Thursday, March 27, 2008


Source: Midkiff, Mary Emeline Wilbourn. Photograph. Taken before Sep 1919. Reproduction of original photograph in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Mary Emeline WILBOURN was my husband's Great-great-grandmother Midkiff. She was born 11 Aug 1839 in Sandoval Twp., Marion Co., Illinois to Dr. John Wilks WILBOURN of Orange Co., North Carolina and Martha Susan DEADMOND of Bedford Co., Virginia. John and Susan's respective families had migrated to Marion Co., Illinois by 1831, when they married. Mary was the fourth of nine known children which included Rufus K. (b. c. 1833), Denita Frances (b. c. 1836), James Manissa (1837 - c. 1837), John Henry (b. c. 1843 - bef. 12 Mar 1878), Aramanthe E. (b. 1846), Thomas Jefferson (1849 - 1942), Sarah Jane (1851 - 1940), and Benjamin Franklin WILBOURN (1854 - 1944).

The Wilbourn family moved from Illinois to Grayson Co., Texas between 1843 and 1846, and were prominent in that early community. It was there on 24 Jul 1859 that nearly-20-year-old Mary was wed to Charles Anderson MIDKIFF. They lived in Sherman Township when the 1860 U.S. Federal Census was taken; a time when trouble between the North and South was brewing. Charles served with the Texas Cavalry for the Confederacy, along with two of his brothers. About that time, the family moved to nearby Springville, Cooke Co., Texas. During the war, their two eldest, William Preston (1862 - 1936) and Charles "Anderson" Jr. (1865 - 1948), were born. Louanna Ellen "Annie" (1868 - 1940), John Franklin (1870 - 1926; my husband's great-grandfather), Ethel Susan (b. 1874), and Thomas Jefferson "Tex" MIDKIFF (1879 - 1941) soon followed. An infant, Mae, did not survive.

The Midkiff family remained in Cooke County where they were enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Charles' occupation was a miller. Sometime within the next few years, they moved to Lexington, Cleveland Co., Oklahoma Territory, where some of their children were married and their first grandchildren were born. Ever on the move, the family may have also lived in Pottawatomie Co., Oklahoma Territory, and were definitely residing in Delta Co., Colorado by 1902, where Charles was cattle ranching.

The Midkiff Family in Delta Co., Colorado. Charles and Mary are in the center, surrounded by their children, children-in-law, and grandchildren.

Source: Midkiff Family at Home in Delta County, Colorado. Photograph. Taken c. 1902 - 1908. Original photograph in the possession of John and Mary Lou Midkiff, Midland, Texas. 2008.

On 10 Mar 1908, Charles wrote his brother in West Texas from Hotchkiss, Delta Co., Colorado and told him he had sold his ranch the summer previously, as he had been injured when his mules ran away with him, getting caught under the wagon and breaking his left leg. Because of being crippled, he could not work the ranch in the winter when the snow was so deep. This injury was probably also motivation for Charles and Mary to retire after a few years to Chico, Butte Co. in Northern California, where the warmer climate and town living were more suitable for the senior couple. Mary's mother and four younger siblings and their families, along with most of the adult Midkiff children with their families, also lived in the area; however, I haven't done enough research to discover if the Wilbourns or the Midkiffs emigrated to California first.

In 1914, both Mary and Charles are listed on the Butte County Voters Registration. California had granted suffrage to women in 1911, nine years before the federal government did so. After Charles died in 1919, Mary lived with their daughter Annie until her own death in 1923. Mary and Charles are buried in unmarked graves in the Wilbourn Family Plot in Chico Cemetery.

The "empty" grassy spot in the midst of the Wilbourn Family Plot in Chico Cemetery is the final resting place of Mary Emeline (WILBOURN) MIDKIFF, and her husband, Charles Anderson MIDKIFF, Sr. The graves of Mary's sisters can be seen in the foreground.

Source: Midkiff, Charles Anderson Sr. and Mary Emeline (Wilbourn) burial location, Chico Cemetery, Chico, Butte Co., California. Photograph. Taken 31 May 2006 by FindAGrave photo volunteer Laural N. D. at the request of Miriam Robbins Midkiff. Digital photograph in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.


Lidian said...

What a great post - as usual! And congrats on the award, I just found out!

Moultrie Creek said...

I'm delighted to find that you and Renee been spotlighted for your blogs. We've all known you're the best for ages, but it's great to see that everyone else thinks so too. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Miriam, you have once again provided a wonderful story from the past. I enjoy reading your blogs and you never fail to be informative AND entertaining. What award is mentioned on your comments by Laura? Keep us informed!

Miriam Robbins said...

Laura and Denise: Thank you so much!

Mary: Check out my latest post about the award, here.

Miriam Robbins said...

P.S. And thank you, Mary, for your kind words!

Susan said...

Curious if Mary Emeline could be related to my Welborn ancestors in North Carolina, googled John Wilkes Wilbourn and found his photo on AncientFaces

Rue said...

Thank you for this blog. These are my ancestors as well. Charles is my three times great grandfather

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for this blog because these are my ancestors too! I am the daughter of gene à midkiff Sr. And granddaughter of earl Blanchard midkiff and mable my grandmother. She was born in England but was adopted in us same day so her maiden name was sterling not sure of spelling. My family was for most part in Spokane darkpark and so on when I was born. Which was 9.24.1965.

Unknown said...

I love all the information I have found out about my family you are awesome!