Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Joseph Platt's Baptism Day

Dear Grandfather Joseph,
Usually people identify most with the ethnicity of their birth surname. Mine is Cone, which was shortened according to family legend from MacCough, and is clearly of Scottish origin. If the truth be told, I have many more English than Scottish ancestors. I use a genealogy software program called Legacy Family Tree. It has a wonderful report format that reports births, marriages, and deaths from my family tree by date. There are no fewer than 25 people in my tree that have significant events on April 1st. I decided to write about you today because, quite frankly, your surname is one that I had forgotten was in my family tree.

Though April 1st may also be your birthday, documentation shows it to be the day of your baptism in Milford, Connecticut. Your parents are Richard and Mary (Wood) Platt. Richard was baptized in Ware, Hertford, England May 6, 1604. He married at Roydon, Essex, England Mary Wood, daughter of John and Jane Wood, January 26, 1628/9.
St. Peter's Church Roydon - the only building in Roydon that dates from before their marriage.
Photo By Robert Edwards, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Ware, a market town, is about 5 miles from Roydon. It was known as a hotbed for Puritanism. Rev. Charles Chauncey, who went on to become the President of Harvard, was vicar from 1627 to 1633.
He immigrated to New England about 1638 and Richard and Mary followed not long after as he was admitted to the church at New Haven January 29, 1639 (Connecticut Vital Records [The Barbour Collection]1630-1870, vol. Milford p. 128.). Richard was one of the original Proprietors of Milford, Connecticut. In 1643, he received an allotment of 4-1/2 houselot, 27-1/2 upland and 13 meadow acres. He held the houselot, 6-3/4 in East Field, another 20-3/4 in East Field, 4-1/2 in The Meadow and 1 acre in Harbour Meadow.

Milford must have been an interesting place. For all the strictness for which the Puritans were known, evidently there was still time for mischief. According to court records, you were part of a 'silly prank' when you and several friends snuck out in the dead of night and destroyed a Wepawaug Indian fort which was unoccupied at the time. Your motives were not disclosed and it is unclear if the group was fined 10 pounds or if each member was fined 10 pounds. You also had to rebuild the fort.

You had settled down by the time you married Mary Kellogg on May 5, 1680 and went on to a steady career which included being Lieutenant of the Train Band (militia) in 1698 and Deputy from Milford to the Connecticut General Assembly in May 1700.
One of the oldest building in Milford dates from circa 1700 and would have been recognized by Joseph.
By Sgt. R.K. Blue - Own work, CC BY 3.0,
There is some question about your death date but an inventory was taken of your estate March 21, 1703/4. Of your children, only my ancestor Mary was of age.

I'm glad your baptism date popped up on my calendar today. It's always fun to know that not all my Puritan ancestors were staid, sticks-in-the-mud.


For Family members: our descent from Joseph is as follows
Joseph Platt and wife Mary Kellogg
John Woodruff and wife Mary Platt
John Woodruff and wife Hannah Andrew
Samuel Woodruff and wife Anne Nettleton
Andrew Woodruff and wife Mirand Orton
Stephen Sanford and wife Olive Woodruff
Reuben Newton and Caroline Beckworth Sanford
Charles Shepard Newton and wife Mary Elizabeth Clarke
Frederick Naaman Cone and wife Helen Brown Newton
Charles Newton Cone and wife Hazel Bynon Allen
Charles Newton Cone,Jr. and wife Betty Lorraine Cone - my parents.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Happy Anniversary John and Sarah (Noyes) Hale

Dear John and Sarah,
Today we are remembering the 336th anniversary of your marriage in Beverly, Massachusetts. It was sort of a May-December marriage, you, the groom, 47, and your bride 29. 

Both the Hale and Noyes families were of English origin. The exact origin of the Hales remains unknown. Sarah's father, Rev. James Noyes, was born about 1608 in Cholderton, Wilts, England, the son of Rev. William and Anne (Parker) Noyes. William matriculated at University College, Oxford in November 1588 and received his BA Degree May 21, 1592. He became the Rector of Saint Nicholas Church in Cholderton in 1602.

