Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part Three

After his family spent 15 months in Omaha, Nebraska (see Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part Two), Robert L. Daily reported in an interview when he was about 84 years-old that his family moved to Kansas because “Mother wanted to get back to the farm again, so Dad went lookin’ around again,” and Robert gives a date: “We moved down to Kansas in 1909.  So, that was, see, when I was comin’ nine years old.  We landed down in March, and ‘course, I was nine years old in May, see.”1  Robert also said that in that year his father’s brother William brought his oldest daughter Inez to live with Robert’s family when they were living in Kansas, and Robert said that Inez looked like her father.2

In the trunk that holds many Daily memorabilia, the portrait below can be found.  The photograph is labeled “Wm. J. Daily and C. M. Daily” and in the lower right corner of the image the words “Topeka, Kansas” are embossed below the photographer’s name.  It is most likely that this portrait was taken when William brought his daughter to Kansas.  William would have been about 47 years-old and Charles, 53 years-old.

Wm. J. Daily and C. M. Daily

One of Charles’ grandsons recalled what his mother Gladys and grandmother Maggie said about the farm: “I can remember my mother talking about a farm in Kansas which had lots of walnuts on it” and they cracked a lot of walnuts.3  Robert identified the location of the farm in his interview:

Uncle Bob:  … Kilmer, Kansas was where it was at, just a flag station.

Interviewer:  It wasn’t Topeka?

Uncle Bob:  Topeka was, was 8 miles from us.

Interviewer:  Oh, I see.

Uncle Bob:  It was our —

Interviewer:  Mom always said Topeka.

Uncle Bob:  No, that’s our post office.  … We were 8 miles out from Topeka at Kilmer, just a flag station.  And uh, we generally went to Meriden, that went the other direction, four miles to Meriden.  For, up to, uh —

Interviewer:  For shopping?

Uncle Bob:  Yeah.  ‘Course, we’d go to Topeka for circus or for, and the capitol, see.  I can remember going through the capitol in Topeka, Kansas, y’see.  Yeah, yeah.4


A section of a Shawnee County, Kansas, map showing Soldier Township5

A flag station is “a railroad station where trains stop only when a flag or other signal is displayed or when passengers are to be discharged.”6  Northeast of Topeka, Kilmer was a small station on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad which crossed the southeast corner of Soldier Township in Shawnee County.7  The Daily family may have ridden a train into Topeka to see a circus performance.  One of the circuses that was scheduled to perform in Topeka was the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  It came to Topeka on September 7, 1909, but the city newspaper reported that the circus couldn’t be set up because of the weather.8  Record-breaking rain (over eight inches) fell that day, flooding the site where the circus was to be set up.9 The following year, the Ringling Brothers Circus arrived on September 5.  In the Monday evening issue of the Topeka State Journal, which sold for 2 cents, the following article described the spectacle that the circus provided.

Cropped image from The Topeka State Journal, September 5, 1910

Ringlings’ “Big Top” today is the attraction in Topeka.  Sunday the interest was hardly less.  Thousands of persons watched the parade which came on time nothwithstanding the rain, with hardly less interest than did an almost equal number see the unloading and transfer of the circus from the Rock Island yards to the Kenwood tract near Fourth and Buchanan streets.

As the pageant was a chain of novel surprises likewise was the trail of wagons and the animals following the arrival.  The parade was nearly three miles long and the aforementioned surprises extended from the twenty-four horse band chariot in the lead to the tail end.  The rain fell all right and continued during the forenoon, making it difficult for the wagons to leave the grounds.

The show arrived here Sunday morning after some delay, in coming from St. Joseph.  About 9 o’clock the first wagon reached Kenwood.  Immediately the work of putting up the huge cook tent was started.  Stands began to spring up on adjacent property to the main entrance to the grounds between Buchanan and Lincoln streets on Fourth street.

Most of the paraphernalia was transferred in wagons, the majority of them being pulled by six horses each.  These were driven out Sixth avenue after having left the Rock Island yards.  Arriving at Buchanan street they again turned north to the Kenwood tract.  As soon as the wagons left the Buchanan street pavement going onto Fourth street difficulty was experienced.  The recent rains had made the unpaved street soft and the wagons mired to the hubs.  It was necessary to unload some of them before they could be moved.  Others were moved with 22, 24 and even 32 horses.

No sooner than the work of pitching the cook tent was started, crowds began to arrive from all directions.  From noon on there was a steady stream of humanity down Buchanan street from Sixth avenue to Kenwod.  A baby carriage brigade seemed to have been formed.  For two or three hours the day seemed to have been set apart for their display alone.  There was grandpa and papa and mamma and uncle and even forty-seventh cousin of each of them.  All had a baby.  In fact every woman who had a baby to loan was in great demand.  That condition seemed not to abate.

Crowd Gets a Ducking.

Pedestrians were not alone in their evidenced curiosity.  Car after car reached the tract, all of them packed.  Extras were put on and these, too, were filled to capacity.  Twenty or thirty spectators got wet when the circus employes stopped at Fifth and Buchanan streets to cool and water the elephants and the polar bears.  A hose was attached to the water plug and the operation started.  No sooner had the bears been given a bath than the hippopotamus arrived.  He had to have a bath, too.

Then was when the fun started.  An “accident” occurred.  Mr. Keeper intentionally or not allowed the water hose to get away from him.  He struggled with the rubber tube which under the pressure of water lunged and pulled and drenched a number of nearby onlookers.  Still he struggled manfully.  The hose got him down.  More persons were drenched.  Finally when the crowd had retired to a safe distance he gained control of it again.

Noticeable about the circus aggregation was that of all the employees none of them was given to loud talking or profanity in the time required to get the paraphernalia in its place.  Another noticeable thing was that the usual number of hardened men were conspicuously absent.  Most of the following was represented in young men appearing to be college students and others of that character.

Features of the Parade.

In the parade some of the remarkable features were teams of elephants, camels, zebras and llamas hitched to ornate tableau floats and driven like horses.  It has been supposed that the zebra could not be driven.  The Ringlings have proved otherwise.  In all nearly 700 horses were exhibited, the most of them Norman Percherons.  Many of them were white.

More than 1,200 men, women and children from Australian bushwackers to those advertised as the royalty of Asia and Europe took part.  Music was provided by six brass bands, a cathedral organ, a calliope, barbarian orchestras, fife and drum corps, church chimes, trumpeters and Oriental string and reed musicians.10


Besides the circus, Robert mentioned that he had visited the capitol of Kansas in Topeka.

This sepia colored photograph [below] shows the capitol in Topeka, Kansas. Located on twenty acres of land once owned by Cyrus K. Holliday, work began on October 17, 1855 when the cornerstone was laid for the east wing. Thirty-seven years later the statehouse, an example of French Renaissance architecture and Corinthian details, was completed at a total cost of $3,200,588.92.”11

Kansas State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas

On April 26, 1910 a census taker visited the Daily family at the farm they were renting in Soldier Township, Shawnee County, Kansas.  Charles is mistakenly recorded as being 56 years-old (he was 53), Maggie was 42 years-old.  Their five children were living with them:  Gladys, age 17; Oranna, 14; Robert, 9; Iona, 7 and Elizabeth, 5.12  In addition, there were also in the household Inez Daily, age 16 and Alpha Bailey, age 20.  Inez was the daughter of William Daily, noted above.  Alpha was Charles’ nephew, the son of his sister Cynthia, who had come to live with the Dailys in 1908.  All of the children, including Gladys and Inez, attended school for a period of time between September 1, 1909 and the end of April 1910.  Robert said that Inez went to school for a couple of years and then got married in Kansas.13  Charles and Maggie kept ownership of their house in Omaha and according to the 1910 U. S. census of Omaha, the house was being rented by a bartender named Samuel J. Barth.  In the Barth household were his wife Sophia and daughter Edith.14

The same census taker that visited the Daily family also visited a farmer named Lawson Bonnewitz, who owned a farm in Soldier Township.15  Maggie and Lawson were cousins.  Jacob Bonewitz (b. 1761) was their great-grandfather.  Two of Jacob’s sons were Joseph Bonewitz (b. 1790), who was Lawson’s grandfather, and John Adam Bonewitz (b. 1792), who was Maggie’s grandfather.  


