Friday, December 4, 2020

I Miss Family Dinners


COVID-19 put a stop on any plans for Easter dinner. Family reunions in the summer were all cancelled. No Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas is not likely, and we will be staying home for New Year's Eve. I'm very grateful that I have not had to deal with COVID personally. But the news has been been so overwhelming at times, so I turned to old newspapers online for more interesting reading. I've found lots of trivial family news in the social columns of the past.

My Great Grandparents, Cicero and Allie Bell, were parents of a total of seven sons. Frank and G O (Oren) were sons of Cicero and his first wife. J W (Bill) Vickrey was Allie's son from her first marriage. In 1901 after both were widowed, they married and had Ben, Ed, Stanley and Virgil. About 1923, most of the family moved to Hamilton County, Nebraska from Jewell County, Kansas. Depending on the year, Oren, Bill and Virgil each may have had to drive in from out of state for family get-togethers.

We have had many family gatherings in the past where some people were unable to be there. Very often they were celebrating with the other side of their family. In this clipping from 1942 at Thanksgiving, it states "All joined in a prayer for those absent because of sickness, and for the boys in service." I'm thankful at least we're not at war right now. At the time of this dinner a few of the grandsons of Cicero and Allie were serving in WWII. Cicero was living in a nursing home, and Frank is not mentioned. Mr and Mrs Bill Dieckman are Ben's wife's parents.

Aurora News-Register, December 11, 1942

In 1943 the Bell family gathered for Christmas at the Grandparents home in Aurora. Two families weren't there, Oren's from Oklahoma and Bill's from Kansas. Cicero and Allie were blessed with 9 grandsons and 9 granddaughters.

Republican-Register, Aurora, NE December 31, 1943

I admit I had to lookup "Salmagundi", and I believe these dinners were the type of the second definition, "a general mixture, a miscellaneous collection". I've been having salmagundi dinners all my life! How did such a great word get dethroned by "pot luck"? 

This clipping says "all of her boys" but Bill, Frank and Oren weren't there. 

Aurora News-Register, December 30, 1949

"Those things mean so much to a shutin." Can't we all relate to that this year! 

Aurora News-Register, January 13, 1950

This big family reunion with the families of Cicero Bell and his sister, Laura Alcorn must have been quite a production. I'll bet the instrumental number by my Mom and her sister was a clarinet and saxaphone duet. From the list of where everyone came from, it looks like Oren's family didn't make the trip from Oklahoma.

Aurora News-Register, September 11, 1955

For Christmas 1955, my Grandparents hosted dinner for Grandma's parents, brother and Uncle Bill. Not mentioned were my Mom and her sister and brothers. This would have been in the same farmhouse where I had my first several Christmas dinners with this family. Great Grandma McGrath and Uncle Bill Negley were gone before I came along, but Uncle Virgil was at all of our family events, often with his movie camera.

Aurora News-Register, December 30, 1955

All of these events were before my time. I don't know if any of these people had a camera to take snapshots, but they would be priceless. These clippings are fund to read, but I think they are making me miss family even more.  When this pandemic is over I'm gonna host a big ole' salmagundi dinner! 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Last Will & Testament of "Joe Tunk" Spalding, 1939

Last week I posted the Will of William T Spalding. This week I have his son Joe's will dated May 31, 1939. Joe's son Marcus is my daughter's Great Grandfather. Mark Spalding married Cora Lula Spalding, whose Grandfather John Austin Spalding is a brother of William T Spalding. Mark and Cora were second cousins, both Grand Grandchildren of Richard A Spalding and Henrietta Thompson.

Joseph Spalding married Harriet Elizabeth "Bettie" Thomas and together they had 9 children. Both Bettie and son Leroy Spalding died November 26, 1896. Joe Tunk died on January 6, 1945, his entire life was spent in the Calvary, Marion County, Kentucky area. He is buried beside his wife in Holy Name of Mary Cemetery at Calvary. 

Children of Joe & Bettie Spalding:

  • Mary Louise (1880-1953) married James F Mills 
  • Stella Josephine (1881-1972) married William "Spalding" Robinson 
  • William Thomas (1883-1885)
  • Mary Edith (1884-1972)
  • Marcus Thomas (1886-1950)
  • Susan Frances (1888-1973) married Samuel Ford
  • Annie Cora (1890-1983)
  • Mary Eugenia (1892-1966) Sr Rebecca
  • Leroy (1896-1896)

  • "Kentucky Probate Records, 1727-1990," FamilySearch (, Marion Will records, 1932-1949, Vol. 4 

Last Will & Testament of Joseph Spalding

I, Joe Spalding, residing at Calvary, Marion County, Kentucky, being of sound mind and Memory, do make and publish this as my last will and testament.

ITEM 1: I direct my Executrix and Executor, hereinafter named, to pay and satisfy in full all my just debts and liabilities.

ITEM 2: I give and bequeath to my daughter, known in religion as Sister Rebecca, of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the sum of One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars to do with as she pleases. I give this to my said daughter as a slight remembrance of the love and affection that I bear towards her.

ITEM 3: The balance of my estate, of every kind and character, real and personal, I give, devise and bequeath, to my four children, Edith Spalding, Marcus Spalding, Susan Spalding Ford and Cora Spalding, conditioned, however, that these four children shall pay jointly the sum of Two Thousand ($2000.00) Dollars to each of my other two children, to-wit:

Lou Spalding Mills, and Stella Robinson. When this payment is made, that is, when Lou Spalding Mills and Stella Robinson shall each receive the sum of Two Thousand ($2000.00) Dollars, then my said four children, to-wit: Edith, Marcus, Susan and Cora, shall own jointly, in fee, my said estate.

ITEM 4: I hereby appoint my daughter, Edith Spalding, Executrix, and my son Marcus Spalding, Executor, of this will, and request that they be permitted to qualify as such without giving any surety upon their official bond, hereby giving and granting to my said Executrix and Executor full power and authority to sell and transfer, by proper deeds of conveyance, any real estate I may own, my said Executrix and Executor shall serve without compensation.

I have endeavored to make this a fail and just will as to all my children, who, in any manner, might be dependent upon me and hole that each of them will so consider it,

Given under my hand this 31st day of May, 1939.

Joseph Spalding

Signed and acknowledged by the testator as his will in our presence and signed by us as witnesses, at his request, in his presence and in the presence of each other.

This 31 day of May, 1939

Henry G Boldrick

Chas C Boldrick

At a Special Term of the Marion County Court, held in and for said County on the 11 day of January, 1945, the foregoing paper purporting to be the last will and testament of Joseph Spalding, deceased, was produced in open Court and proven by the testimony of the two attesting witnesses thereto, to-wit: Henry G Boldrick and Chas C Boldrick, and the Court being advised ordered and directed that said paper be established as the last will and testament of the said Joseph Spalding, probated as such and ordered to be recorded which is done accordingly, whereupon I have recorded it, and this certificate - 

Given under my hand this 12 day of January 1945 -

I M Gray, Clerk, M C C 

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

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Los Angeles Ladies Quartet 1917

Los Angeles Evening Express, March 14, 1917, courtesy of 

The way I read this, the woman at the top (or in the back) is Mrs Gertrude Bailey. On the left is Mrs Hallie Swartz and on the right is Mrs Carl Johnson. And the woman in the middle is Mrs Merlin McKee, or Belle. I've written about my search for a photo of Belle before. It took me just over a year after that post to find this. I'm still hoping to find more. 

Hallie sang first soporano, Gertrude second soprano, Belle first alto and Mrs Carl Johnson second alto. Their performances were usually at Social Clubs or sometimes Church functions. Some of their scheduled events as reported in the Los Angeles Herald for the first part of 1917 were as follows:

  • January 30 - the Women's Wednesday Morning Club
  • February 9 - the Liberty Club
  • February 21 - at the Huntington in Pasadena
  • March 7 - the Gamut Club
  • March 14 - the Gamut Club

It's difficult to learn more about the women, especially Mrs Carl Johnson, without more information. I do find in Los Angeles city directories that Hallie and Belle were both music teachers. Belle is the half-sister of my Second Great Grandmother, Lena (Jorgenson) Roscoe. Learning more about these women is a little project of mine. If you know anything about them or the "Los Angeles Ladies Quartet", I'd love to hear from you. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Mother May Have

I'm so thankful that times have changed.

This first note below is from Mary C. Roscoe, my Third Great Grandmother. This is the earliest one of several I have, but it sounds like there was at least one before. These were included in the probate file of David A Roscoe, her husband, who died without a will on May 13, 1884 in DeWitt, Nebraska. Their son Ervin, died a year and a half later on November 29, 1886. Mary was forced to request money from the estate to help with the expenses of burying their eighteen year old son.

The second note is one of several "permission slips" signed by three of her four oldest boys - William, Sherman, George, and Franklin, who were all over the age of 18 when their father died. Her daughter Nancy was married and 29 years old, and was never a factor in the matter.

DeWitt, Jan. 14, 1887
Judge Ryan
Kind Sir,
Please, I would like to ask you if you will give my Administrater authority to pay me another hundred dollars as my children are all willing that I should have it.
Since my application for that hundred, which Mr. Davis, applied for, I have had to be to the expense of my sons burial, and after paying the undertaker and paying for my hay, and some of his doctor bill, it don't leave a dollar for me to pay my coal dealer, or the druggist, and a few others which I had thought to straighten up (continued on back)

1/15 A by requests of heirs (this was maybe written by the Judge?)

(back side, not pictured)
I am aware that it will reduce my interest money. But the older boys all say that they want me to have money sufficient to live on, and keep the two younger boys, while I live, and they think if they keep their health, when it is gone, there will be money to be earned.
Now Judge Please write me, your opinion on this, and oblige, Mrs. M. Roscoe, DeWitt

DeWitt, Neb. Jan. 17th
Jas. W. Rhine County Judge
Sir this is to certify that we the undersigned are perfectly willing that Mother may have one hundred dollars. $100.

George Roscoe
Frank Roscoe
Sherman I Roscoe

A hundred dollars in 1887 compares to $2,715 today. 

David and Mary were married April 6, 1854 in Utica, New York. Ten years later, they moved with their young family of 5 children at that time to Peotone, Illinois where they spent the next 20 years. Five more children were born in Peotone. They had just moved to DeWitt, Nebraska a few short months before David's death.

Over the course of the eight and a half years that the estate was in probate, Mary had to make several requests for money to cover her living expenses and other necessities like coal, doctors bills, tuition and clothing for the younger boys. Besides Ervin, when David died Bert was 14, Edward was 10 and Charles was 8. 

I don't think Mary was very satisfied with Mr Richard Davis, the Administrator of the estate. In some of the notes, Mary asks the Judge to "hurry him up, if it is in your power to do so", and says "he is very slow and easy". She also said, "I don't think it need concern him how much money I draw, as my boys are will for me to have it."

Final settlement of the estate was made in January of 1893 and Mary received $16.22. Her marriage to Lyman Adams in September of 1891 probably eliminated her from any claim to a part of the estate. There are several other documents in the file that I have yet to sort out. I'm focused on these notes for now. 

Lyman Adams left Mary a widow again in 1894. She died in 1923, living long enough to see women win the right to vote. I've tried to see if she was a registered voter in 1920, but I was told they don't have those records.

I am so thankful that times have changed.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Calendar From the Past to the Future

A calendar that doesn't have a year is valid every few years. Something smaller than a credit card doesn't take up much space, and when it has a poem and pretty pictures why bother to throw it away. There was plenty room in a box of things that once belonged to my Negley ancestors where I found this little calendar booklet. It could have been my Second Great Grandmother Sarah's, or my Great Grandma Sadie's or maybe Sadie's sister Alice's calendar. It has now passed through three or four generations and come into my hands.

With no year on it anywhere, I Googled calendars to find the years where each month's start date was the same as in this one. It wasn't a leap year, and February started on a Thursday. 1894 was probably the earliest possible date, Alice would have been 17 years old and Sadie 14. 1900, 1906, 1917, 1923 and 1934 are all possible years. I think it looks like it was printed around 1900. Maybe that seemed like a special year. It happens to work for the year I was born. The next year the calendar dates all fall on the right day of the week will be 2029. I think I'll hang onto this little thing at least until then.

When January freezes,
When February thaws,
When March blows up her breezes,
When April buds the haws,
When May sets blossoms blowing,
When June shows leafy ways,
When July suns are glowing,
and August lilies blaze,
When September finds the aster,
for October's golden crown,
When November leaves fall faster,
and December trees are brown

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Kenneth Menke Farm Sale, 1955

Beatrice Daily Sun, December 9, 1955

Public Sale

Having decided to change farming operations, I will sell at Public Auction, at the place 3 miles east, 1/4 mile south of Harbine, Nebr., or 2 miles west and 2-1/4 miles south of Ellis, Nebr., on 

Thursday, Dec. 15

Commencing at 12 o'clock Sharp
[first column]

29 Head Cattle

9 Yr Old White Cow, milking now
8 Yr Old Spotted Cow, milking now
6 Yr Old White Cow, milking now
5 Yr Old Roan Cow, milking now
6 Yr Old Red Roan Cow, milking now
5 Yr Old Red Cow, just fresh
5 Yr Old Roan Cow, milking now
3 Yr Old Brockle Face Heifer, milking now
3 Black Angus Heifers, coming 2 yrs old to freshen in Spring
Black Heifer, 2 Yrs Old, Fresh in Spring
3 W-F Stock Cows, coming with 2 Calves
W-F Jersey, 1 Yr Old
Blue Roan Heifer, coming 2 Yrs Old
W-F Heifer, 6 Months Old 
2 Black Heifers, 4 Months Old
Holstein Heifer, 6 Months Old
5 Yr Old Black Cow, with Calf at side
5 Black Bucket Calves
Yearling Past Black Steer

Milking Equipment

Wilson 4 Can Milk Cooler
15 Gal. Santimatic Hot Water Heater
Santimatic Wash Vat
Can Rack  6 10-Gal Milk Cans
Radiant Electric Heater with Thermostat Control
Milk Strainers
Electric 600 Watt Heater

8 Head Hogs

8 Red Feeders, Av[g] Weight 183 lbs

Hay and Grain

100 Bu Nemaha Oats
25 Bu Barley
400 Bu Yellow Ear Corn
800 Bales Choice Alfalfa, all 3 

[second column]
cuttings wire tired
30 Bales Wheat Straw

Farm Machinery

1938 F-20 Farmall in good condition
2-14 IHC Tractor Plow
John Deere 2 Row Tractor Corn Disc
G I 15 Ft Disc
G I 1-Row Corn Picker with Cooks Husking Bed
1952 MM, 18x7 Grain Drill with Power Lift, Grass Seeder, Press Wheels
1950 Allis Chalmers Combine PTO, Extra good
Dearborn 2-Row Tractor Cultivator
44 Ft Kelley Ryan Grain Elevator with Power Take Off with Speed Jack
Wetmore Gluten Hammermill with PTO
1946 Case Hand Tie Baler, good shape
Two Wheel Trailer with Large Grain Bed
2 4-Wheel Rubber Tire Trailer with Flat Beds
Old Wagon
1953 MM Side Delivery Rake
7 Ft Mc Deering Mower
300 Gal. Fuel Tank on Stand, Double Compartment
Some old Machinery

Household Goods

2 Piece Living Room Suite
Some Miscellaneous Items


Tank Heater, Coal or Cob
Set of Harness.   Oil Heater
Oil brooder Stove     Used Lumber
30 Good Panels, Various Sizes
Open Shed, 22x10 Ft.
1930 Model A Ford
Some Old Iron
Miscellaneous Items

Lunch at noon by Ellis Methodist Ladies
Terms: Cash.   No goods to be removed from premises until settled for.

Kenneth Menke, Owner

Owner's Telephone No. 10803 Diller
First National Bank, Clerk

Hubert               Harold
1610 H St        613 12th St
Ph 1135 Fairbury    Phone 1365