Treasure Chest Thursday – Rodgers Hotel, Valley Falls, Kansas

I am sharing photos from my grand-aunt Susie’s collection.  I scanned photos from her family album in September 2013 in Kansas.  She has agree to let me share them on my blog along with the information we know about the people in the photos.  It was so much fun to share family stories with her.

Rodgers Hotel Valley Falls Kansas


I apologize for the slight distortion in the photo.  I must have accidentally moved my Flip-Pal as it scanned the photo.

I got very excited about this photo when I saw it.  I immediately knew the name from the obituary of my great-great-grandfather, Abraham Strickler.  Unfortunately, all of the information I know about the Rodger’s Hotel is what I found in that obituary.  I have been unable to find any further information about the hotel.  I believe this may be one of the last photos of Abraham Strickler before he died in March 1910.  His obituary states that be bought the hotel when he moved to Fall River, Kansas in 1908.  He was only there about 18 months before suffering a stroke.  He died only four months later.

There are so many things I love about this photo including the street light, sign above the street, the columns on the building, the large porch, and the colored tiles on the roof.

I know the family was very invested in this town.  Not only did Abraham buy the hotel but he also purchased the Fall River Creamery.  We know his wife Effie ran a millinery shop in town.  She had run an advertisement the day of her husband’s funeral apologizing for the delay in any orders for Easter.  She went on to say that her and her daughters would work to be sure all orders were finished before Easter that weekend.

It makes me sad to think what hope for the future the family had when they moved from Northern Kansas to Fall River.  It would all change so quickly.  Effie Strickler and her three daughters would move to Topeka, Kansas between 1911-1914.

Census Sunday – Mitchell Children in Jefferson County School Census

While at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Oskaloosa, Kansas I found several years of the School Children’s census.  I have found school census enumerations before in other places, but those have always just included numbers.  These notebooks were a great find because they include the names of the children enrolled in school.

Valley Falls Grade School as seen on Google Street View.
Valley Falls Grade School as seen on Google Street View.

Obviously my ancestors did not attend the modern school in the photo above.  I do wonder if the school was located in the same place in Valley Falls in the 1880s.  By comparing an 1899 map of the area to Google maps today, I can tell that my ancestors lived just outside of the town limits on the land.  Did the kids walk into town each day?

Note the bricks in the road in the photo..  A lot of the small towns I have visited in Kansas still have brick roads.  My mom tells me that every town had brick streets as she grew up in Kansas.

I found my relatives in several years of the Jefferson County School Census.  I have pulled their information from the list.  There are other Mitchells listed in the same school but I have not done any research yet to confirm if these are cousins.

I find it fascinating that my ancestors attended school through their teen years.   It must have been a struggle to have their children in school and not farming their land.  I know the family was slowly having a more difficult time with farming and finances.  Moses and Mary Mitchell would sell their land in April 1889 and move to the Arkansas City area.   Education must have been a priority in the family.

The notebooks I found were titled:

Jefferson County Kansas School Children’s Census

Extracted from original records at Register of Deeds Office and typed by Joy (Ward) Hill, alphabetically sorted and printed by Richard Wellman.

1883 Valley Falls School, District 016

1883 School Census

*I am not sure why Henry Mitchell is not listed.  He was 4 years older than the twins and three years younger than Laura.



1884 Valley Falls School, District 16

1884 School Census






1886 Valley Falls School, District 16

1886 school census





1887 Valley Falls School, District 16

1887 school census






1888 Valley Falls School, District 16

1888 school census

*Henry finally appears.





1889 Valley Falls School, District 16

1889 school census

Sunday’s Obituary – Sarah J Morris

Sarah Morris is my 3rd great-grandmother.

Me to Sarah J Morris


She is another ancestor that I really do not know much about.  I found her obituary at the Kansas State Archives on my trip to Kansas last month.  I feel really lucky to have another great obituary in the paper to learn more about my ancestor.  Along with a lot of personal information about Sarah, the obituary has great descriptions of the grief of the family.

Hudson, Sarah obit


Mrs. Sarah J Hudson

Another of La Cygne’s good mothers has passed from this world to her home in heaven.  A family that she has tenderly cared for and nursed to manhood and womanhood is now deep in grief.  The old home that has been one continued pleasure for more than a quarter of a century with a good mother presiding over it is now stilled in the sadness that death brings.

Last Monday afternoon the spirit of Sarah J. wife of Frederick Hudson, departed this life and went to claim the reward in heaven that is promised to all good women.   Mrs. Hudson had been in poor health for some time and while it really could be no surprise that the silver cord of life should sever at the ripe old age the deceased had attained, yet even with that possibility the friends and relatives were unprepared to meet the crisis.  To take  from the home the mother who has been its guardian for so many years is something that is hard to temper the heart to forego.

Sarah J. Morris was born in Pike county, Illinois, August 6, 1835; she was married to Frederick Hudson December 30, 1855 and they removed to Kansas the winter of 1880 where they have resided ever since.  In the sixteenth year of her life the deceased joined the Christian church and has been a worker for the Lord ever since.  She leaves a husband, and seven children who are W.B. Hudson of Kansas City, Mrs. W.H. Lawbaugh of Wellington, Kansas, Mrs. F.H.  Howard, Mrs. Chas. Moore, Mrs. L. H. Hetzer, and Ralph and George Hudson all of this place to mourn her death.  Two brothers, Samuel Morris of Dallas, Texas and Geo. Morris of Pittsburgh, Kansas also survive.

Funeral services were held at the family home in the south part of town on Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock by Elder R.A. Odenweller of Pleasanton.  His remarks were very beautiful and he pictured the kind and loving woman who had fought life’s battles to the end and through it all maintained a sweet friendship for all.  After the ceremony at the home the large concourse of grief stricken friends interred the body of the departed on in the Oak Lawn cemetery.

 The La Cygne Weekly Journal, La Cygne, Kansas, 8 April 1904, Page 1, Column 3

Those Places Thursday – Jefferson County Register of Deeds

I have been talking about my trip to Kansas the last couple of weeks.  I will have a lot of upcoming posts with information I found on my trip.  I want to make sure I acknowledge the locations where I found all of my goodies.

The focus today is the Jefferson County Register of Deeds.  I decided to stop here on the morning of our last day before driving to Atchison for some shopping with my mom.  I knew I only had a few hours to research here and planned my attack the night before.

Jefferson Courthouse

The Jefferson County Courthouse is located in Oskaloosa, Kansas.  It sits in the center of the town with shops surrounding the square.  The women who work in the Register of Deeds office were incredible.  Upon arriving, I explained that I was looking for deeds related to Moses Mitchell when he moved to the area.  I was shown the Grantee Index books and set loose.  I was able to locate 3 deeds that related to my ancestor.

The office does not allow photos to be taken.  The good news is that every deed in the office has been digitized so I just had to ask for a printed copy.  The print outs were definitely a better quality than I could have gotten on the copy machine.

Me and my Mom looking at Deed Books.  The only photo allowed.
Me and my Mom looking at Deed Books. The only photo allowed.

I also was able to find a descriptive map of the area that shows exactly where my ancestor’s land was located.  The woman at the front desk made a copy for me on 2 large sheets of paper so that I did not need a magnifying glass when I got home.

My last great find was shelves that had information from the local genealogy society.  Along with marriages and school census information, there was 2 large binders of old genealogy society publications that also had an index.  I made a couple of great finds in those.

I cannot say enough about how helpful and kind the women who worked in the Register of Deeds office were.  Hopefully you have some ancestors from Jefferson County, Kansas so you can use this great resource!

Wedding Wednesday – Abraham Strickler and Effie Flock

Abraham Strickler and Effie Flock are my 2nd great grandparents. me to abraham strickler

My records have for years just estimated Abraham and Effie’s marriage date by using the US Federal Census.  Although I have seen the exact marriage date listed on several online trees, I just recently found the documentation I needed for my records.  This was my first find of the day at the Kansas State Archives last month.

The first microfilm I pulled was the Republic County Marriage Licenses 1868-1990.  I found Abraham and Effie’s marriage license in ledger C, page 57.  They were married 1 February 1888.  Abraham is listed as age 34 from Narka, Kansas.  Effie’s age is not listed but she is from Haddam, Kansas.  My records show that Effie would have married only a couple of days after her 22nd birthday.

Strickler Flock Marriage Register

After analyzing this document, I see an interesting pattern.  Effie and Abraham had an age difference of 12 years between them.  When their daughter, Opal, married Dudley Moses Mitchell, there was a 15 year age difference.  Opal’s sisters did not keep with the older man when they married their first husbands.

Sunday’s Obituary – Frederick Hudson of La Cygne, Kansas

Frederick Hudson is my 3rd great grand father on my maternal side.

Sierra 3rd Great Grandpa

I found this obituary at the Kansas State Archives last weekend.  I was so excited to find an obituary that offered so much information!  Definitely another dancing at the microfilm reader moment.  You know you are among friends when other researchers do not look at you funny but instead smile at your victory dance.  My favorite part of the obituary is the description of the moments when Fred passed away.  La Cygne is pronounced La Scene.  Thank you to my Kansas cousins for teaching me this!!


Old Citizen Passes Away

Fred Hudson died at his home in the south part of town Tuesday evening.  He had been a resident of La Cygne since 1880 and had an active part in building the town.  Bricklayer and plasterer by trade, soon after coming here he started a brick yard and began manufacturing brick.  Most of the brick buildings in town are built with the Hudson brick.  Because of failing health Mr. Hudson quit active work several years ago.

Frederick Hudson was born in Scalford, Leicestershire, England, August 22, 1834, and died in La Cygne, Kan., May 22, 1923, at the age of 88 years and 9 months.

When about nine years of age he came with his parents to America, making the voyage in a sail ship.  Landing at New Orleans he traveled up the Mississippi River to Illinois, where he grew to manhood and worked with his father at the bricklaying and plastering trade which he followed so many years.

He was married to Sarah G Morris at Milton, Ill., on December 30, 1855.  To this union were born ten children, four of whom are still living and were with him when the end came.  With his family he moved to La Cygne, January 1, 1880 and since the death of his wife, 19 years ago he has made his home with his son Ralph and family who have cared for him so devotedly, sparing no pains to make his life as pleasant as it was possible to do.  Two or three years ago he suffered a stroke of paralysis but recovered sufficiently to be around most of the time, until last Friday morning when he had a serious attack and never fully regained consciousness.  He made a confession of religion in his early manhood and later united with the Christian church at La Cygne during Rev. Irwin’s meetings several years ago and was one of the deacons of the church for some time, but owing to his age and failing health he had not been very active in church work in late years.

He was an honest, upright citizen, honorable in all his dealings, a good neighbor, a devoted husband, a kind and loving father and a friend to those in need.  He bore his sufferings patiently with never a murmur or complaint, and after a life of usefulness he passed peacefully away just as the sun was sinking to rest, and when the spirit was taking its flight he quietly laid his hands down as though he had finished his work and passed to his reward.  His wife and two sons, W.B. and George H., and one daughter, Mrs. Belle Howard preceded him in death several years ago; also three children died in infancy.

He leaves one son, Ralph, of La Cygne; three daughters, Mrs. Clem Lawbaugh of Wellington, Mrs. Minnie Hetzer and Mrs. Sytha Moore of Parker, eighteen grand children, eight great-grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends to mourn his loss.

Funeral services were conducted by Rev. Boyer at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Hudson and the body was laid to rest in Oak LawnCemetery.

Those from out of town for the funeral were: Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Moore and children and Mr. and Mrs. L.H. Hetzer of Parker; Mrs Clem Lawbaugh and son of Wellington; Mrs. Ida Hudson, Mrs, Irvin Wagner and Mrs. Hazel Smith of Kansas City; Fred Moore of Miami Station, Mo.

KansasState Archives
Microfilm L20: La Cygne Journal, July 1, 1921-June 27, 1924
The La Cygne Journal, La Cygne, Kansas
Friday, 25 May 1923
Page 2, column 1



Packed and Ready to Research!

I am so excited!  Why? You say?  I get to spend hours in a library this weekend!  Watch out – the genealogy dork in me is in full effect today.

