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.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

“Marguerite & Lafe”

Marguerite Rachel Floyd & her father, Lafayette Maxwell Alexander

This is the continuation from the post I did on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 about Amy Susan Floyd Loftis.  Amy’s daughter, Daisy, my Mamaw, told me that her mother had a child before she married my great-grandfather, Jasper Guy ‘Jack’ Loftis in 1917.  That child, a daughter, was named Margaret Floyd, and she was born April 14, 1914 in Crittenden County, Kentucky in her grandparents’ home.   Amy and her daughter Margaret, lived with Amy’s parents until January of 1917 when Amy married Jack Loftis.  Margaret stayed with her grandparents, John and Anna Floyd.

Like my previous post stated I did not know until the mid-1980’s that my Mamaw Loftis, had a daughter before she had my Mamaw.  Margaret and Daisy were 3 years apart in age.  Mamaw said she was probably 11 or 12 years old before she even knew that Margaret was her sister and not just another one of her cousins.  Mamaw had also heard that Margaret had married Curtis Rushing, 1910-1959, a local boy, but she had heard nothing about her since that time, she just knew that they had left Kentucky, but she did not know where they had gone.

Mamaw had ask me to see if I could find Margaret and their other sister Mae, who had both left town and probably the state sometime in the late 1930’s or so.  I told you about Mae in the previous post, finding her in Florida in 1990 and it was just six days later I found Margaret up in Illinois in a suburb of Chicago, called Arlington Heights.

I had been looking for both woman for the same amount of time.  I had previously ordered a phone book for Crittenden County, Kentucky and it had arrived a day or two after the SSDI CD’s.   Since I did not have any luck finding Margaret or Curtis in the Social Security Death Index like I had with James Moreland, I looked up the Rushing surname in the phone book and figured I would call everyone in it until I found someone who might have known Curtis and Margaret.  There were only 15 or so Rushing’s listed, so I started with the first one.  Everyone I talked to was very friendly, most had no clue who I was talking about, they were all younger though, so that could have been the reason.  Finally, I believe it was the ninth or tenth person I called, it was an older woman, I ask her the same question I had ask all the others and she said, “Why yes I knew them”.

Mrs. Rushing was the sweetest person, she told me she was 90 something, I don’t remember now how old exactly, but she said if she stayed as healthy as she was now she wouldn’t mind sticking around to 100.  We chatted for a while, she was a real talker, right up my alley for sure.  Anyway, I finally steered her back to what I had called for and she told me that Curtis had been dead for years, but she thought Margaret was still living.  I ask if she knew who I could call to find out more and she said well Curtis had a brother in the nursing home there in town and a granddaughter of hers worked there and she would call her and see if she could get a phone number or something for me and then she would call me back.  Wow, my heart started racing again, I knew I was on the right trail!

The next morning Mrs. Rushing called me back and she started talking again and was telling me about her grandkids and a lot of other things, but she finally got around to telling me she had what I was looking for.  She gave me Curtis Rushing’s baby sisters name and phone number.  She also told me that Margaret was living up by Chicago, but her brother-in-law didn’t have her number, that is why he had given just his sisters phone number, he said she would have it.  I thanked Mrs. Rushing over and over a few times and she said, “Give me a call any time, she had enjoyed talking to me”.

It had just been four days now since I had found Mae.  I dialed the number for Helen, baby sister to Curtis and when she answered I told her who I was looking for.  My heart was pumping like crazy, because she said yes, Margaret was still living and lived up by her brother, Spencer who kept an eye on her.  She told me Curtis had, had a heart attack when he was still young and died one morning right after he walked out the door headed to work.  Marguerite hadn’t even closed the door yet when he fell.  That was in 1959 and she never remarried, nor did they have any children.  Helen told me that Marguerite held a grudge against her family and she wasn’t sure she would want to talk to me.  I told her how my Mamaw had wanted me to find her and how Margaret’s mother had always wondered what ever happen to her as well.  After I said that, then Helen relaxed a little.  She told me to give her my phone number and she would call her brother, Spencer and see what he thought.  If Spencer thought, it was a good idea then he would pass my phone number on to Margaret and have her call me.

This reunion was not going to be as easy as the one just a few days before had been.  The next afternoon Helen called me back and said Spencer had talked to Margaret and she was willing to talk to me and she would call when she was ready.  That didn’t sound to promising, but there was nothing I could do about it but wait.  This was the fifth day since I had found Mae in Florida.

On the sixth day, in the evening, I got the call I was waiting for.  Margaret was on the other end of the line.  She asks me why exactly was I looking for her and what did I want from her???  I told her how my Mamaw had wanted me to not only find her, but their younger sister, who had also disappeared and that I had been looking for both since about 1985 and that I had found Mae just 6 days previously in Florida.  I told her Mae had left because her Dad would not let her get married.  Margaret told me she had left because she did not think anyone loved her, especially her Mother, and she said that her mother’s husband, Jack Loftis, did not want her around at all.  She told me that after her grandfather, John Floyd died, she decided it was time to break all ties and that is what she did.  John Floyd had died in 1937, Margaret’s grandmother, Anna had died in 1919 just three months’ shy of Margaret’s fifth birthday.

I told her that I thought her name was Margaret as that is what my Mamaw called her and she said yes it was, but after she left, she did not want something so plain and common and she wanted a middle name too, so she chose Marguerite Rachel, because that sounded a little higher class then what she had grown up with.  She told me she was always trying to better herself and trying to put behind her the feelings she had grown up with of being abandoned, not wanted or loved.  Here was a grown woman 76 years old who had never felt like anyone loved her or wanted her, except her husband and he had died and left her too.  Aunt Marguerite asks for my Mamaw’s phone number and address and told me that in a few days she would call her and talk to her.

Aunt Marguerite told me that she had a lot to think about and she had more questions she wanted to ask me, but she needed to rest and she said she would call me back when she was ready.  I wondered as we ended our conversation if I would ever hear from her again, she had conveniently not given me her phone number or address, even though I had asked for it a couple of times during our conversation.

I called my Mamaw again just like I had six days before and told her I had found Marguerite.  The funny thing is and I forgot to mention this in my last post, but my Uncle Guy was at Mamaw’s house when I called the first time and he had answered the phone.  He said, “Mom has a sister named Mae”?  Now here I am calling again and Uncle Guy answers the phone again and I say I found Marguerite too.  I wish I could have seen his face, because his voice sure sounded confused.  Uncle Guy didn’t know about either one of them.  My Mom knew because I had talked to her about it, but none of her other siblings had any idea.

