Dorothy Lucille Kerns Morphew
Dorothy was born on July 28, 1912 in North Dakota. Her parents were Jesse Darwin Kerns and Estella Bell Troupe Kerns.
Dorothy attended grade school and high school until graduation in 1930, then attended Brookings State College for 2.5 years. She majored in music.
Like all five of her brothers, who were all musicians in the Governor's Boy Concert Band, the second and the fifth boys went on to become bandmasters at Portland, Oregon and Bemidji, Minnesota.
Her father, Jesse Darwin Kerns, was a baker by trade, having a train bread route throughout North Dakota.
Her father suffered a crippling of his right hand, so he gave up his trade as a baker and sold life insurance for the rest of his life.
Estella died on Aug. 4, 1980 in Aberdeen, S.D.
Letter from Willis Kerns to Dorothy Lucille Kerns Morphew Dated 11-26-80
W. A. Kerns
10621 Hazelwood Court
Sun Clty, Arizona
November 26, 1980
Reo was here Monday. She is here to visit Orpha for Thanksgiving and they were all here for lunch. We had a nice visit. Reo told us that your mother had recently passed on. Please accept our sympathy.
For whatever reasons communication within the family have never been very goood. Various circumstances have made them worse. I remember that when your father died my father was in the hospital, so very ill that we did not expect him to last more than days. It was about a month later when he was strong enough and lucid enough to understand, that we told him of his brother's death. Although he lived another 8 years they were not very good years. The 4 or 5 years prior to 1953 had become increasingly difficult.
Although I have been close and always on good terms with my sisters, they sometimes have not kept me advised of things that were happening with our relatives. A couple of times Burdelle and I stopped at Nora Springs as we drove through Iowa but no one was home.
I retired in 1976 and we moved here in August of that year. Although I had collected some information earlier, I have somewhat diligently been working on genealogy beginning in 1976. Reo said that you were also interested in family and that you might be interested in sharing information. I am attempting to trace all ancestors back to the country of origin. In some cases that goes back 12 generations to the 1630's and before. My mother saved every thing. I have boxes of letters and various documents which I sorted and filed. From that information I had a start.
I knew that a cousin of our fathers had been somewhat interested in family. I was able to reestablish contact, that information was most helpful. I have spent some time in libraries in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Arizona, and in Salt Lake City. The Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society, a New York lawyer who lives here and who is also decended from the Davises, and various genealogical societies have been most helpful.
I now have about 75 different surnames and the names of perhaps 300 ancestors. The Davis lineage is almost complete. On Kerns I am temporarilly stalled with our great grandfather Isaac, but I have his birth location and date, some leads on where he came from, and a court record of his marriage to Rebecca Furrow, 1 Jan 1835.
Rebecca's father was John Furrow and her mother was Mary Simpkins. They were both born in Montgomery county Virginia and moved to Ohio I have letters out to various places. Sometimes it takes several months to get answers. Census records have been very helpful,
My plan is to collect as much information on ancestry as I can and then to publish it. The publication would include an index of names, ancestral charts, family group sheets for all ancestral families, some general narrative on family lines as with the Davis sheets I have enclosed, and specific stories I have collected on various individuals, I want to enclose family group sheets on all of my aunts and uncles and that will give the names and marriages of all of my cousins. I made a rough count of cousins one time and I have at least 32. What I will do with cousins depends upon what information I can get and how much interest there is. Trying to check decendencies is a never ending job because there are always more marriages and births.
I think that I may have most of the information in my mother's papers to fill in the J. D. Kerns family but it would be much more accurate if you would do it. Does my project sound interesting to you? Do you think that other cousins would be interested? If I put together all the information I have on all of our aunts and uncles would you be willing to edit it and to add any information you might have?
It has been a long time since we were together, the last time I recall is when Burdelle and I met you, Darrel, and his mother in the St. Paul Union depot sometime prior to i950. The last time I saw your parents was about that time plus or minus a couple of years, when we stopped in Aberdeen to see them,
Letter from Willis Kerns to Dorothy Kerns Morphew
Letter from Willis Kerns to Dorothy Lucille Kerns Morphew Dated 2-6-81
February 6, 1981
Thank you for answering my letters and for the anniversary card. It was most kind. Thank you also for for the papers. I am returning them to you. You did have some information I did not have and I have transferred all of it to records in the format I use. There is much more information in my mother's papers which I must work on again some day. When I get the records on cousins as complete as possible I will send you copies. It will be several months.
