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Obituary for  Mrs. Betty Phelps

March 22, 1917

Lucas Independent

Lucas, Kansas


Mrs. Betty Phelps, better known to people here as “Aunt Betty,” died at the home of How and Markle last Saturday.  Mrs. Phelps has lived in this county for twenty-five years and has a large circle of friends.


Frances Elizabeth Smith was born a slave in Kentucky, April 27, 1951.  Her life began under the dark hopeless shadows of slavery, and ended in the glorious freedom of God’s love.


She was born the slave of a Mr. Smith, whose name, as was the custom, became her surname.  While yet a mere child, Mr. Smith sold her to a Mr. Malone. Aunt Betty seemed to have formed a liking for her second master, because after the war was over and she had been given her freedom, she returned to Mr. Malone and worked for him.


For some reason Mr. Malone met with financial reverses and was compelled to sell most of his property to satisfy his mortgages and at this sale, 1959, Mrs. Phelps was sold at public auction to Dr, Hard for $980.37.  This was to be her third master and she spent the rest of her slave years as house servant for him.


The Emancipation Proclamation brought great joy to the slaves, especially Aunt Betty, for Dr. Hard was a drinking mane and was very cruel to his wife and children and to Aunt Betty, who had care of the children.


Soon after the war was over, she was married to Alfred Shirley, a former slave. To this union was born four children, one dying in infancy.  The other three are Theodore of Salina, Peter of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Hattie Matthews of Waitsburg, Washington.


The family came to Atchinson county, as did a large number of freedmen, for it was easier to get a home.  Mr. Shirley died thee February 16, 1879.


In 1881 she was married to Charles Phelps. To this union was born two children, Clarence M. and Ernest E., both of Ellensburg, Washington.


In 1883 they came to Tipton and six months later to Russell county.  In 1892 they homesteaded just northwest of Lucas.  Mr. Phelps died March 11, 1907.


Three years ago Mrs. Phelps left the homestead and went to her children in Washington.  On October 12, 1916, she returned to Lucas for a visit with friends and expected to return to Washington about April first; but the summons came and she went home to God.


Aunt Betty was converted and joined the Christian church in Kentucky some forty years ago, and ten years ago she re-dedicated her life to God.  She said only a few days before her death, “I have tried to serve the Lord the best I knew how.”  What more could be expected?  Men might criticize her life, but if she did the best she knew how the Lord will say “Well done.”


Funeral services were held at the Methodist church conducted by Rev. Atkins, and internment made in the Lucas cemetery. 


Submitted by L. Kemp


Obituary for Alexander Newell

Lincoln Republic

Lincoln County, Kansas

March 17, 1904


Alexander Newell, colored, died at his home in this city Saturday morning [March 12], age about 93 years.  He was an old soldier and an old settler here.


The funeral was held Sunday afternoon, conducted y the G.A.R. Post of this city.


The remains were interred in the Lincoln Cemetery.


Submitted by L. Kemp


Obituary for William Hoover Kemp


William Hoover Kemp was born on May 25, 1929 in Boley, Oklahoma. He was the ninth child of eleven children born to the later Edward and Bessie Kemp.


Williams became a Christian at an early age and was baptized in the fellowship of the St. John Baptist Church West of Boley. He regularly attended Sunday school and morning worship service.  When he was 14 years of age, the family relocated to Shawnee, Oklahoma where he united with the Union Baptist Church and he was actively involved in several areas of church work.


His early schooling was a West End Public Schools in Boley. He graduated with honors from Dunbar High School in Shawnee, and he went on to further his education by studying at Langston University, Oklahoma for two years.


In 1950, William joined the United States Air Force and served for three years.  He was honorably discharged in 1953.  After his discharge, he moved to Denver, Colorado.  HE attended Colorado University at Boulder and he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1956. He united with New Hope Baptist Church under the pastorage of Rev. M. C. Williams. He was an active member of New Hope. He sang in the choir and was a teacher in the Sunday school.


He was united in holy matrimony and one child, Sandra Lynn was born of the union. Sandra Lynn preceded her father in death. William was a happy and caring person all his life. Growing up he was always happy, always giving, caring, and sharing. He loved peace. His home was a Christian home full of love. As an adult, he continued his quiet Christian life and he would always give good Christian guidance to his sisters, brothers, many nieces, nephews, and friends.


William Hoover Kemp entered a peaceful rest on March 22, 1992, and went home to Heaven to receive his Heavenly Crown of Glory. He will be missed by all who knew him.


Born: May 25, 1929

Died: March 22, 1992

Buried: March 27, 1992

Final Resting Place: Ft. Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado



Information provided by Pipkin Mortuary

2531 Ogden Street

Denver, CO 80205


Submitted by L. Kemp


Obituary for Alexander Morris

Rock Island Argus

Dec. 9, 1922


Alexander Morris, Moline Pioneer dies in Hospital


Alexander Morris, negro, a resident in Moline for a great number of years, died yesterday afternoon in Watertown hospital.  Mr. Morris was born in Hamilton, Miss., Oct. 25, 1842.  His wife preceded him in death 22 years.


Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock in Brown’s funeral parlors, Davenport.  Rev. J. W. Kimball will conduct the services.  Burial will be at Riverside cemetery, Moline.




Moline Daily Dispatch

Dec. 9, 1922


Alexander Morris


Alexander Morris, colored, died yesterday afternoon in Watertown hospital. 


Funeral will be held Monday afternoon at 2 from Brown’s undertaking parlors, Davenport, the Rev. J. W. Kimball to officiate.  Burial will be at Riverside cemetery.


Mr. Morris was well known in Moline, having resided in this city for some time.  He was born on Oct. 25, 1842, in Hamilton, Miss.  His wife preceded him in death twenty-two years ago.


Submitted by L. Kemp