While not unexpected, the whole community was saddened when they learned of the death of Mrs. J. W. York, which occurred early Monday at her home in the New Eden Community.
Funeral services were conducted in the Wilmore Baptist Church at 3 p.m. Tuesday, with the pastor, Rev. F. Russell Pitman in charge, assisted by Rev. Earl Livengood of the Methodist Church. A quartet composed of Mrs. Donald Waters, Mrs. Arthur Barber, Valtos Richardson and Lew Baker, sang three songs, "Gates Ajar," "Even Me", and "Home of The Soul," with Mrs. Lauren Ridge at the piano.
Pallbearers were three grandsons, John and Russell York of Sitka, Junior York of Wilmore; three grandson-in-law, Harry Snyder of Burlington, Kans., Charles Randal of Sitka and Pete Hucklebridge of Wilmore.
The large attendance and the many flowers were testimonials of the esteem and affection felt for her by her many friends.
Truly her passing will be measured by the whole community who extend sympathy to the sorrowing relatives.
Burial was made in the Coldwater cemetery.
Melvina Figg, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Figg, was born August 16, 1853 in Shelby County, Kentucky, and passed away at her home southeast of Wilmore July 24, 1939 at the age of 85 years, 11 months and 8 days.
At two years of age upon the death of her mother she was adopted by her uncle the Rev. A. H. Dooley and wife then residing at Rockville, Ind. There she grew to womanhood and was married to John W. York at Burnetteville, Ind. in 1879, four years later, they in company with other families came to Kansas by wagon train. It took six weeks to make the trip. They settled on a farm in Harper County where they lived 15 years enduring many hardships, but all the while kept faith and hoped for better times. In 1894 they moved to Comanche County locating on the farm in the New Eden neighborhood, which has been the York home for 45 years, and where they reared their family of nine children. Mr. York passed away June 17, 1915.
Mrs. York was a charter member of the Anthony Baptist Church which was organized in 1880. She later became a member of the Wilmore Baptist church where she remained a faithful attendant as long as her health permitted. Mrs. York became a christian early is childhood and had the rare privilege of devoting fully three score years and ten to her Master's service. Certainly by the grace of Christ, already she has heard Him say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"; "There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God." Mrs. York was always cheerful, pleasant and helpful to those around her, and her passing will be sadly felt by those in the home and by all her friends.
Mrs. York is survived by the entire family of nine children, namely: Mrs. Lillie Baker of Decatar, Arkansas, Frank and Truman of Sitka, Harry of Copeland, Mrs. Daisy Wall and Lawrence of Wilmore, and Maude, Stella and Alvah of the home. Also 4 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren survive.
Quite a number of old friends from a distance were in town Tuesday to attend the funeral services of Mrs. York. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Ross and two daughters and Mrs. Golliker of Meade who were former residents in the New Eden community. Dr. and Mrs. Ireland, formerly Mary Willard, of Coats, Abner McKay, Meade, Frank Lockert, Coats. Many were there from the western and southern part of the county. Besides relatives from Clark county there were Mr. and Mrs. G. Kirby, Mr. and Mrs. E. Broadie, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Shupe, Mrs. S. R. Shupe, Rev. and Mrs. Parker and Jack Austin. Several of these visited at the Austin home after the services.
The Western Star, September 14, 1923.
Life Sketches of Comanche-co. Pioneers
Some of Their Struggles and Early-day Experiences.
Mrs. J. W. York
At left: Melvina (Figg) York
It was just 44 years ago when the Hoosier family loaded their possessions in a wagon and departed for Kansas to become a part of that great list of pioneers who helped to build the West. That family was John W. York, his wife and two small children. On the way they had all the experiences of the average "pioneer" from an eastern state to what was then the sparsely settled state of Kansas. The Yorks first settled not far from Wellington in Sumner-co. and lived there for about a year, when they moved to Harper-co., and settled on a claim not far from Anthony. It was there that the family passed through many of the experiences which tested the pluck, the faith and the staying qualities of early day settler. During the 80s (1880s) and the first three years of the 90s, there were a good many "lean" years, when the farms and ranches yielded very little in the way of income. For a few years Mr. York tried sheep raising, his children helping about the herding and care of the sheep. But they found sheep raising a losing game. Wolves and coyotes killed many of the animals, the price went down and the business ceased to be profitable.
In the year 1893, Mr. York made a trip to Comanche-co, while here got acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hamilton, who then owned a quarter of land in what is now the New Eden neighborhood. The land suited Mr. York, especially as it gave him a chance to increase his holdings, so an exchange was made. Mr. York giving his two Harper-co. quarters for three quarters in this county. One of the quarters had been owned by Mr. Hamilton's sister, Miss Nellie Hamilton, who was one of the well known and successful Comanche-co. school teachers in those days. So within a short time Mr. and Mrs. York and then 8 children became Comanche-co., citizens. That was the year of the big land opening in Oklahoma. The York's were urged by many of their friends to go to the new country and try to get claims, but they thought best to locate in this county as here they saw a chance to get more land for their boys and girls. They found some good neighbors here,
J. M. McCay, C. M. Bean, Howard Burnett and Carey H. Kendall, who lived on an adjoining farm, and many others. Perseverance, frugality and good management on the part of the Yorks enabled them to not only make improvements on their land but also to purchase more land, so that now they have several farms on which is grown each year between 500 and 600 acres of wheat, besides quite an acreage of spring crops. They also handle a good many cattle each year and find this profitable in connection with their farming interests. It can truthfully be said that the Yorks know how to farm and that they are making it pay, too. Mr. York died on June 17, 1915. Since that time, Mrs. York, with the aid of her children who are yet at home, has carried on the farm work and looked after the raising of livestock, etc., very successfully.
Mrs. York recalls very vividly the trying years when they were endeavoring to get a start. There were years when it seemed that wild plums and wild grapes were about all there was to live on. She says that at times money was so scarce that they could scarcely buy postage stamps - that on one occasion they borrowed 10 cents of J. M. McCay for that purpose. She adds that they found it a great help to have near them some stockmen - Billy Powell, Geo. H. Sombart and later
S. A. Delair, M. Schaub, Bob Estill and Scott Bros. - for they bought all the stock feed and corn the Yorks could spare, and paid good prices for it.
On August 16 last, Mrs. York celebrated her 70th birthday. She is still in robust health and continues to take an active interest in public affairs and in the social and religious work of the community. She is held in high esteem by all who know her - and that includes people for many miles around. In every respect, Mrs. York is a fine type of the persevering, hard working and faithful pioneer, the kind that has helped to make the Great West.
Mrs. York was born in Boone-co., Kentucky. Her maiden name was Melvina Figg. While she was yet, but two years of age, her mother having died, she went with an aunt to White-co., Indiana, and there, on October 6, 1871, she was united in marriage with John W. York.
The members of Mrs. York's family are as follows: Mrs. Lillie Baker of Decatur, Ark.; Mrs. Daisy Wall of Wilmore; Frank York of Clark-co., and Lawrence, Harry, Alvah, and Truman, also Misses Maude and Stella York, who make their home in this county.
Family marker for the John & Melvina York Family
Crown Hill Cemetery, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.
Gravestone for Melvina York
Crown Hill Cemetery, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.
Obituary of John W. York, 30 Oct 1849 - 17 June 1915
Lawrence York, Letter from Army Training Camp, 1917.
Pfc. Lawrence YORK, Jr., US Army - Purple Heart & Bronze Star.
Red Cross Fund Oversubscribed, The Wilmore News, 28 June 1917.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles and image to this web site!
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