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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge - A work in progress

I started writing on the first day of the challenge, February 1.  I made my outline and wrote an introduction.

Now what.  I chose to write on my brick wall, Hiram B. Louthan.  Well, I have plenty of questions but no conclusion.  So, I shifted my focus on his descendants.  I scoured published family sketches in county history books and asked my dad for stories he could recall.  He had a few about his father and grandfather that I had not heard.  I had posted previously on Talented Tuesday a story of baseball players in the Louthan family.  Guess what???  My grandfather,Lester, so the story goes, gave up an opportunity to be a pitcher for the New York Yankees to marry his sweetheart.  They married in 1936 in Woodward, Woodward County, Oklahoma.  His dad played baseball in Barber County, Kansas and Major County, Oklahoma in the late 1890's and early 1900's. The newspaper article above is my great grandfather, Sam.  He was born in Linn County, Missouri in 1872 and moved to Barber County, Kansas in 1884.  He made the Land Run of 1893 into the Cherokee Outlet (Cherokee Strip) with his brother, Bert, and father, John. All of my grandfather's brothers and cousins played baseball on the Chester team in Major County, Oklahoma in the 1930's.  At one time, they called themselves Cardinals.  The photo below was published in the "Chester America 73838" centennial booklet in 1995.
My grandfather is the guy peeking between the shoulders, third from the right.  He was born in Major County, Oklahoma in 1914.  they played on Sunday afternoons,  in other communities or in someone's pasture if there wasn't a baseball field.  One team in the area was called 'River Rats' and the members of this team lived anywhere between Chester and Longdale. According to the centennial booklet, the baseball team ceased to exist in the 1940's.

Below is another photo of the Chester Team that I have a copy of in my loose leaf binder.  I think it was taken earlier than the one to the above.

My grandfather is the guy in the back  looking over the shoulder of the guy in bib overalls.

From the centennial book is this quote from an opposing team member:
"When we went to play Chester we figured we might get beat because those guys knew how to play ball."
No one on the Chester team ever received compensation, but they did pass the hat to help pay for their equipment.

Today is the last day of the Family History Writing Challenge.  I find that in the stories that my dad sent me, are clues to be followed up on.  One story is of the 84 Hour Blizzard on 1938.  My dad was a baby, but the locals talked about this blizzard for years to come.  The snow drifts were as high as 20 feet and cows were seen standing on roof tops, according to their tales.

I have reached out to distant cousins for their stories as well.  The Louthan family split off into different directions following the Civil War.  There were four children, Oliver, John, James and Margaret.  Oliver and John went to Missouri about 1865.  James and Margaret, who married siblings of the Ellis family, stayed in Ohio until around 1880 when they moved together to Stafford County, Kansas.  Margaret died in 1905 in Stafford County,  After her death, James move his family to Barber County, Kansas.  John had one son still living in Barber County at this time.  This may have been the first contact since the Civil War between John and James' families.  Edwin, John's son, traveled back to Linn County, Missouri and brought a bride back to Kansas.  She died 10 days after the birth of her daughter, Mable.  Mable was her sixth baby, born on 16 Feb 1900.  The three youngest children were sent to live with relatives.  Mable, and her sister Stella, were sent back to Linn County, Missouri.  Sister, Edna, was sent to Major County, Oklahoma to Edwin's brother and sister-in-law, Bert and Belle.  Belle was a sister to Edwin's wife Sally.  Edwin stayed in Barber county for many years before moving to Seward County, Kansas.  He was granted a land patent in Seward county in 1914.  In 1916, Edwin married a widow, Laura Kipper.  Laura was a native of Linn County, Missouri.

In 2005 or 2006, my mother and I made a trip to Nashville, Barber County, Kansas to interview a descendant of James.  My parents moved into the neighboring county in 1965, and while working as a traveling salesman, my dad met one of the descendants.  He didn't make an attempt to stay in contact with them.

Last year I found a living descendant of Margaret, he lives in California.  I found him through the memorial pages he posted on Find-A-Grave.  I am slowly and steadily knitting this family back together.

When I started writing the family history, I kept finding clues and then doing more research.  I don't know when I will be able to reach a conclusion to my family history story.  That is a decision I will have to make some day.  That day will not be today, and that is okay.  When I am finished my children and grandchildren will know as much about their ancestors that I have been able to find. The will know their family extends beyond the walls of their home.  They will know they are not alone in this world but a part of a much larger family with many experiences to share.  They will know the trials and tribulations of this family and how we all managed to survive.   I believe we are all better people knowing our ancestors as we have a little bit of all of them in our DNA.  They are a part of who we are and who we will become.




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