Black Sunday

Going back to my notebook of items received from Mildred Barby is an interesting article that has nothing to do with BRILES genealogy. However, it tells of an event that greatly impacted the western parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Black Sunday

Worst of Dust Bowl’s storms was 50 years ago

Guymon, Okla (AP) Rain comes grudgingly to the Oklahoma Panhandle, where farmers of the 980s coax startling grain and livestock production from the dry land.

But nature had the upper hand 50 years ago when Guymon was at the hub of a historical disaster that gave its name to a region and a decade — The Dust Bowl.

Among the hundreds of dust storms that raked western Oklahoma and parts of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas from 1933 to 1937, one stands out to those who stayed with their beloved land.

April 14, 1935, dawned as a warm, clear Palm Sunday, It became instead the day of the Black Blizzard — Black Sunday.

It was intense darkness. As dark as could be,” said Laurence Drake, 78, who was caught in the middle of an alfalfa field. “It scared us. We didn’t know what was going to happen next.”

The storm threw the farmers’ native abuse of the fragile plains back into their faces.

It definitely woke a lot of people up that we were misusing the land,” said Drake, who has spent a lifetime farming the Panhandle and working for soil and water conservation.

Settlers who squatted in the Panhandle before the turn of the century, when it was known as “No Man’s Land,” were joined by thousands more before Oklahoma became a state in 1907. Over the decades, they plowed up the soil’s protective grass and, when the rains stopped, the wind began to lift the fine dirt.

“The one-way plow was the worst thing we could do,” Drake said.

By 1935, dust storms had become a familiar and costly inconvenience for farmers and ranchers. the Oklahoma Panhandle, a row of three block-shaped counties with an area about that of Connecticut, was rattled by a dust storm on average every five days in the worst of the “dirty ’30s.”

But April 1835 was the cruelest month. In a region that averaged 19 inches of rain a year, little or no rain fell that month. The Panhandle reported heavy to moderate dust on 20 of 30 days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture weather bureau.

In the week before April 14, blinding dust forced schools to close. A southeastern Colorado store ran out of sponges, which people used as dust masks. IT took a 100-man search party to find tow Vanceville, Kan., youngsters who lost their way in the swirling dust on a hunt for Indian arrowheads.

On April 10, according to newspaper accounts, 36 truckloads of furniture were counted moving west out of Guymon. Some were farmers giving up on the land, identified in the parlance of the day as “exodusters.” Most were migrants passing through the devastated Dust Bowl on their way to California.

The term “Okie” eventually was applied to all displaced people making their way west. The aging jalopy burdened with possessions became an icon of the era, an image burned into the national consciousness by thousands of pictures made by federal photographs, by John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” and by the movie, starring Henry Fonda, a year later.

On Thursday, April 11, a minor league baseball game in Oklahoma City was suspended because of heavy dust. On Friday and Saturday the dust began to clear. By Sunday, Oklahomans were looking forward to a clear day and a break from the dust.

It was Laurence Drake’s 28th birthday. He and a helper were taking advantage of the good weather to work an irrigation canal running form the Cimarron River to a “little patch of alfalfa” on land his family had settled 50 years before.

“I looked up and noticed this terrible black cloud int he northwest,” said Drake, who still framers near Gate, where the Panhandle is attached to the rest of the state.

“About half the sky, I guess,” he recalled. “It looked like a terrible rainstorm.”

Racing an estimated 40 mph ahead of a cold front pressing down from Colorado and Kansas, the storm was upon the men in seconds. The darkness was complete except for static electricity arcing eerily within the roiling dust.

Through the blackness, Drake shouted to his co-worker. Using their shovels as blind men use white canes, they edged along the canal. When they were within arm’s reach, the intense darkness still kept them invisible to each other.’

Elsewhere, motorists out for Sunday drives had to halt their Model Ts in the middle of roads. Farmers fell to their hands and knees and crawled to their houses. Their wives stretched dampened sheets across windows in a futile attempt to keep out the choking dust.

Families lit kerosene lanterns against the entombing darkness and waited.

Thousands of feet high and extending beyond the 168-mnile length of the Panhandle, the storm took only minutes to sweep out of Kansas, cross the 34-mile-wide strip and boil southward into the Texas Panhandle like a moving mountain range.

For 10 to 15 minutes, no light penetrated the silt-like dirt. Later the pall of heavy dust left behind muffled sound and made outdoor activity nearly impossible.

And those who had gathered three time daily in a Guymon church to pray for rain knew their prayers would go unanswered a while longer.

