About Me

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Just to tell you a little about myself, my name is Vickie and I was born and raised in Kentucky. The majority of my ancestors have been in Kentucky since the 1790’s. I have always loved history, a good mystery and puzzles and that is what Family History Research is all about. As a child we would take day trips on Saturdays and head down some dirt road looking for old cemeteries. A lot of the time we weren't looking for anyone in particular, we just like to read the epitaphs. We would have a picnic lunch packed and have lunch at whatever cemetery we were at. If the weather was bad my Dad and I would go to a courthouse and dig through old records in musty old basements looking for our ancestors. So as you can see I have had an interest in Family History for quite some time.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Elnora Mortenson

Time for another ancestor and this time I am not going very far back, and it is going to be about my mother-in-law, Elnora Mortenson.  She was the daughter of Joseph Mortenson, 1892-1979, and Mary Myrtle Kerby, 1892-1969, and she was born September 28, 1922 in Whitewater, Cochise County, Arizona but the town is now called Elfrida.  Her father, Joseph, was born in Bush Valley, Apache County, Arizona and her mother, Myrtle, was born in Pima, Graham County, Arizona.  Joseph’s parents had been born in Denmark and Sweden and Myrtle’s parents had been born on the Isle of Jersey and in Utah.  By 1881 the Mortenson’s had left Utah and by 1884 the Kerby’s had also left Utah and both families came to the Arizona Territory, but they did not know each other’s families until after coming to Arizona.  The following are pictures of Elnora when she was just a little girl in 1923 and 1925.

Elnora was one of the seven children that Joseph and Myrtle had together, they were all born in Arizona and their names were the following: Anna Isabel Mortenson, 1913-1987, married Alva Rich Porter; Joseph Owen Mortenson, 1916-1984, married Rosealee Lois Dees; Arthur F Mortenson, 1918-1930, he was what was called a blue baby and always had a bad heart; Roy Edmund Mortenson, 1926-1996, married Myrtle Lovelle Long; James Don Mortenson, 1929-2007, married Esther Mae McGinty and Walter Lee Mortenson, 1933-1984, married Glenna Marie Knotts.  I never met Arthur of course since he died in 1930 and I never met Walter either, but I knew all of the other siblings of Elnora.  Her sister Anna was a fantastic genealogists and she loved for me to ask her questions about the family.  After Aunt Anna passed away her husband, Rich gave me a lot of the boxes of family history that she had collected over the years.  The following pictures were taken in 1925 and 1947.  The first from left to right: Anna, Elnora, Owen, Myrtle, Joe and Arthur; the second from left to right: Anna, Joe, Myrtle & Elnora and Walter, Roy, Owen & Don.

From a life story that Elnora wrote, she relates the following about her childhood.  “The summer before I was two years old I had summer complaint, “dysentery”.   In August Dr. Causey came out from Douglas, a distance of 30 miles, to treat me and he told my parents they would have to take me to the hospital.  They carried me on a pillow and the doctor said, “Don’t stop the car motor when you get to the hospital or she will die.”  My parents were rather frightened so did as he asked.  My mother and I stayed in the hospital for 30 days at a cost of $5.00 a day.  She slept on a cot by my bed.  I finally got well enough to go home but was allowed to drink only rice water and take some pink medicine.  I remember crying for the food the family was eating and mother getting up from the table crying and not eating.  The summer before I was three I crawled under the grapevines in grandfather’s vineyard and all the family frantically looked for me as darkness came.  Finally the dog crawled out to see what the commotion was and they found me asleep there.   The Christmas I was seven, Anna and Arthur made me a doll bed, cupboard, and table out of wooden apple boxes and calcimined them pink.  Mother made new clothes for my old doll and bought me a little cook stove that was a replica of a real one.  It cost her $1.25 and this was my best childhood Christmas.  Arthur, who was never healthy, passed away less than 2 months later.  I started school when I was five, walking with my brother and sister two miles each way.  Sometimes if we ran fast the first half mile we would catch Mr. Schupach and get a ride on the back of his truck.  After school I sometimes caught a ride home with Charles Gardner in the back of his motor grader as he drove home from work.  It was slow but a lot better than walking.  I have few unhappy memories of my childhood and school.  Most were pleasant ones.  Anna the oldest and my only sister carried the lunch in a lard bucket and when lunch time came she spread a cloth on the ground under a large cottonwood tree and we sat around and ate lunch together.  We drank from a water bucket with a common dipper and didn’t have any more sickness than we do now.  The water was drawn from an open well with a windless and sometimes had wigglers in it but we just poured them out and drank it anyway.  I don’t remember my teachers names until I got to the sixth grade but they must have been good ones because I learned to read and spell well at a very early age and completed the second and third grade the same year.  This put me in Lavine’s (my future sister-in-law) class and we’ve been dear friends ever since.  We went through grammar and high school together except the seventh grade.  When I was in the seventh grade our family moved to Douglas, Arizona so dad could work on Uncle Tom Kerby’s dairy.  That year was a disaster for me, except for the fun I had playing with my cousins, Merle, Velma, Maniel, Nola, Martha and Neva.  Once we went up to Alpine where my Daddy was born, no beds for anyone to sleep on so we were all sleeping on the floor.  The next morning my brother, Roy opened the door and said “Oh, mama, look at all the gravy on the ground.”  It had snowed in the night and he had never seen snow before.  You can tell what kind of gravy we ate, we ate Mormon white gravy.”

