Friday, July 5, 2013

A Day Late for the 4th of July Festivities

Well, if I'd been paying attention yesterday, I'd have realized that the 4th of July was the perfect time to remember Audrey and Erna on the 95th anniversary of their wedding. That's right, they tied the knot in Springfield, Missouri on July 4, 1918, ninety-five years ago yesterday.

Here, I'll post their wedding-day photo again to make up for my tardiness:

It appears I also missed an opportunity yesterday to post another favorite photo that was taken on the 4th of July, this one from 1915:

(Remember to click on photos to enlarge them.)

That's Grandma Audrey standing on the wagon with her hand on her hip. A notation on the back of the photo reads: "July 4th, 1915 - Headed for picnic at 'Baptisin' Hole' on Spring River, Stotts City, Mo."

Let's turn that photo over:

Twenty-four people are identified here. Just in case someone is looking for information on any of these folks, I'll transcribe the names here so Internet search engines can find them:

On ground -- Mrs. Van Welsh -- Mrs. Fred Welsh

On seat -- Harve & Minnie Brower, Baby Velma

In tree -- Henry Schillinger

Below him -- Webster Welsh

Second row -- Mr. Schillinger, Audrey Smith, Janie Schillinger, Minnie Schillinger, Lena Welsh

First row -- Erma, Etta, Geneva Brower, Clieve Galloway

Top row -- Abb & Minnie Galloway, Former Dessie Schillinger and husband

On ground in rear -- Fred Welsh, Emery Welsh, Van Welsh

H. Brower's team & wagon

So, I've done a little research today to find out who these people were who planned to picnic at the "Baptisin' Hole" on that long-ago 4th of July. The Browers, of course, were Audrey's family. Minnie and Harve were her mother and stepfather; Velma, Erma, Etta and Geneva were her half-sisters. Audrey was 14, almost 15, in this photo.

Van Welsh was the white-bearded man behind the horses (or were they mules?) in the photo. His full name was Martin V. "Van Buren" Welsh, and he was a Union soldier during the Civil War. According to census records, he would have been 75 years old at the time of the photo. Van's first wife, Lorena, died in 1888. Nine years later he married his second wife, Annie (Anna, pictured standing at left on the ground), who was Harve Brower's widowed mother. I couldn't confirm the family connection of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Welsh, but Webster (shown peeking over the shoulder of the man next to Audrey) and Lena were children of Van and Annie. Webster was 14, born in the same month and year as Audrey. He died only three years and 20 days after this picnic; I don't know why.

I found Absolam H. "Abb" Galloway in a 1905 Joplin, Missouri City Directory. He was a miner, as was Harve Brower, so perhaps they knew each other that way. By the time of the 1915 picnic, Abb was married. He and his wife, another Minnie, had a son named Clieve, and the whole family lived in Stotts City.

The Schillingers were a real puzzle, but I finally tracked them down through young Henry Schillinger (the shadowy figure barely visible in the tree at the far left of the photo). The man identified as "Mr. Schillinger" (whom Audrey just missed poking with her elbow) was Andrew A. Schillinger, a widower. His wife, the former Margaret J. Arter, had died four years earlier. Dessie, Janie, Henry, Minnie -- and a couple of other kids who didn't go to the picnic -- were their children. Dessie's unidentified husband's name was James Allison Jay. Even after finding all these Schillingers online, I still can't figure out their connection to the Browers, the Welshes, and/or the Galloways, nor can I find any other reason for so many Schillingers to be in Stotts City for a 4th of July celebration. All the records I could find, before and after 1915, showed the Schillingers living in Kansas. Nevertheless, there they were in Stotts City on that day, and I'm certain it didn't cross any of their minds then that some old woman in Louisiana would be sticking her nose into their business 98 years later.


  1. Thank you for sharing your photos and stories. I live in Stotts City, Missouri... 2013!!! My favorite line that you wrote is the very last sentence!!! LOL

    1. Welcome, Valerie, and thanks for your comment. I've enjoyed learning more about Stotts City in the course of this project and am pleased to hear from a modern-day resident. I hope you'll visit again.

    2. My name is Marilyn Hodges and I live in California. My dad's family on both sides (Neely's, Linder's, Hodges, and Shelton's) lived in Stotts City in Missouri from the 1850's until well into the 1900's). I remember my parents taking me there in 1960. My mom told me she met a lot of dad's people. Over the years, many have moved or passed away. Still looking though. Thank you for sharing this great photo and story. It means a lot.

    3. Marilyn, thanks for your nice comment. Coincidentally, I married into a Neely family. If you happen to come back again and read this message, email me if you'd like to (there's an email address under the "contact the editor" tab near the top of this blog), and maybe we can determine whether or not we have family members in common.


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