Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Trip, Pt. 3 - Grandpa Fixit & Benjamin King

First I have to tell you about your Dad/Gpa's automatic compulsion..........forever, as most of you know, when he sees something that needs fixing, he either puts it on his daily list right away, or, in MOST cases, just starts fixing it right that moment. Well, we were in a motel, which cost us about $75 a night. I had my back toward him as he was standing in the dressing area, and I heard a noise. I turned to see what it was, and he was inspecting one of the ceiling tiles that was loose, pushing it up to see what was broken, I suppose. I queried, "Honey, what are you doing?" His reaction was funny....he looked a little sheepish, then said, "I guess I'll let them fix this!" It's just such a very ingrained (and good, I might add) habit for him to keep things up whenever possible! Such a cutie!

In Springfield, we visited with Edwin for a couple of hours, and he showed us a scrapbook he had made of his life. He has only one daughter and one granddaughter, so I sure hope one of them takes an interest in that treasure.

Edwin's daughter has cancer, and they were doing a biopsy the next day after we got there, so he was quite tense. We went to a really nice little Inn that had a kitchenette, living room, and couch! We enjoyed our time there, and the next day we didn't hear from Edwin until quite late so we decided to stay there another night before taking off. (Edwin doesn't have a cell phone or computer, so when he is waiting for a call, it has to be his home phone. He is quite a worrier and doesn't want his personal life "exposed" by a cell phone or computer, so he's way behind the times!)

The morning of the 31st, we went to West Plains, Missouri, where a genealogy research client of mine lived. It was 120 miles one way, but I hadn't heard from him for years, and I had a lot of important papers that he had sent me during my research that were originals (bad idea) and when I returned them to him by mail, they came back! I figured he was dead, but thought at least I could find a relative to give them to, as I wanted to be sure they got into the right hands to preserve for his family. I was right, he had passed away about 6 years ago, but in the phone book there was a Hilburn Photography Studio listed, so we went there and found that his wife still lived there -- I don't know why she didn't get the packet of papers I sent. Anyway, we found her phone number, called her and she told us where to send the materials; she seemed totally uninterested, though, and I certainly hope that someone in their posterity will take good care of these records.

One sad note was that Dad called one of his cousins, Betty Jean King James (Gma Whicker's oldest brother's daughter) and she evidently has Alzheimers, because she had no idea who he was and he couldn't even help her recognize the name KING.

He called several King cousins who were having family illnesses. Galen King, Uncle Floyd's youngest son, and his wife Kathy were well, and seemed very excited about seeing us, so they came over to Carthage and we took them to dinner, had a great visit. He talks so much like Uncle Floyd it is amazing! They came back to the motel with us and watched our 50th Wedding Ann. video and I showed Kathy some of our genealogy files. They are a sweet couple. They very much believe in God and are active in their church.

For some reason which I cannot remember now, I googled John King's name (Uncle John's son) and came up with a genealogy query that he had submitted on some site that I can't remember now!! (Note all the "can't remembers") I found that he was looking for Grandma Beulah King's great grandfather, Benjamin A. King. He mentioned Putnam County, Missouri as the death place for Benjamin. All I had was the year of death, 1892, the approximate date of birth and the state of birth...and I did know he died somewhere in Missouri. Actually, I hadn't ever done any research on this man at all....so I have a very strong witness that finding him at this particular time was important! We were planning to leave Missouri the very next morning and go to Kansas to do the research on MY great grandmother that I had so looked forward to, but something was pulling me another direction! I quickly looked up Putnam County on the map, found that it was THREE HUNDRED miles away from the part of Missouri that we were in, and asked Dad if he wanted to go so far. He was willing to do what ever I wanted to do, and I think he, too, was a little excited about finding something on his GGGrandfather.

So, the next morning we headed North to go way up near the Iowa border! Before the jaunt was over, we realized that the WHICKER family lived 16 miles north of the KING family in the 1890's when Grandpa Benjamin Archie Whicker was born! The reason that is interesting is that they did not meet and merge families until they all moved to Southern Missouri, where Grandma Beulah King was born 5 years after Grandpa Benjamin Archie!

Benjamin A. King was b. about 1805 in Tennessee, county unknown. Since he died in Putham County, MO, I was hoping to find some biographical material on him, and since he lived in the County Seat (Unionville) I was sure there would be some records. As we wandered farther North and away from Kansas City, houses got more and more sparse and farmland was everywhere! I thought, Boy, I am sure thankful that he lived in the County seat, because it doesn't look like there are many towns of any size for many, many miles here! We eventually turned East off the main highway, and went miles and miles without seeing any sign of a house, vehicle or any indication of a human being! Except, of course, all the wheat and corn fields standing there, lonely, on the quiet roads.

After about 5 hrs. of driving, a lot of it at about 50 mph, the metropolis of Unionville was right ahead of us. The outskirts of town were pretty old fashioned looking.....but we soon discovered that the "outskirts" were actually the "middle" of town! There were two medium size grocery stores, no restaurants, 1 service station, and an interesting little warehouse looking store whose marquee touted "Tools, Ceramics, Dolls and Misc."
(Picture attached.) We stayed in the only motel in town. It was clean and comfortable, with a bed that we considered better than the modern ones in motels today because it had beautiful wooden headboard and footboard with upright planks and crowns on the corners (think 1920 style) and was very comfy. There was no cell phone reception, no wireless at the motel....however, they did have wireless at the library, thank goodness!

The next morning was Saturday and the library was only open 3 hours that day, so we were there right at 9 a.m. and stayed until noon. I didn't find anything biographical about Benjamin King, but I did find several of his children's marriages and their children's births and marriages. This is one of those little places where the church hasn't ventured to film, so I was SO glad that the Spirit guided us there.

I had gone through all of the cemetery listings, which the librarian said were all complete....and then as we went to leave, she said, "What name are you looking for?" I told her, and she said, "Oh! You know, there is a cemetery named the King cemetery....and it isn't listed here in our materials. But, it only has one grave." The grave WAS for a King, so she then guided us to another person that might be able to tell us more about that grave. We called him, and sure enough!!! It WAS our Benjamin King! The grave was on what had been his property in the late 1800s. We didn't get to see it because it had snowed that very day and everything was so muddy from the spring rains and snows. I guess you had to climb a couple of little hills to get there, too. But it was a great great grandson of Benjamin's that I talked to, and he said the grave is well preserved, with a stone wall around it, and everyone who has owned the property since 1892 has kept it in good shape. I hope to soon get a picture of it from a gal that is doing a cemetery project there.

A couple of days later as I was again surfing on the Internet, I found a lady who had an ancestor named George Clinton King, b. 1809 in Tennessee. On the slight possibility that he might be related to Benjamin, I emailed her and asked her if he happened to have a brother named Benjamin. She wrote right back and said he DID have a brother named Benjamin, who was married to a Priscilla Cates! THAT'S OUR BENJAMIN!! She didn't know the parents, either, but she did have an idea about the county they lived in Tennessee. So now I have a sibling to help identify the correct parents!

On Sunday, we left in plenty of time to get to Trenton, Missouri, where the LDS church started at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m., as reported on the Church website. We got there 20 minutes ahead of time and met a man going into the building. He said there was only 20 minutes of church left, but we were welcome to come in! The church site was wrong on this one!

Our GPS misbehaved during the miles in the wilderness up in that part of Missouri. It told us twice what road to take as we travelled toward Trenton, and both those roads ended up ending because of a major washout!

Monday we drove to Lamar, Missouri, where Grandma and Grandpa Whicker met and married, and went to the tiny historical department there. We did find some dates that were missing in our data, but most of it we already knew. Grandma did a good job of covering those items!

This is getting too long, so I'll do a Part 4, and try not to be so long getting it written!

Love you all!

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