Friday, May 10, 2019

Ancestry Thru-lines has been rolling out a wonderful tool called "Thru-lines".  It combines DNA with family trees and sometimes projects who the mutual ancestor is.

So, each of these children of James ? Graham has a DNA match for me.  The only thing "for sure" is that each of us matches DNA (I've blurred some of the photos for privacy reasons) and we have a common ancestor.  Several of us have speculated that James ? Graham is our ancestor, so Ancestry pulled us all together.  Now whether that common ancestor is James would require us all to match James' siblings.  Since we all only match at about a 5th-6th cousin level, that isn't really possible at this time unless we find a very strong strand of DNA. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

 That we all match at all,  is a miracle since I don't really have strong Graham genes.  His wife Sarah Broyles is where my strength is---I match her family for several more generations back.  James has a ?? because I was never very sure about him.

Also note that I am the only William Graham descendant on this and yet I know there are 31 of his descendants who match William.  Here are his children's descendants who have DNA matches:  Margaret (8), Theodore (2), Susan (5), James Madison (3), Mary Polly (11) and Thomas (2).

This means that the strand I match all of these under James, is not shared by the other 30 descendants of William.  They probably have different matches than I do.  DNA is so fickle.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Roy Long and Vivian Maupin: early 1900's

Roy and Vivian—

While attending a writing class at church, someone in the class had begun writing her family history with a story of how her grandparents met.  As almost the eldest in my family, I thought I’d better write more of my family stories also.

Grandpa Roy grew up in a Baptist farm family of 12 children outside of DeSoto  MO near Big River. His mother was the daughter of a German miner and his father was from a Jefferson County Mo. family that had been farming and mining there before statehood. Any schooling Grandpa had would have been in a one room country school.He was raised with hard work and chores, but  Roy broke  away from the family traditions of farming or mining  to work at Missouri Pacific Railroad shop in De Soto, MO as a welder/boilermaker.   He was tall with blond good looks and based on notes, postcards, and photos that he saved, he was well loved by the ladies in the area.

Grandma Vivian grew up in a Methodist-Episcopal family with 7 children in a large Victorian home in DeSoto Mo.  Her mother’s family was from England and my aunt remembers tea parties and lace-curtain- elegance.  Grandma was raised in a more privileged family that was also more fun-loving.  During the Depression, an uncle gave all of the girls in the family violins and the boys each got a dime to buy ice cream with.  My dad often told stories of riding in the rumble seat of his grandfather’s Packard. Vivian’s father was the foreman of the Missouri Pacific roundhouse and the family travelled often by train to St. Louis for shopping and to Kansas City and Texas where family lived. She was one of those women whose personality and kindness sparkled in her eyes.

I don’t know how they met—the only common thread was Roy worked in the Missouri-Pacific shops and Vivan’s father was the foreman of the  Missouri-Pacific roundhouse in the same small town of De Soto, Missouri..  Grandpa had turned many a female head, and Grandma was a small town aristocrat. . .  and the boss’s daughter.  I have no letters and no photos of them at this time.  World War I was looming.

Roy enlisted in the Army Air Corps, not realizing that Vivian was pregnant with dad (LeRoy). LeRoy Harold Long  was born Aug. 1918 while Grandpa was in France. While I do have post cards Roy sent his parents, there is no indication that he had become a father.  The post cards are letting his parents know that he had landed in New York and would be home soon.

And Vivian?  I have one photo of her at this time, standing in a large circle — she appears to be pregnant. So, she wasn’t sent away or locked in her room.  Based on the stories I have heard about her family, I believe she was loved and cherished.  Her parents were indulgent with their children, even when they were adults and married.  Great grandmother Annie was so beloved that many of her descendants still bear her name (mine is in the middle).  They were not stingy with their wealth and freely gave what they had to all of their children that needed it, especially in the Depression where they provided housing for any needing it including one of my aunts (Norma) who lived with them as a teen-ager.  So, I believe they did whatever they needed to keep her physically or emotionally healthy.

Roy was discharged from the army on March 27, 1919 and  got married on the same day.  The witnesses were Mamie and Leo Wilson—Vivian’s sister and brother-in-law. She was 20; he was 25. It's worth noting that Vivian's mother was one of the founding "mothers" of the Episcopal Church in DeSoto.  Roy's family were the backbone of their Baptist Church and yet they were married by the Justice of the Peace not in a church. That seemed to be pretty common at that time---at least in my  Dad's family.   I wish I had one photo of them together when they were young, but starting life together with a 7 month old boy was undoubtedly a big adjustment.

As far as any of us know, Grandpa, despite his reputation with the ladies, remained faithful in his marriage to Vivian.  They had 6 children (Milton died as a baby) and remained married for 32 years until she died in 1951. But, there must have been a little bit of embarrassment on someone’s part since I found their marriage certificate which is in contradiction to the “official marriage records” in Jefferson County, Missouri.  The 1919 had been changed to 1916.

For more on Roy and Vivian , click here. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Jane Logan McKee

Jane Logan, born in Cumberland, Pennslyvania, was married to John McKee, immigrant from Ireland, by the time she was fourteen.  The pioneer couple settled near Kerrs Creek in land later known as Rockbridge County, Virginia.  It was heavily populated with Native American tribes, most especially the warlike Shawnee.  Several other families settled in the rich valley farmland too, such as the Gilmores, the Hamiltons, the Logans, the Erwins, the Norwoods, the Martins and the Cunninghams.  The McKees had seven children relatively quickly until tragedy struck.

According to a number of historical references, as well as legend, the settlers of Kerrs Creek suffered a number of casualties from at least two distinct Shawnee raids led by the famous Shawnee Chief, Cornstalk.  These raids took place near or concurrently with the French and Indian War (1756-1763) which was raging from Canada to New Orleans.  The Ottawa Tribe Chief Pontiac was successful in uniting the Native American tribes with the French, who made promises not to settle their land, against the British and their colonists pushing ever westward.  

On July 17, 1763, a smaller band of 27 braves attacked the individual farmsteads of Kerrs Creek.  According to one account, Jane, known as “Jenny,” and her husband John had sent their children to safety at Timber Ridge before the attack occurred.   They tried to slip out the back of their log cabin up the ridge behind their place, but Jenny was burdened with pregnancy and couldn’t run fast enough.  The Indians gained on the couple, at which time she urged her husband to run on ahead because their “children would have no parents” if he didn’t escape.  John hid Jenny in a sink hole and ran on.  He turned around in time to see the tomahawk take his wife’s life.  He managed to evade the braves, and returned later to find that his wife had survived long enough to tie a kerchief around her head to stem the wound.  He buried her where she lay, and noted her death in the family bible.  Another account has it that John was at a neighbor’s house attending sick children when the attack on his cabin occurred.  He returned home to find Jenny slain and scalped.  

Whatever the true account, John raised their children, and remarried.  Cornstalk, a tall and commanding historical figure, went on to become the chieftain of all of the Shawnee.  However, he reportedly had a change of heart later and decried all forms of warfare.  He tried to dissuade his tribe from joining the British against the colonists during the American Revolution.  He was murdered in 1777 (some say by several settlers from Kerrs Creek) while in American protective custody.  Supposedly, he had a premonition of his murder, and when the attack came, he bared his chest, offering it to seven rounds of gunshot.  

Thanks to ninastewartharrison who shared this in 2007 on

Jane Logan McKee was my 7th Great-grandmother:  Alice Louise Wicker, James Wesley Wicker, Macy Alice Williams, Mary Ann Pullam, Ally Vaughn, Nancy Dyer, Gracie McKee, James Logan McKee, Jane Logan.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Gold Rush Memories

Speech given by Clyde Williams
Grubville, Missouri on the 3rd Sunday in August, 1949
Simeon Frost
waarnett originally shared this on 02 Dec 2011

We are met today to celebrate the annual homecoming of the descendants of Simeon Frost and also to commemorate the centennial of the trip of those sturdy pioneers who left this community in 1849 to cross the plains and climb the mountains in search of gold. So far as I can learn there were eight men in that little band who departed for that long and perilous journey from the home of E. F. Frost in Grubville about the 1st of May 1849. One of the men was Simeon Frost, who was born in Kentucky in 1789 and came first to Washington County, Missouri and then to Crawford County. He was the father of Franklin, George and Christopher Frost and Mrs. Robert Wilson and others. He died on the trip about 10 miles west of Independence and was the only casualty among the group. The others were George Frost, M. C. Atwood, Mr. Mothershead, Mr. Leroy Dover, Ewing Mitchel, my grandfather John Manion and my father Frank Williams. There may have been others. There were several others who went to California about that time from Jefferson County and surrounding counties. Among them were James A. Wilson of Bethlehem, James McCulloch, Booker and Skelton Richardson, Mr. Duckworth, Thomas Harbison, father of Dr. M. C. Harbison who was known to everybody in the surrounding country 50 years ago. So far as I have ever heard, Skelton Richardson was the only man who made the trip, returned to Jefferson County. and then made the second trip and stayed some five years. The one trip seems to have satisfied all the rest.

Most of what little I have been able to learn about the eventful journey of the eight who left here together comes from a letter written by George Frost to his brothers Franklin and Christopher. The letter was dated Nov. 12, 1849, and was written at Feather River, California, the mining settlement where they stopped and which is about 100 miles from Sacramento, the capital of California.  I have not been able to secure a description of the equipment of this adventuresome band as they embarked upon their long, tiresome and hazardous journey. We can imagine their confusion, excitement and anxiety as they made great preparations for their departure. It is known that they traveled by wagons drawn by oxen. How many wagons and oxen, I do not know. They, of course, did not have the elaborate equipment of the trade caravans of that and earlier days, which traveled over the Santa Fe Trail from Kansas City, Topeka and other points to the southwest. The wagons used in that business carried 3 or 4 tons and were drawn by 6 yokes of cattle. We can suppose our little band had two or three wagons with two yokes of oxen for each wagon. The wagons were, no doubt, homemade. There were a number of local blacksmiths and wagon makers of that day, among them was Geo. W. Haverstick, father of Chas. W. Haverstick, who lived near Victoria, and who made many wagons that crossed the plains. In the letter above mentioned it is stated that the writer and Mr. Manion left their wagon and double teamed with Frank Williams and got through with one wagon and 4 yoke of cattle. The wagons, of course, were well filled with provisions and bedding, covered with wagon sheets and I can imagine that each one of the party had his trusty rifle and at least one faithful dog to the wagon. The guns served the double purpose of protection from the Indians and providing game to eat. Our group, no doubt, was joined along the way by others who were on a like mission. The letter mentions that they passed many on the way who were carrying their packs on their backs and were begging their way. Perhaps those who were traveling by wagon fell in together and formed a kind of caravan and at night, as was the custom of the trade groups, would form a circle with the wagons as a means of protection from the wild beasts and the Indians. The day’s drive was likely divided into two parts, an early start in the morning and a drive of 5 or 6 miles, then a stop at noon for food and drink and then the afternoon drive of about the same distance. It took them 6 months and 7 days to make the journey and while it is not known just what route they took, they would have had to travel almost directly west a distance of at least 2,000 miles to reach their destination in the Sacramento Valley in California. There were many hardships and dangers and much sickness along the way but only the one death in this group.

Thomas Harbison who went about the same time but not with this band, died of cholera after reaching California. That dread disease was raging at that time and took its toll from among those crossing the plains as well as throughout the entire country. In St. Louis alone out of a populations of some 60,000 about one out of every 10 died of the terrible malady.

I have no information of how Mr. Frost’s letter was transmitted or how long it was on the way. The rush of thousands to California made necessary a quicker transit of the mail. To meet the situation the Pony Express was organized which carried mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco, California, a distance of about 1,800 miles. The distance was covered in 8 days. There were 80 riders constantly in the saddle, 40 going each way at the same time. The mail was carried in relays, each rider making 40 or 50 miles and then transferring the mail immediately to another who at the end of his line delivered to the next rider and so on. $5.00 was charged for carrying each letter. When the Pacific Telegraph was completed and began sending messages the Pony Express was abandoned. At the writing of the letter it was stated that Mr. Dover had been sent to Sacrament to lay in winter provisions where the price was cheap compared to that at the mines. Here is a sample of the prices at the mines, pork $1.00 a pound, flour $.75, potatoes $1.50 a pound, corn meal $.50 per pound and the charge for hauling $.50 a pound. Mr. Frost in his letter said that he and my father had been out that day, fixed up their washer, carried the rack, dirt and gravel about 20 yards in a pan and washed out better than an ounce of gold which should be something like $20. While money was plentiful, the going was rough and rugged and in the letter he advised his brothers to stay where they were and that he hoped to return the next fall by water as he never expected to cross the plains again. Living in a tent in a mining camp in all kinds of weather without any of the comforts of home and the association of loved ones was enough to make them homesick and as he said he wished a thousand times that he was back on Jones Creek. He and my father stayed about two years and returned by water and across the Isthmus of Panama. Those were perilous and trying times and it took the greatest courage and fortitude to undertake such an adventure.

It took those pioneers over 6 months to make that journey. Today one can go from St. Louis to San Francisco in 6 hours, which is about 720 times faster than they traveled. I wonder if we today are living over 700 times faster than they did. During the 100 years which have intervened since these pioneers crossed the plains vast and momentous changes have taken place, changes far greater and more varied than all those which took place in the entire history of mankind before that time. If those living at the beginning of the Christian era, nearly 2,000 years ago, could have been brought back to earth in 1849, they would have recognized it as much the same as when they lived. But if Geo. Washington could be brought back here today, he would not recognize this earth as the same upon which he lived a century and half ago.Scientific research and inventive genius have transformed our manner of living and mode of life in every field of human activity. This has been truly a period of transition, a change from the old to the new.

Many material comforts and conveniences and even luxuries have been showered upon us. The improved means of communication and the modern methods of transportation have made us all neighbors and we should be friends. It is a long cry from that day 100 years ago when that little band of pioneers left Grubville on that long and perilous trek to California. But with all the progress and advancement that has been made, perfection has not yet been reached. Disease and crime are still prevalent; ignorance, prejudice, superstition and intolerance are still wide spread. Jealously, envy and greed are still common. Inequality, poverty and want are still to be found among us. Go with me today to the faraway places in other lands and into the big cities, see the little children hungry and ragged living in huts and hovels, in dark and dusty tenements. Children who have never breathed a breath of pure unpolluted air, who have never enjoyed a clear bright beam of sunshine, who have never heard the song of a bird or smelled the fragrance of a flower and as we look into their sad and forlorn faces we realize that all our boasted progress has not brought contentment and happiness to all the people. Strife, selfishness and unholy ambition are still with us. Within the last few decades our nation has been called upon to fight two of the most destructive and devastating wars in the world’s history. Wars which brought death, sorrow and suffering to millions of men and women and which have left in their (aftermath) wake hardships and burdens which will be felt for generations to come. If mankind is to survive on this earth, the 3rd world war must not come. Now, five years after our last war, the nations of the world are earnestly and feverishly striving to perfect an association of nations that will bring us universal and lasting peace. Let us pray that their efforts will not be in vain. Surrounded on all sides by the constantly rising, ceaseless surging tide of unsettled thought and unstable, uncertain conditions, during all these vast upheavals and terrible calamities, in the midst of all the confusion, turmoil and strife, the fundamental principles of human life and conduct have remained firm and unshaken. We must hold steadfastly to those sturdy traits of character which supported and sustained our forefathers, which made them great and noble and which they transmitted unimpaired to us. Brotherly love is just as important, relief of the distressed is just as imperative and truth is just as vital today as they ever were. Faith in God and man must remain solid as the Rock of Ages. Charity must be ever fleet of foot and ready of hand to serve humanity. Friendship, loyalty and devotion must live on. Patriotism, love of home and country must be true and lofty. Honor, integrity and virtue must ever remain unsullied and undefiled. These are the things worthwhile. They are the great unseen realities of life which are the same yesterday, today and forever. They must and they will abide. Let us all hope that these noble virtues may be enshrined in the hearts of men everywhere and that the nations of earth animated and inspired by these lofty ideals may at last find the path that will lead us to the way of peace, that broad highway along which we may all march together, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, hand clasped in hand and heart locked in heart until we reach that great tableland of tomorrow from which can be seen the dawn and sunrise of a brighter, a better and a happier day.

Thank you to A. L. Kaufman who transcribed this.  Many of these names are related to or descended from William Graham or Bromfield Long (my ancestors).  The Haversticks are related to my Reed Family.

Sunday, January 27, 2019


This was taken from Jason Fry's blog post---to read it all: click here

 In the 1650s my ancestor Gregorius Frey and his family fled Switzerland for the Palatinate. The Freys were Anabaptists, targeted by radical Catholics and Protestants alike to be tortured and murdered for interpreting Christianity differently than they did. 

In the late 1680s King Louis XIV invaded the Palatinate. When an alliance of German princes counterattacked, Louis XIV ordered his troops to burn everything they could reach. The region remained a battlefield for generations, ravaged by troops from both sides in a succession of wars sparked by religious differences and political ambitions. 

In 1708 a terrible winter killed half a million people in the Palatinate and sent a tide of starving refugees to England, where they were settled in tent cities on the outskirts of London. English politicians argued that the German newcomers were too poor and unskilled to be anything but a burden, and warned that their religious loyalties made them a threat to the Church of England.

Freys are really stubborn. My ancestors finally left the Palatinate in 1733, emigrating to Pennsylvania as part of another wave of refugees. Pennsylvania had long prided itself on tolerance, but the arrival of Germans with different religious beliefs alarmed many whose English parents and grandparents had settled there. “Why should the Palatinate Boors be suffered into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the Exclusion of ours?” asked a politician of the time. “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens?”