Something About Apples and How Far They Fall From the Tree

This week's theme is “different” meaning someone who is your polar opposite, someone who acted or reacted differently than you would have, etc. I couldn't think of anyone more polar opposite of me than my great-grandmother, Bessie WILLIAMS STEELEY LARKIN LANCASTER FORDEN. (There are a couple of surnames left out. My apologies to the at-least-two fellas whose names can't be remembered.)  Talk about the apple falling far from the tree- I didn't think I was much like Bessie at all.  I was 10 years old when my great-grandma passed away. What I remember of her is based totally on memories that are 30+ years old. Those memories are also memories of a 10 year old- someone with little life experience on which to base her observations and an understanding that was limited to what adults would let her know (or not know) based on age.

The Bessie I Knew
What I remember of Bessie is that she didn't have a middle name. She chewed tobacco. She adored and was extremely serious about WWF-style wrestling. She was superstitious to the extreme and was also very serious about that. She had long hair that she wore in a bun for as long as I can remember. She seemed ancient to me although she was only 78 when she died. She seemed rough toward the other great-grandkids but I always felt like I was her favorite and thought she was nicer to me than to the others. (Maybe all her great-grandkids felt this way, I don't know.) She always made handmade Christmas presents and I still have the last homemade Christmas gift I remember her giving me.
My most vivid memory of her had to have happened not long before her death when she lived with my grandparents. I was walking around my Mam's house with one shoe on and one shoe off and I walked in front of Bessie. She came unglued!! She yelled at me to get that shoe off my foot and didn't I know that bad things would happen to me if I walked with one shoe on and one shoe off?!?! Scared me to death. I wasn't really a superstitious person but neither did I want to tempt fate so I took off that shoe until I found the other one. A couple of days later I hit my head on the corner of a cabinet door I had left open and my head started bleeding and all I could think about was the bad luck she predicted because I walked with one shoe on and one shoe off.

The Bessie Others Knew

A young Bessie WILLIAMS LARKIN (with short hair!).
I felt like I really didn't know Bessie very well so I called on various people to tell me what they knew about her. This is what I learned about Bess as an individual and as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother.
Bess was born just after the turn of the century in August of 1901. She grew up in an extremely poor family. When she was about four years old, her father- Samuel Williams- was killed by a train near Cabool, Missouri. Bess had 13 (possibly 14) siblings. I was told that there were such age differences in the siblings that it was almost like two different sets of siblings and some of the older and younger siblings really didn't grow up together or know each other well. The year prior to Bess's birth, twin boys were born to her mom and those babies died before Bess was born. When Bess was 16, she lost her brother, Bennie. At ages 36 and 37, she lost her sister Sarah and her brother Hosea (whom the family called “Hose”). In her 50's she would lose her sister “Ide” (Ida) and her brother Jahu. Eight years before her own death, she would lose her brother Mart (Martin). There were other siblings but I don't know when they died, except for Aunt Eule (Eula). To my knowledge, Aunt Eule was the last surviving sibling and she died in 1996. Before she died, my dad, Mam, Aunt Carol, and I took a trip to see Aunt Eule and we interviewed her. I will try to get that interview transcribed soon and post it. If I can, I will post some audio as well so everyone can hear Eule. She was quite a character. Many of the WILLIAMS siblings moved away to other parts of the country. Just this past week I spoke with two daughters of Bessie's brother, Mart. One lives in the Bakersfield, CA area and the other lives in the Sebring, FL area. With 13 siblings, it's no surprise the family is spread out from one coast to the other. Many of the siblings and their families spent time overseas due to being in the military.
Studies have shown that families in extreme poverty place a high value on being able to entertain others because sometimes the only form of entertainment they can afford is each other. True to this fact, Bessie was a person who could entertain. She was talkative, loud, boisterous, and outgoing. She could play the guitar and harmonica very well and taught all of her children that were interested in learning to play the guitar.

