30 April 2014

Reported Death of Frederic J. Hall, Oct. 28, 1926

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 29, 1926 --

Roanoke Man Loses Life 
GAFFNEY, S.C., Oct. 28 -- Fred Hall, Roanoke, Va., driver of a public service automobile operating between Roanoke and Tampa, Fla., was killed instantly today when his car turned over on a curve between Gaffney and Blacksburg, two passengers escaping without serious injury.  Hall's body was brought to a local funeral parlor.  The party was enroute to Tampa.
Frederic J. Hall (1874-1926) was my great-grand uncle, an older brother to Elsie Rue (Hall) Surpluss my great-grandmother on my mother's maternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

29 April 2014

Methodism Behind My Halls

From The History of McLean County, Illinois: Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men by W. Le Baron, Jr. (1879: McLean County, IL) --
The Methodists were early here. Their first man was probably the Rev. Mr.
Walker. Zadoc Hall was preaching in the Grove as early as 1834. In December of
this year, three brothers, Jeremiah S. Hall, Israel W. Hall and William E. Hall, came
in. They were no relation to the preacher, Zadoc Hall, but were Methodists, and in
the house of Israel W. Hall meeting was held until the building of the Methodist Church
in the village of Danvers. There is a society of Methodists who hold meetings at
present in the brick schoolhouse, north part of the Grove. 
Jeremiah S. Hall (1809-1882) is my 3xg-grandfather.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

28 April 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Sanitarium Commitment of Elsie Rue Surpluss (nee. Hall, 1883-1957)

In 1980 my mother decided to investigate the reasons behind the commitment to the state sanitarium of her maternal grandmother Elsie Rue (Hall) Surpluss.  Here is the letter she received in reply.  As always, you can click on it to enlarge --

December 1, 1980 
TSH #: 083 21 R-266 
Dear Ms. Cox: 
Your letter of August 1, 1980 requesting information regarding the above-named person was received and a response sent to you on august 20, 1980 explaining there would be a delay in submitting the information.  I have now found the time to abstract some data from the microfilmed medical record which is as follows: 
PATIENT: Elsie Surpless was admitted October 21, 1913 from El Dorado (Butler County), Kansas.  She is described as a white female, married, housewife, Protestant, with an 8th grade education.  Birthdate is indicated as January 21, 1883 in Illinois.  At the time of her admission, she had three children, the youngest being three years old.  Diagnosis was Schizophrenia, paranoid type.  She was placed on parole as improved on August 29, 1955 to the Hickey Boarding Home, 219 Jay Street, Topeka Kansas.  She was discharged while on parole as improved but not restored.  She died on February 11, 1957. 
HUSBAND: Alex Surpless, same address as the patient at the time of her admission, died sometime prior to her parole from the hospital. 
CHILDREN: Three. Ralph Surpless of 2235 South Buchanan, Topeka, Kansas, Mildred Austin, no address, and the third child is not identified to name or sex.  The record does indicate Ralph was appointed his mother's guardian by the Shawnee County (Topeka, Kansas) Probate Court. 
PARENTS: Father born in Illinois and a farmer; mother born in Illinois and a housewife.  They are not further identified. 
SIBLINGS: Three.  Sister, Ina Sanit, sister Mrs. J.E. Long, 205 South Topeka Street, El Dorado, Kansas, and one brother not identified. 
I hope this information will be helpful to you in tracing your ancestors. 
Very truly yours, 
Mrs. Elzora M. Homan, ART
Medical Records Administrator
Wow.  The number of errors is breathtaking.  I have no idea as of yet if the errors were on the microfilm or by the transcriber.  We can begin with the most obvious, it is "Surpluss," not "Surpless." :-)  Husband seems right.  Children seems right.  The unnamed child is my grandmother Thelma (Surpluss) Gibson.  Parents information is correct, although what is not mentioned is they migrated to Kansas.

Much of the mistakes are in the transcription for "Siblings."  She did have three, but they were two brothers and one sister.  And none of them were named "Ina Sanit."  Presuming that is actually an abbreviation for "In a Sanitarium" that too seems to be false.  There is no record of any of her siblings being in a sanitarium nor any reason to suspect it.

Another problem is I can find absolutely no record of the "Hickey Boarding Home."  I need to keep looking.

Elsie Rue (Hall) Surpluss was my great-grandmother on my mother' maternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

27 April 2014

My Experiences With the Researchers on Genlighten.Com

On Thursday I approached a researcher on Genlighten.Com to make copies from a book at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  On Saturday it was in my hands via emailed .PDF file.  She knew how much I was willing to pay her!  She only charged me what she earned.

A couple weeks ago I asked a researcher on Genlighten.Com to go and obtain the copy of an obituary that was only available at an archive local to her.  She replied back I could save a lot of money calling the archive on the phone and having the researcher on site send me a copy.

