Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Frank's Family Findings


#4 - Homesteading in Oklahoma 1907, a Great Uncle and his "Great Uncle," a Founding Settler of Amesbury Massachusetts, and a Brick Wall - the Mystery of William Hackney

In Family Findings #2, we wrote about Davidson Gardner and Hattie Foltz Hendricks, and promised to bring you Earlene Hendricks Schaefer's accounting of her grandparents homesteading on the prairie of the Oklahoma panhandle. Here, then, is that story:

Homesteading in Oklahoma 1907

"Davidson Gardner (Gard or D. G.) and his wife, Hattie Foltz Hendricks, their five children, May, Wiley, Harry, Pearl, and Earl—ages fifteen to one, Gard's half-brother and wife, James Logan and Kate Hendrix, came to Oklahoma by train emigrant car and chair car from Hale, Missouri, in August, 1906.  Gard had come to Beaver County the previous February and filed on one hundred and sixty acres.  In 1908 he bought another one hundred forty acres from Fred and Jessie Taintor in the same section.  In 1914 he added forty more acres from Levi J. and Jennie Shock, which had been part of the original Ben Steadman claim.

Hendricks land in Beaver County

At the time Gard decided to bring his family to Beaver County, he was working for the C.B. & Q. [Chicago, Burlington & Quincy] railroad as a section foreman.  The railroad was promoting trips to Oklahoma and giving special rates to anyone who wanted to come and homestead.  This was a deciding factor for many as there was little money.  The emigrant cars were for livestock, household goods, implements, and anything they might wish to bring.  The chair car followed later with the members of the family.
Gard, Jim, and Harry rode the emigrant car.  Jim got off at Newton, Kansas, and for some reason was left behind to wait for the chair car to continue the trip with the rest of the family.  When the family boarded the train at Hale, the ticket agent made a mistake in their destination, making the tickets to Ellenwood, Kansas, instead of Englewood; but the mistake was corrected at Newton; and after some delay the passengers continued on to Englewood, the end of the line.

When the emigrant car arrived, it was unloaded, and a tent was pitched in the backyard of the hotel.  Part of the family stayed in it, and Hattie worked as cook in the hotel while the men made a trip to the claim with the wagon and stock.  The men had a great deal of difficulty crossing the Cimarron River because the sand was treacherous; they found themselves stuck many, many times.  When they finally reached the other side, Gard had decided that he had had enough; he planned that when morning came he would return to Missouri.  However, during the night a storm came up, and by morning the river was impassible, so he wearily continued on his way to his claim.

Gard's half-sister and her husband, Aletha Jane and Aaron Stains (a Union Army veteran), had homesteaded a year or two before on land in the section west of Gard, but later they sold out and moved to Oakwood, Oklahoma.  They lived there until Aaron's death when Jane moved back to Beaver County and lived near Jim and Kate until 1914 when she moved to Beaver City where she lived until her death in 1939, at the age of 87 years.

Aaron and Aletha Jane Hendricks Stains

Gard's mother, Hannah Hendricks, had homesteaded nearby, and the first school in the district was held in her dugout*.  May taught the first term of school there.  After a few years, a sod schoolhouse was built on Hannah's land.  When she died in 1907, Gard wanted to take her back to Missouri for burial, but didn't have enough money, and had to borrow a few dollars from Ben Steadman to bury her in Beaver.  She was buried on July 4, 1907, on a day that was so muddy only Gard and the wagon with her body could make it to the cemetery.  For the next 90 years, the family gathered for a meal and to decorate hers and subsequent graves, first on July 4 at the cemetery, later on Memorial Day at various sites in Beaver. 

* Editor's note - we don't know exactly what their dugout looked like, but it might have been similar to this one in 1890s Nebraska

Jim and Kate had a claim east of Hannah, and they build (sic) their dugout there.  They moved to Beaver City in 1916 and stayed there the remainder of their lives.  Kate died in 1931, lacking just two days of being 77 years old, and Jim died in 1935 at the age of 84.