Drawing of the first St. Nicholas Church, Wilts, England. Church is
supposed to have been constructed by the Saxons. The following is from the Church Records,
"The Church of St. Nicholas, Cholderton, was given to the Monks of St. Neats about 1175 and
the grant was confirmed by Pope Alexander III."
used with permission from
William's and Anne's sons, James and Nicholas, along with Sarah (Brown) Noyes and cousin Thomas Parker swore oaths of allegiance so they could sail for New England on the Mary and John under Master Robert Sayres arriving at Boston in March 1634.

James and Sarah settled in Newberry where they had ten children, Sarah being the youngest. Unfortunately, James died when Sarah was only a year old.

Photo from Find A Grave Memorial ID 35286148 added by
Paul M. Noyes, used with permission
Headstone is located at the First Parish Burying Ground,
Newbury, Massachusetts
John Hale's father Deacon Robert Hale is one of the immigrants covered in Robert Charles Anderson's "The Great Migration."  The ship he arrived on is unknown but we know that he was in Boston by the fall of 1630 when he was admitted to the Boston church as member #18. His occupation was carpenter. One source, U. S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700, gives his wife's name as Joanna Cutter and a marriage date of October 14, 1632. By that date Robert and Joanna removed to the church at Charlestown. John, born June 3, 1636, was the oldest of their five children.

John was educated at Havard and graduated in 1657. After graduation, he moved to Beverly where he had been hired to teach religion. On September 20, 1667 he was ordained pastor of the newly organized church at Beverly. He remained in this post until his death.

As an upcoming young man, John married Rebecka Byles December 15, 1664 in Ipswich. They had four children, John, James, Rebecca and Robert before she died April 30, 1683.

Rebekah Byles Hale Headstone
Find A Grave Memorial ID 48178556 photo by Jude
Abbott Street Burial Ground, Beverly, Massachusetts
After a marriage of nearly 20 years, John missed being wed. Both the Noyes and Hale families were Puritans. Beverly and Newbury were only about 20 miles apart so it is assumed that the families were acquainted. At 29 years of age, Sarah was either very picky or had not been interested in any propsed suiters. We don't know why John appealed to her or if the courtship was long. We do know that you were married this day in 1684.

Two sons were born of this marriage, James in 1685 who also became a minister and Samuel who was born in 1687 (Nathan Hale, martyr of the American Revolution, is Samuel's grandson but that is a story for another day).

Kitchen at Hale House photo by author March 2017
There are many more tales to tell of your marriage but those also will be saved for another day. My siblings and I visted your home in Beverly which stands to this day and is a museum maintained by the Beverly Historic Society.

So Happy Anniversary. You have not been forgotten by your descendants.

Love, Cecily

P.S. for family members our descent is as follows:
John Hale and wife Sarah Noyes
James Hale and wife Sarah Hathaway
James Hale, Jr. and wife Elizabeth Bicknell
Eleazer Warner and wife Joanna Hale
Thomas Warner and wife Rhoda Hopkins
Naaman Cone and wife Joanna Warner
William Warner Cone and wife Eliza Utley
Frederick Naaman Cone and wife Helen Brown Newton
Charles Newton Cone and wife Hazel Bynon Allen
Charles Newton Cone, Jr and wife Betty Lorraine Werst

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Happy 355th Birthday Grandfather Samuel Huntington,
Can you imagine, a descendant, 11 generations removed from you, knowing that today is your birthday? I feel certain that your would be shocked by the amount of information we know about you so many years later.

I've just returned from Salt Lake City, Utah and RootsTech 2020, a convention gathering of thousands of Genealogy and Family History enthusiasts and professionals from around the world. In noticing on my Legacy Family Tree Software calendar report that today was your birthday, I thought about all of the services represented at RootsTech that I have used to discover more about your life story.