These are typical examples of my experiences with the researchers on Genlighten.Com.  I can't vouch for all of them!  But the limited number of researchers I have dealt with have been honest, fair, and fast.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Sunday's Obituary: Nellie K. Walker (nee. O'Brien) 1885-1974

June 10, 1874 issue Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, IL) --

Walker - Mrs. Nelle K. Walker, 89, of Bloomington died Sunday morning in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Robert Richardson, 516 Sunset Dr. 
Mrs. Walker was a secretary for the Alumni Association of Illinois Wesleyan University.  She was born on Jan. 1, 1885, a daughter of the late John and Ellen O'Brien. 
She was married to Truman Walker on June 12, 1908.  He died on March 15, 1919.  Daughters Mrs. Robert (Ruth) Richardson of Edwardsville and Mrs. Ben (Trunella) Trent of Bloomington, survive. 
Mrs Walker was a member of the Keystone Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, Bloomington, for 55 years, and of the Royal Neighbors, Camp 619 Pocahontas Lodge, and the Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Delta Kappa. 
She was also a member of the First Christian Church of Bloomington.
Visitation will be Tuesday at Stamper Funeral Home, Bloomington.  Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the funeral home.  Burial will be in the Park Hill Cemetery, Bloomington. 
The Pletcher Funeral Home was in charge of local arrangements.
Nellie's legal name was Kathryn E. O'Brien, and she was actually married in 1907.  She was the wife of my first cousin 2x removed, Guy Truman Walker.

This obituary was crucial to my locating their daughter Ruth's married name.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

26 April 2014

"Butlerisms" -- Richard Kenneth Butler (1929-1988)

My Uncle "Ken" married my mom's sister in 1953.  He was strong and masculine, with a great sense of humor and presence.  He was a much beloved junior high school PhysEd teacher for several decades before his sudden and surprising death in October of 1988.  Hundreds turned out for his memorial.  Below is a flyer that was distributed reminding us of some of his most notable sayings (click to enlarge).

He was very loved and liked by all, and even twenty-five years later his presence is still missed.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

25 April 2014

Attending "Tools For Finding Ancestors" Family History Fair

Tomorrow I will be attending my first Family History Fair at the Naperville Family History Center, Naperville, Illinois.  It is entitled "Tools for Finding Ancestors" and will be loaded with sessions produced and recorded at the recent Roots Tech Conference in Salt Lake City.

If you will be there please introduce yourself.  I should be there all day.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

"Portrait of James Walker (1732-1806) in His Militia Uniform"

This is a copy of a drawing in the possession of the Stone House Museum, Belchertown, Massachusetts.  Their button is in the column on the right.

This is James Walker, my 5xg-grandfather.

James Walker -> Hezekiah Walker (1760-1845) -> Aaron Walker (1788-1862) ->
Henry M. Walker, Sr. (1829-1865) -> Henry M. Walker, Jr. (1864-1952) ->
Keith G. Walker (1894-1980) -> (living father) -> me.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

24 April 2014

Death Announcement for Martha Porter (nee. Scott, 1824-1909)

From The Leavenworth Echo, Leavenworth, Washington (9/10/1909) --
Death of Mrs. Porter 
Mrs. Martha Porter died Sunday, September 5, at the home of her grandson, Nelson Forsythe, in Leavenworth, aged 85 years. 
The funeral was held Tuesday, under the auspices of Rev. W. V. Davis, Mrs. A. J. Martin, director. Mrs. Porter had lived in Leavenworth for several years. She was of a kindly, gentle disposition, and leaves many friends to mourn her death, as well as three daughters a grandson and granddaughter.
Martha (Scott) Porter was my 2xg-grandmother behind my Dad's maternal (Needham) line.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

23 April 2014

Ancestry.Com Meme

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

22 April 2014

"The Biscuits Tasted Mighty Good" John Nelson Surpluss (1839-1901)

From pages 211-212 of History of Butler County Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney (Standard Publishing Company, 1916: Butler County, Kansas), speaking about the founding of Rosalia township --
The first settlers came in 1868 but they did not stay. Those who
did establish a local habitation are: 1869—D. R. Blankenship. Phil
Korn, Robert Huston, Sam Woodward, J. G. Cook, James B. Correll
and George Auten ; 1870—A. P. Foster, S. H. Foster, Hiram Benedict,
Gus Raymond, Mr. Tuttle, Dick Wiley, Samuel Davidson (who built
the first house on the high prairie between Eureka and El Dorado),
William Woods, J. T. McClure, L. W. Decker, Nelson Surpluss, James
and J.P. Huntley, Elias Leh, Fred Miller, G. W. Chamberlain, Charles
Butler, the Shermans and N. B. Snyder; 1871—George McDaniels,
Robert Martin and Doc Reynolds. 
Walter Clark came in seventy-two and still lives in the old township,
jolly as ever. The same year came M. M. Piper and his sons,
Charles, Allen, Will, Dan and Val. George Songer and his family came
about that time. The privations of some of these people sound like
romance. Nelson Surpluss, having no conveyance, in 1871 carried a
sack of flour home from El Dorado, at least thirteen miles and was
glad to get it that way. The biscuits tasted mighty good, so he says.

His daiighter, Miss Mary, the first white girl born in Rosalia, was
one of the county's foremost teachers. Forman Cook is the first boy
born in the township.
John Nelson Surpluss was my 2xg-grandfather on my mother's maternal (Surpluss) side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

21 April 2014

Israel Hall (1799-1865)

From pages 471-472 of The Good Old Time in McLean County, Illinois by Dr. E. Duis (Bloomington, IL: Leader Publishing, 1874) --
Israel W. Hall.

