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In my previous blog post I told you that I had made a new discovery about the events surrounding the death of C. J. DRAKE. If you’d like to catch up on C. J.’s story you’ll have to look at a couple of different posts since his story is intertwined with my great grandma Edith’s story. You can find out about C. J. here and here.
I was doing some online research last week and was shocked to find a newspaper article saying there had been a judgment entered against C. J.’s dad in the amount of $2500 in favor of one of the young adults who was injured in the wreck with C. J. You can read the same article here:
(A few notes: the original cause of the accident was said to be that C. J. accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake when he was trying to slow down to negotiate a curve. In the BURLESON’s lawsuit they claimed C. J. was speeding when he crashed but seemed to say nothing about the gas vs. brake pedal incident. Also, the reporter had his facts mixed up. C. J. was not William’s son. This is what caused so much confusion for me last week.)
For reference, here is one of the original articles about the accident.
I was so shocked and saddened (and somewhat offended) that someone would have sued my great grandparents (who were grieving the loss of their son) over a car wreck that seemed to have been just a freak accident. If you recall, C. J. and the others riding with him were headed to a revival. They weren’t partying or drinking or participating in risky behavior. They didn’t seem to be making poor decisions. I was intrigued about the lawsuit and wanted to know more.
I called my Dad and asked him if he knew Mark had been sued over the crash (because at that time I was trying to interpret the mixed up information in the article and was going on the assumption that it was Mark who was the primary Defendant). Dad was as shocked as I was. He said he always thought there were only four people in the vehicle- C. J. and Henry DRAKE (I’m pretty sure they were cousins- not brothers as stated in one of the newspaper articles) and their girlfriends, Lynda CONDUFF and Betty ARNOLD. Dad had never heard before that there was a fifth person (Carl BURLESON) in the vehicle and didn’t remember any BURLESON’s being connected to the DRAKE family. So we talked for a while and he said he had never heard anything about Mark being sued over the crash and couldn’t help me. I asked about older family members who might have known about all this but he didn’t think there would be any who could help me. Our ties to the Bill DRAKE line of the family ceased to exist a couple generations back. I did try to contact someone in that branch of the family via Facebook but have not received a response. So, we decided a trip to the courthouse would be necessary to sort this all out.
This week I was able to go with my parents to the Newton County courthouse and get a copy of the docket entries which are all that is left of the case. So let me walk you through what I know of Case #13218, Carl Burleson, b/n/f vs. William J. Drake, et al. (The “b/n/f” stands for “best next friend”- a legal term for the adult male representing the plaintiff- Carl’s dad, Sherman BURLESON, in this case; “best next friend” was a legal requirement for minors and women in that era.) Before starting, let me tell you that I don’t know to whom the “et al” refers. Et al is a legal term indicating there were other people being sued along with William. I suspect that Mark was included and he was indeed having to deal with this lawsuit while also grieving the death of his son. The William DRAKE (whom everyone called “Bill”) named as the primary Defendant in this lawsuit was the son of Henry Arthur “Ned” DRAKE. (Ned played a part in another blog post story of mine about Ned’s and Poppy’s brother, Red.) Bill was also the nephew of my 2nd great grandfather, Poppy Lonzo (Alonzo Ervin DRAKE) and the cousin of my great grandfather Mark DRAKE (the father of C. J.). You might be wondering how Bill got involved. (I know I was!) It turns out that C. J. was driving Bill’s truck when C. J. crashed and died.
Case #13218 was filed in Newton County, Missouri in the Circuit Court on 27 April, 1956- 4 months and 2 weeks after the accident in which Carl BURLESON was burned on his face and hands, Lynda sustained a broken leg, Betty and Henry received cuts on their faces, and C. J. died. It appears that everything was worked out very quickly because on the same date the Complaint was filed by the BURLESON’s, the case was also settled and a Judgment Entry made by Circuit Court Judge Robert Stemmons, Sr. The DRAKE family waived a jury and a trial on 27 April 1956 and the Judge entered a judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs (BURLESON’s) in the sum of $2500 plus court costs. For my family in that time frame, that was a ton of money. However they did it, it appears they had the money ready on that date and gave it to the BURLESON’s in court because the docket entry header states, “Judgment acknowledged. Satisfied in open court.” The docket entry also states further down that “…the plaintiff acknowledges satisfaction of said judgment in open court.”
