The Alford American Family Association
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AAFA #0405

1910 MO – 1998 KS



Ethyle Davison Jones and her great-grandson, Joshua Hite,

youngest grandchild of her daughter Shirley Hite, AAFA #0415



Kansas City, MO—Saturday, 12 December 1998


            R. Ethyle Jones, 88, Fredonia, KS, passed away Thursday, December 10, 1998, at Fredonia Regional Hospital. Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Monday, December 14, at Timmons Funeral Home, Fredonia; burial in Gracelawn Cemetery, Howard, KS.... Memorial contributions may be made to Longton Historical Society in care of the funeral home.

            Ethyle was born October 27, 1910, in Plad, MO. She had been employed by City Publishing in Independence, KS, was an insurance agent for Farmer’s Insurance in Longton, KS, and was a former owner of Ethyle’s Browsing antique shop in Longton and Lyons, KS. She attended the Christian Church. She was a member of the Clan Davidson Society, Alford [American] Family Association, Longton Historical Society, Dallas County, MO, Historical Society and Elk County Historical Society.

            She was preceded in death by three brothers and one sister.

            Survivors include two sons, Robert D. Jones, Coffeyville, KS, and William A. Jones, Phoenix, AZ; one daughter, Shirley L. Jones Hite, Fredonia, KS [AAFA #0415]; one brother, Jack Mead, Chesapeake, VA; one sister, Geneva Pegg, Englewood, CO; 12 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; four stepgreatgrandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren. (Arrangements: Timmons Funeral Home, Fredonia, KS)


AAFA NOTES: SSDI records confirm the birth and death dates of R. Ethyle Jones (SS# issued in KS), last residence, Fredonia, Wilson Co., KS.

            Her Alford lineage, from her maternal grandmother: Martha Lucinda 1861 MO3, Robert Lee 1841 TN4, John M. 1821 TN5, John 1786 NC/TN6.



Eulogy for Ethyle Jones


By Janine Davison Hernbrode, Ethyle’s second cousin

Sent by Ethyle’s daughter, Shirley Hite, AAFA #0415


            It was my Dad, Lonnie Davison, who located his cousin Ethyle in Lyons, Kansas, after almost a lifetime of growing up separately. He was so thrilled to reestablish contact.

            Ethyle’s father, William Arthur Davison, died very young when she was only six years old. Her mother, Nettie, moved her young children from Missouri to Oklahoma to be near her own family, where she could rear them with the love and support of doting uncles. Nettie became a seamstress, making the black Sunday dresses women wore then. Life was hard, but in the bosom of her mother’s family, Ethyle grew to adulthood, knowing little of the Davisons.

            If she was like the rest of us, she had to explain thousands of times that her name was DAVISON, not DaviDson. She must have been greatly relieved to trade her maiden name for the married name of Jones.

            I met Ethyle because I was humoring my mother. We were crossing Kansas on the way to visit Dad’s relatives in Missouri and she wanted to stop and see Ethyle and Glada. Mom thought it was her own farewell tour because Dad had died and she would not travel that way alone again. I had told her I would take her to Missouri whenever she wanted to go, and now we were on our way.

            My first thoughts when we found Ethyle’s house were about what she would be like. Would she be like some of the other Davison women I knew? One of my dad’s sisters had been surprised when she crossed from Missouri into KansasÑsurprised to find that the ground was still the same color. The map in her geography book showed Missouri as brown but Kansas was pink! I tried to conceal my wariness as we walked to the door.

            When Ethyle answered our knock, I was delightfully surprised. She was at the same time warm and yet kind of authoritative. She commanded herself well. She had humor and vitality. And her brain worked. With some people kinship just feels right. She was one of those.

            She had decided to work on genealogy and asked some questions of us about the Davison familyÑquestions I did not know the answers to and neither did Mom, but we were headed toward the Missouri Ozarks and others who might know. I didn’t realize it then, but I was hooked! Once I had asked some of her questions and found no one knew the answers, solving the mysteries became consuming.

            So Ethyle and I embarked on the adventure of a search for family origins. We had a great time. What we found was a very old pioneer family full of interesting stories and life on the American frontier.

            The search was entertaining to say the least. At one point Ethyle had been told to go look up a Charlie Brown who lived in Fair Play, Missouri, because he remembered just about everything that had happened around there. When we found Charlie, he was trying to give away puppies, but we finally got him focused on whatever he could recall about the Davisons. When we asked where they had lived, he said, “Well, I don’t rightly know. Them Davisons moved around like maggots in a hot ash pile.” In his own way, he was right. Land sales records at the Courthouse told us they had speculated on land and bought and sold numerous properties.

            Ethyle and I spent one Memorial Day sitting in a cemetery at the gravesite of our great-great-grandfather who had been killed in the Civil War. We thought someone might show up and we would find out about another branch of the family, but mostly we cooked ourselves in the hot sun. We did find out that these things take time. We left some papers in a fruit jar at the gravesite and have since been contacted three times by various branches of the family.

            Over the years we found out about many members of the Davison family. There was Dolly Hayes Hutchins who raised not only her own family and successfully ran a boarding house and hotel, but took in the retarded child of another family member and the orphan children of yet another. They called her “Dolly” but her real name was “Louisa Jane,” named after her aunt and our great-great-grandmother.

            And then there were the Akards. Bill Akard was world shooting champion from 1905 to 1917. He worked with Will Rogers as part of his employment by the Remington Arms Company. He did the shooting act and Will Rogers did the roping act. His reputation as a crack shot owning a room full of guns, according to a newspaper article, made some bank robbers give up on robbing the bank at Fair Play and instead made them choose the bank at Aldrich, twelve miles away. His grateful community remembers him still.

            For Ethyle and me, the search was the wonderful thing. We found William Tilford Davidson (yes, DaviDson), who was our great-great-great-grandfather. As soon as Missouri was opened for settlement in 1830, he was there. He owned a pair of the fanciest horses in the county (flashy transportation must be in the genes). At the same time that Lewis and Clark were becoming the first white Americans to explore west of the Mississippi River, William and his family were already settling in Illinois and central Tennessee when they were still territories.

            We found judges, county clerks and justices of the peace, an elder in the Primitive Baptist Church, farmers, members of the Masons, a postmaster, a bank president, and owners of the county’s largest whisky still. But mostly we found merchants and small business owners who offered their homes and businesses as voting places when there were no public buildings in the county. We found one unfortunate woman whose name was Clementine Belva Dora Davison. She either changed her name or died (possibly of embarrassment). We couldn’t find anything else about her.

            We found that we are, in some small ways, just like the people who came before us. Ethyle, like many of those I just mentioned, was very interested in politics. She added the politics of health care to her concerns. She had seen the inside of nursing homes and decided that was not for her, and she got her wish. Who could possibly want her to be bedridden and blind, living out her days forsaking the independence she so treasured.

            In the course of knowing her, our family search led us to become more than cousins and friends. I admired her wonderful memory for names and places and the inquisitiveness she applied to the search. She was self educated in history. Reading and studying occupied her days. When the people around her turned to television for entertainment, she retreated to her books and papers, trying to understand the challenges of other times and places, and the people who were caught up in those times.

            Now, Shirley and I will continue the search because she infected both of us with it. But oh, how we will miss her. If someday you are visiting her gravesite and find a fruit jar with some new information in it, youÕll know it is our lame attempt to share a particularly exciting discovery with her. God be with you, EthyleÑyou gave us a


part of yourself and it was a wonderful gift.



Circle of Love


Ethyle’s granddaughter Jennie Jones, daughter of Bill Jones, wrote “Circle of Love,” excerpted in part below, and read by the minister at the gravesite as all twelve grandchildren stood together, with the four granddaughters holding a yellow rose that they placed on the casket.


            Grandma, in your honor we form this circle as the first generation that gave you the very special title of Grandma.... We, as your grandchildren, come together to honor you, Grandma, like no other person that has held this special title. This is your day and we want to let you know what a very special Grandma you have been and still are to us. You have touched each and every one of our lives in a very unique and individualized way.... You have left us with a true sense of what family is no matter how often we see one another or how each one of us chooses to express our family ties to one another. You have shown us that we can be ourselves and still have a very private, meaningful and even deep love, with the right to the family that we call our own.

            But, most important of all, through your diligent research and study into our ancestral files, you have shown us that family does last forever. The eternal gift of ancestry you have given us will show us that we have many women in our family tree that have possessed the title of Grandma for us, but none will ever have the same meaning and ties as yours does to us, Grandma. There are great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren that you have left here with us.... But Grandma none of those grandchildren will ever spend their whole childhood and the beginning of their adult lives with you like this circle of grandchildren have. You have been with us through each one of our births, childhood, beginning adulthood and becoming parents ourselves. You have watched your first grandchild become a parent herself. As the rest of us become grandparents without you physically here, we are comforted and blessed with your spiritual guidance and the wonderful example you have set for us of how to hold this title with such ease, naturalness and unconditional love.

            Because of you Grandma, we are all given the gift of ancestry and the opportunity of keeping our family alive forever through knowledge of family history. The genealogy of our family tree we will cherish and appreciate because you have left these very personal and special records for each of us to read, study and absorb into our hearts, minds and souls....

            So we stand here in this circle that represents, like any circle, there is no end—we want you to know, that for now, you will live in our memories and ... we are looking forward to the most joyous reunion with you when you can personally introduce us to all those wonderful characters in your genealogy records that will one day be just as real as you have been to us.


Susie, Ronnie, Eddie, Jennie, Debbie, Billie, Terry, Kate, Gus, Russ, Doug, and Kenny