More for Elnora’s life story when she is telling about her dating.  “George Bickle and Jess Martineau were working at the mine and they wouldn’t hardly ever take us to the show.  Sometimes they’d bring rolls, sodas, etc.  They knew we didn’t drink or tell dirty jokes.  We had already told them that.  So they’d take us out shooting and we’d shoot rabbits.  Up there on the slope by Gleeson in the middle of a dry wash we’d make a fire and cook the rabbits.  They were afraid we didn’t know how to clean them.  That was funny because Lavine was killing rabbits and taking them to market in Douglas.  She had tame rabbits and she killed them herself, cleaned them and then she’d take them to market to sell.   The boys would ask, “Are you sure you know how to clean them and cook them?”  We’d say “Oh, ya, we can do it.”  They were worried the whole time we wouldn’t clean the inside of them good enough.   One time we had a bucket of water to clean them off in.  Lavine dropped the rabbit in the sand.  We could hear George and Jess coming.  So she picked it up real fast, put it in the water and played like nothing ever happened.  I don’t know if they got any rocks in their mouths or not.  We used to cook them on the open fire.  We had hamburger buns to put them on also.  That was really a treat because we didn’t have hamburger buns at home.  We’d put salt on it for seasoning.   That was lots of fun.   Those boys had to be to work at a certain time at the mine.  We’d go to someone’s ranch that had fences on it and we’d practice shooting.  We started out with an orange on top of the post.   All we had was 22 pistols.   They’d bring out a whole case of ammunition.  It had about 12 boxes full of shells.  We’d load up those guns and practice shooting.  I could pop off that orange.  Then we went to a dime.  He’d stick that dime in the post and I could pop that thing off.  I was really good.   It was fun.   Once in a while we’d go to the show but George admitted one time that his manners weren’t very good so he didn’t like to go out to eat.  He was a real good guy.  We never went to a restaurant to eat.  So, we went shooting and hunting rabbits.”  I believe the following picture was probably taken during the time she was dating, before she married my father-in-law, Floyd Thompson.

Again from Elnora’s life story, this time her courtship and marriage. “I don’t remember when I first met Floyd.  I went to their home when I was very young, as Lavine, his little sister, was my best friend.  We would go to each other’s place on Sunday between meetings.  Theirs was the prettiest place in the valley.  The windmill pumped the water to irrigate the trees, bushes, grass, flowers and strawberries as well as the vegetable garden.  It was always cool and green until the water level dropped and the windmill was no longer usable.  They had a large storage tank which they then filled by piping the water through a pipe from the big pump.  When Floyd came back from his church mission, I had grown up.  He asked me to marry him in November.  I dated Floyd from August to December.  I had always known him and I had grown up with him.  I never had a crush on him when I was little.  He used to dance with me at the dances.  When he came back, I was grown up.  My daddy loved Floyd.  He wanted me to marry Floyd in a heartbeat.  He was tickled to death.  Floyd was a really good guy.  I loved him too.   When Floyd was in the Sunday School Presidency of the Stake, we would go around to different places to visit the wards. I went with him up to Bisbee and I remember on the way back, we were driving in a pick-up and we were talking and he said, “Well, how would you like to cook my pancakes for the rest of my life?”  We had eaten up there in Bisbee and he had a toothpick in his mouth.  I said, “That would be fine with me.” That was my proposal.  We were married December 19, 1941.  I was delighted!   Talk about fancy weddings.  I borrowed Lavine’s dress.  I could wear it!  My mom and his mom were the only ones that went with us when we married in the temple in Mesa.  That night we stayed in a hotel owned by Worth Phelps’s father.  We stayed upstairs.  It wasn’t very fancy.  The next morning we had pancakes at a little restaurant.  I thought, boy this is something eating pancakes away from home.  We picked up our moms at Uncle Tom’s and left for Tucson.  We went home so we could be there in time to milk the cows.  That was the Honeymoon.” The following pictures were taken on their wedding day and in the hotel room that evening.

