Friday, June 26, 2009

Ernest Leroy Whitney continued....

(story continued....)

Ernest was the oldest of a family of three boys: Ernest, Arthur and William - and of three girls: Hatie, Luela and Eula. Ernest and his brother, Arthur "Art", were the only family members to travel west.

Arthur and his wife Mamie returned to Vermont when their eldest son, Arthur Jr., was full grown. Arthur Jr. remained in Kansas and worked for his uncle Ernest.

When WWI broke out, Arthur Jr. joined the Army and went overseas. He returned to America, mustered out and started for home. He disappeared somewhere enroute. Family members never heard from him again. (I did a little research and found Arthur. He was living in Colorado in 1920 as a laborer. In 1930, he was living in Michigan. In 1932, he was living in a WI home for disabled soldiers with a residence of Chicago, IL. His social security death index lists his death as June 1966 in Pueblo, Colorado. I'm not sure why the family never heard from him again.)

About 1920, Ernest traded a team of young horses for an old Chevy touring car. He did not get much pleasure out of it as they had no paved highways in that part of the country at that time. He was not a very good mud driver. On a trip to Topeka to the State Fair, they met a herd of cows in the road. They were forced into a ditch. Ernest had to get a team of horses to pull the car out.

One year, Leon (Ernest's son) drove Ernest to the annual Melvern picnic in Ernest's chevy. On the return trip, Ernest told Lee he would get out and open the gate for the cows to be corraled to get milked. Ernest stepped off of the car before it had come to a complete stop and was thrown on his back. The next day Ernest began to bloat and never recovered. Ernest had to quit the farm and move to town (Melvern).

Ernest passed away he following spring in 1922. They diagnosed his illness as cancer of the liver. He was 67.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ernest Leroy Whitney

Ernest Leroy Whitney
January 23, 1855 Vermont
1922 Kansas

Ernest was born in a small town, Rochester, Vermont, near the green mountains to William and Arvilla Whitney. He was the oldest of six children, three boys and three girls. While they were growing up on the farm, they learned to fish, hunt, trap and sail boats on the beautiful lakes.

In the year 1863, William (the father) joined the Union Army and went to war. Fortunately, at the end of the Civil War, he returned home with no serious wounds. Ernest was then about ten years old. He soon became a good hand to help with the chores and farm work. In the winter, he and his father hunted and trapped together for furs and meat for the table.

At age 20, Ernest attended the National Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, PA. He bought several mementos and sent them home to his youngest sister, Eula. Some of these are still in the family.

As Ernest grew older he began to experience a desire to go west and see the great plains of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. One morning, he climbed aboard a train pulled by a coal burning engine with a big smoke stack and headed for Williamsburg, Kansas. This is where an old neighbor, Jerry Hussey, had homesteaded a quarter section of farm land. Ernest went to work for Mr. Hussey on the farm. He stayed a year or more before returning to Vermont.

After visiting a short time with his folks and old friends and neighbors, Ernest returned to the Hussey farm. During the winter, they worked in the woods clearing the timber and brush so they could cultivate it. The logs were used to build houses, barns and fences. The limbs and small branches were used for heating and cooking fuel. He also mined coal out of the hills on Tequa Creek, which flowed through that part of the country.

Ernest soon met and married Ellen Patrick. She was a neighbor girl who had recently come to Kansas from Indiana with her widowed mother and large family of brothers and sisters. Ernest built a log cabin on the Hussey farm. The couple proceeded to raise a family of five boys and two girls: Lloyd Leroy, Ershel Ray, Clifford Claude, Orion Glen, Leon Kenneth, Anna Arvilla and Laura Calista. They all lived to be grown and have families of their own.

(story to be continued.....)

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some Unknown Facts About the Civil War

An interesting article was just published on CNN and I wanted to share it with everyone.

A few of these I knew, but others I did not. It's a good read. Enjoy!

I'm not too sure that I'd pull a Mulan. I'm too much of a chicken to fight.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Life of Clifford Claude Whitney

This is my husband's paternal great grandfather. The following is a story from Ershel R. Whitney, Cliff's brother.

"Clifford was born January 30, 1888. He and I (Ershel) grew up together and became very close. We played together, fished, hunted, trapped, fought for each other and became inseparable. Clifford remained on the farm for several years after I went to work in Kansas City. After he and his girlfriend had an argument of some kind, he sold his stock, came to Kansas City, and went to work in the car repair department for the Milwaukee Railroad.

After Cliff had worked on the "Rip Track" for a few months, the foreman told him the company was going to send some men to the main office in Milwaukee to take examinations for Firemen. He wondered if Cliff would like to go? Like most youngsters, Cliff thought it was the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. However, for some reason, he quit the "Firing" job after a few months. He and a friend went to work for a farmer near Nortonville, Kansas, a short distance north of Kansas City.

He had been there only a short time when a country doctor from that community called me by telephone and informed me that Cliff had appendicitis. He asked me to come and see him. I caught the first train. After talking a few minutes with the doctor, we decided that I should bring him to Kansas City with me. Our M.D. did not agree with the diagnosis and gave him an enema. In a few days, he went home with dad, Ernest Leroy Whitney, who had come to the city to be with him. In a short time, he had recovered completely. (Sounds like he had an appendicital stone which Brian just went through.)

Cliff later fell in love with a young girl, Mae Rogers. He married her and went to work on the section for the Santa Fe Railroad at Lyndon, Kansas. They later moved to the farm adjoining the Old Home Place where they reared a family of three girls: Hazel, Frances (grandma), and Freda.

After feeding cattle for several years, Cliff decided to go into the dairy business and bought a herd of Guernsey cows. For this purpose, he borrowed money from the Melvern State Bank. He gave them a mortgage on the herd for security. During the depression, the bank took bankruptcy and he lost the herd. He continued to work the farm for several years.

Cliff was the kind of guy who would neglect his own welfare to help someone who needed assistance. During the last illness of uncle Judd, his mother's brother, who was about 90 years old, he left his job and went to help Mitta take care of him. Mitta was uncle Judd's only child. He didn't leave until after the funeral.

When WWII broke out, I (Ershel) was having trouble keeping clerks in the store. I wrote him and suggested that if he could come and help me out, I would put him on the payroll. He came and stayed with me until I retired in 1956.

Some time later, Cliff decided to go to the Kansas Masonic Home in Wichita where he was very happy. He stayed until his death on January 6, 1963. He was 74 just shy of 75."

I have more stories from great uncle Ert. I'll be posting them soon.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting

Thursday, June 11, 2009

1911 UK Census Info

I am sooo far behind with my blogging. Here is some info that I just received from the 1911 UK Census Team from their newsletter.

All Welsh counties now available.

We are pleased to announce that all 13 Welsh counties are now available on


These records contain a total of over 2.4 million individuals, and over a million households.

Search for your Welsh ancestors on the 1911 census now

As the 1911 census is the first where household schedules were preserved, you will find that some of the census returns are printed and completed entirely in Welsh, while some are written in a mixture of Welsh and English. To help those who are not native Welsh speakers, we have added a site section of useful tips, and have provided translation tables to help you translate the most common Welsh census terms into English.

The tips will also help you narrow down your search results if you happen to have an ancestor with one of the most frequently occuring names, such as Jones or Evans, or one who worked in one of the dominant industries such as farming or coal mining.

Our profound thanks to Geoff Riggs and the members of the Association of Family History Societies of Wales who have supplied the Welsh translations. We are very grateful for their time and effort, and are sure that users of the site will benefit greatly.

Good luck with your Welsh research.

I hope this new info helps all those researching their past in Wales.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting