Richard Fountain “Fount” Page

SONY DSCRichard Fountain “Fount” Page was born in Warren County, Kentucky in 1815. He came with his father and siblings to Lafayette County, Missouri in1827. They traveled the whole distance in wagons, which contained all their worldly possessions. Once they arrived in Long Grove Settlement they lived in their wagons until they succeeded in erecting some cabins sufficient for their protection. Long Grove was an area south of current day Page City. Here they lived the life of pioneers to the fullest sense of the word. Richards’ mother, Sarah “Sallie” Ennis was the first death to occur in the Settlement in 1831. She was buried in the Page Family burial ground which eventually became the Page City Cemetery.

Game was plentiful and they hunted bears, panthers, catamount and elk. There was also “wolves by the acre”. The weapon used at the time was an old-fashioned flint-lock rifle. It was customary that on the 4th of July the men of the Settlement would organize a grand hunt. Afterwards they would use the meat and have a big barbeque which included the entire town.

On April 5, 1834, Richard married Margaret Richey at the Lafayette Courthouse, the ceremony was performed by Duke Young. mo-lafayette-county-1904-mapThe young newlyweds moved into a newly built home in Washington Township, Johnson County, Missouri. Within a year they welcomed the first of the 9 children they eventually had. From 1837 to 1843 Richard bought 330 acres of land in Johnson County. There he grew corn, hemp, and a variety of vegetables. It is not known if he sold his property here but in 1845 he moved his family to Lafayette County to where the town of Page City is now situated and he bought 170 acres there. By 1850 they had built a very respectable farm. In the census it states that their entire belongings totaled $10,000, quite a large sum for this time.

Richard died on May 14, 1852 at the age of 37 years, 3 months and 2 days. He is buried near his mother in the Page City Cemetery.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Missouri

Isidro Torres – “The Man With The Hole In His Hat”


Isidro Torres and his wife Juana Isidro Torres was born May 15, 1862 in Sonora Mexico. His Mother was a Yaqui Indian and his Father was from Spain.  Isidros’ Mother died in childbirth. His Father, not knowing what to do, gave his son to the Godmother and he returned to Spain.

Growing up Isidro was reminded daily that he had been abandoned and that he was lucky to be living with his Godmother. He was the last to be fed, the first to have to rise in the morning and the only child who had to work all day. He had no formal education and could not read nor write. He did however learn to farm and to shoot. He was very good with a gun and he hardly ever missed. When he was a teenager he would go off into the woods and hunt animals. He was very good at tracking them and he always came home with meat for the table.  Isidro was a proud man.  He never worked for anyone else once he left home, he worked only for himself.

In the 1880’s the Mexican Government decided that they wanted to take control of the Yaqui landSonora Mexico in the Northern State of Sonora because it was very fertile and any crop could be grown in it. The Yaquis’ rose up in rebellion against the Government and a war ensued. Having been raised with no connection to his Yaqui heritage, Isidro began to do scouting for the Government.  It was a dangerous job and during one scouting mission he was fired upon by a band of Yaquis. He was able to escape but was surprised when he removed his hat and found a bullet hole through the crown of it. From that day on Isidro wore that hat proudly.

In 1885 the Governor of Sonora, Luis Torres, along with 1400 federal troops organized an expedition with the intention of meeting the Yaquis in battle. During 1886, the Yaquis continued to fortify more of their positions. During this time Governor Torres asked his men to gather up some scouts. When Isidro came into the camp he was immediately recognized because he was considered the best scout in Northern Mexico. Governor Torres knew that he and Isidro shared the same last name but he refused to call him by that name. The Governor told one of his men to go and get the scout with the hole in his hat and tell him we need his help. When the soldier told Isidro what the Governor had said he was insulted that he was so rude to ask for him in this manner. He then told the soldier to go tell the Governor that “He was not available”. He then got back on his horse and left.

In 1904 Isidro met and married a young Yaqui girl Juana Garcia. He was 45 and she was 15. Over the next 20 years they had 10 children, two who died at birth. Isidro moved his family into the Territory of Arizona in 1910, 2 years before it became a state. He began to farm. Seven of his children were born in the US.

On May 15, 1927, on his 65th birthday Isidro was out in the field planting cotton. His wife brought him and some other workers their lunch and some ice water. Isidro was very thirsty so he drank 2 cups of the cold water very quickly. One of the women who were there scolded him, telling him it could cause him to have a heart attack to drink ice water when you are hot and sweating. Isidro laughed and continued to drink. Later that evening Isidro did have a heart attack and died.

