Dec 6, 2011

2011 Thanksgiving


L to R:
Ellis Toole
Claire Breckenridge
Jenna Ingram
Grace Breckenridge
Carly Toole
Juliette Ingram
and in Front:
Aidan and "Boppa" Toole

Our early Thanksgiving this year began with a stop in the Salt Lake City area for the annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball. After a stop in Winnemucca, Nevada, we arrived in Northern California for a week of visits and doctor appointments, sightseeing and client business visits for Bill. On the 19th, we had an early Thanksgiving dinner with our three children who live in NoCalifornia (Mark from Mill Valley, Jay from Alameda and Shannon from Auburn) at the Auburn house. Fun, fun, fun! Aren't the girls adorable here in the shirts Grammy and Boppa brought along. And Aidan (he holds his own with all those girls) with his Utah "Beehive" cap!
For more photos, visit Grammy's blog at:

Oct 8, 2011

The Fessenden Connection

Another maternal line cousin that I’ve met while doing genealogy research is a descendant of my 3rd great grandparents, James E. and Emma (Elden Chase) Libby (who had 14 children, by the way!). My line descends from their son, Samuel Appleton Libby (1826-1901) who married Angeline Riley. Bill’s line descends from James and Emma's daughter, Harriet (1810-1904), who married Josiah Bacon (and had 11 children). One of those sons, Charles H., and his wife gave birth to Alice Eliza Bacon (pictured upper right) who married James Henry Fessenden. Two more generations produced Bill, who is my 4th cousin! Early Fessendens who came from England were located in Maine – same as the Libbys. Bill's line stayed on the east coast.

In May of 1853, my 2nd great grandparents migrated to Dubuque, Iowa where two brothers were involved in building houses throughout the Mid-west. Samuel (grand uncle of the woman pictured above) worked with those brothers, returned to Maine in June of 1856, married Angeline in October 1856, and then settled permanently in Iowa where he farmed and worked at his carpentry trade. Samuel and Angeline had nine children, one of them my great grandmother, Mabel Libby. Mabel married Adelbert Anson Phelps and their daughter, Bessie Mae, became my maternal grandmother.

Bill’s sense of humor is very endearing and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him. Bill’s retired Navy and my hubby is a retired Marine. With their proclivity to jokes and military background, I don’t know that we should ever put the two together!!! We also have similar philosophies as to housecleaning, we’ve discovered. His comment goes like this: “In this house, dusting is reserved for those people who visit for the first or second time. After that, they are expected to take the place for its “lived in” appearance. Family knows better than to expect extra cleaning on their behalf.” I’m there!!

I love a story that Bill tells about a family member: “My mother’s (older) sister was born at home and the duty of registering the birth at city hall was given to my grandfather. His wife wanted their daughter to be named Josephine, while he favored the name Hannah. Being the good husband, Michael agreed to the name Josephine and recorded it at city hall. My aunt went through life believing her name to be Josephine. Well, Aunt Jo never married, nor did she ever learn to drive, so she never had an occasion to procure a copy of her birth certificate, until the mid-1960’s, when long after her parents had died, she decided that she wanted to travel abroad, and as such, needed a passport. There was a problem though, when she tried to get a copy of her birth certificate, city hall couldn’t find one to give her. The clerk asked her if she perhaps had a twin sister, born on the same day, named Hannah, because that was the only Delaney on record having been born on that day. It seems my grandfather got his way, after all, and gave his daughter the name he wanted. In the end, my aunt had her name changed legally to Josephine Hannah; that way she could use the name she grew up with, and there would be attachment to the birth record.”

As my “family” expands, I am blessed with an array of really great cousins. It’s also great fun to touch base genealogically with these cousins, learning where the family has migrated and why. Bill lives on the New Hampshire seacoast, while my family’s ancestor braved the wilds of Iowa in the mid-1800’s. I migrated to California in the early 1960’s, so we’ve covered both coasts. Bill states that they do have a short summer – and the rest of the year is early winter, winter, and late winter. I’ll take California (and now Southern Utah), thank you!!