Life moved on war was declared just a couple of weeks before their marriage, but because Floyd had a heart condition he did not have to serve, but stayed home and continued to work on their dairy.   Soon they started their family having six children, with my husband being the youngest.  The children all born in Douglas, Arizona are: Floyd Eldon Thompson 1942-2015, married Linda Bingham; Elaine Thompson, 1944-1948, she was accidentally electrocute; Marla Thompson, married Ron Nelson, Daniel Joseph Thompson, married Kathy Barney; Malene Thompson, married Russ Mendenhall; and my husband, Roy Edwin Thompson, married me, Vickie Beard.  They had sixteen grandchildren, and as of this date, November 22, 2015 there are 49 great-grandchildren if I counted correctly, but there are some grandchildren that are not quite finished having kids yet, so that number will probably increase in the next year or two.  There are also some great-grandchildren getting into the marriage age category, so soon there could even be great-great-grandchildren to add to their legacy.  From Elnora’s life story again we read: “All 6 of my kids were born in the same room, same hospital (Douglas Hospital), and same table.  I know it was the same table.  The first 4 were delivered by Dr. Collins.  The last two were delivered by Dr. Montgomery.  It was a good life.”  The following is a family picture taken in the early 1970’s, from left to right Roy, Malene, Marla, Eldon & Dan with Elnora & Floyd setting.   The other three pictures are of their daughter Elaine, by herself, with her mother, Elnora and with her big brother, Eldon.

Elnora and Floyd moved into her in-laws home in Elfrida and lived with them and then inherited the old home place and raised all of their children there.  Floyd’s health was never really good and it started to really decline in the early 60’s, and so when my husband, Roy, was in the 4th grade, Elnora went back to school, to get her teaching degree.  She finally was able to finish her schooling in 1974, when she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona.  She then started teaching second grade for the next 14 years at the elementary school in Elfrida until she retired in 1988.  For seven years previous to her graduation she was a substitute teacher in some of the schools around Cochise County.

Floyd’s health continue to go downhill and on Father’s Day, June 17, 1984 he passed away.  1984 was a bad year for Elnora, but she was strong through it all.  Her big brother, Owen had died in February of that year and her little brother, Walter had died just ten days before her husband Floyd. The following picture of Elnora and Floyd was taken in the late 1970’s I believe.

Elnora worked for four more years after Floyd’s passing and then she started serving missions for our church, 18 months at a time.  Elnora, her husband and children, her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, were all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  She would only be home for a little while before she was ready to go and serve again.  These missions were first, North Carolina Raleigh-Durham Mission; second, California Ventura Mission and third the New Zealand Auckland Mission.  She also served at the Mesa Family History Center and the Mesa Temple and as a Stake Missionary in her LDS Stake in Mesa, Arizona.  She loved her church very much and was always serving in some kind of a capacity.  She served as a Relief Society President and also served as a chorister in her home ward in Elfrida for over 20 years.  The following pictures she had taken while serving in some of her missions.  The first in the North Carolina Raleigh-Durham Mission in 1989, she loved flowers and she is holding a bouquet of dogwoods.  The next was in the California Ventura Mission in 1991 in the beautiful little Scandinavian town of Solvang.  She loved that there was a Mortensen Bakery, since that was her maiden name.

Elnora lived on for another 23 years after her husband, Floyd, passed away.  She was a wonderful woman and did not know the meaning of slowing down.  She was always doing something she never set idle.  She canned everything that grew and she was a wonderful cook.  One of my favorite dishes was her Chili Rellenos, I just loved them they were so good.  She also took up oil painting back in the 1970’s and was a wonderful artist and she painted a number of pictures over the years.  The following are just a couple of the pictures she painted, these two are probably my favorites.

After all of her missions she finally started to slow down just a touch, but not a lot.  She had moved into a snowbird park, owned by her son and daughter-in-law in Mesa, Arizona.  Her trailer was just behind their house so that they could keep an eye on her and she lived there up until her last few weeks.  She couldn’t stay completely idle so she volunteer for different humanitarian projects that she could do at home, mainly making stocking hats.  She had been having some mini strokes, probably for at least a year, but she had been blaming them on her shoes, saying she just tripped because the shoes didn’t fit correctly.  Even up to the last she was still knitting stocking caps for one of the humanitarian projects for our church.  That last couple of years before she passed, my husband, Roy had started going down to her home about every three months to visit and help her around her home.  We went down every year, but he knew she wouldn’t be around forever and he wanted to be able to visit with her as much as he could.  Roy’s other siblings all live in Arizona so they were there checking in on her all the time.  This picture was probably one of the last ones taken of her just a few months before her passing.

