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.