28 June 2015

Sunday Obituary: Ralph W. Gurwell (1873-1959)

From the Wichita (KS) Evening Eagle, Thursday, February 19, 1959 --
Former Farmer Taken by Death 
Ralph W. Gurwell, 85, of 729 S. Water, died Thursday at a local hospital. 
Born Aug. 7, 1873, in Sparks, Kan., he had been a farmer before moving to Wichita 15 years ago from Humboldt, Kan. 
Mr. Gurwell was a member of the West Side E.U.B. Church. He was married to Jesse Furtch[sic] on Sept. 1, 1898, at Yates Center, Kan. She preceded him in death. 
Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Mabel Harris, 138 N. Grove; Mrs. Helen Ashworth, Kansas City, Mo.; one son, Homer, Indio, Calif.; two sisters, Mrs. Rosette French, Wichita; and Mrs. Alice Bradford, Wichita; two brothers, Don of Wichita, and Ernest of Humboldt, Kan.; seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. 
Funeral services will be conducted in the chapel of the Byrd-Snodgrass Funeral Home at 3:30 p.m. Saturday with the Rev. Clayton Lehman of the West Side E.U.B. Church officiating. 
Burial will be in the Wichita Park Cemetery.
Ralph Wesley Gurwell was my great-uncle on my mother's paternal side. His wife's actual maiden name was "Burtch."

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

27 June 2015

G-Grandpa Gibson owned an "Empire 20?"

From The Chanute Daily Tribune, Chanute, Kansas, Mon, Dec 26, 1910 --
Charles Gibson and Earl Bogle went to Chanute Sunday in Mr. Gibson's Empire 20, and S. M. Pickens went in his remodeled Model 10 Buick.
"Empire 20" automobile?  What the heck is that?  Well howdy, howdy!  A picture and an advertisement for the 1910 Empire 20 --

(Click to Enlarge.)
Here is the entry at Wikipedia, not a lot there --
Empire (1910 automobile):
The Empire was an American automobile manufactured from 1910 until 1919. Marketed as "the little aristocrat", the Empire 20 was a four-cylinder shaft-driven runabout built in Indianapolis. The model "A" was a conventional runabout for three passengers with a rumble seat. The model "B" had two bucket seats, a longer hood and was geared higher to attain faster speeds.
I had never heard of such a vehicle!  No record yet if he owned the Model "A" or the Model "B." Charles Lewis Gibson (1858-1938) was my great-grandfather on my mother's paternal side.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

26 June 2015

Newspaper Article with Obituary on Passing of Phoebe (Ward) Chesley

From the Arnold (NE) Sentinel, March 7, 1928 --
In the passing of Mrs Phoebe Chesley the Arnold Community sustained the loss of it's oldest resident.  On February 6, 1928 she celebrated the ninety-eighth anniversary of her birth and received many flowers, other gifts, also numerous messages both my telephone and mail.  To make this event complete, a son and daughter, Charles E. Chesley and Ida E. Barnes respectively came from Prosser, Washington to be with their mother.  They with Mrs. W.D. Copeland are the surviving three children from a family of eight.  Mr. Chesley remained only a short time but Mrs Barnes remained for a longer visit and she with her sister, Mrs. Copeland at whose home Grandma lived were with her when the end came. 
Grandma Chesley leaves a long line of descendants, besides her three children.  There are twenty-six grand-children, eighty-four great-grand-children and thirteen great-great-grand-children. Her going also breaks up five living generations namely, Mrs. Phoebe Chesley, Mrs. Ida Barnes, Mrs. Maud Conely, Mrs Fay Sesrood and Mrs. Genevieve Stevens.  A very interesting feature of the ages of four generations of these good people. 
Mrs. Phoebe Chesley is exactly twenty-six years older than her youngest daughter, Mrs Ida Barnes who is seventy-two, she (Mrs. Barnes) is exactly twenty-six years the senior of her youngest daugher, Mrs. Blanche Winslow who is forty-six.  Mrs Winslow has a daughter Zelpha who is twenty-six years of age. 
Grandma Chesley was paralyzed in the lower limbs making it necessary for her to remain in a wheel chair, but she could use her hands freely, doing all kinds of fine handwork. 
She could read without the aid of glasses, few people are as familiar with Scripture as she, for she read and discussed the Bible frequently.  Her mind remained intact to the end.  Many of her friends quoted her as a very clever conversationalist.
Funeral services were held at the M. E. Church on thursday March 1. Rev. L.S. Burnham officiating.  Interment beside her husband in Powell Canyon Cemetery. 
The floral tributes were many.
Note about the above, Phoebe was twenty-six years older than Ida, but her youngest daughter was Lucy (Chesley) Walker Copeland, not Ida.
Phoebe C. Ward was born February 6, 1830 at Plattsburg, N. Y.  In 1848 she was united in marriage to Charles Chesley and from this union were born eight children, three of whom survive their mother: Charles Chesley and Mrs. Ida E. Barnes both of Prosser Washington; and Mrs Lucy M. Copeland of Arnold, Neb: five children preceded their mother to that better land, one of them passing away in infancy, the others growing to manhood and womanhood. 
Grandma Chelsey, as she was known to everyone, has made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Copeland for many years as she was practically and invalid for a long time.  Her husband preceded her in death twenty-three years ago. 
Grandma Chesley united with the M. E. Church when she was eighteen years of age and has retained her membership ever since and during the final years especially, she devoted much of her time to reading the Bible and in prayer.  She has made her home near Arnold for the past forty-three years, being one of the real early settlers here. 
Besides her three children, she leaves several grandchildren, a number of great-grandchildren, and a host of friends.  At the time of her passing on February 28, 1928 she had reached to advanced age of 98 years and 22 days.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

25 June 2015

Newspaper Article on Phoebe Chesley's (1830-1928) 98th Birthday

From the Arnold (NE) Sentinel, February 10, 1928 --
A most notable event in the life of West Yucca Valley occurred Monday, February 6, 1928, when Grandma Chesley celebrated her 98th birthday in a quiet manner at the home of her daughter, Mrs W. D. Copeland, who with Mrs. Ida Barnes and Charles Chesley, the latter two of Prosser, Washington, the only three surviving out of eight children, while Grandma Chesley and her husband were each one of a family of eleven children, she being the only one remaining out of the twenty-two.  Besides her three children aged 74, 72, and 62 years, she has twenty-six grandchildren, seventy great-grandchildren and twelve great-great-grandchildren. 
Grandma Chesley was born in Plattsburgh, NY in 1830, she was married in 1848 and resided in New York until 1856 when she removed to Illinois, and in 1878 moved to Kansas where they resided until 1885, when they came to this community, living in Powell Canyon.  Mr. Chesley died about 22 years ago. 
Hosts of friends and relatives gave her a postal card and letter shower in remembrance of her 98th birthday, all hoping she will remain with us to celebrate the century mark.
Phoebe (Ward) Chesley was my 2xg-grandmother.  Unfortunately she passed away less than three weeks after the publication of this article.  The named "Mrs. W.D. Copeland" is my g-grandmother Lucy (Chesley) Walker Copeland (1866-1944).

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

23 June 2015

Lt. Harvey J. Dutton Wounded at Vicksburg

From The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), 12 Jun 1863, Page 1 --
At Vicksburg, May 22d. -- . . . .1st Lieut H J Dutton, Co A, leg, flesh wound; . . . . 

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

21 June 2015

Sunday Obituary: Eloise Walker Hayward (nee. Crow, 1927-2008)

