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>------- Original Message -------
>From : Sharon Ann Kåsa[mailto:sak@jesa.net]
>Sent : 10/3/2006 8:00:34 PM
>To : bev@funstuffforgenealogists.com
>Cc :
>Subject : RE: Mattias Davis and wife Jane Van Kirk
>Hi Bev

You are really filling in some gaps for me, so maybe I can fill in some of the gaps that remain. It may take me a while, to fit them in. How is it best to get started? I have Mattias' military records and battles. That fits in with the letters.

The letter from John Rafferty must be from John Rafferty, Sr. (1817 to 1888). He was married to Mary Van Kirk, Jane's older sister. He is writing to Jane about either about her grandfather's estate or her brother Jemison. John Rafferty writes first Jamison Van Kirk, but later spells the name as Jemison and I believe it must be Jane's brother because of the date. Jane's brother spelled his name Jemison and he died without marrying. Jemison was a school teacher. He was also in the Civil War (Co. F, 68th Reg. Indiana. He was listed as a volunteer and had the rank of 2nd Lt. Jemison Van Kirk. The Margaret and Elizabeth John Rafferty refers to are Jane and Mary's sisters. Ester (Esther) is Jane's next older sister. She was born in 1841 and never married to my knowledge.

Jane came from a line of military men. The first Jamison Van Kirk, Jane's paternal grandfather and my 4th gr-grandfather was born in 1758, the son of Arthur Van Kirk and Mary Jamison. I have traced Jane's ancestry back to the Verkerk family in The Netherlands. Aert Aertsz Verkerck was born abt 1525 and lived in Maas, Waal en Rijn, a river area in The Netherlands. The name Verkerck became Verkerk while in The Netherlands. In North America it became VanKirk og later Van Kirk.

Skipping a bit forward in time, Jane's (and my) earliest known ancestor in North America was Jan Janse Verkerck and wife Marijke Gijsberts. There are a lot of details about children and family but to keep the email short(?), they arrived in New Amsterdam (now New York) on board the De Rooseboom (The Rosetree) March 15, 1663, from Gelderland in The Netherlands. Jan and wife Marijke died in New Utrecht, Kings County, New York. It was their grandson, Arthur Van Kirk who married Mary Jamison in 1757.

Mary Jamison was Arthur's second wife. His first wife Hannah Stout, had a daughter, Sarah Van Kirk, who married her cousin Henry Van Kirk. One of Henry's descendants, Phoebe Elizabeth Dickerson married George Tyron Harding and their son became the 29th President Warren Gamaliel Harding.

I wonder if Jane was counted twice in the 1860 census? I find Jane's brother, William Madison Van Kirk, Jr., age 33, living in the household of Mathias Davis, whose wife is Jane (age 16). William Madison Jr.'s son, William N., is in the household of Robert Van Kirk. William's daughter Margaret Ellen, age 9, is in the household of Louis Main and wife Elizabeth.

In the 1880 census, Magdalene, Jane's mother, was living in Johnson Township, Ripley County, Indiana with daughter Jane and Jane's 5 children.

I wish I could find the last letter James Herman Trisler (he spelled it Tressler and Tresler, but his children all spelled it Trisler). In a letter from my (1st) cousin, Virginia Louise Trisler Richard (30 Sept 1989), Louise wrote that her grandfather (James H. Trisler) was going to Kansas to stake a claim for ground. At that time, his youngest child, Monte, was about 8 years old so the year must have been 1878-1879. In any case, the date could not be 1876 or earlier. James left Neopolian, Indiana and headed west. His wife (Jane) and children were to come after he had staked the claim to land. He wrote to Jane at every stop and told her where he was and where he was headed next. The last letter Jane received stated he would try to make it to Bender's Inn.

I don't know if you are familar with Bender's Inn, but this is the place in Cherryvale, Kansas, where the Benders made it a practice to kill their guests while they were eating their dinner. The house stood about one mile NW of a marker at a roadside park on U.S. 160, 10 miles west of Pasons. In 1879, the police found 11 bodies with crushed skulls. One of these was very
probably James Herman Trisler, but the family learned of it too many years afterward to prove this. Louise said this was the last letter Jane ever received from her husband and they never could find out more. James Herman was never heard from again and their were no traces of him after his planned stop at Bender's Inn. The Benders managed to escape the police.

Jane was left with children and no way to support them. She tried to get her pension back (the one she had from Matthias) but it was denied. The only choice that left her was to have a divorce from James Trisler. So that was done. But only because she needed the money, and the government required her to be unmarried, as well as the widow of Matthias. She couldn't prove James Herman's death so a divorce was the only course left open to her. That was very hard for her. She didn't believe in divorce but ended up accepting the only course open.

Jane's 4th grandchild (my aunt) was born in Pratt Co. Kansas, in 1908. Between 1908 and 1915, when my father was born, they moved to Oklahoma. The gap between my aunt and my father is because my grandfather was traveling back and forth to develope the homestead in Oklahoma and build their house. My grandfather, Daniel Huff m. Alice Trisler) also had a wagon building business in Kansas that he ran with his brother and two nephews.

Jane was with my grandmother and grandfather until sometime after 1930 and more than 87 years. I have a picture of Jane when she is very old and also a picture of her with her 3 daughters. Jane's youngest daughter (my grandmother) married my grandfather in Hutchinson, Reno Co., Kansas, 1 Oct. 1900. I see that the General Affidavit you have transcribed also was done in Reno Co., Kansas and appears to be done in 1903.

I know Jane and daughter Alice were in Silica, Rice County, Kansas in 1901 and 1902. They were in Pratt County, Kansas by 1907 and in 1913 Daniel Huff moved his family to the farm at Rosston, Oklahoma. After my father was born they moved to Laverne, Harper County, Oklahoma. That's another story.

I can't believe how long this has gotten. Hope you read this far :)



Received 5 October 2006

Hi Bev
You "found" John! That must be the story behind finding the letters. Jane probably gave John the letters from his father. Of course!! Then when he died one of his children inherited them; probably Tessa. The obituaries mean a lot to me. I have searched for John for years without finding him.

My father's father came from Ohio to Kansas and then settled finally in Oklahoma. My grandfather married Alice Trisler in Hutchinson, Reno Co. Kansas 1 oct 1900. My paternal gr-grandfather and his wife left Ohio and went to Kansas sometime between 1874 and 1879 and are mentioned as pioneers of Rice County, Kansas. The odd thing (at least in my head) was that my grandfather had a brother named John R. Huff born in 1872. I have always wondered if there was a some connection between his name and Jane's oldest son, John R. Davis, born 1861.

Finding John R. Davis pretty much eliminates any connection namewise because the timing is off. Unless my paternal grandparents have some earlier family connection from Ohio or Indiana since John R. Huff was born in Ohio. So one puzzle solved for me, I think. :)

I will get the photographs, scan and send you digital images. My daughter has put them up on her family wall. A couple are drawn by hand and they are very old. I may already have som of them on a CD, she scanned in several for me before her scanner quit working a year or so ago. She hasn't bought a new one yet, but I have a small scanner.

All the information you have is just wonderful. I compiled a book a few years ago for the Trisler Family Reunion. No one could say for certain what happened to John Davis. I wonder if John came back to Indiana or if he died in Kansas? Do you have any genealogical data or history for John R. Davis and his line? If so, I would love to have it. I always understood that he took over a land claim in Kansas - he had a right to land in Kansas because of his father's military service, but was too young to claim it when his father died. James Herman Trisler went to Kansas in 1877 according to one of the letters. John would have been 16 years old at this time. Family history is that James H. Trisler went to claim and develop the land. Jane did go to Kansas after her husband was killed and I have always believed it was so that John could claim his land. John would have been 18 in 1879.

The family history is supported by the fact that Jane had no means of support after moving to Kansas, and reapplied for her pension. That Jane had to have a formal divorce from James Trisler (after his death and so that she could have her pension) was always a very hard and sad thing for her and her children. She never got over it. Divorce was considered a terrible thing back then, so it was not mentioned often, but I think the reason for it should be included in her history. I believe she would like that.

I think it is okay to put the information I send you on your website. I am chatting a lot, so I will leave it up to you what you use. Nice to know that Matthias and Jane will finally have their story told. Certainly, it is representative of many who lived and struggled to make a life for their families and children.

Oh, I almost forgot to answer your other question. Jemison's name was spelled both ways, Jemison and Jimison and Jim for short. The family often referred to him as Jim. I don't know if he died in the war, or due to illness during the war. The soldiers suffered much sickness due to exposure and lack of food. The men in his family have always been military men so he was that too. I don't have a documented date for his death.

Do any of your Davis lines go back to John Davis (1735-1806) and Mary Chamness. John's parents were Charles and Hannah Davis. John has a brother, Thomas. Both of these are connected to my father's Huff line. There are also marriages between Jamison and Davis - and between Davis and Trisler. Just wondering about the history of these families. Almost all my research is from the 1800s and older. When I found the immigrant ancestors in my lines, I started tracing those forward in time - and searched all the known children and their lines as far forward as possible. That helped me prove a lot of family connections. For my family in recent times (1900 and forward), I am missing information for lines that are not direct, but are still related.

Hugs from Sharon


Received from Sharon 5 Oct 2006

Esther Richey, in 1967, wrote that James Herman Trisler spelled his name Tressler (correct, later documented), however, all his children spelled their last name Trisler. Esther also wrote that James went west looking for property and never returned.

From a letter written by Virginia Louise Trisler Richard of Catawissa, Missouri, dated 30 September 1989:

"Now I shall go back to my grandfather James Herman Trisler. He was going to Kansas or Oklahoma to stake a claim for ground when my father Monte was about 8 years old. He being guardian of John Davis and his father had died in the Civil War, therefore he was entitled to land. James Trisler left Neopolian, Indiana and headed west -- his wife and children to come after he got ground. He wrote back to them -- the last one stated he was in Kansas and his next stop would be at the Bender's Inn. That is the last letter ever received. We also heard the Bender's Inn was a notorious gang that killed people for their money and buried them in their yard. We never did find out anything more about him."

CHERRYVALE, KANSAS - In 1871, old man Bender and his wife Kate opened a general store and inn here in their home on the main road between Cherryvale and Thayer. In 1879, when Dr. William York stayed overnight at the Bender's Inn, he was never heard from again. When York's brother Colonel York asked about Dr. York, the Bender's denied any knowledge of him, but a week later they skipped town.

Colonel York returned to the house and while searching the basement he noticed a vile odor and traces of blood. Out in the pasture he noticed eleven neat indentations that looked like graves. When the graves were opened, police found eleven bodies, one of which was Dr. York, The skull of each had been crushed with a sledge hammer. It was determined that Mr. Bender had sneaked behind each victim while they were eating dinner and hit them in the head with the sledgehammer.

(The house stood one mile northwest of a marker in a roadside park on U.S. 160, 10miles west of Pasons).

Montie was born 1871 - James Trisler supposedly went to Kansas when Montie was about 8 years old, or in 1877-79. James' youngest child was born in March 1877, so James did not leave earlier than the autumn of 1876.

We now know from one letter that he left somtime in 1877. Most likely in the spring or summer. He must have been carrying money. I don't know if Louise meant that James Herman was entitled to the land or that John was. I have always thought he was making the claim for John. Maybe the Benders took whatever papers he had with him? I have also wondered if Jane went to Kansas to try and find out what happened to her husband. If John stayed in Indiana, then he may have taken over his father's property there? That could explain why Jane waited until John was of legal age? Oh! The questions!!! :)

It certainly explains why I never found John in Kansas.