We got the call we had hoped we would not be receiving for at least a few more years on Sunday morning, August 12, 2007.  We packed up immediately and Roy and I drove straight through and arrived around three in the morning on Monday, August 13.  Roy’s siblings were already there, and just a couple of hours after our arrival she breathed her last.  I believe she was waiting until all of her children were there.  On Saturday, August 18, 2007 her funeral was held in Mesa and then her body was taken to the little town of Elfrida, where she had been born 85 years previously and was laid to rest beside her husband, Floyd and daughter, Elaine at the Whitewater Cemetery.  Her parents and grandparents and many other family members are buried there also.  She was a wonderful woman and was loved by all her knew her and she will always be missed by everyone, especially her family.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Peder Engmar Thomsen

Peder Engmar Thomsen
Peter Elmer Thompson
Known as Elmer most of his life, but called P E by his wife Annie

The ancestor I will be talking about this week is my husband, Roy’s, grandfather, Peder Engmar Thomsen (the Danish spelling of his name) Peter Elmer Thompson (the English spelling of his name) who was born February 23, 1878 in Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah the son of Hans Adolph Thomsen and Karen Karoline Sorensen, both born in Denmark, Elmer was their tenth and last child.   Just two weeks after Elmer’s birth on March 9, 1878 Elmer had a half-sister born who was named Mary Ann Thomsen, 1878-1954, daughter of Hans Adolph Thomsen and his plural wife, Jensine ‘Sina’ Christensen, she married David Mears Hawkins.   The stories in this short bio were found in different personal journals and life stories that have been passed down in the Thompson family as well as my own research into this fascinating man.

The following picture that I found online, was taken in Spring City in February 2008, 130 years after Elmer’s birth, this picture looks a lot like I think it could have looked 130 years previously when Elmer was born.

Elmer’s siblings were the following: Mette Marie Thomsen, 1856-1863 in Salt Lake City; Ane Marie Thomsen, 1859-1863 along the Platte River somewhere in Wyoming; and Jens Adolph Thomsen/James Adolph Thompson, 1860-1926, married Sarah Etta Mortenson; and Sofie Frederikke Thomsen, 1862-1863, near Florence, Nebraska; These first four children were all born in Denmark and the three girls all died while on their way to the Salt Lake Valley, the last dying just days after arriving in the valley.   The next children were all born in Utah: Ane Mettie Marie Sofie Frederikke Thomsen, 1864-1886, married Rasmus Strate, (Ane was given all the names of her sisters who had died before her birth as was the Danish custom and she died in childbirth with her 3rd child.); Karoline Thomsen, 1866-1868; Hanssina Thomsen, 1869-1939, married Joseph Obadiah Stradling; Soren Christian Thomsen, 1872-1935, married Susan Elizabeth Stradling; and Hyrum Adolph Thomsen, 1874-1892, (murdered by Apache’s).

On the 1880 federal census, Elmer is living in Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah on Polk Street with his parents and siblings.  The following is the census entry for Elmer and his family.  On October 15, 1880 Elmer has another half-sister born named, Christena Alvina Thomsen, 1880-1970, daughter of Hans Adolph Thomsen and his plural wife, Jensine ‘Sina’ Christensen, she married Heber J. Davis.

When Elmer was just four years old in March of 1882, he and his family left Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah for the Arizona Territory.  Elmer’s father had been called by the Prophet to go and settle down in the Arizona Territory and so they left Utah as soon as they could get their wagons and supplies ready.  Almost two months later in May of 1882, Elmer and his family arrived in St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona Territory.  The following picture is a map I found online of the Arizona Territory from 1881.  St. John’s is on the east side of the state close to the New Mexico border.

In 1884, Elmer is attending school with his half-sister Mary Ann, in St. John’s in the white school house on the hill, south of town with Mrs. Franks as their teacher.   The following picture that I found online, is a view of St. Johns in 1890 and is from the southeast slope of what would become Airport Hill looking southeast toward the Great White Schoolhouse on the Hill.  The two-story building at left-center is the brick tithing office.  The Great White Schoolhouse is the building I believe they are talking about Elmer and his sister, Mary Ann attending in 1884.

In December of 1884, Elmer went with his parents and others from St. John’s up to St. George, Utah.  The trip to and from St. George took approximately six weeks, as they were snowbound in a mine for several days.  While crossing the Buckskin Mountains their wagon tipped over but no one was hurt.  After getting back to Arizona the family continue living in St. John’s, worrying about Indians, striving to make a living and to grow food in the hot arid temperatures of the high desert.  In February of 1885 Elmer’s father was again called by the Prophet to go and settle in Mexico and left the next day.  He came back and forth but it was not until March of 1889, that Elmer’s father came back to St. John’s and took them all down to Mexico to live permanently.  They traveled by way of Fort Apache, on down the White and Black Rivers to the Gila River, which was so high they could not cross with their wagons and they crossed the border near Columbus, New Mexico.  The following map shows the areas they were in.

