Dorothy Lucille Adkins was
born March 3, 1911 to James (Jim) Henry Adkins and Mary Margaret Dawson
Clover Adkins. Jim's first wife, Bessie, died of tuberculosis in July 14,
1903. Dorothy was the only child in this marriage. Her parents were
married on July 9, 1908 in Chandler, OK, by the County Judge, Fred A.
Wagoner. There first home was in Oklahoma about a half mile south of
the log cabin built by Jim's father with Jim helping. (Jim made the
shingles for the roof and put them on). In the Spring of 1910 they
moved to Mary’s family farm four miles north of Cambridge, Ks. where Dorothy was born.
Jim and Mary's first home
North of Cambridge
Dorothy, Bill Bolack,
George Adkins, Frankie
Brunton, Fuller Watt
Maybe not the very first
recollection of her toddler years, but one that certainly made an
impression on her was when she fell off her stool. She thought it should
have had a back on it and wanted to know why there was no back on it. She
had a personality from the start! She liked playing around the fruit
trees; especially when the pipeline was being laid across their property
to a City Service booster station north of the farm because the workers
would bring her "good" apples.
The farm was good bottom land along
Grouse Creek but they lived on the side of Grouse Creek that was
opposite from town. When they traveled to town or to Shaw School, there
would be times they would ford the creek during high waters. This
really scared her. They would even have to ride the horses across
when the waters would cover the floor of their buggy. If the water became
extremely high, they could get supplies by going through pastures to
Burden, KS west of Cambridge.
She always wore nice clothes, her
hair in braids, and button-top shoes when they went to town. She
hated having to put those shoes on (they were probably too confining for
such a spirited girl). On one trip, experiencing the high waters was
very exhausting for everyone. When they did get home all she wanted was
help taking off her wet high tops, but no one would help.
Father bringing her sisters and friends home from
They used kerosene lights, and
wood for heating and cooking. Their water came from a hand dug well, and
horse and buggy was their transportation. Most of the food came from the
land, plus some hunting and fishing.
When Dorothy was seven years old, the family moved from the
farm into Cambridge where she attended school. The first house they lived
in was in the second block north of Highway 160 on Main Street. It was
close to the Church of Christ and just a block north of the restaurant the
family operated. When WW1 ended, all the school children paraded down Main
Street, going from the schoolhouse to the Jabara-Razook (North West corner
of main intersection) store. There was free fruit out in front for
everyone’s celebration. (This is the same Jabara family that later lived
in Burden as a neighbor.)
Dorothy and her family moved south of Highway 160 and managed the
‘old hotel’, as it was known in later years. She would feed the
stray cats left over food from the diner of the Hotel; a habit she
kept as long as she had a back step to feed them from. This is where
she lived when she had her tonsils removed. Her half-sister Blanche
married Claude Irvin there after the war.
A period of time passed and her family bought and operated
the restaurant on the south west corner of the Main intersection. There
was a living area in the rear where she spent much time doing her
homework. She also experienced stepping on a nail while she was going to
her Uncle George’s Barber Shop the back way. The nail came all the way out
the top of her foot! Dorothy knew George Adkins the best of her father’s
family. George lived and worked in the area, and stayed with them on the
farm one time when he was very ill. George was the first person to cut
Dorothy’s hair, and continued to cut it for some time. When they sold
their business, her parents bought a house one block west of main on the
north side of Highway 160, and started building the family hotel-boarding
house. This was just north of their house.
Cambridge was a thriving community at this time. South of
Highway 160 on Main Street’s east side was a bank, hardware store, a
theater (costing 10 cents to see a movie), the skating rink, a garage
repair shop, and the Old Hotel. On the west side was the restaurant that
James and Mary owned, the barbershop that George Adkins owned, Post
Office, hat shop, lumber yard, Doctor Holland’s office and the Jim Harris
residents. These were all north of the railroad track and the city water
well. Trains were available for distant traveling but horses were the main
form of transportation and local folks as well as travelers would use this
water area to refresh their horses.
Dorothy thought Dr. Holland was a very nice doctor because
when she was sick he would give her Chocolate Quinine. She remembers
playing in the front of the hotel and getting very dirty. Was it
independence or practical ness that caused her to expose her knees as she
played there? Either way, such behavior was scandalous, even in such
a young girl. She was only eleven
when her nephew, Vernon Foster Brunton, died of the croup, but she
remembers him very well as a cute, happy boy. The new hotel-boarding house
was finished in 1923 with the help of the Hull boys and Dorothy soon had
her schoolteacher over for dinner.