Here is Bessie's son, Uncle Carl, playing his guitar. I can remember Carl playing his guitar at my son's third birthday party. He played Hit the Road Jack. My son sang that song for years and “played” it on his toy guitar.) Bessie knew all the old Irish songs and played and sang them all the time. Bessie never met a stranger. I surely wish someone had a recording of her playing and singing because I don't ever remember hearing her sing or play.
Bess was always superstitious but my dad says so was everyone else at that time. She didn't let people open umbrellas in the house and if someone handed someone else an open knife, it was promptly refused and the person had to close it before handing it back again because it would bring bad luck if you accepted an open knife.
Bess's first marriage was at age 13. She married Otis STEELEY. They were only married for a day or two and then they managed to get the marriage annulled. My great-grandpa, Ralph LARKIN, was working for Bessie's dad around that time. He one day announced to everyone that he would be marrying Bessie and when she turned 16, they married. Ralph was an ultra-religious Pentecostal Holiness. Bessie was “rough”, talked “like a sailor”, and didn't go to church. Ralph managed to get her turned around but even then she was an “irreverant Christian” as described by one of her grandsons. Ralph and Bessie had 10 children. Ralph was very strict and several of his children didn't like that. When their children were old enough several moved away from home and didn't go back. After Ralph's death, Bess married several more times. She married a man from Joplin, Missouri; a man named Jim who lived in Grove, Delaware County, Oklahoma; Palmer LANCASTER; and Bill FORDEN.
Bessie lived in several places throughout her life. As a child and living with her family in extreme poverty, they lived on the river in Kansas City- a very rough area of the city. Also in her childhood she lived in Texas County, Missouri in the towns of Success and Roubidoux. After her dad died and her mom remarried, she lived in Enid, Garfield County, Oklahoma. At age 14 she lived in Iola, Allen County, Kansas. The following year the family was living in the Picher-Cardin, Ottawa County, Oklahoma area where Ralph found work in the lead and zinc mines. In the late 1910's and throughout the 1920's they bounced back and forth between Roubidoux, Missouri, and the Miami-Picher, Oklahoma area. In the 1930's they bounced back and forth between Upton, Texas County, Missouri and Miami, Ottawa, Oklahoma. By 1940 they were living in Beaty, Delaware County, Oklahoma. Since I don't have census records available to me after 1940, I can't tell you all the places she lived after that but I know she lived in Delaware County when she died. Her doctor was in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas and that is where her official place of death is. My dad told me that after Ralph got sick with black lung disease from working in the mines, his doctor told him to move to Arizona where the climate was drier. This was a common recommendation from doctors at that time. So Ralph and Bessie moved to Arizona for a year or two but both of them hated it and they moved back to the Delaware County, Oklahoma/McDonald County, Missouri area before Ralph died.
When my dad was young, he and his 3 siblings were four out of eight grandchildren that lived close to Bessie and were able to visit her frequently. (The others lived too far away to visit often.) He felt that Bessie doted on them and loved them and was very affectionate with them. She always wanted them to come over. They would walk a half mile down the road (the Poynor School road for those of you familiar with that area) from their house to her house after school. They would visit her, eat some of her good cooking, and then make another half mile trek west to their Grandma DRAKE's home and visit her. I love knowing they were able to do that. It brought back fond memories of when we lived close enough to my husband's parents that our then-3-year-old son could walk through the back yard and to his grandparents' home for snacks or meals or visits and hugs. Dad said when they went to Bess's house she always had food or cooked them food and she was a good cook. Breakfast was always pancakes and if anyone got eggs it was only for grandpa. For other meals, she cooked cornbread and beans; soup; anything she could use her garden vegetables in; she fixed turnips although he didn't much care for those; fried cabbage; salads with wild greens including sour dock, lamb's quarters, chickweed and dandelion leaves; poke greens fried in bacon grease; and lots of wild edibles. She had to know how to use wild edibles because the family was so poor. Bess and my grandma Audrey always had the pressure cooker going all summer long canning whatever they could from wild edibles to garden harvests to whatever they were given or could find. On Friday nights before grandpa Ralph got sick, he would come home from work and he and Bess would make dough balls for bait, pack up, and