Clipped From The Hays Daily News
July 17, 1977 PAGE 4 The Hays Daily News Limbs in Osborne County? One of my Aunts Evelyn, a gentle soul of unbounded curiousity, sent me a packet of stuff this week to bring me up to date and make me fall for the country's latest craze, Roots Searching. Searching. ' According to a recent cover of Newsweek and a lot of similar press, the televised appearance earlier this year of Alex Haley's novel, "Roots," prompted a nationwide panic. Everybody is nobody unless they're out grubbing roots. Thank God for the Southeast Iowa wing of the Lee family, which gave us Evelyn, who deserted the place for California years ago. She was onto this thing 20 years before it became a big deal. Now I can sit in front of the tube, swill a tea and watch the Royals, safe from the scratching and clawing of the crowd crowding the sweltering back stacks of the county libraries. SITTING HERE, flipping through the pages with all these names, I'm struck dumb by the size of the effort. How Evelyn found all this stuff and kept her sanity is anybody's guess. 'Somewhere back there she found a chaplain in the 1812 war, a couple that succumbed to "milk sickness' in 1823 (both occupy the same grave), an orphan orphan — was his name adoptive? — whose parents died in the 1818 passage . from England, and so on. Then there was Lydia A. Riley, born at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1882. An old family legend I hadn't heard before says that in this one auburn- haired Irish beauty the Lee tree was infused with the saps of a president and a poet — William Henry Harrison (oh, joy) and James Whitcomb Riley. PIFFLE, WRITES Evelyn. "In those times, everyone claimed to be relatives of well-known or important people. I'm going to remain skeptical on this one until it's proven." Aw shucks, Evelyn. Even Daniel Boone sometimes told the truth. Beyond the astonishment that several of the now-fallen leaves were labelled John (one Tennessean as early as 1744 — nothing, it seems, is new), there is also the startlement of a way-back grafting of a Lee with a Lee and a Lee, Some of that happened in 1856, when great-great-granddad Pleasant (what a name to give a Lee) from Indiana married maiden Mary Lee from Iowa. UNPLEASANTLY, Pleasant expired Leeword By JOHN LEE 11 years later, so the widow Mary waited a decent interval of two years and married his brother, Joseph. That adds to the old family notion that Lee men are simply irresistible — and/or that once you get stuck with the name not much else will do. Don't mistake me. A lot of other grand names from the limbs, trunk'and roots are written on this tree. Larson, Bales, Mayberry, Shriver, Johnson, Cleland, Paswalk, Tucker (Evelyn has been a Tucker since her Iowa days), Madden, Stockdick, Wood, Woods, Woodke, Radke, Cline, Cook, Wilson, Bausman, Hackard, Parsons, Shuey, Putsche, Pinkman and Steeples staple just a few together. AND, LO AND BEHOLD, some of those limbs may be just a squirrel's jump away — maybe around the immediate immediate area. When I fell into all of this, I hadn't considered that possibility, but wouldn't you know it. The records dispute the birthplace of great-grandfather William M. Hackard, born in 1862 to transplanted Pennsylvanians, John and Sarah (Green). It could have been Lee County (where else?) Iowa, or — wonder of wonders — Osborne County, Kansas. Whether Kansas or Iowa, 20 years later William and his wife, Maggie (Shuey), were in Iowa for the birth of their first child, but in June of 1888 they were back in Kansas for the birth of Alma (who in 1913 married one Charles W. Hughes). SHORTLY AFTER ALMA was born it was back to Iowa, but the record doesn't show anything about this repeated connection with Kansas, or whether it was enduring enough to grow some more limbs on the tree. If there is a limb or two up there in Osborne County who can shed some light on all this, please do. * But. On the slim chance that dodging a posse took them back to Iowa, 111 call .you.