Archive for November, 2009

From Birthday Gift to Heirloom…

by Sherry Stocking Kline
November 29, 2009

How is it that something becomes an heirloom? Is it the value of the object, the age of the object, or the love inside the object and its history?

One birthday present that stands out is one that I still have. One that is destined to become a hand-me-down heirloom. And one that I still enjoy.

We were in South Dakota, my mom, dad, and I.  It would be our last vacation with my dad, but we didn’t know that then, or at least I didn’t.

We had been to Minnesota to visit family,  my Great-Aunt May Breneman Jones Willey, her son Kenneth Jones and his wife, Lois, and their family, Lawrence, Lynn, Patty, Charles, and Kenny, and we were coming back down through South Dakota, seeing the sights.

My Parents Laughed…

We visited the “dead Presidents” (Mt Rushmore) which was very impressive, went to the Passion Play (the re-enactment of Christ’s life and crucifixion), and I met a girl at the motel that night who was about my age, (soon to be eleven years old) and what was so impressive was this girl had her life already mapped out.

She told me who she was going to marry and that they were going to raise horses together.  I was so impressed (Here I was at eleven still waffling between being a jockey or an archeologist!) and hadn’t even thought yet about who I would marry and what WE would do that I told my folks all about the girl I met on the motel swing set who already knew who she was going to marry.

My parents laughed….

Mom and I Huddled Inside the Car…

The next day we traveled through the National Park where a herd of several hundred buffalo thundered across the road in front of the car right  in front of us. My mom and huddled inside the car while my dad, unafraid, in typical guy “I ain’t afraid of nothin’” fashion stood outside the car and watched.

Before we came home dad took Mom and I to the Black Hills Gold Jewelry store where the jewelry was actually being made.  Dad had promised Mom that when they went to where the Black Hills gold jewelry was made he would buy her a set.  So we went into the store where we could  see people working on the jewelry.

It took them quite awhile, looking at one necklace and then another. Mom tried on one set, and then another and I kept busy watching the workers, peering into the jewelry cases, and watching the necklace and earring fashion show between Mom and Dad.

But I Had My Sights Set on a Cowboy Hat…

Finally, they had the perfect set for Mom. Then they turned to me.  They wanted to buy me a ring for my birthday.

Uh, Oh.  My little soon-to-be  eleven year old heart had its sights set on a cowboy hat. (Did I mention that I was a tomboy?)  I just hadn’t decided if I wanted it to be black hat like the bad guys or a white hat like Roy Rogers yet, but that’s what  I wanted right then, a cowboy hat.

I didn’t have the horse to go with it, but I wanted that, too.  Mom and dad definitely  had other plans.

They wanted me (a tomboy) to pick something elegant…

So we spent some time picking out a ring. They really wanted me to get something fancy, something a little ‘elegant’.  I wasn’t then, nor am I now, ‘elegant.’

I remember them saying, “Look how much longer this ring makes your fingers look.”

I didn’t think a ring was going to help my fingers look long and ladylike too much. My fingers were short and stubby then and they’re short and stubby now.

I picked out a simple gold band with the Black Hills Gold signature pink and gold leaves on it. Simple lines. Very similar to a wedding band, but I liked it. After some time spent showing me lots of fancier rings to try to get me to pick out something larger, longer, and more elegant, they gave in and let me get the one I liked.

Landstrom's Black Hills Gold Ring

Landstrom's Black Hills Gold Ring

They chose it for one of my larger fingers, hoping I could wear it when I was grown, and they chose wisely there. I can still wear it.

It looks almost exactly like this one, except it has more than 30 years of wear. It’s plain and simple, perfect for my size 4 1/2 to 5 short little fingers. It’s still my favorite.

A little over a year later, my father was gone…

My father was only 50 when he passed away. Just a few years later, heart by-passes became standard practice, but they weren’t then.

I wonder now, if he somehow knew, that his time was getting short, and he wanted us to have these special reminders of him.

Years later, I can look at the Black Hills gold ring that we picked out that day, and remember the whole vacation, the people we met, the good times we had, and feel the love of my parents surrounding me.

12-01-09 Author’s note: After posting this article, I found the ring that was nearly like mine, and so have updated the photograph, and added the name of the ring’s creator. My dad didn’t know he was beginning a new family tradition between myself, my mother, and my children that day, but he did.

I do think he may have known his time was getting shorter as by that time he had had heart disease  for more than ten years and wanted us to have something we could remember him by. My mother, treasuring that memory purchased a cross necklace and another ring at different times in my life, all with that first gift in mind.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge – Celebrity Look-Alikes?

Hi Everyone! It’s Saturday Night and time for a little Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings!  (I think Randy forgot to cue the Mission Impossible Music tonight, so if you miss it,  go ahead and cue it up!)

Did you ever wonder what celebrities you looked like?

No? Well, me either, but if you’ve been dying to know, Randy’s found a software app that can answer that question!

Check it out below!

It’s Saturday Night again – are you ready for some Genealogy Fun?

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to find which celebrities that have the same facial features that you (or someone else you choose) have. Here are the directions:

1) Go to www.MyHeritage.com – you don’t have to be a registered member to use this feature. Click on the Celebrities and Fun” tab.

2) Click on the “Celebrity Collage” tab, and then on the “Create my Collage” button.

3) Upload a photograph with your face (or another person’s face) to the site (the face must be at least 100 x 100 pixels) and click on the “Run face recognition” button.

4) Select a collage template, and the faces (up to 8) to go into the collage template. Click on “Next” and “Preview” your template, which should bring up the template for you to review. You could click on “Save” and it would go off to your selected social networking site.

5) Figure out how to show your collage on your blog or social network site (I have my own process defined below).

6) Tell us which celebrities that you (or your selected person) look alike – write your own blog post, make a comment to this post or on Facebook.

7) Think about how you could use something like this as a Christmas gift.

I don’t know who many of these folks are, but am honored to be compared with Jacqueline Bisset and Olivia de Haviland.

I keep looking at the guys and decided that the software picked up on three things, my smile, my glasses, and my chubby cheeks!

O.K., so when you can stop laughing, go to My Heritage and download your software and find your celebrity look-alikes!

Tombstone Tuesday – J. R. U. Crabb – Barren County, Kentucky

Sherry Stocking Kline
November 24, 2009

Here is my Tombstone Tuesday:

J. R. U. Crabb, husband of Elizabeth Laird Crabb Buried in Glasgow Kentucky Cemetery, Barren County

J. R. U. Crabb, Buried in Glasgow Cemetery, Barren County, Kentucky

As shown on the tombstone:

J. R. U. Crabb
Born: April 14, 1838
Died:  Nov  1, 1920

Our Father is gone but not forgotten.

If I have all my facts right, and if my mother is right, too, then J. R. U. Crabb buried in the Glasgow Cemetery, Barren County, Kentucky, is my step great-grandfather. Mom was always told that Elizabeth Crabb was her grandmother, and Elizabeth was J.R.U.’s wife.

J. R. U.’s daughter, Bettie Crabb, is buried right next to him in the cemetery in Glasgow.

This is a beautiful cemetery, with a small Civil War fort, Fort Williams, at the top of the hill, and the tombstones run up and down along the sides of the hill.

72 - Fort Williams Memorial Marker, Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky

72 - Fort Williams Memorial Marker, Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky

Fort Williams has a cannon, and there are several memorial markers that tell the story of the battle that was fought there on October 6th, 1863,  and you can look out over the tombstones from nearly everywhere in the Fort.

81 - Nancy Bertram Bush,  KY & Norman Kline, KS

81 - Nancy Bertram Bush, Glasgow, KY & Norman Kline, Wellington, KS

We spent an hour or two locating family graves, and spotting other names that may have been family as well, so I came home with several ‘extra’ tombstone photographs for research purposes.

Because there were flowers on one family gravesite (indicating to me that there were people living nearby who brought flowers) I was later able to track down some other family members thanks to a few phone calls and the kindness of several Kentucky businesses, the South Central Kentucky Cultural Museum, and new-found family members.

That evening we watched the sun set from the fort and it was beautiful to look out over the tombstones on the rolling hillside in one direction and in the other direction watch the lights of the city begin to twinkle on far below us.

The city of Glasgow’s website has information and aerial photographs of Fort Williams here.

You can read more abut the J.R.U. Crabb family and see information extracted from the 1860 census here.

