52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #44 – John Keithley

Continuing with my maternal 3rd great-grandparents, my mother’s great-great-grandfather on her mother’s side was John Keithley. Once again, we know very little about him and that is mostly from documents about his children or grandchildren.

In the 1900 census for his grandson (my great-grandfather) Joseph Keithley, John’s oldest son, W. R. Keithley, was living

Note from Donna’s daughter, Kay Bauman:  My mom died on November 25.  The two of us were participating in the No Story Too Small challenge to have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  This is her unfinished 44th post for that challenge that she last edited on November 16, 2014.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #27- Amy Turner Keithley

My mother’s maternal grandfather’s mother was Amy Turner Keithley. Amy was born Friday, May 15, 1835, in Sharon, Hamilton, Ohio to Elisha Turner and Sarah Morse. Sharon was eventually incorporated into the town of Sharonville, which is a part of the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area.

The family was still in Ohio for the 1840 census but by the 1850 census, Amy and her parents were enumerated in New Diggings, Lafayette, Wisconsin where her dad was a miner. Amy married Enoch Keithley on August 29, 1852 in New Diggings. We had a difficult time finding a marriage record because the name was recorded by the court clerk based on the way it sounded. The ending ‘k’ sound of Enoch’s first name apparently meshed together with the beginning ‘k’ of his last name and the clerk recorded the name as Enoch Ethley. Amy’s name also morphed into something the clerk thought he heard – Emma Turner rather than Amy Turner.

Amy and Enoch had three sons: Joseph Henry (1853), Lewis Owen (1855) and Arthur H. (1857) and by the 1860 census had relocated a few miles away in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, which is also in Lafayette County. They were living near Amy’s brother, George, and his wife and both her husband and her brother were listed as farmers.

The county was in the midst of a great civil unrest and in November 1861 and her husband, Enoch, enlisted in the Union Army. He left shortly after that and died at Shiloh, Tennessee in April 1862 leaving Amy a widow with three small boys: 9, 7 and 5.

As was the case for most widows, Amy married again; she married Thomas Burgess on October 19, 1862 in Shullsburg, Wisconsin. They had a daughter named Edith in 1864. Unfortunately, the marriage to Thomas was not very long-lived; he left the marriage and Amy filed for divorce. She took back her former married name, which she also applied to her daughter Edith, who seems to have been called Sarah in early records.

Her parents and brothers relocated from Wisconsin to Fulton County, Illinois and Amy and her four children joined in the move. Life was likely quite difficult for a widow with four children, evidence of which can be seen in the 1870 census. Amy and her daughter were enumerated together, but each of Amy’s sons was enumerated with a separate family; the boys were likely working on these farms for their keep. Joseph and Lewis were both living in the same town as their mother but Arthur was living in the nearby county of Tazewell, living with a family that appears to be non-related non-neighbor.

By the 1880 census, Amy and her daughter were living with her oldest son, Joseph. Lewis had moved to Nebraska and Arthur to Peoria. Sometime in the mid 1880s, Joseph and his family moved to Missouri while Amy and Edith stayed in Illinois. Edith married Harold Lee Davidson in 1891 and Amy was enumerated in Lewistown, Illinois with the Davidson family for the 1900 census. Lewistown was in the same county as Fairview but a few miles away.

By the 1910 census, Amy was living in Peoria, Illinois with her son, Arthur, and his family. The 1910 census for her daughter, Edith, indicated a disrupted family. Edith and her son were living without her husband and she stated she was the mother of two children, one deceased; which means during the decade between 1900 and 1910 she had another child who didn’t live very long [the older son was enumerated in the census]. I have been unable to find a birth or death record for the child.

Amy’s oldest son, my great-grandfather, died in Joplin in 1911 and Amy died on May 16, 1912. She is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Lewistown, Fulton, Illinois. Her daughter, who died in 1926, is buried beside her. 5-4-2008 Lewistown Oak Hill Cemetery Amy Keithley


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.





52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks # 19 – Joseph Henry Keithley

Joseph Henry Keithley_editedMy maternal grandmother’s father was Joseph Henry Keithley. He was the son of Enoch Keithley and Amy Turner born in New Diggings, Wisconsin on October 18, 1853. New Diggings was a community established in 1826 when miners were looking for new places to dig for lead and found that area rich in lead deposits. In reading about the early history of that community, I learned that many of the miners had come from Missouri, which was the case with Joseph’s father. While searching for information on New Diggings I found a page of an artist who has done some panorama paintings of the small community. I had posted a picture of the general store (built in 1844), which is included on the artist’s panorama, on the blog I did about Joseph’s father.

When Joseph was 1 1/2 years old, the 1855 Wisconsin census for New Diggings listed the Enoch Keithley family with two males and one female:  1855 WisconsinBy the time of the 1860 census, Joseph was 6 and his family was living in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, which was 7 miles northeast of New Diggings. Joseph now had two siblings – brothers Arthur (4) and Lewis (3):  1860In November 1861 when Joseph was 7 years old, his father enlisted in the Union Army and left for Pittsburg Landing where he died in April 1862. His mother Amy married Thomas Burgess in October 1862 and in January 1864 they had a daughter named Edith “Sarah” Burgess. Unfortunately, Thomas deserted the family and Amy and her three sons and a daughter moved to Fairview, Illinois where her parents and some of her siblings had moved.

The 1870 census enumerates Amy and Edith in one household (52) while Joseph was enumerated as a laborer in another household (108), Lewis in another household (128) and Arthur was enumerated in another county over 50 miles away. These census entries reflect the dire, though not necessarily unusual, circumstance of children having to hire out to other families in order to have a place to live and food to eat.

By the 1880 census, Joseph was listed as head of a household that included his mother and half-sister as well as his two-year-old niece (daughter of Amy’s brother George whose wife had died). Arthur was living in Peoria where he spent the rest of his life, and Lewis was enumerated in Seward County, Nebraska where he was working as a farm laborer and living as a boarder.

Joseph married Martha Ann Conn in Chicago on January 20, 1881. In writing what we know and don’t know about Martha, Kay included their marriage license in a blog. Because we have no information on Martha other than her name, we do not know where or how they met. Their first child, a daughter named Violet Belle, was born November 4, 1881 in Fairview. In 1882, Joseph and Martha purchased a tract of land in the surrounding countryside, presumably to build a home to raise their family and to farm it. On a trip to Fairview in 2008, a local woman drove Kay and me out to see the land they purchased; it is currently vacant farmland. On January 20, 1883, my grandmother, Eva, was born and her brother, Leo, was said to be born November 17, 1883. That date may indicate at least a slightly premature birth for Leo. We have birth certificates for both Violet and Eva but a certificate was not found in Fulton County for Leo; however, his WWI draft registration lists his birth date, although it is not uncommon for WWI draft registrations to be off by a year.

Due to the lack of an 1890 census, details of Joseph’s life from the birth dates of his children to the 1900 census have to be inferred from other pieces of information. Joseph and Martha moved to Missouri between 1884 and 1889 when their last daughter, Mabel was born. Martha died either in childbirth or shortly thereafter. No birth record for Mabel or death record for Martha has as yet been located. The care for Violet, Eva and Leo was apparently taken over by family members but no one stepped up to take on the responsibility of an infant, so Mabel was adopted by Henry and Sarah Whippler. I have found records of them living in a nearby county and of one of their sons living in the town of Carterville, which is where Joseph was living in 1900.

Joseph married Sarah Oliver in Carthage, Missouri on October 6, 1892. Their son, Arthur Enoch, was born in Carthage on November 8, 1893. Their daughter, Susannah ‘Susie’, was born June 24, 1895. Both the 1900 and 1910 censuses indicate Sarah was the mother of three children, so it is assumed there was either a stillborn child or one who died as an infant.