Israel W. Hall was born February 5, 1799, in Salem, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. His father's name was Joseph Hall, and his mother's' maiden name was Hester Woodbury.  They were both of English descent. Israel W. Hall became a shoemaker by trade. In 1834 he came to the west and settled where now the town of Danvers stands, in McLean County, Illinois. He started for the West from Nashua, New Hampshire, traveled by canal and steamboat to Detroit, Michigan, there bought a team, and came to McLean County, Illinois. In about the year 1885, Mr. Hall and Matthew Robb laid off the town of Concord, (now Danvers.) The village settled up slowly. Mr. Hall was a justice of the peace, and the first postmaster of the place. The office was called Stout's Grove Postoffice, but was changed to Danvers, which became the name of the village. The postoffice was not established until 1848 or '49, because of a postoffice at the neighboring town of Wilkesborough.
Mr. Hall was a member of the Methodist Church, and for fifteen years his house was a preaching place for that denomination.  Rev. Zadoc Hall was one of the early preachers, who held meetings there.
On the 27th of April, 1834, Israel W. Hall married Polly Stickney in Salem, N. H. He had three children, all of whom are living. They are : 
Alice W., wife of Jacob McClure, lives at St. Louis, Mo. 
Otis T. Hall lives on the honiestead place in Danvers. 
Cynthia H., wife of John Morrison, lives on a part of the homestead farm. 
Mr. Hall was about five feet and eight inches in height. He
was a good man, honest and fair-minded, and had the respect of
his neighbors. He died January 3, 1865.
Israel Hall was the full brother of my 3xg-grandfather Jeremiah S. Hall.  On our cemetery tour last summer, my son and I found Israel's gravemarker in disrepair.  Hardly befitting one of the founders of the community (click to enlarge) --

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

20 April 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Emily (Jones) Gurwell 1847-1935

From THE IOLA DAILY REGISTER, WEDNESDAY EVENING. OCTOBER 28, 1935, Iola, Kansas (click to enlarge) --

Mrs. Emily Jones Gurwell, 88 years old, died at the home of her son Ernest Gurwell Sunday evening. Her death was caused by paralysis.  She had been bedfast for several months. Mrs. Gurwell was born in 1847 and has lived in Humboldt seven years. Her husband died nine years ago. Survivors are four daughters, Mrs. Lee Martin, Humboldt,  Mrs.. Ida Soiers, Kansas City, Mrs. Rosetta French, Chanute, and Mrs. Alice Bradford, Lawrence; four sons, Ernest Gurwell, Dan Gurwell, and Ralph Gurwell of Humboldt, and James Gurwell of Los Angeles; and one step-son, Jacob Gurwell of Chanute. Funeral services were held this afternoon in the Presbyterian church with the Rev. D. L. Sanborne in charge. Burial in the Ellison cemetery west of Humboldt.
Emily Gurwell was my 2xg-grandmother on my mother's paternal (Gibson) side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

19 April 2014

The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and my Gurwells

Researching my family tree has brought two things to light regarding religion, the first I did know, the second I did not.

Neither of my parents were particularly religious, so we did not attend regularly, but when we did we went to the local branch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  These are the followers of Joseph Smith whom after his death, followed his son and other members of the immediate family into northern Illinois then Missouri, instead of following Brigham Young to Utah.  The R.L.D.S. church is now officially known as The Community of Christ.  The R.L.D.S. church is the predominant religion of my mom's ancestors, it is behind both her parents. This is why what my maternal grandmother had always told us growing up was that "the R.L.D.S. is our family religion."

What I didn't know was the predominant church traditions behind my Dad.  Scatterings of Presbyterians, Catholics, Methodists.  But after you get behind my paternal grandparents, there is a huge population of Quakers!  About seventy percent.  This explains why the strong tradition of abolitionism, among other things.

Being a devout Christian myself, I am going to enjoy researching the religious side of my ancestors.  Here are the R.L.D.S. church membership records for my gg-grandparents James G. Gurwell (1834-1926) and his wife Emily Gurwell (nee. Jones, 1847-1935).  You will note James was married first to Mary Hobaugh.  They were living in Doniphan County, Kansas, and attending the Fanning branch of the R.L.D.S. church --

-- The Community of Christ archivist at their headquarters was very amiable and helpful.  She even included records that she thought were relevant although I had not requested them.  The cost was $15 an hour and 20-cents a copy, but almost never does a charge ever go over $20.  Rules are research is only done for records of members who have been deceased for eighteen years.  Requests can be by email, and remittance of payment is on the honor system.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

18 April 2014

Cemetery Surprise Discoveries

Professional genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills talks about looking for clues in an ancestor's "FAN Club" (Friends, Associates, Neighbors).  I don't see why that does not also apply to cemeteries?

My son Ralph the cemetery rabbit and I drove down to Park Hill Cemetery, in Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois to visit the grave of my first cousin 2x removed Guy Truman Walker (1884-1919).

Lo and behold when checking the nearby graves, aka. G. Truman Walker's "FAN Club," we discover --

-- the grave of his mother Clarissa Elvira Isabella (Berry) Walker 1860-1928.  We wondered where she was!

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

17 April 2014

Jacob L. Gurwell (1786 - abt. 1860)

The following is reproduced with permission from the "Gurwell Group" newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 4, (December, 1996) writer and editor Shirley Boyd --
Of the three young Gurwells, William, James and Jacob L., the least is known about Jacob L.  
Jacob L. Gurwell did not remain long in one spot.  First mention is in Mercer County, PA from where he served in the War of 1812. 
Jacob L. enlisted for the period of October 1, 1812 to April 2, 1813  in the Pennsylvania Militia and served as a private in Captain Matthew Dawson's Company of (PA) Militia, 5th Battalion (Nelson's) Infantry.They joined General Crook's brigade and marched through Ohio to operate with General William Henry Harrison against the British at Ft. Meigs.  He served two months and receive $13.32 for his service.  Jacob L. was discharged December 10, at Mansfield, Ohio (Richland County) which was "210 miles from home."  One Company Muster Roll shows 285 miles from home (19 days).  His allowance for clothing was $3.98.2 
In October 1817, he married Mrs. Elenor Da(o)rland in Perry Township, Wayne County, Ohio, by Daniel Hutchison, J.P.3   
The 1820 census of Berlin Township, Coshocton County, Ohio (became Holmes County in 1826) shows that there was one male 26-45, two females under 10 and one female 16-26 in Jacob's household. 
On May 1, 1821 he purchased "Lot No. five of the fourth quarter of the tenth Township & the Sixth range of the tract...lying in the State of Ohio."4 However, in November of the same year he sold the land to Jacob Frye.  Jacob L.'s wife was listed as Aley.5   
On April 25, 1822 he purchased land in Liberty Township, Crawford County, Ohio.  (Sale was the from Delaware County, Ohio land office.  The deed was signed by President James Monroe.)6 
By 1823 he had moved to Crawford County, Ohio.  A history of Crawford County records that "in 1823 in Liberty Township, Crawford County, the Northwest corner of Jacob L. Gurwell's farm was the first burying ground in that area so it is believed that one of the first to die belonged to Jacob L.  The graveyard no longer exists."7  Jacob L. is on the 1826 personal property tax list in Liberty Township.  "Prior to 1830 Jacob L. and David Hawk started a tannery northeast of Annapolis in Liberty Township."In 1832 and '33 Jacob L. was on the tax list in Liberty Township for lands and house.  In 1834 he bought land in Chatfield Township, Crawford County. 
The 1830 census of Crawford County, Liberty Township lists the following in Jacob L.'s household:  one male under 5, one male 40-50 (Jacob), one female under 5, one female 5-10, two females 10-15 and one female (20-30) (Aley).
While living in Crawford County, Jacob bought and sold many tracts of land. The last land transaction in Crawford County was in 1836 when he sold land to Isaac Starns.  He signed the land record and Aley made her mark. 
Jacob L. next appears in the 1850 Holt County, Missouri census.  He is 64 and lists his birthplace as Pennsylvania.  In his household are Emma, 26, born in Ohio, James, 16, born in Ohio, Amanda, 11, born in Illinois and William, 3, born in Missouri.  From this we can infer that he lived in Illinois after he left Ohio, that Aley died sometime after the birth of William (assuming that she was William's mother). 
FOOTNOTES: 1-Military Records from the National Archives; 2-Ibid.; 3-Wayne County, Ohio Marriage Records. 1812-1829.; 4-Holmes County, Ohio Deed Book Vol. 15, p. 19, Holmes County Court House, Millersburg, Ohio. (Poor copy.); 5-Holmes County, Ohio Transcript Deed Record 11,  p. 173, Court House,  Millersburg, Ohio.; 6-Crawford County, Ohio, Recorder's Office, Bucyrus, Ohio Deed Book 4,  p. 108-109.; 7-1881 History of Crawford County, Ohio8-Ibid. p. 576 

Jacob Laban Gurwell is my 3x-great-grandfather on my mother's paternal (Gibson) side.

If you have anything to add on the Gurwell family history both Shirley and I would like to hear from you.  She can be emailed at shirboy[at]aol.com.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

16 April 2014


My ancestors who died in big cities are almost always buried in what are now
the old and depressed areas I would not normally think of voluntarily visiting....

....Except to visit a relative.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

15 April 2014

More about Moore (Charles, 1763-1839) Part 2

From El Paso Story: The Centennial Book of El Paso, Illinois (Illinois: Heartland Bank & Trust Company, 1954) --
MOORE, Adam – Son of William Campbell Moore, who came from Ohio to Kansas Twp. around 1833 or possibly earlier.
MOORE, Alfred and Mary Ann – Alfred was the son of Charles Moore, the Revolutionary War veteran who built Moore's Mill. This son was probably associated with his father and uncles in the Panther Creek settlement. He patented part of the NW 1/4 of Section 6 in Kansas Twp. on February 1, 1837.
MOORE, Charles and Martha – It was Charles and his sons and brothers who formed the "Panther Creek" settlement and built the first water powered grist mill in the entire area in 1830, near the Ancil Shoup home in south Palestine Twp. He had previously settled in the Walnut Grove (Eureka area) in 1826. Charles Moore was a Revolutionary War veteran and was killed in a run-away accident, September 18, 1839, showing that buggies were also dangerous. He was shipped to a former home and buried at Ewington, Summit Twp., Effingham County, Illinois. Some historians have said his mill one mile northwest of Bowling Green was the first water-powered mill in Woodford County. He is believed the father of Alfred and Josiah Moore.
MOORE, Joseph and Mrs. Almira Patrick – Joseph lived in Greene Twp. in the 1830's and married Almira, the widow of Winslow Patrick. He is not the Joseph Moore who was El Paso's first Mayor.
MOORE, Joseph H. and (1) Juliet Helm (1816-1868), (2) Nancy – Joseph was El Paso's first Mayor after the City was incorporated under special charter in 1867. Also served as City's seventh postmaster, March 3, 1868 to January 22, 1880, and for many years thereafter as Justice of the Peace. He had been sheriff of McLean County before moving here about 1858. He purchased the NE 1/4 of Section 20, El Paso Twp. on May 13, 1858. A daughter, Elizabeth, married a Willis. He was born in 1814 and died at El Paso in 1904.
MOORE, Josiah and Jane A. Patrick (Radford) – They lived in Palestine around 1830. Josiah was one of the first three County Commissioners named to govern the new Woodford County in 1841, drawing the three year term. Joseph Meek and James Boys (first Woodford County postmaster in 1836 – three miles north of Metamora) were the other two Commissioners. Meek had also been in the county since around 1836. Josiah Moore purchased W 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of Section 28 in Greene Twp. on January 10, 1838.
MOORE, William Campbell and Sarah – William was an Ohioan by birth, who came to Sangamon County, Illinois in 1812, and to Walnut Grove (Eureka area) in 1826. He is believed to be a brother of Charles Moore, as he moved to the Panther Creek settlement and was associated with him and the first water-powered mill there. He moved into El Paso Twp. after a few years, and finally to Montgomery Twp. where he died. He patented the SW 1/4 of Section 25 in Greene Twp. on May 23, 1836, and may have also lived there for a time. He was the father of Adam Moore.
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