The Huntington Family began meeting to discuss their family history in Norwich September 3, 1857.  That lead to the publication of The Huntingon family in America: a genealogical memoir of the known descendants of Simon Huntington from 1633 to 1915, including those who have retained the family name, and many bearing other surnames published in 1915. This book is available online from a variety of sources.

Their research states that you were born in Norwich on March 1, 1665 in Norwich, Connecticut the son of Deacon Simon and Sarah (Clark) Huntington. Deacon Simon was born in Norwich, England May 6th 1629. He came to New England with his parents Simon and Margaret (Baret or Barrett) Huntington in 1633. The elder Simon died of smallpox enroute and was either buried at sea or at the mouth of the Connecticut River.

I use to research and build family trees. They have collected billions of records including a database that they've built entitled US, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 the orginal source comes from Clarence A. Torry's "New England Marriages Prior to 1700" published in Baltimore by the Genealogical Publishing Co. in 2004.

You could help us with one problem. Many genealogists think that Mary's father is the John Clark who married Sarah Treat. Others believe Mary to have been the daughter of William Clark of Wethersfield.

Our records show that you and Mary are the parents of eight children: Elizabeth who married Moses Clark. Samuel who married Hannah Metcalf, Caleb who married Lydia Griswold, Mary who died young, Rebecca who married Joseph Clark, Sarah about whom we only know her birthday, John who married Mehitable Metcalf, sister of his brother Samuel's wife,  and Simon who married a Sarah, surname unknown.

You served as a military officer and were entered in the rolls in Norwich as Lieutenant. Your service impressed the people of Norwich and you were granted a parcel of land at Trading Cove Brook, "by the fathers to be laid out by measure, 30 or 40 rods wide, the length of his father's land."
I wonder if you would recognize your land on this map from July 1892.

Norwich, Connecticut Sanborn Insurance Map 1892
Library of Congress
You relocated to Lebanon in 1700.  In 1710, the citizens of Lebanon appointed you to a commission trying to resolve a dispute over the location of a new meeting house. As far as we know, you lived the rest of your life in Lebanon.

Headstone for Lt. Samuel Huntington from the Old Cemetery
at Lebanon, New London County, CT from Find A Grave Mem. #46073474
photo by Brett, used with permission
As you can see, it is difficult if not impossible to decifer the words chiseled on the stone. Not to worry. I discovered the inscription on your headstone at American Ancestors, the on line site for the New England Historical Genealogical Society. Since 1845, this organization has built a comprehensive resource library for family history research and has become the largest Society of its kind in the world.

"Here Lyes ye Body of Leiut Samuel Huntington, Geneleman, Who Died May ye 19, 1717 & In ye 52nd Year of His Age."
from Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999
this collection is from the Connecticut State Library
and can also be found on 
We've also found your Probate Packet containing 1 bond, 2 inventories, 2 distributions, 1 account of Administration, 18 receipts and 1 miscellaneous item. Theses were deposited in the Connecticut State Library under provisions of the Public Act 1909 Chapter 175 and were added July 23, 1912. I've included a photograph of the first page of your inventory. I wonder if you would feel accomplished or embarassed by the number of items listed. What would you think of the valuation of your items?

Love your 9th great granddaughter,

My descent from Lt. Samuel follows:
his daughter Elizabeth Huntington married Moses Clark
their son James Clark married Ann Gray
their son James Clark married Anna Lyman Tiffany
their son James Clark married 2nd Parnel Champion
their son John Champion Clark married Lydia Hornell
their daughter Mary Elizabeth Clark married Charels Shepard Newton
their daughter Helen Brown Newton married Frederick Naaman Cone
their son Charles Newton Cone married Hazel Bynon Allen
their son Charles Newton Cone, Jr. married Betty Lorraine Werst
they are my parents and there are two more generations

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Edward Ebert Kelly died this day in 1987

Dear Ed,
I hardly knew you... of course I was curious about you... you are, after all, my husband's father. I had wanted to meet you before we were married. That didn't happen. After we returned from our honeymoon, we drove up to the Poconos so I could meet you and your wife. My Ed was not enthusiastic about the trip, but I think he agreed because he knew how important it was to me. It was difficult for my Ed, he was still smarting from your departure from his life.

Over the years, through researching your family, I've learned more about the circumstances of your life. It doesn't excuse how you treated your children but it does help us understand.

Born 3 April 1926 in Philadelphia to William Joseph and Alice Mae (Hanna) Kelly, you were the 5th child and second son. According to family lore, you were supposed to be named for your maternal grandfather Edward Everett Hanna. When your birth was registered, there was some confusion so you ended up Edward Ebert instead of Edward Everett.

William J. Kelly Family 1930 census with Edward E. Kelly underlined in red

In the 1930 Federal Census your family was living at 5326 Westminster Avenue in Philadelphia. Your father was working as a Weaver in a Cotton Mill and your older siblings were in school. Things seemed to be going well for the family even though it was the beginning of the Depression. Your sisters, Marie and Dot, used to tell us of how difficult things got for the family during the Depression. They spoke of having to move suddenly, when the family was evicted for non-payment of rent because everyone had lost their job. They explained that if no one had coins to but in the electricity meter in the house, there would be no light, no heat also if no one had the funds to purchase coal.

Things became desperate for the family when your Dad, was killed 17 Sep 1939. We have yet to find the record of the inquest so we do not know if he was killed in a fight or when he was pushed into the street and was run over by a car. There was no life insurance, nor death gratuity. The income he was bringing in ceased.

William J Kelly Death Certificate
The family was living in a typical Philadelphia brick row house at 663 N. Conestoga Street according to your mother who was the informant for your father's death certificate above. The photo, from Google, is the house as it looked in October 2018. By today's standards the house seems small for a family of 8, your younger brother John having been born late in 1930.

The row houses in this area were typically, two rooms down stair, living room or parlor, then behind the dining room and the kitchen was a lean-to attached at the back. There were two bedrooms upstairs.

By 1940, your older sisters were all working to support the family. Marie, Dot and Alice were all working as Cotton Winders in a Rubber Factory. Your older brother William had left school and was looking for work. Only you and your younger brother were in school. Aunt Marie told us that you left school at the end of the term, having finished 8th grade, and started looking for work.

The family managed to stay in the house at 663 Conestoga.

1940 Census for Kelly family recorded April 3, 1940.
We don't know how long it took for you to find work with the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper Company or if it was your first job. We do know you were working there when you registered for the draft on your birthday April 3, 1944. You described yourself as being 6ft tall and weighing 155 pounds with Gray eyes and brown hair and a "flesh pimple on the left hand." I wonder if any of your children remember the mark on your left hand.
World War II Draft Card for Edward Ebert Kelly from from NARA
Though your draft card does not say it, three months later your enlistment papers list your occupation as pressman and plate printer. It was an occupation that you would pursue much of your life. As a single man, without dependents, it was not surprising that you chose to enlist in the Army on July 21, 1944, you surely would have been drafted. Luckily, the war was winding down and you got only as far as Ft. Ord near Monterey, California during the two years you served.

We don't know how you met Pauline Nelda Haas. Your neighborhoods were not far apart in Philadelphia. Perhaps, one of your siblings introduced her to you. our were headed home to Philadelphia by July 6, 1946 departing from Fort Meade, Maryland. We know you and Pauline were married October 25 1947.
Edward Ebert and Pauline Nelda Kelly on their wedding day October 25, 1947
You and Pauline went on to have five terrific children, Edward William, Russell Alan, Patricia Anne, Robert Steven and Doreen Lynn Kelly. It's a shame you did not stay to see them grown. Though you reappeared in their lives now and again, I think its fair to say none of us really knew you well.

