Don't you love this photo? I "borrowed" it from my new Facebook friend Jill. I've accused Jill recently of contributing to my genealogy obsession by posting this photo and others that are similar on the "St. John Memories" profile at Facebook. I can hardly pull myself away from her photos and get to bed when it's so late at night.
It all started a few weeks ago when I got an email from Jill as she explained her connection to my family, as displayed on our Ancestry.com family trees. As I viewed our family trees, I was astonished to find that Jill was not only connected to a family in my tree, but also to my husband's family in two different lines. Jill is not technically my cousin, but I want her to be!
It was this tiny introduction to Jill that drew my attention to the St. John High Facebook profile and the wonderful photos that have been posted there in the St. John Memories album. The above photo is from that album and shows Jill's 3rd great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. James Jenkins in 1883 in downtown St. John, Stafford, Kansas.
I was born and raised in Great Bend, Barton, Kansas, which lies 19 miles straight north of St. John. My mother was born near St. John and her parents lived in Stafford, Stafford, Kansas, which lies 12 miles southeast of St. John. So this is my familiar home territory. But as I began researching my husband's family a decade ago, I saw that, while 99% of his ancestors were in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, one set of his 3rd great-grandparents lived, died and are buried in St. John, Stafford County, Kansas.
This kind of discovery has such an impact on me that I'm nearly just blown away. I'm a person who's easily impressed, easily struck by what other people call "coincidences". After I enjoyed reviewing all the wonderful photos in the St. John album on Facebook, I went back to my husband's Jamison file in my RootsMagic database and studied his 3rd great-grandparents, Dennis Delaney (1816-1889) and Ellenor Kendall (1815-1898) Campbell. They were residing in their hometown of Monongalia, Marion, West Virginia in 1880 and were in St. John when the March 1, 1885 Kansas State Census was taken. So they were about 68 years old when they made the long trip from West Virginia to the dry, hot, dusty plains of central Kansas. In the 1880 census Dennis's occupation is listed as "farmer" but in the 1885 Kansas State Census he's listed as a "Wagonmaker". I haven't fully developed any facts on the reason for their move west, but I have some ideas that I'll post as I'm able to determine their validity. And while the people in the photo at the top of this story are my friend Jill's ancestors, I appreciate the picture, as it's representative of the St. John that my husband's great, great, great grandparents experienced in their Kansas residency.