Whitener Family (Click for Family Tree)
Elizabeth Adline Rickman was the eighth of nine children born to James Emery Rickman (1824-1885) and Elizabeth Whitner (1824-1899). She was born on 10 Sep 1855 in Madison County, Missouri.
Elizabeth grew up on the family farm, likely helping with the cooking and cleaning, laundry and sewing. She would have had the typical daily chores of a young woman on a farm: feeding chickens, perhaps milking as she got older, slopping the hogs with the leftovers from meals, etc. She would have worked in the vegetable garden and gathered fruit from the family’s apple, peach, cherry, and other trees. (Most probably- we don’t know exactly which trees they might have had, but most farms had at least these three for pies- yumm.) Wild blackberries and raspberries, strawberries and other fruits would have grown nearby if they hadn’t been planted near the home, and she would have gathered these delicate fruits and helped baked them into pies and cobblers for the hungry farm workers. The 1850 US Federal Census (taken before she was born) indicated that her father owned $500 in real estate. That is a middle-of-the-road value for farms listed on the same census page, so they were not poor, but it was occasionally a tough existence to make ends meet with the vagaries of farming- good one year, rough the next. Elizabeth’s father was good at his trade though- by the 1860 census, when Elizabeth was just 5, her father had amassed $2,000 in real estate and $1,000 in personal value, so he was growing the farm and their income so that they could live comfortably.
The Civil War touched southeast Missouri significantly- most residents sympathized with the South but skirmishes and battles were fought on their lands. As the troops of either side passed through, food, livestock, supplies, and even family heirlooms were taken from the locals. Aged 6 at the start of the war, Elizabeth would not have had the freedom to play as she had before- she probably needed to stay close to home to be safe. