Thursday, April 16, 2015


There is usually some part of an Immortal Nobodies' life that is remembered and handed down through the years.  But through a combination of a man who is a loner in his life, never married or never had kids, along with a lifespan that is finished before any relative thinks to take a photo of him or write down anything about him -- well, it doesn't leave much for a genealogist to work with.

Harrie Uberto McConnell is truly a tough one.....and all the more reason to get SOMETHING down about him.

His mother, Narcissa Frances Wright McConnell, had at least 8 children; only three of them lived to adulthood.  Harrie was the last.child born and the only son to live.  He was the only child to be born in Texas; his older sisters were born in Kentucky where the family had lived for years and years.

His oldest sister was married and out of the house and out of Texas by the time he was 4 years old. His other sister was 8 when he was born.  In 1893 his oldest sister was widowed and the family left Texas for Colorado.  The years from then on until 1917 are blank.  Obviously Harrie Uberto was dragged around by his parents as they went back to Texas, sold the farm, came to Palisade, Colorado, bought a peach orchard, and not finding that satisfactory left again for somewhere.  Dad died in that "somewhere" and we don't know where or how he met his end.  His mom goes to Colorado Springs to be with her daughter, and during that period is when Harrie appears in the northwest, working and living in a boarding house.  ALERT:  A niece said he came "home" when his mother died in 1915, But he remains working in Washington State and Oregon until he dies on Nov. 29, 1943 in Seattle.

What do we know about him?  That same niece was my Aunt Dorothy, and she was the only person alive who even vaguely remembered him.  And the one thing she remembered was that he was blind in one eye from a childhood eye injury.  That was it.

In trying to dig up information on him that maybe Ancestry knew about but the family didn't, I made what I consider an amazing discovery.  There is a World War I Draft Report on file for him that delivers a real surprise.  Under ordinary circumstances it wouldn't be so surprising to me, but the very fact that I know nothing except the one thing my Aunt Dorothy told me about his eye injury --- well, it appears that even that is wrong.  On this Draft Report, he notes he has a CATARACT on his left eye.  He may be blind from that cataract, and I'm sure he did not serve in the military, but he likely did not develop a cataract from a toy he was playing with.

And adding insult to injury, none of the census records allow him to be Harrie.  He is Harry.  Maybe that was his choice, but Harrie Uberto ceased to exist in more ways than one.

What looks like a round black ball at the top of the column is really Harry's dysfunctional eye.  Yes, it is something to remember him by.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


A biography and an obituary tell part of his story.  The "sad" part is at the end, and because he had such a sweet face and surely didn't deserve what fate set out for him, I have always thought of him as "Sweet Baby James."  His dad, Abner Hall, was my 2nd great grandpa.

History of Johnson County, Missouri; Ewing Cockrell 1918
Historical Publishing Co, Topeka, Kansas

J. E. Hall, of Warrensburg township, was born in 1853 in Franklin county, Missouri.  He is the son of Abner and Mildred (Bourn) Hall, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter a native of Virginia.  Abner Hall was born in 1797 and in the early thirties came to Missouri settling in Franklin county.  Mildred (Bourn) Hall came to Franklin county from Virginia, when she was fourteen years of age.  Abner Hall and Mildred Bourn were married in Franklin county and their all their children were born and reared:  Benton, who died in early youth; Caroline, who died in 1863; Nannie, the wife of William H. Wegman of St. Louis, Missouri; R. M. Johnson, who is now deceased; Honore, who died in childhood; and J.E., the subject of this review.  The father died in Franklin county in 1863.

J. E. Hall attended the public schools established after the Civil War, in Washington, Franklin county.  With his mother, he came to Johnson county in 1867 and March 10, 1868, they settled on the farm which is now the home of Mr. Hall.  The home place originally comprised one hundred twenty acres of land, but Mr. Hall at present owns ninety-five acres and is engaged in general farming and truck gardening.  He raises garden vegetables, melons, and strawberries.  Thirty acres of his farm are in pasture.  When Mr. Hall came to Johnson county with his mother in 1868, practically the only roads were cowpaths.  In driving from their home to Warrensburg, they came through a dense wood or forded Pertle Springs.  Farms were not generally fenced in those days and wild game, turkey, deer and prairie chickens could be found in abundance.  The mother died in 1904 and burial was made in the cemetery near Warrensburg, known as the Dunkard cemetery.

In 1875 J. E. Hall and Mary Alice Ayres were united in marriage.  Mrs. J. E. Hall is the daughter of Samuel and Jane Ayers….

At the World’s Fair at St. Louis in 1904, strawberries raised by Mr. Hall on his farm in Warrensburg township received prizes in ten leading varieties.  The berries were sent to Mr. Goodman, secretary of the State Board of Horticulture, who displayed them.  Fifteen of the Maximas variety of berry filled a quart box.

J. E. Hall is an exceptionally fine horticulturist, possessing some very excellent ideas, which he is successfully putting in operation on his farm.


Warrensburg Star Journal 4-21-1939

A short graveside service was conducted for J. E. Hall, 87, Saturday afternoon at the Brethren cemetery, according to his own request, with the Rev. James Mohler of Leeton in charge.  Pallbearers were Fred Greim, John Greim. V. C. Roop, J. W. Ronemouz, Walter Myer and Adam Fickas.

Those attending the funeral from out of town were Mrs. J. E. Hall, Jr., Eugene and Adah Marie Hall and Miss Louise Marshall of Independence, Charles Ayers and Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Ayers of Kansas City.

James Edward (Uncle Jimmy) Hall, 87, was born on a farm south of Washington, Missouri July 23, 1852 and died Friday.  He was the youngest of six children of Abner and Mildred Hall.  He with his mother, a brother and sister came to Johnson County in 1867 and March 10, 1868 settled on farm three miles south of Warrensburg, where he lived until he sold the farm four years ago.  Most of his life he was engaged in raising vegetables, melons and strawberries.

He was united in marriage to Mary Alice Ayers, daughter of Samuel and Jane Ayers in November 1875.  To this union four sons were born.  Two sons, Byron and James, Jr., preceded him in death.  Mrs. Hall died June 14, 1936.

He became a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church soon after his marriage.

Mr. Hall is survived by two sons, Warren Hall of Seattle, Wash., and Lee W. Hall of Warrensburg, also by 20 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and several nieces in St. Louis.

SO, what is the sad part?  His oldest brother, William LeGrand Hall, stabbed a man to death, was imprisoned and then released after a few years, and then killed his sister in an attempt to get rid of all other heirs to his father's fortune.  For this, he was hung.

And then, one of his own sons, Byron, shot and killed two policemen in a paranoid delusion that people were following him, and in turn was himself shot and killed by another policeman.

Such a cross for this man to bear.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

CRAZY? or just LAZY?

In 1934 Byrd Worthington Ryland (my maternal grandfather) died in the Colorado Springs Psychiatric Hospital of either a) tuberculosis of 1 year + or b) Epilepsia, of 40+ years.  Colorado Springs had always been known as a haven for people with breathing problems, and through Byrd's life he often moved the family from Mulvane, Kansas to the Springs for his health.

In 1929 his wife and mother of 7 children filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty to her, and stated he was not fit to be custodian of the children.  Once the divorce was granted, my Grandma packed up the family and moved to California.

With the records available, it is hard to say if he was certifiably crazy.  But if you look at the time line I prepared for him in the course of my research, perhaps he was just lazy (he had a rich father, so he had lots of leeway in a vocation), or maybe he just drove his wife crazy moving all the time with 7 kids!  What'dya think?  Take a peek.


  • 1900 - Kansas - 1900 Census, student
  • 1902 Jan - Kansas - Postal carrier 
  • 1905 Mar - Kansas - Quit job to take up "Dakota" claim.
  • 1905 Apr - Kansas - Married Jessie C. Davis
  • 1906 Kansas - Baby Nevalyn Eugene Ryland born
  • 1907 Jun - Colorado - Entry in baby's baby book says "first trip"
  • 1908 May - Kansas - Business Card "Keeling & Ryland, Real Estate, Loans, Inc."
  • 1908 June to Oct - Idaho - Entry in baby's baby book says long vacation
  • 1908 October - Denver - Still on vacation per above
  • 1909 - Kansas - baby Florence Ryland born
  • 1910 - Kansas - 1910 census - selling real estate
  • 1911 - Colorado - baby Virginia Ryland born
  • 1911 - Colorado - Virginia's birth certificates says he was a druggist
  • 1911 - Colorado - newspaper ad says he worked at Spot Cash grocery, his father-in-law's grocery store.
  • 1915 - Kansas - baby Marie Ryland born
  • 1918 - California - moves family to Newport Beach.  Virginia attends 1st grade.
  • 1919 - Kansas - baby Byrd "Bert" Ryland born. Birth certificate says "Farmer"
  • 1920 - Kansas - 1920 census does not list an occupation.
  • 1921 - Kansas - baby Hugh Ryland born.  Birth Certificates says father is "Farmer"
  • 1926 - Colorado - baby Marjorie Ryland born.  Birth Certificate says "Grocer" (Father-in-law long dead, so it's not at his store.)
  • 1927 - 1929 - Colorado - City Directory gives no occupation.
  • 1929 Apr - Jessie files for divorce.  
  • 1929 Nov - Divorce granted
  • 1934 - July - Byrd M. Ryland dies.

I never knew this grandpa.  He died the year before I was born.  None of his children, my mother and my aunts and uncles, EVER would say a word about him.  Not a good word nor a bad word.  No word at all.  I did get my mother to say, in one of her more reflective moments, "Well, I was a teenager and pretty wrapped up in my own life.  I just recall that he kind of made life tough for all of us."  That was the extent of what she would say about him.

Many years after my mom died, I asked my dad if mom had ever said anything to him about her dad. He said she did not, and he never asked, but he did say that when Grandma Jessie, then living in California, got the news of his death, she cried as if her heart was broken.  I suppose one would most always have a tiny place in her heart for the father of her children.

Crazy? or just lazy?  We'll never know.