Sunday, October 26, 2014

Family History on the Road - Day Two

Day two of the family history road trip started with an early morning breakfast at the hotel, bags quickly packed into the car, and highway-bound to Rossville, Kansas.

Rossville is where my Lumpkins and Hawks ancestors spent many years. In fact, my 3rd great-grandfather William Lumpkins settled in the area in March 1874 and was the proprietor of the Lumpkins House - the town's only hotel. 

In 1892, it was billed as an "Excellent accommodation for boarders and commercial men" with "reasonable" prices. 

Rossville Times - April 22, 1892

Day two of the road trip was a Sunday, so much of Main Street was closed, including the library. Our research was going to be limited to the cemetery. The skies were beginning to cloud into an ominous color and threatened to rain. The wind picked up and brought with it a cold front. 

We made our way to Rossville Cemetery to pay our respects at the graves of several direct ancestors. Among these were William Lumpkins' first wife Phoebe (Howerton) Lumpkins. She passed away at the age of 51, and her grave is marked with a tall obelisk. The inscription is weathered. A biblical passage on the upper portion of the monument is largely illegible. The stone's size dominates the hill on which its placed. It seems preeminent and symbolic of the sadness and regard for which her family surely must have had at her loss.

Phoebe (Howerton) Lumpkins' grave
Phoebe's monument does not include any mention of her husband's burial. However, according to the Topeka City Clerk's register of deaths, William Lumpkins' remains were buried in Rossville. Furthermore, the Rossville Reporter published his obituary on August 13, 1909, and stated that he was laid "to rest beside the wife in the Rossville Cemetery to wait for dawning of The Morning." His grave is, apparently, unmarked.

Their son, my 2nd great-grandfather, John George Lumpkins, is also buried in the cemetery. He married Minnie Hawks in Rossville on January 6, 1897. They had six children together (including my great-grandfather Marion Lumpkins) before he died following an accident. 

On February 23, 1910, John was walking home from work. He slipped on a patch of ice and hit his head. That evening, he took ill and early the following morning he passed away. It was his 38th birthday. As his obituary noted, the sudden "news of his death could scarcely be believed in Rossville and came as a distinct shock to his friends and relatives here."

The year 1910 would prove a difficult one for the newly widowed Minnie (Hawks) Lumpkins. Five months after her husband's death, she gave birth to their sixth child. In October, her father Edmond Hawks passed away at the age of 51 after "suffering for the past eight or ten weeks with a sort of paralysis." He was buried in Rossville in front of John Lumpkins' grave.

Edmond Hawks (right) and possibly Iva Elzina (Haworth) Hawks James (left)

Edmond's passing made a widow of Iva Elzina (Haworth) Hawks. She eventually remarried to Robert James. Iva passed away in Topeka on December 23, 1951. According to her obituary, she was buried in Rossville Cemetery. However, there's no marker for her in the cemetery.

I believe she may have been buried beside her first husband - my 3rd great-grandfather - Edmond Hawks. To the left of Edmond's headstone, I discovered a metal plate without an inscription. I suspect this is her final resting place. I'm hopeful the Rossville Library or city can help to confirm the burial.

From Rossville, we pushed eastward to Edwardsville in the suburbs of Kansas City. My 4th great-grandmother Sophronia (Rogers) Dornon is among the cemetery's earliest burials. In fact, the cemetery's charter was filed with the Secretary of State in March 1879. Sophronia passed away on May 23, 1872. She, or rather her husband, has been an ongoing mystery that I've been working to unravel. What happened to her husband Burr Zelah Dornon? When and where did he pass away? I'm hopeful an obituary for Sophronia will surface in Edwardsville's records that could shed light on her husband's passing.

I walked the cemetery, looking for a marked grave. There's no evidence that he was buried in Edwardsville. The only Dornon I found was Sophronia's small marker, now split in half. The portion with her name faces skyward. 

From Edwardsville we drove into Missouri. Our pit stop for the evening was Joplin where we planned our adventures for day three.

Day Two Recap
Miles Traveled: 260
Direct Ancestor Graves Visited: 6

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