Aunt Marguerite called my Mamaw a few days later like she said she would and then she called me back about a week after our first conversation.  Then for the next couple of months she called almost every week with more questions.  She did give me her phone number and address the second time she called, but said that she would call me when she was ready again.  Soon though, she gave me permission to call her if I wanted to at any time.  After that either she or myself would call at least once a month, sometimes more and just talk and she always had questions about someone she remembered in her family.

The following is just one of the stories that Aunt Marguerite told me that I will never forget.  This story is about when Anna Susan Davis Floyd died on a very cold, icy, wintery morning in January of 1919.  Aunt Marguerite was not quite five years old, but she followed her Ma everywhere.  Ma was the name all of Anna’s grandchildren called her.  Pa and Uncle Luther had left the day before to go dig wells over in Illinois and were going to be gone three or four days.  Marguerite and Ma got up early like always and while Ma stoked the stove, Marguerite ate a cold biscuit.  They would have a hot breakfast after the chores were done.  They fed the chickens, slopped the hogs and then went in the barn and put the old milk cow in her stall so Ma could milk her.  Uncle Luther usually did the milking when he was home, but if he was busy or gone Ma always did.

Ma got the stool and set down and patted the old cow on her flank and then told Marguerite to go and get a fleck of hay to feed the cow.  Marguerite ran to get the hay, but when she got back Ma was lying beside the stool.  The cow thankfully was just standing there eating the hay that Marguerite had just given her a few moments before.  Marguerite just thought her Ma was sleeping and so she tried to wake her up, but Ma didn’t wake up and so Marguerite laid down beside her because she was getting cold by this time.  Soon Marguerite tried again to wake Ma and she still was asleep, so she went in the house and got an old quilt off the bed and took it out to the barn and covered up Ma and herself and laid back down and fell asleep.  When she woke up she tried again, she knew something was wrong but in her little mind at that time she did not want to think something bad, so she just kept thinking Ma is asleep that’s all!!!

Marguerite said she went in the house and got something to eat.  There were always cold biscuits, or food in the pantry that she could get to.  She had never lit a fire before so she didn’t try to do that, but soon the old stove was just as cold as could be and would not get her warm anymore.  She got more blankets out of the house and took them out to the barn and covered Ma up some more.  She said for two whole days she laid beside her grandmother, hoping and wishing that she would wake up, knowing that she probably wasn’t going to.

At the beginning of the fourth day of being gone, Pa and Uncle Luther got back.  There was no smoke coming from the chimney, the barn door was open and they could hear the cow mooing rather loudly.  Uncle Luther ran for the house and Pa ran to the barn.  What he saw about made his old heart stop.  There was his wife and granddaughter laying under a pile of quilts and he could detect no moment.  Uncle Luther got there about that time and Pa told him to run in and get a fire going in the house.  Pa raised the blankets up and in so doing, Marguerite woke up.  She was very cold and Pa realized then that his wife, Anna, was dead.  He wrapped Marguerite in one of the blankets and carried her into the house and set her by the stove.  Pa sent Uncle Luther for help and they buried Anna the next day.

I cannot imagine the horror for that little girl, lying beside her grandmother for two full days, cold and alone and soon to feeling even more alone when she starts getting passed around from family to family.  My heart aches for her to this day, every time I think about some of the things that she had to endured.

The following picture taken in 1950, is probably one of the youngest pictures I have of Margaret who was now married and going by the name, Marguerite Rachel Rushing.  Crazy thing my third daughter is named Rachel, for one of my husband’s great-grandmothers and I started looking for Aunt Marguerite shortly after she was born in 1984.  Aunt Marguerite is the one that told me that her grandma, Anna Susan Davis Floyd, looked just like my daughter, Rachel.  I think my daughter, Rachel favors Aunt Marguerite in this picture some.

Aunt Marguerite didn’t have a whole lot of pictures of herself or of Curtis, I think it was for the following reason.  They were married February 17, 1940 in Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky she was 25 and Curtis was 29.  She told me that she and Curtis, had both decided, before they were even married, that neither one wanted any children.  Curtis was the oldest of twelve kids that he had helped to support and Marguerite didn’t know who part of her family was.  So, they both decided not to bring any children into the mix.  Why have pictures if you didn’t have anybody to pass them on too???  The following is one of the very few pictures I have of Curtis Rushing, he was a handsome man for sure.

It was probably the third time if I remember correctly that Aunt Marguerite called, that she asks the following question.  Do you know who my Daddy was?  I am 77 years old and I have never known who my father was, can you answer that question?  I had wondered if or when she would ask and so I had asked Mamaw if she knew who he might have been.  Mamaw said that she had never heard his name and that all she had ever heard was that he had drowned.  However, she did not know when he had drowned or where.  So, that is what I told Aunt Marguerite.

Aunt Marguerite told me, “well if you found me, then maybe you can find him too”.  She said she could remember as a child also hearing that he had drowned, but if she would ask anyone after hearing that all she got was smacked and told she didn’t need to be asking such questions.  She said another time she had done something and she heard one of the Aunts say, she acts just like an Alexander.  So, she asks them is that my Daddy’s name and again she was smacked.  Other than hearing that he had drowned, and that his name may have been Alexander she did not know anything else.  Aunt Marguerite told me from then on she would set quietly and stay out of the way, but she was always listening hoping someone would say something else about her Daddy, but she never heard more then what she had already told me.  From what she had heard she had assumed that he had died either before she was born or shortly after, if the drowning story was true that is, and Mamaw agreed, she seem to remember hearing something about him dying around the time Marguerite was born as well.

I was on the hunt again!  My Mamaw Loftis had lived in Crittenden County, Kentucky all her growing up years.  So, I figured Crittenden County was likely where Aunt Marguerite’s Daddy was from too.  Well there were quite a few people with the first name Alexander in the county and there were also several people with the surname of Alexander.  I was born in Crittenden County too and I know the area very well, the county borders on the Ohio River and there are other smaller rivers, streams, ponds and lakes nearby, so as you can guess there have been a lot of drownings over the years.

Since there were so many Alexander names floating around, I decided to order some of the old newspapers from Crittenden County that are on microfilm and that you can buy from the Margaret King Library at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  The Crittenden Press has been publishing their paper in Crittenden County since 1876.  I decided that since Aunt Marguerite was born April 14, 1914 that I would look at the papers that covered nine months before she was born and a year after she was born.

