Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Monday, February 20, 2017

"Grandma Thompson": Remember When

In 1981 we took a trip to Kansas so I could introduce my husband to where I had grown up. He is an Arizona native so I had seen all of his memory places. 

I also wanted to do some genealogy, so one of the places we stopped was the Graceland Cemetery in Meade, Kansas. 

I found my great grandmother's grave along with other members of the family. I remember Nellie and her funeral. 

The sad part of this story is her son who died at about ten days old. At that time there was just a wooden marker. I don't know if it is still there. 

Near them lies Nellie's sister, Laura Bell, who never married. 

At some point she turned the family home known as the "Keith House" into a boarding house. 

Then came the frustrating one: Grandma Thompson 1811-1900.

I knew Nellie and Laura's mother was Nancy Ann Thompson so I figured this might be her. At some point I learned she also came out from Illinois after her husband, Soloman Thompson, died. But what were her first and maiden names?

She remained "Grandma Thompson" in my mind and on the genealogy charts for a long time. As I learned more about doing genealogy and also as records became available I would occasionally returned to the search for this lady. I finally found out her name was Jane and much later that her maiden name was Malone but that is about all I know.

She was illiterate as she signed her land records with "her mark."

She lived in Clark County in a small sod house as described in her land record. She also had an "idiotic" son who lived into adulthood and probably helped her farm. His name was James and I haven't found anything on him after she died.

Jane's death was another problem. I couldn't find an obituary or any other record. Finally, I don't remember exactly how, I learned she died in 1903 instead of 1900. My theory is the stone was put on much later. If you compare hers to Laura's you can see they are the same so my guess is that is when her stone was put on the grave and whoever gave the information (probably Nellie) remembered wrong.

Here's the obituary I finally found for Grandma Thompson:

"The Meade County News", Meade, Meade County, Kansas.
Thursday, October 8, 1903.
Two aged soldiers of the Cross have fought the good fight of faith and gone home to rest.
Grandma Thompson, sister Keith's mother, passed away Friday p.m., Oct. 2. This Sainted mother in Israel was born ninety-eight years ago, living with her children until the day of her death. Grandma Thompson united with the Baptist Church more than 70 years ago. The writer visited her several months ago and held services in her room, she expected a desire to unite with the Meade church, stating that she desired to die in the church. She enjoyed her religion and was always able to give a reason of the hope she had in Christ.

We laid her to rest in Graceland cemetery on Saturday afternoon to await the voice of the resurrection.

"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

The search for Jane Malone Thompson's ancestry continues. Meanwhile, it is rewarding to go back over how much information has been found in the past 36 years.