Isidro Torres GraveHe was buried in the Goodyear Cemetery in Chandler AZ next to his two Goodyear-Ocotillo Cemeteryinfant children. Juana took her surviving children and went back to Mexico.

Isidro Torres is my husbands’ Great Grandfather.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Mexican Ancestry, Mexico

John Pleasant Smith Sr – Was His Death an Accident or Murder?

John Pleasant Smith, Oak Grove MO, Murder

1968 Oak Grove Missouri

My Grandfather, John Pleasant Smith Sr. lived a very long and colorful life. He was born September 8, 1882 in the small rural town of Hazel Hill, Missouri. He was the youngest of the 3 known children of Pleasant Smith and Sarah Jane Page.

John lived on a farm in Lafayette County, Missouri for the first few years of his life. His father was murdered when he was about 4 or 5 years old and his mother remarried soon afterwards.  His step-father was a miner so they moved into the Township of Clay. Not much is known about his childhood except that he was an adventurous boy. He spent every waking hour exploring the countryside, fishing and building tree houses. He only attended school through the 3rd grade.

In 1903 he met a beautiful young girl, Ella McGowan. He was 21 and she was just 14. The next year they got married in Lexington Missouri on September 17, 1904. John started working as a farm hand and Ella kept the house.

In November of the next year they welcomed the first of 6 children into their home. 2 of those children, one boy and one girl died at a young age. Mary E. was born in November 3, 1905 (d. 1980), John Pleasant Jr was born October 11, 1906 (d. 1974), Mildred Ella was born March 2, 1910 (d. 1916), Leslie Franklin was born October 3, 1913 (d. 1915), Raymond Eugene was born May 24, 1917 (d. 1989) and my Mother, Emmajane was born April, 25, 1919 (d.1999).

Sometime between 1904 and 1910 John moved his family to Napoleon, Missouri. He began working at J.Y. Ewing Company as a Coal Miner. He also worked as a carpenter and was very skilled at building cabinets for homes.                                                                                      Grave digger

On November 19, 1921 John lost his beloved wife of 17 years. She hada bad heart and it eventually gave out.  John then moved the family to Fort Osage, Missouri where he began to make his living as a farmer, carpenter, and a grave digger.  In 1926 he married Nellie Jane Barrett.  They moved to a farm in rural Oak Grove, Missouri.

John was a religious man and attended Church every Sunday. He was a member of the Baptist faith. He loved to sing and he sang in the choir.  Music was a large part of the Smith household. On the weekends they would invite friends and family to their home for singing and dancing. John also loved to tell stories. No one could ever tell if the stories were true or not because he was very convincing.

John and Nellie were married for 22 years when she passed away from a heart attack. John found himself alone in a large house and farm. The next year (1949) he married Nellie Bryant, sold his farm and moved into town. From stories I have been told this was a tumultuous marriage. John was a Baptist and Nellie was a devout Methodist. In the 19 years that they were married they never attended Church together. John loved to farm and Nellie hated it. Nellie loved to crochet and John thought it was a waste of time.

11 months after I was born my parents moved my sister and I to Arizona for health reasons. My Grandfather made a few trips to Arizona to visit and I really looked forward to his visits. I remember one time when I was about 9 years old; we took him to Nogales, Mexico.  John was a generous man and he had a big heart. He was very shaken by the poverty that he saw. He was especially concerned for all the poor children who begged for money or who tried to sell “Chiclets” to the tourists. As we were walking down the main street he pulled out his wallet and began to give dollar bills to 5 children who were selling gum. This was in 1964 so a dollar was a lot of money, especially in Mexico. The next thing we knew we were surrounded by about 20 children who were trying to get some of the money. They had trapped us in a circle and we couldn’t move. A man from a nearby shop came out, grabbed John and pulled him into the shop. The children all ran off. The man told John that his generosity was admirable but most of those children were crooks and that they would have stolen his wallet or worse.

In 1967 my family moved back to Missouri and we rented a home in Oak Grove just 8 blocks from John and Nellie. I would go over to their home after school and my Grandfather would take me outside to his garden and orchards and we would pick vegetables or fruit. He taught me a lot about growing things. He was very proud of everything I did in school. He never missed a concert or program I was in.

At the age of 85 John stood straight as an arrow. He had never been ill in his life and he was still hand digging all the graves for the surrounding cemeteries. He took care of his little “urban” farm and orchards and his chickens, pigs and cows without any ones  help . He continued to make cabinets for the homes in Oak Grove.

On June 19, 1968 John was outside mowing the yard. He had an old push mower and he handled it with skill. He had gone to the doctors the week before and for the first time in his life he had to take medicine for allergies. He hated taking them because they made him sleepy. Nellie came outside with his medicine and a glass of water and tried to get him to take it. He refused. My Aunt Mae was standing in the doorway and she told us what happened next. “Nellie got mad and started yelling at John. John kept shaking his head no and suddenly Nellie reached out and shoved John. He then fell backwards over the push mower and broke his neck!” He was rushed to the hospital in Independence Missouri where he died 6 days later. When the police came around asking questions my Aunt never told them what happened.

Grandpas HSI guess we will never know if it was intentional or just an accident. What I do know is that I lost the only Grandparent I ever knew and a very loving, kind, intelligent man that day.




I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.



Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Missouri

Just Dig A Little Deeper


Digging for answers.As we all know records like Birth, Marriage and Death can have some discrepancies in them. If we just take them at face value we can end up with errors in our trees. So, what else can we do to determine if the information provided by these documents are true? Census records can help but again there could be some errors there as well. Of course if our Ancestor left a Will then we have hit a gold mine, but unfortunately not everyone left a Will

One way to determine if the documents that you have are correct or not is to consider looking at other information recorded at or near the time of the event. On death records for instance, we know that that date of death and cause of death would be correct, as would the residence at the time, name of the informant, name of the funeral home and name of the cemetery (if given) would be factual. The other information; date and place of birth, names of parents and marital status would have to be verified some other way as the informant may not know the correct answers to these questions or they could be too distraught to remember.

This is the time when we will have to dig deeper, using new ideas and sources. One way to do this is to learn more about the history of the town, city or particular location. We will have to step outside the normal routine of collecting documents and harvesting other information, like exploring the history that surrounds an individual or a particular family, we may be surprised at what we may find. It is amazing how many books there are on the history of families and State counties on Google books. Many of them are free. This would be an excellent place to start.

Another way to do this is to focus on the questions of Who? What? Where? When? and Why? Genealogists are good at answering the first four questions, but they frequently ignore the “Why?” When we seek answers to a wide variety of “why” questions, we can uncover some fascinating data. Example: Did your Ancestor move from one State to another? Why? Was there financial reasons? Did they go along with several other members of their family, or did they start out on their own?  Finding the answers to the “Why” can open new doors of research.

It also means identifying and studying the geographic histories where an ancestor lived. It may include such items as:

•        Town histories

•        County histories

•        Church histories

•        Trade and occupation histories

•        Ethnic histories

Exploring these can lead us to more specific resources, such as diaries, newsletters, special gazetteers, business records, and school records. As with any detective work, the evidence we gather will likely lead to further discoveries.

directoryDon’t forget about using City Directories. They have been in use for over two hundred years. The obvious usefulness of the directory is that it has alphabetical listings of names of people residing in a given location that can help us determine where our ancestors lived at a particular time. Very often it contains the person’s occupation, as well as both business and home addresses. Women are often referred to as the “widow of . . .,” thereby supplying us with a time frame as to when a male member of the family had died. An occupation may assist us in determining which person was our great-grandfather or maybe which one certainly was not.

City directories are being used to reconstruct the 1890 census. More than 20 million records have been identified for inclusion in this collection and additions will be made regularly as they become available. This in itself shows how important those directories can be.

As we search for our Ancestors remember that it can be a good thing to “think outside the box” and dig a little deeper. When we do so we may find those hidden treasures we all want to possess.

If you use any of these hints and find some valuable information on one of your Ancestors please let me know. I would love to hear about it!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.



June 26, 2014 · 8:08 pm

Genealogy Goals vs Strategies

A goal is defined as: “the result which an individual plans to accomplish something”

Genealogy goalsThe goal of every person doing Genealogy is to find and record as many family members, both current and Ancestral, as possible. We strive to find the documents that link these relatives to us and we pray that we can find a photo or two of those we have never seen before. Our goal is to organize all that we do find into some kind of order so that it can be easily understood. For most of us, the end goal is to have an accurate and complete Family Tree to pass on to the next generations.

When I first started working on my Family History I really didn’t give much thought to it. I would go to the Library or repository and find whatever documents I could. I would then write out a “Family Group” sheet on each person and connect the documents to that. When Genealogy sites were finally available on the internet I approached it the same way. I would “snatch and grab” whatever information I could find and add it to my trees. After a couple of years of doing this all I ended up with was a big mess.   I ended up having to start all over again. What I realized was, I needed to have a strategy to my Genealogy research.