Jim and Kate
Jim Hendricks in later years

 The family's outside interests were mainly in the Sunday school, Grange, and community get-togethers.  Hattie was one of the people instrumental in organizing the first Sunday school in that part of the county.  Tent camp meetings were the highlight of the summer.  Although she had had no special training, Hattie was much sought after for her services as midwife and for other nursing cases.  She was noted for her fear of the new country and its wide-open spaces.  She would hardly let her small child out of sight for fear of losing him.
The family was fortunate in living on a creek, so they had cottonwood to burn instead of the usual cow chips.  Water was not as much of a problem for them as it was for others.  One thing they did have a problem with was how to keep the coyotes away from the chickens.

Hattie and Gard moved to town about 1931.  They brought some of their livestock with them—at least the workhorses, a milk-cow, and chickens—which they kept until Gard's death.  Gard had lost most of his hearing, and Hannah's vision was not good, probably macular degeneration.  They both developed old age diabetes, but they continued to live alone in their house in Beaver with some help from Earl and Hilda next door and the other children, Wiley and Harry in Beaver, and Pearl in Forgan [Oklahoma].

Gard & Hattie - 50th Wedding Anniversary

Gard, 86, died on Sunday evening, July 4, 1943.  As was the custom, his body in the casket was displayed in the front room of the house.  In the evening a quartet including Helen Still and Denzil Wilmoth sang many of his favorite hymns, accompanied by Hilda on the pump organ.  Hattie suffered from cancer for several months and died at home on February 23, 1946, age 77.

Burial site - Beaver Pioneer Cemetery

Much of this is taken from HISTORY OF BEAVER COUNTY, Volume I.  Other is what I remember or have heard through the years.

Earlene Hendricks Schaefer





Thanks, Earlene, for your contribution! 

[Davidson Gardner Hendricks (1857-1943) is the great-grandfather of my wife, Nancy and her siblings Fred and Marie. D.G. and Hattie were the parents of Etta May (often seen incorrectly as Mae). Etta May married Frank Glidewell. From that union was born Nancy's mother, Edith Pearl Glidewell Staker and her siblings Opal, Mary, and Kenneth (who died in childhood).]

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 A Great-Uncle and "His Great-Uncle"


Submitted by my sister, Donna Thompson Vandegrift
Previously appeared in an on-line family tree in 2011

Cecil Holmes at the Treber Inn, 1970s?

Everybody has an Uncle Cecil. You know who I'm writing about. He's the one who starts telling stories at family gatherings and you kids don't understand what it means that the other adults are rolling their eyes and finding crucial tasks awaiting them in another room. Yea, that Uncle Cecil. Here's how my sister Donna wrote about him...  FBT
"One of the fondest memories of living in Wellington in the 50's was the 'gathering of the clan'. Those were wonderful occasions when grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends would gather for big family dinners. Many times, the event would occur out at the [Hackney] farm, but sometimes we would meet at our house, at 1408 North "B" Street. One of the rarest treats, for me, was a visit from Aunt Bee and Uncle Cecil Holmes, our Grandma's younger brother. I remember sitting on Uncle Cecil's lap as he told stories of himself and his famous geat-uncle. All the adventures and daring feats they participated in! How brave they both were! How lucky Uncle Cecil was to be the favorite nephew of such a wonderful man. Then I remember turning ten and learning that Great-Uncle Sherlock Holmes was a character created by Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle and Uncle Cecil was just telling us a story. It took a while for me to accept that I, too, was not related to Sherlock Holmes, but to this day, love to read Doyle and his adventures of ' my' G-G-Uncle, Sherlock Holmes."
FBT - some of the other stories about which we don't know the real "skinny" - did Uncle Cecil really stand guard at Geronimo's cell at Fort Sill, Oklahoma? And did he really fight alongside Harry Truman in WW I? Some basic online research might reveal the truths, but maybe, just maybe, it's better to let legends be legends.

World War I, Private Holmes

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 Valentine Rowell - Founding Settler of Amesbury, Massachusetts 


 [The Rowell lineage - both daughters of your blogger married into the Rowell family; their husbands are cousins.]

Memorial to the First Settlers of Amesbury, Massachusetts - photo courtesy Gravematter.com
Members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony began settling a site on the shores of the Merrimack River in the 1640s, but its formal establishment as the town of Amesbury did not take place until 1654. One of those charter members of the township was Valentine Rowell, 7th great-grandfather of my sons-in-law Jonathan Rowell and Kyle Miller.

Memorial in Golgotha Burying Ground
The memorial shown in these photos is located at the site of Amesbury's Golgotha Burying Ground.  There are no individual headstones at this cemetery, so the exact burial locations of these early settlers, including our Valentine Rowell, are unknown.

What do we know about Valentine Rowell? The second child and oldest son of  Thomas "Deacon" Rowell and Margaret Milner Rowell, he was born June 22, 1622 in Mancetter, a village on the outskirts of Atherstone in Warwickshire, England. Still to be discovered is the date of his emigration to New England. However, we do know that he married Miss Joanna Pinder or Pindor at Salisbury, Massachusetts in 1643, and to this union were born ten children. One researcher reports that Valentine was a carpenter. He died at the early age of 40 in 1662.

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The Mystery of William Hackney

Image seen frequently on my family tree
Anybody and everybody that has ever attempted to learn who their ancestors are is familiar with the dreaded BRICK WALL. If that were not the case, we would have all traced each and every branch of our tree "all the way back," to that garden with its infamous apple tree.

The most exasperating of the brick walls I am facing is one that I inherited. In fact, I represent the third generation of researchers who has been unable to make a breakthrough discovery.  Like a detective who has no more clues to follow up on to unlock the mystery of a "whodunit," we are stalled at our efforts to find the parents of my third great grandfather, William Hackney. Complicating matters is a lack of documented facts regarding William himself. 
  • We do not know where William Hackney was born. Oral histories tell conflicting tales. Some state he was from Virginia, and we find several instances of a William Hackney in that commonwealth which fit in nicely to the time frame. But - "there is not enough evidence to convict" - no "smoking gun" proving that this William is our William.  Robert Holmes Hackney (my mother's oldest brother) has recorded another version - that told by William Patrick Hackney in which the Hackneys landed in the Georgia colony, traveled westward to Kentucky where he was captured by Indians, married an Indian chieftain's daughter, then moved to Illinois*. If there is any truth at all to this tale, it would have to be a different branch of the Hackney clan, as we know that William was in Ohio before moving to Illinois. Furthermore, DNA tests have proven that I have no DNA linking me to American Indian/Indigenous peoples.
  • We do not know with certainty where William Hackney died. The most compelling evidence points to Wapello County in Iowa Territory. It has been documented that several of his sons had left their farms in Illinois to settle in that new territory, in Wapello County specifically, and William's name does not appear in Illinois census records after that time.
  • Furthermore, a single grave has been found in Wapello county that appears to be our William. In 2005, a contributor to FindaGrave.com reported that "One grave was found on the Phillip Newquist farm in the SW 1/4 of section 4 of Washington Township. This grave was in a timbered area about 1/4 mile south of dirt road. The grave marker was of cement about 18x30 inches. It was broken but most of the pieces were found. It appeared to have been a home-made marker. The inscription was very good; W.Hackne March 1844. This would appear to be the date of death. No other date is on this marker."
  • Earliest documentations of his presence are in Ohio: marriage to Sarah "Sally" Shannon, 1815 in Pike County; and appointment as county auditor, 1828 in Hancock County.
  • According to The History of Logan County, Illinois , he moved to Mount Pulaski in 1832 and began teaching in a log cabin known as Brush College in 1836. 
Where do we go from here? I'm not certain. If there is to be a fourth generation researcher, I don't know who it is at this time.

* This same account of the early Hackneys states that the early Hackneys came from Ireland and were known as O'Hackney. Somebody was kissing the Blarney Stone, in my opinion. I personally subscribe to the theory that Hackney is an old English name, a derivation of the Norman or Old French Haquenée. 

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from the Staker Photo Archives...



Charles Frederick Staker and Anna Mary (Weaver) Staker with children. Charles was the brother of John Frederick Kuhlman Staker (great grandfather to Fred F, Nancy, and Marie). Charles was born 1857 in St Charles, Missouri, and married Anna in 1884 at Hazelton, Barber County, Kansas. The three children shown (Arthur, Almer, and Jennie) were born in Barber County. Two additional children would be born after their move to Oklahoma Territory. Anna Mary died in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1919; Charles in Harper County, Oklahoma in 1922.

Dating the photo: Little Jennie was born in November, 1889. That leads me to suggest this family portrait might have been shot in the autumn of 1890. What do you think?