go to Grand Lake for the weekend and fish from Friday night to Monday morning. Grandpa would get up Monday morning and go straight to work and grandma Bess would come home. They fished for what my dad considered to be “trash fish” including carp, buffalo fish, and drum fish. Whatever they caught, Bess would pressure can (bones and all) during the week. Grandpa Mark DRAKE would always tell dad to be sure to tell Grandma Bess to can some fish for him and Grandma Bess would can him some fish and send them over. Dad said the canned fish tasted really good. She also pressure canned mixed greens- meaning any wild edibles she could find growing. Basically, anything that was wild and edible they would eat or can to eat later. Grandpa Ralph and Grandma Bess also always kept a barrel of brine pickles on hand. My dad loved them because they were crisp and salty. He said he could take a fork and fork one out any time he wanted one but if grandma caught him sticking his bare hands in to get one he got in trouble.My dad said Bessie and Ralph had the worst luck with houses Several homes they lived in burned. In one four year period they had two houses in a row burn. The houses were across the road from each other. Because of this they seemed to be constantly starting over from scratch and it was very difficult for them. He remembers the interior of the house that burned down. He said it had no ceiling, just bare rafters and once when Uncle Mart came to visit Bess, he was taking medication and put the medication up on top of the rafters by the roof. He said he was told Mart had Tuberculosis and that he was taking medication for that. Another thing he remembers is that grandma Bess loved Hollyhocks and had huge ones growing all around her house. He doesn't know why but says he didn't like the Hollyhocks at all. He could not remember if there was a particular color that was her favorite. She had a huge variety of colors of Hollyhocks. He remembers Bess and Audrey washing laundry in the back yard of one of the burned houses. They had a tub and an old wringer washer. They would wash out the clothes in a tub and then put them through the wringer. They would then turn around and make lye soap in the same tub they washed clothes in. They lye soap was used to wash everything- clothes, skin, etc. The lye soap was made using beef tallow and ashes and he said it was very good for their skin.
After grandma Bess came to live with my grandparents Gene and Audrey, she never complained about being sick. She and my grandpa Gene had ongoing rivalries over wrestling being fake and overrated.  Bess was pretty healthy until she slipped and fell in the bathtub. She twisted her colon and got gangrene. The doctor didn't realize she had gangrene and by the time he figured it out it was too late and she died. My dad described her overall disposition as being a happy one. He remembers her being a very fun and loving grandmother and very smart. She had a linoleum floor in one of her houses and when it was waxed, it had to also be buffed. After waxing, the linoleum was very slick. So when it was time to buff the floor, grandma Bess threw rags down on the floor and told the kids to get on them and slide. Grandma got her floor buffed and the kids had a great time doing it and didn't realize they were doing grandma's work for her. (I seriously can't imagine my dad buffing the floor like this as a child. lol)
My conversations with others about Bessie WILLIAMS LARKIN were very enlightening. I learned about a Bess that I never knew. The more people talked about her, the more I realized that some apples really do fall close to the tree- even if they don't know how close they stay. I may not chew twist tobacco and while I might find it fun to go see luchadors wrestle once just for fun with my brother Jared, it's definitely not something I'm into. I am not THAT superstitious (never mind that just this week I picked up a penny on heads in the parking lot and recited to myself, “Find a penny, pick it up. All the day you'll have good luck.”). For the past few years I've been learning what I can about wild edibles and I started canning when I was in my late 20's/early 30's. And nevermind my long hair that just today I wore in a bun…now what was I saying about apples and how far they fall from trees? Yeah…
The Bess my dad knew doesn't seem like the Bess I knew and I'm so glad I got a chance to hear these stories and get to know her from a grandchild's perspective. Because don't we all love grandma's and their fabulous cooking? This post has really presented her to me as a real person and I love that. I wish I had known then what I know now. I could have learned all my wild edibles knowledge from her and been so much better at it by now. It's probably a good thing there aren't time machines. I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Bess. The next time you're tempted to think you are totally opposite from an ancestor, try to remember that “the apple” really doesn't fall that far from the tree. You may be more like them than you know.

