(an excerpt from his autobiography) 1904
I was born on February 12th of that year on a farm which we always
called the Angle Place. Since my father rented it, I suppose it
was owned by the Angle family. It was located about one half mile
west of the Vermillion river in Illinois at what was then known
as Sandy Ford, as there was no bridge at that time. Sandy Ford is
about ten miles northwest of Streator, Illinois.
The nearest Doctor was in Grand Ridge which was a good ten miles
Northeast of our place. When my approach was evident my father had
to phone the Doctor and then go down to the river and wait for him
to drive that far by horse and buggy. He would then row across the
river and bring him back to our side and then take him in our rig
to our place. I don't know who had the phone but suppose it was
the Elliots who lived one mile West. The Grandson still does. When
I was born the river was in a good mood but when Emma, my Sister,
arrived it was very high and he met the Dr. at night. I have heard
him say the river was 22 ft. higher at the time of her birth. He
lost his hat and the lantern but apparently the Dr. arrived in time.
Of course I don't remember any of the events of that year so can
only record those things which I recall being told me by my parents
or other relatives.
My Mother's sister, Emma King, we always called her Auntie King
and her husband Uncle Will, lived about 3 miles East of us on the
same road on what was known as the Graham Place. He rented too,
310 acres. My folks said he was holding me on his lap during a thunder
storm that Summer. Lightening hit the line somewhere near and came
through the phone knocking me off his lap. No harm done. Another
event was the building of the first bridge across the Vermillion
river at Sandy Ford. My Grandfather Smalley was apparently visiting
us at the time they finished the bridge. He hitched our horse to
the buggy and taking my Mother, Sister, and I drove down to the
bridge. As they laid the plank floor he followed it across. When
it was complete he turned around and drove back. So we were the
first to cross the new bridge which was a steel span. It has since
been torn down and a concrete bridge built.
Mr. Smalley was not my real Grandfather. A few years after my Grandmother,
Emma Hayward left my Grandfather, Phillip Hayward, and came to Streator
Phillip froze to death coming home from the mine one night in 1885.
It was after this that Emma married Mr. Daniel Smalley, but we always
called him Grandpa Smalley. They are both buried in the Riverview
Cemetery in Streator on the same lot as my parents and Auntie &
Uncle Will King. Emma was struck by a car and killed in 1913.
Late that year my folks had a group picture of the four of us taken.
They also had a single picture of me taken in my long embroidered
baby dress. Apparently they had also had a picture taken of Emma
when she was about the same age. These pictures were enlarged to
about 18 x 20 inches and placed in fancy white frames. As long as
my Mother lived these pictures stood in the parlor, each on its
own white easel. I don't know what became of them.
(Footnotes added in 1995, by Vera Cote' Tripodi)
Uncle Arley's mother and father were Matilda and Nathan Morse.
Matilda had been Matilda Hayward before her first marriage (to William
Kenzy), and Aunty King had been Emma Hayward, before her first marriage
(to George Shepard). The two ladies, Matilda and Emma, were sisters,
daughters of Emma Elizabeth Ellaway Hayward. Aunty King, the younger
sister, was obviously named after her mother, Emma Elizabeth Hayward,
(who later married Dan Smalley). When Arley speaks of the Emma who
was struck by a car and killed, he is referring to the mother of
the sisters, Emma Smalley, Arley's grandmother.
Then, to confuse things, there is Arley's sister, Emma Morse, Matilda's
second daughter, the baby born when the river was high. (Matilda's
older daughter was Tena Smalley, who was to take (or was given)
the last name of her beloved step-grandfather).
The name "Emma" has followed the family here in Illinois through
two more generations that I know of. Besides that, Matilda and Emma,
the two girls mentioned above, had a brother, Alfred, who married
a lady named Emma Jane, and among their ten children was a daughter
named Emma. So Alfred had a mother, sister, and wife, and a daughter
by that name! Alfred lived in Pennsylvania, and as far as I know,
his descendants still do.
Although Uncle Arley wrote the name "Angle" in the first paragraph,
he meant "Angel". For the sake of authenticity, I am leaving it
as he wrote it, but making the correction in these notes. It should
be mentioned too, that although we had originally heard that his
grandfather, Philip Hayward, had died on the way home from working
in the mine, recent letters from Philip's descendants in Pennsylvania
write that he was actually on his way home from buying groceries
when he sat down by a pine stump and died in the bitter cold.