It took about 2 weeks to get the newspapers I had ordered and thankfully I had an old microfilm reader I had bought and so I could set down at the reader any time I wanted and go through those newspapers.  There were no indexes and so it was page by page and it was a weekly paper, so it was a slow process, but in that process I ran across obituaries, marriage and birth announcements for other family members that I did not have and some other cool information as well.  It was not a waste of time!  I was finding all kinds of drownings, young boys, old men, men around the age of my Mamaw Loftis, but none that fit what I thought I was looking for.  It took a few months to go through those papers.  I had started by looking in the papers after Aunt Marguerite was born, but there was no one that even came close to what I could assume might be the one I was looking for.

So, I started back before Marguerite was born with the month of July since my Mamaw Loftis would have gotten pregnant about that time.   I went through all of July and I was almost finished with the month of August 1913, when my heart about stopped and the goose bumps got a mile high on my arms.  A front-page story appears that makes me cry, it is from the Crittenden Record-Press in Marion, Kentucky in the issue dated Thursday, August 28, 1913.  This following is just a small part of that article; it took up one whole column.  “Accidentally Drowns - Lafe Alexander, a Marion Boy, Meets his Death at Cave-in-Rock - Last Thursday night at 8 o'clock just as the gasoline boat of Richard McConnell, his brother-in-law, was preparing to land for the night, Lafe Alexander was accidentally thrown overboard in some way that will never be known.  He was sitting on the bow, and as the stage plank was projecting out in the way, he volunteered to put it up on the deck and in doing so lost his balance and fell into the water in front of the swift moving boat, and was swept under it in an instant.  Lafayette Maxwell Alexander was born July 7, 1893, and was therefore in his 21st year.”

I just knew this was who I was looking for and that he was Aunt Marguerite’s father.  Now, all I had to do was prove it!!!

I did not tell Aunt Marguerite or Mamaw what I had found, I did not want to get their hopes up.  I called Aunt Marguerite and she ask if I had, had any luck yet and I answer not anything I am sure of.  I ask her to call Aunt Sarah, I had already called Mamaw and ask her to call Aunt Sarah as well.  I wanted them to ask her again if she knew the name of Aunt Marguerite’s father and I didn’t want them to know the name I had found.  Aunt Sarah lived in Terra Haute, Indiana Mamaw was in Kentucky and Marguerite was in Illinois and I was out in Arizona.  They both had been calling her and asking, but she would just steer the conversation somewhere else each time.  Aunt Marguerite told me that she was going to start calling her every day until she got the answers she was looking for!!!

I knew bits and pieces of the following story from my Mamaw and from things that Aunt Marguerite remembered as well.  But it was Aunt Sarah, Mamaw Loftis’ baby sister, that finally told the whole story, though it took quite a few phone calls to get it out of her.  I had tried, Mamaw had tired and Aunt Marguerite called her almost every day and Aunt Sarah kept asking why we all needed to know what happened so many years ago.  We kept telling her that everyone involved was long dead and it wasn’t going to hurt anyone.  Aunt Sarah was the only person still alive that would have known who he was and what we were asking about.

Finally, at least a couple of months or more after I had found that newspaper article, Aunt Sarah finally talked and it was Aunt Marguerite she first told it to.  “All right, all right”, Aunt Sarah had said to Aunt Marguerite, “I will tell you if you want to know that bad”.  The following is just what I was told by Aunt Marguerite after Aunt Sarah finally told her who her Daddy was.  Remember I had not told anyone about the newspaper article I had found a couple of months or so before.

Aunt Sarah said, “I was just a young girl, but I remember that Amy was so much in love with him.  That is all she talked about, but for some reason Daddy didn’t like him and so they mostly went out behind Daddy’s back.  Anyway, Daddy came home one evening after being in town and said everyone was talking about how he had drowned in the river the night before.  He said he just like that and Amy went running out of the house and out to the barn.  I remember Mama going out to talk to her and she finally came back in and her eyes were all red and swollen from crying.  Seems like she cried for weeks and then she realized she was pregnant and started crying again.  We didn’t talk about things like that much back in those days, but I know Daddy was sure upset and gave her a hard time.  There at first he was talking about sending her off somewhere, but Mama put her foot down and said no she was staying right there!  So, Daddy stopped talking about it.  Soon you were born and Amy just cried and cried that day, saying she wished your Daddy could have been here to see you born and how much he would have loved you.”

Aunt Sarah had still not said what his name was, but Aunt Marguerite was sure enjoying hearing about how her parents, had loved each other.  She had been told lots of things over the years as a child, like he was married and they had an affair, it was just a one night stand, things like that told to a little girl.  I still can’t imagine doing that to a child and it had left a lot of scars on Aunt Marguerite’s heart and soul.

Again, Aunt Marguerite had said, “Could you tell me his name, please?” and Aunt Sarah said, “If you want to know that bad, I guess I can”.  Aunt Sarah was real quiet and then she said, “He drowned in the river over by Cave-in-Rock, he was working on his brother’s boat and his last name was Alexander, but I will have to think on his first name”.  She went on talking for a few more minutes and then suddenly right in the middle of her conversation, she said Lafe, his name was Lafe, it was short for Lafayette, but Amy always called him Lafe.  I think most folks called him Lafe if I remember correctly”.  Aunt Sarah was 12 years old at the time Lafe died, and had just turned 13 the month before her niece, Marguerite was born, she was now 90 years old, but thankfully she could remember his name.

Aunt Marguerite called me that evening and told me the whole story and ask if I thought I could find her Daddy, Lafe Alexander and his people.  When I heard his name, I just about hollered out loud, but all I said was, I already had!  I told her I had found the newspaper article over two months before, but I hadn’t said anything because I could not prove it was him.  She was so quiet after I said that, but then she said, “could you read me the entire article”?  I could hear her softly crying, but she was trying her hardest to not let me know that.  She had told me several times she was not an emotional person, she had to learn to control her emotions, it was just easier that way.  She had also told me she had high blood pressure now.  She said it was probably my fault, but she was laughing when she said it.  She said it was because she never had it until after I found her. J

Aunt Marguerite finally knew her Daddy’s name it had taken almost 77 years, but she finally knew who she was.  She also knew that her parents loved each other too.  She told me she could die tomorrow a very happy woman, knowing now who she was and that her parents loved each other and that they had loved her too.  The following is a picture of Aunt Marguerite with Aunt Sarah and Aunt Sarah’s two sons Clifton and James Yates, about a year or so after the above conversation took place.  The next picture is of Aunt Marguerite and my Mamaw, Daisy, at a Floyd Reunion a year or two after I found her.  Everyone is now deceased.

Next she wanted me to trace her Daddy’s genealogy just like I had her mother’s.  I was on the hunt again!!!