Don't forget to click on over to my sister-in-law's blog post this week about the old country doctor that cared for her family at  You can also check out blogs of friends at…/100-years-ago-today/ and

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

The Power of a Name

"Names have power." ~ Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
"Every name is real.  That's the nature of names." ~ Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

Mary Anne BAKER  &  Laura Ann BULLOCK
This week's theme is “same” and can refer to an ancestor that you have a special connection with, one you are like, one you are named after, one you look like, etc. I chose Mary Anne BAKER DRAKE and Laura Ann BULLOCK RITER because I was named after both of these women.


Poppy and Annie (Mary Anne BAKER) DRAKE above with three of their children.

Mary Anne BAKER (referred to as Annie for the duration of this blog post) is my great-great-grandmother. She was born in Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri and died in South West City, McDonald, Missouri. My grandma told me that Annie was on her own from the time she was 16 years old and was doing laundry for others to support herself. She left home so soon because of her stepmother. There are a lot of stories about Annie but facts about her are hard to come by. One story says that her grandmother was Mary BEAR (no one to my knowledge has been able to document Mary BEAR and I have seen her last name spelled BAIR and BAER) and that she was Native American and was adopted. Another says she was Native American and was adopted after her birth-mom gave her up. No one seems to know why her mom gave her up. The general thinking that I've encountered is that she was very ill and dying. I have been unable to prove her Native American heritage. I most recently checked with Choctaw Nation about a person on their rolls with that name and it wasn't her. I have checked other tribes as well and have never been able to find her. Her vital records show her father was Jehue (also spelled Jhue, Jehu, and Jay Hugh) BAKER and her mother was Mary VETRELL. I believe Mary's (Jehue's wife) last name was actually LITTRELL.

Annie went by various versions of her name throughout her life including Anne, Annie, and Anna. Annie is one of a couple of my ancestors for whom I am named. I think a name does say something about who you are. The Bible supports this by showing that names tell a lot about the character of a person. The name Mary is a Hebrew name meaning 'bitter'. Annie did have somewhat of a bitter life in some respects. I haven't found a lot of documentation about her early life, but my grandmother told me Annie's mother (adopted mother, if the adoption story is true) died when Annie was young. That means she lost two mothers as a young girl and possibly a father if Jehue isn't her biological father. (We will assume for now that Jehue is her father since I have never found any proof that he isn't.) Annie's father, Jehue, remarried and Annie and her new stepmother did not get along well. I've been told that Annie's stepmother didn't treat her well. Annie moved out at a very young age (prior to 18 and I was always told early to mid-teens). She soon married Ervin Alonzo DRAKE. I have been told that Ervin (“Poppy Lonzo”) had quite a temper at times and that he once nearly broke Annie's leg with a cane when he beat her with it in a fit of anger. I can't say with certainty this happened. That's only one story I was told. I also was told that later in years he deeply regretted this incident. I believe he really did love Annie and she loved him. I've been told that DRAKE's from a couple generations past had tempers and liked to fight.

Annie died on 25 April 1947 at age 69. If I remember correctly, she had cancer.


I believe this photo is of Laura and her daughters. My granny- Jessie- is on the far right next to her mother, Laura BULLOCK RITER. To the left of Laura are two other daughters of Laura's.

Laura is my great-grandmother. She was born in Caverna, McDonald County, Missouri and died in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas. Laura was petite but her love for her family was giant. Laura's husband, William Sherman RITER, died when Laura was just 41 years old. She never remarried. She finished raising her children by herself. My granny always said she was a very loving mother to her children and they never felt as though they did without. Granny remembered her mother going outside and playing with the children.

When Laura was in her late 60's her daughter, Bertha, was diagnosed with cancer. Bertha lived in California at the time with her second husband and the children from her first marriage. Laura moved to California and lived with Bertha, taking care of her until Bertha's death in 1957. The children's father was already deceased and now their mother was also gone. The stepfather of the children did not have much of a connection with the children. He and Bertha had not been married very long when she died. So Laura loaded up the children, brought them back to Arkansas and finished raising them. Her family meant everything to her.