Did you ever have errors come back to haunt you years after they were made? I looked at your papers and found some information I knew to be wrong and was very concerned until I read further and found that they were compiled by Jack Bowers and Robert Kerns.
In 1968 Jack came to visit us and to visit mother and took with him copies of some notes I had made on scratch paper some 10 or 15 years before in some conversations with my parents. Jack made some large charts based on this information for Reo and I and apparently others. It was not until a year or two ago that I found that Isaac Kerns wife was Rebecca Furrow and not Rebecca Gardner as my father had told me. I got this information from some second cousins, the decendents of Albert and of Sebestian Kerns. I have confirmed this new information with court records in Ohio.
You have other errors in your file, the most obvious was that Fred Dehnert was the second husband of Ida Kerns Garrison and not of her daughter Iva who married Frank Koenig.
I have made an ancestral chart for you and of course it fits your brothers. Also I made a family group sheet for the J.D. Kerns family. You will note that all the forms call for Cities and Counties and States for births, marriages, and deaths. If you could fill in these and return it to me I will make a copy and return it to you.
The ancestral chart has 5 generations. I have the Davis ancestry back 7 more generations. The Davis ancestry is interesting. I am still missing some information of Elizabeth Johnston's grand parents but I expect to find it. The SDE history is interesting. They once had many members but have reduced in number so that in 1978 there were only 6000 nationally.
Note the Simpkins name of Rebecca Furrows mother. She must have been an aunt of Joseph Simpkins Rebecca Davis First husband. The Kerns and Davis families both lived in Shelty County Ohio in 1820. The Kerns Davis Marriage was in 1868 in Nebraska. I expeot to find that the Kerns also belonged to the SDB church.
Letter from Willis Kerns to Dorothy Kerns Morphew
Letter from Willis Kerns to Dorothy Lucille Kerns Morphew Dated 9-22-87
September 22, 1987
It was good to hear from you. I will answer some of your questions and ask you some more. Isabel and I are still around. But, she is almost 86 and has some real problems with arthritis.
Isabel and Thelma each had 2 children and although Isabel's oldest, Merle died a couple of years ago there are many grand children and great grand children. Isabel's husband Alvie is still fairly well.
Burdelle's cousin, Ethyl, in Osage is Mrs. Glen Muller. They live on a farm a couple of miles out of town.
I keep in touch with Reo mostly by phone because she is not too well either. Her sister, Orpha who is a few years older, lives in Mesa some 50 miles from here. We see her and Keddie several times a year. I correspond with some other cousins and second cousins.
Now as to your questions about our ancestry. How much do you want to know? I am enclosing a couple of pages on Isaac Kerns. As you can see I am stuck but I am still working. But since in my research I quit looking when I get to the immigrant ancestor and Isaac's father is the immigrant ancestor there is not far to go. On Isaac's wife Rebecca Furrow I have some information and expect some more soon. That information is in Virginia and I just made a new contact with a lady who appears to be a fifth or sixth cousin.
The Davis research is complete. I have Rebecca Davis' ancestors all checked back 9 to 12 generations in a couple of cases its 15 to the immigrant ancestors of both her father and mother. The Ancestral charts are filled out and so are the family group sheets. I have written a narrative to go with it. It is almost ready to publish. It is at least a hundred pages perhaps two hundred. Its all loaded into my computer and I have not printed all of it.
Of course I am working on my mothers ancestry also. I have her Kimball ancestry complete and ready to publish. I am stuck on one of her grandparents but I make progress on the other two from time to time. I have thousands of hours and thousands of dollars invested in this project. We have worked in libraries all over the US. Burdelle has information on her family also. We and have not decided how best to publish it. It is all in my computer but how many people are interested. How much do they want to know.
Ray Johnson, a grandson of aunt Ida is the only Kerns relative other than you who has evidenced any interest. Our children would like to have us print it all and many libraries would like copies but that could get expensive. It will be a few months before I have a good copy to send to you or to a printer.
As you know my work is ancestral but I do have family sheets for all aunts and uncles and some information on their families similar to the material you gave me on the J. D. Kerns family. A record of the decendents of Isaac Kerns is anothor project, for somebody else.
You should know that I quit looking when I get to the immigrant ancestor. Our Davis ancestry is all British, Kerns Irish, and Furrow Dutch and English. But who knows what I will find on the lines I am still working.
10621 Hazelwood Ct.
Sun City, AZ 85373
Information from Willis Kerns and sent to Dorothy Lucille Kerns Morphew In 1987 Re: The History Of Isaac Kerns
History of ISAAC KERNS
11 Aug 1815, Isaac Kerns' birth date, appears in many records. We have Logan Co. Ohio as his birthplace in one family record but we can not verify that. In the 1860 census Isaac said his birthplace was VA. We have both Isaac and Rebecca's obituaries form the library in Desmoines, IA. telling us nothing.
1 Jan 1835, Isaac Kerns married Rebecaa Furrow in Clark Co. Ohio. The marriage is recorded. The census is the only other record in Ohio.
1 Feb 1836, John Kerns was born in Clark Co. Ohio.
22 June 1838, Henry Kerns was:born in Clark Co. Ohio.
1840 census Pike twp, Clark County, Ohio Isaac appears with his wife and two sons living near his father-in-law, John Furrow Jr.
21 Nov 1844, Thomas Kerns was born in Indiana. In every census, Thomas gives his birth place as Indiana. Also in most census Isaac gives Thomas' birthplace as Indiana. .
22 Jan 1846, Sebastian Kerns was born in Logan Co., Ohio.
22 Jan 1849, Lydia Kerns was born in Logan Co., Ohio.
I850 census Harrison twp, Logan Co., Ohio Isaac gives birthplaces for his children as we have them above.
19 June 1853, was Charles born in Logan Co., Ohio.
25 May 1853, Charles died in Logan Co., Ohio.
15 Feb 1857, John married Marrilla James.
28 June 1858, Albert was born in Fayette Co., Iowa.
6 Feb 1859, Henry Married Lucinda Ellis in Cass Co., Michigan.
1860 census Jefferson twp, Cass Co., Michigan Isaac says that he was born in Virginia. Married sons John and Henry lived near Isaac. An Edmund Gardner lived nearby and Henry Ellis was in an adjacent twp.
19 May 1868, Lydia married John Clement at Humboldt, Richardson Co., Nebraska.
17 Dec 1868, Thomas married Rebecaa Davis Simpkins at Humboldt, Richardson Co., Nebraska.
1870 census Table Rock, Pawnee Co., Nebraska, Isaac owned land but lived with Sebastian. Married sons John, Henry, and Thomas lived nearby.
27 Dec 1871, Sebastian married Josephine Gates at Humboldt, Nebraska.
1876 Thomas lived at Welton, Iowa. John went to Council Bluffs, and Henry went to Exira, IA. Isaac and the others stayed in Lake City, IA. Later they moved to Macksburg, IA. Sebastian moved to Missouri. Albert remained in Madison CO., IA.
1877 Isaac trapped muskrats in Calhoun Co., Iowa near Lake City.
1880 Census Grand River twp Madison Co., Iowa Isaac lived with Albert
6 March 1882, Marilla James died and was buried at Winterset IA.
18 Feb 1883, John Kerns married Permilla Smith James.
1885 Iowa Census Isaac still lived with Albert.
29 Sept 1887, Rebecca Furrow died at Macksburg. Madison Co., IA.
6 May 1888, Albert married Catherine McCollum at Macksburg.
20 Mar 1889, Isaac Kerns died at Macksburg, Madison Co., IA.
All of the above dates are verifiable from family records of Isaac's children or from census records. There is some inconsistency in birth place records. The birth place of Thomas is usually Indiana in records made by Isaac or Thomas. The Sebastian Kerns family record shows Ohio. The Birth place for Lydia is Ohio in every census but, in an account of his life pubIished in a history of Madison Co. IA. John Clement gives his wife' birth place as Michigan. This account was written a couple of years after Lydia's death and must be an error. She or John may have remembered Michigan because she had moved there when she was 1 year old.
In the 1860 census Isaac says that his birth place was VA and his wife's birth place was Ohio; that his father's birth place was Ireland and his mothers VA; his wife's father's birthplace was VA and his wife's mother's birthplace was NY or NJ. the writing in the census is difficult to read. We do not know the names of Isaac's father or mother. We do know the names of Rebecca's parents and have found John Furrow Jr.'s ancestry. We have not found Mary Simpkins ancestry but we believe her to be the daughter of William Simpkins who moved from NY to VA after 1780.
Professional genealogists as well as our own efforts have disclosed no other records of Isaac Kerns. None of the persons named Kerns who lived in Ohio at the time Isaac lived there that we have found could have any connection with our Isaac aithough there were other Isaac Kerns living there. We have some clues. One, the Sebastian Kerns, son of Albert, family record says that the Kerns family came from PA to Ohio when and how not known. Arthur Kerns, son of Thomas, said that his grand mother's maiden name was Gardner. We know that his grand mother's maiden name was Furrow. Did he mean great grand mother, mother of Isaac?
Arthur knew his grand father, Isaac. Arthur said that Isaac looked like an Irishman and talked like an Irishman. Some family branches believe that the family is part German, others that the family is Welch..
Since we cannot find Isaac's father's name nor that of his mother we are making efforts to find associations that are meaningful. We have found that there were families named James living in Logan Co. Ohio comtemporary with Isaac. If we knew the name of Marrilla James' father it might help. Also if we knew the name of Lucinda Ellis' father that might help. There were families named Ellis living in Logan Co. also.
We know that Thomas Kerns' wife, Rebecca Davis, and Lydia Kerns' husband John Clements were Seventh Day Baptists. We know that the Davis family lived in Shelby Co. which is adjacent to Clark Co., Ohio at about the time Kerns and Furrow lived there. We also know that at least one of Rebecca Furrow's brothers was SDB. We know that Isaac had a church connection but we do not know what it was. At the time of the 1850 census a child named Lydia Huffman lived with the Isaac Kerns family. This Lydia had a sister living with the George Houtz family. Margaret Pickering married George Houtz. William Pickering married Rebecca Kerns who later divorced him. If Rebecca Kerns was Isaac's sister it could explain why two sisters could be with Houtz and Kerns but it does not explain the name Huffman. The name Huffman could be associated with Isaac's wife Rebecca Furrow through her brother William Simpkins Forrow who married Elizabeth Maxon and was SDB.
Some genealogists we have worked with believe that Isaac's extensive travelling may have been to seek members of his family. Certainly travelling from Ohio to Indiana, back to Ohio and then to Iowa before going to Michigan must have had some purpose. We know that the trip from Michigan to Nebraska was for land and that drought and grasshoppers forced them back to to Iowa. Since travellers by wagon or oxcart seldom travelled alone we search for other persons who may have travelled with Isaac and Rebecca.
In the 1880 Madison Co. Iowa census Effie and Belva Simpkins who were Thomas Kerns stepdaughters state that they were born in Nebraska and that their father, Joseph Simpkins, was born in NY. If Mary Simpkins, also born in NY, was an aunt or great aunt or even a cousin of Joseph Simpkins it would explain why Rebecca Davis Simpkins would have married Mary Simpkins, grandson, Thomas Kerns as her second husband. It was most unusual for a Davis to marry outside the SDB church even though she was a widow with four small daughters.
Genealogists who have worked on Isaac's ancestry prior to our attempt are: Earl Kerns, son of Sebastian. Orrin Kerns, Son of Albert. Harold Peercy, Husband of Henrys' granddaughter. I am a grand son of Thomas. I have had correspondence with decendents of Lydia. We have not had contact with decendents of Isaac's oldest son, John. To our knowledge the only other person who is now actively doing research on Isaac is Robert Nelson, who is a grandson of Orrin. He has his grandfathers records.
Professional genealogists in Montgomery Co., VA, home of the Simpkins and Furrows, Logan Co., Ohio and Salt Lake City, have not solved our problem. Genealogy Societies in Clark, Logan, Miami, Shelby, and Greene Counties, Ohio have been helpful.
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