Sep 24, 2011

The James Parks Mystery

I am still on the hunt for James Parks, my maternal great great grandfather. We’ve found just about everyone surrounding his immediate family, but we can’t pin down his mother, where his father died and is buried, and why he was born in Virginia (info he or someone close to him gave for the 1850 and 1860 Indiana censuses) but is found in Indiana after 1850 with my great great grandmother, my great grandfather and Lydia, my great grand aunt. He had a first wife and children. Can’t find them, either.

What I do have are the two Indiana censuses, land records indicating the land the family lived on belonged to great great grandmother from her first marriage and went to her children of that first marriage, and DNA results that indicate he was the very close relative, almost certainly son of, James Parks born 18 Jul 1761 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The unknown mother of my James apparently died soon after his birth and his father remarried to Barbara Steer about 1803 producing seven children. Through Carol, who lives in Pennsylvania and is a descendant of the Barbara Steer marriage, we may be able to find records in the counties where the Parks family lived. She is methodically visiting courthouses and historical societies in an attempt to solve this mystery, partially unfolded by DNA results.

Sep 13, 2011


William Fullerton [1802-1875]

Through my Parks genealogy research, I have e-met a sixth cousin (once removed) from New Hampshire. Phelps and I have been trying to find the ancestors of Ann Clark who married Humphrey Fullerton about 1755 most likely in Pennsylvania. Ann was the sister of Rebecca Clark who married Joseph Parks, who is believed to be the grandfather of my great great grandfather, James Parks. Cousin Carol in Lancaster, Pennsylvania has also been working with me on this research. In some places on Ancestry Ann’s middle name is seen as “Dawson.” Possibly Dawson was her mother’s maiden name. We believe her parents to be Thomas Clark and Ann [Unknown, possibly Dawson?]. There is also a possibility of a surname of Davidson.

Phelps’ line was so very interesting. Many of the Fullerton line were leaders in their communities, judges, merchants, railroad men, bankers, etc. and branches off his line run into the Pierponts and Morgans, several settling in Ohio and becoming captains of industry and banking in that area. One branch started the Carnation Company. We have yet to definitely determine Ann and Rebecca’s heritage, but Carol will be visiting various counties in Pennsylvania in an effort to locate more records.

Sep 5, 2011


We are back from our week in Breckenridge and glad of it! We actually left early, disappointment in the entire experience. Actually we enjoyed the Georgetown Loop tour, but at nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, we battled altitude sickness - headaches, lack of sleep, shortness of breath - until we finally packed up and left two days early - on our anniversary day. We were extremely disappointed in the Marriott Mountain Valley Resort - a very old building, nicely decorated but extremely small, cramped and unclean. The underground parking was a constant challenge, too. On our way home, we stopped in Moab - the beautiful room at the Moab Best Western was a breath of fresh air - and the next morning toured Arches National Park. What a beautiful place that is with its incredible arches and unbelievable stone structures. Moab was still at 4000+ feet above sea level, so we were not totally comfortable until we got home to good old St. George, 2500+ feet.

Aug 12, 2011

Our Desert Home

2011 Devil Pups

Nine happy youngsters graduated from Devil Pups at Camp Pendleton on August 30. It was our first year without Marine Corps League support and we surpassed our own goals. The photos below show one platoon at graduation and seven of the SoUtah pups who gathered for photos after graduation.

Jul 19, 2011

2nd Great Grandparents

My dear cousin, Joyce, has sent more photos of my Libby ancestors. Here's a beautiful old photo of Samuel Appleton and Angeline Riley Libby. In Dating Old Photographs by Maureen Taylor, I see this type of dress and neckline as well as the trim around the suit lapels in the 1875 time period. Thanks, Joyce!

Jul 16, 2011

And a Libby Murder!!!

Imagine my surprise to find a murder while looking for an obituary for Great Grand Aunt Florence’s son, Morris Vere Hardy! Morris was born in 1900 to Florence Libby Hardy and her husband, Sylvester P. Hardy. Another boy, Roscoe Appleton Hardy, was born in 1902, but he died in 1905. I have not uncovered the cause of that death yet. Morris married Viola Zable in 1920 in Storm Lake, Buena Vista County, Iowa, but by 1925 they were in divorce mode. Here are some of the many articles I uncovered on the murder:

1925 Nov 16, LeMars Globe-Post, P16, LeMars, Iowa
Flickinger Held in Murder of Morris Hardy
Will Investigate Thoroughly Says Hi Yackey, State Detectice [sic], of Council Bluffs
Marcus News: A few hours following the arrival of Hi Yackey, state detective of Council Bluffs, to probe into the murder of Morris V. Hardy, here yesterday, Ed Flickinger was taken to Cherokee and held for investigation. "We will leave no stone unturned to ferret out who the murderer was," Mr. Yackey said.

