The Mighty Mo – Then and Now

Saga of the Elwood Cemetery – Part 3

As pointed out in an earlier post (Elwood, Kansas and the Mighty Mo), the Kansas State Historical Society has made several historical maps of Elwood available as part of the Kansas Memory site. The 1870-1890 map of Elwood is particularly beneficial in that it shows the street layout and can easily be compared to a current map of Elwood. Vermont Street is common to both maps. The 1870-1890 historical map has 12 blocks between Vermont and the river’s edge. In addition, the 1882 and 1904 plat books of Doniphan County, have the Missouri River on the north edge of Elwood and actually making a right hand turn at the northeast corner of Elwood.

Taking the Find a Grave map showing the Elwood Cemetery, I’ve added a rectangle to illustrate where the Missouri River would have been in 1896. (1896 is when the burial would have occurred.)


If the river was at the North edge of Elwood as indicated by the historical maps, then the GPS coordinates of the proposed cemetery would place the cemetery in Missouri (or the bottom of the river).

My next step was to look at the Google Earth view of Elwood and the river. Using that image, I added arrows showing where I think the image reveals the old river bed.


For more information regarding the Elwood Cemetery, see my previous posts:


Elwood Kansas & the Mighty Mo

In trying to locate more information on a cemetery at Elwood, Kansas, my husband unearthed some interesting maps of Elwood in relation to the Missouri River.

The Kansas Memory site has several maps that help place the river in relation to the city of Elwood. A map of Elwood dated between 1870 and 1890 places the river at the East and North edges of the town.

This map is a fairly detailed map of the town showing street names and parks. It does not indicate a cemetery.

The 1882 plat book of Doniphan County also indicates that Elwood was bordered by the Missouri River on the North.

Likewise, the 1904 Plat Book of Doniphan County has the northern edge of Elwood on the banks of the Missouri River.

Below is a current day image from Google maps showing the northern edge of Elwood. The Missouri River is along the right of the image. The state boundary line in the upper left corner of the image is following an oxbow lake. The railroad tracks and Vermont Street can be used as comparison points between the current day image and the early map (1870-1890). The map from the 1870-1890 time period indicates that there were 12 blocks north of Vermont Street. In looking at today’s image, it is easy to imagine the river making a curve and going along the very North edge of Elwood.


If the GPS coordinates of the Elwood cemetery are correct, then it is very doubtful that this cemetery existed in 1896 in the stated location. Based on these early maps, the suggested location of the Elwood Cemetery would have either been in the river or on the Missouri side of the river in 1896.


Another mystery child!

In my post, Who Is Jenny Neal, I wrote about finding a 13 year old child living with my great-grandparents that I could not explain. While filling in census gaps, I found another ‘mystery child’. This child is a 3 year old female living with my grandparents at 510 Avenue G in Dodge City, Kansas in 1925. (Ancestry image)


I sincerely doubt that this child is my aunt. My grandmother, Winnie, was responsible for getting me started in genealogy. Even though grandma told me about the baby she lost (Betty Jean), she never mentioned having a 4th child – born after Betty Jean but not part of the family in 1930.

For many years, grandma was the caretaker of the Crawford family plot. Buried in the Crawford family plot are two other children of Leon R and Winnie Crawford: Betty Jean (b1921/d1921) and uncle LR. However, there isn’t a burial for anyone matching this child.

Even though family pictures exist from the time period. there isn’t a photo identifying this child – especially as a child of Winnie and Leon.

So, who is this child?

Is she related to Jenny Neal?



Where’s My Irish?

Today is March 17th – St. Patrick’s day. In honor of the day, I was curious about whether I have Irish ancestry. Since my research hasn’t taken me beyond the borders of North America, I really don’t have any Irish lines identified. According to my Ancestry DNA results, my ethnicity % for Ireland is 3%.

DNA Ethnicityscreenshot from

Out of curiosity, I decided to do some simple research on my family names using Ancestry’s tool to discover the meaning of a surname. Below are the surnames from my 5 generation pedigree with their probable origins. (chart printed with Family Tree Maker 2014)

surnames 5 gen

Crawford — Scottish, English and Northern IRISH

Foster — English

Hammond – English

Ralston – Scottish

Currey — Scottish or IRISH

Burke — IRISH, English, Norway,or German

Hutchinson – Northern English

Harding – English

Briles – German

Thompson – English

Ricketts – English

Christy – Scottish / Northern IRISH

Mentzer – German

Minnick – IRISH

Wells – English

Crandall – Scottish

According to Forebears, my Crawford line originated in Scotland: “Local. First assumed by the proprietor of the lands and barony of Crawford, in Lanarkshire, Scotland.”

Even though my Ancestry DNA ethnicity is only 3% IRISH, five of the lines from my 5 generation pedigree could be IRISH. Interestingly, I also have 5 Scottish lines but Scottish isn’t listed as an ethnicity.

A little searching of Ancestry forums revealed why my report doesn’t include my Scottish origins:


So, I’ll find some GREEN to wear today and celebrate my IRISH origins!

Elwood Cemetery – What is the evidence?

About a month ago, I discovered my great-great grandfather, Albert Hutchinson, listed on Find a Grave. Albert and his first wife, Julia Harding, have been one of the challenges in my search for the family history. I think I have Julia’s heritage figured out but Albert appears to ‘just hatch’ in Iowa. Both just seemed to disappear from this earth with little or no evidence of their passing. At least, until I found Albert on Find a Grave as being buried in the Elwood Cemetery.

But wait! Elwood is only 60 miles from me. Don’t you think I would have already found his grave? But does Elwood even have a cemetery?

Finding the Elwood Cemetery – OR – disproving its existence was a challenge to me. In the process of figuring out this puzzle, I realized that this task provided an excellent opportunity to apply this week’s ‘Finally Get Organized‘ task. This task involved looking at sources, information and evidence to be able to write a conclusion based on a preponderance of the evidence.

I started by conducting some ‘Internet’ research to see what else I could find on this cemetery.

  • Source: Find a GraveElwoodCem1
  • Information: Latitude: 39.76523, Longitude: -94.87605

Armed with the Find a Grave map, I then checked Google maps and clicked on the ‘Google Earth’ button, I was able to see a satellite view of the land.





Comparing the satellite view with the map from Find a Grave, there is a clump of trees in about the area indicated as a cemetery in Find a Grave. However, zooming in on the clump of trees, I did not find tombstones, but what appear to be boulders.


Doing some background research, I found a list of Doniphan County cemeteries from 1906. In 1906, the Kansas State Historical Society compiled a list of cemeteries in Doniphan County and published them in their Transactions of the Kansas State Horticultural Society, vol. XXVIII (1906), pp. 325-377. The Family Search wiki has an expanded list of cemeteries for Doniphan County based on this 1906 list. Neither list contains an Elwood Cemetery.

After discussing this with my husband, I elected to check Google Earth itself.

ElwoodCem4Source: Google Earth search for Elwood, Kansas and then zooming in

Note that the clump of trees (and boulders) shown in the satellite image on Google Maps is missing from the image on Google Earth.



Challenged by this mystery, my husband and I took a trip to the Elwood/St. Jo area to try and figure out if there was a cemetery in Elwood.

KS-Doniphan-CemeteriessmOur first stop was the Harman-Rohde Funeral Home in Wathena, Kansas. When asked about a cemetery in Elwood, Paul Rohde responded, ‘If there is, it’s not used any more.’ When asked about evidence of such a cemetery, he checked his files and produced a map of Doniphan County cemeteries. (pictured on right)

Lo and behold — #89 says Elwood and may be the number in the bend of the river. Not only is it listed, but there is a check mark by it that indicates it ‘still exists.’ This map was created by Francis Burbridge in 1984.

Even though the map indicates the cemetery still existed in 1984, Paul Rohde was not aware of any burials in that cemetery. When asked about where residents of Elwood are buried, he said they are either buried in Wathena or in St. Jo. Unfortunately, the funeral home records only go back into the 1930s. Thus, they won’t shed any light on whether Albert Hutchinson is buried at Elwood.

KS-Doniphan-Elwood-6th-looking-northOur next stop was the Elwood city office to see what we could find out about a cemetery at Elwood. When asked about a cemetery in Elwood, the city staff said that Elwood did not have a cemetery. She indicated that the town moved South to its current location around 1916. As we discussed the Find a Grave entry showing a cemetery on N. 6th street, the city staff remembered that at one time city workers used an area on N. 6th as a dump. When asked if the city had maintained any death records, she said that they did not have such records and that the courthouse in Troy would be the place to look for death records.

(6th street in Elwood, Kansas looking North.)



Since it had rained recently, we didn’t try to go down the dirt road. However, we couldn’t see any evidence of a cemetery between our location and the bluffs formed by the river.

(Right) View from 5th street looking Northwest towards the Missouri River.

Photos were taken on March 15, 2016

The Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society has a plat map of Buchanan County, Missouri hanging on the wall of their library (dated about 1939) that gives a good visual of where Elwood, Kansas is in relation to the Missouri River.



Knowing that Elwood lies in the flood plain of the Missouri River and that Elwood was under water during the 1993 flood, it makes me wonder whether a cemetery would have survived so close to the river.

So what is my conclusion? Even though I found information (a map) indicating that there was a cemetery North of Elwood, I don’t feel like I have evidence of such a cemetery. I also conducted interviews indicating that there isn’t a cemetery in Elwood. Since the map and the interviews are contradictory of each other and since I haven’t personally seen the cemetery nor found any photographs of it, I don’t believe there is enough evidence to support a conclusion either way.






My Baby Brother Continued

Transcribed from an interview with my dad (and mom):

Me: Dave’s birth


Probably the 21st in Dodge City

D – Well that was sort of an exciting time. Your mother and I went to Dodge City for Christmas and things were supposed to be normal but on the 21st – the night of the 21s morning of the 22nd she began to bleed heavily. And so I went out and got the car started, got it warmed up. Grandma Crawford bundled Bert up and I carried her out to the car and she had called the doctor to meet us at the hospital. And so we drove to the hospital and the doctor was already there and they took her in and elevated her feet in a sense stood her on her head and things looked pretty good and then on the morning of the 23rd things didn’t go quite the way everyone wanted to and she gave birth to the boys. David Eugene lived Duane Gail could not combat the mucous on his lungs and he passed away on the 24th. Your mother was in the hospital when we buried Duane Gail and that was a tough time too.

M – I don’t remember much about it – truly don’t except I knew they rushed me to the hospital – beyond that I don’t know – I didn’t get to see Duane at all – and it was several days before I got to see Dave was in an incubator because they wouldn’t let me out of bed. I‘m not sure how long I stayed in the hospital and Gene had to come back to work the first part of January and so I was still in the hospital and after I was released, you and I (Marcia) and I came home on the train and I don’t remember any problems with traveling with her on the train. She was you were about a little over 18 months

Me – Did you know you were carrying twins

M – No No had no idea

Me – Did you check with your doctor here about going to Emporia

M – Yes we had checked with the doctor here about going to Dodge City and he said that would be fine

Me – How did Dave get to Emporia


Valentine’s Day – Home at Last


M – Grandma Crawford brought Dave to Emporia in the white bassinet which is still around in the family someplace I think Yes she came down here with him and that was on Valentine’s day he got to come home

Original Audio (ask for access)

Previous Posts:

My Dad – Seaman 1st Class

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1945-Navy-SailorPiecing together dad’s military service is a challenge! This is because all of the documents indicate that he graduated from high school while enlisted in the service. His ‘Notice of Separation from U.S. Naval Service’ indicates he entered active service on 15 Feb 1945 in Gulfport, Miss and served for 1 year, 5 months and 17 days. At the same time, his diploma is dated 17 May 1945 and his name is listed on the program for the 58th Commencement of Dodge City High School held on 17 May 1945.

Even dad had a hard time putting it on a timeline. At two different times, he recorded the events of his military service for me. There are similarities between the two timelines, but there are also differences.

Transcription of first recollection:

  • Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1945-WWII-Service-Record-Recollection1Enlisted for a minority (age 21) ans was sworn in 2/15/1945 in Kansas City went home [17 years old]
  • May ? 1945 went on active duty / sent to Great Lakes Naval Station for boot camp
  • 7 day leave after boot camp
  • Reported to Wright Jr College radar tech school for 1 month 6 weeks
  • Assigned to Gulfport Naval Station radar Tech school
  • While in school Navy decided that students who wished to continue in school had to enlist in regular navy. Parents agreed so I enlisted and received a 30 day leave. Returned to Gulfport to find out the Nave had changed there mind so I was discharged from the regular navy and enlisted in naval reserve
  • Flunked out of school
  • Became Master of Arms of barracks (Gulfport)
  • Sent to Great Lakes Naval training. Put in charge of serving line at recruits mess hall
  • Put on troop train for Treasure Island [Naval Station Treasure Island – San Francisco]
  • Went on board

Transcription of second recollection

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1945-WWII-Service-Record-Recollection2Date of Service 2/15/45 to 8/1/46

  • Sworn in active duty KC Mo last Sat May 1945
  • Great Lakes Naval Training Center Boot camp – 6 weeks
  • One week leave
  • Wright Jr College Chicago Ill 6 weeks (VE day) [claimed to have celebrated VE day with his cousins in Chicago – VE Day 8 May 1945]
  • Gulfport Naval Station Gulfport MS
  • Discharged from Naval reserve
  • enlisted in reg navy for a minority
  • 30 day leave
  • discharged from reg navy
  • enlisted in naval reserve
  • flunked out of school
  • spent Christmas leave in Gulfport
  • Barracks commander — over 200 men in barracks

1946 [turned 18 in Dec 1945]

From his Honorable Discharge

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1946-Military-DischargeEugene David Crawford Seaman First Class V-6 USNR is honorably discharged from the U.S. Naval Personnel Separation Center in Norman, Oklahoma and from the Naval Service of the United States this 1st day of August 1946.

From the ‘Affidavit Concerning Naval Record’ on file in the Ford County (Kansas) Courthouse

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1946-Affidavit-Naval-Record2Eugene David Crawford, 343 46 97 SLC V-6 USNR, U.S. Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve), being first duly sword do submit the following information concerning my naval record which is necessary to complete my record of naval service and do hereby certify that it is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief:

“That I have served outside the continental limits of the United states (outside the three mile limit), while aboard the U.S.S. Oneida (APA-221) from 20 May 1946 to 24 July 1946. This ship operated in the Pacific ocean, around Guam and Samar. I left the States the 1st of June 1946 and returned 16 July 1946.”


Eugene Crawford – back row far right

My Baby Brother(s) – Mom’s version

“We had gone to Dodge the year Dave was born. I had checked with the doctor to be sure it was okay to travel and he said there was no problem. 195402CrawfordDave-FinallyHome

I started hemorrhaging that night, though, and went to the hospital. The twins were born the next day and Duane lived about 24 hours. We had just started potty training  you (Marcia) and the fact that I wasn’t around sure upset the apple cart. You (Marcia) were really a good girl for Grandma Crawford though. Of course in those days they didn’t allow kids to visit in the hospitals so it was hard on both of us. Then Gene had to return to Emporia before we cold. We finally got to go home on the train (leaving Dave in the hospital with Grandma to go in and watch him). Grandma brought Dave home on Valentine’s day. He was so little I carried him around on a pillow.”

from a letter by Roberta Crawford dated 1998

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