The following are Elmer’s parents, Hans Adolph Thomsen and his wife Karen Sorensen, picture taken ca. 1890.  Elmer’s son Gilbert, had the originals of the above 2 pictures in a double frame, at his home in Grand Junction, Colorado.  On the backs of the pictures, it said they were taken in Colonia Juarez, Mexico.

In 1890, Elmer had the job of town herd boy in Colonia Juarez and kept track of everyone’s cows, including his fathers.  Elmer said, that it seemed that almost every other cow had his father’s brand on it during that time period.  In the spring of 1891, Elmer’s father Hans, leased out their Colonia Juarez farm and moved the family to the Pratt Ranch in Cave Valley, Chihuahua, Mexico.  The following picture is of Elmer’s mother, Karen and her granddaughter Annie and was probably taken in Colonia Juarez sometime between 1891 and 1892.

On September 19, 1892 Apache Indians attack the Pratt Ranch and Elmer who is now 14 years old, is severely wounded and his mother, Karen and 18 year old brother Hyrum are murdered during the attack.  Elmer’s niece Annie, age 6, was not hurt, her mother had died shortly after her birth and her grandparents had taken her in.   When Elmer saw his father afterwards, Hans ask him, “boy did you have prayer that morning” and Elmer said, “Yes father we did”.   Then Hans said, that it was supposed to have happened, since they had had prayer that morning.  According to Roy, he said that he had heard that his grandfather never called them Indians he always called them savages.   Roy also said that he heard when his grandfather was old he would have dreams that savages were outside the house and coming to get him.   Elmer died before Roy was born so he never knew him, but heard many stories of his life and especially about this time.  It is thought and generally believed that the renegade Apaches who attacked the ranch were led by one called the Apache Kid, from the White Mountain Band of Apaches from Arizona.  The Apache Kid had been a scout for the US Army for a time before he started getting into trouble.  He was born sometime in the 1860’s and some say he died in about 1894 others say he lived until the 1930’s.  The following are some pictures of the Apache Kid and one of his wanted poster.

From about 1893 to 1897, Elmer lived off and on for about the next 4 years or so with the George Washington Sevey family in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and worked on many different jobs, hauling freight, mining, cutting timber and working for the railroad, most of the time with George Washington Sevey’s sons, George Francis Sevey and George Thomas ‘Tom’ Sevey.  The following pictures show Elmer with some of his buddies, Elmer is setting in each of the pictures.  The first picture is of Elmer with George Francis Sevey and the second is with George Thomas ‘Tom’ Sevey, George Francis Sevey and their friend, Sam Brown.

In 1894, Elmer is working in the Carletas Mines in Mexico when his brother James and sister-in-law Sarah Etta stopped to visit with him.  In 1895, Elmer and his friend, George Francis Sevey went in as partners and bought a team and wagon and hauled a lot of lumber, around the Nacozari area in Mexico.  In 1896, Elmer worked on the railroad making grade, and he later got a job hauling ties, for the guys that laid the track, with his friend Tom Sevey, around the Nacozari area.  In 1897, Elmer left in the fall from Chihuahua, Mexico and went to Sonora, Mexico for a time working odd jobs.  In 1898, Elmer is hauling lumber that spring for about 6 months from the Sierra Madres Mountains about 30 miles south of Nacozari into Nacozari, Sonora, Mexico getting lumber in there where they were building a smelter with his friend Tom Sevey and Tom’s uncle, Andrew Thomas.   This may have been the time that Elmer fell at least 20 feet or more and laid unconscious for about 2 weeks, while an old Chinaman feed him broth and took care of him, until he was able to take care of himself again.  The family stories say that he was about 20 years old and in Nacozari when this accident was supposed to have happened.  His age and the place fits to be this time.

Elmer was a fantastic horseman and it is said he could make a horse do about anything he wanted and never use a whip.  Sometime in the late 1890’s Elmer was named all-around cowboy at a rodeo in El Paso, Texas and he won a silver saddle.  The story goes that he left the saddle with his girlfriend at the time, while he went off to work somewhere.  When he got back to El Paso the saddle and the girl had both disappeared and were never seen again.   Elmer also drove ore wagons in Tombstone and made the road up into Rustler’s Park.  The following picture is of Elmer on his horse named Diamond in the late 1890’s.

In 1899, Elmer was living with his half-sister Christena Thomsen and her husband Heber J. Davis in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  In 1900, Elmer was living with his brother James and sister-in-law Sarah Etta that spring in Naco, Sonora, Mexico.  From 1903 to 1904, Elmer worked for the Tufa Stone Company just northeast of Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona blasting and hauling stone with his brother James that fall and winter and the next spring.  On July 8, 1904 Elmer’s father, Hans Adolph Thomsen died in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and was buried the following day in Colonia Pacheco, Chihuahua, Mexico by his wife Karen and son Hyrum.