I won’t go into all the details, but I found quite a bit of information on the Alexander family.  Lafe was the son of Timothy Jackson ‘Jack’ Alexander, 1852-before 1930, and Mary Jane Conger, 1851-1942, and was the baby of their seven children.  These children were, Addie Bell, John Jackson, Lula A., Ida, Olive Bertha, and Alice Mina.  I took the Alexander and Conger surnames back several generations as well.  I unfortunately don’t know a lot about Lafe’s early life, after all he was only 20 years old when he died.  I do know that he was the mail man on the Salem Road, which is the road Amy lived on as a young woman, so that is probably when they first met.  Other than that, I don’t know much else about him.

I did find a niece of Lafe’s, that was still living in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois.  Her name was Mary McConnell Pearson, 1907-2006, and it was her Daddy’s boat that Lafe had fallen from that dreadful day.  She was almost seven years old when Lafe died and she said she could still remember that day, just like it was yesterday.  She said her grandmother, Lafe’s Mom, never came across the river ever again.  If they wanted to see her they had to go over to Marion.  She said her Uncle Lafe was always giving her and her brother piggy back rides and he was always laughing and joking.

The following are pictures of Mary, her brother, Everett and their parents Richard and Olive Alexander McConnell.  I believe the picture of Mary and her brother was probably about the time that Lafe died. I found these in the Pictorial History of Crittenden County, Kentucky.

I told Mary that her Uncle Lafe had, had a daughter that was born after his death and she was happy to hear that.  She thought she was the last of all her cousins, as she was 85 years old when I found her in 1992.  Her Mom was, Olive Bertha Alexander, an older sister of Lafe and wife of Richard McConnell.  I told her I would be in Kentucky that coming summer and I would love to come over and visit with her.  She said come right on over and I will be looking for pictures in the meantime and see if I can find one of Uncle Lafe for you to give to Marguerite.

The day I went over to Cave-in-Rock in 1992, my Mom, her older sister, Barbara and their parents, Daisy and Ermon Fraley, my Mamaw and Papaw, went with me.  They all could not wait to hear about Lafe and his family.  Unfortunately, Aunt Marguerite was unable to come down from Illinois to be there with all of us.  However, her cousin, Mary, had been calling and talking to her and telling her about the Alexander family, since finding out about her.

Mary’s daughter was also there when we got to the house.  They had lemonade, sweet tea and little sandwiches, ready for us when we arrived.  Mary told us quite a bit about herself and her family, she was a retired school teacher and was a gracious host.  We had a wonderful time while we were there.  She had lots of pictures for us to look through.  We were hoping there would be a picture of Lafe, because Aunt Marguerite really wanted to know what her father looked like.  There were pictures of the boat, named the “Esta”, that Lafe had fallen from, there were pictures of Mary’s parents and her siblings, but no pictures of Lafe.  Mary said that her Daddy use to have an office down by the wharf and a lot of their things were stored there at one time.  When the flood of 1937 hit, they lost most everything that was there in that building.   By the way the boat had been named for Mary as Esta was her middle name.

There is a pretty good article that tells about Mary’s father, Richard McConnell and the work he did up and down the Ohio River that Lafe would have helped him with, at this link: 

Mary then remembered she had set aside some copies of some pictures for us to send to Marguerite and so she went to get them.  When she came back in the room she handed us a picture of Lafe’s parents, pictures of the boat he had been on and she also had an old postcard that had been address to Lafe.  She said the postcard wasn’t signed, but since it was address to Lafe then maybe Marguerite would like to have it.  The postcard was dated almost two years before Lafe had died.  It was a love note from some girl that said how much she loved him and she couldn’t wait to see him again in a few weeks at the dance, but there was no name signed on it saying who the girl was.  We had brought some old letters of Mamaw Loftis with us, just in case we ran across something while we were there, so we could compare handwriting.  The handwriting was similar, but not enough that we could say for certain it was hers.  I laid the pictures and the postcard on the table beside me while we continued talking and Mary continued telling us what she could remember about Lafe and the family.  I was disappointed that I didn’t have something more concrete for Aunt Marguerite, but at least now she would know what her grandparents looked like and Mary had said that Lafe favored his father quite a bit.

The following is a copy of the picture of Aunt Marguerite’s grandparents, Timothy Jackson Alexander and Mary Jane Conger, that Mary gave me that day.  Unfortunately, I was still new enough at doing family history, that I did not make copies of all the things Mary gave me before I sent them to Aunt Marguerite.   When I was back home in 2012, I went to my cousin’s house to see if I could make copies of Aunt Marguerite’s pictures and other documents.  Aunt Marguerite had lived with him for a while after moving down to Evansville from Chicago, so he had all her old stuff.  He only had a few things left of hers and the postcard and the pictures of the boat were not in the box of stuff he brought out.  What happen to them I do not know, but it makes me sad that the postcard especially is no longer around.

It must have been about twenty minutes later that I picked up the postcard again looking at the blue forget-me-nots on the front of it and said to myself, “I sure wish this had been from Mamaw Loftis, it would have been so nice to have something from either Lafe to Amy or vice versa, to give to Aunt Marguerite”.  I figured at least Aunt Marguerite would have something that her Daddy would have held in his hands and read.  I turned the postcard over and read the little love note again and then looked at Lafe’s name and the postmark above his name.  Then almost before my eyes, just to the left of the postmark, a name appeared, Amy Floyd.  My heart about skipped a beat or two and I blinked, rubbed my eyes and looked again.  Sure, enough there was her name, the name I had wished for, Amy Floyd, just as clear as can be, right next to the postmark date.

Aunt Barb was setting beside me and I said, look at this and she replied, oh I already did, but I said look again.  So, to humor me she took the card and looked it over again.  I ask her what did she see next to the postmark date.  There’s Mamaw’s name!!!  That wasn’t there before, she said!  Then she reached over and got my Mom’s attention and said Jeannie look at this again.  Mom said almost the exact thing Aunt Barb had said, I have already looked at it.  Good, but look again Aunt Barb, said.  So, my Mom took the postcard and she is looking it all over and Aunt Barb and I both say look by the postmark.  Next we showed it to Mamaw and Papaw, both looked to and Mamaw had tears running down her eyes when she saw her Momma’s name and she said, “I can feel Momma with us so much right now”.

When I was given that little postcard, and Mamaw Loftis’ name wasn’t on it, at least at first, the blue forget-me-nots on the front was like Amy was telling Lafe, please don’t forget about me.  Aunt Marguerite would now know that they had loved each other and had for at least two years, and that is what matters.  I don’t think Amy ever forgot him though, and she never spoke his name again, after Marguerite was born, at least not that anyone was aware of.

That postcard and the forget-me-nots on front made me perk up and pay closer attention when I heard a message a few months ago, given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, and it reminded me again of the little postcard I was given to give to my Aunt Marguerite.  It reads as follows:

“A while ago I was walking through a beautiful garden with my wife and daughter. I marveled at the glory and beauty of God’s creation. And then I noticed, among all the glorious blooms, the tiniest flower. I knew the name of this flower because since I was a child I have had a tender connection to it. The flower is called forget-me-not.

I’m not exactly sure why this tiny flower has meant so much to me over the years. It does not attract immediate attention; it is easy to overlook among larger and more vibrant flowers; yet it is just as beautiful, with its rich color that mirrors that of the bluest skies—perhaps this is one reason why I like it so much.

And there is the haunting plea of its name. There is a German legend that just as God had finished naming all the plants, one was left unnamed. A tiny voice spoke out, “Forget me not, O Lord!” And God replied that this would be its name.

As a child, when I would look at the little forget-me-nots, I sometimes felt a little like that flower—small and insignificant. I wondered if I would be forgotten by my family or by my Heavenly Father.

Years later I can look back on that young boy with tenderness and compassion. And I do know now—I was never forgotten.

There is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower. I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet. Please never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others. Please never forget that the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you. And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves, and cherishes you.

You are not forgotten.”  - Dieter F. Uchtdorf -

A flower that special was chosen to be on the front of a postcard given to a young man many years ago.  That postcard brought love and closure to that young man’s daughter many, many years later.  That daughter, had thought she was unwanted and unloved, until she saw that postcard and those flowers on the front, made her realize she had not been forgotten, but was wanted and loved.

Marguerite Rachel Floyd Rushing past away in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana on July 8, 2011 she was 97 years old.  I was able to visit with her in April of 2011, just a few months before she passed away.  She was getting weaker, but still had her memory and we had a nice visit together, just she and I.  She thanked me for finding her and giving her the family she thought she never had, I guess that was her goodbye to me.  Her father, Lafayette Maxwell Alexander passed away on August 21, 1913 at Cave-in-Rock, Hardin County, Illinois he had just turned 20 years old just the month before.  Her mother, Amy Susan Floyd Loftis, died November 8, 1968 in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky she was 76 years old.

The following is the last time I saw Aunt Marguerite in Evansville in April of 2011, my cousin Scott took the one of me with Aunt Marguerite.

Marguerite was buried by her husband, Curtis Ashby Rushing in the Mapleview Cemetery in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Lafe was buried at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  He and his sister, Alice Mina Alexander Burgess share a tombstone together.  Amy was buried at the Union Baptist Church Cemetery in Union, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Her daughter, Dorothy had been buried there in 1929 and she wanted to be buried by her.  After Mamaw Loftis died they decided to have Papaw Loftis who had been buried at the Holiness Cemetery in Marion, disinterred and reburied by Mamaw Loftis at Union.  The following are all their tombstones.  You will notice that the year of birth for both Lafe and Amy is incorrect.

Though they were never able to be completely together in life, they are at least all buried in the same county, and my belief is they are all together now rejoicing in heaven.  Marguerite, Lafe and Amy, none of you will ever be forgotten, and every time I see blue forget-me-nots I will remember.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Amy Susan Floyd Loftis

The ancestor I am writing about this time was my great-grandmother, Amy Susan Floyd Loftis and who I called Mamaw Loftis.  She was my Mom’s grandmother.  This story is going to be a little longer than most of my post, but I think it will keep you reading until the end.  Amy’s life wasn’t easy as a young woman and as a married woman, but as a child from what I have been told she was happy go lucky and her family was a little more well off than most.   Her Daddy ran a threshing machine and dug wells in Western Kentucky and across the river in Southern Illinois with his youngest son, Luther Floyd.  They all attended church at Sisco Chapel in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Amy’s parents and her father’s parents were all buried there as well.  Amy died when I was ten years old and I always thought she was so pretty.  Her hair, makeup and clothes were always just right and we would all get a kick out of her riding sideways on my Daddy’s motorcycle when she came up to Henderson to visit, she never straddle it.  I can still hear her little giggle as they road up and down the street in front of our house.

I thought I had a picture of her on that motorcycle, but if I do I can’t find it now, I know there was some old movie film with her riding on it at one time, hopefully I can run across that one of these days too.  The following picture of Mamaw Loftis, was taken in the early 1960’s when she would have been coming to our house and riding that motorcycle.  The next picture of her was probably taken in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.  The next two are of the old Sisco Chapel Cemetery, that I took a couple of years ago when I was back home for a visit, the church house is no longer standing, but I have this old picture of the church at Sisco Chapel, but not sure where it came from.  It must have been in some of my Mamaw, Daisy’s old pictures.

Amy Susan Floyd was born March 10, 1892 in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky the daughter of John Henry Floyd and Anna Susan Davis.  Amy was the third of their six children and she had an older half-brother from her mother as well.  These children were the following, Volentine ‘Vol’ Hall Floyd, 1887-1997, who was married to Martha Ethel Lewis and Ruby E. Armstrong; Eliza I. Floyd, 1889-1968, who was married to Bartley James Sullenger; Telia Jane Floyd, 1895-1961, who was married to George Iles Yates; Sarah Elizabeth Yates, 1901-2003, who was married to James Calvin Yates; Luther E. Floyd, 1904-1960, who was married to Imogene Virginia Walker and Amy’s half-brother, John Franklin Durfee, 1883-1959, who was married to Ethel Mae McCormick, they lived over in Saline County, Illinois.

I don’t have very many pictures of this family has per my Mamaw, Daisy, there had been a house fire at her grandparents’ home when she was a child and all the pictures and everything else had been lost.  She said she remembered seeing an oval framed picture of her grandma, Anna Susan Davis Floyd that hung in the front room and she remembered seeing some Civil War era pictures of other family members who were in uniform but she didn’t recall who they were.  I have some very old faded pictures that someone had just Xeroxed and sent to me.   The following is the only picture I have of Amy’s Dad, John Henry Floyd, I would love to be able to find an original of this one to scan.  I don’t have one of her mother, Anna Susan Davis Floyd, but I sure wish I did.  My great-aunt, Marguerite knew her and always told me that my daughter, Rachel looked just like her.

My Mamaw, Daisy, told me that her grandpa, John Henry Floyd, had arthritis and walked with two canes all doubled over and that his mother, Eliza Parker Floyd, also had arthritis and was bedridden most of her older life until her death, because of it.  That probably explains why he is setting in a chair in the above picture.  My Mamaw had arthritis real bad as well and she use to say, “Those Itis boys are mean, but Arthur is the meanest of them all”.