However approaching Genealogy with a strategy sounds boring.  I mean aren’t we supposed to have fun doing research and finding all those hidden treasures?  Oh course we are, but sometimes…okay a lot of times, we get off track when we are researching and we waste hours hopping from one Ancestor to another or one document to another without really accomplishing anything and missing vital information. Most people have busy lives aside from Genealogy so the time spent in pursuit of Family History is a precious thing. So let’s look at what a “strategy” really is:

A strategy is defined as: “the method by which the goal is achieved.” While both are geared towards success, the 'Strategy' highlighted in greengoal serves as the specific aim which inspires individuals to work efficiently while the strategy serves as the pattern, system, or means by which the goal is reached or achieved.

So developing a strategy is basically following a pattern or system that will help you achieve the goal of finding and documenting your Ancestors. This “system” should not be so strict that it becomes a hindrance to your research. It should however include a guideline that you follow so that with each Ancestor you can do a complete search of all the information that may be out there before moving on to the next person. We get so excited over our finds that we just barrel ahead and skip some important information or documents. So by developing your own strategy for your research you can keep on track and accomplish your goals.

I would love to know what strategies you use.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, How-to

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – What Did Your Father Love To Do?

Every Saturday night Randy Seavers challenges us to Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Each week he has a different subject and in honor of Fathers Day tomorrow this week’s topic is: What Did Your Father Love To Do?

The question is asked; what did your father really like to do in his work or spare time?  Did he have hobbies, or a workshop, or did he like sports, or reading, or watching TV?

Here are my answers.

Douglas Hughes

Dad (on swing) and his brother Leonard 1919 age 4.

My Dad, Benjamin Douglas “Doug” Hughes was born 18 August 1915 in Hughesville, Pettis  County, Missouri. He was the 7th of 11 children born to Charley Hughes and Virginia  “Jenny” Hayes. His family moved to the outskirts of Lexington Missouri when he was about  4 years old.

He grew up on a farm and he loved to plant vegetables and watch them grow.  His Father raised show horses and mules so he learned to ride, train and care for the  animals.  He loved to fish, camp and hunt, learning to shoot a rifle at 9 years old.

In 1928 when he was just 13 years old he bought his first drivers license for 25 cents. He didn’t have to take any tests or prove he could drive. For the next 46 years he never had an accident or a traffic ticket. I am so glad that he was the one who taught me how to drive.

Civilian Conservation Corp

Dad at CCC Camp, Lake Tahoe CA 1935.

In 1935 he served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Lake Tahoe California. There he learned the skills that heused to make a good living after he got married. His first wife and baby son died of Tuberculosis. He was married again briefly in the mid 40’s but it did not last. He then married my mother in 1948. To that union my sister and I were born.

Dad moved us to Tucson Arizona shortly after I was born. Although the climate and vegetation was totally different than Missouri’s he succeeded in making our yard a show piece. People in the neighborhood would come and ask his advice on how to care for their plants. He even grew peach, plum and apricot trees that bore fruit! Every weekend he would spend his days outside working in the yard or building patio furniture. He loved to work with wood and he made amazing things.

My Dad was a Union man and he was very proud of that. I remember one time we went to the grocery store and there were some picketers outside with signs. He asked them what it was all about and he discovered it was a Union picket line he refused to cross it and we left and had to drive several miles to another store. He was a man of great convictions.

He worked construction and the company he worked for helped to build the Movie sets out at Old Tucson Studios. He got to meet John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and the cast from the High Chaparral. Everyone who ever met my Dad liked him.

TbirdsWhen we moved to Santa Monica in 1969 he discovered the L.A. Thunderbirds Roller Derby Team. He loved it and would watch it on TV every week. After a few months he found out that twice a month they had the Roller Derby at the Olympic Auditorium in Downtown LA. We started going to all the games. I don’t think he missed one in the next 5 years. He was so proud of me when I decided to become a Roller Derby Skater when I was 17 years old. He would drive me to the Olympic Auditorium on Saturday mornings and I would train. This only lasted a couple of months, once I found out how truly fake it all was I quit, remember I was just a kid! It never deterred my Dad from continuing to   watch his “T-Birds”.

Dad and my oldest son.

Dad and my oldest son.

In 1974 we were living in Hollywood and my Dad began to have problems breathing. When he finally went to the doctors he found out he had lung cancer. They removed his right lung, sent him home saying he had 3 months to live. My Dad fought a good fight for over 9 months and on June 24, 1974 at the age of 58 he passed away peacefully in his sleep in his own bed.

My Dad was an amazing man. He lived through the Great Depression, worked hard as a farmer, horse trainer, butcher, coal miner, and a builder. He took care of my mother for 7 years after she had a mental breakdown, refusing to put her in a home. He loved my sister and I with unconditional love and even though it has been 40 years that he has been gone I still miss him every day.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Fathers Day, Genealogy

My Mysterious Great Grandmother: Sarah Jane Page

mysteryA couple of weeks ago I read a posted by a great blogger, Cindy Freed (@GenealogyCircle ). She wrote about some of the mysteries surrounding one of her female Ancestors and she ended the blog with a request that if anyone knew any information about this woman to please contact her. When I told her how much I enjoyed the blog and how I also had a few female Ancestors that seemed to be hiding the facts of their lives from me, Cindy suggested I write a blog about them. Who knows, I may not only find the answers I seek but some new “cousins” as well.

My first mystery Ancestor is my Great Grandmother, Sarah “Sallie” Jane Page. Until about 2 months ago the only thing I knew about her was her name, where she was born and her birth date and year. I had posted on a very helpful Genealogy Group on Facebook and one woman found her in the 1900 Census by a different last name but my Grandfather John Pleasant Smith was living with her. From there I was able to piece together enough to broaden my search of her. This is what I have found thus far:

Sarah Jane Page (Sallie) was born March 11 1860 in Dover, Lafayette County, Missouri. I found her death certificate that shows she died July 5, 1938 in St. Joseph, Buchannan County, Missouri. From the certificate I found her parents names, George Washington Page and Mary Ellen Smith, and I was able to trace their lines back several generations.

Sarah married James McDowell on December 24, 1876 in Lafayette County. She was just 16 years old. They had one child (that I could find) Leona McDowell born in 1880. MYSTERY #1: I do not know if James died or if they got divorced.

Sarah then married my Great Grandfather, Pleasant Smith on April 13, 1882 in Lafayette County. She was 22 years old. They had one child (that I know of) my Grandfather John Pleasant Smith born September 8, 1882, just about 5 months after they got married!  MYSTERY #2: Again I can find no evidence of what happened to Pleasant. The story my Mother told us when we were growing up was this: “Pleasant was a full-blooded Creek Indian Chief. He left the tribe and they were not happy with him. Sometime after my Grandfather was born, Pleasant was murdered and his body was dismembered and placed on the railroad tracks. Whoever killed him thought that when the train came by everyone would think that the train had hit him. However someone found his body before the train came. A few weeks after he was buried a letter came in the mail addressed to Chief Pleasant, with a last name different from Smith. Sarah never opened the letter but sent it back to the sender.”  My Mother never gave us time frames so I am not sure when this was supposed to happen.

Sarah then married a man by the last name of Farres. MYSTERY #3: I cannot find any information or documentation of this. However when Sarah married the next man, this was her last name.

Sarah married James Newhouse on February 28, 1894 at the age of 33. MYSTERY #4: She and James got married in the home of Pleasant Smith who apparently was a son of the older Pleasant by another wife. MYSTERY #5: Who was Pleasant Sr married to before Sarah?

MYSTERY #6: In the 1890 Census (Davis, Lafayette County) Sarah (Newhouse) is listed along with her son John living with Pleasant Smith, his wife Dythia and their two sons, Joe and Daniel Mullens. It lists Sarah as Pleasants’ “sister-in-law” and John as his “brother”.  After finding Sarah’s’ parents I found that she had a much younger sister named Dythia (Dicie) and she had apparently married Sarah’s’ stepson. Are we confused yet? MYSTERY #7:  It also lists Sarah as being divorced (From James Newhouse?).  I can find no evidence of this either. Of the 6 children Sarah was supposed to have had; only one was still living in 1890 (stated in Census).

MYSTERY #8:  In the 1910 Census (Clay, Lafayette County) we find James Newhouse as the Head of the Household, Sarah his wife, Dicie (listed as widowed) and her 2 sons. What happened to Pleasant Jr? Did Sarah and James get re-married?

The 1920 and 1930 Census have Sarah and James still living together.

On Sarah’s’ death certificate it gives her date and location of birth which matched the information written in my Baby Book. Dover, Missouri was a very small town so I concluded that there couldn’t have been two Sarah Jane Page’s born on March 11, 1860 in this small town so this indeed is my Great Grandmother. She died in the State Hospital #2 in St. Joseph, Buchannan County, Missouri. She is buried in the Bates City, Lafayette County, Cemetery.

I have no idea if any of these MYSTERIES will ever be solved, but just writing them down has helped me to focus my research. If you know anything about any of the people in this blog please let me know. Maybe we can help each other!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History