Elmer soon met and married Annie Frances McNeil, 1890-1989, in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona on November 14, 1907.   Annie was the daughter of John Corlett McNeil and Mary Ann Smith, John was born on the Isle of Man and Mary Ann was born in Manchester, England.  From Wednesday’s Daily in an issue of the Tombstone Epitaph’s Sunday edition, dated November 17, 1907 it states that: “The following marriage licenses were issued in the probate court: Elmer Thompson to wed Annie McNeil both of Douglas.”  The following picture is of them in the carriage and was taken on their wedding day and the next is also Elmer, probably taken that same year or the next.

On April 4, 1908 Elmer was working at the Phelps Dodge, Copper Queen Smelter in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona.  In the following picture Elmer is standing on the far right in the white shirt, and the postcard I found online is from about 1908 as well.  The Copper Queen Smelter operated in Douglas from 1904 until 1931, when the Phelps Dodge Corporation purchased the Calumet and Arizona Company and took over their smelter.

Elmer and Annie soon became the parents of eight children, six boys and two girls.   The first four boys and their first daughter were all born in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona and the other three were all born in Whitewater, Cochise County, Arizona.  Whitewater is about 30 miles north of Douglas.  These children were the following: Gilbert Elmer Thompson, 1908-1992, married Corilla Martineau; Harry Wilbur, 1909-1961, never married; Jess Lee Thompson, 1911-2000, married 1st Cecelia Georgia Griffin, then Anna Blanche Turnbow; Floyd L Thompson, 1913-1984, married Elnora Mortenson (these were my husband’s parents); Angus H Thompson, 1918-1986, married Lelia Mae Huish; Annie Lavine Thompson, 1921-2005, married Golden Leroy Fenn; Loman Zane Thompson, 1923-1924; and Nathala Thompson, 1925-still living, married 1st Arthur Madsen Evans, then Francis Charles McDonald.

In 1917, Elmer had an old army barracks torn down from Camp Jones just north of Douglas, to build the family a new home in Whitewater, 30 miles to the north.   The family lived there and owned this small ranch until the 1990’s.  My husband Roy and I and our four daughters inherited the old home place and lived in the same house that had been built from the old barracks and lived there for two years, while Roy worked 50 miles north in Wilcox, Arizona.  The following picture is of the house that was built from the old army barracks taken in December 1988 after we moved down there.

In November of 1917, Elmer received 3rd degree burns over 2/3’s of his body at the copper smelter and doctors said there was no way he was going to live through the night.   Elmer had been working by the big pots that hold the melted down ore and somehow one of those pots tipped over and the hot slag fell over on him.  The story goes that he had on these big heavy work gloves and they kept barrels of water by the hot slag and he kept dipping the gloves in the water and pouring them all over his body until help arrived.   Someone came out to the ranch in Elfrida to tell Annie and bring her into the hospital in Douglas.  She came to the hospital but only stayed a short time.  The doctors said, “Ma’am your husband isn’t going to last through the night why are you leaving?”  Annie replied, “I have young children at home and cows that need milking I can’t stay and he will be fine, I have faith.”   Elmer didn’t die and he came home within a few days, but did not go back to work at the smelter.  Elmer filed a suit against the copper company, but it was finally dropped because he didn’t have the money to continue paying a lawyer to fight for a claim against the company.   In 1921, Elmer went to work hauling ore with his nephew, Jim Thompson in Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona.  He took his big team and wagon and his horses named Diamond and Brownie to haul the ore.  In 1925, Elmer started working for the county highway department, grading and making roads around the county.  The following pictures shows Elmer with three of his sons, Floyd, Angus and J Lee and in the other picture Elmer with his son Harry Wilbur both taken in the 1920’s.  The last picture is Elmer with his with Annie in the 1930’s.

Another story goes that in 1942, Elmer went for a physical during World War II, so that he could work at the airfield there in Douglas.  When the doctor sees the old gunshot wounds in Elmer’s chest, he asks Elmer, “Were you in World War I”?  “No”, says Elmer.  “Were you in the Spanish American War”? “No”, says Elmer.  “Well then”, says the doctor, “who the hell shot you”?  I don’t know what Elmer’s reply was, but I am sure he told him about the massacre in Mexico, Elmer’s probable reply may have been, “A damn savage.”  The following picture shows Elmer with three of his sons and their sons and Elmer is holding his daughter Lavine’s son.  From left to right: Gilbert holding his son Neil, Elmer holding grandson Clifford Fenn, 1942-1951, Floyd holding son Eldon, 1942-2015, and J Lee holding son Jess, all four of these baby boys were born in 1942.  Elmer and Annie’s picture taken in the late 1940’s and Elmer with two of his grandchildren, Floyd’s children, Eldon and Marla in 1948.

