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Obituary Find

Have you ever run across an obituary that identifies a sibling for which you have no record? That was my situation when transcribing the obituary of William A. Mentzer, son of Japhet and Louisa Briles Mentzer.

William Mentzer Is Buried
The Big Creek Presbyterian church was filled and many were on the outside at two o’clock, Friday afternoon for the funeral of William Alexander Mentzer, who died, Wednesday, Aug 17, 1927 at his home west of Critty. The services were in charge of Rev. Eugene Kramer, pastor of the Burlington Methodist church. The church choir composed of mrs. Nettie White, Mrs. Tillie McMullen, Mrs. Hanna Caven, Mrs. Jennie Christy, Miss ada Caven, James and Kinney Caven sang “We’re Going Down the Valley” “Take Me As I Am” and “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” The choir was accompanied by Mrs. Elmira Christy. The pall bearers were James Caven, Wm. Morrow, John Israel, john D[ul]aughor, J. Allen Christy, and G[ene] Morrow. Interment was made in the Big Creek Presbyterian cemetery.
William Alexander Mentzer, eldest son of Mr. And Mrs. Japhet Mentzer was born Nov 25, 1870, and he spent his entire life in Coffey County on his father’s farm and on his own place since his marriage to Miss Rosa Metzger on Nov 29, 1909. He was a kind and affectionate husband and a jovial and good neighbor. He will be greatly missed in the home and in the neighborhood.
His father preceeded him in death in 1917. Also one sister, Eva, who died in 1874. He leaves to mourn his wife, Mrs. Roma Mentzer, two nieces, Misses Anna and Thurnelda Wise, whom Mr. And Mrs. Mentzer had cared for since they were small children, his aged mother, Mrs. Louis Mentzer, one sister, Mrs. Mariet [s] Gray and two brothers, Jay and John Mentzer, besides a host of other relatives and friends.

“William Mentzer Is Buried,” The Gridley LIght (Gridley, Kansas), 1 September 1927, page 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 24 October 2021).

I already had documented most of the family. However, I wasn’t sure who Mrs. Mariet[s] Gray was. I did have a census record from 1870 showing a Loretta Mentzer in the household of Jacob and Louisa Mentzer. Since Loretta was listed as being 13 and Louisa was listed as being 24, I had entered Loretta as a child from a previous marriage.

So, I started digging in the newspapers to see what I could learn about Mrs. Gray. Even though most of the papers have been digitized and contain a lot of local gossip, I have not found a Mentzer-Gray marriage announcement. I expanded my search for the MENTZER surname and got lucky! I found the obituary for Japhet Mentzer that contains lots of information about the family.

Another Pioneer Is Laid to Rest

Japhet Mentzer, son of Peter and Elizabeth Mentzer, was born August 23, 1824 in Licking County Ohio, and died to Neosho Township, Coffey county, Kansas February 11, 1917, aged 92 years 5 months and 18 days. He grew to manhood in the state of Ohio, and was united in marriage to Mary Rhodes June 5, 1856. He and his young wife immigrated to the state of Iow, where they lived for a short time and from there they came to Coffey county arriving on the 10th day of November 1857. To this union were born three daughters. His wife died April 4, 1866 and the tow younger daughters died the same year. He was again united in marriage to Louisa Briles October 20, 1866 and to this union four children were born, one daughter and three sons, Eva dying at the age of 5 years. He is survived by his faithful wife and four children: Mrs. J. N. Gray, Wm. A., Jay and John Mentzer with their families, eleven grand children and nine great grand children. He was respected by all for his honesty and his word was as good as his bond. He came here in an early day, saw many hardships but by hard work he built a good home. The funeral was held at the Presbyterian church, Rev. Mr. White of Crandall preaching the funeral sermon. He was laid to rest in the Big Creek Cemetery.

Card of Thanks
The relatives of Grandpa Mentzer wish to thank the many friends for the kindness and assistance shown during the sickness and death of husband and father.
Mrs. Louise Mentzer
Mr. And Mrs. W. A. Mentzer
Mr. And Mrs. Jay Mentzer
Mr. And Mrs. John Mentzer
Mr. and Mrs. J. N. Gray

“Another Pioneer Is Laid to Rest,” The Daily Republican (Burlington, Kansas), 1 February 1917, page 4; digital image, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 24 October 2021).

This obituary is a gold mine of information about Japhet Mentzer and his family! I’m thankful that I kept digging long enough to locate this jewel.

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