Friday, May 4, 2012

Mention of Mr King in Missouri Newspaper, 1876

In the search for my ancestor, Robert King’s death notice in either Howell or Oregon County, Missouri (You can read about my ongoing process here), I came across a mention of a “Mr King” in the August 4th 1876 edition of the Doniphan Prospect from neighboring Ripley County, Missouri. 

Robert’s spouse, Tabitha House King Watson’s obituary of 1937 says that her husband Robert King died in 1876. I have been unable to locate a death notice for him in 1876 in the Doniphan Prospect so far. However, if this “Mr. King” is my ancestor, Robert King, then at least I could speculate that he was still living in August of 1876.

Here is the transcript of the above newspaper clipping: 

Doniphan Prospect, Volume 3, Number 7, 04 August 1876

       Esq. S. D. Gatlin living near
the State line was awakened
from his slumbers on Saturday
night by some one knocking at
his door. He did not know
whether it was the K. K., or
something worse. Upon en-
quiring of the visitors what was
wanted, he was told it was a
wedding party, and that his of-
ficial services were needed. The
Esq. struck a light invited the
Party to come in, when William
Werden and Sarah Little, pres-
sented themselves, and were un-
ited in marriage. They had
traveled on foot from near Po-
cahontas, Arkansas. They
went to Mr. King’s near by, and
staid all night. King says he
slept no more that night,

Samuel Gatlin was a free mason master of the Pleasant Hill Lodge which met on the Saturday before the 4th Sunday each month at Pylant’s school house. I was surprised to learn of the problems that the community had with the "K. K." From the articles I read throughout 1876, this group was pretty ruthless and engaged in breaking their brothers out of jail by holding the jail officers hostage while the breakouts occurred. 

Here’s a map of the counties in Missouri. Ripley County, in which the Doniphan Prospect is written, is just 10 miles to the East of Oregon County.

I also found a reference to 18 deaths that happened in Oregon County that was originally reported in the South Missourian, 23 Sept 1876. It is possible my ancestor, Robert King could have perished along with this group. The article does not say if the deaths were due to sickness or even if they all occurred at the same time or throughout the year. I did not find any more mention of these deaths. But the date might help me to narrow down a time period. It would be nice to know what happened to these 18 persons who died in Oregon County as reported in September of 1876.

Doniphan Prospect, Volume 3, Number 16, 06 October 1876

       The South Missourion of
Sept. 23d, reports 18 deaths in
Oregon county. We think that
pretty serious for a healthy coun
ty like Oregon.

I am definitely learning a lot by going through newspapers and looking for what repositories have what newspapers. Jenna from the Desperately Seeking Surnames blog suggested I check out the Midwest Genealogy Center to see what newspapers they have on microfilm. I looked through their list of newspapers found here and located several papers from the time period I am interested in (1870-1876); however, they were located in St. Joseph, St. Louis, and Kansas City, each almost 200 miles away. I am not sure the death of my ancestor, Robert King, or his marriage to Tabitha House would have warranted a notice in one of these big city newspapers. More than likely, it would have been mentioned in the more local Springfield newspaper. However, I also looked through the online archive of Springfield news [Missouri Digital Heritage site, Hall’s Index & Itemsof Genealogical Interest from the Springfield, Green County, MO Newspapers ] but did not find any mention of either the 1870 marriage or 1876 death. This index began in 1865. 

In case you are wondering, in addition to keeping all my readers apprised of my journey here on my blog, I am also using the new Research Manager feature in my genealogy software (Rootsmagic 5) to keep track of each source I search and what I find.

This is what it looks like so far (click on the image to make it bigger):

The research report looks just like this in my RootsMagic software. I then print the report and I saved it to an RTF file. I adjusted the widths of the columns in order for it to fit in my Word document program window and look nicer. But other than that, I did not make any changes. I will add to this report as newspapers are searched. 


  1. You're certainly covering the newspaper territory, Ginger. I got a huge grin out of the elopement article - especially that last line!

  2. Hi Susan, yes, I am trying to step outside my box and see what all this newspaper hype is all about! I bet Mr. King was excited to meet such a young couple all in love ready to make that big leap...