Not sure of everyone in the following picture, but back row from left to right: Amy Floyd Loftis, Eliza Floyd Sullenger, Ethel Lewis Floyd and I am not sure who the next two ladies are, front row left to right: Imogene Walker Floyd, Sarah Floyd Yates and Telia Floyd Yates.  If anyone knows the two short ladies on the back row, or if I have any of the ones I do have named wrong please let me know, thanks.  Well it only took about 30 minutes after I posted this story and I had the lady on the top row, last one on the right identified.  She was Mattie Ernie Floyd Burklow, 1885-1967, she was a first cousin to the Floyd sisters.  Mattie's granddaughter, Debbie, showed this to her Mom, Dodie and she said, that's my Mom.

Besides by Mamaw Loftis, I also knew her brother, Vol and her sister Sarah.  I use to call and talked to Aunt Sarah several times over the years asking her family history questions.  She also came and visited my Mamaw, Daisy, a few times as well, and thankfully I was there a few times myself to ask her questions in person.  The first picture is of Eliza Floyd Sullenger and her half-brother, John Durfee, next is Luther Floyd, Vol Floyd. Eliza Floyd Sullenger and Amy Floyd Loftis, and last Sarah Floyd Yates.  Aunt Sarah died the day after her 102nd birthday in Terra Haute, Indiana in 2003, she was alert and active right up to the end.

Amy lived a typical life for the area and the time that she grew up in.  Her parents were well liked in the community, they lived a comfortable life.  Even though most young girls in the area were married by the time they were 18 years’ old, Amy was not.  She was a pretty young woman and for the longest time I always thought it was strange that she did not get married until she was 24 years old, when she married my great-grandfather, Jasper Guy Loftis, 1895-1945, on January 10, 1917 in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  They became the parents of eight children, namely, Daisy Elnora Loftis, 1917-2006, married Ermon Edward Fraley (They were my Mom’s parents & my grandparents.); J B Loftis, 1918-2004, married Dorothy Helen Beard (My Daddy’s big sister, so they were my Mom’s Uncle & Aunt and then her brother-in-law & sister-in-law after she married my Daddy in 1957 J); Myrtle Mae Loftis, 1920-1998, married James Robert Moreland; Christine Virginia Loftis, 1921-2015, married Joseph Alvey; Willow Belle Loftis, 1924-1986, married George Watson; Dorothy Elizabeth Loftis, 1927-1929; Bobbie Laverne Loftis, 1930-1975, married Paul Gregory; and Norma Jean Loftis who is still living.

I only have two pictures of my great-grandpa, Jasper Guy Loftis, aka Jack, one of just him and one of him and Amy with my Mamaw, Daisy when she was just a baby, they are the following:

The following picture is of Amy with five of her daughters, from left to right: Daisy, Bobbie, Norma Jean, Willow Belle and Christine, Amy is setting in front of them.  This picture was probably taken in the late 1950’s.

Amy’s husband, who most called Jack was a spar miner working in Western Kentucky.  I know he worked at the Klondyke and Bonanza Mines, but unfortunately he was a bit of a drinker.  My Mamaw said she loved her Daddy dearly, but when he was on one of his drinking binges she and the rest of her siblings tried to just stay out of his way.  Mamaw told me that her Momma took the brunt of his actions when he was drinking.  Life for the most part after Amy was married was not pleasant and times were hard.  Amy took in sewing, laundry and other odds and ends jobs trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.  I do believe all of Amy’s kids made it through the eighth grade, but they did not have the money for them to go any further in their schooling.  Plus, their Daddy thought school was a waste of time.

I started actively working on my family history when I was around 25 years old.  I had helped my Dad quite a bit when I was younger, but during high school and the early part of my marriage I had pretty much stopped.  When my two oldest girls were little, and my third was just a baby, I was bored and looking for stuff to do.  My husband was working full time and going to school full time and I was wanting something to do when the girls were down for naps to occupy my time.  I started organizing my husband’s family history and then I ask my Dad for copies of what he had gathered over the years.  Here it is over 30 years later and I am still looking for family, this is a very additive hobby by the way.  😊

The reason I tell you this is because when I started searching for family I started with my Mom’s side of the family, because both her parents were still living.  So, I called my Mamaw, Daisy, and told her what I was doing and I had some questions for her.  From then on I would call at least once a month with more questions and sometimes Mamaw would call me because she had remembered something or someone I had been asking about.

Anyway, I was wanting to make sure I had all her sisters and her brother’s information right, because I thought I knew all of them.  There was my Mamaw as the oldest, then her only brother J B, then Aunt Chris, Aunt Willow Belle, Aunt Bobbie and Aunt Norma Jean.  I knew there had been a baby sister to die, but I didn’t know her name.  I knew these people, my Mamaw’s siblings, I saw them many times over the years.  Mamaw gave me all their birth dates and told me her baby sisters name which was Dorothy Elizabeth.  Then she said you don’t have my sister, Mae.  I ask if she had died when she was a baby too.  Mamaw said no and then she told me the following story.

Mae had meet a young man who lived in the area and they had been dating or at least she had been sneaking off to date him, because her Daddy refused to let her see him.  They wanted to get married and her Daddy absolutely forbid it.  He was a nice young man, he had a job, but Papaw Loftis wouldn’t let them for whatever reason unknown to my Mamaw or anyone else for that matter, get married.  So, what does a 20 and a 17-year-old do, that are in love, they run off and get married.  The thing is she never went back home; her Dad would not let her.  So, they left Kentucky, Mamaw had always heard that they went to Missouri and then out west to Washington or Oregon possibly.  Mamaw said her Momma, Amy, received a few letters over the years up into the late 1940’s and she knew Mae had a couple of babies, but other than that nothing.  Wow, I was in shock, I had never heard about her, none of her siblings had ever said anything about her.

Then Mamaw really shocked me when she said, “I also have an older half-sister”.  Wow, you could have knocked me over!  A child of your Dad’s I ask?  No, Momma’s daughter, said Mamaw.  Mamaw said, “Do you think you could find them?  Momma always wondered what happen to them.  She would say, I bet they hate me and Marguerite probably hates me for sure”.  My Papaw Loftis did not want Marguerite around, because apparently, she reminded him that Amy had been with someone before him.  A silly thing to impose on a child, but that is what happen.  Marguerite lived with her Mom’s parents, but when she was five her grandma had a sudden heart attack and died just two weeks’ shy of her 60th birthday.