(Click to Enlarge)
From the April 30, 2008 issue of The Gothenburg (NE) Times --
Eloise Walker Hayward, 81, of Cozad, died Monday, April 21, 2008, at the Golden Living Center in Cozad. 
Services were held on Friday, April 25, at Parkview United Methodist Church in Cozad with the Rev. Jaime Farias officiating. Burial took place at the Cozad Cemetery. 
Hayward was born on Feb. 28, 1927, at Arnold to Leslie and Sophia (Beyer) Crow. She attended and graduated from Arnold High School. 
On April 27, 1947, she was united in marriage to Glenn Walker, at Arnold. The couple made their home in the Arnold and Callaway area where they farmed. 
She and her husband moved to North Platte in 1965, where she worked at W.J. O’Connors. In 1971, the couple then moved to Cozad where she was employed with Monroe Auto Equipment Company for 16 years as the head custodian. 
In 1993, her husband, Glenn, preceded her in death. 
On May 17, 1997, she married Bill Hayward at Cozad. In their retirement, they both enjoyed traveling and pitching horseshoes, according to family members. 
She had also enjoyed woodworking, quilting and helping people by volunteering, said family members. 
Hayward was a member of Parkview United Methodist Church, Rebekah Lodge, Crusaders and the VFW Auxiliary. 
She was preceded in death by: her first husband, Glenn Walker in 1993; a sister, Burdette Deterding; brother, Darrell crow; a granddaughter and a great-grandson, Tyler. 
Survivors include: her husband, Bill Hayward of Gothenburg; two sons—Terry (Orpha) Walker and Steven Walker (Carol Schaffer of Kearney), all of Cozad; two daughters—Charlene (David) Peck of Cozad, and Charlotte Talbott (Dean Herrington) of Elwood; brother, Bob (Mona) Crow of Arnold; three sisters—Helen (Gerald) Dorris of Kearney, Sharon Leonard of North Platte and Kate (Dwayne) Henry of Callaway; 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren; numerous other relatives and friends.
Mrs. Hayward was the wife of my second cousin Glenn L. Walker (1917-1993).  Sadly I never met her.  But I see so many loving tributes to her on Facebook.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

20 June 2015

Newspaper Gets Cute With Surname "Surpluss"

From The Leavenworth Times (Leavenworth, Kansas), 5 Jun 1907 --
Even though it does sound sort of paradoxical, it was what he regarded as a necessity that Chas. F. Hembree secured at ElDorado when he married Miss Mary Surpluss.
Mary Surpluss (1870-1957) was my 2xg-aunt, on my mother's maternal side.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

19 June 2015

Friday Funny: Tracing My Tree

I started out calmly, tracing my tree,
To find if I could find the makings of me.
And all that I had was Great-grandfather's name,
not knowing his wife or from where he came.
I chased him across a long line of states,
And came up with pages and pages of dates.
When all put together, it made me forlorn,
Proved poor Great-grandpa had never been born.
One day I was sure the truth I had found,
Determined to turn this whole thing upside down.
I looked up the record of one Uncle John,
But then I found the old man to be younger than his son.
Then when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.
The facts I collected made me quite sad,
Dear old Great grandfather was never a Dad.
I think someone is pulling my leg,
I am not at all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg.
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree,
I can't help but wonder if I'm really me.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

18 June 2015

Chesley Homestead, Part 4: "The Neighborhood."

In the letter I published Monday from my Grandpa Keith he said that Charles. E. Chesley was the first to arrive in Powell Canyon, Custer County, Nebraska.  And that is right.  This is also confirmed by the Callaway (NE) history book Settling the Seven Valleys (Lorraine Smith, ed., Loup Valley Queen, Charles and Donna Meyers: Callaway, NE, 1982).  But it is a little more complicated than that.

Immigrating across the west from New York were several families traveling together and settling together -- the Chesleys, the Copelands, Olneys, Chamberlains, and others.  They travelled first to Illinois, then to Kansas, before reaching Powell Canyon, Nebraska.

The first of the group to settle in Powell Canyon was apparently Jared Copeland, who actually became a well-respected builder of sod-houses, and engineered the construction of the soddie the Chesleys moved into.  After Charles E. Chesley was in place, slowly but surely he was joined by the rest of his brothers and his parents, his sisters and their husbands (Copelands, Chamberlains, etc.)

Here is the original landowner map (be sure to click on it to enlarge) --

Map provided with permission from HistoryGeo.com Copyright 2015, Arphax Publishing Co.

It is just like my grandfather wrote that he remembered, all the families bunched up together.  He said "within three miles of each other" which I guess that when you are talking farms that is close. :-)  We even add another family into the group when Eva Pearl Chesley married James Wonch, and James' mother's maiden name is "Woodward."

Now be sure look at this map with a critical eye!  Remember that the government made you work the land for some time before they would hand it over to you via the Homestead Act.  And understand there was buying and selling going on before these official dates were codified.  But we still get a glimpse here of the picture our sources describe -- the Chesleys, Copelands, Walkers, and Wonches all bunched together.