In the last line of the first paragraph, the ten miles northwest
of Streator mentioned, did not mean "as the crow flies". I think
"5 miles north of Streator, then four miles west", would be more
to the point, although if you were driving - and you surely would
be - the distance does add up to almost ten miles, so he was right
in a way.
In the second paragraph, when Uncle Arley speaks of Grand Ridge
being "a good ten miles" northeast of their place, it was probably
more like eight, although I'd never know the difference if the roads
didn't have numbers now, which they didn't years ago. Arley lived
by East 1325 road, which runs north and south, and their house was
actually on what is now North 18th road, which runs east and west.
To go east to the north/south highway (which is East 17th road,
or Route 23), would be four miles. Then they'd turn north and go
on Route 23 to Grand Ridge, which is three miles further on. Grand
Ridge is laid out along North 21st road, which runs east and west.
On the first page, when Uncle Arley speaks of the new "concrete
bridge", he means the floor of it is concrete; the new top is a
steel span similar to the old one. The new concrete floor might
be more durable, but it lacks the personality and a certain usefulness
that the old plank floor possessed. It even had a voice of its own,
and announced in advance the approach of any visitors to the King
farm more than a mile away. It was really a lovely sound, a friendly
rumble, and remains to this day, a pleasant memory for those of
us fortunate enough to have heard it.
(Although Uncle Arley used single spacing between the paragraphs
of his hand-written story, I have taken the liberty of double-spacing
to facilitate reading. Otherwise, the story remains as he wrote
Sources and Acknowledgments
1. The many conversations I had with my mother, Tena Cote' and
the resulting heaps of notes, on zillions of scraps of paper - stashed
away in boxes, envelopes, and drawers.
2. Late-night conversations with my brother, Lloyd Lyon, which
kept the telephone lines between Illinois and California buzzing
till the wee hours.
3. Long talks with my cousin, Mildred King. In person, and by telephone.
4. Letters from a new-found cousin in Pennsylvania, Gene Kenney,
who furnished me with details of the beginning, as I could furnish
him with information on the later years of his - and my - great
grandmother, Emma Elizabeth, and her descendants.
5. Articles - real treasures, actually - written by my uncle, Arley
Morse, and sent to me by his sons. David and Keith also came up
with their family dates; if they hadn't been so cooperative, I could
never have completed the lists for that part of the family.
6. Date lists from cousins Kathleen Askew, Betty Scott, Betty's
daughter, Ann Marie Ramoino, Geneva Hayes, Geneva's sister, Jean
Ficht, and Mildred Meyer, and all the other cousins that they sent
the lists on to, to be added to and verified.
7. The date list of my sister Irene's family. I don't have it yet,
but my niece, Molly, promises she'll track down and send me all
those dates that I never thought I'd ever forget - those of her
six brothers. I knew all their birthdays once upon a time!
8. Mrs. Kaley, Emil Nieratha, and Mrs. Skawinski, the kind and
friendly folks of Park Falls, Wisconsin, who were such a help to
me on short notice, almost a quarter of a century ago.
9. Mary Jane Wilkinson, LaSalle County Clerk, and her staff, who
must have cringed every time they opened yet another one of my requests
for records. (Hang on, Mary Jane; I don't think I'm done yet!)
10. Corrie Marquette, of the Price County Title and Abstract Co,
of Phillips, Wisconsin,, who recently went beyond the call of duty
to obtain information and copies of maps and records for me. To
say nothing of taking pictures to send to me of the old home-site
near Park Falls, right under the nose of a very unfriendly dog!
11. I can't forget a non-family member, a friend, who is as much
"family" as she is a neighbor. Without Connie Brandow to take me
on my errands to get paper and other supplies, where would this
project be? And Harriette, I haven't forgotten whose car Connie
sometimes had to use for these errands, when her own wasn't up to
Thanks to each and every one of you - I couldn't have done it without
you! Now, some of you family members can take up the family torch
and carry it forward; I am convinced that each one of you has something
that you can add to these pages that will be of interest and usefulness
to your own descendants in years to come. Besides, it's sort of
therapeutic, in a way, writing down and remembering things as they
were years ago. Maybe our future can benefit from remembering the
past. And as time goes on, don't forget to keep the "date pages"
up to date, as births, deaths, and marriages occur. I'm counting
Thanks again to everybody - I love each and every one of you!
Vera Cote' Tripodi
Thanks to Michele
Tate who provided the above story
2005 Gerald Majumdar