Tag Archives: Joplin

Ancestor Envy

Okay, I know to be envious is not a virtue; however, ancestor envy has taken over my life. Not in the “gee, wish I had been born in the line of a king” kind of way. Only in the “Wow, I just found a photograph of an ancestor that I didn’t know existed” kind of way.

Well, being the descendant of King Henry VIII would have been cool, but I like my ancestors. I love finding out their stories, bits and pieces of their lives, working to knit a comprehensive picture: where they lived, who they knew, and who they loved.

I am grateful for the photographs that I do have and I know one day I’ll get to shout, “Wow, I just found a photograph of Richard Adkins!” That is the person I’m looking for a photograph of and I think I will be successful. He died in 1938, so there ought to be a photograph of him somewhere. I am going to reach out to the only other descendants who might have a photograph of him, the Adkins kids. Those of Natelee, Brookielee, Lee, and Lump fame. Also Legus Adkins. I think there are one or two left and they all have kids so that is where my search is headed.

John W. and Rutha (Nee Cox) Burgess

Going back to the Burgess family, one of the hints I took away from the Ancestry day in San Francisco was to look at each family as a whole, not just one person and his parents. The John W. Burgess family was a big farming family that lived in the Kansas and Missouri areas.

Burgess'

The reason I think of them as scary is that Flora said her father, Henry Carter Burgess, was ill and probably dying and that his parents were starving him as they were going by the adage of “Starve a cold, feed a fever” and he was getting sicker every day. Henry Carter waited until his parents had gone to town, and then talked his brothers into giving him food. He finally started to regain his strength and that is when he moved to the Indian Territory.

Henry Carter Burgess  was the 9th  of 12 children to be born of John W. and Rutha Cox Burgess over a 24 year period. Crazy, right? Poor Rutha died at the age of 56. Ruined her body, sounds like to me. She looks angry in the picture of her and that is the only picture of her that I have, but she looks like sturdy stock. She was born in 1836, 60 years after the Revolutionary War and she was 25 years old with five young children when the Civil War broke out.

DANGER, Danger Will Robinson, I am going on a rant…

Rutha Cox Burgess is the child Mary Dillard and William Cox.

(This line goes on for a minute, stay with me.)

Mary Dillard is the child of Thomas Dillard and Rutha Goad.

Thomas Dillard is the son of Thomas Dillard Sr.

Thomas Dillard Sr is the son of Edward Dillard. Edward Dillard was born in 1672 in King and Queen County, Virginia.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Edward Dillard is the son of George Dillard, who was born in 1630 and arrived as an indentured servant in the Jamestown Colony. That’s right, ladies and gentleman, we have an ancestor that arrived and survived in Jamestown, VA. Not quite King Henry VIII, but I’ll take it.

OK, rant over…I am continuing with the John Burgess line…

John W. Burgess was 29 years old and I don’t know if he served in the Civil War, but he lived in Kansas, which was admitted into the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861, so he may have served as a Union Soldier. I’m still searching for those details.

The U.S. Census from 1900 shows John W. living with his son, James, and James’ wife Maggie. James is a farmer living in the Indian Territory, in the Choctaw Nation. Willa’s father, Richard Adkins is also living in the Indian Territory, in the Choctaw Nation on the 1900 census. So, both sides of Cart and Willa’s families are living in the same town during the same time period. However, when John passes away at the age of 75, he is living in Joplin, Missouri. Both of John W. Burgess’ parents were born in Illinois. I will continue my searching on the Burgess line, but have yet to make a connection with another descendant of the Burgess family.

So, I may be a bit goofy when it comes to ancestry research, but it is also very similar to the way I was taught to skip trace people for work, so this process works for me. The best byproduct of my searching has been making new friends. I have been able to connect with one of my cousins on my grandmother’s side and one on my grandfather’s side. They would both be so pleased that I have made these new connections.

Grandma Flora loved her uncles that lived in Joplin and she became the apple of their eye as well.  She says her uncles only had boys at home so her father would take her to visit and she would stay with them for a week or two. Her sister Ovola was born in Joplin, Mo and soon her parents made the decision that because a neighbor was moving to Washington State, they should move with them while they had the opportunity. Cart’s health still suffered and they hoped it would be better for him on the West Coast. As Flora climbed aboard a train for the trip west, she ran the length of the railroad car, searching for her Uncle James. By now, the year is approximately 1908 and by 1910 Flora is parent-less and heartbroken.

Avola, age 3 Flora, age 6
Ovola, age 3 Flora, age 6
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Durant, OK 1902

Image

So 1902 finds Willa (there are a lot of different spellings and variations on her name, but Flora called her Willa, so Willa it is) and Cart (also the name he was known as) with a fresh marriage and a brand new baby.

Now, I’ve had a busy week but I received an email from a friend I went to high school with, who said she had a friend who had discovered a link to an ancestor that was listed on the final 1906 Dawes Roll.  I told my friend to send me her friend’s name and I would be glad to reach out to her.  I’m no expert, but because I am passionate about ancestry research, I never mind helping if there is some way that I can help.

The Dawes Roll was an accounting of all Native Americans and was a listing created by the Dawes Commission. It included the Five Civilized Tribes: Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole.  I personally feel offended by the term Civilized,  as if every other Native American tribe was uncivilized. However, every time I make a new discovery, I am forced to remind myself to keep it in perspective. That is how the Native Americans were viewed in the 1800’s.

The path to citizenship for the Muscogee Creek Indian Nation includes an ancestor on the Dawes Roll, but it is so much more than that. It took me over three years from start to finish to gather all of the paperwork. We were so fortunate that Richard Adkins was included on that roll.

Sallie Adkins.cgi

Richard Adkins, too, wasn’t called Richard. He was called Lump. Notice the trend? I have found several documents by using variations of family member’s names and I have had great luck finding the name Lump.

When 1902 begins, Flora’s grandmother, Sallie Adkins (nee Ashworth), had been deceased for four months. As you can see from the headstone above, Sallie Adkins is known as Lump’s wife.

 As a kid, I thought it was funny that my mother had said she had cousins whose names were Natalee, Brookielee, Lee, and Lump. I thought that was hysterical. Really, they apparently loved the name Lee and who would call someone Lump?  What I didn’t know was this.

Nickname for Richard Adkins

So Lump was his nick name, given to him by his mother who died when he was a young boy. Then, further on my travels, I uncovered this little nugget

.

Lumpkin County in Georgia, not far from where his Grandfather lived.

Of our little family, says Flora, “My father was not well and no means of livelihood. A poor excuse for a son in law whose ambitions for a daughter ran high”.

So Lump Adkins had a great ambition for his daughter Willa. Why let her marry Cart? Why would he give his consent? Flora says that Willa’s sister wanted to marry someone unworthy and Richard Adkins had said no. The sister took a rifle to the barn and shot and killed herself. I am still looking for confirmation of that story.

Flora also said that Willa had a herd of cattle and her own cattle brand. There was a log cabin on the ranch that they fixed for their home. Cart took over the duties as foreman on the ranch.

True? Not true? Hard to say. But it adds interesting pieces that I am looking to verify.

“My father and mother were very happy.” Flora says that Cart had a third grade education and her mother a high school education in an Indian school.

Willa took care of the money. I come from a long line of women who were born to be in charge. See, I can’t help it. It’s in my blood. So, Willa was in charge of the money and most likely also in charge of where they lived. Willa was raised to have everything she wanted but she never complained about their more meager circumstances.

Flora said Richard Adkins was Cherokee Indian. All of the information I have to date shows his Grandfather Benjamin Marshall was Creek, so for now, let’s go with that. But Flora indicated that Richard Adkins was forced to give up his ranch when the territory was divided up into Indian nations and had to move to the Cherokee Nation.

Cart and Willa also had to move. Cart knew he had a job with his brother John Burgess in Joplin, MO. Flora was 2 years and 9 months old when they moved.

Next time, the Burgess connection…

Burgess'

Kinda scary looking people if you ask me!