Elmer and Anna had moved over to Mesa to work in the Temple there and left the ranch to Roy’s Dad and Mom, Floyd and Elnora.  Elmer’s health had started to fail around 1948 and so he came back home to Elfrida from Mesa and lived with Roy’s parents.  Elmer did okay for the first little while after coming back to Elfrida, but he took sick again and on April, 10, 1951 Elmer died at the County Hospital in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona of cirrhosis of the liver, according to his death certificate.  This was caused from a disease he had called hemochromatosis, a condition in which excessive iron is absorbed and deposited into the liver and other organs, other family members have this same genetic anomaly.  Three days later on April 13, 1951 Elmer was buried at the Whitewater Cemetery in Elfrida, Cochise County, Arizona.  The first tombstone was made at the time of his death, by Alva Rich Porter, who was his daughter-in-law, Elnora’s, brother-in-law.  The other stone was placed years later after his wife Annie died in 1989, she was just a couple of months shy of her 99th birthday.

In the July 1951 Hans Adolph Thomsen Family Association Quarterly Bulletin, we read the following:  “It is with regret we announce the death of Peter Elmer Thomsen, esteemed relative, and honored President of the Thomsen Family Association.  Known far and wide as “Uncle Elmer”, he was respected and well-liked by all who knew him.  He died April 10, 1951.  For the past several winters he lived in Mesa and spent a lot of his time doing work in the Temple.  Much to his regret he couldn’t go last winter, but was hopeful his health would improve so that he could.  The Doctors who treated him offered encouragement and he walked several times each week to the Clinic for treatments and was seldom confined to bed.  It became evident that recovery would be a slow process and thinking perhaps a change would do him good, he left Mesa in March, returning to his home in Elfrida.  For a time he seemed better, then became worse and was taken to a hospital at Douglas and died there.  Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 13th, in the Webb School at Elfrida.  Burial was in the local cemetery.  The services were well attended by members of the family, relatives, friends and acquaintances who came to pay honor to his memory and express regret at his passing.  Those who viewed his face for the last time as he lay at rest, were impressed with the expression of contentment and peace and went away with the conviction that “Uncle Elmer” was satisfied and happy.”

Elmer and Annie had 8 children and 39 grandchildren and too many great’s to count and whatever name you choose to use when talking about Roy’s grandpa, it does not matter.  He was larger than life and cheated death at least three times that we are aware of and died at the age of 73, a life well lived and a family to be proud of.   The following is a picture of Annie with her surviving children in 1980, I believe it was.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thomas Jefferson Yates

My ancestor this week is my 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Yates, from my Mom’s side of the family through her Mom’s side.  Thomas was born December 8, 1839 in Livingston County, Kentucky in the part that became Crittenden County in 1842.  He was the son of John Yates, 1805-1879, and Martha Jane Henson, 1806-before 1896.  John Yates was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and Martha Jane Henson was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina and they both passed away in Crittenden County, Kentucky and are buried in unmarked graves at Brown’s Cemetery in Crittenden County.   Brown’s Cemetery is located on the Siloam Church-Hardin Knob Road, on a farm that was owned by Thomas A. Maynard in the 1980's.  John and Martha were married July 15, 1829 in Caldwell County Kentucky.

Thomas was the third of the seven known children born to John and Martha and his siblings were the following: James A. Yates, 1831-after 1896, married Sarah Ann Maranda Jane Reeves; Henry Bartlett Yates, 1833-1896, married his brother, Thomas’ widow, Sarah Jane Frances Humphreys; Martha M. Yates, 1841-before 1896, married David H. Ellis; Emily Catherine Yates, 1844-1881, married Samuel Lewis Nelson; Mary Susan Yates, 1845-1918, married William J. Brown; and John M. Yates, 1851-1856.

The Yates family were farmers and so was Thomas and that is the work Thomas was doing until the day he died.  It must have been love at first site because Thomas soon met and married Sarah Jane Frances Humphreys on December 8, 1858 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Thomas was just 19 and Sarah was only 16.  They settled down into married life and soon became the parents of three children, which were the following: John Henry Yates, 1859-1929, married Mary Alta Jennings; Mary Tom Yates, 1862-1938, married John Bartley Loftis (they are my 2nd great-grandparents); and Anna Maria Yates, 1864-1935, married William Henry Gilland.

I have very few pictures for the Yates side of my family but I do have one picture of Mary Tom Yates and her husband John Bartley Loftis as well as a picture of Anna Maria Yates and her husband William Henry Gilland and they are the following.  I also have a picture that I believe is Sarah Jane Frances Humphreys Yates with the black cape and I believe that maybe Sarah’s daughter, Mary Tom on one side of her and her son, John Henry on the other side, but the picture wasn’t written on so we don’t know for certain.  We are also not sure who the tall man on the side is, but it could be her other son, Benjamin Lewis Yates, whose father was Henry Bartlett Yates, if anyone is sure of the identities of these four people in the one picture please let me know.  Also, if anyone has any other pictures of this family I would love to see them too.

The American Civil War, the War Between the States, the War of Northern Aggression or whatever you might want to call it, broke out in April of 1861.  For the next five April’s until April of 1865 when peace was signed, it was brother fighting brother, father fighting son and it looks like my Thomas would have been fighting on both sides of this messy conflict.  Thomas and Sarah had one child, John Henry, when the war started and another child, Mary Tom, who was born the following year, after the outbreak of the war.   In some Union Citizens File at www.fold3.com I found the following record which shows Thomas Yates giving his oath of allegiance to the Unites States of America, which is dated November 6, 1862.  I believe this is my Thomas, but unfortunately it does not state what Confederate company or unit he may have been with.  Thomas signed this oath just a little over two months after his daughter, Mary Tom was born on September 2, 1862.

I then found in some records entitled “U. S. Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865” Thomas J. Yates, age 23, married, farmer, residence in Crittenden County, Kentucky subject to military duty, dated June of 1863 and I also believe this is my Thomas.  He was subject to military duty just seven months after he signed his oath of allegiance to the United States.  Unfortunately, as of today I have not been able to find what unit on either side he may have fought with.  The following image shows Thomas in the listing.  His brother, Henry Bartlett Yates, fought in the Union Army in Company E, 48th Kentucky Mounted Infantry as a private, but Thomas is not listed in that unit.  Henry filed for an Invalid Pension and his wife Sarah filed for a widows pension for Henry’s service after Henry died.

No matter what side Thomas may have fought on he is still my ancestor and I am proud of the service he gave to his country and what he thought was the right or wrong in that bloody conflict.  I found the following crossed flags picture at this link: http://wallpaper222.com/explore/union-and-confederate-flags-crossed/

Thomas’ last child, Anna Maria, was born March 19, 1864 so he was apparently home at some point after signing the oath of allegiance and after being listed in the men subject to military duty.  Some family records say he was killed in battle on November 9, 1864 and others say he died from wounds on August 10, 1865.  The last date would have been after the war ended in April of 1865, but if he had been wounded or had caught some kind of disease, he could have still died from the effects of his service during the war, which is what most family stories say.  These are two very specific dates and I believe one of them is probably correct, but no one I have ever talked to can tell me where either date came from, so for now I list both. 

I do know that Thomas must have died before December 25, 1866 because on that date his widow, Sarah Jane Frances Humphreys, married her brother-in-law, Henry Bartlett Yates in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Henry raised his brother’s three children and he and Sarah had six children of their own, namely: Martha Ellen Yates, 1867-1911, married Barnett Sampson Perrin; Sarah Caldonia Yates, 1870-1954, married Isaac Newton Wright; Emma S. Yates, 1874-1876; Benjamin Lewis Yates, 1877-1918, married Lora Edith McMican; Cora M. Yates, 1880-1939, married John Duncan Summers; and Nora B. Yates, 1882-1961, married Frederick C. Binkley and John Nathaniel Little.

Henry contracted rheumatism during the war and suffered with it until his death on January 6, 1896.  Sarah continued living in their home near Levias in Crittenden County and after several months illness she passed away on March 28, 1911.  Sarah and Henry are both buried in the Yates Family Burial Ground in Crittenden County.  I have yet to figure out exactly where this cemetery is supposed to be.  Both of them had an obituary in the Crittenden Press and these follow.  Issue dated March 12, 1896 - Died at his home near Levias, Jan 6, 1896 Henry B. Yates, after many years of suffering with that dreadful disease, rheumatism.  Brother Yates had suffered with that disease since the War.  He was born May 10, 1833 was married Dec 25, 1866 and professed religion during a meeting held at Siloam Church about 1878 and was received into the Methodist Church at that place.  He leaves a wife and 5 children and 3 step-children, one brother and one sister.  Issue dated March 30, 1911 - Mrs. Yates, mother of Rev. B. L. Yates, died at her home near Levias last week, she had been ill several months.  Her son who has charge of the church at Lafayette, Kentucky was here to see her several times this year. 

Oh how I wish I could find an obituary for Thomas as well, but so far no luck.  Such a short life he led as he was only 25 to 26 years old when he died and not a lot is known about him, yet another ancestor I wish I had more answers and more stories for.