Tombstone Tuesday – Willshier S. Hawley

by Sherry Stocking Kline
February 9, 2010

I ‘stumbled across’ this tombstone when I was taking photographs of stones at the Milan Cemetery, Sumner County, Milan, Kansas, on Highway 160, about 15 miles (give or take a bit) west of Wellington.

Willshier S. Hawley, buried at Milan Cemetery, Milan, Kansas

On the Stone:

Willshier S. Hawley
Oct 3, 1826
June 7, 1922
Co. A. 52nd Ind.  Vol. Inf.

I just knew he had to be ‘family.’

Never mind the fact that it said that he was in the Indiana Volunteer Infantry, I was so excited, I just knew he had to be some of my Kentucky family.

After all, my Jones great-grandmother had been a Smith, and her mother had been a Hawley.  Families often migrate together, and I just knew this man was going to be some of my Kentucky born and bred kinfolk.  All I had to do was prove it.

So, I hopped on-line to do census research, and found that ‘my’ Willshier/Willshire had moved around some.  And also that most likely, some of the Willshier’s that I found weren’t ‘mine.’

Before heading off to the census, I checked out the National Park Websites Civil War Soldier’s info.  No surprise there, what was on the tombstone was the same as the National Park info.

Next I went to to find Willshier on the census. Ancestry turned up a family tree, and after doing some checking, this is ‘my’ Willshier Hawley, and it checks out fairly good with the Census record.

Family Tree:

Willshier Sanford Hawley

married Catherine Thornburg on 19 Apr 1849 in Wabash County, Indiana
Melissa C Hawley
Rebecca Hawley
Seraphina Mabel Hawley
Francis Marion Hawley
Mary L Hawley
Annie L Hawley


1860 Census
1860 Census, Place: Pleasant, Wabash, Indiana; Roll M653_304; Page 36; Image 36
W. S. Hawley  age 33
Catharine Hawley  age 26
Malisa C Hawley  age 10
Rebecca Hawley  age 4
Francis M Hawley  age 1

1900 Census
1900 Census, Place: Clay, Hendricks, Indiana; Roll T623_376; Page: 17A
Willshier Hawley  age 73
Mary L Hawley  age 32
Bessie Hinkle  age 8

1910 Census
1900 Census, Place: Parsons, Alfalfa, Oklahoma; Roll T624_1242; Page: 9B
Silas J. Rerick  age 59
Mallisa C. Rarick  age 60
Martha E. Rarick  age 19
Willshier Hawley  age 83
Mary L Hawley  age 43

(When I wondered why Willshier was living with the Rericks, I referred back to the family tree, which said that Melissa/Mallisa had married Silas J. Rarick/Rerick.   Aha moment.)

1915 Kansas State Census

E.V. Rerick  age 38
Precilla Rerick  age 34
Marie Rerick  age 8
Sherman Rerick  age 6
Ruth Terick  age 2
M C Rerick  age 64
Vergil Dumieg  age 33

Now we’re getting to names that I recognize. Sherman Rerick, just a child in 1915, was a good friend and went horse-back riding with my Uncle Daryl Jones, Sr.

To do just a little more checking on Willshier’s family, I went to the online Milan Cemetery list of burials/tombstones, and found the following:

Silas J. Rerick died         8 Nov 1912
Malissie C Rerick died  20 Mar 1927
Ernest Vernon Rerick    Died in 1949

And according to the website, Willshier Hawley’s lot owner is a Rerick.

There are several other Rericks, and most likely, they are related to Silas and Mallisa, perhaps even their children and grandchildren.  ( A little before this point, I knew that Willshier wasn’t my family, so I’ve not pursued more census to learn what Silas and Malissa’s children’s names were.)

Is Willshier Sanford Hawley one of “my” Hawley’s?

No.   I won’t be doing a “happy dance” today, because going back through my own Hawley tree info, and comparing it with the on-line tree, there aren’t any links to tie them together for well past my own great-grandmother.

Perhaps, several generations past my great-grandmother, there is a link, but at this point, I’m switching my focus elsewhere and concluding that Willshier didn’t follow my family members here, but rather his own children, particulary his daughter Mallisa and her husband.

Another ‘dead end’ but an interesting one.  I’m going to put together the information that I’ve found the past couple of days, and donate it to the Sumner County Genealogy and History Center for the Hawley’s and the Rericks should they come searching!

Related Posts:

Daryl Jones, Sr (friend of Sherman Rerick) Tombstone

Daryl Jones – Photograph with his Parents & some siblings

Daryl Jones – Fishing photo & story

10 Responses to “Tombstone Tuesday – Willshier S. Hawley”

  • Sherry,

    The Sumner County Genealogy and History Center is lucky to have you. Your work is really good, and you so willingly share it for other’s to use. Congratulations.

    This was an interesting sideroad that you took! i enjoyed it.

    • How nice it is to have you visit this afternoon! Thank you for the kind words. I did, however, begin the search for purley selfish reasons. I was hoping that Willshier Hawley, obviously a Civil War veteran and member of the GAR was going to be ‘mine,’ and I was disappointed when he was not.