One event in Kansas that Robert related was the baptism of two of his sisters:

Uncle Bob:  … When we lived in Kansas we was able to go to church more than any place else.  ‘Course, we, we had, uh, afternoon services, see.

Interviewer:  Oh, uh, circuit rider type.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, and o’ course, a minister came out from, I don’t know where.  Meriden or Topeka, one o’ the two.  And I guess he was a Baptist minister, see, ‘cuz Gladys and Oranna were both, uh, immersed in the river.

Interviewer:  Oh!  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  At that time, … ‘course, they were old enough to be baptized.  I think Baptists, when you get right down to it.

Interviewer:  I suppose that they —

Uncle Bob:  And they don’t believe, didn’t believe in baptizing before 12 years old, see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  An’ Oranna an’ Gladys were o’ that age.  I didn’t get in on it.  See, it was before I was 12 years-old.  Either ten or eleven is what I was.  I can remember it so well.  We, uh, like the, like the song goes, “Shall we gather at the river,” see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And that’s why we gathered at the river and the minister walked in, out in the pasture, down in the pasture of our neighbors.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  That’s where we had our meeting, went through there.  That’s where Gladys and Oranna —

Interviewer:  Was it Omaha then?  This would be the Missouri River? 

Uncle Bob:  No, no, this was just a creek [pronounced crick].

Interviewer:  Oh, okay.

Uncle Bob:  A creek that went through the pasture, down in Kansas.16


Robert may have been referring to a hymn written by Robert Lowry in 1864, entitled, “Shall We Gather at the River?”

  1. Shall we gather at the river,
    Where bright angel feet have trod,
    With its crystal tide forever
    Flowing by the throne of God?
  2. On the margin of the river,
    Washing up its silver spray,
    We will talk and worship ever,
    All the happy golden day.
  3. Ere we reach the shining river,
    Lay we every burden down;
    Grace our spirits will deliver,
    And provide a robe and crown.
  4. At the smiling of the river,
    Mirror of the Savior’s face,
    Saints, whom death will never sever,
    Lift their songs of saving grace.
  5. Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
    Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
    Soon our happy hearts will quiver
    With the melody of peace.

Refrain:
Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.
17


Joseph Esli Daily’s birth announcement which is stored in the trunk that holds Daily memorabilia

On February 8, 1911, Maggie gave birth to another son, Joseph Esli.  Sadly, the boy didn’t live to his first birthday.  Charles and Maggie buried Joseph in Evergreen Memorial Park in Omaha, where they had buried their first son, who had died in 1899.  Robert gives a few details about Joseph’s short life.

Interviewer:  But, the baby boy —

Uncle Bob:  Oh, Joseph?

Interviewer:  Joseph — was born and died in Topeka.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, yeah.  … Mother always came up to see Grandma, once a year, around Christmas time, see.  And ‘course, other years Iona an’ Elizabeth, your mother, would come up, too.  But when Joseph was born and a baby, she wanted the baby to, Grandma to see the baby, see.  Joseph.  And o‘ course, ah, that year was the time that I, Joseph and I came up with her.

Interviewer:  You mean up to Omaha.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, up to Omaha.  See, he was born in 1911.  Passed away in January 1912.

Interviewer:  Oh, okay.

Uncle Bob:  That was Joseph, he was just ‘leven months old.  … but we’d been up to Omaha, and got back, and then he’d got the croup.  And ah, he was a little weak anyway in the spine.  He never had set up, really.  He was happy.  He’d lay on the lounge and watch us kids play on the floors and that.  But when it come to this here getting the croup.  So, why, that’s when —

Interviewer:  Went into pneumonia, I suppose.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, suppose.  In those days, that’s what they called it.  Lungs filled up some, I guess.18


For years the details were somewhat of a mystery regarding when and how Charles and Maggie’s youngest daughter’s name came to be Elizabeth J. Best Viola Daily.  Since no one has been able to locate a birth record for Elizabeth, it is unclear whether she had that name at her birth or if she acquired the name later.  One of Elizabeth’s children thought that she had been given money to carry on the name of a woman named Elizabeth J. Best, another thought the woman’s name was J. Best and that property was involved.

Early in 2019 one of Elizabeth’s children was searching through old items that are kept in the trunk which has been previously mentioned and “… he came across some interesting info.  Mom stayed with someone in Indiana and went to school.  He came up with the name Stults and money being passed back and forth.  I suggested this may be the money Mom received for being named after Elizabeth J Best.  This morning I typed Elizabeth J Best in the internet search line and came up with Elizabeth J Stults Best.”19  The source of this name was the Find-a-Grave memorial page of Elizabeth J. Best (nee Stults) of Huntington County, Indiana.20  The webpage identifies the cemetery where she was buried, it is the same cemetery where one of Maggie’s brothers is buried,21 as well as her maternal grandparents Harman and Barbara Smith22,23 and her great-grandfather Jacob Flora (Barbara’s father).24

In August 2019, I found a document accessible on Ancestry.com that revealed some intriguing details.  It is the will of Elizabeth J. Best, dated October 26, 1910.  In the will, Elizabeth J. Best Daily of Omaha, Nebraska, is named as an heir.  Additionally, in March 2020, when listening to Robert’s interview, some more details came to light:

Uncle Bob:  … Elizabeth was heir to some money back East.

Interviewer:  I heard about that.

Uncle Bob:  See, uh, Elizabeth Best was her name. And, Grandma’s name was Josephine Smith, as they went to school together.

Interviewer:  Ohhh.

Uncle Bob:  But they didn’t have no, no middle names, see.  So, Grandma took the name of — Elizabeth’s initial, E.  She was Josephine E. Bonewitz, that’s her married [name].  And Best took, took, uhh —

Interviewer:  Josephine, took the J.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, took the J.  And she was, that’s the reason, she got the name Elizabeth J. Best, see.

Interviewer:  Okaaay.

Uncle Bob:  See, that’s the way she picked that up.

Interviewer:  And this was a school friend of Josephine Smith?  Okay.

Uncle Bob:  Yes, that’s right, and she was very wealthy.  O’ course, as I mentioned, ever’thin’ ended up, why, she [Robert’s sister Elizabeth] lived with the woman at the time in 1912.  Elizabeth was born in 1905, 7 years old.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And, o’ course, uh then, ahh, all the time she was goin’ to school afterwards – the Elizabeth Best, or Elizabeth J. Best, ahh, had a friend, I can’t say what his name was, the lawyer, the lawyer, friend lawyer.  And he was bound and determined that her word was law, see, ever’thin’ she said.  And Elizabeth’s other relatives tried to, tried to break the, uh —

Interviewer:  The will.

Uncle Bob:  — the will.  He stuck in there and o’ course all the while she was goin’ to school, up ‘til she was 18, why, anythin’ needed for school, that’d come off the, off her inheritance.

Interviewer:  Well, she had quite an inheritance, then!

Uncle Bob:  I don’t know what it was, I never knew what it was.  I just know that she uh, afterwards when she come home, why, ‘course that’s what really put Willis on his feet there, because ahh, when she inherited that money, why ‘o course, uh, they bought out, uh — I can’t say what his name was down there —

Interviewer:  He bought down in that Grover area.

Uncle Bob:  Down in Grover area, see.  An’ o’ course, she gave each of us fifty dollars.  I think somewhere roun’ twenty-five hundred dollars is what she got.  ‘Course, at that time, was pretty good money.25

Elizabeth Stults was born in Stark County, Ohio,26 the same county in which Josephine Smith was born.  Both of their families moved to Huntington County, Indiana.27,28  Robert explains that they were school mates.  When Elizabeth Stults got married, she added a middle initial “J” to her name, becoming Elizabeth J. Best.  And when Josephine Smith got married, she added the middle initial “E” to her name, becoming Josephine E. Bonewitz.

Best’s husband Joseph C. Best had passed away seven years before she wrote her will and their only two children had died in infancy.29  So, at the time of the writing of her will, Best had no direct heirs.  Her will names 11 people as heirs, including Josephine’s granddaughter, Elizabeth J. Best Daily.

The date that the will was probated was April 21, 1911.  Along the edges of the will there is an accounting of when funds were distributed to the heirs.  The first distribution was October 24, 1914 and the last was December 23, 1916.  Each time a distribution is noted for Elizabeth J. Best Daily, it is received by a person named M. B. Stults.  It appears that this was the guardian for young Elizabeth.  Perhaps this is the friend or lawyer to which Robert referred in the interview.  Robert’s explanation clears up some questions, including the name of the woman, and confirmation that there was money given, and he also provides information as to why property was attached to the mystery.

Last will and testament of Elizabeth J. Best,
a friend of Elizabeth Daily’s grandmother Josephine Bonewitz

On May 1, 1912, Charles and Maggie’s third daughter Iona was honored by the Shawnee County School Superintendent.  She was in the third grade and had earned seven monthly Certificates of Perfect Attendance.  This achievement entitled her to receive a Certificate of Award for Punctual and Regular Attendance.

Certificate for Punctual and Regular Attendance awarded to third grade student, Iona Daily

On January 12, 1913, Maggie’s father, John Esli Bonewitz, passed away in Omaha.  About thirteen years earlier, when Charles and Maggie’s baby died two days after its birth, Charles had bought a lot in Evergreen Memorial Park (Section A, Block 26, Lot 3).  Their son Joseph Esli was buried in that lot on January 5, 1912, and Maggie’s father was buried there on January 14, 1913 alongside the two sons.

Interment record of the cemetery lot owned by C. M. Dailey
in Evergreen Memorial Park, Omaha, Nebraska

Presently, in the cemetery lot, there are no grave markers for the un-named baby nor for Joseph Esli.  The interment record states that Joseph Esli was buried in grave #7 and John Esli was buried in grave #4.  It doesn’t indicate the location of the un-named baby, but a very helpful employee of the cemetery diagramed the lot, and there is a high probability that the baby was buried in grave #8. 

Two months after Maggie’s father passed away, the Daily family moved back to Omaha again.  In the next blogpost, Uncle Bob will continue his reminiscences of the next two years while they resumed living there.


1 M. R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 6.

2 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 13 & 16.

3 L. A. Bevers, personal communication with M. R. Wilson, August 10, 2010 and November 24, 2010.

4 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 22-23.

5 The Kenyon Company, Inc., Atlas and Plat Book of Shawnee County Kansas (Topeka, Kansas: Kansas Farmer and Mail & Breeze, 1921): 5, https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/224002/page/7.

6 “Flag station,” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/flag-station.

7 James L. King, ed., History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens (Chicago: Richmond & Arnold, 1905): 55, https://ia902604.us.archive.org/7/items/historyofshawnee00king/historyofshawnee00king.pdf.

8 “Big Show Goes By,” The Topeka State Journal, September 7, 1909, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1909-09-07/ed-1/seq-1/.

9 “Eight-Inch Rain,” The Topeka State Journal, September 7, 1909, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1909-09-07/ed-1/seq-1/.

10 “Big Show Is Here,” The Topeka State Journal, September 5, 1910, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1910-09-05/ed-1/seq-5/.

11 Capitol, Topeka, Kansas, postcard, ca. 1910, https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/215285.

12 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRJZ-GJ1?cc=1727033&wc=QZZQ-PF3%3A133640801%2C140502701%2C134349501%2C1589089094 : 24 June 2017), Kansas > Shawnee > Soldier > ED 140 > image 8 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

13 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 14-15.

14 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RVD-94BH?cc=1727033&wc=QZZW-D1C%3A133641701%2C133718401%2C136867001%2C1589089011 : 24 June 2017), Nebraska > Douglas > Omaha Ward 11 > ED 81 > image 15 of 30; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

15 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RJZ-GRH?cc=1727033&wc=QZZQ-PF3%3A133640801%2C140502701%2C134349501%2C1589089094 : 24 June 2017), Kansas > Shawnee > Soldier > ED 140 > image 20 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

16 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 21-22.

17 Robert Lowry, “Shall We Gather at the River?,” 1864, Timeless Truths, https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Shall_We_Gather_at_the_River/.

18 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 6.

19 E. J. Jones, email communication with M. R. Wilson, February 2, 2019.

20 “Elizabeth J Stults Best,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63599577/elizabeth-j-best.

21 “Rosco Neff Bonewitz,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62071397/rosco-neff-bonewitz.

22 “Harman Smith,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62815250/harman-smith.

23 “Barbara Marguet Flora Smith,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62071353/barbara-marguet-smith.

24 “Jacob Flora,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62852349/jacob-flora.

25 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 7-8.

26 “Joseph C. Best,” Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, Ind. (Chicago: B. F. Bowen, 1901): 587.

27 “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QMQ-QDH?cc=1401638&wc=95RX-2JQ%3A1031336301%2C1031975601%2C1031975602 : 9 April 2016), Indiana > Huntington > Huntington county > image 49 of 194; citing NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

28 “United States Census, 1860,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBY-65K?cc=1473181&wc=7QK5-RD2%3A1589426070%2C1589426540%2C1589423705 : 24 March 2017), Indiana > Huntington > Huntington > image 41 of 41; from “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

29 “Joseph C Best,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/61993911/joseph-c-best.

Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part One

In 2010 and 2017, I went to the Douglas County Historical Society (Nebraska) to search for records of the families of John and Josephine Bonewitz and Charles and Maggie Daily.  I found several birth and marriage records, but one record that was most important to me was not found, the birth record of my grandmother, Elizabeth (nee Daily) Bevers.  Of the seven children of Charles and Maggie, four births are recorded in Douglas County: Gladys, Oranna, an un-named baby boy and Lillian Iona.  Robert and Elizabeth’s records aren’t in the Douglas County birth register and their last child Joseph was born in Kansas. 

Nine months ago, a Daily descendant gave me an audio file which provides a clue as to why Elizabeth’s birth record can’t be found in the Douglas County birth register.  The audio file is a 100-minute recording of an interview given by Robert Lee Daily, Charles and Maggie’s son, when he was about 84 years old.  Robert relates, “… I was born in Omaha and only in Omaha for one year, and then we moved out on the farm, 13 miles out, … and lived out there seven years.  …we went out there and we stayed there ‘til 19-, well it’d ‘ve to been, ah, I think we left the farm in the spring of 1908, in January of 1908.”1  Elizabeth would have been born when the Daily family was living on a farm west of Omaha.

When the 1900 United States census was taken in Ward 7 on the west side of Omaha, Robert was three weeks old, having been born on May 10, 1900.2  The census, dated June 1, records that Charles and Maggie’s family was living at 1022 South 46th Avenue in a home that they owned, without a mortgage.  Charles was 43 years-old and working as a teamster (driving freight).  Maggie was 32 years-old.  They had been married eight years.  Their daughter Gladys was seven years-old and had attended school for 9 months, and their daughter Oranna was four years-old.

The census taker that visited the Dailys also visited a few of Maggie’s relations:

Maggie’s parents John and Josephine Bonewitz, along with their son Sidney and a cousin Sidney Smith and their nephew and niece Barry and Nellie May Howlara [sp. ?], lived one and a half blocks away from the Dailys.3

Harman Bonewitz (Maggie’s brother) with his wife Cornelia and son Rosco lived on the same street as the Dailys, two houses away.4

Judson and Anna Higley (Harman Bonewitz’ parents-in-law) lived one block away.5

John and Joannah Gantz (Maggie’s mother’s sister and her husband) with their children Anna, Adda and Harman lived about eight blocks away.6

The 1900 Omaha city directory has an entry for Charles in the classified business directory.  Under the heading “Feed, Hay and Grain. (Retail.),” the entry reads: “Dailey C. M. 3901 Leavenworth.”7  One of Charles’ business cards having this same address has survived and its image has been provided to me by one of Charles’ great grandsons.

A business card of Charles Monroe Daily, most likely dated about 1900.

In the interview that Robert gave, he related some information and a few stories about his family’s stint of farming west of Omaha: “… it was two different places.  … for one year, one place and then the rest of the time up ‘til I, uh, well, just before I was eight years old, see.”8  He stated that for a couple of years, one of Robert’s cousins, Bill Bailey, worked on the farm with them.9  Bill was the son of Charles’ sister Cynthia.  The Bailey family lived in Franklin Township, Floyd County, Indiana when the 1900 U. S. census was taken.10  At that time, Bill Bailey was 15 years old and he was not attending school.  It’s not known which years Bill worked at the Daily farm, but he would have been between 16 and 23 years-old.  One of Robert’s stories about the farm follows:

Interviewer:  How big a farm did you have?  You say, you went to the farm.

Uncle Bob:  Quarter, quarter section.  Well, since the second one.  We didn’t farm too much.  The first one was a quarter.

Interviewer:  Outside of Omaha.

Uncle Bob:  No, that was, oh, in Omaha, that was a quarter, yeah.  At the most it’d ha’ been a quarter.  Yeah, I can remember.  I can remember, like I said, uh, I went down, we went down after the cows.  Alfalfa is a very poisonous thing when the, when there’s dew on the ground.  And I know, going down to the pasture and o’ course that’s when I was pretty small.  We all went down there.  See, the bull had got over in the alfalfa field and a cow got over there and o’ course they were swelled up so big, from bloat.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And they were dead, at that time.  That’s one thing we had to fight so hard.  From that time on, since little, I knew alfalfa was dangerous, see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, they overate.  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  They don’t eat very much.  If you fill a cow up, if it’d filled up first, then they can eat alfalfa on top of it.   But if they get nothing but alfalfa, it turns to gas and just, I lost cattle ….11

Robert identified the location of the farm: “…West Dodge, is what we called it.  It was out 13 miles.  That place used to be about, well I guess, pretty near right where the, ah, where the Flanigan’s Home is.”12  Flanagan’s Home was not in existence when the Dailys lived in that area.  It wasn’t until about 13 years after the Dailys left that farm that Father Flanagan acquired a farm for his ministry of caring for boys.

“In 1917, a young Irish priest named Father Edward J. Flanagan grew discouraged in his work with homeless men in Omaha, Nebraska.  In December of that year, he shifted his attention and borrowed $90 to pay the rent on a boarding house that became Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys.  Flanagan welcomed all boys, regardless of their race or religion.  By the next spring, 100 boys were living at the home.”

“In 1921, Father Flanagan purchased Overlook Farm on the outskirts of Omaha and moved his Boys’ home there.  In time, the Home became known as the Village of Boys Town.  By the 1930s, hundreds of boys lived at the Village, which grew to include a school, dormitories and administration buildings.  The boys elected their own government, including a mayor, council and commissioners.  In 1936, the community became an official village in the state of Nebraska.”13

One of the stories that Robert tells is about how he lost his toddler curls:

Interviewer:  Oh, that’s right, you used to have lot of curls!

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, oh, curly head when I was, up until I was, I’d say somewhere around four years-old or older.  That’s when I got, just had to cut the hair off of it.  Dad had a bumble bees’ nest underneath the salt trough out in the yard, out in the barnyard.  And o’ course, Dad was gonna get, get those bumble bees.  Course, I had to be on the job to see it done. (chuckle)  And uh, he’d take a jug of water out there, you know, and set up a trough.  An’ bump the trough and ‘course when they’d come out, why they uh, buzz around that jug.  Course … like that when they could pass over that … edge, just one right after the other they’d go right down that jug, see.

Interviewer:  Ohhh!

Uncle Bob:  But I had to be so close that way an’ they’d come too close an’ I went to fight them.  And then they’d come on to me.

Interviewer:  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  An’ got tangled up in my hair an’ I got belted!

Interviewer:  And that’s when you decided the curls had to go.

Uncle Bob:  (chuckling)  Well, that’s when Mother decided.

Interviewer:  (Laughter)  Ahhh.

Uncle Bob:  You’ve probably seen my picture when I, when I was a girl, didn’t you?  When I had curls.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.  Yes, I have seen pictures of that.

Uncle Bob:  That’s when I had, I had curls, that way, my head was full of curls.  Yep.14

Robert truly did have a head full of curls.  A portrait of Charles and Maggie’s children attests to this fact.  On June 10, 1903, the Daily children posed for the portrait.  This was about six months after Maggie had given birth to their third daughter, Iona, who was born on November 20, 1902.  The ages of the children are written on the back of the portrait.

Oranna (7 years, 2 months old), standing on left
Robert (3 years, 1 month old), sitting on left
Gladys (10 years, 8 months old), sitting on right and holding Iona (6 ½ months old)

In his interview, Robert mentions that there are two trunks that hold documents and mementos of the Daily family.  One of the trunks is in possession of one of Charles and Maggie’s grandsons. 

A trunk which holds many historical documents and mementos of Charles and Maggie Daily and their children.

One of the mementos in the trunk is Robert’s locks which Robert says were kept in a Cascarets box.15  Cascarets Candy Cathartic was created by the Sterling Remedy Company in 1894 and it included the ingredient cascara, a potent remedy prescribed, as early as 1877, for constipation and other intestinal illnesses.16  A Cascarets box was a rectangular tin box nearly the size of a pocket watch, so it fit easily in a vest pocket.  The box held six brown lozenges, which had a taste comparable to chocolate.

Cascarets advertisement from the Omaha Daily Bee, April 14, 190117

Another memento in the trunk is the wedding invitation of Maggie’s cousin Anna Belle Gantz (the daughter of Maggie’s aunt Joannah Gantz).  Anna Belle married Warren A. Rider, whose family lived in Fairfield, Iowa when Maggie’s family and her aunt Joannah’s family lived there in 1880.18  The marriage ceremony was on Thursday, September 8, 1904 at South West Methodist Episcopal Church in Omaha.  The church was only two blocks from the home of John and Joannah Gantz.

Two family events occurred in early 1905.  Maggie gave birth to their fourth daughter, Elizabeth, on February 26.  Within two weeks, Charles’ father Joseph S. Daily passed away, on March 4 in Fredericksburg, Indiana.  Joseph had commented to Charles about his poor health in letters written in the late 1890s.

Robert relates that when Elizabeth was one year old, Maggie became sick and was nursed back to health by her sister Emma (nee Bonewitz) Thompson:

Uncle Bob: … Y’ see, their mother Emma, she was a, she had to make the living all the time an’ she was a nurse.  Couldn’t take care of the family, like that.  She was the one that pulled Mother through when Elizabeth was a baby.  Mother had double pneumonia at that time, see.

Interviewer:  Ohh, uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  And Elizabeth was just a year old.  And uh, she pulled through the crisis …

Interviewer:  With the pneumonia.

Uncle Bob:  Course, Emma came to our place and stayed with Mother.

Interviewer:  Oh, uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  Stayed right with her all the time, ‘til she pulled her through.  That’s the reason Mother was always, had to be careful, ‘cause her lungs were a little weak.19

An additional item that is in the previously-mentioned trunk is a letter addressed to Mrs. C. M. Daily.  The envelope was postmarked August 13, 1907 in North Manchester, Indiana.  It cost two cents to mail and it was addressed to R #1 Box 71, Benson, Nebraska.  The Benson Post Office was about four miles to the northwest of downtown Omaha20 and it was about nine miles from the location that Robert identified as the location of the farm where the Dailys lived.

A letter addressed to Maggie postmarked August 13, 1907

In 1907 Benson was a small town which had begun to be developed 20 years earlier.  A streetcar line ran from the business district of Omaha to Benson.21

“Some people were in the town founding business just to make money.  One of the earliest in Omaha was Erastus Benson and his partner Clifton Mayne.  Together, they speculated by buying a chunk of land from one of the Creighton brothers, platting lots and opening businesses, and flipping their land for jacked up prices.  It worked!”

“Benson Place was a village founded in 1887 by a land speculator named Erastus A. Benson.  He was a banker and land speculator who ran a streetcar line all the way to his village northwest of Omaha.  Soon after renamed simply as Benson, the area grew in leaps and bounds after 1900 by attracting residents with good land values and exclusive properties.”22

The letter that Maggie received was from her paternal grandfather’s second wife, Amelia Mary Bonewitz.  Maggie’s paternal grandfather was John Adam Bonewitz.  His first wife Mary Margaret Rider died in 1859, eight years before Maggie was born.  A year later, John married a widow named Amelia Mary (nee Hower) Noftzger.  At the time of writing the letter to Maggie, Amelia was about ninety years old and she was suffering from dropsy which refers to “swelling caused by fluid retention” (now called edema) and it usually occurs in the feet, ankles and legs.23  The text of Amelia’s letter follows:

1

North Manchester August 13th 1907

My dear faraway Granddaughter

I will try to pencil a few lines to you in my weakness not fit to write as I am very poorly havent been able to get out of my chair without help since February 8th had been very near deaths door sick all this year feeling a little relieved of a hard cough lasting several months my great trouble now is dropsy from that I find no relief an as have been trying for several weeks to sew a little to help time to pass more easily as I cant read as much as I would like on account of severe head trouble am on my sewing which is poorly done I made a little block for you

2

the centre pieces are of some you sent me some years ago the other pieces my Granddaughter sent from California if I had goods to fill the block then I would work the seams but will send it as it is hope it will reach you in due time but will need pressing on the wrong side as it may be pretty messy [?] my children are all in usual health as far as I know would write more but dea child I am in so much pain I must stop had a hard night of suffering I often do havent heard from any of your folks since the wedding time fear they are ill some of them

3

please excuse this scribbled rambling letter now may God bless you and all yours is the prayer of your

Grandmother

                A M Bonewitz

P S I mad the block week before last waited to feel better before writing but am worse so will do this before I go away which may be any day now with much love I will say good bye for the present   A M B

Uncle Bob’s reminiscences to be continued in part two.

Notes:

  1. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 4.
  2. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DHWQ-CT6?cc=1325221&wc=9B7F-6T5%3A1030896901%2C1030788401%2C1031517601 : 5 August 2014), Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 17 of 37; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  3. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 16 of 37.
  4. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 17 of 37.
  5. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 17-18 of 37.
  6. “United States Census, 1900,” FamilySearch, Nebraska > Douglas > ED 75 Precinct 3 Omaha city Ward 7 > image 25 of 37.
  7. McAvoy’s Omaha City Directory for 1900 (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Directory Company, 1900): 867.
  8. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 4.
  9. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 12.
  10. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6WNQ-44?cc=1325221&wc=9BWQ-ZJ8%3A1030552501%2C1031971001%2C1032575501 : 5 August 2014), Indiana > Floyd > ED 52 Franklin Township > image 5 of 15; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  11. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 22.
  12. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 11-12.
  13. “Boys Town History,” https://www.boystown.org/about/our-history/Pages/default.aspx.
  14. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 12.
  15. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 12.
  16. Samira Kawash, “Cascarets Candy Cathartic,” March 15, 2010, https://candyprofessor.com/2010/03/15/cascarets-candy-cathartic/.
  17. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska, April 14, 1901): 7, https://nebnewspapers.unl.edu/lccn/sn99021999/1901-04-14/ed-1/seq-7/.
  18. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YYV-9GKJ?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-4WL%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396321 : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 80 > image 16 of 23; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  19. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview: 17.
  20. 1892 Omaha City Directory: front map.
  21. 1892 Omaha City Directory: front map.
  22. Adam F. C. Fletcher, https://northomahahistory.com/2017/03/30/the-lost-towns-in-north-omaha/.
  23. David Heitz, What You Should Know About Edema (Healthline Media, September 19, 2019): https://www.healthline.com/health/edema.

The First Few Decades of Charles M. Daily’s Life

One hundred years before I was born, my great-grandfather Charles Monroe Daily was born to Joseph and Amanda (Black) Daily.  Born on September 30, 1856 near New Albany, Indiana,1 he was the fourth child born to them, the third son.  The 1860 U. S. census recorded his family living on a farm in Franklin Township, Floyd County, Indiana.  The household included (with their ages): Joseph (30), Amanda (27), Thomas (10), Patrick (8), Syntha [Cynthia] (6), Charles (3), Martha (1), Andrew Black (22) and Huldy Dailey (40).  Andrew Black was probably Amanda’s brother and was working as a farm laborer.  Huldy Dailey was probably Joseph’s sister who was a “Criple.”2

Charles’ mother gave birth to three more sons (William, Robert and Joseph Albert).  A few days after the birth of Joseph Albert, Amanda died on February 19, 1866.3  The baby Joseph only lived for three months, dying in May 1866.4  When the 1870 U. S. census was taken, the Daily family was still living on a farm in Franklin Township, Floyd County, Indiana.  At that time the household included (with their ages): Joseph (41), Thomas (19), Patrick (17), Cynthia (15), Charles (13), Martha (11), William (8), Robbert (6) and a farm laborer named Henry Black (60).5   Charles and all of his siblings except Cynthia had attended school during that year.6  As an adult Charles would report that the highest grade he completed was 6th grade.7

It is not known where Charles was located when the 1880 U. S. census was taken.  Charles was not living with his father, nor were any of Charles’ siblings living with their father.  Joseph Daily, who had remarried in 1874, was living with his new wife Mattie (Lafollette) Daily and her brother and sister in Fredericksburg, Indiana.8  Neither was Charles living with his elder brothers and sister, each of whom were married and living on farms in Franklin Township, Indiana.9,10  It is also unsure where Charles’ younger sister and brothers were at that time.

According to Charles’ son Robert, Charles and his younger brother William “kinda left home real early on account that they had a step-mother,” the two youngsters “worked out for neighbors, always a farm around” and Charles “looked after Bill his brother.”11  A Daily family historian has written that Charles “when still quite a young man started to work west through Illinois, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska where he settled.”12  Charles was about 32 years old when he arrived in Omaha.  At that time the city of Omaha was described as follows:

“… Within its limits nothing is wanting that will in any way conduce to human happiness.  Trade in all departments is being rapidly developed.  Buildings to meet its wants have either been erected already or are being rapidly pushed to completion.  A few years ago a six-story building was a structure worthy of comment, not only in the west, but almost anywhere; to-day in this city eleven story edifices are stretching upward to the skies.  Brick and stone have long since taken the place of the pioneer wooden structure, and the stone even sometimes taken from the shores laved by the Atlantic.  The banks are nearly all in buildings of their own, that at once attract the attention by their massive, substantial proportions as well as their beauty of architecture.  Their stability never was questioned, and the returns of the clearing house demonstrate the volume, as well as the rapidly increasing percentage of business, as well as the faith of the public.  The railways from the city point everywhere and gather up the treasures of the earth for the city’s general distribution.  Cable and electric cars have to a large extent displaced the former horse cars and landmarks of an earlier date are rapidly passing away.  The electric light has outshown the feebler rays of gas, and ere long will wholly monopolize the domain of illumination.  The drainage of the city is perfect, natural facilities largely aiding those who have that portion of the public works in hand.  The police of the city are well organized and the malicious, found in all large cities, are kept under proper restraint.  The administration of the law is in able hands and the courts of justice are models of purity and excellence.  The schools and churches are of the highest standing.  Each ward in the city is provided with an excellent school building and able teachers, and the youth of both sexes are well trained for business, the professions or social requirements.  The high school is equal in its training to many of the colleges of the land, and taken as a whole, the intellectual advantages of the city are unsurpassed.  The churches are numerous, their pulpits ably filled and their congregations large.  The water works system is of the finest description;  the fire department efficient and well equipped, and in no detail of the city’s service is there anything whatever not fully equal to the best anywhere to be found.”13

The first time Charles’ name can be found in the Omaha city directory is in 1889.  The entry reads: “Dailey Charles M, clk Chas P White, res West Side.”14  Charles was working as a clerk at a business run by Charles P. White.  White’s business handled “coal and feed” and was located at the corner of Leavenworth and Missouri Pacific Railway in West Side.15  West Side was a newly developing area on the outskirts of Omaha.  It would later be described as an area of workers’ cottages.16  A year later, the 1890 city directory indicates that Charles Daily was working and living at the same places.  Then in the 1891 directory, he was boarding at 1023 S. 48th Ave and he was still working for C. P. White.17  Interestingly, C. P. White’s residence was also 1023 S. 48th Ave.18  That year White’s business was selling ice as well as coal and feed.  It is also noteworthy that C. P. White was married to Carrie Bonewitz, whose sister was Maggie Bonewitz, Charles Daily’s future wife.

C. P. White Coal & Feed, Omaha, Nebraska
Entries for this business can be found in the Omaha city directory from 1887 to 1891.

Notes:

  1. Shaw-Messer Chapel, “In Memory of Charles M. Daily” (Watertown, South Dakota: Shaw-Messer Chapel, March 12, 1945).
  2. “United States Census, 1860,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBY-3RS?cc=1473181&wc=7QK5-R7B%3A1589426070%2C1589423360%2C1589422457 : 24 March 2017), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin Township > image 4 of 20; from “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  3. History of the Daily’s (unpublished, n. d.): 1.
  4. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 10 August 2020), memorial page for Joseph Albert Daily (14 Feb 1866–9 May 1866), Find a Grave Memorial no. 134995828, citing Silas Daily Cemetery, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by John Ozzy Williams (contributor 47315704) .
  5. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69R9-3QM?cc=1438024&wc=92KT-2JM%3A518664801%2C519250701%2C518720802 : 8 June 2019), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > image 15 of 20; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  6. “United States Census, 1870,” Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > image 15 of 20.
  7. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M1-5855?cc=2000219&wc=QZFM-WRZ%3A791611401%2C793270701%2C793367301%2C793379401 : accessed 5 July 2020), South Dakota > Codington > Watertown City, Watertown, Ward 3 > 15-24B Watertown City Ward 3 bounded by (N) 4th Av S; (E) Maple, ward line; (S) city limits; (W) city limits, ward line > image 3 of 24; citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012.
  8. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBZ-LJ5?cc=1417683&wc=XCT5-W38%3A1589401272%2C1589395180%2C1589403077%2C1589396220 : 24 December 2015), Indiana > Washington > Fredericksburg > ED 183 > image 3 of 6; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  9. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-LBF7-97K?cc=1417683&wc=XC5C-VZ9%3A1589401272%2C1589399936%2C1589395978%2C1589395374 : 24 December 2015), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > ED 65 > image 12 of 17; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  10. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GBF7-9GX?cc=1417683&wc=XC5C-VZ9%3A1589401272%2C1589399936%2C1589395978%2C1589395374 : 24 December 2015), Indiana > Floyd > Franklin > ED 65 > image 11 of 17; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  11. M.R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 2-3.
  12. History of the Daily’s (unpublished, n. d.): 1.
  13. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1889 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1889): 3.
  14. Omaha City Directory for 1889: 194.
  15. Omaha City Directory for 1889: 846.
  16. Dennis Mihelich, ed., Ribbon of Destruction (Omaha, Nebraska: Douglas County Historical Society, n. d.): 8.
  17. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1891 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1891): 214.
  18. Omaha City Directory for 1891: 928.

An Introduction to Charles Monroe Daily

  • Born on September 30, 1856 near New Albany, Indiana
  • Parents: Joseph S. Daily and Amanda Black
  • His mother died when he was 9 years-old
  • As a young man he worked his way across Illinois and Iowa
  • He arrived in Omaha, Nebraska about 1888 and worked at jobs such as clerk, foreman and teamster
  • Married Maggie Oranna Bonewitz on November 18, 1891
  • Children: Gladys, Oranna, Robert, Iona, Elizabeth, Joseph (and an un-named baby boy)
  • A tornado destroyed their Omaha home on Easter Sunday 1913
  • Charles and Maggie farmed outside of Omaha, Nebraska, outside of Topeka, Kansas and north of Watertown, South Dakota
  • Retired from farming in 1932 and moved into Watertown, South Dakota
  • Died on March 9, 1945 at the age of 88 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Watertown, South Dakota
Charles Monroe Daily on his wedding day November 18, 1891

Miss Maggie’s Early Life

When I was a child, occasionally I would ask my mother where our ancestors were from.  She would tell me that her father’s father was from England, her father’s mother was from Switzerland, her mother’s father was Irish and her mother’s mother was Pennsylvania Dutch.  It was not until I was well into adulthood that I learned that my mother’s grandmother Maggie was not actually born in Pennsylvania, nor were Maggie’s parents born there.  It was Maggie’s grandparents who were born in Pennsylvania.  Her paternal grandparents (John Adam Bonewitz and Mary Margaret Rider, also called Peggy) were already married when they moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio about 1820, but Maggie’s maternal grandparents (Harman Smith and Barbara Flora) were still children when they moved with their parents to Ohio about 1822 and 1815, respectively.

Subsequently, all of Maggie’s grandparents moved to Indiana.  When Harman and Barbara Smith moved from Ohio to Huntington County, Indiana (about 1843), their children were still young, which included Josephine Smith.  Late in life (about 1853), John Adam and Peggy Bonewitz moved to neighboring Wabash County, Indiana and their son John Esli Bonewitz moved with them.  Somehow, John Esli met Josephine and they married in 1856.  They lived in Indiana for a few years, then in the early 1860s, they moved to Fairfield, Iowa, which is where Maggie was born on November 9, 1867.1

When the 1870 U. S. census was taken in Fairfield, Iowa, Maggie, at nearly 3 years-old, was the youngest in a household of three adults and seven children.2  Maggie’s father was 35 years-old and her mother was 32 years-old.  She had two older brothers and two older sisters:  Orlando, age 13; Harman, age 11; Carrie, age 9 and Emma, age 5.  Maggie’s mother’s sister Malissa Griffith and Malissa’s two children William and Viola, age 8 and 7 respectively, were also living in the Bonewitz household.

Little is known of Maggie’s life as a child, but from what is recorded in the 1940 U. S. census it is known that she attended school through the fifth grade.3  Also, from the 1880 U. S. Census, we learn that two more brothers (Claudius and J. F.) were born after Maggie,4 one when she was eight or nine years-old and the other when she was twelve.  When Maggie was about ten years-old, her father and eldest brothers traveled 230 miles due west of Fairfield to Omaha, Nebraska and a few years later the entire family moved there. 

The annual Omaha city directories reveal information about the occupations and residences of the family.  Beginning with the 1878-79 city directory, entries can be found for John, Orlando and Harman Bonewitz.  When the 1880 U. S. census was taken, the Bonewitz family was listed in Fairfield, even though the 1880 Omaha city directory has an entry for John.

When Maggie’s family arrived in Omaha, she was 13 years-old.  Maggie’s teenage years were filled with many family events, including deaths, marriages and changing residences.  Sadly, two weeks after the census was taken in Fairfield, Maggie’s nearly six-month-old brother J. F. passed away.  His grave is in Omaha, not Fairfield.5  Less than 10 months later, Maggie’s other younger brother Claudius died at nearly five-years-old.6

Omaha, which “derived its name from a tribe of Indians that were formerly the owners of the soil,”7 was a booming city.  It was established in 1854 and immediately experienced rapid development.8  After a brief slowdown due to a financial crisis in the late 1850s, the city resumed its expansion as Omaha became the outfitting center for immigrants to Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.9  An article in the 1870 Omaha city directory identified several factors which attributed to Omaha’s development:

“The mines of the west, the termination of the [Civil] war, and the initiation of the U. P. R. R. [Union Pacific Rail Road] brought back vitality.  Capitalists made homes here; railroads one after another came from the east, making Omaha their objective point; a fleet of steamers gave connection with the south; the Government established here headquarters for the army of the West; manufactures sprung into existence; the U. P. R. R. constructed workshops, employing hundreds of hands, and executing every description of work, and prosperity which has known no interruption, returned.”10

The population when John and his sons arrived in Omaha was about 26,215.11  When the Bonewitz family moved to Omaha in 1880, the census report gave it a population of 30,652.12  The population in 1884 was estimated at 55,23013 and in 1887 it was estimated at 96,717.14

According to the city directories the family moved several times.  Upon moving to Omaha, the first address of the family was 1314 Jackson.15  The first time that Maggie’s name is listed in the city directory is in 1884.  Her residence was at 1623 Dodge, which is the same address listed for her sister Carrie and her father.16  Her father’s entry notes that his occupation was “boarding.”  Maggie’s parents ran a boarding house and it is likely that Maggie assisted her parents in this endeavor.  In 1885, Maggie’s residence was at 1209 Georgia Avenue17 and in 1886 she lived at 1113 Georgia,18 both of these addresses were listed for her father and brother Harman also.

Other family events that occurred in the first half of the 1880s included the birth of another brother (Sidney) in January 1882.19  Maggie’s sister Emma married John C. Thompson in May 188320 and her sister Carrie married Charles P. White in 1884.21  The next year, tragically, Maggie’s eldest brother Orlando passed away.  In the Omaha city directory, he is in the list of “the most prominent persons who have died within the city of Omaha during the year 1885,” and is given the date of death of August 27.22  (This may actually have been the date of his burial.)  Not long before Orlando’s death the Bonewitz family posed for a family portrait.23  Based on how old Sidney appears to be, the photograph may have been taken in late 1884 or early 1885.  Maggie, standing on the left, would have been about 17 years-old.

The Bonewitz family (with their approximate ages):
Back Row: Maggie (17), Orlando (27), probably Emma (20), probably Carrie (23) (Emma and Carrie could be the opposite)
Front Row: Josephine (46), Sidney (3), John (49), Harman (25)

When the 1885 census of Nebraska was taken, Maggie along with her father, mother and three brothers lived on 28th street.24  Maggie’s sister Emma and brother-in-law also lived in the household and they had a daughter, Josephine, who was one year old.  In addition, there were five boarders in the household.  Another marriage took place in December 1886.  Maggie’s brother Harman married Cornelia Higley.25

In the newspaper Omaha Daily Bee, an announcement was placed describing Maggie’s 20th birthday:

“Wednesday evening a large number of young friends assembled at the residence of Mr. John E. Bonewitz, in West Side, and passed a very pleasant evening, the gathering being in honor of the twentieth birthday of his daughter, Miss Maggie.  Quite a number of invitations had been sent out and as a result the house was filled with merry, fun-loving young people.  Some very nice and costly presents were bestowed upon the young lady, who made an admirable hostess on this occasion.  At 11 o’clock a very fine lunch was served, after which the assembled friends were entertained with music and games.  Those in attendance were G. L. McIlvane and Miss Robertson, J. E. Hardy and Miss Emma Lyman, A. S. Gantz and Miss Anna Higley, Charles Roberts and Miss Hannah Roberts, George Ritchie and wife, T. W. Smith and wife, C. P. White and wife, H. N. Stump, Ernest Gantz, Mr. Christ, of Sac City, Ia.; John Collins, Rockport, Mo.; John C. Thompson and wife and the parents of the young lady.”26

Besides Maggie and her parents there were 20 people in attendance at her birthday party.  Some of the guests were:

  • A. S. Gantz (Argola) who was Maggie’s 18 year-old cousin, the son of her mother’s sister Joannah.  The Gantz family had been living in Fairfield, Iowa at the same time that the Bonewitz’ family lived there in 1880.27 
  • Ernest Gantz is possibly a relation of Argola.  There was another Gantz family that lived in Fairfield in 1880 which included a young person named Ernest.28
  • Argola accompanied Anna Higley who was probably the 17 year-old sister of Maggie’s sister-in-law Cornelia.  The Higley family was also living in Fairfield in 1880.29
  • C. P. White and wife were Maggie’s brother-in-law Charles and her sister Carrie.
  • John C. Thompson and wife were Maggie’s brother-in-law and her sister Emma.
  • H. N. Stump was a carpenter living in West Side.30  (Maggie’s father was a carpenter at the time.)31

The newspaper article notes that the Bonewitz family lived in West Side.  This was a newly developing area about three miles west from the post office and was near the West Side train depot grounds.  It would later be described as an area of workers’ cottages.32 This is the area that members of Maggie’s family would reside for the next 30 years.

Notes:

  1. Shaw-Messer Chapel, “In Memory of Maggie O. Daily” (Watertown, South Dakota: Shaw-Messer Chapel, March 15, 1947).
  2. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDVC-DFR : 17 October 2014), Maggie O Bonewits in household of John E Bonewits, Iowa, United States; citing p. 5, family 37, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 545,898.
  3. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M1-5855?cc=2000219&wc=QZFM-WRZ%3A791611401%2C793270701%2C793367301%2C793379401 : accessed 5 July 2020), South Dakota > Codington > Watertown City, Watertown, Ward 3 > 15-24B Watertown City Ward 3 bounded by (N) 4th Av S; (E) Maple, ward line; (S) city limits; (W) city limits, ward line > image 3 of 24; citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012.
  4. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MD2G-RHC : 13 July 2016), Maggie Bonewitz in household of J E Bonewitz, Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa, United States; citing enumeration district ED 81, sheet 409D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0347; FHL microfilm 1,254,347.
  5. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 19 July 2020), memorial page for Freddy Bonewitz (Jan 1880–Jul 1880), Find a Grave Memorial no. 170992635, citing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by SRGF (contributor 47487065) .
  6. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 19 July 2020), memorial page for Claudius Coan Bonewitz (7 May 1876–23 Apr 1881), Find a Grave Memorial no. 170992581, citing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by SRGF (contributor 47487065) .
  7. Collins’ Omaha Directory (Omaha, Nebraska: Charles Collins, Publisher, June 1866): 19.
  8. Collins’ Omaha Directory: 21.
  9. Collins’ Omaha Directory: 24.
  10. Omaha Directory for 1870 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe, Publisher, 1870): 17.
  11. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1878-1879 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Publishing House and Book Bindery, 1878): 27.
  12. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1881-1882 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping House, 1881): 11.
  13. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Omaha City Directory 1884 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping Establishment, 1884): 9.
  14. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1887 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1887): 2.
  15. J. M. Wolfe, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1881-1882: 116.
  16. J. M. Wolfe, Omaha City Directory 1884: 100.
  17. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1885 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping House, 1885): 102.
  18. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1886 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1886): 113.
  19. State of California, California Death Index, 1940-1997 (Sacramento: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics): http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=cadeath1940&h=709689&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt .
  20. Marriage license of John C. Thompson and Emma V. Bonewitz (State of Nebraska, Douglas County, May 6, 1883).
  21. Marriage license of Charles P. White and Carrie Bonewitz (State of Nebraska, Douglas County, June 12, 1884).
  22. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1886: 15.
  23. A descendant of Josephine Smith Bonewitz’ brother Obediah Smith contacted the author through Ancestry.com and subsequently supplied this photograph which her grandmother had labeled John and Josephine Bonewitz.
  24. “Nebraska State Census Collection, 1860-1885,” (Online publication – Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009): http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=nestatecensus&h=1420813&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt .
  25. Marriage license of Harman F. Bonewitz and Cornelia B. Higley (State of Nebraska, Douglas County, December 29, 1886).
  26. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska, November 20, 1887): 11, https://www.newspapers.com/image/149885912.
  27. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YYV-9P9W?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-4WL%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396321 : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 80 > image 17 of 23; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  28. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9R3L?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 81 > image 60 of 64; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  29. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9RN5?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 81 > image 19 of 64; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  30. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1887: 660.
  31. Omaha City and Douglas County Directory 1887: 75.
  32. Dennis Mihelich, ed., Ribbon of Destruction (Omaha, Nebraska: Douglas County Historical Society, n. d.): 8.

An Introduction to Herbert James Bevers

  • Born March 8, 1869 in Sheepridge, Yorkshire, England
  • Parents: Alfred and Mary Bevers who immigrated to the USA about 1883 and 1884, respectively
  • Immigrated to the USA in August 1888
  • Married Lena Huppler on November 24, 1892 in Watertown, South Dakota
  • Children: Edgar, Clarence, Arthur, Willis, Florence, Helen, Hazel, Estella, Harold, Margaret
  • Rented or owned farms in Roberts, Codington, Hamlin and Deuel Counties in South Dakota and in Cameron County, Texas
  • Drove with his wife Lena and six of his children from Watertown, South Dakota to Raymondville, Texas in the fall of 1919 (to read about the trip, see Lena’s travel log)
  • Died November 26, 1944 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Watertown, South Dakota
Photograph taken in 1942

Our Trip to Texas

A Travel Log by Lena Huppler Bevers

October 13, 1919 to November 8, 1919

In the fall of 1919 Herbert and Lena Bevers moved their family from Watertown, South Dakota to Raymondville, Texas. It took 27 days to make the trip and each day Lena wrote a few sentences about their travels, such as the road conditions, the towns they traveled through, where they had dinner and where they stayed for the night.

Two years ago I realized that the one hundredth anniversary of Herbert and Lena’s trip was approaching. I began researching for the routes that they would have taken, and as I researched I gradually became aware that 1919 was in the midst of a very significant period of road development in the United States. Long distance travel by automobile was just becoming practical and advantageous for the general population.

Beginning on October 13, 2019, according to my best research efforts, my mother and I will drive the route Lena recorded in her log and each day I will post what I have learned about traveling in 1919 as well as what I learn about a few of the changes that have occurred in the century that has passed since Herbert and Lena made their trip to Texas. I hope that you will find the time period as interesting as I do.

To see Lena’s original travel log, click here: 1919 Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log.

An Introduction to Lena Huppler

  • Born on January 15, 1872 in Switzerland
  • Immigrated with her parents to the USA in 1874
  • Parents: John and Anna Huppeler who died in 1875 in Wisconsin
  • Believed to be raised by a relative or local family near Sparta, Wisconsin
  • Moved to Codington County, South Dakota in 1886, possibly with her brother Christian Huppler or her cousin Kate Huppler Dellman
  • Married Herbert James Bevers on November 24, 1892 in Watertown, South Dakota
  • Children: Edgar, Clarence, Arthur, Willis, Florence, Helen, Hazel, Estella, Harold, Margaret
  • Resided in Roberts, Codington, Hamlin and Deuel Counties in South Dakota and in Cameron County, Texas
  • Wrote a travel log in 1919 when Herbert and Lena moved their family from Codington County, South Dakota to Raymondville, Texas
  • Died on December 9, 1943 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Watertown, South Dakota