This lawsuit was never mentioned in the presence of my father. But then, my DRAKE family was pretty tight-lipped about personal matters. In doing some additional research on the key players in this lawsuit, I found a little more that I want to share with you- like this photo of Sherman BURLESON. Some of you reading this may have known him.
I also found a photo of Bill’s dad, Ned. Ned is my 3rd great uncle.
I haven’t found a photo of Carl. I’ve read documents and family accounts of the BURLESON family that show that several members of the BURLESON family died in car accidents in the years following this lawsuit. I also learned of one other DRAKE-BURLESON connection. Bill DRAKE had a brother named Edward Ervin DRAKE- he went by Eddie. Eddie married Carl BURLESON’s sister, Edna “Ginger” BURLESON. They later divorced. I’m not sure Eddie and Ginger had any children together.
All of this extra information made me wonder if this series of events- the car wreck in the borrowed truck, the subsequent lawsuit, and then Eddie marrying into the family who sued my family- is what caused the rift amongst the DRAKE family between Ned’s branch and Poppy Lonzo’s branch. Maybe not. It just makes me wonder. How much can two brothers take before they part ways? (Both Ned and Poppy, as well as Bill and Eddie.) How long before their kids- the cousins- stop talking to each other? Before their grandkids know of each other but don’t know each other…before their great grandkids- like me- don’t even know if the other branch still exists? How long does it take for a family to disintegrate? How much can a family take before they call it quits? Just some things I wonder about. I’m probably being way too dramatic about it, but these are the things I think about.
If you’re reading this and you have more information about the wreck, the lawsuit, the family’s split, or anything else about the family- I’d love to hear about it. Like my ancestors, I DO know how to be tight-lipped. If someone tells me something and asks that I NOT post it to the blog or social media- I honor that 100%.
I wish your family peace this week. I wish you strong family relationships that weather the troubled spots. I wish you siblings that speak to each other and cousins that love AND KNOW each other. Tell the people you love how important they are to you. Time is so short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I’m sure C. J. had plans for December 14th and other days and weeks beyond the day he died. You never know. Live AND LOVE like it’s your last day.
A few posts back I asked for help with a particularly difficult ancestor. Today I’m back with a duplicate request for a different ancestor. David Alexander “Eleck” CAWYER is Bart’s paternal 2nd great grandfather. He was born in January possibly in 1864 or 1865. This is another case where nearly everyone online has errors in the family tree. Some records say he was born in Tennessee, some say North Carolina. To be honest, there aren’t that many records that I feel confident are really him so it’s difficult to give you a lot of data for him. I know that he had at least two children- Ina Jane CAWYER (Bart’s paternal great grandmother who married a PAGE) and Samuel William David CAWYER. There was also a half-brother to these two by the name of Oscar CARDER.
Here is a photo of Eleck:
I believe Eleck was in Marian, Newton County, Missouri in 1880 with his parents. Eleck married Mary S. CASE in 1883 in Jasper County, Missouri. Some researchers believe he also married Paralee MARTIN a decade or so later. There is one marriage record that I am certain is his:
It is believed he died on 8 March 1918 in Joplin, Missouri and is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Joplin. I have not found his grave or any concrete evidence he is buried there.
Beyond the above information, I’m really not certain about anything else. I have not had any luck finding newspaper articles or any other information about Eleck. I know (per the marriage record) that his mother is Mary A. and she was widowed by the time of Eleck’s 1883 marriage. I have been unable to connect him to any of the other CAWYER families in Newton and Jasper Counties in the time frame that I know he was there. It is believed by some researchers that Eleck was a miner.
Thanks to Bart’s Uncle Gerry for providing the photo. Mine is packed away somewhere and I’ve been unable to figure out which box it’s in. I want to also thank Gerry’s contact, Linda CAWYER, who provided the information about the half-brother, Oscar CARDER.
