ROSETTA ETHYLE DAVISON JONES
1910 MO – 1998 KS
Ethyle Davison Jones
and her great-grandson, Joshua Hite,
youngest grandchild of
her daughter Shirley Hite, AAFA #0415
KANSAS CITY STAR
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
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)
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Susie, Ronnie, Eddie, Jennie, Debbie, Billie, Terry, Kate,
Gus, Russ, Doug, and Kenny