[Man and I are still in East Tampa. The weather in almost all of the US has been frightful and brutal and at the end of January and then February, there happened to be bad storms. We paid the rent to stay right where we are. We hope to be rolling April 1st.]
I thought this month I would share with you what a wonderful thing spontaneity can be when you travel in a RV and research your family history.
I started research in 1991. It was about a year before I discovered a family book, “Lashbrooke, Lashbrooks, and Lashbrook (of the United States)”; compiled by Mary K. Gritt Lashbrook, (Utica, Kentucky: McDowell Publications, 1986). In Mary’s book I found 12 pages at the end of the book. Those 12 pages outlined the Lashbrook line of Man’s ancestors. Mary could not connect those 12 pages of ancestors to her fine work. However, instead of ignoring the line, she included it in her work as “unconnected”. Bless Mary.
I spent the better part of the next years, lots of years, researching those 12 pages, chasing those Lashbrooks from Devon England to Seattle Washington with many locations in between.
I also chased the brides. Sometimes successfully, others, well, not so. One bride, Amanda Houghton (and any other spelling that you can dream up) married one Aaron D. Lashbrook.
I chased Aaron from England to Canada to New York State to Illinois and Wisconsin, through several western states, and finally into Oklahoma and Kansas. I "knew" from family tradition that he was buried at “Parker” cemetery near Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas. I searched for that Parker cemetery. I could not locate it. I had a bag of tricks for locating cemeteries, but, somehow, Parker evaded me.
This was in the early days of the fine web site, Find A Grave. I never found the Parker cemetery listed there, nor Aaron. And, surely NOT Amanda. It appears, by the way, that the Parker cemetery was added to Find A Grave around August of 2004, date based on addition of photos and a number of memorials.
It also happened to be a time when Kansas records were rather hard to gather from the internet. Yes, young researchers, there WAS a time when it could be hard or next to impossible to surf in, grab our ancestor’s birth, death or marriage record and surf out, digital copies firmly saved to our computer hard drives.
And, there was the rub. I had no death date for Amanda. I had no idea where she died or where, and surely had no idea of where she was buried. Other researchers that I shared and collaborated with had no idea where or when she died either. I could not rest till I found Amanda. It became a mission to find out when and where Amanda died, and where she was buried.
Fast forward to the spring of 2004. Man and I had spent time in Donna Texas for some of the winter months. We were headed north, back to our SE Michigan home. Our general route was north to Oklahoma City, then Kansas City, Missouri where I would do some research, on, of course, the Lashbrook clan.
As we drove north, at some point, I realized that Arkansas City Kansas was just not that far off our path. Man and I discussed this situation, where I said something akin to, “OOO, I really need to go to Arkansas City”. And, so, we located a campground and we stopped at Arkansas City.
What followed was what I called then, “a grand Lashbrook research trip”. After setting up camp, we went back to the campground office where I asked the owner, who claimed to be a 6th generation local, “is there a Parker cemetery near here?”. Before I could exhale he was on the phone, chatting with a local gal, giving me directions to THE Parker Cemetery. He had this local gal meet me there, and less than 30 minutes later, I was looking at Amanda Lashbrook’s headstone:
The next three days were a whirlwind. I visited several courthouses, cemeteries, libraries, archives. I took at least 70 photos of headstones. I extended my information on the descendants of Aaron and Amanda several generations. I found marriages, divorces, obituaries, land records, stories, even some newspaper articles with photos. I learned about the 1893 Land Rush and the local stories about hopeful future land owners camping out for up to one year before, waiting for the opportunity.
At a cemetery there we found the caretaker who took us into the Mausoleum where Aaron and Amanda’s son Charles Clinton Lashbrook and his bride Maud McLaury Lashbrook are interred. Charles and Maud’s son Charles Arthur and Maud’s parents, C.B. and Virginia McLaury are also interred in the Mausoleum. This is the inside of that mausoleum, the Lashbrook clan are interred to the right of the lovely windows.
Serendipity, special people that helped us, and the spontaneous decision to make a bit of a detour resulted in a great research experience and gave me the information to build and add to one of the Lashbrook tree twigs.
If you believe in the magic of family research, you might feel that Amanda was ready to be found, wanted to be found, that she guided us to her final resting place. Once we arrived in Arkansas City she was not going to wait any longer, 30 minutes, just 30 minutes.
Amanda was found.
Rest in Peace Amanda.