My Mom and I are flying to Kansas Thursday morning for a weekend of family fun.  We will be visiting with the Lawbaugh branch, partying at the Mitchell family reunion, and spending quality research time at the Kansas State Historical Society.  There might even be a cemetery or two if I am lucky.

I have been diligently preparing by scouring the online catalog of the Kansas State Historical Society.  I have a very detailed plan of what to look for in the county records on microfilm, maps I want to see, and obituaries to read in the microfilmed newspapers.  I have many branches that all crossed paths in Kansas.  My main focus will be on my Mitchell and Hudson lines.  I will also be looking for addtional information about my Strickler, Flock, Lawbaugh, and Bradley lines.  I am hoping to get a lot of check marks on my task list without getting sidetracked.

This morning I finished printing my plans and copies of family group sheets.  I started gathering all of the electronics (Ipad, FlipPal, and camera) along with the necessary charging cords.  Quarters are in a plastic bag for the lockers at the library.

Even though I have been to this library before, I re-read the research room guide to make sure that I am current with their policies.  The Kansas State Historical Society library is wonderful.  It has lots of space, natural daylight, lots of microfilm readers, and great staff.  I can’t wait to get there!

I just have to pack some clothes and I am off on another genealogy adventure.  I hope to have lots of goodies to share when I get back!


Sunday’s Obituary – Dollie Mitchell 1876-1896

Dollie Mitchell is my maternal great-grandfather’s twin sister.  Last year I found her gravestone on which gave me a date of death.  My mother’s cousin who lives in Topeka is wonderful.  She visited the Kansas State Historical Society Library and pulled Dollie’s obituary for me.

The most interesting part of this obituary for me is the cause of death.  My grandmother has always told me that Dollie died by drowning in a river.  The cause of death listed in the obituary is consumption.  This generally refers to death after suffering from tuberculosis.  It is crazy in how just one generation stories can change!   As the youngest in her family, my grandma was born almost thirty-five years after her Aunt Dollie died.  That is a large enough time for the story to be retold incorrectly.

Dollie Mitchell Obit


Arkansas City Traveler, Arkansas City, Kansas

January 10, 1896, page 5


Dollie Mitchel, daughter of Mr and Mrs Moses Mitchel was born Oct 20, 1876 in Jackson county, Kans, and died in this city January 6th, 1896 at 10am of consumption.  She was an ambitious child and when at school excelled in her studies.  She was of a sunny, hopeful disposition, making frends [sic] wherever she lived.  This was fully shown by the large number that attended her funeral.  It is natural for one of this disposition to desire to live.  Hence when it was manifest to her that disease was making rapid inroads upon her health, she sought relief by a visit to relatives in the health resorts of Colorado.  But it was too late and it soon became manifest to all that the end was near.

She succeeded in reaching her home and here, surrounded by those that loved her, all that skill and love could do was employed to make her last days of suffering endurable.  To her mother she expressed herself as ready and willing to die.  We all hope to meet her again in the land where there is no suffering.  Her pastor, J. W. Faubion.

Genealogy Jackpot!

In the middle of April I traveled to Northern Virginia to visit with my parents.  While there, I made a deal that I would help my mom with some computer issues and in return she would watch my kids for a day so I could visit the Daughters of the American Revolution Library.

For me, the day spent in the library was like riding a rainbow and finding the jackpot of genealogy gold at the other end.   I arrived with a four page list of books I wanted to look at.  All day I was making finds and shoring up research I have already completed.  I would have been happy with the information I found in the first five hours of the day.  I had no idea the day was going to get even better.

I wanted to end the day with further research on my Lawbaugh line.  As part of my research I have already checked online trees to get clues where I needed to look.  I had a feeling that I could connect my Lawbaughs via Kansas, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania to Johannes Laubach.  Even with the online information, I want to conduct my own research for originals to prove my hypothesis.  I currently have research completed for my line up to William Lawbaugh (1823-1896) m. Lydia Ummel.  I have collected death certificates, obituaries, and cemetery information for the family.  My research log has finding marriage and birth information for both of them next on the list.

The jackpot moment at DAR came just after 3pm.  I made my way over to the Seimes Technology Center to look up a book called “An Ancestor To Remember: Johannes Laubach (Labach-Lawbaugh 1728-1808) of Chester County, Penna.” by Mrs. William T. Alston.  I had found the book in the online catalog during my pre-visit research.  The librarian in the room helped me to find the scanned book in the digital collection.  She was concerned because I had under an hour left in the day to get through an 170 page book.  I was almost immediately excited because the index listed names in order of descendent and the page numbers they would be found on.  I quickly found my William Lawbaugh and realized I only needed to get through the first 55 pages of the book.  I started hitting the print button on each page in case I ran out of time.  I plan on going back and looking at the rest of the book on another visit.

I had a couple of moments where I had to shut my mouth to not scream in delight.  Instead I was punching my fists into the air like a boxer with a punching bag!  Not only did this book list my William Lawbaugh and his direct line to Johannes Laubach, it also included his descendants including my mother! There are lots of photos of important cemetery markers and photocopies of church records. The most important is the author included her sources.  I have a road map to follow on my own research!

It still gets even better.  The reference librarian was scanning the pages I was printing and  mentioned to me that I should run back over to the Library room to pull a book by Stassburger/Hinke.  The book was listed as one of the author’s sources for date of arrival in Pennsylvania.  With just 15 minutes before closing, I rushed back over and went straight to the reference librarian to get assistance to find the book.  As I quickly flipped to the pages for my ancestor Johannes Laubach, I realized that this book contained signatures of people who arrived in the British Colonies from Germany.  Upon arriving in the British Colonies, passengers were required to sign an oath to England and an oath of abjuration for Germany.

I have the signature of my ancestor who was born in 1728 and arrived in Pennsylvania on the Two Brothers on September 15, 1748!!!  Holy Genealogy Jackpot!!  Even now, a month later, I am giddy with excitement about this find.  I have to give a huge shout out to the librarians at the DAR Library.  I would have missed this jackpot if they were not so knowledgeable about the library collections. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Laubach signature

Surname Saturday – Addie Flock and Frank Tharp

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about finding Caroline Flock in the Enid City Directories at  At the time, Caroline was living with her second daughter, Addie Tharp.  I have since done some research into Addie and her life. I was amazed how much I was able to find in a short amount of time about my great-great-grand aunt.

Addie was born Adeline Martha Flock November 5, 1863 in Iowa.  She is enumerated with her parents as Martha in the 1870 and 1880 federal census.  The 1875 Kansas census lists her as “A.”  She is then listed as Addie in the 1885 Kansas census.

I have not found out the exact date but at some point Addie moved to Oregon in the late 1890’s.  I have found the 1900 Federal Census record for Addie’s brother, Pearl.  His son, John F., was born in Oregon in 1899.  It is a very possible that Addie traveled to Oregon with Pearl and his wife, Mary.  Addie married Frank Tharp December 19, 1897 in Albany, Benton, Oregon.

Flock Tharp Marriage

The 1900 Federal Census finds Frank and Addie living in Fairmont Precinct, Benton, Oregon with Frank’s two daughters from a previous marriage.  I believe from a photo I found on of the family that Addie is Frank’s third wife.

Tharp Frank 1900 census

Frank and Addie farmed in the same area for some time.  They are found again in the Fairmount Precinct in the 1910 and 1920 census.  In the picture below, the enumeration district is pretty much everything west of the Willamette River.  It is just north of Corvallis, Oregon.

Fairmont Precinct

Addie and Frank were married for 23 years when Frank passed away on March 1, 1920 in Albany, Linn, Oregon.  He was buried in the cemetery there.

Tharp, Frank Tombstone

Addie is next found living with her mother in Oklahoma in the 1926 Enid City Directory.  I do not know how soon after Frank’s death that she moved East.  It must have been a very different trip traveling to Oklahoma in the 1920’s then traveling to Oregon thirty years earlier.

Tharp Addie 1930 census

Addie stayed in Enid, Oklahoma after her mother’s death.  She passed away October 3, 1953 and was buried in the same cemetery as her mother.

Tharp, Addie Tombstone