Funeral services for Morris Hardy were conducted at the Federated church in Washta Sunday afternoon and hundreds attended. Miss Gertrude Weaver, attended with members of her family and laid a floral tribute on the casket of her slain lover. Hundreds thronged the new Brink funeral home Saturday when Coroner G. A. Brink conducted the inquest over the body of Morris V. Hardy, who was cruelly murdered on a lonely road near Marcus Nov. 2. Although an investigation equally as probing as a grand jury might conduct lasting throughout the day, failed to link any person with the crime.

S. P. Hardy, father of the victim came here from his home in Center View, Mo., and was a pathetic figure when he took the stand as the first witness called. Aside from identifying the body of the murdered man as his son, he was not questioned.

Miss Gertrude Weaver, the 22 year old school teacher, for whose love two men pined, it is said, was on the witness stand for more than two hours and in a straight forward manner recited in minute detail all of the events leading up to the time when Hardy left her at the Flickinger home about midnight, Sunday night, shortly before the tragedy. Miss Weaver stated she had taught in the Harris Independent school last year and this year and boarded at the Frank Flickinger home, that during that time she kept company with 18 year old Eddie Flickinger when she was not with Morris Hardy whom she met last June. On the witness stand she admitted that both young men resented her going with the other and on one occasion not long ago Eddie Flickinger had threatened her by saying, "I'll get even with you," and when asked what he meant had retorted, "You'll know."

Both parents of young Flickinger were called on the witness stand and admitted their son left home sometime between eight and nine o'clock Sunday night. Frank Flickinger also identified the rifle which was taken from the Flickinger home as his and told of having exploded six shells in hunting stray dogs on Saturday before the murder. Authorities state that the six bullets found in the murdered man's head were of the same make as those found in the rifle.

Although Eddie Flickinger was given a grilling, he made no admissions considered damaging. He failed however to give a complete alibi Sunday night from the hours of nine until two; only to say he spent the time on the road repairing a puncture on the tire.

He stayed all night at the Bennett home near Quimby where he had been picking corn. Members of the family have no recollections of hearing him return that night. The witness when questioned as to his fondness for the school teacher made light of it and said he only went with her for pastime. On the witness stand, he was apparently unruffled.

John Leeper, a neighbor living in Tilden township 1-3/4 miles from the scene of the tragedy, described in detail the finding of the body in the Ford sedan Tuesday. He said beside the mail carrier who later made the discovery of the body, two men, Henry Montague and Mr. Robeson passed close to the ill fated sedan.

In attempting to shed some light on the theory that Hardy was the victim of a black mail gang Gus Johnson, a former chum of Hardy's was called to testify. He told the jury that Hardy had admitted once that he had been blackmailed. All efforts to get Johnson to acknowledge that Hardy had been mixed up recently with people at a road house near Quimby failed when he repeatedly answered, "They didn't have any trouble while I was there."

Mysterious Trio
Another of the many angles to the mysterious case was brought out when witnesses were called to tell of three suspicious characters seen loitering around the service station in Cherokee Sunday night. According to Frank Deede, the men were apparently watching the Rialto theater where Hardy and Miss Weaver were spending the evening. Herbert Traum, night man at the Surles and Dunn café, also told of seeing the same trio in a Ford roadster near Quimby Sunday afternoon. One of the men who had been drinking asked Traum later why he was following them. Some who believe that more than one party was implicated in the murder, are wondering if these three strange men may know of the crime.

L. M. Miller, C. W. Dorr, and W. D. Hazen, formed the coroner's jury and returned a verdict that Hardy came to his death by strangulation and gun shot wounds committed by unknown persons or person with intent to commit murder. 