14 April 2014

Amanuensis Monday: More about Moore (Charles, 1763-1839)

In Reply Return To Rev. and 1812 War Section
AWS (initialed)


August 17, 1927

Mrs. John E. Long
208 S. Topeka St.
El Dorado, Kans


I have to advise you from the papers in the Revolutionary War pension claim W. 24005, it appears that Charles Moore was born January 11, 1763 in Hanover County, Virginia.

While residing in Rowan County, Salisbury District, North Carolina, he enlisted and served as a private in the North Carolina Troops, as follows --

From February 1779, three months in Captain James Craig's Company, under Major Mountflorance; from July 1780, three months in Captain Benjamin Smith's Company, Colonel Mathew Brandon's Regiment, and was in the battle of King's Mountain; and six months in Captain Robert Glasby's Company, no dates given.

He was allowed pension on his application executed June 3, 1833, while a resident of McLean County, Illinois.  He died September 18, 1839.

Soldier married April 2 or 12, 1793 in or near Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina, Martha, her maiden name is not stated.

She was allowed pension on her application executed July 29, 1843, while a resident of Woodford County, Illinois, aged sixty-nine years.

Children --

William C. born February 3, 1794.
John A. born March 18, 1796.
Alice C. born June 3, 1799.
Priscilla born February 2, 1803.
Mary born February 4, 1805.
Hugh C. born March 18, 1808.
Josiah born April 15, 1810.
Alfred born April 27, 1813.
Sarah born January 11, 1817.


E.W. MORGAN, Acting Commissioner

Martha Cunningham was born Nov 22 1773 and died April 15th (Handwritten with notation to indicate this is the Martha mentioned in the text.)

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

13 April 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Trunella Trent (nee. Walker) 1916-2004

From THE PANTAGRAPH newspaper (Bloomington, Illinois) Monday, March 29, 2004

Trunella Trent
BLOOMINGTON -- Trunella E. Trent, 87 of 1409 N. Oak St., Bloomington, died peacefully at 10:35 p.m. Friday, (March 26, 2004) at her home in Bloomington. 
Her funeral will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Normal. Bishop Jack Mapes will officiate. Burial will be in Park Hill Cemetery, Bloomington. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home, Bloomington, and for one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the church. 
Memorials may be made to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Humanitarian Aid Fund or to BroMenn Hospice Program. 
She was born Sept. 19, 1916, in Bloomington, a daughter of Guy T. and Nellie K. O'Brien Walker and was welcomed home by them and an older sister, Ruth. 
She is survived by two stepdaughters, Margaret "Peg" (John) Sanford, Saugatuck, Mich.; and Judy (Mel) Hess, Loves Park; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents and one sister. 
She graduated from University High School in Normal in 1934 at 15 years old and received a teaching degree and a master's degree from Illinois State University. 
She began her teaching career in rural schools at age 17 and later served two years as principal in Shirley Grade School. 
In Towanda, she taught first grade for 18 years and served as principal for three years. She then served as principal at Colleen Hoose and then worked as principal at Eugene Field the last nine years. She retired from Unit 5 School District in 1977 after working 41 years. 
She married Ben Trent on Nov. 23, 1966. They enjoyed a full life together for 22 years, enjoying family, traveling, crafts, church and their church family. He died in 1988.
She was a member of Home Sweet Home Mission Women's Auxiliary and the Retired Teacher's of McLean County. She was a member of the N.W. Neighborhood Association and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had prepared countless programs for all of those groups and served as an officer in most. 
She administered the GED test at the Bloomington Courthouse for 17 years after her retirement. 
She was Altrusa's Volunteer Woman of the Year in 1980. She was also a member of the Normal Hobby Club, the Normal Unit of McLean County Homemakers Extension Association and was a charter member of Alpha Delta Kappa Lambda Chapter, for which she held numerous local, state and international offices.
She was an active and vivacious woman all through her 27 years of retirement. Trunella was a mentor to many children and adults. She and her husband, Ben, were avid craft makers, and even after his passing she continued these various hobbies and distributed the wide variety of articles to senior citizens throughout the community. All those who were fortunate enough to have known this very special lady will miss her wisdom, humor, and loving touch.