Marguerite was shuffled from one aunt to another after that and Amy even had her for a short while, until Jack told her she had to go somewhere else.  By the time Marguerite was 14 she was working in town at a store, but in 1930 when she was 16 she was listed on the census, living with her grandfather, John Floyd, again.  Mamaw said that was probably the last time she saw Marguerite was in the early 1930’s.  Mamaw, said she was probably around 12 years old before she knew that Marguerite was even her sister.  She heard she had married Curtis Rushing, a local boy, but she had heard nothing about her since that time, she just knew that they had left Kentucky, but she did not know to where.

Mae and Marguerite both were gone from Crittenden County by 1940, and no one had seen are heard from them since.  I was hot on the trail.  I was hoping I could find them and surprise my grandma at her 50th wedding anniversary party in 1988.  I had been looking for over two years by this time.  1988 came and went and still I had not found either of them, but I had not given up on the search.  My youngest daughter was born in 1988, Amy was on my mind a lot and so we named our youngest, Amy, after my Mamaw Loftis.  My Mamaw, Daisy, had also named one of her daughters Amy.  Both Amy’s giggle and smile like their namesake too.

It was two years later in 1990 and we were living in Arizona at the time.  I was still digging looking for ancestors and keeping my eyes open for clues as to where Mae and Marguerite may have gone.  Were they even married to the same guys, had they passed away, it had now been over 50 years since anyone had seen are heard from them.  The Social Security Death Index came out while we were living in Arizona and the CD’s came to my house because I was working at the local Family History Center at the time.  I called our IT guy and ask when he could load the software so I could start looking.  I was new at computers so I did not know how to do that back then.  He said he could meet me at the library the next morning.  I called my Mamaw and said, “Do you know about how old James and Curtis would be” and she gave me approximate dates.  I did not get any sleep that night, because I knew that the break I was looking for would be somewhere on those CD’s.

I got the three older girls off to school and Roy off to work and then got Amy dressed and she and I headed to the library.  My heart was racing!  Our IT guy got the software in and left. I typed in Curtis Rushing nothing came up that matched with what we were looking for.  Next Marguerite Rushing again nothing.  I typed in Mae Moreland, nothing.  I typed in James Moreland and got over five pages of James Moreland’s.  I narrowed down the search on James and knocked it down to one full page, so I narrowed down some more.  I called my Mamaw again and double checked on how old she thought James was.  She said, “well now that I think on it, I believe he was in my grade at school, so he has to be around my age”.  I popped in those parameters.  Three James Moreland’s came up that might work, but which one was the one I was looking for.  I looked all three over, two had been dead for several years, but one had only been dead for a few months.

My heart was racing again, I knew I had found the right guy and if he and Mae were still married when he died, then there should be a phone still in his name.  I loaded Amy back up in the car and drove back to our house a couple of miles away, no cell phones then.  I called information and ask for a listing in Apopka, Florida for a James Moreland.  They gave me the number and the goose bumps got higher, then I realized it was time for the girls to get home from school.  So, I waited until Roy got home from work and we had supper and I could ask him what he thought I should say if indeed Mae was on the other end of that line
It must have been a Friday because I called the next morning and everyone was at home.  We had the girls go outside to play so it was quiet.  Roy set there while I dialed the number, it rang about two or three times and then a woman said hello.  My heart kind of fell because it was a young sounding voice.  But I ask any way, can I speak to Mae Moreland, please?  The lady on the phone said, “sure let me get her for you”.  My heart just about stopped!!! 

The next thing I hear is the sweetest sounding little old lady voice, saying, “Hello”.

I was having a hard time breathing or thinking it seemed, but I finally said, you don’t know me but my name is Vickie Thompson and I live in Arizona, but I am originally from Kentucky.  She was rather quite after I said Kentucky and for a moment I thought she might have set the phone down.  I mean after all she was 70 years old, I did not want to give her a heart attack.  She asks me what I was wanting and I said, “I believe you maybe my grandmother’s sister”.  Suddenly she was crying and saying she’s alive, she’s alive.  It was quiet again for just a moment and then she said, “What is your grandmas name?” and I said Daisy and she started crying again.  Then she started rattling off all her other sibling’s names and asking about them and where they lived and how could she get in touch with them.  I had to tell her that two of her sisters had passed away and she cried again.  Then she was quiet and said in a rather soft voice, “Do you know when my Momma died”?  I was able to say to her, “Yes Ma’am, she passed when I was ten in 1968”.  She said, “I never knew when my Momma died.”   She had heard about her Daddy dying in 1945 though.

She gave the phone to her daughter, Judy, the lady who had answered the phone originally, so that I could give her every one’s addresses and phone numbers.  She wanted to talk to all of them as soon as she good.  The following year they had a big family get together in Kentucky in June of 1991, unfortunately I was unable to attend and I never got a chance to meet Aunt Mae, before she passed away in 1998.  Here are some pictures from that gathering.  The first one from left to right is Mae Loftis Moreland, J B Loftis, Christine Loftis Alvey & Daisy Loftis Fraley.  Next is Mae with her baby sister, Norma Jean Loftis.  The last picture is of Mae with my Mamaw, Daisy, when my Uncle Guy took her and Papaw, down to Florida not to long after I had found her.  Just look at the smiles on all their faces.  I am so happy I could find Aunt Mae and that they were all able to get together once more.

Just six days after finding Mae in Florida, I found Marguerite in Illinois.  Marguerite’s story and finding out who her Daddy was will be at least one, possibly two separate blog posts.

Amy Susan Floyd Loftis, passed away from a stroke at the hospital in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky and was laid to rest at the Union Baptist Church Cemetery in Union, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Her daughter, Dorothy Elizabeth and her husband, Jack are buried by her side.

Blue forget-me-nots play a part in the next blog stories I will be posting and that is why I am saying the following to my Mamaw Loftis.  Amy, you were not forgotten, not by me or any of your other descendants.  I remember you and your little giggle and setting in your lap when I was small.  I remember when my Mamaw, your daughter Daisy, heard about your passing and how sad she was to lose you.  I found your two missing daughters, though it took me several years.  They had a good life and they had not forgotten you either, but were just lost for a time.  Now you are all together again in heaven and things from the past are forgotten and remembered no more.  May you always smile and giggle like you did when I was a little child and always know that I will never forget-you-not.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

James Tilford Elder

Well I am finding it hard to find the time to set down and write a story about an ancestor, however, I am trying to work on that more.  The man I am writing about this time was from my Papaw Beard’s side of the family and was his grandmother, Louwanda Bigham Elder Daniel’s, brother, so that makes him my second great-granduncle.  Papaw Beard never knew any of his grandparents at least none that he ever mentioned.  Only one grandmother was living when he was born and she died in 1905 and he had a great-grandmother who died in 1903, but I never heard him mention either one of them.  All the rest were dead long before he was born.  I knew all four of my grandparents, three great-grandparents and two great-great-grandparents.  I think it is rather sad that my Papaw Beard did not have the opportunity to know any of his grandparents.  My Daddy was the same way only one grandmother was living when my Daddy was born, but she lived in California and he was in Kentucky, so he never met her before she died in 1939.  That grandmother was Rose Etta Daniel Beard, the niece to the man I am writing about this time.