The name Laura is an English name meaning 'crowned with laurels'. The laurel is a plant that symbolizes honor and victory. Laura lived her life with honor and was victorious in the face of difficult circumstances. I so admire her for raising her grandchildren even though she didn't have to. I know at times that must have been very difficult for her to do.

One last thing that comes to mind when I think of Laura concerns food. Laura baked angel food cakes and when she made them she put candy sprinkles in the batter so that it had a finished appearance of confetti. I rarely make angel food cakes but when I do, I use candy sprinkles in memory of her. A visual reminder o myself tthat I can overcome difficult life circumstances and do my best to live an honorable life. I know that Laura was another one of my great-grandmothers who prayed for my parents and I and I am so grateful to be blessed with a heritage of grandmothers who prayed for me. What a blessing!! Praying for my grandchildren is one piece of my heritage that I carry on for my own grandchildren.

Laura passed away on 3 January 1970 at age 80.

Lisa Anne

Yep. That's me- sporting a dress my mom made me, a great smile, and few teeth. That hairstyle looks so familiar… (sorry to all you fashion mavens who think people shouldn't be wearing the same hairstyle 40+ years later.)

Lisa is a Hebrew name meaning 'consecrated to God'. I always loved my name and one of the things I love about it is that my name means “set apart or dedicated” to God. Though I'm not perfect, I hope that I live my life in a way that at least TRIES to match the meaning.

When someone says both my names- “Lisa Anne”- specific memories come to mind. One is when I was saying my wedding vows and the judge said, “Do you, Lisa Anne…”. That sent me into a fit of giggles which the judge didn't much appreciate. The other is that my Aunt Carolyn always called me by both my names. When Aunt Carol was in the hospital and I went to see her for the last time I leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Aunt Carol, this is Lisa Anne.” Nothing the doctors will ever tell me will make me believe that she wasn't aware of my presence at that moment.

One other thing I remember about my name- it wasn't the one my parents originally chose for me. It was a change of name made later in the pregnancy but before I was born. I know what name they originally chose for me and it definitely wasn't me. Things happen for a reason and I'm so glad there was a reason to make a change in my name.

I also appreciate that my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived in such a way that the surname I inherited came with a good reputation.  I did not have to live my life always having to overcome a bad reputation left by those who came before me.  For that, I am grateful.

Anne/Ann- The Name We Share
The name I share with both of these women- one from each side of my family- is Anne/Ann. The name means 'favor or grace; prayer; God has favored me'. In each of our separate lives, God has favored us and given us grace in so many ways and so many circumstances. I'm thankful that each of us can be a favored child of God without pushing anyone else out of their position as a favored child of God. I love that prayer is also a part of the meaning of my name. I know that prayer played a part in each of our lives. It makes me happy to share a name with women who loved God and loved their families. I hope that I share not only a name with these beautiful women but also their love for God, love for and dedication to their families, and their spunk and courage to go on in spite of difficult circumstances.

Our names are very important. We are known by them- whether in a good way or a bad way. You have your name for a reason. Your parents loved you enough to give it to you. It was chosen especially for you. Choose to make your name a good one today.  Lastly, make memories with those you love so that when you are gone and they whisper your name their hearts and minds are filled with all the love and kindness and good things you want surrounding them when you're gone.

If you want a little more, I encourage you to watch this poem written and read by the then-Poet Laureate Billy Collins about September 11, 2001 called 'The Names'.  You can find it at  You can also click on over to these blogs:,, and

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Comes a Jury of Twelve

Time Is a Great Storyteller.

This week's theme is “luck of the Irish”­ either someone very lucky or someone Irish or however you choose to interpret that phrase. You're in luck today because I have lucky AND Irish. I love Irish proverbs, blessings, and toasts so you'll see several throughout this post. You'll know them because their text color will be green.

My Irish Roots
If you're enough lucky to be Irish…you're lucky enough!

My grandpa BATES' mom was Dettie Louisa GIBSON. Dettie's dad was James Thomas GIBSON. For decades my mom and I researched this branch of her family and got nowhere and then one day I got a break on Ancestry. We learned James' parents were Samuel GIBSON and Lucinda BELL.  Lucinda's grandfather (James BELL) was born in Ireland. Samuel's great­-grandfather (George GIBSON) was also born in Ireland.

And now I present to you Samuel's and Lucinda's son, James Thomas GIBSON- my 2nd great-grandfather.

James Thomas GIBSON, born 1828 Kentucky
Here's to a fellow who smiles
When life runs along like a song.
And here's to the lad who can smile
When everything goes dead wrong.

At various points throughout James' life he went by the names J. T., James, and Thomas. James was married first to Elizabeth GARDINER. She passed away and he later married Lucinda DOW ALBIN- my great-great-grandmother. When they married, James had 10 children from his previous marriage and Lucinda had one child living with her from her previous marriage. She had at least one other child that she gave up for adoption after his birth- a boy named William Edgar (ALBIN) GIESE. You can read about Lucinda in my blog post Fresh Start(s) here  I feel James must surely have had the luck of the Irish on his side about 1879.

Before I get into James' story though, I want to say that history is what it is. We each make our choices- good or bad. I will never know in this life whether James was truly innocent or guilty of charges made against him.  The court and a jury of his peers made a decision according to the law and that is what will stand for the duration of this world.  I will present to you what I know based on court records.

Rough Beginnings, Rough Middles
For the test of the heart is trouble
And it always comes with years.
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through the tears.

James entered into his marriage with Lucinda on 16 September 1875 in Adams County, Iowa. It was the second marriage (that I know of) for each of them. James' marriage had ended with the death of his wife. I suspect Lucinda's marriage ended because her husband abandoned her and their children although I can't say for sure. It's certainly possible that she took the children and left him or that he died. So with both James and Lucinda struggling, they united their families.

Rocky Paths
If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes.

In April of 1879, the world was turned upside down for the family once again. James' daughter Manda (his youngest daughter from his previous marriage) accused James of raping her. A case was filed and a warrant was issued on 8 April 1879. The charge was Rape. On 5 May 1879 James entered a plea of Not Guilty. Subpoenas were issued on 6 May and on 7 May 1879 a “Nolle” was entered and accepted.

Following are five transcriptions of court entries regarding James Thomas and his case:

The first: May, 1879

The State of Kansas
vs                                                          N0184
Thomas Gibson

Now on this 17th day of May AD 1879, the same being the 12th Judicial day of the May 1879 term of this court, this cause came on for hearing, the State of Kansas appearing by E. S. Torrance county attorney, and the defendant Thomas Gibson appearing in person and by his attorney James McDermott and said defendant files a Plea in Bar to the charge contained in the information herein, to which Plea in Bar the county attorney aforesaid demurs which demurer is by the Court sustained, to the sustaining of which demurer the defendant duly excepts, whereupon said defendant is duly arraigned on said Information, and required to further plead thereto, and for further plea to said Information says that he is not guilty as therein charged,
Whereupon said cause is by order of the Court continued until the next term of this Court, and said defendant is required to enter into a Recognizance in the sum of Five Hundred ($500) Dollars, to the State of Kansas with sufficient sureties for his appearance before this Court on the first day of the next term thereof to answer to the charge of the Information herein, and not depart the Court without leave thereof, and to abide the Judgment of the Court, and in default of such recognizance that he stand committed to the Jail of Cowley County until he be discharged according to law.

James plead not guilty and filed a Plea in Bar above. At “Plea in Bar” is defined as:
An answer to a plaintiff's claim that absolutely and entirely defeats it. A plea in bar sets forth matters that deny the plaintiff's right to maintain his or her lawsuit; for example, because the Statute of Limitations has expired or because the claim necessarily overrides a constitutionally protected right of the defendant.

To demur is to disagree or dissent. According to the entry above, the judge affirmed and upheld the demurer of the County Attorney (attorney against James GIBSON).

Comes a Jury of Twelve Good and Lawful Men
May the face of every good news
And the back of every bad news
Be toward us.

The second: August 1879

The State of Kansas
vs                                                           N0184
Thomas Gibson

On the 27th day of August AD 1879 the same being the third Judicial day of the August AD 1879 term of this Court, the Jury in the above entitled case, who retired upon yesterday to deliberate of a verdict in said Cause, and returned into Court by the officer having them (?) in charge, and they announce to the Court through their foreman that they are unable to agree upon a verdict in said Cause the defendant being present by his Counsel,
Whereupon, it satisfactorally appearing to the Court that said Jury cannot agree upon a verdict in said Cause, and no objection being made thereto, the Court discharges said Jury from the further consideration of said Cause.

Above, the Jury has deliberated and returned to the judge as a hung jury. The judge accepts and releases them.

The third: September 1879

The State of Kansas
vs                                                             N0184
Thomas Gibson

Now on this 5th day of September 1879 the same being one of the Judicial days of the August AD 1879 term of this Court, this Cause is by order of the Court continued until the next term of this Court for want of time to try the same at the present term of this Court.  And it is ordered by the Court that the defendant enter into a recognizance in the sum of ($500.00) Five Hundred Dollars, to the State of Kansas with sufficient sureties for his appearance before this Court on the first day of the next term thereof to answer to the charge of the Information herein, and not depart the Court without leave thereof, and that he abide the Judgment of the Court, and in default of such recognizance that he stand committed to the Jail of Cowley County until he be discharged according to law.

Above, the judge is holding James over for trial and the trial will be scheduled for the following court term as the current term is about to end without enough time to re-try James' case.

Isn't waiting hard!?

Comes a Jury of Twelve Good and Lawful Men…Again
The person bringing good news knocks boldly on the door.

The fourth: December 1879

The State of Kansas
vs                                                                 N0184
Thomas Gibson

Now on this 13th day of December 1879, the same being the 12th Judicial day of the December 1879, term of this Court, this Cause comes on for trial on the Information of the County Attorney filed herein charging the defendant Thomas Gibson with the offense of Rape, the plaintiff appearing by E. S. Torrance County Attorney and the defendant appearing in his own proper person, and by his attorneys James McDermott and W. W. Perkins, and the parties having respectively announced themselves ready for trial, comes a jury of twelve good and lawful men of Cowley County, to wit, Joseph S. Hill, I. (J.?) D. How, Amos Biddle, William White, H. C. Fisher, Pause King, W. R. Beadell, S. Morris, A. E. Woodard, S. H. Tolles (?), G. W. Webb, & C. C. Robinson, who are duly impanneled and sworn in said Cause, and who having heard the evidence adduced upon the trial of said Cause, the instructions of the Court and the arguments of Counsel, retire under charge of a sworn officer of the Court to deliberate of this verdict, and afterwards on the same day the defendant being present in person and by his Counsel aforesaid, the said Jury are returned into Court by the officer having them in charge aforesaid, and they announce to the Court through their foreman that they are unable to agree upon a verdict in said Cause, Whereupon, it satisfactorially appearing to the Court that said Jury cannot agree, upon a verdict in said Cause, and the defendant or his Counsel making no objection thereto the Court discharges said Jury from the further consideration of said Cause,
Whereupon, the County Attorney aforesaid, with the assent of the Court enters a Nolle Prosequi in said Cause, and said defendant is discharged from further custody and permitted to go hence without day.

The fifth: December 1879

The State of Kansas
vs                                                                   N0184
Thomas Gibson

On the 26th day of December AD 1879 the same being the second judicial day of the August hearing, the plaintiff appearing by E. S. Torrance County Attorney, and the defendant appearing in person and by his attorney, James McDermott, and the parties having respectively announced themselves ready for trial, comes a jury of twelve good and lawful men of Cowley County, Viz. M. Ellinger, J. P. Musselman, F. M. Osborn, Johnson Chandler, John Sinton (?), J. F. Tucker, R. Eastman, S. G. Castor, J. M. Hooker, John F. Miller, M. B.(?) Hennen (?), N.(?) J. Thompson, who are duly empanneled and sworn in said cause, and who, having listened to the evidence and the instructions of the Court, retire under a sworn officer of the Court to deliberate of their verdict.

Here you can see the court record where charges have been brought against him in State of Kansas v. Thomas Gibson:

On 13 December 1879 the charge was “nollied”. I looked up “Nolle Prosequi” in an online law dictionary and the definition said:
(no-lay pro-say-kwee) n. Latin for "we shall no longer prosecute," which is a declaration made to the judge by a prosecutor in a criminal case (or by a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit) either before or during trial, meaning the case against the defendant is being dropped. The statement is an admission that the charges cannot be proved, that evidence has demonstrated either innocence or a fatal flaw in the prosecution's claim or the district attorney has become convinced the accused is innocent. Understandably, usage of the phrase is rare. In the 1947 courtroom movie, Boomerang! the climactic moment arrived when the District Attorney himself proved the accused person innocent and declared nolle prosequi.

So I present to you now my Irish James as a free man- a vindicated man. In my heart I truly, very much hope he was innocent and there was some emotional or psychological flaw in Manda that caused her to accuse him. Perhaps, still grieving over her mother and angry at her father for remarrying, she chose to take vengeance in this way. That is my hope. I could forgive her for that. Grief is difficult.

A Man As Mysterious to Me Today as He Was 20 Years Ago
Better the trouble that follows death than the trouble that follows shame.

James' life after the trial is somewhat confusing to me because of recent information I found.

What I knew before:
In 1880, James and Lucinda were not living together. Lucinda and her daughter Mary Rebecca were living with Lucinda's parents in Cowley County, Kansas. James' whereabouts were unknown. However, he had two daughters with my great-great-grandmother, Lucinda. They had Barbara on 12 January 1881 in Bentonville, Benton County, Arkansas. Then they had Dettie (my great-grandmother) on 7 December 1883 in Winfield, Cowley County, Kansas. So I figured perhaps he was off working somewhere or perhaps the legal trouble flared back up and he ended up in prison. There were ways to explain his absence

But then…WAIT! WHAT?!? In 1880, James appears to be living with a woman named Elizabeth who is almost exactly the same age as his supposedly-dead first wife Elizabeth and there are 3 children with the same names as 3 of his 10 children from his first marriage in the home with him!! All explanations just went out the window.  Maybe more than one James Gibson? So I dig a little deeper.

I take a look back at Lucinda's timeline and see that in 1885, James and Lucinda ARE living together with Barbara (called Myrtle) and Dettie in Cedar, Cowley County, Kansas. Mary Rebecca was living with her maternal grandparents, Henry and Rebecca DOW. I wonder if they had prejudices against James because of the trial and I wonder if they'd had Mary Rebecca in their own home for so long that they felt she was more theirs and wouldn't allow Lucinda to take her into Lucinda and James' home? There will probably never be an answer to that question. I'm not sure Mary Rebecca ever lived with Lucinda again. Fast forward 5 years and Lucinda is married to David Jones. Does that clear things up? About as clear as muddy water…

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
May you have food and raiment,
A soft pillow for your head,
May you be forty years in heaven
Before the devil knows you're dead.

All my life I was told James died on 15 October 1886 in Benton County, Arkansas. The fact that I've never been able to find any death record or grave was not really that bothersome considering that happens frequently. So you just keep on looking and trying to find it. And then…

Um…why's he still with that Elizabeth woman in 1900 with one of his ten children?? I give. I'm stumped. Anyone want to help me solve this one?? I'm still searching. The answer is out there somewhere and one day I'll find it.  But for now, I have no answers and no conclusion for you.  So I leave you now with this unresolved mystery and a few of my favorite Irish blessings and proverbs.

We cannot share this sorrow
If we haven't grieved a while.
Nor can we feel another's joy
Until we've learned to smile.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

May you live all the days of your life.
~ Jonathan Swift

If you need more genealogy in your life, click on over to my sister-in-law's blog at You can also check out genealogy blogs of friends of mine including (hoping she has time to hit the blog again soon!) and another friend of mine that I just introduced to the 52 Ancestors challenge (and I'm hoping she joins us!) over at…/100-years-ago-today/.  I think you'll enjoy all of them and each of these wonderful women that I am so grateful to have in my life.

Live. Love. Laugh. Go with God.

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives