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

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