1926 Jan 15, LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, P1-2, LeMars, Iowa
Youth Unmoved Under Sentence
Judge Says Best Remedy to Break up Crime is Punish Speedily
Edward[sic] Flickinger, 18 year old farm boy, who confessed he shot and killed Morris Hardy, a former convict, because he was jealous of Hardy’s attentions to Miss Gertrude Weaver, country school teacher, who roomed at the Flickinger home, was sentenced to fifty years in the state penitentiary Tuesday by District Judge Wagner, presiding at the Cherokee county district court.  The only emotion shown by Flickinger was when asked to stand before sentence was pronounced.  He brushed a few tears from his eyes, but stoically stood unmoved as the court read the sentence.

The convicted man’s father, mother and two sisters broke down and sobbed audibly during the talk, in which Judge Wagner tartly commented on Flickinger’s case and its relation to existing social conditions.  The judge took opportunity to point out to Flickinger that the crowd of spectators filling the small courtroom was not interested in Flickinger especially, but desired entertainment.  In part, the presiding judge said:  “This world is going to seed on entertainment.  Mr. Flickinger, it is not because the crowd is interested in you that they fill this courtroom, but it is because they are curious and want to be entertained.  Now people have gone so far as to get entertainment even if it means the cost of a human soul.  I heard today that if the Methodist minister of this town announced a scandal in this church for next Sunday, he wondered if the crowd would be as large as in this courtroom.  There is no justification for you to do this deed – perhaps the whole truth is not out – but at any rate you are guilty.  The court gave you the benefit of the doubt when it decided on second degree murder, which carries a sentence ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.  In order to make an object lesson to others this court must stand firm. 

“You cannot be a murderer and get by with a light sentence, even though you are only 18 years old.  While, perhaps differing from others as to the question of punishment, the causes of crime and so forth, I feel that the best remedy to protect society is to break up crime and then speedily administer punishment, as will be done in this case.  The duty and responsibility rests on the court to pronounce judgment on a fellowman.  The court must do what it believes its duty on the facts and circumstances surrounding this case.

“There are three motives for punishment:  (1)  To reform wrongdoers; (2)  that punishment may be the object lesson of others, and (3) that society may be protected against criminals.  I do not place a great deal of importance on the first mentioned factor.  As to the second, I think it should bear most consideration.  I have little faith that men and women are made better by going to the penitentiary, and I do not know why Mr. Flickinger committed this deed.  There might be several reasons.  I would not give this boy a light sentence for fear others would do the same thing.”

1926 Jan 14, LeMars Globe-Post, P1, LeMars, Iowa
Flickinger Gets 50 Years in Pen
Washta Youth Retains Composure as He Hears Fate – Sister Cries When Penalty Read
Cherokee, Ia., Jan. 14 (Special) – Judge Henry Wagner of Sigourney late Friday afternoon sentenced Edward[sic] Flickinger, 18 year old son of a Washta, Ia., farmer, to spend 50 years in the state penitentiary at Ft. Madison for the murder of Morris Hardy, a farm hand.  Judge Wagner fixed the guilt as second degree murder at the conclusion of the hearing of testimony to measure the degree of the crime.  Flickinger entered a plea of guilty yesterday to “homicide as charged in the indictment.”

Sister Breaks Down
Appeal bond was fixed at $30,000.  Only once did the prisoner show emotion and that was when his sister broke down and cried.  At all other times he was apparently unconcerned and faced Judge Wagner without visible signs of regret.  Flickinger shot and killed Hardy when they quarreled over the latter’s attentions to Miss Gertrude Weaver, a teacher who boarded at the Flickinger home.

Miss Weaver Testifies
Among the seven witnesses examined Friday in the Flickinger murder case, Gertrude Weaver, school teacher friend of Flickinger and Hardy, the slain man, took the stand for the state and testified that before his first confession in which he accused her of firing the fatal shots, Flickinger had threatened to get even with her.  After making his first confession and before making his second confession, Flickinger admitted in conversation with her that he killed Hardy, she said.  Since making his second confession he had apologized to her for his effort to make her a party to the murder.

Coroner Brink, Dr. Knox and four farmers of the Quimby neighborhood were other witnesses.  The coroner testified as to the evidence given at the inquest, Dr. Knox as to the nature of Hardy’s wounds, and neighbors as to their acquaintance with Hardy and Flickinger and their movements preceding the crime.  The little courtroom here was packed to suffocation.  One man fainted in the jam. 

This was a never-before-told tale from the history of the Libby family. In the end, Edwin Flickinger confessed to the shooting, first trying to implicate Gertrude, then confessing that he acted alone. He was tried in January 1926, found guilty and sentenced to 50 years at Fort Madison state penitentiary. 


Morris' wife, Viola, was in divorce court about the time of her husband's death but before his body was found. Upon returning to her home after obtaining her divorce decree, she learned of his death. He was apparently killed on a Saturday night/early Sunday morning. The next day the postman passed by on this lonely stretch of road, assumed the occupant was hunched over lighting a cigarette, and went on his route. The next day it didn't seem as likely that the occupant of the car was still lighting a cigarette, so the body was discovered on Tuesday. According to records I found on Ancestry and in news archives, Viola remarried two months after the trial. Gertrude, the school teacher involved, secretly married Ralph Fritz, also of Cherokee, in South Dakota in April of 1929.  Edwin Flickinger was released from prison sometime prior to 1952 when he married Aris Thomas Nordstrom Dillon Conroy of Sioux City, Iowa.  He died in 1988 in Sioux City, Iowa.


1930 Apr 17, Emmetsburg, P9, Emmetsburg, Iowa
Mother of Quimby Convict
Killed in Auto Accident.  Son Came Home to Funeral
Eddie Flickinger, who is doing duty in the Fort Madison penitentiary for complicity in the Quimby bank robbery last fall[sic, murder of Morris Hardy], was allowed to return home a few days ago to attend the funeral of his mother.  He was permitted to come without a guard.  Hi Yackey, the well known state agent, considers the young man’s word as good as his bond.  Mrs. Flickinger, the mother of the convict, met her death under rather sad circumstances.  She and her two daughters were at Cherokee buying commencement dresses for the girls.  On their way home their car overturned three times, pinning Mrs. Flickinger beneath.  She was fatally injured but she retained consciousness until the last.

1930 Apr 17, Hawarden Independent, P14, Hawarden, Iowa
Mrs. Frank Flickinger of Cherokee was fatally injured the evening of April 5th when the automobile in which she was riding turned over in a ditch, pinning Mrs. Flickinger underneath.  She suffered an injury to her neck which caused partial paralysis and this is thought to have been the cause of her death.  Mr. Flickinger was driving and he believes that he applied the brakes too quickly when a rear tire went flat, causing the front wheels to lock.  Mrs. Flickinger lived four days following the accident.  The other occupants of the car escaped with minor injuries.  Mrs. Flickinger, who was 44 years of age, is survived by her husband, two daughters and one son.

Jul 6, 2011

A Libby Mystery

Florence, Annette and Rossie Libby, sisters of Alvra, 1938

My latest research revolves around great grand uncle, Alvra C. Libby, son of Samuel Appleton and Angeline P. (Riley) Libby. Alvra was born in Delaware County, Iowa in 1866, the 5th child, and third son. A record for Cherokee County, Iowa listed at
shows Alvra married Eugenia Phelps on Christmas day, 1889. Eugenia Phelps, a daughter of Anson D. and Persis (McDougall) Phelps was born in Wisconsin but the family moved to Cherokee County, Iowa by 1880. Supposedly, this same Eugenia Phelps married Benjamin Kitter Burrill (also born in Delaware County, Iowa), in approximately 1900 in Ponca City, Oklahoma, where they lived until at least 1910. Afterwards, they joined Eugenia's parents who had moved to the Corning, California area.

My supposition is that it is unlikely there was another Eugenia Phelps in the same area, so Alvra and Eugenia's marriage must have gone through divorce or annulment between 1889 and 1900. Eugenia then married Benjamin Kitter Burrill and Alvra left the area. In two sibling obituaries, brother Alvra is listed as residing in South Dakota. I find no evidence of him there. In 1949, Alvra's obituary is found in Benson County, Arkansas follows:

1949 Jul 19, Northwest Arkansas Times, P2, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Alvra Libby

Rogers, July 19 (Special) - Alvra Libby, 83, an aged itinerant sent from Washington County to the Rogers Convalescent Home recently, died Sunday. No immediate relatives have been located. Funeral services and burial were to be conducted this morning in the Rogers cemetery by the Rev. James T. Handle.

Alvra's sister, Annette (my grandmother's aunt) received notification from the convalescent home of her brother's death on July 21, 1949. I have not yet found any indication at all of Alvra from the time of his marriage in 1889 to his death in 1949 at age 83. It's a mystery I'd sure like to solve!

Jun 4, 2011

A Phelps Genealogy Angel

Another example of the giving nature of genealogists - I posted a request on FindaGrave for a photo of my Phelps great great grandparents' grave. They were orchidists in Corning, Tehama County, California. Persis was a McDougall and family history traces her line back to Somerled in Scotland (1113-1164). I knew Anson and Persis Phelps were buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery in Corning, CA, but had no photos of their grave. Within a day Bob McConnell had located the grave and sent a photo. Thank you, Bob!

Apr 30, 2011

My Dad

I recently received this photo from Margie, my Oceanside cousin on my Burrill side. It shows my great great grandfather, George Washing- ton Burrill (1836 - 1924), with some of his great grand-children in 1918. I was especially thrilled to get this photo because I have no doubt that the cute little blonde boy on the right is my dad. It is the best photo I have of him near that age - the face is definitely my dad, Lowell Burrill Dempster (1917-1995).

Lawler Genealogy

I'm working on the husband's side of my Oceanside cousin's genealogy. We have been looking for Henry Ashton Lawler and his wife Caroline Josephine "Lena" Christianson Lawler. Lena died in 1966 in California. Her obit is less than informative! Henry died in 1914 in Minnesota and I can't find an obit for him at all.

However, the real person of interest is Henry's mother. Her name was Mary A. supposedly born in Ohio around 1843. She married Thomas Lawler probably about 1860 and may have died in Minnesota between 1886 and 1889. Thomas, a railroad worker, was buried in Kentucky after dying of consumption while there. Mary then married her second husband, a very colorful Civil War veteran by the name of Benjamin F. Whitehouse. Mr. Whitehouse remarried in 1899, so Mary's death seems to be in the three-year window between 1886 (when property was transferred to her) and 1889 when her second husband remarried. Sure hope someone reading this blog has info on this family.

Feb 1, 2011

Parks Genealogy

I've met a Parks "cousin" from Pennsylvania through our shared passion for genealogy - particularly Parks genealogy. Not only do she and I have a lot in common but she has also had her family's DNA entered in a search for her Parks ancestors. Her DNA comes the closest to ours, being one marker off from that donated by my cousin Richard. Interestingly, Carol's line includes a James Parks born in 1761 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. There is a possibility that he could be the father of my James Parks born about 1790-1791.

The immigrant in her family was Joseph Parks, born about 1727 in Antrim, Ireland, who came to America and settled in Virginia in 1760. Joseph married Rebecca Clark who was from England. They had six boys and two girls, some born in Virginia, some in Pennsylvania. The family migrated from Virginia to Pennsylvania and in later years, Joseph and Rebecca went back to Virginia and are buried in Fishersville, Augusta County, Virginia in the Tinkling Springs Cemetery.

Their first son, James 1761, was married and had two boys in the 1790 Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania census.

We are not yet able to locate the wife that James 1761 married, but she died between the birth of the boys (one of which might be my great great grandfather) and James' second marriage in about 1803 to Carol's ancestor, Barbara Steer. We had thought we'd found a first wife named Jean Buchanan married about the right time in Virginia, but it turns out to be another James Parks who then settled and remained in Kentucky - while her James remained in Pennsylvania and possibly Virginia. The hunt continues!

Jan 8, 2011

Winter in St. George

Now that the holidays are behind us, St. George decided it was time to add some icing to our red rock mountains, crags and canyons. We awoke on January 3rd to find a 2-3" layer of snow, complete with bunny tracks. This year it didn't melt as soon as it usually does and many of the mountains surrounding us still have powdered sugar on them. The north sides of some of our SunRiver resident homes also have telltale snow. It hasn't been that cold, but apparently cold enough to keep the white stuff around. It's a refreshing season when we remember our "Hot August Nights."