O. T. Counts, the Eagle-Picher Central Mill “company official” from this week’s newspaper article transcription, is most likely Orson T. COUNTS born in Kansas about 1902. He married a woman named Della. Orson and Della had a daughter named Bonnie Jo. Orson’s parents were Joseph Lemuel and Ida Belle HULL COUNTS. Orson had a sister named Ulia Marie COUNTS. Joseph and Ida Belle came from Kansas to Ottawa County, Oklahoma, between 1915 and 1920.
I have found very little information about Orson. I did find a mention of Orson as being one of “a solid group of outstanding families who provided the base for strong churches, school and community spirit” in the early development of the town of Cardin, Ottawa, Oklahoma. (http://www.cardinkids.com/MISC/Jim%20Jones%27%20Cardin.htm) Members of Orson’s extended family attended First Christian Church in Cardin, Ottawa, Oklahoma. Orsons’ grandparents, Henry and Frances “Fannie” OAKS COUNTS, also attended a First Christian church. It’s possible that Orson was also a member of First Christian in Cardin.
I believe the lack of information about this family is because no one is left who would be interested in researching the family. Orson and Della’s only known child, Bonnie Jo, died at 8 years of age. Her death certificate can be found at http://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1935/1935_00001814.PDF. We can learn a little more about Orson from the death certificate, though. Information for the death certificate was provided by Orson himself. He lists his birthplace as Uniontown, Kansas. He lists his wife’s maiden name as FOSTER and lists Della’s birthplace as Foster, Missouri. The family was living in Cardin, Oklahoma at the time of Bonnie Jo’s death (22 January 1935). Todd Undertaking Company of Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma handled the funeral arrangements and Bonnie Jo was buried at G. A. R. Cemetery in Miami, Ottawa, Oklahoma.
Orson passed away on 21 June 1957. The date that Della passed away is unknown.
A moment of remembrance for a forgotten family.