Surname Saturday - Dodge

This week's Surname Saturday post shines the spotlight on the name Dodge, which is from the maternal side of my family tree. It's a bit of a mysterious line, because it is rather a brick wall for many researchers of this family. My closest relative with this surname was Susannah Dodge, my 4th great grandmother, who married John D. Sutton. But let's get to the surname first and then move onto some of the family history and mystery.


Susannah (Dodge) Sutton and John D. Sutton

Nana's Recipe Box

If you look at it, it really doesn't look that special. I mean, it's a wooden box. How could this simple little wooden box be a treasure? 

Nana's Recipe Box - Ancestry Chick

Nana's Recipe Box - Ancestry Chick

Well, that's simple: this was my maternal grandmother's recipe box. And not only is it filled with all of my grandmothers--and some of my great grandmother's--recipes, but it was also handmade by my grandfather. This is the recipe box of Della Maxine (Kephart) Hammersmith, made by William Robert Hammersmith. And I'm happy to share it as part of Tuesday Treasures

The Death of Jessie Kephart McPherson

Jessie Cordelia (Kephart) McPherson was the daughter of my maternal great grandfather, John Arthur Kephart and his first wife, Mary H. Duncan. Jessie was born December 10, 1903 in Wellston, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. 

Jessie Cordelia Kephart - Ancestry Chick
Jessie's mother died when Jessie was just over three years old. After that time, Jessie lived with her father, while her sister, Mary Alma went to live with their grandparents, Henry and Laura (Hendee) Duncan.

When Jessie was 21 years old, she married 27 year-old, Samuel Archie McPherson. They had two sons together: Warren McPherson (1925-2017) and Larry McPherson (1928-1928).

Jessie Kephart McPherson and Grandparents - Ancestry Chick
Jessie, Standing. Seated L to R: Laura (Hendee) Duncan and Henry A Duncan
Toddler is Jessie's son, Warren McPherson. Circa 1927.

Just shy of their fifth wedding anniversary, Jessie died under mysterious circumstances. Her death is our Monday Mystery for this week. The media account of the circumstances surrounding Jessie's death appeared in a Chandler, Oklahoma newspaper as follows.

Surname Saturday - Whitney

I've recently been trying to expand my family research into the Whitney line, which is on the paternal side of my family tree. I wish I'd focused on this line sooner, because it's taken me quite far back into my family history and I've found some very interesting new ancestors. So, I decided I'd throw a spotlight on the Whitney name for this weeks' Surname Saturday.

The surname of Whitney was originally a place name. The family takes its name from Whitney parish located in County Hereford (Herefordshire) in England. It's located on the extreme western border adjoining Wales and the river Wye travels through it. The name Whitney may also be derived from the Anglo-Saxon hwit, meaning white, and ey, meaning water. Before surnames, early landowners of Whitney were Eustace, or Baldwin, or Robert de Whitney--de meaning of. It was often spelled Wytteneye. Over the course of a few centuries, however, the de was dropped and an h was added and the most common spelling became Whitney. The name can be traced back to the year 1086 to one Eustace of Whitney.

The Whitney family has a strong history in England. One Sir Robert Whitney was knighted before Queen Mary after her coronation in 1553. Sir Eustace de Whitney was knighted by Edward I in 1306. Sir Robert Whitney was knight marshal in the court of Richard the II. His son Robert was granted Clifford Castle by Henry IV. And there were two Whitney ancestors who descended from William the Conqueror. Not to mention my 14th great grandfather, Robert Whitney (there were a lot of Roberts!), who was nominated Knight of the Bath by Henry VIII at the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1531.

That's a lot of cool English history right there. But I'm going to focus on the first Whitney in my family tree to reach America, which was my paternal 10th great grandfather, John Whitney. It's fascinating to me that someone with such strong ties to England and a remarkable lineage decided to make his way to America so long ago.

John Whitney Watertown Massachusetts 1635 - Ancestry Chick

Kephart Postcard 1907

Every once in awhile, I poke around on Ebay, just on the off chance I'll find something up for sale related to one of my ancestors. One regular 'alert' I've set up there is for the town of Wellston, Oklahoma. I have so many ancestors from there, so I like to be aware of any finds from that town that might be relevant to my genealogical research. 