Their hotel was completed shortly before the ‘old hotel’ burned to
the ground. The newspaper was the best form of public communication
and an article from the February 15, 1923 issue of The Burden Times
read as follows;
The old Cambridge hotel that has stood its
ground for many years was totally destroyed by fire early Saturday
morning, together with almost the entire contents. According to
reports the fire was discovered by some of the basketball boys from
Dexter who were returning home from Grenola. The building was a mass
of flames in a few minutes after the alarm was sounded. There being
no chance to save the building or little of the contents, willing
fire fighters set about to keep the buildings near from burning and
by hard work succeeded, although it looked like a hopeless case at
times, so it is said. Mr. C. D. McCord and family owned and operated
the hotel; having purchased it about the time the oil boon struck
the little town. The burning of this structure does not leave
Cambridge without eating and rooming accommodations there are four
restaurants and the J. H. Adkins rooming house, which was just
recently finished and opened to the public. Everything is new
throughout and would be a credit to any town.
As a young teenager, Dorothy helped her Mother prepare food
and take it to her grandparents, John and Sara
Dawson and a brother, Ed
Dawson. They all lived across Highway 160 on to the west of where Dorothy
lived. This became Herbert and Estalee Brunton’s home. John preceded Sara
in death by six years. Also, at age 12, Dorothy took her first trip to
Colorado in a truck driven by William Edward Dawson with the back of the
truck fixed like a covered wagon. This was the first of many trips she
took to Colorado.
U.S. Postage Mail was the means of personal communication,
but it was slow. It seems when she was 15 or 16 Dorothy always waited on
the mailman to receive letters from a boy she was dating back home while
she was in Oklahoma. Dorothy spent time in Oklahoma with her sister Leone.
She attended school there but soon returned to Cambridge to live with her
Mother and sister Lillian, in the original house just to the south of the
new hotel. Dorothy was a very good seamstress and made clothes not only
for her family but also for people in the community.
Dorothy's love of ice cream
can be traced back to her childhood when ice cream socials were popular.
Families would gather to eat home-made ice cream and the adults would play
cards while the children played. When she got older and boys
entered her social circle, a favorite outing was to load about 4 people
into a little old tiny coupe and ride around and act silly. (picture
of her first boyfriend) When she was around 16(?), her girlfriend's
brother came home on furlough from the navy. He was cute and they
had a lot of fun, but when he asked her to marry him, she was too young.
She says she didn't have many boyfriends; they didn't have lots of
boyfriends like they do now. The first thing that caught her
attention about Emory was his nice car!
If you want to see Dorothy
blush, ask her about the movie idol of her time, Roudolph Valentino.
If you want to see why the man that made her swoon in her youth can still
get such a strong reaction, watch a few minutes of one of his movies.
They didn't have a rating system in place yet, and even if they did, his
kisses alone would be 'R' rated now.
On April 20, 1929, Dorothy married Emory Lewis at the ‘old’
Cowley County Court House in Winfield KS, by the Probate Judge J. W.
White. Their attendants were Roland L. Lewis, a cousin of Emory’s, and
Cleo A. Rising, a friend. Their first home was the house he was living in
‘on the lease’. Emory worked for Texaco. They soon rented a house in
Wilmot but they had little furniture so they moved to another lease house.
After their marriage, they made a point to spend every Sunday possible
with Dorothy’s mother and family in Cambridge until Mary’s death.
On February 28, 1930, Emory James was born in the northwest
bedroom off the dining room of her family’s hotel home. Dorothy went
to the hotel to have family with her for the birth. While in labor,
she was encouraged to walk the long hallway by her 'birthing coaches' (her
mother ? and her sister, Lillian). The doctor came to your house
back then. Emory was sick (didn't breath right or something)
and Lillian took care of him - she sat up and held him all night.
In the early 30’s,
the family bought a radio from F. G. Jarbara that required a 1000
hour-battery pack. When Texaco had a cutback because of the depression,
Emory was let go and he moved Dorothy and son to Cambridge. They lived in
Blanche’s house which is on the South West corner of the same block the
Hotel is in. Donald Gene
was born in the front bedroom on November 8, 1931. They then moved to the "barn house"
which was on the alley a half block East of Blanche’s house. They had to cook with wood and
haul water at Blanche’s house. Sons Emory James and Donald played together
in the "barn house". And as young children often do, one shut the other’s
finger in a metal cabinet, and he has the scar to prove it to this day.
Texaco recalled Emory and the family of four moved to an oil
field lease house. Shortly after this move, Virginia Ann was born on
January 17, 1934. Dorothy went to her
grandmother’s house in Cambridge and gave birth in the south bedroom
(which should have been a living room) .
The house the family had moved into had natural gas for
heating and cooking and they went out under the tree to cool off in the
summer. Also, in the summer, the iceman would come by once a week and
check your card in the window to let him know if you wanted 25, 50, 75 or
100 pounds of ice. The City Service Oil Company had closed their plant
next to Texaco. Emory bought one of their lease houses and moved it to the
Eastman’s lease location.
Dorothy became very ill at this time and was ailing for
several months. Emory James always said that this was the first time he
prayed, and he prayed for his Mother, for he was afraid she was going to
die. She recovered and on August 9, 1937 Marvin Dean was born out on the
lease in the house
that had been moved in from the City Service Plant.
The family was on their way to Cambridge on December 7, 1941
and had stopped for gas at Floatman’s in Burden when they heard about
Emory’s father, Samuel Lewis owned a farm just south of the
lease. In 1942 they moved their lease house to the farm and took care of
Sam until his death on March 27, 1943. They first heated this house with
wood, but Emory soon put in a butane tank just a little east of the house.
They placed the tank in a collapsed cellar that was easy to dig out. The
first tank of butane was .01 ¾ and the last fill was .05 ¼. Shortly after
they got the butane they got a refrigerator. The farm had a phone, and two
longs and one short was the ring. It was a party line, so anyone could
pick up their phone and listen no matter what the ring was. Six longs was
the ‘all call’ from the central office in Wilmot. Oh yes! And keep the
calls short, others will want to use the line.
A salesman by the name of Browney
came by and sold Emory and Dorothy a Maytag washing machine that ran on
In 1944 they sold the farm and moved to Burden. The house
they bought was on the south end of town just past the railroad tracks and
a half block west. Their neighbors to the southeast were the Jabara family from
Cambridge. The house had electricity, inside water, and an inside
bathroom. Marilyn Sue was born in the front bedroom of this house on April
Dorothy was a courageous
pioneer - she did what she thought was best rather than what was proper.
She worked outside the home sewing draperies long before that was
acceptable. Gossips would talk about how she 'wore the pants in the
family'. An immaculate housekeeper by nature, she had the
perspective to allow her house to be appropriately messy while she was
raising her children. While in her 70's she was
told she didn't seem to ever 'age' and she giggled and shielded her mouth
with her hand and whispered, 'Sometimes I forget that I'm not still 16
In the early 50’s the family bought their first TV. This house
was the family home until Emory was transferred to Texas because the
Atlanta Texaco Plant closed and the employees were moved to other plants.
They were in Texas until his retirement in 1963 and then returned to
Kansas and moved a new home to the west part of their land. Dorothy moved
back into the original home in 1973 after Emory’s death before moving to a
new apartment building in Winfield where she presently resides.
Seven Generations at Burden
(7) Dustin Atkins graduated at Burden 1999; Dustin is a life long resident
of Burden his father (6) Steven Atkins is a long time resident of Burden
and graduated at Burden. Dustin's grandmother (5) Virginia Lewis Atkins is
a long time resident of Burden and graduated at Burden. Dustin's great
grandfather (4) Emory Lewis was a long time resident of Burden and died
there 10 May 1973. Dustin's great great grandmother (3) Lulu Burden Mayse
was born at Burden 25 December 1879. On 29 September 1879 papers for the
incorporation of Burden were filed. It is said Lulu Burden Mayse was the
first woman born in Burden. Lulu's father (2) John E. Mayse and mother (2)
Susan Bailey Mayse and Lulu's grand parents (1) Carey Mayse, (1) Rebecca
Colyer Mayse and (1) Elizabeth Hudson Bailey all lived in the area before
Burden was incorporated. We do know (1) Elizabeth Hudson Bailey was first
owner of land in sections 1 and 12 of Sheridan Twp. She paid the U.S Govt.
$100.00 for the land and sold the land 18 February 1887 for $1400.00. The
only thing left where there home was is the hand dug well. At least eight
of her children, all married, made the land run to Oklahoma; Emma Wood,
George Hudson Bailey, David M. Bailey, Eliza Hutcherson, Jacob Bailey,
Margaret McCalib, Ancil T. Bailey and Jobe C. Bailey. (2) Susan Bailey
Mayse was her only child that lived at Burden after the land run.
Additional Notes to be edited into text at some
Dorothy did not know Effie because she had died before
Dorothy was born. Dorothy knew Warren and had met his descendents Graham
Lee Walter in OKC where he is a Priest, and Vickey Graham Dewell who is a
RN at Arkansas City KS. Dorothy did not know Howard or any of his family
until the 2000 Adkins Reunion in Guthrie OK. Nora also died before she was
born but she knew John Thomas Adkins and three of his children, Alice, Bud
and Leona. James Henry Adkins lived in Holly CO for a while as well as
John Thomas. Dorothy and her family would take summer vacations to CO to
visit and would get to see other members on occasion. Dorothy knew Nannie,
her son Raymond, granddaughter Bonnie and great grandson Butch. Tolbert
came to Cambridge for George Lee’s funeral but the train did not arrive
until after the service and Dorothy went to the cemetery with him. When in
OK Dorothy rode to town with Tolbert’s daughter Lovey but did not know
Glads, she also visited with Andrew some. Dorothy knew George Lee and his
family the best because her father and George married sisters, daughters
of John Milton Dawson, and they all lived in the Cambridge area. Jerry
Adkins made several trips to Cambridge to visit and Dorothy visited with
him in OK and played with his son Jack. She only knew Jack’s children,
Ronnie and Georgia when they were young. Dorothy knew Josie, Della and Ola
and their children and visited with them as often as possible.