By the 1900 census, they were living in the town of Carterville where Joseph owned property and operated a grocery store. Joseph’s family was at least partially reunited; both Eva and Leo were living with their father and stepmother along with Arthur, Susannah and Joseph’s Uncle W. R. Keithley. His daughter, Violet, had recently married and was enumerated next door along with her husband and two of his children from a previous marriage. Mabel was living with her adopted family in Wisconsin.

Shortly after the 1900 census, Violet and her husband moved to Kansas, Eva moved to Oklahoma to get married and Leo moved to Oregon. Joseph and Sarah, Arthur and Susannah moved to Joplin where they bought a home on the corner of Connor and 4th Street. The grocery store was about 100 yards from their home just around the corner on 4th Street. [I posted a photo of the store in a blog I wrote about planning a research trip.]

On November 16, 1906, Joseph and Sarah’s daughter Susie died at the age of 11.

Joseph was active in the Methodist Episcopal Church, a member of Woodmen of the World and an active participant in the Retail Merchants Association.

Early in the morning on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1911, Arthur found his father lying on the floor in the store having had a stroke. He managed to get him back to the house where a doctor was summoned but Joseph was pronounced dead at 7:00 a.m. At the time of his death, Joseph was President of the Retail Merchant’s Association and so several articles regarding his death, funeral and impact on the local businesses were available in the newspaper. Kay wrote a blog in which she included photos of his headstone and one of the newspaper articles. Joseph was buried at the Dudman Springs Cemetery in Sarcoxie (a small community not far from either Joplin or Carterville). He is buried near Susie and his wife, Sarah, who died in 1915.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

52 Ancestors #13 – Enoch Keithley

My great-great-grandfather on my mother’s maternal side was Enoch Keithley. Enoch was born April 5, 1831 in Missouri. My daughter and I have found five records specifically linked to Enoch: a marriage record, the 1850 and 1860 federal census records, an 1855 Wisconsin state census and records of his service with the Wisconsin 16th Infantry during the Civil War. 1850The 1850 census for Jo Daviess County, Illinois listed Enoch as 18, indicating a birth date of about 1832, and as being born in Missouri. Although he was not listed with an occupation, he was also not living with any known family member. David Matlock. whose family he was enumerated with, was a collier – someone who works in a coal mine. The head of household below was also a collier; it is probable that Enoch would soon be working for the mine as well.

My daughter, Kay, had quite a search in order to find the marriage record for Enoch and his wife, Amy Turner. It was eventually with the help of a records clerk that the oddly spelled record was located and on a 2008 trip to Illinois and Wisconsin we saw that marriage listing in the county record book. It was Enoch Ethley [the name obviously recorded based on hearing the two names elided together] and Emma Turner. They were married on August 29, 1852 in the small community of New Diggings, Wisconsin by a Justice of the Peace named Joseph Thompson. We drove through New Diggings on our trip; by 2008 it was mostly just a bend in the road with businesses on each corner surrounded by several homes. I took a photo of one of the buildings that may well have been a part of that community when Enoch and Amy were married. P5080087An 1855 Wisconsin state census listed Enoch Keithley [transcribed as Kershley or Thershley] enumerated the household of two males and one female in New Diggings. The family unit at that time would have been Enoch and Amy and their first child, Joseph Henry, born in 1853. 1855Enoch and his wife, Amy, and their three sons  were enumerated in the 1860 census for Schullsburg, Wisconsin [Lafayette County]. They were enumerated next to the George and Juditha Turner household; other research showed that George was Amy Keithley’s brother. Enoch was listed as a farmer who was 28 and born in Missouri.

1860By 1861, the United States was in a time of extreme turmoil over the issue of states rights. Ulysses S. Grant, who was a resident of Galena, Illinois just over the border from Wisconsin, was rallying support for the Union cause and many of the men of the area joined the fight. Enoch’s brother-in-law, George Turner, joined the Union cause on September 16, 1861, and Enoch followed suit on November 4, 1861; records indicated both of them were residing in Darlington, Wisconsin at the time of their enlistment. When the Wisconsin 16th Regiment Infantry was organized at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin and mustering in completed on January 31, 1862, Enoch and George were a part of Company I.

