Sunday, July 17, 2011


~ A Ryland Relative ~

Is it important to document the existence of a person who is (or was) your half-first cousin twice removed? Or to document a person whose only extant image appears on two passport applications in the National Archives, one dated 9 June 1919 and the other 30 August 1924?

In the scheme of things it may not be all that important, but since starting genealogical research in 1984 I had tried to find this fellow and it took until August of 2010 to find him - 36 years! That makes it important to me.

NOTE: You can double-click the photo above to see the Application more clearly.

Let me see if I can simplify how we relate: My great-grandma Nellie Stevens Davis Eungard (a twice-married lady) and Frank's father, Edward Whitters, were siblings. Their mom, Ellen, had two marriages. Little Frank Whittiers was from the first marriage (his natural father died young) and Nellie Stevens was from her second marriage.

Nellie's daughter Jessie (my grandma) and Frank Whitters were first cousins, both born and raised in Kansas. As far as I can find, Frank never married or had children. So here's how all the "halves" and "removeds" are figured.

Jessie and Frank were half-first cousins.
Jessie's daughter Virginia (my mom) and Frank were half-first cousins once removed. This means that Virginia was still a first cousin but just one generation further down the line.
And because I am Virginia's daughter, I am still a first half-cousin but twice removed. I'm two generations down the line.

Frank was born on April 9, 1884 in Raymond, Rice County, Kansas. In September of 1918 he registered for the WWI Draft and at that time stated his occupation was a farm laborer on his brother-in-law's farm in Kansas. (Frank had a married sister Jenny Whitters Caywood). He may already have done some work in the oil fields, but I have no proof of that. I imagine in between jobs he helped on the farm.

There is an interesting Affidavit in his 1919 Passport Application from his father that sheds some light on his background. It says:
I, E. R. Whitters, being first duly sworn, depose and say upon my oath that I am the father of Frank Edward Whitters, who was born April 9, 1884, at Raymond, Kansas; and that the attending physician was Dr. Burton of Raymond, Kansas; I was born on July 1st, 1854 at Boston, Massachusetts, and that the mother of said Frank Edward Whitters was also a native born American. All of the above mentioned places are in the United States of American.

Other interesting items on his passport are that the passport was to be sent to hm in care of Empire Refining Co., in Ponca City, Oklahoma. His plans were to leave from Laredo Texas on board the Southern Pacific Rail Road on June 20, 1919. A letter from the Anglo Mexican Petroleum Company Ltd. was also included which said he had been engaged by them for a three year period on a salary basis and will be engaged in drilling for Oil in the vicinity of Tampico, Mexico.

We also know that his passport was renewed in 1924.

In 1930 Frank lived in Newton County, Missouri and was listed on the census as a well driller. But in the Thursday, August 24, 1933 edition of the Alice (Texas) Echo News there is a notice as follows:

The Body of Frank E. Whittier (sic), 49, is being held at the Moyer Mortuary, pending instructions from relatives as to where the body is to be shipped. Whittier was a driller for the T. G. & M. Drilling Company and had been employed in the Freer Oil Fields."
There was no further information in the newspapers, but Charles Roberson of Roberson's Funeral Home in Alice, Texas was able to tell me that he checked with the Alice Cemetery and found that Frank E. Whitters was buried in Section D, Lot 6, Space 6. The death certificate was issued in Duval County, Texas. An autopsy was perform which indicated angina pectoris, coronary occlusion and arterio sclerosis.

So Frank had a short life. But at least he is now counted among my other relatives, the Immortal Nobodies, and can be found again, should anyone else be looking.

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