Author Topic: William Anderson Greathouse and Mary Elizabeth Vandal of WV/MO/KS  (Read 19063 times)

jo ann stephens

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I am not a Greathouse, but have information on William A. Greathouse and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Betts) Vandal Kerby Greathouse who migrated to Kansas after the Civil War.  Betts was d/o Jonathan Boggs Vandal and Zeruah Rowena Ingram and married first, William Kerby in Marshall Co., WV, and had two sons by him.  He was killed by a horse and she then married William A. Greathouse and they had two sons and a daughter.  William Greathouse was also killed in an accident in KS.  Betts and her family lived in Chautauqua County, KS, where she died in the early 1900s and is buried in Round Mound Cemetery.  Will share my info and would like to receive more on this family.

j. a. stephens


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Greathouse/Vandale pictures
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2007, 05:54:10 PM »
I have pictures and documents to share of Elsie Lee Greathouse (dtr of Charley Lee Greathouse and Ida Jones), and the related Greathouse, Vandale and Walkling lines. I don't see any way of posting them to the forum. Please email me if you are interested in having me send the pictures and info to you.[/b]


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Orlando Walkling Article
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2007, 02:17:54 PM »
This is one of many articles I have about Orlando Walkling, who was married to LaVerna B. Greathouse. I'll post the others soon.

From The Modesto Bee; March 19, 1961

“Dad” Has Never Stopped Working
By LaVerne Potts

   Modestan Orlando (Dad) Walkling, 93, has packed a lot of living into his interesting life and is still going strong.
   He is more active now than many men a third of his age and is busy tanning hides, making bull whips and rope, farming and doing custom plowing.
   He attributes at least a part of his longevity to drinking large quantities of goat’s milk all his life. He does not drink intoxicating beverages and concerning smoking said:
   “I wouldn’t put a cigarette in my mouth for all of California.”
   Walkling, who lives at 634 Thrasher Avenue, was born in 1868 in Indian Territory in Oklahoma about half way between the present cities of McAlester and Oklahoma City. His mother was half Shawnee and his grandfather was full Shawnee.
   Walkling’s Indian name is Skipo Kasite, meaning :to be a big chief”. He, his mother and his two sisters lived with his grandfather until he was 15 or 16 years old. The family home was a wigwam made out of elm bark and they moved often.
   His mother had one small kettle in which she cooked and from which the family ate. Each had his own spoon.
   He always has enjoyed good health and has not been seriously ill since he was a boy. Then he had been wading in a lake picking flowers to sell and thinks he had typhoid fever.
   One big event which stands out in his early life is a trip he, his two sisters and his mother took while he was a small boy. With the children riding three ponies and his mother walking, they traveled from their home area down into Texas to within 32 miles of San Antonio. The round trip took about a year.
   Where did he learn to make bull whips and rope? His mother taught her children to braid, make baskets and whips, rugs and lots of things. They even made their beds by weaving willow switches.
   He secured his first real job when he was 16 by telling a surveying company that he was 20. He started as an ax man, clearing areas so they could be surveyed.
   The survey party started in McAlester and he worked with them all the way to Amarillo, Texas, and ended up as head chainman.
   “I was with them for about a year and a half,” explains Walkling. “I made the worst mistake of my life when I quit them. I got along fine. If I had stayed with them, I would have had a different life altogether.”
   The surveyors had taught hi how to figure and it was with them he made his fisst rope. The company had a rope for use with a pile driver, but the rope wore out in a coupkle of days.
   The Indians had some binder twine the government had sent to them for use with grain binders, but the Indians did not have enough grain to bother with. So Walkling took some of the twine and twisted a new rope using a wagon wheel.


   Later when the survey company was in between jobs and Walkling could not stand the delay he went to Denison, Texas, with a pocketful of $5 gold pieces, bi8d on a horse and saddle and won. Rather than wait a couple of weeks for the survey company to start work again, he rode to Coffee County, Kansas, and went to work for E. W. Barker, one of the largest cattle feeders in that state.

   Walkling worked there until 1893 when the Cherokee Strip was opened to settlement. He quit the ranch and laid claim to 160 acres and set out 110 acres of fruit trees. His holdings grew until he had 1,000 acres of land in Oklahoma.
   He explains:
   “I had one of the biggest peach orchards in Oklahoma for a good many years. We shipped 55 railroad carloads of peaches one year and also canned 85,000 cans of peaches. WE had girls peeling them by hand. The tops of the cans were soldered by hand. We boarded all of those people.
   At one time he had three small oil wells on some of his land in Creek County. He received never less than $10 and as high as $105 twice a month for 10 years from the well.

   He was married in 1896 and the couple lived together for 60 years and reared eight foster children. Of the eight, they legally adopted twins. They cared for all of the children  until they finished their schooling.
   The family was on the ranch for 30 years but moved to Perry, Oklahoma, to live while sending the children to school. In Perry, Walkling and his wife bought a store, meat market and hotel.
   “We did a credit business, trusted everybody and ended dead broke,” said Walkling. “We came to California in 1942 entirely broke.”
   As soon as he arrived here he started looking for a job. He was 76 years old and everywhere he asked he was told he was too old.
   Then he went to a local meat plant, told them he was 72, and got a job. He worked there two years until he was injured on the killing floor.
   A roller fell off a track, dropped about eight feet and hit him on the head. He awoke in a hospital with the first thought that a German bomb had blown up the meat department. He was in the hospital for 26 days and was not allowed to return to his job because of his age.
   So Walkling started making rope and raising chickens, and “has gotten along fairly well ever since.”


   While he worked in the meat plant, his wife worked in a local cannery. After they had been there about two and a half years, she became ill, was bedridden for two and a half years and then died.
   Approximately three and a half years ago he married Mrs. Mary Hines, who then was about 68. Recently she has been quite ill.
   After leaving the meat plant Walkling established Dad’s Poultry Market, 1329 Oregon Drive. He continued it for a while but now rents it out.
   He farms a 110 by 208 lot and sells the crops. He also does tractor work for persons in the area.


   He makes his whips out of deer, calf and goat skins which he tans himself. He has sold 25 to 30 in the last two or three months, but says there is not as large a market for them as he would like.
   Walkling has installed a “rope walk” in his back yard. He says the secret of making rope is to twist it very tight; that there is a lot to learn fro experience,
   He recently sold $600 worth to a local man. He also sells a lot of hard twisted lariats to rodeo performers, and stock men who want a hard twisted rope which is stiff so the loop will stay when it is thrown.
   In his spare time he has enjoyed carving and painting as hobbies.


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Another Walkling article
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2007, 08:36:25 PM »
Here's another article on Orlando Walkling who was married to Laverna B. Greathouse. This is about Orlando's second marriage after LaVerna died. He makes reference to LaVerna's death in 1953.

From The Modesto Bee, August 9, 1957

Caption under picture: Almost 90 Orlando Walkling and his 67 year old bride recall the days when they first became acquainted.


By Isabelle Alamsha

   “I explained to her that we could be of help to each other in many ways and she seemed to see it my way. So we got married.”
   That was the beginning of a new life for Orlando Walkling, Modesto rope maker and gardener. Two weeks ago he married Mrs. Edward Hines.
   I lived alone and she lived alone. It’s not that way anymore. We live in my wife’s home at 634 Thrasher Avenue but we call it our home now,” says Walkling fondly.


   “It’s working out wonderfully. I do the gardening and outside work and she takes care of the indoor chores. We’re going to stay pretty close to home, too. We’re not as young as we use to be,” he explains.
   For the bride and bridegroom of two weeks ago make no pretenses about their ages. Walkling will be 90 in January and his bride will celebrate her 68th birthday in March.
   A Modestan since 1943, Walkling admits that it’s all pretty wonderful. His bride enthusiastically agrees.
   Walkling remembers well the first time he really became acquainted with Mrs. Hines. “I put in a garden for her and it was the best chance I had of talking to her. I guess that’s one way we happened to meet,” he says.

   Mrs. Hines can recall another. “He use to own a poultry market and I would go in there occasionally . He seemed like such a nice person.”
   “We started seeing each other regularly about a year ago,” Walkling continued. “ My first wife died in 1953 and I was kind of lonely. So I asked her to marry me.”
   Last week, Walkling introduced his bride to all his friends during a postnuptial reception given by his niece, Mrs. A. L. Hughes of Benson Avenue. “They enjoyed themselves immensely,” Mrs. Hughes relates.
   The newlyweds, although planning to spend most of their time in Modesto, eagerly are looking forward to two trips. Mrs. Walkling want to travel to Washington to see her son Edward Hines who is stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base.


   And Walkling wants to show his wife his native Oklahoma territory where he lived for 50 years. His last visit to his hometown of Perry, where he sowed the first cotton ever sold in the area, was marked with a parade in his honor and a special welcome from the governor.
   Walkling has already moved many of his tools and equipment to his new address and is preparing to set up a workshop in the garage. He’ll continue to make rope and do a little gardening. “I’ll keep active. If I can’t be of any use in the world, then I might as well quit right now,” he explains.
   As enthusiastic about the marriage as the couple are their children. Present for the quiet ceremony performed by the Rev. Williams of the First Baptist Church were Mrs. Walkling’s daughters, Mmes. Joel Brock of Fairfield and Don Mesplay of Piedmont, and Walkling’s son, Virgil Walkling of Normandy Drive.


   Walkling also has one daughter in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Mrs. Sybil Marshall, and Mrs. Walkling has three other daughters, Mmes. William Crow of rural Modesto, Kenneth Henderson of Lancaster, and Fred Morgan of Oroville.
   Photographs of the children and grandchildren cover the mantel of the comfortable Thrasher Avenue hone where the just weds spend much of their time. True to their agreement, Walkling putters around the garden and workshop while his wife looks after the cooking and cleaning. “But I do let him help me occasionally,” Mrs. Walkling laughingly adds.
   “It’s hard to keep Dad out of the house. You know, everyone calls him Dad, at least as long as I can remember,” she continued.
   Dad responded by putting his arm around her. “It’s still pretty wonderful,” he repeated.


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Virgil Greathouse obituary
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2007, 08:41:24 PM »
Obituary from a Kansas newspaper, 1949 (original clipping in posession of Patti Lalack Hutterli):


Had Lived Entire Life In This Community

   Funeral services for Virgil A. Greathouse, 74, a life-long resident of Leeds and Wauneta, were conducted Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock at Round Mound church with Bro. O. W. Webb of Tulsa officiating. Bro. Webb was assisted by the Rev. Mrs. O.B. Stark of Hewins.
   Mr. Greathouse passed away Monday, Sept. 5, at St. Mary's hospital at Winfield where he had been a patient five days. Mr. Greathouse had  been almost totally blind for 20 years. Last winter he fell on the ice and received injuries from which he failed to recover.
   A quartet composed of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Kelly, Mrs. Harry Sutton and Carl Appleby sang "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder", "The Sweet Bye and Bye", and "In the Garden". Mrs. Carl Appleby accompanied at the piano.
   The following grandsons and nephews served as pallbearers: Glenn Palmer, Loran Donohue, William Clark, Mack Foster, William Foster and Arthur Kirby.
   Interment was in Round Mound Cemetery.

   Virgil Anderson Greathouse was the son of William Anderson and Mary Elizabeth Greathouse and was born at Leeds, Kansas, Aug. 22, 1875.
   He grew to manhood on a farm near Leeds and secured his education in that vicinity.
   When quite young he was converted and became a member of the Baptist church at Leeds to which faith he held throughout his life.
   In 1903 he was married to Lucy Jones and went to housekeeping in Wauneta. For several years he was associated with his half brothers in the Kirby Bros. Mercantile business at Wauneta and continued in this work until his eyesight became so poor he was forced to retire.
   To this union was born one son and three daughters.
   Mrs. Greathouse died in January, 1919, and in April, 1920, Mr. Greathouse was married to Mrs. Gladys Jones. To this union was born one son Jefferson Clay who died in infancy and Mildred Ruth.
   For the last 20 years Mr. Greathouse has been almost totally blind and has lived in Wauneta with his son Virgil who gave hin all the care possible in his declinihng years. During the sleet last winter Mr. Greathouse fell and was injured and since that time his health has gradually declined. On Sept. 1 it was necessary to remove him to St. Mary's hospital at Winfield where he passed away Sept. 5.
   Surviving are one sister, Mrs. Orlando Walkling who resides in California, one son, Virgil, pf Wauneta, four daughters, Mrs. Ben Palmer of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Mrs. Vernie Foster of rural Wauneta, Mrs. Anna Mae Odel of Winfield, and Mrs. Mildred Young of Chase, Kansas. Also 21 grandchildren, three great grandchildren, two nieces, two nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

Card of Thanks

   We wish to thank all our friends and neighbors for their many acts of kindness and expressions of sympathy during the illness and death of our father and grandfather, V.A. Greathouse. Also for the many beautiful flowers - Virgil Greathouse, Mrs. Mildred Young and family, Mrs. Anna Mae Odell and son, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Foster and family, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Palmer and family.


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Another Walkling Article
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2007, 10:38:21 PM »
From The Modesto Bee

Modesto Man Marks 100th Birthday, Recalls "Old West" by J. Robert Bazemore
On September 16, 1893 Skipocase O. Walkling was a young man among thousands of settlers who rode into Cherokee Strip of Oklahoma to make a free land claim. Today, in Modesto, he celebrates his 100th birthday.
Dad O. Walkling, as he is now known, recalls events of the Old West as vividly as he lived them. To pay his way today he makes bullwhips and reweaves rope ends for truckers in his home at 634 Thrasher Ave.
   To  occupy his spare time he has written some of his memories of the Old West, a poem or two, and has painted an occasional Western scene.
   He remembers the hard life with his half Shawnee Indian mother in a small tribal camp and the year they spent traveling from Kansas to Texas. Skipocase, as he was named by his mother, recalls how his mother tied her knees together on horse back to make a place for his sister to ride.
   Though he does not remember his father, Orlando Walkling, he later took his name and shortened it to simply O. Walkling. He added the Dad after he opened Dad's Poultry Store on the south side of Modesto.
   Walkling tells how he rode into the 226-mile long "Strip" to claim 160 acres which each man was allowed.
   "There were thousands of men who waited at the line until noon that day." Walkling recalls. "The army gun was fired and chaos broke out.,"  he said. "Every man carried a gun. There was no law, no sheriff, nothing. People had to fight for their claim even though they were first."
   Walkling made a claim, but later gave it up when he had a chance to farm a piece of land in Noble County, Oklahoma.
An Unusual Gift
   He cleared the land with six yoke of oxen and planted peach orchards. He and his first wife, now deceased, ran a combination grocery store and hotel there. He had nearly 1,000 trees and began a cannery to process the crops.
   "One day when the train came in a woman dressed like a Salvation Army woman handed me a bundle as I stood on the ramp, then she jumped back into the train. I opened it and there was a pair of twins, a boy and a girl," Walkling said.
   He and his wife did not have children, so they adopted the twins legally and raised them. He said they raised six others but did not adopt them.
   He went back to Noble County a couple years ago during an anniversary celebration of the 1893 opening.
   "They had to help the only other two survivors of the original claim onto a float. I walked in front with the marchers," he boasted.
In Good Shape
   Walkling said he went to a doctor for a checkup two weeks ago and was told that his heart and lungs are in "better condition than many men half my age."
   He attributes his good health to the fact that he has never tasted tobacco in any form, coffee, tea, or liquor. He says his mother taught him "to leave all habit forming stuff alone and to use a hoe, ax, pitch fork or shovel in place of a ball bat, horse shoe, or golf club."
   Walkling says he spent the first 76 years of his life in Indian territory. He came to Modesto in 1944 and went to work for a meat firm before he opened the poultry store.
   His first wife taught him to read during World War II. He remarried 10 years ago. His Present wife, Mary Jane, is in a nursing home.
Walkling celebrated his 100th birthday at a reception given in his honor today by Mrs. Ruth Clauson, 1217 La Loma Ave.., Modesto, owner of a trucking firm which uses many of the ropes made by Walkling.


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Greathouse/Vandale pictures
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2007, 11:05:40 PM »
The following was written by Elsie Lee Greathouse Collins (daughter of Charley Lee Greathouse), about 1974. There are a few nearly identical versions that she wrote of her life story; I have combined them into one letter.

                                           MY LIFE

   I was born September 3, 1895, at Greyhorse O.T. (Oklahoma Territory). Was named Elea Lee Greathouse. My father was Charley Lee Greathouse; he was born on December 30, 1872, in Kansas near Leeds, Kansas.
   My mother was Ida Elmira Jones; don't know date of birth - year 1873.
   My father was married to Ida Hopper - she died; they had one child, a girl named Belva. Her grandparents, the Hoppers, raised her. She married Jeff Craig and had three sons; she died & husband's whereabouts unknown. I don't know when he and my mother married; there was a boy born. I don't know how old he was when he died.
   My father was shot by a U.S. Marshal. He was in the back of is wagon when his team & wagon came up to the gate. The horses had brought him home. My mother and a neighbor named Metcalf got the bullet out & he lived about a year later. Boney Jones, my mother's brother, and Jake, another brother & rest of family. My Dad's sister Verna and husband Orlando Walkling. My mother & Mrs. Metcalf, they drove cross country in Jake's wagon, and small wagon the Walklings was driving - to Kansas and other folks & relations waited for them to go to Round Mound Cemetery6 where he was buried. Most all of our relation are buried. It's 5 miles northwest of Waunita, Kansas. I was 18 months old when my father died.
   My mother sewed, did washing, & odd jobs to try to try to make money to keep me. She married Barnet (Barney) Morrison - don't know when, but think I was about 2 or 2 1/2 when we lived in a house with an upstairs. She & I was upstairs & started down when she fell. I ran out to the field where Barney was plowing, and told him Mama had fallen down the stairs and couldn't get up.
   I was sent to Kansas to live with my Dad's mother and two half brothers names Jeff and Art Kirby. My Grandma died when I was 13 and I went to live with my Dad's sister and husband Laverna and Orlando Walkling. I went to grade school till I finished then went to Emporia, Kansas to my uncle & wife Art & Ida Kirby. Went to high school & college, taught one term, and on December 22, 1912, I married a neighbor boy named Ivy Andrew Woodrum. We had one son LeVern Ivy Woodrum. He was born July 8, 1916. His father and I separated, and LeVerne was killed August 1935 in Kansas City [Missouri] in a truck accident. I came west in 1923 & worked in Portland. I met Ray Collins in August 1933 & we was married on November 18, 1933. Will be married 41 years November 18, 1974. I have a letter my other wrote to my aunt in 1896 & she spelled my name Elca. I did not know until my Aunt Verna passed away in 1970.


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Re: Greathouse/Vandale pictures
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2008, 04:35:31 PM »

I believe this has come up before, but I believe the William A Greathouse you show as being married to Mary Elizabeth Vandal may not be your William Asa Greathouse.  I believe from the Boggs family history that the William A Greathouse who married Mary Elizabeth as her 2nd husband is the son of William Henry and Nancy Jane Hicks Greathouse of Roane County VA/WV.  His parents are listed in their marriage record. He is also listed in the census with this family, and I have other information about the William A Greathouse of Roane County VA/WV. 

I am not sure who your William Asa married, but I do not believe it is Mary Elizabeth Vandal of Roane County who later went with her husband to Kansas.  She was first married to Kerby, and I think most of the information about her and her children is correct.  Particularly from the listing of his parents on the marriage record, I have to assume that her husband was the son of William Henry and Nancy Jane Hicks Greathouse.

Do you have more information that would link him to Roane County, VA families?  The Boggs, Hicks and Greathouse families of Roane County are all connected.

Thanks for any clarification.