Military records for the regiment state they departed by boat for St. Louis on March 13, 1862, arriving on the 15th. They embarked on transports from St. Louis on March 16 traveling the Tennessee River and disembarking at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee on March 20. They were assigned to the Sixth Division, which was a combining of regiments from several states. Their specific assignment was to occupy a position in the extreme front. They engaged in camp duties and drilling until the evening of Saturday, April 6th when they engaged in a skirmish with Confederate soldiers who were hidden behind a log fence. The Confederate soldiers opened with a volley directly in the faces of the Wisconsin 16th. Several men were killed or wounded and they fell back. April 7th was a full day of battle, beginning before breakfast and ending in the late afternoon – the Battle of Shiloh was one of the severest battles of the war; this deadly battle was the first conflict for these soldiers.

Following this battle, the unit remained in Pittsburg Landing until May 1st when they departed for Corinth, Mississippi, a few miles southwest of Shiloh, to seek an advantage by commanding the railway system in that community. The unit remained in Corinth until May 29th.

Records show Enoch died of disease in Pittsburg Landing on May 8, 1862. Because he died in Pittsburg Landing during the time his unit was in Corinth, I assume he had been too ill to travel and did not make the march to Corinth. The records of the Wisconsin 16th Regiment Infantry list 77 men who died in action, 64 who died of wounds, 267 who died of disease and 6 who died of accidents for a total of 303 men over the course of the Civil War.

Kay and I visited the Shiloh Battlegrounds and Cemetery in 2010 and stood at the site of their battle, at the location of the camp hospital, and at the burial site for those of the Wisconsin 16th who died during those days at Shiloh. Most of the men were buried in unmarked graves with just a small rectangular pillar to mark their graves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnoch Keithley is listed as being buried in one of those unmarked graves. At the time of his death, he was 31. He left a 26-year-old widow and three young sons – Joseph 8, Lewis 6 and Arthur 5.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

52 Ancestors #2 – Jacob Lineberry’s 112th Anniversary

Although I hadn’t intended to write about my maternal grandfather, Jacob Lineberry, because my daughter, Kay, has written about him and I have included him obliquely in posts I’ve done, today would be his and Eva’s 112th wedding anniversary. So for the second in the series proposed by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small – 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, I will write about what we surmise about their marriage from a number of sources.

JacobJacob Lineberry was born in Carroll County, Virginia on May 12, 1871 to George Alex Lineberry and Rhoda Harmon Lineberry as their third child. His life was short; he died on October 31, 1915 when he was only 44 years old.

Jacob left Virginia in 1894 when he was about 23 to join others from his community who had moved earlier to Missouri in the area of Linn County. We discovered in 1998 that Jacob had written a number of letters back to Virginia over the years and about 50 of them had been kept by his older brother, Leander. My cousin, Billy Ray Lineberry, had received the original letters from his father, Leonard Lineberry, and he allowed Kay to make copies of them while we were on a family visit/research trip. These letters gave us a good bit of insight into his character, hopes, dreams, frustrations and hurts.

Carroll County, Virginia where Jacob grew up, specifically the area surrounding the town of Galax, is in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a beautiful country. What makes someone leave a beautiful country where you have family to support and encourage you? From Jacob’s letters we were able to discern several motivations. He was a young man who wanted some success in his life and farming on the side of a rocky mountain, however beautiful, wasn’t likely to offer much economic stability or bright future.  The hard life of a mountain farmer was compounded, according to his letters, by the harshness of his father. Here is a sample from his letter written April 12, 1896 [text is from a direct transcription of his letters] :

“Well Leander I can not tell you how sorry that I am about Thomas and Papa. It looks queer that the old gent cant get along with his children what does he expect to become of himself does he ever expect to die or not I would like to know; If he does where he will find himself. I lived in a racket and fuss all my life till I left Home I did not know how civilized people done. but I am trying to make my life happy now as possible but still I am not as happy as I would be if I was at home and could get along but know I could not and for that reason I will not come back home for a while. I would be ashamed for our relatives to know in this country how Papa does his children. … Leander try to be as a father amongst your children not a brute.