Here is more from Settling the Seven Valleys --
The Chesleys did not become Custer County pioneer residents until 1899.  First Chesley to come to Powell Canyon, fifteen miles northwest of Callaway, was Charles E. and Maria Jane (Copeland) Chesley, who purchased a rough 160 acre homestead from Martha's brother Jared Copeland.......This couple also welcomed to Powell Canyon , the families of all five brothers and sisters (Ollnys, Walkers, etc.) as well as their parents Charles H. and Phoebe (Ward) Chesley who were in their sixties.  Now the elder Chesleys probably made their home with youngest daughter Lucy, and Henry Martin Walker....[T]he elder Chesleys purchased the Charles E. farm in 1894...... 
The last of the Chesley brothers and sisters to come to Nebraska was George, who came by  wagon in 1899.  By then his oldest daughter Eva Pearl was eighteen and like a mother to brothers, Clarence 15, Harry B. 13 and to Fern 10.  The mother Cora Densmore had died in 1898 from epilepsy after many years of illness....... 
Eva Pearl was soon married to James Wonch and to this couple three strapping sons were born, Grant, Cecil, and Luman.  James' mother, Sarah (Woodman) Wonch, a widow, was still proving up on the Wonch homestead...... 
One of the crops of Powell Canyon was cane and both the Chesley and Wonch farms made molasses in early fall.  Eugene, son of Charles E. and Maria Jane, lost his arm in the molasses press.  Dr. Mylar of Callaway amputated above the elbow, at the farm with only a neighbor, the older Bob Shaw to assist.
Some of the families moved on from Nebraska.  Most notable of those being Charles E. taking his family to Washington state.  But when you look at this map and this history, you have to come away with the conclusion that Powell Canyon, Nebraska was one of the places our family put down roots.  You might even say it is okay to call it "home."

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

17 June 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Chesley Homestead, Part 3: Old Farm Equipment Out Back

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

16 June 2015

Chesley Homestead, Part 2: The Charles Chesley Sod House

This is reprinted with permission from the Masters Thesis "The Sod Houses of Custer County, Nebraska" by Andrea R. Kampinen, for the University of Georgia, 2008.
The Charles Chesley Sod House/Nolan Steele Sod House is one of two remaining
sod houses in Custer County that are still inhabited. The house is located in Powell
Canyon nearly six miles east of Arnold on the northwest quarter of Section 21, Township
17 North, Range 24 West. The house is clearly visible from the public right-of-way but
does not resemble a sod house. The dwelling is currently a one-story, L-plan building
clad in masonite siding. Displaying a hip roof, the house features a non-historic shed
roof dormer on the south elevation, which is its primary façade. A historic one-story
rectangular addition has been constructed on the northwest corner of the house giving the
building its current L-plan. 
Charles Chesley built the original sod core in 1892. Rectangular in plan, the
house is very large and measures 48’-3”x 30’-3”. It is known through a local newspaper
article that blue stem grass was used for the sod and the walls measured approximately
36” thick. When Nolan Steele moved into the house in 1902, he covered the exterior
with wood clapboard. The interior of the house, however, was inaccessible due to the
absence of property owners and no further details were gathered on the interior layout of
the dwelling. Since there was no sod exposed on the exterior, block dimensions and
coursing could not be verified. 
All windows and doors on the house have been downsized and replaced with
modern types, but their placement is still likely original based on a historic photograph of
the house. All windows are one-over-one aluminum sash. The south elevation, also the
primary façade, contains four windows and an entrance. The entrance contains a modern
door covered by a non-historic stoop, and the central two windows are paired. The nonhistoric dormer is centered above the paired windows. The east elevation contains two
evenly spaced windows. The north elevation features two windows and another set of
paired windows. The frame addition projects off the northwest corner of the house and
obscures part of the north and west elevations. The west elevation likely contained two
windows in similar positions as the east elevation (Figures 37 and 38). 
From the historic photograph, the roof shape appears to be original. The exact
construction method of the steeply pitched hip roof is unknown, but local history states
that the lumber for the roof came from the Milldale lumber mill. It is currently sheathed
with asphalt shingles, but the historic photograph shows it was covered with wood
shingles. The side gable frame addition was added to the northwest corner of the house
in 1928. Its construction removed a small portion of the sod wall. The interior of the
house was inaccessible, but the local newspaper article mentions that the house included
four bedrooms and a small upstairs. The house was updated with electricity and
Charles Chesley filed a Timber Claim on the property in 1899, but the sod house
was already built on the land. Jared Copeland, Chesley’s brother-in-law, began building
the large, one-story sod dwelling for the Chesley’s in 1892 and finished it three years
later. Copeland is known to have helped or directed the construction of several sod
houses in the general vicinity of Lower Powell Canyon. The Chesley’s sold the property
to Samuel Steele in April 1902. However, Nolan and Ella Steel moved into the sod house
in November 1902 and established the B (Butler) and S (Steele) Cattle Ranch. Samuel

Figure 37. Sod – 03: Charles Chesley/Nolan Steele Sod House, 1892 --
South Elevation, view looking north

Northeast corner, view looking southwest
Figure 38. Chesley/Steele floor plan
Steele remained the property owner until Nolan Steele received the deed in 1914. The
Steeles raised cattle and hogs and were well respected in the community. The property
continues to remain in the Steele family today. Leon Steele is the grandson of Nolan
Steele and son of Cecil Steele, who lived in the house until the early 1990s. 
The Chesley/Steele Sod House is unique in Custer County. The mere size of the
structure, 48’-3”x 30’-3”, differentiates it from many of the other sod houses found in the
county. This house took an experienced sod builder three years to build. While it is
implied that sod houses did not have building plans, this particular sod house appears to
have been carefully constructed to ensure its durability. It was constructed as a
permanent family homestead and not a temporary structure. Its quality craftsmanship and
durability secured its fate with the Steele family and prevented its demise, which so many
other sod houses in Custer County faced. 
Since the Steele Family has occupied the Chesley/Steele Sod House for most of
its lifetime, its history is better documented that most sod houses in Custer County.
Although the interior could not be inspected, the exterior of the house remains in good
condition. Its integrity may appear compromised due to the exterior alterations, but for a
sod house these alterations are necessary to keep the house in good maintenance. Sod
houses are not significant for their exterior appearance; they are significant for their
method of construction. Without the alterations imposed on the Chesley/Steele Sod
House, it may not have been livable according to twentieth century standards and
ultimately may not have survived into the twenty-first century.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

15 June 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Keith G. Walker's letter to May (Northup) Conn

This is my best attempt at an identical transcription.  My grandpa Keith was 79 when he wrote this and suffering for Parkinson's.  I kind of feel guilty for including all his grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors, but I also know it is necessary for identifying other things he may have written.  I will apologize to him face to face when I get to heaven.
July 1, 1973 
Dear Cousin May 
I expect you thought what I wrote you like I did I did not want to help you but was not that  I thought Lillie could help you more than I so mother's day I called Lillie's Girl Blanch Yerves(?) and asked her to see if Lillie could rember the trip from Nebraska but she could not Your Grand Pa Henry Chesley was bourn March 15 1860 in Illinois died December 14 1926 at 66 yr. 
Hattie Olly Chesley bourn July 7 1867 in Michigan died in 8 March 1938 age 70 she did not know where they were married but they moved to Kansas 1882 or 83  Lillie was bourn in Nicodemus Kansas Oct 14 1883 in 1887 or 1888 they moved to Nebraska  My folks was married in Osborn Kansas in Oct 26 1884 then they moved to near Arnold in 1886 then my Stept Father and his brothers came to Arnold he was Warren D Copeland but he went to Wyoming within 1890 and when your folks went to Montana  he stayed there for a while then came back to Arnold in 1896 0f 1897 and then he and my mother was married in 1899 and a good Father to us boys. 
His brother stay near Arnold the rest of his life I have a book that has the names of seven  They had 3 befor they left here I think it 1891 or 1892 when they left Arnold because my brother would tell about playing with the three if he was bourn in August of 1887. 
My dad Warren would tell about being in or Downs Beloit in Kansas  That is where my sister is buried I am not sure 
there Was Geo Chesley then Charles Chesley he was the first one to come to Arnold Nebr  Henry was the 4th of the Chesley family and Charles Chesley went to Washington near Tacoma or Buckley in Dec 1902  I remember but at one time Charles Henry then my folks and George Chesley all lived close together with in 3 miles. I hope to see you some time this year the Lord Willing  I would like to have these back when you get your copy 
Love Cousin Keith
This is another example of this family history blog paying me back for my work.  A third cousin was Googling his ancestors and found my blog.  He was in possession of this letter and asked me if I wanted it?  "Why-y su-re!" (Thank you Frank.)

Keith G. Walker was my grandfather, and May (Northup) Conn was his first cousin once removed.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

14 June 2015

Chesley Homestead, Part 1 (pictures)

Circa 1895 --

Circa 1906 --

Circa 2010 --

Remember you can click on the pictures to enlarge.  Lower Powell Canyon, six miles east of Arnold, Custer County, Nebraska.  Home to my 2xg-grandparents Charles H. and Phoebe Chesley.

Sod house, barn, windmill.  Originally lived in by Charles E. Chesley, sold to his father Charles H. Chesley then sold to Nolien Steel to headquarter for his B&S Cattle Company.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

13 June 2015

Death Certificate: Frederic J. Hall

I had previously provided the newspaper account of the automobile accident that killed Frederic J. Hall.  Here is the death certificate on location --

CERTIFICATE OF DEATH: State of South Carolina
File no. 18060
County of Cherokee, Town of Gaffney,
Registration District no. 10a, Registration number 102
Name: F.J. Hall
male, white, married
born: Jan. 24, 1874, age 52
birthplace Elm Creek, Neb.
informant: "Identification card on person."
Date of Death: Oct. 28, 1926
Cause: "Fracture at back of brain" by automobile accident
location: Cherokee township
signed, J.N, Nebitt, M.D.
Remains removed to Roanoke, VA on nov. 1926
P.S. Courtney, undertaker of Gaffney, SC
Certificate filed Nov. 10, 1926 local registrar W.F. Smith
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 © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

12 June 2015

Certificate of Marriage: George Hall to Mariam B. McKee

Click to Enlarge.

State of Illinois, Woodford County
Certificate of Record of Marriage
I Ed. C Engel Clerk of the County Court
of said County Hereby certify that Mr. George Hall
was married to Miss. Mariam B. Mckee in said County
on the twenty-first day of December A.D. 1871
by J. B. McCorkle a Minister of the Gospel
duly authorized to solemnize marriages by the Statute of the State of Illinois
as appears by his return and certificate of marriage attached to the license 
granted therefor by the Clerk of this Court and now on file in my office.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and
attached the seal of said County Court, at my Office in
Eureka, Ill this seventeenth day of October A.D. 1898
Ed. C. Engel
Clerk of the County Court
 by John Leys, Dep.

George Hall and Mariam (McKee) Hall were my 2xg-grandparents on my mother's maternal side.  It still amazes me that I have THREE ancestral lines to Woodford County, two behind my Dad and one behind my Mom.  The two behind my Dad eventually met up and married, however the ancestors behind my Mom lived many miles away, but you never know!  Maybe they walked the same ground, or perhaps were even acquainted with each other.

Their minister Joseph Byram McCorkle is a character worth researching.  Son of another minister. 

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

08 June 2015

The Character of Harvey James Dutton (1836-1928)

From -- Way, V. G., & Elliott, I. H. (1902). History of the Thirty-Third Regiment Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, 22nd August, 1861, to 7th December, 1865. Gibson City, Ill: The [Regimental] Association. 
Harvey J. Dutton was another excellent product of the "Normal Rifles." He was of the graduating class at Normal in 1861, carried a musket for a year ; then for his manly qualities and soldierly bearing was selected by vote of his company for 2nd Lieutenant. He was regularly promoted, and was Captain of his company at muster out. Dutton was unassuming and courageous and showed himself, on critical occasions, to be a cool and intrepid commander. His gallantry at Cache River and Vicksburg will be noted farther on. For nineteen years after the war Captain Dutton was a farmer in Cedar county, Mo., and is now a successful merchant in Springfield, Mo. 
These are the recollections of General Isaac H. Elliott.  I would invite the reader to read my other posts on this blog of Harvey J. Dutton.  He was a true hero.  He was my 2xg-granduncle.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

07 June 2015

Gibson Family Bible: Births

(Click to Enlarge.)
C.L. Gibson was born January 26, 1855
Ella Gibson was born July 31, 1865
Ira Gibson was born June 28, 1890
Leo Gibson was born September 18, 1892
Leslie Gibson was born August 5, 1894
June Gibson was born January 8, 1897
Emma Gibson was born September 3, 1898
Stacy Gibson was born September 17, 1900
Bruce Gibson was born June 5, 1902
Wallace Gibson was born December 16, 1905
This is my great-grandfather's family.  Bruce Gibson was my grandfather.  I don't know who has the original copy of this Bible.  I have a copy of a copy that was made decades ago in negative.  I don't even know who has the original copy in negative!  But these copies were given to all the family forty-years ago.  My mom had one, my aunt had one, her cousins each had one.  The writing is in all one hand so I think the dates were entered at once and not over time. The dates match other records except for my great-grandfather Charles Lewis Gibson's birth year.  It is actually 1858.  But research shows he lied about his age frequently.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

05 June 2015

Gibson Family: Then (1948) - Forty Years Later (1989)

(click on picture to enlarge)

Gibson Family Circa 1948
back row: oldest daughter Barbara Gibson (1931-2014), father Bruce Gibson (1902-1994), 
mother Thelma Gibson (1903-1991); front row: middle daughter Brenda Gibson (1938-1989), youngest daughter living.  

(click on picture to enlarge)

Gibson Family 1989
back row: Barbara Butler, Brenda Walker Cox, living daughter
front row: Thelma Gibson, Bruce Gibson

This is my maternal grandparents and their three daughters, Brenda Walker Cox being my mother. The 1989 pic is on the occasion of my grandparents sixty-fifth wedding anniversary.  Seven months after the picture my mother will pass away from a relapse of breast cancer.

Life is short.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

03 June 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Yeah, it is Me.....

Yeah, it is me.  You want to make something of it?

Kevin, circa 1967.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

02 June 2015

My Five-year Anniversary on FindaGrave.Com

(Click to Enlarge.)
Happy anniversary to me!  Well, to be precise, I am not sure.  Yesterday the site said I had been a member for 4 years 11 months and 28 days.  Today it says 5 years 2 days.  Whatever, I presume it has been five years.

I am not a devoted user, there is always more that can be done to the memorials including adding more and more.  But I am a loyal user, I do what I can, and try to keep things up to date.  For me it is a nice companion to this family history blog.  I am honoring my ancestors, keeping my family informed, and occasionally drawing a cousin or two out of the woodwork.

Without a doubt, the best part of Find a Grave are the photo volunteers.  What a treasure it is to have these selfless individuals to go out into a cemetery thousands of miles from where I live, locate a grave, and take a picture of my relative or ancestor for me.  I try to reciprocate and take pictures for other users when I can.

Without a doubt the worst part of Find a Grave are the users who treat accumulating memorials as a competition, and create memorials for strangers before a family member even has a chance to.  Very sad.

There are other positives and other negatives, I guess that is the way with anything in life.  But with Find a Grave the scale overall comes down on the positive side.  Using Find a Grave is a keeper.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

01 June 2015

Deacon Norman Dutton (1810-1889) and Sunday School Associations

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From The Great Bend (KS) Weekly Tribune, Dec 25, 1896, Page 2 --
Many of the workers who were with us in the beginning have gone to their reward; among them who have died is Norman Dutton, No. 77, Eureka twp.
The above was noted seven years after his death, Deacon Norman Dutton, religious abolitionists and prohibitionist.  Activist in the cause, documented conductor on the Underground Railroad, and behind the scenes of the local Women's Temperance Union.  We should not be surprised he is also counted as a founding member of the local Sunday School Association.

Sunday Schools were first organized around the year 1800 as a way of reaching poor inner city children (Sundays were their day off from work).  Churches taught them reading and writing, personal grooming and care (brushing teeth, combing hair, etc.) mostly designed as a form of prison reform to keep them out of prison.

The 1800s following the Civil War saw phenomenal growth in Sunday Schools, due almost entirely to the local associations.  By the late 1800s these associations were banding together, and meeting in state conventions.  By the mid 1900s national organizations were forming, and unifying the curriculum and the published materials.  One of these in 1950 was the World Council of Christian Education, but in 1971 changed its name to the World Council of Churches.

Deacon Norman Dutton
It was the less liturgical denominations that first led the way with Sunday Schools.  I have traced Deacon Dutton as a Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist.  And this is just "so far."  It makes me wonder if he was an idealist for praxis or doxasis?

Norman Dutton was both my 3xg-granduncle, and second husband to my 3xg-grandmother.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker