Sunday, April 3, 2011



Nellie is my great-grandmother. She was born in Mendota, Illinois and died in Caldwell, Kansas. This is a short story of her life.

Her dad was Chester Dana Stevens and her mom was Ellen Madden (widow Whitters) Stevens. She was born on September 15, 1862, while her father was off in the Civil War.

In our family there are fragments left of two letters that her father sent to her while he was away. The first was written on the occasion of her birth:

Bolivar Tennessee
Sept. 3, 1862

Little Ellen, Darling
You do not know that your father is in th army and you will nnot understand when MaMa reads you your little letter but ma will save it for you until you can understand and until you can read...

The second letter to her was written at Christmas:

Memphis Dec. 1862

Little Ellen

Pa would like to see you very much. You must be a good girl until I come home.

Ma says you are very good.

From your Father, C. D. Stevens

These two letters came down in the family through my aunt Marie Wilson and were passed on to her daughter Nancy.

Nellie had an older half-brother, Edward Whitters, and two older brothers, Frank and George. After Nellie was born, Sophronia, Chester Jr., Lucy and Pamelia "Millie" were added to the family. The Stevenses relocated from Illinois to Raymond, Rice County, Kansas sometime between 1870 and 1875.

In August of 1884, Nellie married Joseph Clinton Davis, the son of her next door neighbors. It was a short, apparently unhappy marriage, for in 1885 the state census shows Nellie living with her family again and Joseph nowhere to be found. In 1887 she filed for divorce on grounds of desertion; it was granted. Her marriage took place in Barton County, the divorce in Rice County. One child was born from this marriage: Jessie Cleona Davis in May of 1885. Jessie was my grandmother.

Nellie's second husband, Jim Eungard, was a railroad employee and friend of her brother. The record for this marriage came in her obituary, of all places, and took place on November 11, 1887 in Pueblo, Colorado.

Jim's job with the railroad caused them to move around a lot, and in June of 1892 her son, Chester H Eungard was born in Union, Oklahoma. In 1900 the family lives in Wichita, and at Nellie's death in 1914 the family is in Caldwell, Kansas, a small town south of Wichita on the Oklahoma border.

She is buried in the Stevens plot at Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas.

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