Saturday, June 13, 2015

Descendants Of Anna (Dalton) Serl: Why You Are NOT Related To The Dalton Gang

Let's get this out of the way first.  I'm just reporting what I've been told, and what I have found on public records.  The phrase, "Don't Shoot The Messenger" applies here, I think.

I've had this information for probably twenty years and have posted it before on an earlier blog, but then lost the post when I took the blog down.  I've shared it with other people when the subject has come up.  And people who have been given this information have shared it with others until it has gotten distorted.  The fact is, I can't swear that I know for sure exactly WHO Anna Dalton's father really was.  So if you have been on Find-A-Grave or some other website where genealogy information is presented, and you see that Anna's father is listed as someone other than Elisha Dalton WITHOUT the caveat and the details that you will find in the information I will present to you below, please know that they have simply arbitrarily "picked one educated guess".  This practice separates amateur genealogists from others who have been trying to keep their records as accurate as is possible, which is difficult, considering the frailties of human nature and the dang cobbled-up family histories that are posted everywhere you look.

The Hufferd pictures in this post are copies of those loaned to me by Aunt Viv, except when mentioned otherwise.  I was told when she died, both the book entitled "Hufford Family History" compiled by Franklin Pierce Hoffart in 1905, and her pictures, all of which she, as the only daughter, laid claim to when Anna died, were missing.  Just in case the two REAL Trouble-Makers in my immediate family ever say otherwise, I did return everything I borrowed from Aunt Viv, and I can prove it.  All I have are digital images that I scanned from the book while I had it borrowed from Aunt Viv, some laser photocopies of pictures shared with me by other people, and my own copy of "Hufford Family History" a reprint that I paid for myself, done by Higgenson Book Company, the photographs inside being so very poorly captured as to be hardly better than nothing at all.  So I was really glad I was able to borrow Aunt Viv's book and scan in the pictures. 

Anna Dalton was my Dad's mother.  She was born in 1895, five years prior to the marriage between her mother, Martha Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hufferd and Elisha Dalton. 
So of course, that, right there, is enough to cast doubt about her parentage.  It might not be so today, as people live together without being married and sometimes they have children.  But it wasn't so in those days.  Even if they were messin' around, once Lizzie got pregnant, they would've gotten married before the baby was born.

Lizzie and Elisha did have two children.  Daughters.  Neither survived infancy.  This is a picture of Lo-Edith, born about 1902.  The other child's name was Bertha.  To my knowledge, there are no pictures of her. 
Elisha was the son of Samuel and Mary (Smith) Dalton, of Linn County, KS.  He died 26 October 1903 of Typhoid Fever and is buried, according to the newspaper report, in the Iola Cemetery, Iola, KS. I checked.  If he's there, it's unmarked.  And that's entirely possible.  According to records I have seen, he bought six plots in the Iola Cemetery.  LoEdith and Bertha probably account for two, and he might be in one of the remaining plots.  

This is a picture of Samuel that was sent to me by Sue Moore.

This is also a picture of Samuel, which I borrowed from Aunt Viv.  Apparently it got mis-identified at a family reunion somewhere along the way as Abraham Hufferd.  But if you look close you can see that it is probably the same man, just a better picture.

I was really bummed out to learn that this picture wasn't of Abraham Hufferd, as was written on the back of the photo. 

Elisha Dalton had siblings Francis Ann, Martin VanBuren, George Washington, Anderio Andrew, John L., Samuel M., James Henry, Ella Minerva Osia, Victoria and Lillie May.  This Dalton family is firmly intertwined with the Hufferd family.

James Henry married Cora Hufferd, one of Lizzie's sisters.
This is he. 

Victoria Dalton married into the Rumbley family, which had married into Solomon Hufferd's family.  Solomon was one of Elisha Dalton's  correction: Emanuel Hufferd's children by his first wife, and therefore a half-brother to Lizzie.

Lillie May Dalton married George Ezra Hufferd, one of Lizzie's brothers.

Samuel, Jr. married Mary Beasley.  Mary Beasley's mother was one of Lizzie's half-sisters. 
The woman in this picture looks so much like Elizabeth Beasley, who, if the picture turns out to be Samuel, Jr. and Mary Beasley, would have been Mary's aunt, that I'm inclined to present the picture here even though the person who sent the picture to me knew only that it was a Dalton picture.  There is an interesting story regarding this couple, but I won't delve into it here.  You watch.  Someone will copy this picture and remove the stuff written below it, and then post it on Ancestry AS Samuel, Jr. and Mary Beasley without one cautionary word.  Just so ya know, that's happened before to some pictures I've shared, so just because you see it on Ancestry doesn't mean it's true.  Ancestry is just as messed up as any other site that shares genealogy records because of irresponsible, amateur genealogists. 

So that you can guess, too, here is a picture of Elizabeth Beasley, second wife of Emanuel Hufferd, mother of Martha Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hufferd, and sister to Anthony Beasley, who married Emanuel Hufferd's eldest daughter, Susan, by his first wife, and they were the parents of Mary Beasley who was married to Samuel Dalton, Jr.  Yeah.  It gets complicated. Maybe it will help if I explain that Mary and Anthony Beasley were the two eldest children of William Beasley and they were neighbors to Elisha and his family when Elisha's first wife, Eliza, took sick.  Elizabeth Beasley went over to help care for Eliza.  Anthony Beasley was already courting Susan.   Then after Eliza died, Anthony and Susan were married and Emanuel proposed to Elizabeth Beasley.  It's almost one of those "I'm My Own Grandpa" things.  But anyway, it wouldn't be unusual for some of Anthony Beasley's children to look like Elizabeth, because she's his sister.  I hope that makes sense. 

Other Dalton pictures sent to me by Sue Moore are below, included here just in case some Dalton family members find this post and might find these interesting:

Sue said she thought this was a picture of Samuel Michael Dalton in his younger days but I think not.  the hairline is not right.  I don't have a clue who this might be.

If the previous picture of Andrew and Vesta Belle is identified correctly, then this picture is probably not of Andrew.  Again, the hairline is not right. 

If anyone reading this post is descended from this family and can identify these pictures further, I'd certainly appreciate having that information, and will include it here later if it is given to me.

More to the point, and most of you already know how much trouble I have getting THERE -- sorry --, this particular Dalton family ISN'T CONNECTED TO THE DALTON GANG unless they're like distant cousins.  I researched both Dalton families and couldn't find a connection.

So that gets us past the Daltons.  And I'm sorry, if you're related to me and you're upset to find you wouldn't be related to The Dalton Gang, EVEN IF you WERE descended from Elisha Dalton.  Truly I am.  Not everybody can be an outlaw.  The bad thing about being blessed is that so many people just don't know that they are, I guess.  From what my mother and dad, Aunt Viv and Grandma told me, the Daltons that married into the Hufferd family were very good and honorable people.  And from what I've seen, they were good-looking people, too. 

But since Anna was already five years old when Martha Elizabeth Hufferd married Elisha Dalton, then WHO was REALLY Anna's father?  Anna assumed the Dalton surname -- who knows why.  Maybe in an attempt toward respectability.  It was easy enough to be named anything you wanted to be in those days.  Your word was taken for what your name was.  Nobody asked for identification.

This is where the bomb comes in that my mom dropped on me one day when I had her and Dad at my house and I was videotaping whatever they wanted to tell me about their youth, their ancestors, and what they remembered that they wanted to talk about.  Out of the blue, when we were having a break, Mom looked me right in the eye and said, "You know, Anna was not Elisha's daughter....."  I mean, I wasn't even far enough into the research then to know the date of Lizzie's marriage to Elisha.  It was such a shock.  Here this woman had let us kids josh each other around about being "Dalton Outlaws" ALL OUR LIVES.  And she KNEW DIFFERENT?  I guess she just must've smiled a secret smile about THAT.  She might have thought it didn't really matter.  We could've been picking on each other instead.  Or griping about stuff.  Gave us something to talk about.  Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.

Since she had my rapt attention after this statement, she went on to tell a story about how Martha Elizabeth was raped.  The young man's name was "A.B." or "Abie" Collins, she didn't know which, because they both sound alike.  She said that Lizzie was actually in love with his older brother.  According to Mom, when Lizzie became pregnant, the story came out, and Lizzie's brothers "ran him out of town, never to return", as Mom put it.  Mom said Lizzie told her this story herself.  And my dad sat there and nodded his head.  It was no surprise to him.  I was the only one in the room whose jaw had dropped to the floor.

You know, sometimes genealogy is not much fun.  You find out things no one wants to believe, and they get mad at you and accuse you of making stuff up when you report it.  Then the person who told you gets mad at you because they thought you were just supposed to keep it to yourself.  OMG, HOW could I do that?  I found out a lot of things that day that left me depressed for almost the whole week following.  It kind of scared me because, the more questions I asked Mom, the more nervous she became, and she kept looking at Dad sideways as if expecting him to say something that would make it all go away.  A Family Secret was out of the bag, and I was running with it.  Yipe.

And this is what I mean when I caution people who are researching their family history to keep an open mind but to be prepared for the unexpected.

So, yeah, I did some pretty extensive research.  I went to the Iola, KS genealogy library where they keep farm census and newspapers on film.  Farm census in Kansas were taken in years ending in "5".  I visited with the pastor's wife in Mont Ida, where the Hufferds went to church.  I wrote to the court house in Anderson County, where all this took place.  I looked at land records.  And I found that the farm that adjoined the farm where the Hufferd family lived was owned by James Collins.  James was married and had a whole bunch of little children, including recently-born twins, in the year before my grandmother was born.  His wife, Zilla, was the daughter of a fairly influential man in the area, and James was becoming a cattleman of some repute.  He was even beginning to dabble in politics.  On the way up, you might say.

James was the eldest son of Michael and Susannah (Bolton) Collins, and they were on that same census in town, (Welda), with their two youngest sons still in their household.  One was Andrew Ballard.  Hmmmm.  Initials A.B.  Another was named David Absalom and on some records he was recorded as Absalom David.  Hmmmm.  Could be "Abie" for Absalom.  Or, "A.D." does sound enough like "A.B." to be mis-heard by the listener.  I used census records to follow these two boys.  Neither left the area right away.  If one of these boys was Anna's father, so much for being run out of town.  Eventually David Absalom ended up in LaPorte County, Indiana.  He was a carpet weaver.  He married and had a family.  Andrew Ballard was found for a time in New Mexico.  He married but never had any children.  He and his wife lived in Iola, KS, the same town where Lizzie lived, and the same town where Anna raised her children, when his father died.  He ran a gas plant in nearby Humboldt and when I mentioned this to Mom, she said, "Oh, yeah....  I remember the little old man who ran that gas plant...."  James remained in the farming community near Welda, raised his family and ran a large enough farm that there was a write-up about him and his family in the historical records of the area, a copy of which I was sent by a helpful woman at the Anderson County courthouse.

Over the years, I've rolled all this over in my mind, a million times at least.  I joined a genealogy circle for that area for awhile and was pretty well roasted by someone who claimed I was trying to damage the reputation of the Collins family by accusing one of their ancestors of rape.  If this story is true, and why would anybody make it up, then if there's no rapist, that makes my Martha Elizabeth a wanton slut at the age of only sixteen.  I guess the person who roasted me would rather it be that.  Or I guess maybe Martha Elizabeth just found my grandmother in the cabbage patch.  If it wasn't rape, then two people made a decision that resulted in the creation of another life.  If it was rape, then only one person made that decision.  Either way, a man by the name of A.B. or "Abie" Collins made a decision, and he created a life.  All I wanted to know was, did anyone else have this story told to them?  Is this Collins family the right family?  And if so, which brother was it?  I'm a descendant.  If there is anyone who knows, then I have the right to know, too.

I'm of the opinion that everyone who ought to be upset by stuff like this probably died a long time ago.  Yeah, I'm sure there are people who'd get up in my face and say, "MY GREAT-GRANDPA WOULDN'T DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT!!!!"   Well, hell, get a grip.  You don't do genealogy very long before you realize that YOU just don't have any idea what ANY of your ancestors might have done.  No matter who they are.  People did stuff like that all the time in those days.  They just didn't talk about it.  Those who knew about it took it to their graves.  Which is where all this would've gone with Mom and Dad and Aunt Viv, if Mom hadn't blabbed to me.  And I wouldn't even consider coming right out and asking Aunt Viv.  I hinted at the fact that I knew Anna was five when Lizzy and Elisha were married.  And then I paused and looked at Aunt Viv expectantly.  She glazed over.  "I dunno, something might've happened....", she finally said.  More silence.  Then she looked at me over her eyeglasses and said sternly, "Some things are better left alone."  I knew if I said Mom had blabbed, she'd get on the phone and give Mom hell just as soon as I left her house, and then I'd be drawn and quartered as soon as Mom could summon up The Devil.  And there was absolutely no one else left alive to ask.

There are a lot of scenarios that the idle thinker can come up with, assuming that I have the correct Collins family.  There were other families by the last name of Collins in that area at the time, it's not that uncommon of a surname.  But this family just fit so well and was in such close proximity.  It had to be a man that Lizzy already knew, otherwise how would she have known his name?  It's not like he would've been introducing himself while he was zipping up his pants.

Assuming the right man was Andrew Ballard Collins, he was, according to census, living in Las Vegas, NV in 1900, and married a woman there.  He apparently came back to Iola in 1910 because his father's obit in the Iola paper in 1910 said he "died this noon at the home of his son, A. B. Collins, 624 East Lincoln street."  (And you notice the newspaper referred to him as "A. B. Collins".)  So obviously his father was in his care.  1910 census reported him living in Ottawa, Franklin County, KS.   1920 census has him in Iola and 1930 has him in Humboldt.  Assuming he was Anna's real father, was he watching her from a distance knowing she was his only child?  Lizzie didn't die till 1940.  Did she fear Andrew would make himself known, and was this why she shared that information with my mom?  Andrew was born in 1872, making him twenty-two when my grandmother was conceived.  David Absalom was three years younger than Andrew.

Or was his interest, if any, only on the behalf of one of his brothers?

I have to admit, my mind wanders to James.  I mean, here's a man who lives on the next farm over.  He's got a wife at home that's pregnant most of the time and distracted by a houseful of little kids.  It's already been said that Martha Elizabeth was in love with "the older brother", so we know there was one.  So, just to exercise our imaginations, let's say James has been sneaking over to the Hufferd farm when the opportunity presents itself and Lizzie was just seduced.  Sixteen was still a pretty innocent age in those days.  And he was, by golly, thirty-one years old!  But there's no birth control, so when Lizzie gets pregnant, what to do?  He's a man on the way up, and a lot of that depends on the good will of his influential father-in-law.  In one fell swoop, he'd be trading his wife, all his children, his reputation, and probably his farm and livelihood for just a little German girl.  In that event, would one of his brothers take one for the team?  Maybe Lizzie told her parents the truth, whatever it was.  And maybe they all had a meeting and decided upon how to explain the pregnancy in a way that would do the least damage.   Maybe the Collins family paid the Hufferd family off, whether it was to protect James and his family, or keep Andrew Ballard or David Absalom out of jail.  Emanuel and Elizabeth soon afterward sold their farm in Anderson County to Emanuel's daughter Caroline, who was born to his first wife, and her husband Solomon Kelly.  Emanuel and his family turned up on 1900 census in Bourbon County, two counties away.  Then in 1910 they were in Iola, which is in Allen County.  They never again lived in Anderson County.

The truth about this is lost forever unless someone handed down information about it in the Collins family, which isn't very likely.

About the only thing I know for sure is that Anna Dalton's descendants do not have roots in the Dalton family and that particular Dalton family does not have any connection to the family of the men in The Dalton Gang, at least not any that I could find.  If any reader has made that connection in a way that can be substantiated with documentation, please provide it.  That some ancestor of yours said that George and Lily Dalton Hufferd had portraits of the men of The Dalton Gang on their living room walls just won't cut it.   

People pick up the pieces of their lives and go on.  And that's what Lizzie (Hufferd) Dalton did.

Lizzie married Harry Cecil Stimpson in July of 1905, and Harry was a good man.  They never had any children, so Anna remained Lizzie's only living child.  Liz and Harry were together until he died.

They look happy, don't you think?

Anna grew up and married Loyd Leroy Serl.  Before he died in the flu epidemic in 1917, they had four children, the eldest of which was my dad.  My dad was born in 1911, and he was named Cecil Christopher.  I know that the name Christopher was after Loyd's father, Joseph Christopher Serl.  So is Dad's first name a testament to the high regard in which Harry Cecil Stimpson was held by Anna and Loyd?  It's hard to say.  I didn't see the name "Cecil" in ancestry prior to the birth of Cecil Christopher Serl, and Dad told me he thought he was probably named after Harry, the only grandfather he ever really knew.  His Serl grandparents lived in Alliance, Nebraska. 
This is Loyd and Anna with Cecil on the right and Floyd "Fike" on the left.  I don't know if this picture was taken before Vivian and Chuck were born, or maybe they were just not in the picture.  Anna said Loyd was the love of her life.  The Serl men who looked like Loyd and his father, Joseph Christopher, were handsome men.

Lizzie and Harry were good grandparents.  They didn't have much but they filled in the gaps whenever they could.  Harry died in 1936.  Lizzie died in 1940.   James Collins died in Anderson County, KS in 1953.  Andrew Ballard died in Chanute, Neosho County, KS, at the age of 99 years old, in 1971. has an Absalom David Collins who died in 1943 in LaPorte County, IN and is buried in the Patton Cemetery in the city of LaPorte.  The birth year matches what I have for Absalom David, son of Michael and Susannah Bolton Collins.

Anna would marry twice more, and each time she would be widowed.  She died in 1986.  All her children are now deceased.

The mystery remains.

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