For a time, J. R. U. , his wife, Elizabeth (Laird) Crabb, and their daughter Bettie lived on a farm just east and a little south of Milan, Sumner County, Kansas.  I know from reading the local newspapers for that era that J.R.U. had cattle.

Elizabeth died on their farm near Milan, Sumner County, Kansas on July 30, 1912, and at some point in time before his death J.R.U. and daughter Bettie returned to Kentucky where J.R.U.’s other daughter, Sally Mayfield lived.

You can see Elizabeth’s tombstone, located in the Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas, and read her obituary here.

And oh, yeah, if you’ve googled one of the names in this post, leave a comment and contact info!  We need to talk!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Willis Washington Jones – Most Recent Unknown Ancestor

Sherry Stocking Kline
November 21, 2009

For me, it’s a sniffly sneezy, Saturday night. I’m on the mend, but Kleenex still needs to be on stand-by.

Here is our Saturday Night Fun Challenge from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings!  Have Fun!

Hey, genies, it’s Saturday Night, time for some Genealogy Fun!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (where’s my Mission Impossible music…drat, lost it), is:

1) Who is your MRUA – your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.

2) Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don’t you scan it again just to see if there’s something you have missed?

3) What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?

4) Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.

My most elusive mysterious ancestor and the brick wall I most want to break down is my Great-grandfather, Willis Washington Jones.

What do I Want to Know?

Who was his father. If his last name wasn’t Jones, it would certainly be a lot easier.

If I could find a marriage license/record for his mother and father, it would certainly be a lot easier.

If he had been on a census with a Jones mother and father, it would be a lot easier.

Here’s What I Know, and What I Think I Know…

He was born in Kentucky, according to his death certificate and most census records, though one granddaughter thought he was born in Illinois.   He may have been born in Barren, Edmonson, Hart, or possibly even Metcalfe County and he died in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.

Reviewing some of the following  info for Willis, I see a couple of gaps I have that I can probably fill without too much travel involved.

But if anyone out there has a lot of Jones’ family info in one of the above counties, I’d sure be interested!  I’ve nearly come to the conclusion that I need to gather all Jones’ info for those counties in that era, and see if I can by process of elimination figure the puzzle out.

I do have one question that I would like an opinion on, on the 1860 census that my great-grandfather Willis is on, (see below) he is listed at the very bottom of the list, and not with what I believe are his half–siblings.

Any comments would be welcome! Does that mean that Elizabeth is probably not his mother. (Either an obituary or death certificate names her as his mother, and yet, never a mention of his father.)

She, her husband, and one of her daughters also moved to Kansas, and lived near Willis for a time.

The following is part of  a ‘cheat sheet’ that I’ve typed up to take with me when I’m out and about researching.

Willis Washington Jones – Misc Info

Born: Mar. 28, 1853  in Kentucky.

Willis’ mother was Elizabeth Laird Jones (Elizabeth’s parents were Hezekiah Lard/Laird and Patsey Carter.)

I have no idea who Willis’ father is.

I have no proof that Elizabeth married anyone named Jones before she married J. R. U. Crabb.  (5 March 2012 – I have now viewed the marriage  certificate for Elizabeth and her second husband, J. R. U. Crabb and her name is listed as Jones.)  So, apparently Elizabeth did marry Willis’ father,  and either they divorced, or his father died while he was very young.

Willis last name was Jones on the census as a child, and ever after.

1860 Census in Barren County

Is Willis with his mother and a stepfather, J.R.U. Crabb, or is he an orphan taken in by this couple?

1860 Census Page 87 – Metcalfe County, KentuckyPost Office – East Fork4th of July, 1860
Entry 586

J.R.U. Crabb – 28 – Male
Elizabeth
– 28  (1880 census says born in KY, mother born in South Carolina)
Daniel U
– 02
Patsy S – 1/12

Patsy C. Crabb – 60 – North Carolina
Willis Lard – 25
Catherine Piper – 17
Amanda Gooden – 12
Willis Jones – 7  – born Kentucky

I have not found Willis on the 1870 Census

Willis W. Jones married Martha Ellen Smith, daughter of Charles and Virginia (Hawley) Smith on 27 June 1876 in Barren County, KY.

They were married by Minister Bertram at his home. (later, in 2005, a new-found cousin, Nancy Bertram Bush, told me the minister was Ephraim Bertram, a circuit minister.)

Martha Ellen Smith was born Sept 03, 1852. She died on July 23, 1898.

I do not know where she is buried, but believe it to be in Kansas, Oklahoma, or possibly even Arkansas, as I’ve been told they had a strawberry farm in Arkansas for a time.

No one living knows where the strawberry farm was in Arkansas, and I question the person’s memory who gave me that information.  I’ve done no research in Arkansas – yet.

1880 Sound-Ex Edmonson Co., KY, Brownsville Dist.

Jones – Soundex# – is 520
Roll 40 – Kentucky T-570

Jones, Willis White,  Male, 27 years
Jones,  Martha E. Wife Age 28 Born KY
Jones, Evan B Son 3 KY
Jones, Pearl dghtr 1  KY

1880 Census  – Edmonson Co., KY

Jones, Willis white Male 27  married  Farmer
Jones, Martha white  Female 28  married  housewife
Jones, Evan B white Male   3  son
Jones, Pearl white Female 1 dghtr

Willis W. Jones remarried and had more children, and he died Sept 26, 1929 in Sapulpa, OK (this is certain, I have the death certificate), he is buried there, and some of his descendants live there.

1910 Oklahoma Census – Sapulpa  Township  47, 47(There was a third son later, William)

Jones, Washington W.    Hd  Male         Age 57  born KY  fthr  brn US. mtr brn U.S.

Eliza C. wife white  Age 40  # of yrs of present marriage   2  (or 7 not a good copy)

Bessie B age 18  born KY mtr & ftr born in KY
Vechel N. age 6, born Oklahoma  parents  born KY
Richard T age 1, brn Oklahoma parents KY – Willis Lard

This seems like such a lot of information, but hope springs eternal that someone with the answers will find this post, and contact me.

The thing that makes this more unlikely, is that I doubt that my Great-grandfather Willis had any more full siblings who would have the information that I need.

If  you are reading this after googling one of the names listed above, We need to talk! Please leave a comment, so we can share info!  Thanks….

A Pittance of Time – Share History & Respect

by Sherry Stocking Kline
November 12, 2009

I found a great blog post at Grandma Ideas last week.   Unfortunately I found it the day After Veteran’s Day, and meant to write a quick post about it then.

This blog post shares with us in word and video the importance of taking a “Pittance of Time” to show our children and grandchildren that we respect and honor those men and women who have fought for our freedom throughout the decades and centuries.

I found the video very moving, and here it is:

The Grandma Ideas blog also focuses on spending time with grandchildren.  

Now that’s an idea that is near and dear to my heart!

Wordless Wednesday – Margaret Corson McGinnis’ 100th Birthday!

Sherry Stocking Kline
November 19, 2009

This photograph is of Margaret “Maggie” (Corson) McGinnis taken on her 100th Birthday, January 19th, 1949.  The photograph was taken at her daughter’s home, Maud McGinnis Stocking, in Cedarvale, Chautauqua County, Kansas.

Margaret (Corson) McGinnis on her 100th Birthday with gr-granddaughter Sherry Stocking

Margaret (Corson) McGinnis on her 100th Birthday with gr-granddaughter Sherry Stocking

The chubby little urchin sitting on Maggie’s lap is myself, Sherry Stocking.

Great-grandma McGinnis died on March 26, 1950, and I do not remember her.  How I wish I did!  She is buried at Osborne Cemetery, in Sumner County near Mayfield, Kansas.

Kreativ Blogging Award – Thank you!

These past few days a really nice award has been circling among the Genealogy Bloggers! I don’t know who started the “tag you’re it” award that allows each of us to pick our seven favorite  blogs to receive it, but I’m certainly grateful to be nominated three times!  Thank you!

Kreativ Blogger Award

Kreativ Blogger Award

I received this Kreativ Blogger award from  three of my favorite  bloggers  to read:

Thomas McAtee from Geneabloggers,

Louise Bernero of Our Twigs Blog,

and Jenna from Desperately Seeking Surnames

I just want to say Thank You all very much!

I appreciate your recognition and encouragement, and this means a lot to me!

Here are the rules for this award:

1. List seven things about yourself that others do not know
2. Copy the award to your site
3. Link to the person from whom you received the award
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
5. Link to those sites on your blog.
6. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

There’s only one thing I can think of that most people don’t know about me. It’s silly ( it really is, but it’s the truth).

For the other six things, well, I’m pretty sure those aren’t a secret to those who know me best….

1.   The one thing I think no one knows, not even my family, so you’re the first to hear this… I’m honestly still scared of the dark…  Maybe it’s the murder mysteries I read, but I’m just pretty sure the boogeyman is out there somewhere, and who knows, maybe Big Foot really does exist, and maybe the government really was hiding Space Aliens in Area 51.    So, ask me to run outside after dark, haul out the trash, or go out to feed the dog, well, I can and I will, but it’s really outside my comfort zone. And I live in a pretty quiet neighborhood.

2.   I’d rather read than clean house or wash dishes. (this would come as no surprise to anyone in my family!) I love murder mysteries, historical fiction, some romantic historical fiction, all the “Mitford Series” books by Jan Karon, and anything by Max Lucado.

3.   O.K., so this is no secret to anyone, either. I love the puzzle-solving, gotta-find-the-next-family-fact, break-down-that-brick-wall, collect ‘dead relatives,’  build the family tree, and record our family history stories that makes up my family history fun.

4.  I love garage sales! (Going to them, not having them) Which means I bring home more stuff than I get rid of. Which means I’m a pack rat.  (it’s genetic, my mom is a pack rat, too, but a much more organized one than I am…)

5.  I love to take photos. And I’d love to learn how to Photoshop them.

6.   I’m a sucker for a cat with a sweet face and a hungry sounding meow.  That’s probably why we’ve had two extra cats on our porch for the last year. Sinbad, the black and white ‘tuxedo’ cat that has everyone from the mail lady to the UPS guy stopping to pet him, and Boo, a beautiful long-haired Siamese type that has a ‘rusty’ meow.

7.    I cry E-v-e-r-y time I watch “A League of Their Own”, even if we just watched it. It gets down to the last scene,  the reunion scene, and I’m grabbing for the Kleenex box…

There are so many great Blogs, and so many new ones! Thanks to all who inspire me, and here are my Seven Blog Awards!

1.    Greta’s Genealogy Blog

2.    George Geder’s African American Genealogy Blog

3.   Michael Hait -  Hait Family Research

4.    Mavis Jones – Georgia Black Crackers

5.    Amore E Sapore de Famiglia – Valentino’s Wife

6.    Footnote Maven

7.    We Tree Blogspot – Amy Coffin

It was such fun to be awarded, and to be given the opportunity to leave an award for others!  But it was difficult to just pick seven, there are so many wonderful blogs to choose from!

Albert Breneman – Too Young to Die – Tombstone Tuesday

by Sherry Stocking Kline
November 17, 2009

My great-uncle, Albert Miner Breneman, died long before I was born, when his niece, my mother, was about three years old. Albert died as the result of a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty-seven.

Looking at the picture following I’d say he was a fine-looking young man.

Albert Miner Breneman  - Ryan Township Cemetery, Sumner County, Milan, Kansas

Albert Miner Breneman - Ryan Township Cemetery, Sumner County, Milan, Kansas

Albert, the son of Salinda (Rose) Breneman and Constantine “Tom” Breneman, is buried in the Ryan Township Cemetery, a small well-kept cemetery in Sumner County, Kansas, just one mile west of Milan, and about 16 miles west of Wellington on Highway 160.

Albert Miner Breneman

born – March 26, 1888
died – January 10, 1915

Albert, second from the left on the back in the picture below,  had five brother’s and sisters, and one of his sisters, Carrie Esther Breneman, front left below, married Warner LaRue Jones.    

Carrie and Warner were my grandparents.

Children of Constantine "Tom" & Salinda Breneman - Back: Ira, Albert, Harvey, Otto Front: Carrie & May

Children of Constantine "Tom" & Salinda Breneman - Back: Ira, Albert, Harvey, Otto Front: Carrie & May

Albert is shown above with his siblings:

Back: Ira, Albert, Harvey, and Otto
Front: Carrie and May

Whenever I visit the cemetery to leave flowers or take photographs I think how sad it was that he died so young.

Ten Tips to Begin Your Family History Research

Sherry Stocking Kline
November 16, 2009

Just a few quick notes to help my Twitter Friend, @Bonnie67, have some Genealogy Fun!

Everyone told me three things when I started to do genealogy research.

A.   Start with me and work backwards.

B.   Document and log my searches through census and books, even when I didn’t find anything (so I wouldn’t search the same place two or three times) and document my sources, and

C.   Get an organization system, a filing system, a notebook, etc.

I didn’t follow advice B and C as well as I should have, but I’m working to turn over a new leaf!

Ten Tips to Begin Your Family History Research

1.  The first thing you need to do is start filling out Family Sheets/Family Group Sheets. You can find a blank group sheet here.

If you have a family that has more than six children, click here to download an add-on sheet for the children.

2.  Fill out the first group sheet for your own family. Your spouse, yourself and your children.

3.  Multiple marriages?   Begin with the first spouse, and ‘tie’ children to their biological father.

4.  Fill in with everything you know. The reference(s) line refers to where the information comes from, whether it is your personal knowledge, a relatives, a death certificate, census, etc.

5.  If you have more children than blanks, add on an extra sheet.

6.  Written everything you can?   Then next fill out a family group sheet for your parents and their children (you and your siblings). Continue with your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., as far back as you can go.

7.  When you have gone as far as you can with what you know, you need to turn to other sources. Family members, such as parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, even your older siblings may remember something that you don’t.

8.  After family, you will need to turn to paper records: wills, death certificates, obituaries, census records, newspapers, and much, much more.

9.   Want a basic free genealogy program to help you save, sort and file your info? You can find a link to download one here: Free Legacy Family Tree Software, http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/Index.asp. And another one from Roots Magic here: http://www.rootsmagic.com/Essentials/.

Randy Seaver  has written a Roots Magic Essentials review on his Genea-Musings here.

This will give you a place to begin to store your records. You do NOT  have to have a program to do  genealogy, but it does make it easier to file and manage all the information you may accumulate.

10.  Review your Group Sheets.  Someone told me once that doing genealogy was like working the world’s biggest puzzle.  And that’s what genealogists do as they research, they add one puzzle piece at a time, checking to see where it fits.  So now, you go over your Group sheets, and see what blanks you need to fill in, set your goals for future research, and start filling in the blanks!

Happy Hunting!

Downloads:

1. Family Sheets/Family Group Sheets. You can find a blank group sheet here.

2. More children than blanks in your primary group sheet? Add on an extra sheet: Extra Children Sheet.

The Clutter Family Murders Changed The Way We Lived

by Sherry Stocking Kline
Nov 15, 2009

In 1959 The Clutter Murders Shattered Our Peaceful Life

There are times in your life when some event occurs and it changes your life in profound ways.

Fifty years ago, on November 15, 1959, when four members of the Clutter family were murdered in Holcomb, Kansas, it sent shock waves through our small community and especially in our farm home. And it changed the way our family lived and viewed the world.

We didn’t know them. In fact, we lived hours away from Holcomb. But that murder changed the way our family lived.

The Family Was Murdered for About $40.00…

What we heard on television and read in the newspaper, was that the farm family of four had been murdered for about $40.00.

I remember my parents, my dad and mom sitting at the kitchen table, faces somber, frightened looking even, and my father, saying “If people will murder a family for so little, they will do anything.”

(Later, we read that the murderers had heard in jail that the family kept a large amount of money at their home; but all we knew then was that an entire family had been brutally murdered for such a small sum.)

Murder was something that happened in far-away cities…

Murders like that were something you rarely heard of, they were something that happened in far-away large cities, not something that happened to Kansas farm families.

Up until then, our doors were never, and I mean NEVER locked, not in the daytime when we were gone, not at night when we were asleep.

Up until then, there was no need.

They were always locked at night after the Clutter murders.

Up until then, because the air conditioning we had wasn’t really that great, my folks would put beds and old Army cots out into the back yard on the hottest summer nights, and we slept under the stars.

And before the Clutter murder the only thing we worried about while sleeping outside was getting bitten by mosquitoes, and the only thing I worried about was whether the coyotes we could hear yodeling at each other in the distance would come closer.

We never felt completely safe again…

After the Clutter murders, a new fear, a new possibility had entered our lives and our minds, and that changed our lives.

The peace and safety that had been ours was gone. We never felt completely safe on the farm and we never slept in the yard under the stars again.

You can read more about the Clutter Family at the Wichita Eagle website here.

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