      It didn’t occur to me till right at the end that the society could benefit from the research, but they can. And after I made the post, I remembered that one of my FB friends was a Rerick, and from what little research I did, Willshier is her great-grandfather. Or at least related. So I think I will share this with her as well! Blessings to you today!

  • Carolyn a Rerick:

    I have some more info I will send to you. If you are related to those Hawleys then you are related to us. Esther Rerick LeFever is now 94 and lives in Wichita. She is Sherman’s sister. Ernest Rerick (my favorite Uncle) was Esther, Sherman, Marie and Ruth’s dad. Their mom was Priscilla Farr Rerick and her tombstone is west of the tombstones you are talking about. I used to go to Wichita and take Esther to the Milan cemetery to put flowers on the graves. Please email me so I can send you more info and some pics. Thanks, C.A. Rerick (Walter and Thelma were my parents)

    • Hi Carolyn! Of course I remember you and your parents! I was going to send you the info I found, in case you weren’t ‘into’ genealogy, but I can see that you are.

      Thanks for stopping by! I will have to go ‘back’ a few more generations past my great-great grandmother to see if she and Willshier are related, but so far, I’m not related to Willshier. A huge disappointment! Maybe we can just say we are cousins, and if you believe in Adam and Eve, and Noah and the ark, then technically we are! (and I am a believer!)

    • Jude Rerick smith:

      Ms Carolyn,

      I am doing some research on my family. I am the the grandson of Marie Rerick. I am trying to find more information for my sons on there Great great grand mother Priscilla Rerick (Farr). I have been told she was Ireland and trying to follow up. Thank You

      • greg van der werf:

        Hello Jude –

        My mother’s sister was Eva Thompson, and she married Algie Strait. Algie’s parents were Annie Farr and Zera Strait. I met Annie a couple of times when I was young, and heard many stories about Algie’s parents. I was told that the Farr family came from Ireland, but I don’t know exactly where. I’m interested in finding out more about the Farr family, so I hope to hear from you.

        Greg van der Werf

      • greg van der werff:

        Jude –

        John Farr was the father of Annie Farr (married Zera Strait), Priscilla Farr (married Ernest Vernon Rerick) and Jay Farr. John Farr appears on a ship’s passenger list, coming from Glenavy, County Antrim, Ireland, and going to Milan Kansas. This can be found on Probably John Farr was born in Glenavy. My aunt, Eva Thompson, married a son of Annie Farr and Zera Strait.

        I would like to hear from you.

    • greg van der werf:

      Hello Carolyn –

      My mother’s sister was Eva Thompson, and she married Algie Strait. Algie was the son of Annie Farr and Zera Strait. Annie was the sister of Priscilla Farr. I met Annie a couple of times when I was young, and I’m interested in finding out more about the Farr family. From my uncle, I heard many stories about his parents. The Farrs came from Ireland, but I don’t know where. I also met Algie’s cousins Ruth and Esther in Wichita, and I remember that they had children. I’d like to hear from you.

      Greg van der Werf

  • Tina Bodkins Bailey:


    While doing some searching for my Hawley family I came across your site. I have Hawley’s that lived in Harper County Kansas (Waldron) and surrounding areas including northern Oklahoma. I am not for sure but I have a strange feeling this Hawley family may be related to me. My Hawley search has been a dead end, what I know for sure is I descend from Benjamin Franklin Hawley, as for who his parents are for sure I do not know, I was told he was not raised by them. At one time I was told his parents were Thomas J Hawley and Maria C Fell, but found (years ago) in census records that Thomas and Maria did not have children, so the story that he was raised by someone other than his parents may be true, and makes me wonder if his name was not actually Hawley. Someone sent me years ago that Thomas had tried to enroll a minor in the Dawes Indian Roll…and I was told that there was Native American on this side of my family, but nobody would talk about it because they were ashamed of their heritage. If you have ANY leads I would greatly appreciate it! I also descend from the Bodkins/Botkin/Bodkin family from Sumner County. THANK YOU!!!

  • greg van der werf:

    John Farr appears on a ship’s passenger list in 1898, for the SS Majestic, going from Liverpool, England, to New York. He gave his former residence as “Glenavy, Co Antrim,” and his final destination as “Kansas, Sumner Co.” He was 51 years old at the time. (John Farr of Sumner County, Kansas, was born in 1847.) Apparently he had booked passage on the SS Cymric a week earlier, but his name is lined through on that list, indicating that he cancelled his ticket, and sailed a little later on the Majestic. These ship lists are available on

    Glenavy is a parish in the southwest part of County Antrim. It is also a townland within the parish, and the village of Glenavy is in Glenavy townland.

    Checking the Griffith’s Valuation, there are only 55 listings for the surname Farr in all of Ireland, so it was a rare name there. Most of the Farr families on the Griffith’s Valuation were in County Antrim. Checking the Hearth Money Rolls of 1666 and 1669 (a tax on hearths) for County Antrim, there is only one Farr listed in Glenavy Parish and its adjoining parishes, this being Henry Farre. It is likely that he was the ancestor of all the Farr families shown in the Griffith’s Valuation about 200 years later.

    It is not known who John Farr’s parents were, but their names might be shown on his 1926 Kansas death certificate.

    Greg van der Werf

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