Her family members would like to thank all those thoughtful members of her church and community who helped make her life more enjoyable. She will be laid to rest next to her loving parents and husband.
Trunella was my second-cousin one time removed.  Her grandfather Samuel Walker (1860-1933) was my great-grandfather Henry Walker, Jr.'s older brother.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

12 April 2014

"Private Dutton reporting for duty, Captain Lincoln."

From History of Sangamon County, Illinois: Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Townships ... Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens. (Chicago: Inter-state publishing Company, 1881). --

Before he was President of the United States, before he was a U.S. congressman, before he was an Illinois congressman, Abraham Lincoln was the captain of the Illinois militia in the Blackhawk War of 1832.  My 3xg-grandfather Samuel Dutton served under him.

I am still researching Samuel Dutton (1806-1835), finding very little about him.  He died at only 29 years of age, in rural Illinois before civil records were kept.  But he was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln's, from not only the same county but also the same area of the county.

Samuel's young widow Nancy Dutton (nee. Smith, 1808-1868), survived on by marrying Samuel's younger brother Norman Dutton (1810-1889) who like all the Duttons was a strong abolitionist and worked the Underground Railroad.  Hmmm.....

Lineage: Samuel Dutton -> Louisa (Dutton) Walker -> Henry Walker, Jr. -> Keith G. Walker -> (living) -> me.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

11 April 2014

Another Revolutionary War Soldier Ancestor Discovered: Charles Moore (1763-1839)

From OLD FAMILY RECORDS - NUMBER FOUR, originally compiled and printed by Milo Custer, 1914, Reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society (click to enlarge) --

CHARLES MOORE, Revolutionary Soldier from North Carolina, b. in Hanover County, Virginia, Jan. 11, 1763, m. Martha ............... at Salisbury, N.C. about 1792, settled in what is now Woodford County Illinois, 1826, and d. Sept. 19, 1839.  Wife b. 1774, d. about 1845.  Ch.
(10) SARAH (?) MCKEE b. Jan. 11, 1817, m. William McKee, March 10, 1836, Ch. Martha (McK) Richardson, Candace, Amanda (McK) Kirkpatrick, Miriam (McK) Hall, Richard, Josiah, and Emma.  Information from U.S. Pension Records, McLEan County, Ill. Marriage Records, and Aaron Richardson, husband of Martha (McKee) Richardson, Lexington, Ill. 1914)
Miriam McKee (1851-1936) is my 2xg-grandmother in my mother's maternal (Surpluss) line.  William McKee (1810-1873) and Sarah McKee (1817-1895) were my 3xg-grandparents, and that makes Charles Moore and his wife Martha my 4xg-grandparents.

I am learning when you get six generations or so out from the Revolutionary War how easy it is to qualify for the D.A.R. and S.A.R.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

10 April 2014

Gibson's Chix-Fry

From Route 66 in Arizona by Joe Sonderman (Arcadia Publishing, 2010) --

Gibson's Chix Fry in Flagstaff, Arizona was owned by my grand-uncle Ira Gibson (1890-1966).  It was a landmark along Route 66, pictures appear in almost all Route 66 pictorials, and postcards also existed and are collected.

For further insight I want to turn this over to my mom's cousin Dave Gibson --
Kevin, I spent most of one summer with Ira. He originally sort of looked after me as a very young boy in Flagstaff as my Dad was away working.  It was in the early forties during the war. He took me to the movies and a lot of things, they say I was quite known at that time for things I did even before I was 6. The summer I spent with him I was in the 8th grade I think. He still had the Chic Fry but had bought the fish farm that was in Cottonwood. One reason was he needed to be at a lower elevation because of his breathing. 
Ira made and lost many small fortunes in his life and was a very bright man and had a mind for business. He only had an limited amount of schooling. His chicken business was one that enabled him to use every part of the chicken. He raised them,butchered them, sold the feathers to a mattress or pillow company and the guts he took to the fish farm and fed to the fish. We would work in a small butchering area where we cut up and prepared the chickens for the store. 
We went down to the fish farm about once a week I think. He had three long ponds and we would drag a net from one end to the other on one pond and the pick out the ones that were the right size and take them to the shop there for preparation. We would take them up to Flagstaff on the same day each week, half for him and half to a local  market. Both places would be sold out in no time. His Chic-Fry mad a lot of money and it was a very small place on the east end of town on Route 66. This was before fast food or KFC.  He sold it some years later as the route 66 was changed and the business was going to disappear.  He seemed to always know when to get out. The new owner moved it and it didn't last long.
Ira died in Flagstaff, and is buried next to his wife Helen.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

09 April 2014


Here we have a picture of my great-grandfather and his five surviving children and one grand-child.  From left to right Wallace "Hoot" Gibson (1905-1968), Leo Gibson (1892-1967), Emma Gibson Boll Calkins Waggoner (1898-1972), Ira Gibson (1890-1966), my grandfather Bruce Gibson (1902-1994), and my great-grandfather Charles L. Gibson (1858-1938).  In front is Emma's son Walter D. Calkins (1919-1998).