I get hits fairly regularly on 'Wellston,' but up until a few months ago, nothing has proved too useful. But when I got this particular alert, I knew I'd found something awesome. It's related to my maternal great grandfather, John Arthur Kephart. In his younger years, Grandpa Kephart had been a photographer. He even had a studio between 1908-1916, though he'd been taking photos before that, and I'm sure afterward as well. I posted about this once, including a photo of his photo gallery that was in Wellston. The photo had been found by a woman named Carol, who worked at the Lincoln County Historical Society in Chandler, OK. She sent me a copy and I was thrilled to get it. Prior to that, I'd found advertisements for Grandpa Kephart's photography in old newspapers, and even some photos he'd taken that appeared in the newspaper.

Well, the alert I got from Ebay was for a photo postcard from Wellston, Oklahoma. And not only did it have Wellston on it, it also had the name Kephart on the top left of it. Photographers would frequently add their names to the photos they took in that way, to identify themselves as the photographer. 

John Arthur Kephart Photo Postcard 1907 - Ancestry Chick

The postcard left the Post Office in Guthrie, OK, headed to Miss Edna Meyer in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, from one R. E. Davis. The image shows East Main Street in Wellston. 

This may be the only postcard or actual photo I ever find that was taken by John Arthur Kephart, so I will treasure it. But I'll stay on the hunt for more mementos of his photography past. 

Wednesday's Child - Faye and Brucke Kephart

For this week's Wednesday's Child feature, I'm spotlighting two of the Kephart kin in my family. My maternal great aunt, Lorena Faye (Kephart) Woolard; and one of her brothers, my great uncle, Edgar Bruce Kephart. Faye is on the left in the photo, and Bruce is on the right. 

Lorena Faye and Edgar Bruce Kephart - Ancestry Chick

Aunt Faye was born September 30, 1921 in Wellston, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. She was the fourth child and second daughter born to John Arthur Kephart and Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart. Faye married Henry Earl Woolard on June 29, 1945. Since she lived in Oklahoma, I didn't get to see Aunt Faye very often as I was growing up. But I do have a couple of nice memories of her at some family gatherings from my childhood. Aunt Faye passed away on February 16, 1995.

Uncle Bruce was born pm February 15, 1924, also in Wellston. He was the 8th child and fifth son of John and Della Kephart. He married Helen Lenore Gardner on February 5, 1945. I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time with my Uncle Bruce as I was growing up. I have many wonderful memories of summer visits at his home in California, fishing, and helping him work on his home that he built in Northern California. Bruce passed away on November 10, 1994. I miss him dearly.

I think this is the only photo I have of Faye and Bruce as young children, and the quality isn't the best. I edited it a bit to get rid of some of the blemishes. But I still love this photo of the two of them, and I'm glad to be able to share it with you.

Wednesday's Child - Ruby Christina Kephart

I've pretty much gone by the name, 'Tina' my whole life. But my given name is Christina, and I was named after one of my maternal great aunts, Ruby Christina Kephart. So, I thought I'd make Aunt Ruby the spotlight of this week's Wednesday's Child feature. 

Ruby Christina Kephart - Ancestry Chick

Ruby Christina Kephart was born September 29, 1909 in Wellston, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of John Arthur Kephart and Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart, and she was the first born of 11 children born to my great grandparents. She also happened to share the share the same birthday (though 18 years apart) with my grandmother, Della Maxine Kephart. 

You have to admit, she was such an adorable baby! She was quite pretty as she grew older as well. Just look at her, wearing perfectly awesome bows in her hair--long before someone named 'Jo-Jo' got famous doing it. ;) 

Ruby Christina Kephart - Ancestry Chick

I didn't get to see my Aunt Ruby much when I was growing up, since we lived in different states. But I always loved the fact that I was someone's namesake. I thought she had to be very special for my mom to have named me after her. Whenever I did see her, she was always very kind and sweet to me. And the cool part is, my sister named her first daughter Christina as well, so really, we are both namesakes of my great Aunt Ruby! I am so thankful I have these photos of her, and glad to be able to share them as this week's Wednesday's Child.