The dust from this and other storms drifted into dunes along fence rows and outbuildings. Planting became impossible; wheat was barely in the ground before the wind would dig it up.

The federal Resettlement Administration, predecessor of the Farm Home Administration, set up a program to provide small grants, about $10 to $30 a month to the destitute.

Drake administered the program in Beaver county from 1935 to 1934, evaluating requests for help.

“Our office was filled every day almost. … It was unbelievable,” Drake said. “There were very, very poor conditions. They were existing almost. They kept thinking that things would get better.

“It was just survival. Some of them had to leave. They just give up.”

From 1930 to 1940, the population of the three Panhandle counties dropped form 30,960 to 21,198. Nearly one in three residents succumbed to the vise-like grip of dust and Depression.

But the survivors learned new ways of treating the land. Under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the U.S. Forest Service planted millions of acres of trees and shrubs on farms to serve as shelterbelts and reduce wind erosion.

Farmers who prided themselves on their ability to plow straight furrows learned the value of planting with the contours of the land to reduce wind and water erosion.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil conservation Service began digging the first of more than 2,000 small lake sin Oklahoma to control flooding and provide irrigation.

Now, in a state that ranks among the top five in wheat and hay production, the Panhandle counties are among the most prolific producers. The weathered homesteads of those who could not withstand the onslaught still dot the counties, reminders of hard times adrift on seas of green wheat.

Cattle feedlots dot the Panhandle, accounting for a thick slide of the state’s beef production.

But rising prices for the fuel that powers irrigation pumps, a receding underground water supply and low farm prices raise the spectre of new dust storms.

“The poorest conservation measure for farmers is low farm prices,” said U.S. Rep. Glenn English, whose district includes much of western Oklahoma.

“Like every small businessman, during tough economic times, the farmer must squeeze every dollar out of his assets,” he said. “That land is once again being plowed up. It’s highly erodable land. Shelterbelts that have been there since the time of the Great Depression are boing torn out.

“Conservation is deteriorating, erosion of the land is increasing. IF we find ourselves in a dry period of time for two or three years, we could see the dirt blow.

According to the note below the photocopy of the article, the clipping was from the Joplin paper. A search of to locate this article did not find it in any Missouri (i.e. Joplin) paper. However, what is likely the original article was found in the April 14, 1985 edition of the Tulsa World.

In my search for this exact article, I found quite a few newspaper accounts on Black Sunday and its aftermath.

  • Reifenberg, Anne. “Dust Bowl Got Its Name on Black Sunday when a Dark Blanket Rolled over the Land,” The Buffalo News (Buffalo, New York). 21 Apr 1985, page F-6 available on
  • Fisher, James J. “The Cloud They Never Forgot: Dust Bowl Scarred Land and Lives.” The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, MO) 13 Apr 1985, page 27 available on
  • Fisher, James J. “Families Survived Dust Bowl days by Thinking ‘Next Year'” The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, MO) 13 Apr 1985, page 33 available on
  • Webb, Tom. “50 Years Can’t Erase Dust Bowl Memories,” The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, KS) 15 Apr 1984, page 63 available on
  • Griekspoor, Phyllis Jacobs. “Smart Farming Cuts Risk, but Threat Is Still There,” The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, KS) 15 Apr 1995, page 6 available on
  • “Readers Share Their Stories of the Dust Bowl,” The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, KS) 6 Apr 2010 page 9 available on
  • “Opinion: Dust Bowl Story, “The Worst Hard Time,’ Has Great Power,” The Iola Register (Iola, KS) 8 Nov 2007, page 4 available on
  • “Recalling Dust Bowl Years,” The Manhattan Mercury (Manhattan, KS) 23 Mar 1989, page 6 available on
  • Middleton, April. “‘Black Sunday’ Time Recalled,” The Salina Journal (Salina, KS) 14 Apr 2005, page 1 available on
  • “Editorials: Black Sunday: The Southern Plains became a Wasteland,” The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, KS) 14 Apr 1995, page 8 available on
  • “Kansans Shed Light on Dust Bowl’s Darkest Day,” The Salina Jounral (Salina, KS) 16 Apr 1995, page 1 available on
  • Ruetti, Oretha, “Recent Dust Cloud Sparks Memory of Mid-1930s,” The Marysville Advocate (Marysville, KS) 11 Apr 1991, page 21 available on
  • McManus, Gary, “On ‘Black Sunday'” Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK) 18 Apr 2010 page 67 available on
  • “Most Dust Bowl Survivors Stayed Put,” Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK) 25 Mar 2007, page 107 available on
  • McManus, Gary, “Black Sunday Remembered,” Sapulpa Daily Herald (Sapulpa, OK) 14 Apr 2010 page 6 available on
  • Hutchison, Mark A., “Som Saw Black Sunday’s Dust Storm as World’s End,” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 18 Apr 1999 page 155 available on
  • Diehl, Don, “The Dust Bowl: Dirty Thirties Happened,” Sapulpa Daily Herald (Sapulpa, OK) 18 Sep 2016, page 12 available on
  • “Weather Stories Ranked,” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 14 Dec 1999, page 9 available on
  • “‘Dust Bowl’ Documentary Relives Disaster in the 1930s,” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 18 Nov 2012 page 64 available on
  • DeFrange, Ann, “‘Black Sunday’ of Dust Bowl Not Forgotten,” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 16 Apr 1995, page 203 available on
  • “Looking Back: Top News Stories, 1928-1947” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 22 Apr 2007, page 202 available on
  • Raymond, Ken, “Filmmaker Stirs Up Dust Bowl Memories,” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 10 Apr 2012, page 79 available on
  • DeFrange, Ann, “Survivors Dug Deeper Roots in Sands of Dust Bowl,” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 3 Sep 1989, page 1 available on
  • Curtis, Gene, “Black Sunday Dust Storm Blotted Out Sun,” Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK) 26 Feb 2007, page 9 available on

The above list is just a sampling of my search for

“Black Sunday” “Dust Bowl”

While my direct familial line did not live in the Oklahoma Panhandle, they were living in Dodge City which was affected by the dust storms. When my grandmother would talk about those times, she often mentioned hanging the sheets over the windows. It is hard to imagine such a cloud of dust! Unfortunately, western Kansas may be headed for a repeat since that region is in a major drought.

Nelson G. Crawford

One of my January blog posts was about how I was finding issues in my family tree that was causing me to go back over some of my research. While I listed several issues, a faithful reader provided another reason in a comment:

new records now available online

While working with ‘suggestions’ on WikiTree, I found that I had a source tied to my great-great grandmother’s birth without any notes or images to verify that the source contained information for her birth. In addition, the footnote for the source was not very informative.

Thankfully, this book is available online via FamilySearch. Thus, I was able to access the book to create a better source citation, transcribe the entry and save images to my computer.

With RootsMagic 8, I was also able to merge my new source with the older incomplete source. Thus, all of the citations for this biography were also updated.

Nelson G. Crawford

page 274

Nelson G. Crawford, postmaster of Dodge city, was born in West Lebanon, Indiana, October 29, 1881, son of W. Marion and Mary (Foster) Crawford. The father was born in Indiana and devoted his entire life to farming. He died at Dodge City in September [1?]. The mother who was active in church work, was born in Warren County, Indiana, August 26, 1842, and [?] at Dodge City, January 21, 1929.
Educated first in the public schools of Dodge City, Nelson G. Crawford attended Dodge City High School four years, until 1899. In the summer of 1900 he [en]tered postal service at Dodge City, being designated [the] assistant postmaster in May, 1901.
With the exception of about two months, May and June 1906, Mr. Crawford has been in the postal [ser]vice ate Dodge City, as assistant postmaster until [his] appointment as postmaster on February 4, 1938. [He] was re-appointed on February 5, 1932. Mr. Crawford [was] a Republican.
On July 7, 1907, he was married to Cora B. Adams at Dodge City. She was born at Salem, Indiana, [daugh]

page 275
ter of John G. and Surrilda (Adams) Adams. Before her marriage she was employed y a mercantile firm at Dodge City.
Mr. Crawford is a member of the National Association of Postmasters, the Service Postmasters Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club (president, 1925; district trustee, 1928), and St. Bernard Lodge No. 222 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Royal Arch Masons, the Royal and Select Masters (past commander), the Knights Templar and Midian Temple of the Shrine at Wichita. HI religious affiliation is with the Methodist Episcopal Church. His club is the Dodge City Country Club. (Photograph in Album).
Residence: Dodge City

Sarah Mullin Baldwin, editor, Illustriana Kansas: biographical sketches of Kansas men and women of achievement who have been awarded life membership in Kansas illustriana society (Hebron, Nebraska: Illustriana Incorporated, 2933), pages 274-275, 1289; digital images, FamilySearch, viewed online 30 January 2023.

Thankfully, these digital resources are available. Without them, I would not have been able to access this book from home.

Friday Finds

Ottawa Herald
Dec. 28, 1966
page 8

Clipping in materials received from Mildred (Briles) Barby

John C. Briles

John Charles Briles, 73, retired farmer of rural Pomona, died at 2 p.m. Tuesday, in Broomfield, Colo., at the home of a daughter, where he had been visiting for a week.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, at the Richter Methodist Church of which he was an active member, Rev. Charles P. Knight will officiate. Burial will be in Highland Cemetery. Friends may call at the Lamb Funeral Home after 7 p.m., Thursday.
He was born Feb. 8, 1893, at Trinity, N.C., the son of John and Effie (Welborn) Briles. On Dec. 19, at Pomona, he married Dessie Duvall.
He had lived in the Richter and Pomona areas since moving from North Carolina at the age of 21. He had lived on the present farm since 1931.
Surviving are his wife; four daughters, Mrs. Pat Apgar, Marshaltown, Iowa, Mrs. Kenneth Gentry, 926 Ash, Mrs. Dan Gardner, Hartford, and Mrs. Charles Swenson, Broomfield, Colo.; 15 grandchildren; three sisters, Mrs. Ettie Welborn and Mrs Enos Skeen, Trinity, N.C. and Mrs. Cleveland Kennedy, Hillsboro, N.C. and three brothers, Dalton Briles and Austin Briles, Greensboro, N.C. and Tom Briles, Paducah, Ky.

Funeral Program

In Memory of
John Charles Briles
February 8, 1893
Trinity, North Carolina
Passed Away
December 27, 1966
Broomfield, Colorado
Services Held
Richter Methodist Church
Franklin County, Kansas
December 31, 1966
Rev. Charles P. Knight
First Methodist Church
Highland Cemetery
Ottawa, Kansas

Friday Finds

Ottawa Herald
June 15, 1976
page 6-A

Clipping in materials received from Mildred (Briles) Barby

From Broil to Broyles to Broles to Briles
By Joan Istas
The year was 1717. Johannes Broil had just come to America from Alsace, Germany.
He located in Germanna Colony in Virginia and he started a line of descendants that changed the name of Broil to Broyles, then Broles, and finally to Briles.
Nelson Briles, Ottawa RFD 2, is one of those descendants. Briles lives on a small farm east of Ottawa on K-68.
It’s a farm that doesn’t seem to have changed much in the times it has been passed down through the generations from Grandfather John Broyles, to Father William C. Briles to Mother Mary Elizabeth Briles and finally to Nelson Briles.
The acreage has changed little since the first Briles occupied it, the farm buildings remain in primarily the same position as they were originally built and the crops have changed little, too.
John Broyles migrated from North Carolina to Missouri in 1847 and from there came to Kansas in 1863.
He was 48 years of age when he purchased the land now farmed by his grandson, Nelson Briles. He purchased 120 acres from Alexander Wilson at a cost of $500.
Briles believes that the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Indians in 1854 in which the land became the property of the government. In that year the land was sold to the settlers.
The 120 acres purchased by John Broyles passed through many hands in the years 1858 to 1863 when he purchased it.
Broyles added another 25 acres tot he 120 when he purchased a piece of land from a man called Adkins. Broyles wanted timber to burn for wood.
He lost an acres, however, when he donated one acre to the community to erect a schoolhouse. The school was called Briles school.
When Broyles son, William Briles inherited the land, he tore down the original house and in 1900 built the house that with a few additions, stands today.
William Briles added an additional 15 acres to the tract purchasing 15 acres adjoining the timber Broyles had purchased.
William’s two sons Clarence and Nelson attended Briles School and occasionally William and his wife Mary Elizabeth would treat the school children.
There were geese in the front yard. A little cedar was planted. An orchard provided fruit. Flas was grown to pay for the new house.
The maples thrived until the wind took them down. Part of the elms succumbed to Dutch elm disease.
The old kerosene lamps, the Aladdin lamps and the gasoline lights provided light until electricity replaced them.
William Briles died. His wife Mary Elizabeth farmed the land for a short time with the help of her son Nelson and when she died he inherited the land.
The farm now consists of 117 1/2 acres. Corn, wheat, milo and soybeans are grown. A herd of 40 cows and calves graze on the native pasture.
Nelson Briles farms the land now but he says he is the last of his family with the Briles name. His niece, Lou Ann Lindsey, is the next in line to get the farm, he says. That is if inflation doesn’t make him sell it first.

“From Broil to Broyles to Broles to Briles,” digital image, Ottawa Herald (Ottawa, Kansas), 15 June 1976, page 6A; digital images, NewspaperArchive ( : viewed online 31 December 2022).

Kansas Newspapers

When Kansas was not yet 15 years old, the attendees of the 1875 Kansas Editors’ and Publishers’ Convention formed the Kansas State Historical Society “for the purpose of saving the present and past records” of Kansas history. One of the first goals of this society was to collect and preserve the NEWSPAPERS of the state. Thanks to that 1875 initiative, Kansas has a FANTASTIC collection of newspapers. (Kansas Digital Newspapers – Background)

Over the years, that newspaper collection was converted to microfilm. This collection of over 70,000 rolls of newspaper microfilm can be accessed at the Kansas State Historical Society Archives in Topeka, KS. With the advent of the Internet, the Kansas Digital Newspapers (KDN) program was begun. This program seeks to digitize and make these newspapers available online.

  • 2009 grant from the National Digital Newspaper Program to digitize 42 newspaper titles from 28 cities that are available thru Chronicling America
  • Additional grants in 2011 and 2013 added additional titles to the collection on Chronicling America
  • In 2013, the Kansas Digital Newspapers program began working with to digitize the pre-1923 papers
    • Pre-1923 Kansas newspapers available for FREE using the “Kansas Historical Open Content” link (no login required!)
    • ALL Kansas State Historical Society newspapers on are available FREE to Kansas residents after they verify their residency by entering a Kansas driver’s license number or Kansas state ID number.
    • Those living outside of Kansas may access the 1923 and later Kansas newspapers on by logging into with an Ancestry or account.

As a genealogist with deep Kansas roots, I am very thankful for the foresight of those who worked to create this fantastic newspaper collection. I am also thankful for all of the efforts to digitize this collection!

Cause of Death

Do you remember #MyColorfulAncestry? By going viral this post by J. Paul Hawthorne prompted many genealogists to create similar spreadsheet charts. My chart was first posted to Facebook in March 2016.

I later included my birth and death charts as part of my DNA Heritage and Challenge blog post.

When I was recently asked abut my medical history, I remembered these charts and decided to use the concept to create such a chart. Since most of my ancestors died in Kansas after 1911, I have a lot of death certificates. Thus, I have the information on hand to fill in such a chart.

In addition to the cause of death, I included the year each ancestor died and their age. Below is my dad’s side of the tree.

And my mom’s side:

In the process of completing this chart, I discovered that I haven’t updated many of my citations for those death certificates!

To figure out how many such ‘blank’ citations are in my file, I turned to the list of sources in my RootsMagic file. That’s when I discovered that I have multiple sources for the Kansas death certificates.

Thus, to clean up my ‘mess’ I first have to merge the sources. This involves highlighting the source I wish to keep and then using the three vertical dots at the top of the sources page to open the menu.

Clicking on ‘Merge Sources’ in the menu opens a window showing the sources. In this window, I select the source I want to merge with the source I wish to keep.

This opens a window showing the original source, PRIMARY, and the second source, DUPLICATE.

Clicking on the MERGE DUPLICATES button merges the two sources. When finished merging my sources, I now need to look at the citations to see which ones need corrected.

Clicking on the > to the right of the number opens the list of citations. Clicking on a specific citation opens the citation on the right side of the screen.

A quick scan of the citations reveals a clue to which citations are blank — the word NOTEBOOK.

In addition, scanning this list reveals several duplicates.

These duplicate citations can be merged in a similar way to the sources: using the three vertical dots. The fist step is to click on the citation to be kept an then open the three dot menu.

Clicking on MERGE CITATIONS opens a window to select the duplicate citation

Clicking OK opens a window showing the two citations side by side.

Clicking the MERGE DUPLICATES button completes the merge.

Fortunately, I had some instances where the citation had been updated along with a citation that is missing the information.

Thus, I can merge these two citations which replaces the bad citation with the completed ‘good’ one.

So, my little task to create a ’cause of death’ spreadsheet turned into a task to also update my citations for Kansas death certificates. If I hadn’t made this discovery, these incomplete citations likely would have existed in my file forever.

Saturday Tidbit

Railroad Attracts Emigrants to Kansas

The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas)
19 Feb 1878
page 2

Coming to Kansas
They are coming ti Kansas in gangs and droves; they are coming by wagon and railroad; single-handed and with families; some with children enough to found an orphan asylum and others with not enough to pick up chips; the rich and the poor and the sick and the well — they are coming father Abraham, three hundred thousand strong, and we have a section of land for every mother’s son of them — land that will grow corn so fast you can see it coming; so rich and fertile that the harvest is gathered by machinery, and so tillable that the farmers hardly consider it recreation; with a climate that has earned it the name of the Italy of American.
Yesterday morning three hundred and fifty excursionists or land buyers went out on the Santa Fe road, ticketed to Kinsley, Kansas, with the privilege of stopping at any point this side of there. Of this number Gen. M. Solomon the agent of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, road at Chicago, had general supervision of two hundred and twenty-five, he being assisted by Dr. Williams, and L. H. Wilson, of Iowa, and local agents of Michigan and Wisconsin. This party came in on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific road.
Mr. Peter Hitty, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, assisted by H. Kahlo, of Toledo Ohio, was in charge of a party of one hundred and twenty-five, which came by Hannibal & St. Joseph road.
The Santa Fe train which took them out consisted of seven passenger coaches, in charge of conductor Lew Head.
The very great majority of this body of excursionists were well-to-do intelligent looking men — just such as will make desirable citizens for Kansas. There were one hundred and ninety-two pieces of luggage accompanying them. — Atchison Champion

Rachel Christy

Rachel Elmeda Christy1 was born on 28 Apr 1845 in Clinton, Indiana, United States.2–8

She was the child of Samuel Christy and Lyda Gallimore.9

She was listed as Elmedia Cristy, a 5 year old female who was born in Ohio in the household of Samuel Cristy in Jasper Township, Fayette, Ohio, United States on 21 Sep 1850.10

Rachel E. Christy was listed in the household of Samuel H Christy on the 1860 census living in Jefferson Township, Tipton County, Indiana. According to the census, Rachel was 15 years old and born in Ohio.11

She married James Marshall Ricketts on 12 Jul 1866 in Frankfort, Clinton, Indiana, United States.4–5,7,12–25

On 7 Apr 1868, Frances Artlissa “Artie” Ricketts was born in Clinton, Indiana, United States.22–23

On 24 Apr 1870, Hulda May Ricketts was born in Clinton, Indiana, United States.22–23

Rachel A Rickets was listed in the household of James M Rickets on the 1870 census living in Sugar Creek Township, Clinton County, Indiana. According to the census, Rachel was 25 years old and born in Ohio.26

On 9 Nov 1871, Annabelle Ricketts was born in Clinton, Indiana, United States.22–23

On 29 Jul 1873, Daisy Pearl Ricketts was born in Clinton, Indiana, United States.22–23

On 17 Mar 1875, Manford Milton Ebesnor Ricketts was born in Clinton, Indiana, United States.22–23

On 17 Jun 1877, Charles Desmond Ricketts was born in Clinton, Indiana, United States.22–23

Rachel A Ricketts was listed as the wife of James M Ricketts on the 1880 census living in Everett Township, Woodson County, Kansas. According to the census, Rachel was 34 years old and born in Ohio.27

On 7 Oct 1880, Minnie Ricketts was born in Woodson, Kansas, United States.23

On 7 Oct 1880, Dora Ricketts was born in Woodson, Kansas, United States.23

R. E. Ricketts was listed in the household of James M. Ricketts on the 1885 Kansas census living in Everett Township, Woodson County, Kansas. According to the census, R. E. Ricketts was 39 years old.1

R. E. Ricketts was listed in the household of J. M. Ricketts on the 1895 Kansas census living in Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas. According to the census, R. E. Ricketts was 50 years old and born in Ohio.8

Rachel E. Ricketts was listed as the wife of James M. Ricketts on the 1900 census living in Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas. According to the census, Rachel was born April 1845 in Ohio. Rachel and James had been married 35 years in 1900. Rachel was the mother of 8 children, 6 of whom were living in 1900.28

Rachel was listed as Rachel Ricketts, a 60 year old female who was born in Ohio in the household of J. M. Ricketts living in Liberty Township, Woodson, Kansas, United States on 1 Mar 1905.29

Rachel E. Ricketts was listed as the wife of James M Ricketts on the 1910 census living in Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas. According to the census, Rachel was 64 years old and born in Ohio. Rachel was the mother of 8 children, 6 of whom were living in 1910.30

She was listed as R. E. Ricketts, a 69 year old female who was born in Ohio in the household of J. M. Ricketts living in Liberty Township, Woodson, Kansas, United States on 1 Jul 1915.31

Rachel E Ricketts was listed as the wife of James M. Ricketts on the 1920 census living in Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas. According to the census, Rachel was 74 years old and born in Ohio.32

She lived in Yates Center, Woodson, Kansas, United States in Dec 1920.19

Rachel received pension as a widow of James M Ricketts for his service in K 7 Indiana Cavalry on 23 Feb 1921 .33

She lived in Topeka, Kansas, United States in 1924.9

Rachel Ricketts was listed as the 80 year old mother in the household of Edward G. Briles living in Iola, Allen County, Kansas. According to the census, Rachel was born in Indiana.34

She died on 27 Jan 1927 at the age of 81 in Iola, Allen, Kansas, United States.2–4,6–7,35–36

Rachel was buried on 29 Jan 1927 in Liberty (Dutro), Woodson County, Kansas.3–4,37


  1. 1885 Kansas State Census, Woodson County, Kansas, Kansas State Census, Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas, page 11 Image 16 of 96, household 49, James M. Ricketts; digital image, ( : viewed online September 2016); Kansas State Historical Society
  2. , (Ricketts.KS.003), Dutro Cemetery, , .
  3. Mrs. Rachel E. RIcketts, death certificate #2011237 (27 January 1917), Kansas State Board of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Topeka, Kansas.
  4. “Yates Center News”, (Yates Center, Kansas), to (), “Died” Frday, Feb. 4, 1927, page 7 col. 4 (Ricketts.Notebook); ,
  5. Yates Publishing, U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004), Source number: 446.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: MP1.
  6. Ancestry Database, U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012).
  7. “Obituary – Mrs. J. M. Ricketts,” The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas), 4 February 1927, page 2; digital image, ( : viewed online 22 August 2020).
  8. 1895 Kansas State Census, Woodson County Kansas, Kansas State Census, Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas, page 12 Image 18 of 76, family 74, J M Ricketts; digital image, ( : viewed online 12 May 2021); Kansas State Historical Society
  9. “Long Illness Ended,” The Tipton Daily Tribune (Tipton, IN), 7 February 1924, page 1; digital image, ( : viewed online 21 November 2020).
  10. 1850 U.S. Census, Fayette County Ohio, population schedule, Jasper Township, Fayette County, Indiana, page 156, household 1293, Samuel H Christy; digital image, ( : viewed online October 2017); NARA microfilm publication M432.
  11. 1860 U.S. Census, Tipton County, Indiana, population schedule, Jefferson Township, Tipton County, Indiana, page 189 Image 15 of 34, household 1425, Samuel H Christy; digital image, ( : viewed online November 2017); NARA microfilm publication M653
  12. Marriage Record, Vol. 5, # 1, page 12 (Ricketts.IN.006).
  13. Clinton County Indiana Marriage Records 1830-1852 (Owensboro, KY: Cook-McDowell Publications, 1980), p. 10 #879 (Ricketts.IN.008). Hereinafter cited as Clinton County Indiana Marriage Records.
  14. , Marriage Record, Book 4 page 498 (Ricketts.Notebook) ().
  15. “Yates Center News”, (Yates Center, Kansas), to (), “Died” Friday Dec. 3, 1920, page 4, col 3 (Ricketts.Notebook); ,
  16. James M. Ricketts file; James M. Ricketts; (: ), (Ricketts.Notebook).
  17. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 database, ( Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 : viewed online 12 May 2021.
  18. “Indiana, Marriage Index, 1800-1941,”, ( : viewed online (August 2018), James M Ricketts.
  19. “Died,” The Yates Center News (Yates Center, Kansas), 3 December 1920, page 4; digital images, ( : viewed online November 2019).
  20. “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : viewed online 6 October 2020), James N Ricketts.
  21. James Marshall Ricketts, Military and pension record of James Marshall Ricketts (: U.S. Government), Ricketts Notebook.
  22. James M. Ricketts, Military Pension, James M. Ricketts, 1898 Bureau Pensions Questions James RIcketts.
  23. James M. Ricketts, Military Pension, James M. Ricketts, 1915 Pension Questionnaire James Ricketts.
  24. James M. Ricketts, Military Pension, James M. Ricketts, 1921 Declaration for Widow’s Pension Rachel Ricketts.
  25. “Obituary – Ricketts,” Woodson County Advocate (Yates Center, Kansas), 24 December 1920, page 2; digital image, ( : viewed online 8 April 2021).
  26. 1870 U.S. Census, Clinton County, Indiana, population schedule, Sugar Creek Township, Clinton County, Indiana, page 9 Image 9 of 25, family 66, Ricketts James M; digital image, ( : viewed online November 2017); NARA microfilm publication T132
  27. 1880 U.S. Census, Center Township, Woodson County, Kansas, population schedule, Everett Township, Woodson County, Kansas, ED 58, page 7 Image 7 of 15, household 53, James M Ricketts; digital image, ( : viewed online November 2017); NARA microfilm publication T9
  28. 1900 U.S. Census, North Township, Woodson County, Kansas, population schedule, Liberty Township, Woodson County, KS, ED 186, sheet 3B Image 6 of 18, household 162, Ricketts James; digital image, ( : viewed online November 2017); FHL microfilm: 1240503
  29. 1905 Kansas Census, Neosho Falls, Woodson County, state census, Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas, page 10 Image 19 of 70, family 76, J M Ricketts; digital image, ( : viewed online 12 May 2021); Kansas State Historical Socity
  30. 1910 U.S. Census, Woodson County, Kansas, population schedule, Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas, ED 147, Sheet 2B Image 4 of 16, household 47, Ricketts James M; digital image, ( : viewed online November 2017); NARA microfilm publication T624
  31. 1915 Kansas Census, Woodson County, 1905 State Census, Liberty Township, page 20 Image 39 of 71, dwelling 4, J. M. Ricketts; digital image, Ancestry ( : viewed online March 2016); Kansas State Historical Society
  32. 1920 U.S. Census, Woodson County, Kansas, population schedule, Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas, ED 156, Sheet 2B Image 4 of 13, household 41, James M Ricketts; digital image, ( : viewed online November 2017); NARA microfilm publication T625
  33. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, James M Ricketts, 20 April 1870; digital image, ( : viewed online August 2018). Original Source: NARA micorfilm publication T288.
  34. 1925 Kansas Census, Coffey County, Kansas, Kansas State Census, Iola, Allen County, Kansas, page 20 Image 19 of 70, family 172, Briles Edward G; digital image, ( : viewed online January 2019); Kansas State Historical Society
  35. “Death of Mrs. R. E. Ricketts,” The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas), 27 January 1927; digital image, ( : viewed online 22 August 2020).
  36. James M. Ricketts, Military Pension, James M. Ricketts, 1927 Drop Report Rachel Ricketts.
  37. Find a Grave, database and images, Find a Grave ( : viewed online September 2016), memorial for Rachel Elmeda Christy Ricketts (1845-1927), Find a Grave Memorial no. #16190923, created by Bertha Avery-Hood, citing Liberty Dutro Cemetery, Woodson County, Kansas; accompanying photograph by Donna Londeed, Rachel Elmeda Christy Ricketts.

40th Parallel

We often see the words “In the beginning” when reading a book, fairy tale or the Bible. However, have you ever thought of a place as a beginning? When we think of place in our genealogy research, there is always someplace ‘before’. It may be one of our brick walls and we don’t know where it is, but we do know there is a ‘before’.

Thus, to say that my husband and I took a road trip to the “Place of Beginning” seems really strange. Most of the land found in the states of Kansas and Nebraska was part of the Louisiana Purchase. However, it was the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act that set this area on the road to statehood. This act also established the 40th parallel as the boundary line between Kansas and Nebraska.

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act prompted surveying to define the beginning points for establishing the ranges, townships and sections. Since we had recently visited the Point of Beginning – or the 6th Prime Merdian marker to our West, we decided to visit the monument marking the 40th parallel on the Missouri River Bluffs. This marker was established in 1855 to mark the Kansas Nebraska border.

Additional Information

Favorite Place


Do you have a favorite place? When I first saw this writing prompt, I was taking it personally. Then today, I read several of the ways one could interpret this prompt. Now, I’m viewing this prompt from the perspective of my genealogy research. Based on this new perspective, I have to say my favorite place is Kansas.

  • My tree is deeply rooted in Kansas. My great-grandparents were all born in Kansas. Almost all of my ancestors thru my 2nd great grandparents died in Kansas.
State of Birth
State of Death
  • Many of the register of deeds offices in Kansas have a unique resource called the Range Index. These indexes trace the ownership of sections of land over the years. Using these indexes requires that one knows the section, township and range description of the land. However, they can quickly provide the volume and page numbers for all of the land transactions for that parcel of land. Unfortunately, one needs to visit the courthouse to access these indexes.
Coffey County Range Index
  • The Kansas State Historical Society has a ‘nearly comprehensive collection of newspapers for the state.’ When I first started doing genealogical research, these newspapers were mostly available on microfilm. Many of those early newspapers have been digitized. Over the years, these newspapers have proven to be very beneficial to my research.
  • Besides their newspaper collection, the Kansas State Historical Society’s library and archive collection has been a great help with my genealogy research over the years.
  • Kansas also has state census records that help track families between the federal census records. The 1885 and 1895 Kansas census help fill in the blanks around the missing 1890 federal census. The Kansas State Historical Society has microfilm of these records. They have also worked with Ancestry to make them available on Ancestry’s site.

I am grateful for all of the Kansas records that have been created, collected and preserved over the years.