Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Yonce Sisters of McDonald County
By Karen Utter Jennings

            Today I want to honor our women of McDonald County by writing about the Yonce women. While reading about our county, especially the books written by James Reed who writes books using his great-grandfather’s old Pineville Herald newspapers, the name Yonce is prevalent, especially Lucy Yonce. My curiosity was peeked and I had to know more about who Miss Lucy Yonce was and what she did in McDonald County.
            James Edward Yonce married Elizabeth Ann Phillips in 1852 in Iowa and had eight daughters between 1853 and 1872. James and Elizabeth brought their daughters to Missouri in 1870, settling in the Powell area. James established the Powell Post Office in 1871. Elizabeth took charge of the post office for a while after her husband’s death in September 1872 and she owned the first store there. That store was blown away in the 1884 cyclone.

            James and Elizabeth’s eighth daughter was born in June 1872, two months before James died. Sometime after James’ death, Elizabeth and her daughters moved to Pineville where they became prominent citizens. Elizabeth was a strong member in the Pineville Women’s Christian Temperance Union, also. Here are short sketches of the Yonce girls.

            Louisa Virginia Yonce was born in Iowa in 1853. She married a Claypoole man but by 1880, she was widowed and living with her mother and sisters. There has not been any other information found on her at this time.

            Caroline Marie “Carrie” Yonce was born July 4, 1855 in Iowa. She married R.H. Seamster in 1875 in Pineville, but later he died and Carrie married John Love Montgomery of Rocky Comfort. The Montgomery men were well-known businessmen of Rocky. John died in 1924 and Carrie died Dec 24, 1928. They are both buried at Rocky Comfort.

            Laura Victoria Yonce was born April 2, 1857 in Iowa. Laura married Albert White Chenoweth in January 1881. Dr. Chenoweth was a Civil War doctor and was a beloved doctor in McDonald County. Laura and Albert had two sons, Wallace Carroll Chenoweth and Henry “Harry” Edward Chenoweth. Dr. Chenoweth was a Temperance worker around Pineville and tragedy struck on September 12, 1883 when Garland A. Mann shot and killed him. You can read more about the murder in James Reed’s 1883 A Unique Little History of McDonald County Missouri, Vol. 1.  Laura married Henry P. (H.P.) Lamberson in 1894. Laura and H.P. had Morris, Herbert and Earl Lamberson. The Lambersons were Methodist Church members and Henry was a merchant while Laura was an active member in the W.C.T.U.; at one time Lora S. LaMance wrote a letter about Laura’s service to the Cause. The Lamberson family was well known in the Rocky Comfort and Wheaton area. H.P. died in 1923 and Laura died in 1933; both are buried at Rocky Comfort Cemetery.

            Ida E. Yonce was born in May 1859 in Iowa. She married John Horace Buttram in 1881 and they lived in Benton County, Arkansas where Ida died in 1936. Horace married Ida’s sister, Alice Brown Yonce Pepper July 13, 1939 in Benton County, Arkansas.

            Alice “Allie” Brown Yonce was born 1862 in Iowa. Allie married Benjamin F. Pepper in 1888 in Pineville and they went to Kansas to settle on a Wichita farm. They had three children. Later, Allie married John Horace Buttram in 1939, who had been married to Allie’s sister, Ida. Allie was very social around Pineville and had many friends. She served several years on the Pineville Christmas Tree committee, helping with the decorations, entertainment and she was a member of the Pineville ME Church South where she enjoyed raising money for church benefits. Allie and her friends were was when she and two friends, Fannie Duval and Sallie Edwards brought wildflower bouquets to the Pineville Herald office. Allie died in 1947 in Kansas City.

Lucy Jane Yonce was born July 2, 1865 in Iowa. Before she married, Lucy went to school and became a schoolteacher. She enjoyed participating in debates in the Pineville Normal Seminary School in 1885 of which she served as treasurer. Lucy served on the Pineville Christmas Tree Committee many times for music and recitations. In 1890, she clerked at Walter’s Store in Pineville and served on the School Commission. She taught school at White Rock, Galbraith’s Mill, Rocky Comfort, Pineville and Harper. Lucy made the headlines of the local Pineville Herald in 1891 when she went on a trip unattended!  Lucy married William Columbus Christian in 1897 in Pineville and they had one daughter and one son. W.C. Christian was a prominent farmer in the Rocky Comfort area.  W.C. died in 1921, Lucy died July 31, 1931 and she is buried at Rocky Comfort. 

Lucy and her husband's headstone at Rocky Comfort, MO cemetery. 
Photo by Karen Utter Jennings

            Minnie Josephine Yonce was born in 1869 in Iowa. She attended school and tested for the high school course at the Pineville Normal School in 1885. She later became a schoolteacher and taught at Honey Lake in 1895 and Rocky Comfort several years. She joined her sisters in serving on the Pineville Christmas Tree committees where she was chosen to assist Santa Claus in distributing the presents to everyone. Minnie finally married Albert P. Tiner in 1906 and they had one son. Albert died in 1925 and Minnie died in February 1942. Both are buried in Rogers, Arkansas.