Your daughter-in-law,

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Challenge of Common Name Brick Walls: #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Post 2

Dear Grandparents,
Though I often post about your adventures centuries ago, there are those of you who remain mysteries to me. Many of you were born in 19th century America, I'm sorry to admit. When I can find European Records several centuries older it bedevils me to admit that you remain successfully hidden in my own country. The single common denominator among you is the commonality of your surnames.

First example: Elizabeth Jane Jones. I have been searching for the identities of her parents for years.
Elizabeth Jane (Jones) Gibson from family Bible in my possession
According to her daughter Sarah Amanda (Gibson) Hugunin's family Bible, she was born 2 May 1821 in Tennessee. She married Newsom Gibson 29 Dec 1840 in Davidson County, Tennessee and died 1 Jan 1895 in Chicago, Cook County, IL. I have no way to distinguish her from the others named Elizabeth Jones and connect her to her parents.

Second: William Henry Colby, my second great grandfather was born between 1827-30 in New Hampshire or perhaps NY according to records I've discovered.  I have not been able to determine which of the William or Wm Colbys listed in the 1850 Federal Census is him. He married Fanny Hutchinson Hunnewell 11 May 1855 in Lake County, Illinois. My Great Grandfather William Wallace Colby was born 16 Oct 1857 in Black Hawk County, Iowa. The other children are all born in Lake County. Usually in the census he is listed as a farmer however in the late 1870s the family is living in Logansport, Indiana and William is running a broom making business. The broom making is corraborated by a letter written by my Great Grandfather to a cousin.
William H. Colby 1900 Census Vernon Township, Lake County, Illinois
image from
I have found many William Colby's born in New Hampshire between 1825-1830 but still not the clue to link him to his parents. I have DNA matches the tie into descendants of Anthony Colby who immigrated from England with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630 but no paper trail.

Third: Another 2nd Great Grandfather Simpson Barnes' parents remain unknown.  Simpson is supposed to have been born 10 Feb 1825 in New York according to family records that I have not seen. He married Angelina Burgoyne 15 Nov 1848 in Hillsdale County, Michigan.
Simpson Barnes 1850 Census
Cambria, Hillsdale, MI image from

According to census records he also lived in Wapello County, Iowa and Jefferson County, Kansas. There are 15 other Barnes families listed in Hillsdale and surrounding counties on the 1850 census. I'm working on finding a Barnes connection that went on to Iowa and Kansas. So far, it seems he followed his wife's family.

Fourth: Nancy Carr, one of my third great grandmothers, born 5 Feb 1791 in Northampton, Pennsylvania and died 17 Apr 1871 in Wabash County, Indiana. She married Tobias Werst circa Dec 1815 in Pennsylvania and their first son Joseph Carr Werst was born there 23 Sep 1816. The family emigrated to Butler Township, Darke County, Ohio by 1830. By 1855 they are living in Wabash County, IL. Nancy named her first son Joseph Carr Werst and that is my only clue as to the name of her father. There is a Joseph Christopher Carr who died 7 Apr 1839 and is buried in Bucks County, PA not far from where Nancy (Carr) Werst was living on Keystone Run, Northampton County. Once again there are many Joseph Carrs in the area and I have not found the record that ties Nancy to one of them.
Nancy Carr Werst headstone from
Mississenwa Cemetery, Wabash County, Indiana
headstone were moved to this location
So I continued to be challenged by the common names of my ancestors. It is particularly frustrating that all these examples are on my mother's line. I have DNA matches that link me to cousins that are descendants of most of these ancestor but no one has additional information. Here's hoping that one or more of these mysteries are solved this year.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

1 Jan 2019

Dear Grandparents,
Another year has begun. Hopefully, it will be full of more genealogy research that I accomplished last year. I'm making a concerted effort this year to keep up with Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. She provides prompts to encourage writing about at least one ancestor each week. Her first prompt for 2019 is #First.

For my first post of the year, I've selected my 7th great grandfather who was known as Lieutenant Jonathan Lyman. He is the first person I can document who was born on the first of January.
Jonathan's birth listing from Vital Records
Born January 1, 1684 in Northampton, Massachusetts, Jonathan is the son of Richard and Lydia (Loomis) Lyman. He was the fifth born of their nine children. His grandfather, Richard  Lyman, had immigrated from High Ongar, Essex, England in 1631. His grandmother, Hepzibah Ford, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Cooke) Ford had immigrated in 1630 from Dorchester, England.
The Lyman family moved to Lebanon, Connecticut in 1696 with a number of other families from Northampton.

Jonathan married Lydia Loomis, daughter of Deacon Joseph and Hannah (Marsh) Loomis. They were from Windsor, Connecticut. Their marriage was recorded in the volumes of Lebanon Vital Records however, the date is illegible. Based on page number in comparison to legible dates recorded on the same pages it was about 1708. This would also agree with the birth of their first child.

Jonathan was termed Lieutenant from his service in the Train Band of the North Company of the South Society in the Town of Lebanon. He was Ensign in May of 1726 and then Lieutenant in 1729 (Barrett Wendell, Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, 1906 p. 353).

Jonathan and Lydia were the parents of eleven children. six boys and five girls. Jonathan survived four of them. We are descended from their youngest child Anna Lyman who married Isaiah Tiffany.

One of the benefits of going back and looking at genealogy research that was done in the past is that it creates a new to-do list. I had not previously found Jonathan's will. Now I have it and will be transcribing it tomorrow. There will be lots to decipher including more that six pages of inventory. Jonathan signed his will and a quick glance at it reveals there were several books in the inventory so I assume he was literate.

Amanda, Ed and I visited Lebanon in 2015. We did not find a headstone for Jonathan in the old cemetery but he is most likely buried there.

Happy 335th Birthday, Grandfather Jonathan,


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Happy Birthday Grandfather Cecil Oscar Werst

Dear Cecil,
(This was meant to be posted on March 16th and was delayed by an internet outage.) Today we are celebrating the 118th anniversary of your birth in what was then called Grasshopper Falls, Kansas. Please forgive me for not addressing you as grandfather. Having never met you, I do not know if you would have preferred Papa, Grampa, or whatever. I've always thought of you as Cecil. Named for you, I always wondered if children had made fun of your name when you were in school like they did with mine. Thinking of you as Cecil helped me think that I had an ally in the name wars of childhood.

Cecil Oscar Werst
circa 1926
You are the 7th child of Lewis and Mary Jane (Barnes) Werst. The Werst side of your family was part of the Somerset Church Of the Brethren congregation of Wabash County, Indiana that emigrated to Jefferson County, Kansas in 1864.

1900 Federal Population Schedule for Rock Creek Township,
Jefferson County, Kansas showing family of Louis and Mary J Werst
with seven children including 2 month old Cecil O Werst. 8 Jun 1900
In the 1900 Federal Census, Lewis was working as a carpenter and states that he has only been employed for three months so far that year. The family is living in a rented home. I expect you had no memories of life in Kansas as your family soon moved west to Washington State.

Your Dad had been married once before he married your mother 1 Oct 1885. He and his first wife, Lunnete "Mattie" (Fitzsimmons) Werst were the parents of your three older half brothers, Jasper Lewis, George Franklin and Forest Dean Werst. Their mother died in April 1884.

Jasper had followed his maternal Uncle Charles Wesley Fitzsimmons to Pataha, a small community near Pomeroy, Garfield County in the Washington Territory. This was wheat country, not the forested country of Western Washington.

From by Russell Lee, 1941
How wheat was harvested before combines.
Jasper had written home about the plentiful opportunities in the new state and Lewis and Mary Jane decided to follow the opportunity. We do not know if they traveled by wagon or rail. It must have been a logistical challenge to move a family of nine more than 1,000 miles.

The family settled in and their next and last son, Alvin Edgar Werst was born Christmas Eve 1902 in Garfield County. Alas, Lewis was not a farmer. The death of their 10 year old son Guy Alfred on November 24, 1905, the day after Thanksgiving appears to have been the last straw for the family attempt at farming .

Before the end of the year, they moved further west to Belma in Yakima County. This area was known for its apple orchards. It was also an area where the Federal Government was building dams and irrigation canals and there was plenty of work for a carpenter ready to give up on wheat farming.
By the time the 1910 census was taken, Lewis was a prosperous contractor with three of his older sons working as carpenters for him.

Prosperity for the family was short lived, Lewis sickened and died in 1916. With your older brothers married and raising families of their own, supporting your Mother and younger brother fell to you. Thanks to, we know you applied for work as a fireman on the Northern Pacific Railway 21 May 1918 at Pasco, Washington.


We don't know why you lied about your age on the application. Did you think that being 19 would give you a better opportunity? The application states that you were 5ft 8 inches tall and weighed about 140 pounds. You had blue eyes and medium brown hair. You were hired and started work 2 days later. Evidently, the job did not suit you as you resigned effective June 3rd. It wasn't your job performance as the superintendent stated "services satisfactory." Were you homesick? Didn't like the work? Unfortunately, we don't know.

Eighteen months later, the 1920 Census lists you as head of the household, age 19, sole support of your mother and younger brother Alvin. You are listed as a laborer doing general work for wages.

1920 Federal Census for Grandview Precinct, Yakima, Washington
Household of Werst, Cecil
We don't really know much about your life between 1920 and 1924. We know you went to Pendleton, Oregon where your brother Clem was working as a carpenter building houses. Across the street from Clem and Bessie lived Harley "Hal" and Madge (Colby) Massey. Beginning in the summer of 1923, the Massey's were hosting Madge's younger sister Ada Grace. She had moved in after completing two years at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). Grace had discovered her stepmother had given away the dog she left at home in Newberg and vowed to never return to her father's house while her step-mother lived.

I wish we could know what you thought of Grace. I think she was quite the live wire. She had been President of her 1921 Newberg High School class and involved in everything. She was a modern woman, working as a secretary. I expect that she was also the whirlwind that swept you off your feet.

Ada Grace Colby circa 1922 from family collection
You did have many things in common. You had both lost a parent in your teenage years. You were both born in Kansas. You had each lived on farms and knew you wanted to seek your life's work elsewhere. You were both younger children in large families. Most of all, you both were determined to better yourselves.

Many years later, she talked with we grandchildren about her ambitions for you. She talked about how she helped you refine your dress, speech and manners. She also talked about how she loved to hear you play your banjo.

By August 8, 1924, you were in Spokane, Washington getting married.

We think this may have been your wedding photograph.
The next three years passed all too quickly for Grace. You were promoted from salesman to Field Manager for the Royal Silk Hosiery Company. She was forced to leave her position as a secretary for the Spokesman Review Newspaper when her pregnancy began to show. Your daughter Betty Lorraine was born June 23, 1926.
Cecil with daughter Betty circa Fall 1926
Grandmother Hoo Hoo, our pet name for Grace, told us how you doted on your daughter. She talked about you taking her on rides in the park, including the Merry-go-round. She talked about the wonderful three month trip through all your Royal Silk territories in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
What an adventure for the family of three who would soon become a family of four!

Sadly, it was not to be. One of your teeth was bothering you. It was removed, an infection set in, and you were dead in two weeks at age 27 years, 7 months and 8 days. Your death certificate says that one of the leukemias added to your condition. A young life, cut way too short.

Cecil Oscar Werst's Death Certificate

We can not know what you could have accomplished. You left behind a stunned, pregnant wife and a fifteen month old daughter.

I wonder if you ever imagined the size of your family now. We gathered last weekend to wish Helen (Werst) (Pearce) Caldwell, the daughter you never met, a happy 90th birthday. You have 24 surviving descendants and hopefully have been reunited with your daughter Betty.

Happy Birthday Cecil! Your legacy lives on.

Your granddaughter,