If you have any information – no matter how insignificant you deem it to be – please share it so we can make some progress on this family line. I hope you enjoy the photo and I wish I could tell you a story about him. For now, he remains a mystery. On a positive note though, I’m looking forward to making a trip to Missouri soon to check out a mining map archival collection that may provide new clues about some of the mining men I’ve written about over the last several years. If I’m really lucky maybe they’ll provide clues about Eleck CAWYER, too. In the same archival facility is a collection that may help me unlock some clues about Lucinda DOW GIBSON as well. So even though this hasn’t been the best story week, things are looking up and every blog post brings us one step closer to uncovering new information.
Before getting started I’d like to thank my mother-in-law Joyce and her brother Bob for providing photographs and stories about Theodor MOELLER. I’d also like to thank my mom, Kay, and various relatives who shared photos and stories about James BULLOCK- most of whom are no longer with us. It reminds me to share what I have so others can enjoy it, too. One day we won’t have the luxury of sharing anymore. One quick reminder that when you’re done here you can click on through to my sister-in-law Becky’s blog at Down in the Root Cellar where she also blogs about her family history. (Also a quick reminder to Becky that we’re still waiting on that blog post about Granny BATES getting stuck in the chicken house…just saying. *hint hint wink wink*)
First things first: a little explanation and then let’s look at this week’s schedule.
The plan is (for as long as I can sustain it) that I will bake cupcakes to celebrate birthdays of the people I will post about and light candles for the people for whom we are honoring a death date anniversary. It will make more sense as the blog goes on but as an example, today we are celebrating the birthdays of James BULLOCK and Theodor MOELLER so I will be baking two kinds of cupcakes to honor each man’s birthday. On the 3rd we’ll be honoring the life of Laura BULLOCK RITER on her death date anniversary and on that day I’ll be lighting a candle for the day in honor of her life and it’s impact on me. Lighting a candle from sun up to sun down on a death date anniversary is an old Jewish tradition that I particularly like so that’s why I chose it. I actually chose this tradition prior to all the Ashkenazi Jew DNA information coming out. On the 5th we’ll celebrate the birthday of Nancy CHAMBERS HUBBARD. On the 6th we’ll honor the life of Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL. (I will share the recipes for the cupcakes I make and will try to post early in the morning so that if you would like to join with me in the celebrations in some way, you can.) On the in-between days when no blog posts are scheduled I will try to post a photograph relative to either mine or Bart’s family histories.
Here are the days I will be posting this week and the people about whom I will be posting:
January 3: Stories about Laura Ann BULLOCK RITER (my maternal great grandmother). On this date I’ll be burning a candle from sun up to sun down. You can buy cheap candles for just this purpose in the ethnic section at grocery stores. At the end of this post I have added in a photo of what my candle looks like.
January 6: Stories about Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL (my paternal 4th great grandmother). On this date I’ll light a candle to honor the life of Lucretia.
By the way, I’ll probably be overdosed on cupcakes by the 7th so feel free to stop by and grab a few to take home! In addition to making the cupcakes above, I will already have Gin and Juice Cupcakes and Red Velvet Red Wine Cupcakes on hand from New Year’s Eve. If you’d like to make either of these cupcakes those recipes are also on my Pinterest board referred to above.
Corn Whiskey and James Mathaniel Bullock
A young James BULLOCK.
I remember my granny telling me about her grandpa James (my maternal 2nd great grandfather). She said that he liked his corn whiskey! I immediately pictured a man sitting on the porch in front of his log home in a rocking chair sipping moonshine from a jug. I have no idea if that was an accurate representation but that’s what I thought of. James was born in 1836 in Boone County, Indiana to James and Cynthia (DALE) BULLOCK. His military records state he had a fair complexion, light brown hair, blue eyes and no permanent marks or scars. The papers also state he was a farmer. By 1860 he was living in Humboldt, Allen County, Kansas and was single and working as a farm laborer for Eli and Maud GILBERT.
On 12 August 1861 he enlisted in the Civil War with Company H, 10th Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry which was originally organized at Paola, Kansas. He mustered in on 8 March 1862. Before and shortly after his muster date his regiment was in flux- absorbing other units and changing names according to Millerinfo.net. The regiment was under the command of Colonel William F. CLOUD. In April of 1862, about a month after he mustered in, his regiment was sent to Fort Scott, Kansas and stayed there until 4 June 1862 at which time companies were sent on expeditions to Indian Territory with an Ohio Cavalry. These expeditions lasted from mid-June to mid-August of 1862. On 3 July they fought at the Battle of Locust Grove in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. This location is only about 25 miles or so from my home so it was very interesting to me that he was there in 1862. In traveling to Locust Grove he came so very close to walking across my land and possibly he DID walk across my land depending on which route he took. The Battle of Locust Grove was fought at sunrise on 3 July 1862 and was a success for the Union. It had a great and negative impact on Confederate morale in the area and the soldiers who escaped capture and made it back to the Park Hill and Tahlequah areas caused widespread panic and large-scale desertions among Cherokee Confederate sympathizers. (OKhistory.org)
The distance from Fort Scott, Kansas to Locust Grove, Oklahoma (then Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory) is about 145 miles. That was a long march! In mid-July 1862 James’ regiment was conducting renaissance from Grand River to Fort Gibson, Park Hill, and Tahlequah and were involved in skirmishes during this timeframe. In August they were in Missouri involved in a campaign against Coffey and Cockrell. James’ regiment was in Jackson County, Missouri area in mid-September. They were most likely fighting or somehow supporting the Battle of Lone Jack as they were in the right area at the right time but I can’t find information that specifically states they were in that battle. If they were, that’s pretty cool. Have you ever watched the movie True Grit? If you haven’t- stop reading, go watch the movie NOW, and then come back…ready now? Great! In the movie, Rooster Cogburn (played by the fabulous John Wayne) says he lost his eye in the Battle of Lone Jack and called it a “scrap outside of Kansas City”! When one of my favorite movies and actors meets up with some of my personal history I’d call that really cool! The Battle of Lone Jack lasted two days and was led by Emory FOSTER on the Union side and Vard COCKRELL on the Confederate side. To be honest, I think James’ regiment was en route to assist in the battle but got there too late based on the research I’ve done. I’m hoping my cousin Troy can do some research and figure all this out for me!
By the end of September the regiment was in Newton County, Missouri for the First Battle of Newtonia on 30 September 1862. On 4 October 1862 they gained occupation of Newtonia, Newton County, Missouri. Then his regiment headed back down my way. At 7:00 a.m. on the morning of 22 October 1862 Union soldiers (including James’ regiment) attacked the Confederates at Beattie’s Prairie in the Battle of Old Fort Wayne near Maysville, Benton County, Arkansas on 22 October 1862. James’ regiment was the third wave in the surprise attack on Stand Watie and other Confederate troops at Beattie’s Prairie that morning. The first wave struck the Confederates at 5:00 a.m. in Maysville, Benton County, Arkansas while the rebels were sleeping. They pushed through into Indian Territory as far as Beattie’s Prairie where the rebels put up a strong resistance but in half an hour they were overcome by the sheer numbers of Union soldiers and they retreated quickly leaving artillery and other equipment behind. Confederate troops retreated all the way to Fort Gibson, Muskogee County, Oklahoma which gave the Union significant and unfettered control of this part of Indian Territory north of the Arkansas River. Union Brigadier General James G. Blunt led the attack and wrote an account of it (and other movements the regiment made) here about 1/3 of the way down the page. (I’m a school librarian in case you didn’t know. If you’d like to read an historical novel that includes scenes in which James G. Blunt plays a part, try reading Harold Keith’s Rifles for Watie. You’ll find it in the juvenile section at your local public library.)
Old Fort Wayne battlefield. Wikipedia
Paul Ridenour photo.
I passed by this marker site at least twice a week almost every week of my childhood. Until this year I had no idea that one of my ancestors fought in a battle here.
I don’t know how long James’ regiment was at Fort Wayne but by 28 October they were in Cane Hill, Washington County, Arkansas. There were only two locations in Arkansas that saw fighting on this date. I tend to believe he was probably fighting at McGuire, Arkansas which is now a ghost town. I think this location would have been more likely to be classified as “Cane Hill” than Oxford Bend north of the White River near Fayetteville, Arkansas. James’ regiment closed out the year fighting at the Battle of Prairie Grove on 7 December and then they went on the expedition over the Boston Mountains at the end of December 1862.
James would fight another year in the Civil War traveling all over Missouri, Kansas and Indiana and even including a skirmish with Quantrill’s Raiders (Confederate guerilla fighters) before he was discharged on 12 December 1863 at Kansas City, Missouri. He was discharged due to a disability. His military paperwork noted that James had a severe cough due to Pneumonia dating from the winter of 1861. He was unable to perform his duty as a soldier at all for the final 60 days before his discharge. Further down in the document it says James had “Phthisis Pulmonalis with Hemoptysis and great prostration”. It deemed him unfit for field service or for the Invalid Corps and declared his disability to be “total”. All of this means basically that James had Tuberculosis and was coughing up blood and was often so weak he was lying down and couldn’t get up and move around- he was bed-bound. At some point during his life James lost use of his left eye and it happened when he was young- possibly in the war. I mention this now because eye problems play a factor in the next tidbit of information.
An elderly James Bullock. Notice he no longer has his left eye.
As far as I know, James never married until 1879. He married Druziller Mahala LATTY (sometimes spelled ‘LATTIE’). She was 20 years his junior. Together they had 8 children, the youngest two being twins. The youngest son, Oscar (twin of Alice) fought in World War I and is buried at the National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Benton County, Arkansas.
Despite how bad James’ health problems were at the end of the Civil War, James lived until 25 July 1903. when he died of “lung disease and blindness” caused by “exfusion”. I tried looking this up and the best I could find was “effusion”. The definition of effusion states, “an instance of giving off something such as a liquid, light, or smell such as ‘a massive effusion of poisonous gas’” OR “an escape of fluid into a body cavity”. I’m hoping some of my cousins who are nurses can help me figure this one out. I’m not sure if it was related to the Tuberculosis or if something else might have happened.
One last bit of information I found about James. This information comes from Millerinfo.net/. The researchers on this website got much of their information from Harold MADDOX whom my Mom and I were fortunate enough to speak to years ago. Harold in turn got his information from older family members who were no longer living by the time I was old enough to research our family history. The following stories were told by Alice and Ed BULLOCK (James’ children):
“My grandfather’s name was James Bullock, he was a boot maker. And stowed away on a ship to the U.S. from England, with a brother, by the name of Ed(ward?). They never saw each other again after arriving in the U.S.
My Grandmothers name was Cyntha or Milly. They were married in the U.S.
Their Children were:
James Mathaniel , my dad.
I can remember my Granny BATES telling me this exact story just as Alice and Ed told it above. I’m not sure how accurate the story is, but it has been passed down consistently from one generation to the next for at least five generations. Another story told by Ed and Alice that I also remember my Granny BATES telling me is this:
“James M. Bullock was born at Indianapolis, Indiana. His uncle’s name was __?___ Johnson. His uncle wanted James to join the Confederate Army and James and his cousin __?___ Johnson, started out, but James wanted to join the Northern Army, so they split up. James going North and __?___ Johnson going South. ___?____ Johnson was killed very shortly after leaving James Bullock, who had already been stopped by the Union Army. James Bullock, joined the Army there and then.” The researcher at the Millerinfo.net website I linked to above states “This story is not quite accurate. James was living at Humboldt, Ks. in 1860 with a family by name of Gilbert, and joined the Army at Ft. Leavanworth on Aug. 12, 1861 into Company “H” 10th Kans. Vol. Inf.”. James’ military paperwork states he joined the Army at Paola, Kansas, not Leavenworth. So who is right and who is wrong may be forever lost to time.
One thing to note about Leavenworth, though, is this: Researchers “TomandColette187” on the Ancestry website state they found information in Kansas Adjutant General records stating that James was “absent on extra duty as Teamster from 26 October 1861 to November 1861, to which time he was absent by the civil authorities and put in prison at Leavenworth, charged with stealing a span of mules”. I’m not quite sure what to make of this and am hoping to get another opinion from my cousins especially those with military experience. I have checked Leavenworth prison records on the National Archives website and was unable to find James listed as a prisoner there. I will also note that in doing research on another ancestor in 2016 my information shows that Leavenworth didn’t open as a US Penitentiary until 1903. It was a US Disciplinary Barracks but even that didn’t open until 1874. So again, perhaps one day I’ll find documents to prove or disprove some of the information given above- or maybe I won’t. But I do feel like these stories need to be told so that if I don’t find this information maybe one day some other researcher will be able to uncover the truth.
In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate James’ birthday and his love of corn whiskey with some delicious Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Cupcakes and contemplate what he loved about the whiskey. Did he self-medicate? If so, was he medicating a physical pain or a psychological pain? Did he just like the taste of corn whiskey or was it an addiction he couldn’t conquer? I hope you’ll join me in celebrating and considering the life of James BULLOCK.
Theodor Hermann Moeller: He Was Serious About His Pinochle
Baby Theodor is in the middle of two of his siblings.
When my daughter was choosing names for her youngest son I was suggesting family names in the hopes she would choose one. She liked the name Theodor, but she added an ‘e’ on the end. I never knew Theodor personally and neither did my husband. Theodor was my husband’s maternal great grandfather. I asked my mother-in-law if she had any stories she could share with me about Theodor and she was kind enough to tell me what she could remember in the way of his personality. Theodor was a good man and a farmer all of his life. He was a first-generation American and his parents came from Germany. My mother-in-law said Theodor could sing O Tannenbaum in German and she always thought that was neat. Here’s a version I found on Youtube:
The night my mother-in-law was telling me stories, my husband and I were in a hotel room in Tulsa, Oklahoma with both his parents before our early morning flight to Hawaii the next day. Joyce (my mother-in-law) reminisced that Theodor loved to play Pinochle and he was very serious about it! My father-in-law, Bart Sr., interjected at this point and said he remembered the first time he played Pinochle with Theodor. Bart Sr. was on Theodor’s team and he made a wrong play. Theodor sternly reminded Bart Sr. that he was on Theodor’s team (meaning NOT on the other team). I’ve never played Pinochle. Maybe it’s time I learned. Here’s a little video if you’d like to learn, too.
Theodor was born in 1896 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. He was baptized in Dearborn Heights, Wayne County, Michigan when he was not quite 2 weeks old. Joyce’s family was all Lutheran as far as I know.
A young Theodor MOELLER
Theodor registered for the draft for World Wars I and II but I don’t have any information that he ever actually served. I’m not sure he would have been drafted for WWII considering we were fighting the Germans and he was only a first-generation American from a German family. His draft registration cards describe him as being medium height and medium build with light brown hair and blue eyes. On his WWI draft card he claimed exemption due to being “needed on farm”. On his WWII card he continued to list his occupation as farmer. In 1920 Theodor married Jennie Arelia SCHNEIDENBACH. Together they had four children.
Theodor and Jennie (SCHNEIDENBACH) MOELLER
Bart Sr. and Joyce recalled that Theodor was sick for the longest time and didn’t know what was wrong. He went to the doctor after awhile and once he got on the right medication he got better. I’m sure it was a relief to the family for him to get better. I didn’t ask what Theodor’s condition was. Theodor passed away in the fall of 1976 in Harbor Beach, Huron County, Michigan. He is buried with his wife in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Forestville, Sanilac County, Michigan.
Germans are known for their love of beer. So today I’m celebrating Theodor’s life with Blue Moon Cupcakes (or whatever brand of beer we have on hand today). I prefer Moscato wine over beer or whiskey. Over Christmas I found this wine on sale.
I thought it might be an appropriate wine with which to toast the lives of James BULLOCK and Theodor MOELLER before I partake of the abundance of boozy cupcakes in my home today. So cheers- to James and Theodor whom God chose to be mine and my husband’s ancestors and to you, my readers. Enjoy your week and don’t forget to buy your candles for later in the week! This is what mine looks like:
Until next time- bottoms up!
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives