Friday, March 30, 2012

The 1940 Census

Walt Stewart Family about 1940
The 1940 Census will be released in 2 days and 12 hours.  It will be exciting to “catch up” with my parents.  

In the previous census they were both 15 years old.  My mom lived in Kirkwood Precinct in Rock County, Nebraska with her parents and only brother.  My dad lived in Valentine, Cherry County, Nebraska with his parents and their family.  Mom and Dad did not know each other yet.   What a difference those ten years made in everyone’s lives including my parents!
My Mom in the 1930 Census

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vigilantes: Chelsea Regulators / Niobrara Mutual Protective Association

Governor Thayer

I wanted to write just a bit more about the vigilantes from the early Nebraska days.  In the area of the Niobrara River where Newt Turpin resided, it was well-known that vigilantes existed.  The area included Brown, Rock, Holt, Boyd, and Keya Paha counties.  After doing a little poking around, it seems that the spirit of the vigilantes played an immediate role in the Turpin family’s life in Rock County.   I’d mentioned before that neighbor suspected neighbor sometimes and that law enforcement was a scarce commodity.  In analyzing Louis Goochey’s story that he told to grandchildren, I could see that Goochey was incorporating some facts of local history into his own tale of woe to enhance it and justify what he did.   

So here is a bit of what I discovered.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Turpin Family Bible

The Sept 16, 1873 date is across the book from Mary Ellen's name. 

I don't know the history of this Bible but it was from Robert Newton Turpin's second family.  Newt's death is the first listed, but the family is listed in order of birth on both the births and deaths page.  I believe the Bible was passed down through Nellie, the youngest child. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goochey's Story About Vigilantes

Doc Middleton
In a February blog I shared the transcript of one version of the story Louis Goochey told his grandchildren about the Turpin shooting.  I promised more information to help sort through the story.  This is a start....

Goochey told his family that “shortly after the family moved to their claim on the Niobrara [he] was approached by a committee from the neighborhood. They stated that the area was rife with horse thieves, and, since law authority was tenuous at best, they had formed a vigilante committee to protect their property from these thieves.” 

How true is this?  Let’s look at what was going on.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Newton Turpin, #18 -- Better Known as Tom Turpin

Tom and Mamie Turpin

Robert Newton Turpin’s last son was named after him.  Newton was born on 13 April 1890 in Mariaville in Rock County, Nebraska.  In his youth he was known as Newtie.  As an adult, he was known as Tom. 

His father Newt died when Newtie was three years old and his mother Mary Ellen remarried in 1902.  The family eventually relocated to Dundy County in southwestern Nebraska where Tom grew up.  Tom married Mamie Armstrong about 1921.  She was born 3 December 1899, the daughter of Lyman B. “Billy” and Lela Armstrong.  Mamie’s father was a grocer in Haigler.  Tom and his step-father James Estlack were meat cutters.  So even though Haigler was a small town, it seems very likely that Tom and Mamie became good friends through their families and the grocery business.  Together they raised three children:  Billy, Donna, and Thomas Newton. 

During World War I Tom registered for the draft.  He stated on his registration form that he had been working as a butcher and meat cutter for his step-father.  When he had completed his military service, he returned home to Haigler.  He was a member of American Legion Post No. 19 and the World War I Platte Valley Barracks.  

Tom was a meat cutter for 30 years.  The 1930 census reported that Tom was engaged in farming in Dundy County also.  About 1942, Tom and Mamie moved to Fort Morgan, Colorado where they resided until their deaths.  Mamie died at a young age after suffering with a heart ailment for many years.  She died at home in Fort Morgan the day before her birthday, on 2 December 1945 according to the Haigler (Neb.) News.  Newton died 3 May 1969 in Fort Morgan, Colorado according to his own obituary in the Benkelman (Neb.) Post & News-Chronicle.  Tom and Mamie are buried at the Haigler Cemetery.