At the time of this picture the family could have been in Kansas, Oklahoma, or Arizona.  Most likely Arizona, looking at g-grandpa's arm and seeing he has already has his stroke.  This is probably my grandfather's logging business, and those are his trucks lined up in the background.

A lot more research is required here.  And later I will have to post more on the difficulty in tracking down my g-grandfather.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

08 April 2014

Family Treasures, Take II

About forty-years ago my grandmother Thelma Gibson (nee Surpluss) knitted a matching toboggan cap and a scarf for me. She passed away twenty-three years ago, age eighty-seven. That cap and and scarf are two of my most prized possessions. It turns out she knitted some elastic into the cap and over the years it dried out, lost its elasticity, and it eventually broke.  Today it poked through the knitting, and I pulled it out. There at the end was a knot. A knot she tied. From her generation to me; From her to me, a knot.  I smiled seeing it.

I am guessing there are two types of people in this world, those who understand this little story, and those who don't.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Family Treasures

I didn't inherit a lot of material possessions from my maternal grandparents Bruce and Thelma Gibson, living 2000 miles away meant me being limited in what I requested and even that being a subset of what I could remember them owning.  I did get some handmade items from my grandmother, and a hunting rifle from my grandfather.  Those were the items that mattered the most to me so I am content.

But perhaps what matters to me even more is an item from the wall in their entryway.  For whatever reason, my grandmother selected this for me to have, and sent it to me before she passed --

-- it is a framed copy of "It Couldn't Be Done" by Edgar Guest.  It isn't worth anything monetarily, but it has priceless value to me.  My aunt tells me everyone in the family wanted it, and wondered where it had gone?  And for whatever reason my grandmother selected me to have it.

Needless to say it is those items that turn out to be of real value.  "Family treasures."

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

07 April 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Resignation Letter of Judge Alexander Wright (1746-1838)

Mahoning Creek Mercer Coun May 13, 1829. 
Dear Sir, 
I have served as associate judge for the county of Mercer ever since it was first organized.  I now feel the debilitating influence of old age: and as you are the organ of the Commonwealth to make or unmake her offices I pray your Excellency to accept my Resignation of the office of Judge for the County of Mercer. and you will confer a favour on your humble servant.

Alex Wright 
His Excellency J.A. Shulze
Governor of Pennsylvania

Alexander Wright was my 5xg-grandfather. (Alexander Wright -> Elizabeth Wright -> Alexander Porter -> Samuel Porter -> Camilla Porter -> Mattie Needham -> living father -> Kevin).

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

06 April 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Capt. Harvey James Dutton (1836-1928)

Death announcement, "The Springfield Leader" (Springfield, Missouri), Wednesday, Jan 18, 1928 · Page 12 --

H. J. DUTTON.  Capt. H. J. Dutton, formerly of Springfield, died suddenly this morning at his home in Florida, according to word received here by Mrs. R. E. Mack, a daughter.  The body will be forwarded here.  Burial will be under direction of the Alma Lohmeyer Funeral Home.
Obituary, "The Springfield Leader" (Springfield, Missouri), Thursday, Jan 19, 1928 · Page 10 --

CAPTAIN DURING CIVIL WAR, DEAD.  H. J. Dutton of Springfield Dies in Zephyr Hills, Florida.  H. J. Dutton Springfield died yesterday in Zephyr Hills, Fal.(sic.), at the age of 91.  He was a veteran of the Civil War.
He was captain in the Union army in the 33rd regiment and fought throughout the south, leading his men from place to place in attacks against the Confederation.  He enlisted at the beginning of the war and fought until the close.
Mr. Dutton had lived in Springfield for thirty-eight years and had been a resident of Missouri for sixty years.  Before coming here he was a farmer and stock raiser in Cedar county, Kansas, and was later in the mercantile business at El Dorado, Kan.  He was born and reared in Illinois.  His wife died here thirteen years ago.
He is survived by four daughters, Mrs. A. O. Mack, Mrs. R. E. M. Mack, Mrs. G. A. Coover, all of Springfield, and Mrs. Finis Dunlap of Vancouver, Wash., and by a son C. A. Dutton of Los Angeles, Cal.  He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
The body will arrive here tomorrow and burial will be under the direction of the Alma Lohmeyer Funeral home.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
 Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

05 April 2014

"Hold Fast!?" Great-grandpa Peter?

Here is the 1898 voter registration for Precinct 2, Assembly District 32, San Francisco County, (Click on it to enlarge) --

In it we see my wife's great-grandfather Peter Casattas who has been the subject of research lately.  It says he is a mariner, 42 years old, 5'10", dark complexion, brown eyes, dark hair, he is from Greece, his address in San Francisco is 509 3rd Street, he occupies the whole second floor at that address, he was naturalized in the S.F. Superior Court on 1/25/1894, he registered to vote in August, he could write his name, read the Constitution, and mark his ballot.  But what we want to focus on is the comment "tattoos both hands."

Body art is ancient, going back several hundreds if not thousands of years.  Tattoos are believed to have entered into western culture around 1750 when Capt. Cook and his crew visited Tahiti and decided to get tattoos as souvenirs.  Yep, tattoos in western culture are all the fault of sailors!  "Mariners."  Mariners like g-grandpa Peter commonly got tattooed.  Sailors tattoos are often meaningful -- certain tattoo for having sailed around the cape; certain tattoo for having sailed to China, certain tattoo for fisherman, or merchant marine, navy.