You know while I was at home that Papa was always mad and acted as though he would rather that I was in some other country and I tryed to do as he wanted me to. and I think I can make a living any where that I try to stay.  If I live I expect to get married some time and if I die soon I hope I will be in peace with the heavenly Father and will have money enough to put me away. Try to live this way your self Leander and wish Papa would try and do better.  you and Thomas and the rest of the children feels near to me though you may be far away and still be near. I dont like to hear of any of your being mistreated I hope Papa will try and be as a man.  If he only knew my thoughts and would listen to me he surely would be better.

… I was afraid when mother died that the children could not get along with Papa.  try and have them treated as good as possible. Oh: home without Mother is stilled, a vacant place without Mother which can never be filled.  the children will wander from place to place and no place will feel like home to them.   I wish the children could stay together in peace at home. Ask Papa to treat them kindly and look out for that Great day coming by and by and be ready to meet his God in peace and all of you do the same.”

And from June 22, 1897: “and Papa how is he getting along. Is he so wicked now as he was.  I hope he will get to trying to do better though I must pick the mote out of my own eye before any one else’s. I wish him happiness and success.”

Jacob worked as a farm laborer amongst his Linn County, Missouri relatives and neighbors but also began working as a carpenter. In a letter home written in February 1898, he told of working as a carpenter in Omaha, Nebraska. From the details he provided, he was helping to build the exhibits for The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, which was a world’s fair to be held in Omaha from June 1 to November 1 of 1898. [The picture of Jacob above was taken in Omaha so would have been of him when he was about 28.]

Throughout his letters, Jacob asked about the girls back home – presumably girls he had dated. The two he mentioned the most were Cora B. and Laura Melton. During the eight years from the time he left Virginia until he married Eva in 1902, there was only one mention of a girl, but in comparison to the girls back home, she didn’t seem to measure up. Here are a few examples from his letters of comments regarding girls:

I would to be there and see you all. but my girl is so attractive. But not so much as I thought Cora B was but that was foolishness of me. Of course she was a good girl but there is others better.” [Sept 9, 1895] “I have not heard from any girl in Va for a year or more but I never write, very much, I wrote some time ago to Laura Melton and have not had any ans from her. I would like very much to hear from her.” [Jan 1896] “Tell Laura Melton to write to me. I have not got any ans from my last letter to her and my girl Mollie Bowers. Do you ever see her. Is she as sweet as ever. Tell me of her.” [undated letter]  “I am just the same yet as I was when in Va. I don’t expect to marry soon. I have no girl that I depend on as a friend at all. I may have to come back to Va to get me a girl. There is no girls that beat them anywhere.” [June 22, 1897] “Do you ever on my old Cora girl or any of them. I wonder if she has forgotten me yet.” [February 1898]

Jacob moved to Carterville sometime between September and October of 1898. In a letter to Leander written on the 23rd of October, he said he was working in underground mines but didn’t expect to stay there but until spring. He didn’t get away that soon and in a letter to Leander written in January 1900, he once again mentioned his girlfriend from Virginia: “has all my girls married.  do you ever hear of my Cora girl and how is she getting along.”

None of the letters that have survived have a mention of any girls he may have dated while in Carterville. About as close as he came to suggesting there might have been girls in his life was as quoted above, “I don’t expect to marry soon. I have no girl that I depend on as a friend …” and only the references to the girls back home in Virginia lend any clue that he might have a desire to marry and have a home and family. Perhaps his view of marriage based on his early home life didn’t encourage him to take such a step.

In a November 28, 1900 letter, he told Leander he was still in Carterville though he had been trying to leave. He had some interest in some mines as well as a piece of equipment that was being rented out for use in the mines and a part of his desire to leave was due to the promise of free land in Oklahoma. The dates for the next land lottery was not yet set and he was awaiting that time before leaving. On an undated envelope [1901], Jacob wrote that he was anxious to leave for Oklahoma Territory and a letter dated October 23, 1901 was written from Hobart, Indian Territory and stated he had left Missouri two months earlier. In that letter, he indicated he couldn’t stop writing and wrote up and down the sides of the letter and even wrote on the outside of the envelope after it was sealed. He said he wanted to tell Leander everything he could think of; however, there is no mention of any girls or women in his life and this is only little more than two months before his marriage.

Since Jacob married Eva Keithley on January 11, 1902 and she was from Carterville, it seems an obvious assumption they met there. Eva was born January 7, 1883 so she was twelve years younger than Jacob. When he arrived in Carterville in 1898, she would have been fifteen and only eighteen when he moved away in August 1901 compared to his age of thirty. A newspaper announcement of her impending wedding evidences the fact she was still residing in Carterville after Jacob moved:

My grandmother's 1902 marriage announcement.

My grandmother’s 1902 marriage announcement.

In a letter written December 29, 1901, Jacob finally mentioned a female in his life: “I would surely be glad to see all of you but I cannot afford it as I spend too much money now going from place to place as it is time for me to come to a stop. Well I forgot to tell you that wife would be down in a short time as she is in Mo but I expect her here in a short time and we will try housekeeping for the first time to ourselves but I hope we will not starve, but I am anxious to get me a claim here” This is the only mention of Eva in any of his letters and it only mentions her in passing and without a name. Perhaps, that is evidence that there are some missing letters in which he at least mentioned her by name, but considering we have about fifty of his letters, I suspect we have a fairly good sampling of the things he wrote about.

As I mentioned when I wrote about Eva, she must have gotten pregnant in late August just days before Jacob moved away; every letter to his brother indicated he expected to not return to Missouri. With this information and little else to go on, I suspect Eva was left to track him down in order to let him know of her condition. From the off-hand way in which he mentioned her in his letter, I also suspect the marriage was more the result of a sense of duty and responsibility than of an undying love or emotional attachment to her, although referring to her as wife rather than Eva is likely an indication he was at peace with the decision to marry and was already thinking of her in that role as he prepared a place for her and their future child.

Jacob apparently either met Eva in Mangum, Oklahoma or joined her on the train at Hobart and accompanied her to Mangum so they could be married [Mangum is the county seat of Greer County, the next county to the west of Kiowa County, which is where Hobart is located. It is possible since Hobart was only about four months old there was no place yet established to get licenses to marry.]Jacob and Eva's marriageIn a letter written fifteen days after his marriage, he still mentioned nothing of his wife or his marriage. He mentioned he had bought a house and reflected on the probability that had he married several years ago in Virginia he would likely have had a nice house by now.

Following his marriage, Jacob still wrote to his brother mostly about work, money, weather, education and spiritual matters as well as asking about his family back home, although in July 1903, in response to learning of the death of one of his brother’s sons, he wrote, “I realize it to be a Sad affair to loose one of our loved ones. I was always fond of children but never knew the real love and sympathy for a child as I now do. Our little boy taken very sick last night and has been sick all day but seems to be some better now. though I have been very uneasy about him. I think it is his teeth and hope he will be well in afew days, the only thing that we can do is to be in Peace with the Father.”

Finally, in July 1906 he again mentioned something about his family, “I am getting very anxious to come back home and see you all once more I will try and come this fall if I possibly can as I am not fixed to come now as I was afew yrs ago. but I kept neglecting and putting off and now I have a wife and babys to leave.  If I come I will bring our boy with me did I tell you we had another boy he’s about 4 months old and a fine big boy.” And then in another paragraph, “our oldest boy is 4 yrs and has been going school this summer he thinks it is a big trick.”

One last mention of his family in his September 1914 letter, “our eldest boy has been sick for some time with Typhoid Fever but is well now, or at least I hope so as he had two back sets that kept him down for weeks, which caused me to loose about two months work I had just traded for a stock of goods when he took sick and had to dispose of them as the stock was at another Town, this is the first sickness that we have ever had in our family but we will have to bear our burdens as they come.”

Although it is hard to discern much about their relationship from the few mentions he made of his wife and even of their children in his letters, it would appear that, though the marriage was not likely a planned event, Jacob made a commitment to Eva and to their children – seven of them all told. In a time period where many photos made the people appear to be sad or angry, all the pictures we have of Eva during the time of her marriage to Jacob show her smiling and that seems to me to be a tribute to any man.

To read my daughter’s stories about Jacob, see Lineberry Legacy, Jacob and Eva, and Hallows Eve 1915.

52 Ancestors #1 Eva Keithley

Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog has issued a challenge to write an ancestor’s story once a week for 52 weeks. Since that seemed to be a way to honor my word of the year – intentional – and my interest in family history, I decided to participate.

Although I knew almost all my aunts and uncles, I never knew any ancestors: my maternal grandfather died in 1915, my maternal grandmother in 1922, my paternal grandmother in 1938 and my paternal grandfather in 1942 (although he likely had met me, I have no recollection of him since I was not quite 2 when he died).

Fortunately, my daughter chose to become our family historian and to learn everything she could about her ancestors. Without Kay’s interest, I may never have even heard my grandparents’ names, let alone know anything about their lives.

My grandmother, Eva Keithley Lineberry Fox, died five days after her 39th birthday – 18 1/2 years before I was born. Because her younger children, ages 7 to 14, were dispersed from Oklahoma to Virginia to live with various paternal relatives and because my mother was the youngest child, I do not recall ever seeing anything belonging to Eva – even a photo of her.

Eva was the second child of Joseph Henry Keithley and Martha Ann Conn*, born January 7, 1883 in Fairview, Fulton County, Illinois. Her sister, Violet Belle, was born two years earlier in 1881 in Fairview, and her brother, Leo Henry, was born in Fairview in 1884. [One other sister, Mabel Amy, was born in 1889 in Missouri. Because Martha Keithley apparently died shortly after the birth of Mabel and because Joseph’s business as a grocer did not allow him to both work and care for his young children, the three older children were given to relatives to care for and Mabel was given to a local family to adopt; this family moved to Wisconsin and Mabel had no contact with her birth family until she was a teenager.] 1899 eva keithley_edited-1

Sometime between 1884 when Leo was born and 1889 when Mabel was born, Joseph and his family moved to Carterville, Missouri, which is in Jasper County. Kay received a photo of Eva taken about 1898 when she was about 15.

The 1900 census shows Eva living with her father, step-mother, brother and two half-siblings as well as a great uncle, and next door to her sister, Violet, newly married to Thomas Newton Todd:

1900 census

Jacob had also been living in Carterville at the time of the 1900 census; he was a boarder in a home about three blocks from Eva’s home.

1900 census Jacob

In 1992 we received copies of about 50 letters Jacob had written to his brother in Virginia from 1894 until his death in 1915. Those letters indicated Jacob had left Carterville in August 1901 to go to Oklahoma to see if he could get some of the land being offered in land runs. In January 1902, Eva married Jacob Wesley Lineberry in Mangum, Oklahoma, apparently at the Greer County courthouse.

When we found the marriage record for Jacob, we noted the date of January 11, 1902 was just five months before the birth of their first child, William Siebert Lineberry on May 12, 1902. On a research trip to Jasper County, a review of newspapers for Carterville mentioned the town held a huge three day party in August 1901 hosted by the mine companies in the area. Past and present miners had been invited to come stay at the small community lake’s recreation area and to camp on the grounds and Jacob had been affiliated with the mines. There was camping, picnicking, bands and dancing and games for three days. The combination of the community’s party atmosphere along with Jacob’s impending departure likely resulted in an unplanned pregnancy.

On the same trip to Jasper County, we found a newspaper notice of Eva’s impending marriage. The article indicated Eva worked as a night operator for the telephone company. With a 21st century mindset, it is difficult to imagine how an 18 year old in 1902 would have coped with a pregnancy when the soon-to-be father had moved away, particularly to the more uncivilized parts of our country that had yet to become a part of the United States. We have evidence that Jacob wrote letters, so perhaps he had written to Eva once he arrived at his next residence thus giving her a way to contact him by mail to let him know of the pregnancy. It’s also possible she knew enough of his location to be able to use her telephone access to get word to him.

However she managed to contact him, they agreed to marry and Eva set out alone and five months pregnant, presumably riding by train from Joplin through Indian Territory to Hobart, Oklahoma in the middle of the winter; the railroad and depot for Hobart had only been recently completed. At this time in our history, decent women found it difficult if not impossible to enter dining establishments without a man to accompany them. This would mean Eva likely had to take enough food with her to sustain her for the trip. In January a couple of years ago my brother, sister-in-law, daughter and I drove a route similar to the one the train she rode would have taken; the view out her windows would have been mostly a barren flat expanse of nothing. As I looked out my car window, I wondered if she were terrified or excited, filled with hope or near despair  or a combination of all those emotions.

After their marriage in Mangum, Jacob and Eva returned to the town of Hobart, a town that was non-existent until August 6, 1901 when the lots were drawn. Jacob had missed the deadline to file in El Reno for the lot drawing but arrived in Hobart shortly after the town was established and where his carpentry skills were in demand to build everything. Jacob purchased a lot and built and prepared a small house to bring Eva home to.

Willie, their first born, was one of the first babies born in the town of Hobart. Their first daughter, Bernita, arrived in May 1904. 1912 File0015They sold their property in Hobart about 1905 and moved to a town first known as Greeley, then Capitol Hill and then the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City. They had five more children in that community: Johnnie in 1906, Leonard in 1908, Joseph (Joe) in 1910, George in 1912, and my mother, Virginia, in 1914.

Sometime around 1913 Jacob bought a feed store with a partner in Cushing, Oklahoma and was living and working there a good bit of the time while Eva and the children remained at their home in Capitol Hill. His letters to his brother indicated he was unhappy with the way his partner did business and was hoping to sell the business there and return to his family. Late in 1914, Willie got typhoid fever and Jacob left Cushing and returned to their home to help Eva take care of Willie and the others. After Willie recovered, Jacob returned to Cushing still with the intent of selling the business. In 1915, Jacob developed typhoid fever and on October 31, 1915, he died leaving Eva a widow with seven children.

James Edward Fox was a man who had worked with Jacob. On December 5, 1916, Eva married Mr. Fox. Following their marriage in Washington County, Oklahoma, they established a home in Oilton, Oklahoma. Once again, Eva was pregnant and their daughter June Evelyn Fox was born in June 1917, followed by the birth of Arthur Ronald Fox in 1919.

In December 1921 when Eva was near term in her tenth pregnancy, she and James had a huge quarrel. My mother ran to hide in a closet but she heard their argument. She said her mother shouted at Mr. Fox and said, “I hate you, and I hope I die and I hope this baby dies.” Shortly after that Eva went into labor and during the delivery process, she had a stroke and went into a coma. Albert Edward Fox was born December 21, 1921. He soon developed pneumonia and died on January 1, 1922. Eva never awoke from the coma and died on January 12, 1922.

Joe & Leonard at Eva's Grave Albert and Eva were buried in the same plot at Highland Cemetery in Oilton, Oklahoma. The picture to the right is of two of her sons, Joe and Leonard, standing on either side of her tombstone.

*My daughter and I have written other blogs on our attempt to adequately identify Eva’s mother – including being confident of her last name.  Here are links to other blogs regarding Martha Ann Conn: a blogging challenge in which I wrote about Martha as our brick wall and three blogs written by Kay: Matrilineal Line for Saturday Night Fun ; What’s Martha’s Maiden Name; and The Conn Case.