Sunday, October 25, 2020

Last Will & Testament of William T Spalding, 1880

At the age of 62, William T. Spalding, otherwise known as "William Tunk", wrote out his will. His wife was 48 and his children were between the ages of 39 and 13. His son, "Joe Tunk", is my daughter's second Great Grandfather. The will, dated December 4, 1880, was written only 3 months before his death on March 6, 1881. He spent his entire life in Marion County, Kentucky and was buried in the Holy Name of Mary Cemetery. A transcription of the will is below the photo.

William Tunk's family as I have it:

from his first marriage to Amanda Jarboe

  • Anna Emma Spalding (1841-1891), married Joshua Green Abell in 1839
  • Mary Alice Spalding (1843-1864), never married 
  • Catherine "Kit" Spalding (1845-1910), married Charles Preston Luckett in 1866

with his second wife, Mary Louisa Abell

  • Amanda Ann Spalding (1850-1910), married Henry Luckett 
  • Jane Florine Spalding (1852-1920), married James Robinson 
  • Martha Henrietta (1854-1925), married George Washington Spalding 
  • Elizabeth Rosina (1856-1919), married John Bernard Thomas 
  • Joseph T Spalding (1858-1945), married Harriett Elizabeth Thomas 
  • Susan Frances Spalding (1860-?)
  • Martin John Spalding (1864-1951)
  • Alice May Spalding (1867-1957), married Joseph A Spalding 
  • Richard Clement Spalding (1869-1870)
  • Mary Lillian Spalding (1871-1871)

"Kentucky Probate Records, 1727-1990," database w/ images, FamilySearch (, Marion > Will records, 1863-1890, Vol. 1 > image 190 of 553; county courthouses, Kentucky.
"Kentucky Probate Records, 1727-1990," FamilySearch (, Marion Will records, 1863-1890, Vol. 1; county courthouses, Kentucky

Will of Wm T Spalding

In the name of God amen. I William T Spalding of Marion County Kentucky being sound of mind, do make this my last Will and Testament.

1st I will my soul to God who grave it, and my body to the Earth from whence it came.

2nd I will to the Pastor of Calvary church one hundred dollars to say masses for my poor soul.

3rd I will to my beloved wife Leweaser all my Estate during her life. And at her death I will to my two sons Joseph Spalding and Martin John Spalding all my landed Estate to be equally divided between them. I will the land to them at Five thousand dollars, and they are to pay back to the Estate One thousand each when they come in possession of said land.

4th I will that my said two sons to manage the Farm during the life time of my beloved wife at the price they may agree upon.

5th I will that my Daughter Amanda Luckett and children shall have a home on the farm during her single life.

6th My children that have not been married. I want them to receive the same as the others that are married, including Joseph, who is married.

7th I leave my wife my sole administratrix without Bond or administration. This 4th day of Dec.r 1880

William T Spalding

T M Bickett

Henry Abell

State of Kentucky }

Marion County

At a county court held in and for said county on the 4th day of April 1881, the foregoing paper preporting to be the last Will and Testament of William T Spalding dec’d was produced in open court and proven by the oaths of Henry Abell & T M Bickett the two attesting witnesses thereto. And ordered to be recorded as the last Will and testament of William T Spalding Dec’d.

Whereupon I have recorded it & this certificate.

This July 14th, 1881

John Severance, Clk

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday's Faces from the Past - Gertrude Fifield's Boy


"Leroy Benjamin Hopkins, Age 10 mo." is written on the back of this photograph which really helped me learn why this photo was included in the collection of old photos once belonging to my Negley ancestors of Eldorado, Clay County, Nebraska. It was easy to trace Leroy through census records and I found the connection with his mother, Gertrude Fifield. 

Gertrude was born in 1896 in Nebraska and lived in Eldorado at least through 1910. She was about 16 years younger than my Great Grandmother Sadie (Negley) McGrath, but I've learned that Sadie and/or her sister Alice were Sunday School teachers at the Eldorado Methodist Church. Gertrude could easily have been one of their students. If not through church, Eldorado was a small enough village that everyone knew everyone, so it's no doubt the Fifield's were acquainted with the Negley's. 

Gertrude's father Edward ran a general store, mother Sylvia was caretaker for her and her siblings Ralph, Otis, Earnest, Everett, Irene and Sylvia. Edward & Sylvia were very likely well acquainted with my Second Great Grandparents, Josiah & Sarah Negley.

Gertrude married Benjamin Hopkins and they moved to Logan County, Nebraska. Together they had four children, Leroy, Verlon, Eugene and Edna. In an earlier edition of my Friday's Faces, I posted a photo of an infant marked with the name "Edna" with no surname, maybe she is Edna Hopkins. 

Leroy was born in Stapleton on July 24, 1918 according to his WWII Draft registration, so this photo was taken about 1919/1920. He married Helen Elmira Foster in 1940. Leroy & Helen were the parents of eight sons: Frank, Robert, Larry, James, Ronald, Richard, William and Gregory. Leroy died in 2015 in Seaside, Oregon and was brought back to Nebraska for burial in the Aurora Cemetery. 

It was nice of Gertrude to keep in touch with her friends the Negley's after she moved away. I'd like to return the favor. I would be happy to get Leroy's photo back into the hands of his family. If you are a relative of Leroy Hopkins and would like to have the original of this photo, please leave a comment or send me an email. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Uncle Orville

His birth day was April 20, 1914, this photo is marked "Orville, 7 weeks". Orville Callahan was the third child of Art & Sadie McGrath. He joined his older brother and sister, Virgil and Alice at home in Eldorado, Nebraska. Little sister Violet, my Grandma, came along three years later. Orville lived in Eldorado just a few years, by 1910 the family moved to Aurora where he attended school, his name appearing on the honor roll multiple times. In high school he received a Remington certificate for his typing skills. 

He displayed some acting skills as well. In the Junior Class play "Take My Advice" at Aurora High School, Orville was "very good" as Kerry Van Kind according to the review in the Aurora newspaper. The Senior class play was "The Ghost Parade", Orville played a character named simply "Jones".  He graduated from Aurora High School with the Class of 1932.
The Aurorean, 1932, courtesy of

In June, 1933 he enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Crook in Omaha. He served in Chadron for one year and worked as a grocery clerk, a plumber and was also tasked with exterminating prairie dogs. For his service he received $30 per month plus room and board, the requirement was that he send $22-25 of that home to his parents. He got to go home for Christmas.

After his CCC service, he joined his brother Virg working in the Produce & Feed Store in Aurora. At age 26, he decided to further his education and in 1940 moved to Washington, DC to attend the Benjamin Franklin University, a school of "accountancy". Maybe it was an ad like this that caught his attention.
Evening Star, Washington DC, January 7, 1940

A year later he started his career with the US Government, which was interrupted by his service in 
World War II. He was involved in the action at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. My attempt to have his service file retrieved was unsuccessful, it may have been one that burned in a fire at the National Archives.

While in DC, he met Ethel Jaeschke, who had been married to Revedy McPherson whom she divorced. She was employed in the US Treasury Department. She wouldn't like it if I mentioned that she was older than Orville. I remember Aunt Ethel, I liked her, she sent me birthday cards. So I won't say how much older she was (but she was 3 in 1910.)

On Friday, the 23rd of August, 1946 Orville and Ethel tied the knot in Baltimore, Maryland. The ceremony location is not given, they possibly went before a Judge. No one from Uncle Orville's side of the family made the trip as far as I know. I'm not sure when they heard about this event - before or after the fact. It wasn't mentioned in his hometown paper.

In 1951, Uncle Orville and Aunt Ethel moved to Denver, Colorado where he went to work as an auditor in the US General Accounting Office. For several years they lived at 1120 Jasmine Street, Denver. They didn't have any children.

Taken in Aurora, Nebraska in 1956, (L-R) Art, Orville, Sadie and Ethel McGrath

Orville was an active member of several fraternal organizations in the Denver area including the Dawn Chapter #125 Order of the Eastern Star, Rocky Mountain Consistory Scottish Rite Foundation, Colorado Commandery 1 of Knights Templar, Denver RAM Chapter 2 and past master and charter senior warder of Revelation Masonic Lodge 180. He was also a member of the Augustana Lutheran Church. 

On the evening of October 9, 1969 at just 55 years of age Uncle Orville died at his home at 755 S Alton Way, Denver, Colorado. Funeral services were held at Moore Mortuary in Colorado and then again at Higby Mortuary in Aurora, Nebraska. Masonic rites were conducted by the local Mason Lodge 68 AF & AM. His grave in the Aurora Cemetery is near his parents, who both preceded him in death, He was the first of his siblings to pass away. I have no specific memory of Uncle Orville, but I'm sure I saw him a few times. In every picture I have of him, he has a big smile just like in the one above.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Few Days Illness

There is not much I know about Nellie Gaisford. She was the eighth child of Charles and Henrietta Gaisford, born in 1883 just a year after my Great Grandmother Cora. Nellie never married, and didn't have an occupation in 1910 at the age of 26, but she was able to read and write. 

The Ellis news columns in the Beatrice Daily Sun often told of Nellie and her older sister Mamie going to visit with other siblings and their families. Mamie was 13 years older than Nellie. One of those mentions in 1914 even tells that they "drove" to a sister's place. What did they drive? Did someone in the family have a car in 1914? Checking for an operator's license is pointless, they weren't required in Nebraska until 1929. I wonder if Nellie was involved in the womens suffrage campaign. She didn't live long enough to see women win the right to vote. With no more than I know about her, Nellie appeared to live a carefree life doing as she pleased. 

And then in flu enza.

Beatrice Daily Express, Jan. 11, 1919

Beatrice Daily Express, Jan. 11, 1919

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Great Grandma Allie Knew Her Chickens

Allie Bell took First Prize at the Jewell County (Kansas) Fall Festival for both Cock and Hen with Plymouth Rock - Buffs in the Department H Poultry division, and received First for the Young Pen category with her Leghorns - Buff. She got a total of $5.00 in premiums in October, 1920. She took the prize for Young Pen, Buff Leghorns again in 1921. She also won prizes over three years of exhibiting for her apples, beets, beans, and a knitted scarf, and received 4th place for a decorated cake. 

Those little bits of insight into an ancestor's life are fun to find in old newspapers. Thanks to a free weekend of a newspaper subscription site, I found all of this information and more about my Great Grandmother Allie Bell. These clippings were all about her prized chickens. Looks like she made good money with them, despite a set-back once in a while. Her competition was underselling her, but she sold "pure bred from selected pens". By 1924, her newspaper ad was quite a bit larger than in 1919 (I only found the one). 


Jewell Co Monitor, March 7, 1919
White Leghorn eggs, Yesterlaid Strain - 75c per dozen or $4.00 per 100 eggs. Also Buff Rock eggs, 75c for 15. - Allie Bell, Esbon, Kansas, Ionia phone 3052. 


Jewell County Monitor, March 18, 1921
For Sale: - Eggs for hatching. Buff Leghorns and Buff Rocks, Pure bred from selected pens. $6.00 per hundred or $1.50 per setting at the farm or delivered at Ionia. - Mrs Allie Bell, Ebson, Kansas - Ionia phone No. 3052


Jewell County Monitor, March 3, 1922
Mrs. Cicero Bell is the first to report a brood of young chicks. She now has about 50 little chicks and about 600 eggs setting. She said she sold about $950 worth of eggs and chickens last year. She thinks she can do better this year. Mrs. Bell raises only purebred chickens and says they are the only kind that pays and Mrs. Belle ought to know as she has been in the chicken business for a long time and has tried both pure bred and mixed flocks. 

Jewell County Monitor, October 6, 1922
Mr. and Mrs. Cicero Bell of the Ionia country were in town last Saturday. Mrs. Bell has just received a $50 pen of fancy Barred Plymouth Rock chickens from Iowa of which she is justly proud. 

Western Advocate, March 23, 1922
Mrs. Cicero Bell came near having quite a blaze on account of the lamp in one of her incubators exploding. 


Jewell County Monitor, February 2, 1923
Mr. and Mrs. Cicero Bell were in Mankato, Friday, attending the Poultry show. Mrs. Bell did not make and [any] exhibits at the Poultry show this year, but she had some fine fouls in her pens. 

Jewell Co Monitor, March 2, 1923
Mrs. Cicero Bell reports over 500 baby chicks over two weeks old and doing nicely. Besides hatching and caring for that number of chicks, Mrs. Bell has had to care for her entire family of boys, five of them, during this recent seige of flu. 
In this same issue, she was reported to have bought some "fine purebred chickens at Jewell last Saturday", and then just a couple weeks later... 

Jewell County Monitor, March 23, 1923
Mrs. Cicero Bell suffered quite a loss when she smothered some 385 little chickens last Monday night.


Western Advocate, February 28, 1924

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday's Faces from the Past - May 9, 1915

Both of the photos below have the date May 9, 1915 written on them (I cropped it off the group photo). One year earlier, May 9, 1914, was the first official "Mother's Day". Is that the occasion here? 

This looks like it might be a group of siblings or cousins. One woman is holding a baby, maybe there is an in-law included. They may be a combination of families or generations, and I can't determine whether or not they belong in my family tree. These were with the stash of photos that once belonged to my Great Grandma Sadie (Negley) McGrath. In 1915, she was married to Art McGrath, they had 3 young children and they lived in either York or Hamilton County, Nebraska. But I don't know where these were taken or where these people lived. These are approximately 5" x 7" post cards that were never sent to anyone.

Lon and Ralph look like two wild and crazy guys!  
Do you know Lon & Ralph?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

At Auction, April 24, 1962

My Great Grandma Sadie's brother Bill Negley was a bachelor his whole life. He farmed with his father Josiah Negley until taking a job as section foreman for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. In 1914 he purchased a general store and Sinclair gas station in Eldorado which he operated until his retirement in 1937 with no more than an eighth grade education. The store also served as the Eldorado Post Office with Bill as Postmaster. His brother Cal also helped run the store. After retiring from the store, his income came from his investments in cattle and rental properties. Bill passed away suddenly at his home in Aurora on December 10, 1961 at 78 years old.

Bill bought and sold a lot of properties through the years. I have the deeds to these five tracts and several more. He bought Tract No. 1 & 1-A in June of 1948 for $9600. Tract No. 2 he bought in February 1937 for $2340. Tract No. 3 he purchased in January 1951, no amount was mentioned in the deed. In October 1948 he bought Tract No. 4 for $5000, my Grandpa Stanley Bell bought this one at the auction. Tract No. 5 Bill bought in May 1951 for $2400. The total sales of these tracts brought $55,100.00. 

Will be sold to the Highest Bidder - on 
TUESDAY, APRIL 24th, 1962
At East Entrance to the Courthouse, Aurora, Nebraska
TRACT NOS. 1 & 1-A
NW1/4, Section 27, Township 9 North, Range 6, West of the 6th P.M., Hamilton County, Nebraska, on Highway No. 14. This 160 acres will be split east and west, making two 80-acre tracts.
TRACT NO. 1 - North Half is all in cultivation, has 10 acres of growing wheat, 10 acres of alfalfa, remaining will be milo. Marion Salmon is the Tenant.
TRACT NO. 1-A - South Half has 10 acres growing wheat, and 40 acres of Alfalfa. Stanley Bell is the Tenant.
This will also be offered as a 160-acre unit. The high bid closes the sale.
S1/2 SW1/4, Section 35, Township 9 North, Range 6, West of the 6th P.M., Hamilton County, Nebraska, one mile east of Highway No. 14 on Hamilton-Clay County line. Folks desiring pasture, inspect this tract. There is 30 acres of native pasture, 20 acres brome and 30 acres of alfalfa. This is on cash rent basis to Dayton Bauder, Tenant.
N1/2 SW1/4, Section 8, Township 9 North, Range 6, West of the 6th P.M., Hamilton County, Nebraska, located 6 miles south on Highway No. 14, 2 miles west and 1/2 mile south. Joins what formerly was Cain Schoolhouse site, all in cultivation, 10 acres growing wheat, balance will be in milo. Theo Janzen, Tenant.
E1/2 NW1/4, Section 14, Township 9 North, Range 7, West of the 6th P.M., Hamilton County, Nebraska, located 4-1/2 miles southeast of Giltner, across the road from Seatonville Cemetery. All is in cultivation, 29 acres of growing wheat, balance will be milo. Stanley Bell is the Tenant.
SE1/4 SW1/4, Section 23, Township 9 North, Range 7, West of the 6th P.M., Hamilton County, Nebraska, located 1 mile south of Bingville corner and 1/2 mile west, all in cultivation, no growing wheat. Stanley Bell is the tenant.
Above lands are leased for 1962 crop year. Landlord's crop share and cash rent will be assigned to buyers together with future government payments. These lands are in the Feed Grain Program, 40%.
Any member of Auction Company will be pleased to show any of these lands at any time.
Estate of William D. Negley
Coblentz-Refshauge Realty Auction Co.
Phone 31     AURORA, NEBR