But there is only one tattoo that is common for sailors to have on both hands --

-- "Hold Fast" with one letter on each finger to remind the sailor to not let go of the rigging that could mean loss of control of the sail and him falling overboard.  "Hold Fast."

Was this the tattoo g-grandfather Peter Casattas had on his hands?  We don't know yet for sure.  We might never know.  But it is very likely.  "Hold fast," g-grandfather Peter.  "Hold fast."

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

04 April 2014

Dear Ancestry.Com: Data from Public vs. Private Trees

For the third time in two days a fellow member of Ancestry.Com has taken information from my public tree, then when I went to their tree looking for any information they might have on our shared relative, I discover their tree is private.

Really?  Seriously?  You are glad for me to share with you, but you won't share back??

Here is my suggestion for Ancestry.Com.  You attach a software switch to all data gleaned from the public tree area.  A simple on-off switch attached to all the data.  If it starts out public on the website as long as it remains public it will be visible on the website.  The switch is set on the data to be public. When a user decides to make that public data private on their tree, it disappears to that user, until they make their tree public again.  

Here is an example.  I go through my family treasures and find a picture of my g-grandmother.  I choose to share it publicly with all those related to her!  A distant relative copies the pic to their tree.  Awesome!  I meant it to be shared!  But then that relative decides to make their tree private.  My pic disappears from their tree.  If they ever choose to make their tree public again, it reappears!

Is this a solution?  A cure?  Of course not.  A user can easily download the pic to their computer and then upload it to their private tree as their own addition of data not from me.  But the principle remains in place -- the pic as I contributed it was meant to be shared.  

It is frustrating to have a fellow user copy my pic to their tree, then for me to see they have pics of the same relative on their tree, and they are unwilling to share. Absurd.  See the logic?  There is none.

There is a longstanding debate in the genealogy community about making data public.  Somehow some of us think if we do the labor in locating it, then it belongs to us.  But it really doesn't.  It is public data or you wouldn't have found it.  I am of the mindset that anything I can do to grow the genealogical community helps me!  The more people in the game the better the game!  The more data is mined, the more data is made public!  The more researchers, the more stories are found!  I want as many people related to me doing research as possible!

So you are welcomed to anything I have, AS LONG AS you are willing to share it (with attribution when appropriate).

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

Italian Swiss Colony Wines and g-grandpa Paulo Molfino (1859-1924)

Remember the jingle?

Decades before Americans were enjoying fine wines, they would enjoy wine as a daily beverage, and by far the largest seller was the wine produced by Italian Swiss Colony in its iconic straw-wrapped jug. "Italian Swiss Colony," was founded in 1881 by Andrea Sbarboro, who formed an entire community in California, with other Italian and Swiss immigrants.  When newcomers from Italy first arrived it was hard for them to find work and get set up independently.  Sbarboro's operation greased the skids to assimilation for the immigrants.

In the 1960's, the Italian Swiss Colony was the second largest tourist attraction in California, next to Disneyland.  It was a favorite place of my mother's and I remember her taking me at least twice.  I never understood what she found in it to like so much.  The only thing as a child I had to look forward to was the train ride.

Why is all this relevant to our family history?  Take a look (click to enlarge) --

-- This picture of the Italian Swiss Family Colony family was taken July 23, 1907 (click to enlarge).  Bottom picture, seated, second row, second from the left, is my wife's great-grandfather Paulo Molfino (1859-1924).

Lots more to learn here.  Is the bottom pic the same date as the top?  If not, are there relatives in the top picture?  Are there more relatives in bottom pic?

In the meantime it would be cool to get an antique straw-wrapped Italian Swiss Colony jug for my wife, empty of full it doesn't matter.  Vintage enough, maybe her ancestors touched it.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

03 April 2014

Letta Agnes (Walker) Clarke (1857-1947)

Gravemarker for my great-aunt Letta Clarke, older sister to my g-grandfather Henry Martin Walker, Jr.  She lived her last several years in Greenwood, Illinois, relatively near the Wisconsin border.  When she died, she was buried in the Clarke family plot in the Walworth Cemetery, across the border in Walworth, Wisconsin.  Apparently her husband William S. Clarke (1823-1903), a widower thirty-four years her senior, was a part of large family migration of Seventh Day Adventists who came from the east coast and settled in Walworth.  More research on that later.

I messed with the resolution some in the hopes you can see the "Letta A." on the top.  My son and I placed the small stones on the marker to show it had been visited.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

02 April 2014

Local Newspaper Notices a Visit to Sis

From page 2 of the Freeport Journal-Standard (Freeport, IL) Tuesday, October 22, 1940 --

In October of 1940, Henry Walker, Jr. was 76 years old and living in Lena, IL.  His older sister Letta Clarke (nee. Walker) was a widow, age 83, and living in Greenwood, IL, just outside of Woodstock.  Lena to Greenwood was approximately 90 miles.  Freeport, IL is the largest of the three towns, and situated inbetween Lena and Greenwood, neighboring Lena.  Interesting that it is Freeport that records the visit.

The paper misspells Letta's married name as "Clark."  Common mistake.

Research possibility: Check Woodstock paper for record of visit.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

01 April 2014

Another Citation on Norman Dutton's (1810-1889) Activities in the Underground Railroad

From History of Woodford County by Roy L. Moore (Eureka, IL: Woodford County Republican, 1910) --

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker