Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Helms Family

Before he died my Uncle Lloyd Lawry put together a collection of stories and family history. I was blessed to have been given a copy of his collection. This is the story he wrote about the Helms family.

The Helms Family
by Lloyd Lawry

My Grandma, Grace Yeager, was born near Lawrenceville, Indiana in Dearborn County on April 22, 1856; The daughter of Nicholas and Ellenor Yeager.

In 1867 when she was 11 years o1d she came to Kansas with her parents and her brother John W., her sister Nancy, and her half-brother Willie. They made the trip in a covered wagon pulled by oxen. They settled in what is now Allen County.

Nicholas Yeager's parents were Joseph and Margaret (Everlee) Yeager. Ellenor Yeager's parents were John Wilson and Grace (Van Kirk) Wilson.

Grandma's mother Ellenor Yeager died in 1870. Her Daddy, Nicholas Yeager, died in 1880. They are both buried in Old Elsmore Cemetary south of Moran, Kansas.

Grandma married her first husband, Daniel Helms, on March 2, 1876, at Elsmore, Kansas. She was 18, and he was 32.

Daniel Helms bought the old home place near Bronson, Kansas on a "State Patent." My cousin Lowell Lawry obtained a copy of the patent and gave me a copy.

The patent was not issued until 1887, apparently only after Grandma and Grandpa Lawry took out a mortgage on the place in 1887, though Daniel Helms had died in 1880.

Grandma and Daniel Helms first lived in a one room house located about 1/4 mile south of the second house which Daniel built later. Their two sons Henry Finley Helms and James N. Helms were born in the first house.

Nannie Leota Helms, their only daughter, was born after her Daddy's death in the second house which her Daddy had built before he died.

Daniel Helms died tragically in 1880. He was just recuperating from typhoid fever when a neighbor's cows got into his cornfield and ruined a lot of it. Daniel had a very quick temper, and against the protest of a friend, Wm. H. Fuhrman, he went to the neighbor's house and got into a very heated dispute. Apparently already weak from his recent illness and extremely upset, he again became ill.

Grandma had Mr. Fuhrman go to Uniontown for the doctor (Dr.Halm). When he got there, he explained the circumstances to the doctor. The doctor said he was sure Mr. Herms was going to die, but that he would go to see him. Mr. Herms died that evening, October 7, 1880. He and Grandma had been married only four years and seven months. He is buried in the Old Elsmore Cemetary.

That was a tragic time for Grandma. At the age of 23, she was a widow with two little boys, ages four years and one year, and she was expecting another baby.

After Mr. Helms was buried, Grandma took her last 50 dollars and bought his tombstone which stands in the Old Elsmore Cemetary. Grandma's friends and relatives tried to get her to keep the money to care for her two boys and the baby she was expecting, but she said she might never have the money again and she wanted him to have a grave marker. The inscription on his grave marker reads, "Free from all care and pain, Asleep my body lies, until the final resurrection calls, The dead in Christ Arise.”

I have always felt that Grandma loved Daniel Helms more than my Grandpa Lawry. When she died, she was buried next to Mr. Helms; several spaces away from my Grandpa.

Aunt Nannie Helms was born in 1881 several months after her Daddy died. I had wondered how Grandma managed on the farm with three IittIe children. Oscar Burrows said that Grandma went to live with her sister in Uniontown. She rented the farm to Sam Helms, a relative of her late husband.

Three children were born to my Grandma and Daniel Helms:
1. Henry F. Helms - Born 1876 - Died 1892 of typhoid fever
2. James N. Helms - Born 1879 - Died 1959 - never married
3. Nannie L. Helms - Born 1881 - Died 1954

Aunt Nannie married John Burrows. Their only child, Oscar M. Burrows was born November 19, 1904. He married Beulah M. Skaggs on September 17, 1928. They had two children, Alvin D. Burrows - born July 23, 1929, and DeVaughn J. Burrows - born November 27, 1931.

Aunt Nannie died February 27, 1954, in the Main Street Hospital in Ft. Scott, Kansas. Uncle John Burrows died January 14, 1963, in Uniontown, Kansas. They are buried in Bronson Cemetary.

Aunt Nannie was a sweet, gentle woman like her mother. I never knew her very well. My last memory of her is when I spent the night with her and Uncle John Burrows. I had hitch-hiked over to Nevada, Missouri in search of a job and got back to Bronson about dusk. I remember I slept in a cold bedroom on a big feather bed with plenty of quilts.

Uncle Jim Helms seemed to me to be an old man when I first knew him. He was 50 when I was 10. I have a precious memory of him. Kathy and I walked into his little church in Bronson one Sunday morning with our Bibles in our hands, and he met us with big tears in his eyes, happy that we had come to worship the Lord with him.

Beulah Burrows, Aunt Nannie's daughter-in-law was leading the singing. They were singing "The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago.” I had never heard the hymn, but they sang all seven verses, and before it was finished, I was singing right along with them.

For more of Uncle Lloyd's Scrapbook, click here.

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