            Grace “Gracie” Arabell Yonce was the eighth daughter of James and Elizabeth and she was born in Pineville, Missouri, two months before her father died. In 1892, Grace worked as an assistant in the Pineville Recorders Office and assisted Judge Smith in the Probate Court.  In 1894, Grave went to the Quapaw Agency in the position of matron of the Quapaw Schools. During the years before she married, Grace traveled a great deal visiting family and friends. April 18, 1897, Grace married Adair Weaver “A.W.” Noel in Pineville. They had seven children. A.W. served as clerk and bookkeeper for M.N. LaMance until he could afford to start his own hardware business. He was also in charge of the Pineville Post Office, by appointment of President Cleveland. Grace died October 13, 1923 in Pineville. Her obituary was a fine tribute to the woman she was, speaking of her work in the Methodist Church and the Missionary Society and her love of flowers. A.W. Noel died in 1942. They are both buried in the Pineville Cemetery.

Grace Yonce Noel obituary, courtesy of McDonald County Historical Society obituary files

            The Yonce sisters made the news frequently and they loved visiting family, friends, and being social in the community, contributing much to society.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Genealogy Journey ~ Celebrating Mother's Day

Karen Utter Jennings

I come from lines of strong women who lived through triumphs & tragedies, sunshine & rain. Today I am strong because of them: Emma Faye (mom), Nancy (stepmom) & grmas/grtgrmas: Delva, Belvia, Jewell, Ollie, Christina, Laura, Luticia, Nancy, Ethel Mae, Rachel, & 2 special ladies my Aunt Edith & my mother-n-law, Veta.

Mom was a true 50's girl...here she's goofing off with her friends.Emma Faye Laney was born 31 January 1938 on the farm west of Exeter, Missouri. She married Ronnie Utter from Rocky Comfort, MO in 1953 and they had four children; I am the oldest. Emma died in Monett, MO on 15 November 2013 and she is buried at Maplewood Cemetery, Exeter, MO.  

Nancy Wolfe Utter, my step-mom, was born and raised in Montana. She is still alive and living at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in a quaint little rodeo town. She has a daughter and a son and several step-children. Nancy is a great lady whom I love for her outdoorsy, nature-loving spirit! I've been fortunate to visit Montana several times.

Belvia Ross Laney was my mom's mother; she was born 07 September 1913 at Flat Creek near Cassville, MO. She married Charley Edwin Laney in 1932 and they had a large family. She loved to crochet, sew and she loved to sing. She was a homemaker and died 17 June 1982 from cancer in Joplin MO. She is buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Exeter, MO.

Delva Black Utter was my paternal grandmother. Born  She was born with leukemia & suffered with it until 1956. In January of that year, I was a toddler and on a cold, snowy morning, she shot herself in her bed. Such a tragedy! The stories told to me say that she was a great lady, loved her family, enjoyed fishing, and she was a Grand Worthy Matron in the Eastern Star at Wheaton, Missouri. She is buried at Rocky Comfort cemetery.

This is my paternal great-grandmother, Ollie Johnson Utter Brier. Born 31 August 1895 in McDonald County, she married Dee Jay Utter in 1909 and they had a son, my Grandad. She later married Bill Brier in Kansas in 1921. They came back to Rocky Comfort MO when her folks grew old and their health was not good. She was very close to me and my brothers and our mother. She helped Mom take care of us and I lived with her during my 1st and 2nd grade elementary school years at Rocky Comfort, Missouri. She taught me how to sew, how to ride a bike, how to watch for severe thunderstorms and not be afraid, and how to love nature and the great outdoors. She is buried at the Rocky Comfort MO Cemetery. 

This is Nancy Smith Johnson, mother of Ollie. In her obituary, it claims she was a great and well-known midwife who delivered many babies in McDonald County. She was a short, petite woman. She was born on Halloween 1868 in Sullivan County, MO. She married Tom Johnson in 1884 at Cassville, MO. They had five children, four daughters and one son. Nancy died 25 Sep 1949 at the house in Rocky Comfort, MO. She is buried at the Rocky cemetery. 

Christina Hunt Utter was my paternal great, great-grandmother. She was born 22 June 1844 in Franklin, Johnson County, IN. Her father, Joseph Hunt, was one of the early settlers who helped found the town of Franklin. She married David Jefferson Utter 29 July 1861 and they raised a family of 14 children. She died 18 April 1924 at her son Tom Utter's home in Rocky Comfort. She is buried at the Owsley-Union Cemetery south of Longview, MO.  I love this picture of her; now I know where I get my knack for being able to raise my right eyebrow and my unsmiling lips. She looks like a determined woman with those round glasses, big hat, and the brooch at her throat. 
Nora Ethyl Mae Painter Ross was the mother of Belvia. She was born 22 July 1890 in Barry County, MO and married Daniel Lewis Ross in 1918. They raised a big family. She died 13 November 1967 in Barry County. I don't know much family history about her...maybe I'll find some interesting information about her someday. 

Laura Ellen Danley Laney was my maternal great, great, great-grandmother. She was born 10 April 1886 in Barry County and married Robert "Bob" Laney in 1908 and died 07 November 1969 at the farm west of Exeter, MO. She raised a large family. G'Ma Laney was a God-fearing Pentecostal who ran her family like a General, she almost never smiled, she chewed tobacco and had a spit can. When Mom took us over to the farm west of Exeter to visit her & Grandpa Laney, we enjoyed it, but were scared to death in the house...it was spooky to little kids. 

 Luticia Ann Hanlon Black was the mother of Delva. Born 08 January 1893 in West Virginia, she married Charles Edward Black in 1910. They had five children. She was nicknamed "Teshie" and she died Sunday, 02 May 1954 at the Wheaton MO Hospital. She is buried at the Hamilton KS cemetery. I don't know much family history about her, but I do have a few recipes that she owned, so she must have enjoyed cooking. 

Rachel Brannun Danley was the mother of Laura Ellen. She was born in 1865 and married Hezekiah K. Danley in 1876. They had a large family. Rachel died 21 January 1907 at her home near Seven Star Springs in McDonald County when she was 40 years old. Grandma Rachel is buried at the Rocky Comfort Cemetery.

 Jewell Mae Flippo Utter was my paternal step-grandmother, she was born 27 May 1927 in Harrison, Boone County, AR. She married my Grandad Perry Utter in 1958 at Miami, OK. She had 3 children from her first marriage, whom we all remember and love. Jewel died 11 August 2011 in Winfield, KS. I remember her as a loving and sweet lady.

 Edith Laney Bowen Meyer, one of my mother's sisters, is a special person. She has been a big part of my life forever and many memories abound. She is still alive and we keep in touch. She and her two daughters were very close to Mom and us kids when we were growing up.  

This is Veta Fikes Jennings, my mother-in-law. She was born 14 November 1932 in Neosho, MO. She married Leroy D. Jennings in 1949 and they raised 11 children, my husband, is the 2nd oldest. Veta died in 2009 from a long fight with breast cancer. She was a great woman and I loved her so. 

I'm thankful for cameras & photography because I have their photos to see life etched on their faces & see their personalities in the way they dressed & wore their hair. Through my family history research on my Genealogy Journey, I have found amazing stories of many of the other women in my family lines. So, on this Mother's Day weekend, I say to all: 

Celebrate your mother and the women in your life, for they are the backbone of the family. Learn who they really are ~ learn their history, how they feel, what they did as a child, their likes/dislikes, find out what you can about them, collect family history & photographs, because one day you will be glad you did! When they are gone you will have that information to get you through the sadness of their passing. Make memories now! Celebrate & rejoice about the ladies whom you came from ~ Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cemetery Serendipity!

Karen Utter Jennings 

My brother, Bill signed up to canvass the Rocky Comfort, Missouri cemetery that is located in the extreme SE corner of McDonald County at the Prosperity Baptist Church. The cemetery itself is actually in Newton County. When Bill told me of his huge endeavor, I volunteered to help him...for several reasons. 1. Time with my wonderful brother 2. Safety as he won't be alone 3. I enjoy cemetery headstone art & funerary symbols, so this was a good chance to find those headstones and symbols and photograph them to add to my collection 4. Many family members are buried there, so it is a chance to find their graves & photograph them.

On my first day with Bill, he told me about a headstone he found down in the southwest corner of the cemetery and said the stone had "colored" on it, so it must be an African-American buried there. Sure enough, the headstone read "to the sacred memory of Ike ~ colored" and his death date.

Bill and I talked about Ike and who he might have been, a slave possibly? We were happy that he was buried in the cemetery among other folks and not put away somewhere in a corner of the cemetery where no one would ever find his grave... I told Bill that I would try and find out about Ike and his life. Bill told me I should post some of my photographs of the headstones and symbols on the headstones on my Facebook page. 

When I got home, I immediately began research to find out about Ike. First, I put Ike's name and death date into a family tree on Ancestry.com. Then I posted to my Facebook page about my joining Bill to canvass the RC cemetery and posted several pictures. One was of Ike's headstone. 

I had several friends on Facebook comment on the photographs and in particular, Ike. One of my cousins asked if the word "COLORED" on the headstone might be "Coldred", Ike's last name and not "colored."  I hadn't thought of that, so while I searched on Ancestry.com, I also searched for that surname. A couple of my Facebook friends commented that they thought there was a Christian family in Rocky who at one time owned slaves. 

And so my research continued; my friends comments proved to be the hints that I needed. Within a couple of hours, I had solved the mystery! Ike's name was Isaac Haden, born in Arkansas and he was a negro who lived with the Nancy Christian family in Rocky Comfort, Missouri. I found Ike's obituary on the McDonald County Missouri site which gave information that he was a servant to the Christian family.

I was astounded because a couple of weeks before this, I had researched the Yonce sisters of McDonald County, Missouri, for a newsletter article. Lucy Jane Yonce had married W.C. Christian and they lived in Rocky Comfort. William Christian's mother was Nancy Christian! 

And so, my first day out on a cemetery excursion with my beloved brother, I found serendipity in that cemetery. Here's to your memory, Ike Haden!