abigail Lane with the exception of Margait McKee.  Additional research must be conducted to determine if Margait was their daughter.  It is believed that she was since her husband was listed as witness on several marriage bonds for the above when they married.

Researching and tracing Guian McKee, Snr. Has been most difficult because others spelled his name in various ways, such as Guien, Gyon, Guion, Guyon, Guyian, Garven, Gavin, Guyan, Guyann, and Guian.  Since most of his records show his name as Guian, that is the one we chose to use.  The Complier found only one record believed to have been signed by the old pioneer.  It was signed in a shaken manner and was definitely signed as Gavin McKee.

In his application for a pension, Guian McKee, Snr., stated that he enlisted at Peters Creek, Pennsylvania in August 1776.  He served as a private in Capt. James Montgomery’s Company, under Colonels McCoy, Broadhead and Bayard, in the 8th Regiment Pennsylvania Line, for a period of three years.  He was honorably discharged by Colonel Bayard.

In 1818, thirty seven years after the surrender of the British at Yorktown, Congress enacted the law authorizing the payment of an $8 monthly pension to indigent Revolutionary Soldiers who had faithfully served the full term of their enlistment.  The documents which he (and others) executed to establish his pension eligibility constituted almost all we know about him, except for the research performed by the compiler.

These pension documents unfortunately do not disclose Guians place of birth in Scotland.  I made it a primary objective of my trip to Scotland in 1963 to find the birthplace of the old pioneer.  I did not succeed.  From bits and pieces that I did find indicate that he might have been born in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland.

While I did not find the birthplace of Guian McKee, Snr., I am content.  I found that the Scots are the most charming people I have ever encountered.  There is a complete absence of what we call “Hurry Sickness” in their Country.  I never asked directions of a Scot who was not courteous.  All were willing to take the time to give me the directions I sought.  Their sense of humor is always evident.  I frequently noticed a characteristic I had been told in advance to expect – the tendency to carry a point to its logical conclusion even though that point may be considerably past to its point of absurdity.  Their country is beautiful beyond description.  Guian must have been very much like the people I met. 
James O. McKee, Jnr., Avon, IL 
* - Margait McKee (page 1), and Abigail McKee turned out to be one and the same.  Additional research into old marriage Bonds in Fleming County, KY Court House revealed one record had her name spelled Margait while all the others showed her name as Abigail.  She married John Williams on April 4th, 1810.  Her marriage Bond Shows her name as Abigail.  The marriage register showed her name as Magait. 
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

02 May 2014

Emma Waggoner Calkins Boll (nee. Gibson, 1898-1975)

My grand-aunt Emma.  My mom's aunt on her father's side.  Everyone loved Emma.  She was charming and giving, loving and caring, especially for her family.

She grew up around men.  She was the middle child with two older brothers and two younger brothers.  Her mom died when she was only twenty, and only had her father.  She was married three times.  I was told she did not have good taste in men until her last husband Gordon Boll.  With her second husband she had her only son Walter Delbert Calkins, Jr. (1919-1998).  There were no closer mother and son.  She spoiled him, and he worshiped her.

Emma was an extremely talented artist.  She made little coffee mugs for my younger brother and I after he was born.  Handpainted them, and wrote our names on them.  Perhaps my greatest regret is not taking better care of that mug.  I have lost track where it is or what happened to it.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

01 May 2014

Does this Count as Genealogy Serendipity?

Two and a half weeks ago I made a post transcribing a letter to a Mrs. John E. Long of El Dorado, Kansas from the federal government about her great-grandfather Charles Moore.  The letter is dated August 17, 1927, and I found it on Ancestry.Com.

I just put two and two together.  Mrs. John E. Long is my great-grand aunt Jennie Mariam Long (nee. Hall, 1879-1968), sister to my great-grandmother Elsie Rue (Hall) Surpluss.

The coincidence came out of nowhere.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker