The Diary of Lizzie Dopps





Chapter II



There was in my Grandfather and Grandmother Matthews family besides my father his sister Carrie who married Harry Winder.  They lived in Richmond, Indiana,  They had two daughters, Alice, a splendid kindergarten teacher and Edith, a librarian,  There was also one son, Bennie, who died in the army during the Civil War,

Aunt Carrie died in 1897.  I do not know when Uncle Harry, her husband, died. 

And then my father had another sister, Ann Eliza, also a brother Ed, a brother Will and a brother Oliver

I do not remember much about my uncles, but years later I again met Aunt Mattie, wife of my fatherís brother, my Uncle Oliver.  I also met Aunt Mattieís and Uncle Oliverís two daughters, Olive and Jessie.

There was also a son Albert, in my Uncle Oliverís family.  Albert was in the wholesale millinery business in Indianapolis.  They all lived in Indianapolis for many years, with the exception of Jessie, who married Charles Thornburg and lived in Anacortes, Washington for some years.  Jessie and Charles Thornburg had one son Winston, who is now married and lives in Buffalo, Hew York.  Charles is dead and Jessie lives in Seattle with her sister Olive.

Uncle Oliver died October 6, 1906, at the age of seventy-three.  At the tine of Uncle Oliverís death, his daughter Olive was then about sixteen years old and at his deathbed Olive promised to care for her mother as long as she lived, a promise she certainly fulfilled.  I have never seen a more devoted daughteró-practically giving up her life, or all her wishes, to care for her mother.

After Aunt Mattie passed away, Olive married her sweetheart of fifteen years courtship, Austin Donworth.  Theirs was a short life of married happiness, though as "Don" passed away two years after their marriage.

Olive had always been very near and dear to me.  In Aunt Mattieís declining years I cared for her in our home.

My Aunt Ann Eliza had two daughters Inda and Mayme, but Cousin Will had passed away.  Cousin Indaís husband was general passenger agent of the St. Paul division of the Northern Pacific Railway, a very good position, had their own private car, etc.  Cousin Inda passed away some years ago, but not until we had renewed our relationship after not knowing of each other for many years,

Cousin Mayme lived at Dash Point.  Her husband Harry Dean soon died in 1926.  They had one son, Joseph, who is married and living in California, doing very well financially.

I see my dear Cousin Maymie quite often.  She is a dear, patient soul, who has had a stroke and is rather helpless, but is always so cheerful and happy.

It was rather strange the way I again renewed our relationship with Aunt Mattie and these cousins after so many years of not seeing them or knowing anything about them.

One day in 1900 I was wondering about my relatives I had not seen for so many years.  I was filled with nostalgia to see them or hear of them, at least.

I did not know if Uncle Nathan, my mother's brother, was still living, but if so, I thought he would probably be at the old homestead in Ohio, as he was the last of my Grandfather Branson's family, my mother and her sister, Eliza, having passed on years ago.

As I have said before, Uncle Nathan was my mother's brother.  I did not much remember him.  My clearest memory was that when he was married at a Quaker ceremony, I, being a tiny girl, grew so restless at the long service.  At the dinner which followed, I vehemently announced, "Well, when I get married, Iíll never marry a Quaker!"  At that they all laughed and asked, "Well now, Lizzie, what has thee got against the Quakers?"  My answer was, "It just takes too long to get married, and I'm hungry!"

As I started to relate, this day years later in 1900, I had a longing to know more of my people I had not seen for so many years, and decided I'd write to Uncle Nathan, and if he still lived, and was at the old homestead, I knew I'd receive an answer from him.

He was still living, and at the old homestead which had then been in the family almost ninety years.  He wrote and told me of all he knew of my relatives--not only of my mother's and his family but also of my father's people--the Matthewses.

It was in this way I found that my cousin Jessie Matthews Thornbearg, was living in Anacortes, not many miles away from me.  I immediately wrote to her and she came to see me, and when her mother and sister. Olive, came west to visit her soon afterward, they stopped off to see me also, and so renewed the relationship which we have ever since kept up.

Through them, my Cousin Maymie and her husband, Harry Dean, learned where I lived, and a few years later when they came west to reside, they made a visit and then settled in Tacoma.

I have spoken of my father's people, now I shall speak of my mother's.

My mother's sister, Eliza, married Marcellus S. Cook, February, 1850.  On September 30, 1851, a daughter, Anna, was born to them.  My Cousin Anna and I were very near of an age, just one month and one week difference, I being the older.

Two years later, 1853, a son, Hadly, was born to my Aunt Eliza and Uncle Marcellus Cook, but his was a short life, he being only two years old when he died in 1855.

Two more years passed by and my Aunt Eliza gave birth to twin daughters, Thomasin and Elizabeth, November 2, 1857.

Twenty-five days after their birth, on November 27, 1857, dear Aunt Eliza passed on.  Elizabeth, one of the twin babies, died in infancy.

My Grandfather Branson, Aunt Eliza's father, and his second wife--his first wife having died several years previously--took the two little girls, Anna, aged six, and Thomasin, a tiny baby, into their home to raise, 

When Grandfather Branson passed on to his heavenly home, sixth month, fifteenth day, 1875, he left a small fortune in money to my Cousin Anna.  He also left some money to Thomasin and some to me.  I shall speak of that later.

Anna was then not quite twenty-four years old.  She went to Cincinnati to an aunt of hers--her father's sister--and with her money studied to be a linguist.

In order to become more proficient in this, she went to Europe and spent one year in Germany.  Upon returning to the United States, she taught languages.  She also had a Sunday school class of seventy boys.

However, her useful life was abruptly cut off when she contracted what was then called "hasty consumption," and after a brief illness, died the thirteenth day of October, 1877, at the age of twenty-six, thus closing a brief but brilliant career.  And this closes the chapter of the history of my mother's older sister Eliza, and her family.

My Uncle Nathan, my mother's brother, married Anna Swain and they lived on the old homestead in Ohio. 

They had three children, Evelyn, who married Ralph Howell; Swain, who married Elizabeth Prilman, and Louella, who married Howard S. Smith.  Aunt Anna died March 1, 1902.  After we moved to Tacoma, Washington, my Uncle Nathan came west to visit me in his eighty-fourth year, tall, straight, and dignified.


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 © 2006 Laurie Arnold.  All material presented herein was transcribed or otherwise provided by Laurie Arnold from the unpublished text of the diary, family photos and personal genealogy.  She and her family have graciously given permission for the diary to be posted to the Norton County Kansas GenWeb website, for the benefit of others who had pioneer families in Norton County, Kansas. This diary, photos and personal genealogy may not be reproduced, published or re-published for any reason, in any format, without prior written consent of the contributors or copyright holders.  web design © 2006 Ardie Grimes