By Leone B. (Adkins) Gailey


     The history of my Great-Great Grandfather, Thomas Jones, the Grandfather of Lucy Ann Adkins, my Grandmother:

     At the Probate Judge's office in Platt City, Missouri, Uncle John found where Thomas Jones had filed a will in 1882, at the age of 97. This would have made his date of birth during the year of 1784-85. Thomas Jones' housekeeper had him declared incompetent in 1883, and an administrator was appointed to handle his affairs. The elderly lady who waited on Uncle John at the Probate Judge's office was a daughter of the administrator. Uncle John did not find Thomas' exact birth date or the date of his death.

     Uncle John then visited the Newspaper Office, where a young printer had written a book on the early settlers of Platt County. He produced it and there, Uncle John found what he was looking for, in the words of Thomas Jones. It gave the names of his father and mother - (Uncle John did not send me those names. )

     Thomas Jones was born in Virginia in 1784. He joined the army in1802, and served 18 years or more, which included service in the War of 1812 and the Blackhawk War of 1832. He moved to Missouri in 1840, and was married two times. He had two children, a boy and a girl, by his first wife, and several children in the second marriage. After his second marriage, he moved to Platt City, Missouri, and lived on a farm.

     Among the children of his second marriage was Grandma Hayes (Nancy S. Jones), my Grandma Adkins' mother. He was 97 years old when he filed his will and visited Grandma Adkins in Cummings, Kansas. A few years before, Grandma's sister, Mattie, and her husband, Jim Vandever, had visited Grandpa Jones. When they started home, Grandpa Jones gave Mattie $25 for herself and $25 to give Grandma Adkins. Somehow, Grandma Adkins never received her money, and would never have known about it, had he not asked her what she did with it when he was visiting her.

     Great-Great-Grandfather Jones died at the ripe old age of 104 years.

     George Washington Hayes (Grandma Adkins' father) was born in Kentucky in 1832, but later moved to Indiana. He also was married twice. He had two children by his first wife (Mary E. and Martin V. Hayes): Mary Hayes married Paul Naylor, who lived south of Parkville. She had 6 children. Martin Hayes died in 1862; the details of his death are not known.)

     George Washington Hayes lived in Indiana until after the summer of 1840. Sometime between 1840 and 1844, he lost his first wife and moved to Missouri, for he is found in Platte County on July 25, 1844, when he married Nancy S. Jones (Grandma Adkins' mother). They were united by Dr. James Barker, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church South. By the summer of 1850, they had a family office. A grocer, named John Jones, age 32, lived with them.

     G. W. and Nancy's son, Thomas, died in 1950. His picture had hung in Nancy's room until the day she died.

     On August 30, 1850, Lucy Ann Hayes (Grandmother Adkins) was born. In 1855, they moved to Kickapoo, Kansas. George Washington Hayes was a wagon maker and a farmer. In 1857, another girl was born (Mattie, who married Jim Vandever).

     On March 5, 1860, G. W. Hayes deeded the land to Nancy, his wife. Census of 1860 listed his real estate at a value of $800, his personal property at $400. In 1865, G. W. was killed by "Bushwhackers," the name commonly given to Confederate guerrilla raiders during the Civil War. G. W. knew that they were in the area, for he and Nancy had buried the family silver and had hidden food. Nancy sewed their money in an old skirt and threw it on the floor. Evidently, the bushwhackers caught them unaware, for G.W. was shot and killed as he stood outside the house. The bushwhackers then searched the house, and one took the skirt and said that it would make a good pad for his saddle. The head man told him not to take the old woman's clothes, so he threw it back on the floor, and the money was saved.

     George Washington Hayes had been Captain of the Atchison County Militia. Yet, he and Nancy had once owned slaves (2 lived with them in Kansas, although they were technically "free"). Antislavery legislation had even forced G.W. to return to Missouri briefly before the war. Yet G.W. was evidently killed by Confederate raiders.

     After his death, Nancy lived on the home property near Cummings, Kansas, with her two daughters, until her death on April 7, 1876. The former slave woman lived with them. In 1870, Nancy was listed as 43, with $1500 worth of real estate and $385 personal property.

     The Adkins family was originally from England. I don't know anything about their background. Jeremiah Adkins was born on March 24, 1817; his wife, Jane Dean Adkins, was born on May 12, 1818. They were married about 1838, and they lived in a little town in Platt County, Missouri. They had two children, Tolbert and Frank.

     In 1845, when the Oregon Territory opened for settlement, they started in a caravan for the west. The group met at Kansas City and crossed the river on a ferry. When they reached the Colorado border, part of the people wanted to turn back. The braver, God fearing ones plodded on. Captain Lewis headed the train.

     The Adkins family settled in the Juanetta Valley, along the Columbia River. The present site of
Portland, Oregon, is built on part of their claim. A few months after they reached their claim, on February 25, 1846, a son was born whom they named James Columbia (my grandfather). As far as records can be found, he was the first white child to be born in Oregon. In the six years that they lived on the claim, two other children, Elizabeth Jane and John Thomas, were born.

     About 851, Jeremiah Adkins left the two older boys, Tolbert and Frank, to take care of their mother, their younger brothers, and their sister, while he went with a group of prospectors to the California gold fields. On their journey to California, Jeremiah's wagon started to turn over. Trying to save the wagon, Jeremiah was injured; the wagon fell on him and crushed his kneecap. Blood poisoning set in, soon causing his death. The captain had him buried at the foot of a mountain in northern California.

     When Mrs. Adkins learned of her husband's death, she decided to take the children and return to Missouri, where her people lived. She sold her claim for 1600 pieces of gold (I tried to find out how much that would have been, but have been told that the pieces were of different values; there is no way to tell. 1600 $5.00 gold pieces would have been worth $8000.) They journeyed across the mountains on pack mules to San Francisco, and boarded a sail boat. The ship had to go around Cape Horn in order to get to New Orleans. While on board, there was a terrible storm. Everyone thought that the ship would be destroyed, but luck or God was with them. They were lost in the Atlantic Ocean for six weeks. They were on board ship about three months when John Thomas, the baby, died of seasickness. Jane Dean Adkins did not want her child to be buried at sea, and, since they were near some land, the captain pulled in to shore. Here, they discovered that they were on the coast of Africa. The Africans came out to the ship with chairs strapped to their backs, in which they carried the people to land. Here, on the African coast, John Thomas was laid to rest.

     In the spring of 1855, Jane Dean Adkins married Isaac Blessing. They went to Atchison County, Kansas, and settled on a claim on Crooked Creek. Later, they moved to a prairie claim which proved to be a better farm.

     In the year 1860, while living on this claim, Tolbert Adkins was hired to drive oxen across the plains on the old Santa Fe Trail, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. On the way back, he was killed by one of the freight wagons.

     Elizabeth Jane Adkins married Clark Quiet. They lived in Atchison County until her death in 1882; she had two children.

     James Columbia, who was then 18 years of age, joined the state militia. His stepfather was in military service, and came home sick. James went and took his place in the army, using his name. Therefore, he never got a pension for being in the service. Shortly after he took his stepfather's place,
peace was declared, closing the Civil War.

     The next spring, James Columbia Adkins drove six yoke oxen and a freight wagon from Leavenworth, Kansas, to a place in Colorado, near Denver. He returned safely, that same year, and began working for his uncle, Ike Dean, in Missouri. In 1868, James returned to Atchison, Kansas, where he married Lucy Ann Hayes. They lived with her widowed mother and farmed for about three years. They moved to Ottawa, where they lived three years. Dissatisfied, they moved back to their home at Cummings, Kansas, near Atchison. They lived with Nancy Hayes until her death in 1876.

     In the meantime, Mattie had married Jim Vandever. They, too, moved into Nancy's house, making two families on one farm: the Adkins' and the Vandever's. Jim Vandever was a scheming old cuss. James C. Adkins was a very religious man who trusted everyone. Vandever and Adkins went in together to buy some farm implements for harvesting. Somehow, Vandever got Grandpa to sign for them, while, somehow, Vandever neglected to sign. The full price fell on James C. Adkins, and it was so much that it completely wiped him out. Vandever got the farm.

     When the first Oklahoma land rush came up, in 1889, James Adkins decided to try for a claim in Oklahoma. The Grahams and the Adkins families packed all of their possessions into eight covered wagons and left Atchison. They started for the first opening of Oklahoma. But it took them four weeks to make the journey, and they were too late to try for a claim during the first land rush of 1889.

     They stopped on Bill Alden's claim, stayed there overnight, and then went over to Ike Graham's claim. Ike had married Effie, the oldest daughter of James C. Adkins, and had moved on a claim in Oklahoma some few months before. The stayed there for two years, until the second opening in Oklahoma. For those two years, they lived in their covered wagons.

     Bill Graham and James Adkins started in a wagon for the second run. They were at the Cimarron Crossing when the command was given to start for their claims. James Adkins settled on a claim ten miles south of Perkins, near a little town called Merrick. He and his boys soon dug what was called a dugout, where they lived until they could hue logs and build them a log cabin. (This log cabin has been repurchased and restored by a grandson, Jack Adkins, of Coffeyville, Kansas. However, during the past few years, the cabin has deteriorated again. It was still standing in 2007; however, it is getting to be in very poor shape.)

     They lived on this claim for fourteen years, struggling to make a living, but the land was not good for farming. The merchant in Perkins, Mr. Rankins, gave them full credit for their debts, a team of horses, and a wagon. They moved onto a rented farm, known as the "Dilly Place," about four miles from the old homestead.

     The Adkins' never prospered on the land they acquired by homesteading. But in all the time they lived there, they were one of the few who helped build a Christian community. James Columbia Adkins always acted as Sunday School Superintendent. His wife always lent a helping hand in all the things he did. She saw that the children attended Sunday School and church. Whenever we were fortunate enough to have a minister come into the community, even though we had less than the others in worldly goods, they would usually stay at the Adkins' house. When a neighbor's child was being born, Grandmother helped. When there was a death or a birth, she helped regardless of color, often taking bedding from our home to the mother. Grandmother served in as many ways as Grandfather, in a different type of ministry.

     People were always coming to Grandfather for interpretations of the scripture, and they always seemed pleased with his answers. At his death, a woman remarked that she would rather hear him pray when she was young than anyone she knew. He lived to the age of 94. These are a few things that make one live forever - not the dollars and cents that one accumulates.

     Many weary travelers found shelter at the Adkins home, even if in the bam on the hay. Covered wagons going through the country would camp in our yard, sometimes for days, to rest awhile. Neighbors would direct those on foot to the Adkins place, even though they could better afford to keep travelers than we.

     Besides a large family of their own - twelve, to be exact - they raised several grandchildren: Raymond, until he was 17; Leone, off and on until I was ready for high school; Jack, until he was 9 or 10, after Grandmother died; and Aunt Effie's two sons, Howard and Warren, for a few years.

     As one of the grandchildren, I count myself as having the greatest heritage possible. Theirs was a life of service; their home was really a home. Their motto should have been "Let me live in a house by the side of a road and be a friend to man."