So on with my little bio about James Tilford Elder who was born December 29, 1850 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  James was the son of Samuel Henry Elder, 1808-1877, and Sarah Catherine Bigham, 1825-1903, who were married in 1849.  James was the oldest child of the six children of his parents.  The other five children were the following, Newton J. Elder, 1852-1855; Eliza Eunice Elder, 1855-1902; she married Thomas Jefferson Daniel in 1871; Louwanda Bigham Elder, 1857-1880, she married a younger brother of Tom Daniel, named Collin Graves Daniel in 1873 (these were my 2nd great-grandparents); Sue Anthony Elder, 1864-1957, she married Samuel L. Gentry in 1884; and her twin, Sarah Henry Elder, 1864-1921, she married Samuel David Patmore in 1880.   All the girls but Eliza were given middle names that were some of their ancestor’s surnames.

James’ father, Samuel Henry Elder had been married previously to Alsinda G. Hart, 1820-1847, in 1840 and they had five children together before Alsinda passed away.  These five children, half-siblings to James were the following, William A. Elder, 1841-????; Harvey Lycurgus Elder, 1843-1900, he married Sarah Jane Vaughn in 1874; L. L. L. Elder, 1845-1880, I am not sure what all those L’s stood for; Mary Jane Elder, 1846-1922, she married John W. Tiller in 1859; and Esther A. Elder, 1846-1848.

A lot of the Elder family is buried in the Old Marion Cemetery just as you are going out of town in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  The tombstones are faded and some are hard to read, but the Elder’s and several others buried in this cemetery are related to me in some way, mainly from my Daddy’s side of the family.

The following two pictures are the only ones I have of James’ parents, Samuel & Sarah.  My Dad received these from someone years ago.  Samuel is when he is younger and Sarah’s is when she is older.  I wish I could see the full picture of Sarah it looks like it could have been a group picture as I can see someone’s fingers right behind her on the chair.

In 1875 on November 10th James was married to Mary Elizabeth Dowell who was his second cousin one generation removed from their common ancestors, on her mother’s side of the family.  The Elder’s and Dowell’s were both well-known and highly respected members of the community there in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Mary was the daughter of Judge, Robert Alexander Dowell and Mary Elizabeth Hill.  The following is the only picture I have of Mary Elizabeth Dowell Elder, 1861-1951, and it is when she is older, probably long after James had died, as she was a widow for almost 28 years.

James and Mary became the parents of nine children, five boys and four girls, all lived to adulthood except one.  These children were the following, Robert Henry Elder, 1877-1953, (of Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho was a Democrat, Lawyer; member of the Democratic National Committee from Idaho, 1912-28; delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Idaho, 1928, 1936, 1940, 1944 (alternate; member, Committee on Rules and Order of Business), 1948 (alternate), a Presbyterian and a member of the Rotary, Elks and Freemasons); Edgar Samuel Elder, 1880-1945, he was also a lawyer like his brother Robert; Zannie Earnest Elder, 1882-1887; Emil Elder, 1884-1963; Kathleen Alverta Elder, 1887-1967; Homer Hylton Elder, 1889-1940; Faye Valeta Elder, 1892-1983; Kaye Valera Elder, 1892-1982; and Marie Etta Elder, 1895-1987.

James lived and farmed in Crittenden County, Kentucky but he also was a singer and a Sunday School worker.  From the Crittenden Press in 1881 we read, “Mr. J. Tilford Elder, will go to teach a singing school, Mr. Elder is one of the best singers in the county.”  His obituary said that, “Mr. Elder was a great church and Sunday school worker and was for a number of years County President of the Kentucky Sunday School Association.”  From what my Daddy told me about James and others from this side of this family, was that several them were what was called, Singing Evangelists.  Singing Evangelists would go around to the churches in the area and sing praise as their way of teaching and showing their devotion to God and Jesus Christ.  My Daddy and my girls must have inherited their singing abilities from this side of the family.  The following picture of James was probably taken during this time, while he and his family were still living in Kentucky.  He was sure a good-looking man.

In about 1896, James, his wife and eight children along with others from Crittenden County left and moved to Kansas, west of Wichita and east of Dodge City.  James and his family were living in the township of Wellsford in Kiowa County in 1900.  I am not sure why so many people went to Kansas from Crittenden County in the 1890’s but there were several of them that did so.   Mary’s parents and most of her siblings also moved to Kansas and her parents, Robert and Mary died there in Kiowa County in 1917 and 1907 respectively.   James and his family lived there in Kansas until about 1908, when they left and continued west moving to Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho.  Why Kansas and why Idaho?  Again, I do not know that answer, one of these days when I have more than a few minutes I will need to do some digging and figure out why they went to Kansas and then on to Idaho.  There may have been land opportunities there that weren’t available anymore in Kentucky.  It could have even been for more job opportunities.  If someone reading this knows please let me know, I would sure appreciate it.  The following are pictures of Mary’s parents, Robert and Mary Dowell.

By the 1910 census we find James and family living in the Kootenai Precinct of Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho and they are still living there as well in 1920.   In 1910 the census says James has his own income and in 1920 the census says James is a retired farmer.  James’ two oldest sons Robert and Edgar were both lawyers and James and Mary are living next door to Robert in both the 1910 and 1920 census.  The following picture of James is the only other one I have and he does, to me anyway, look older than the previous picture but I am not sure when either picture was taken.

James did not live long past the 1920 census dying on June 14, 1922 in Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho of pernicious anemia, a condition that occurs when your body can’t absorb enough vitamin B-12, which is needed to make healthy red blood cells.  He was buried at the Forest Cemetery in Coeur d’Alene a few days later.  His wife Mary lived almost another 28 years, dying January 25, 1951 in Oakland, California but she was brought back to Coeur d’Alene and buried beside her husband James.

I don’t know a lot about James, his wife and children, but because James was a singer and because my Daddy was a singer, I thought I would write about him and his family.  I hope you enjoy this little bio.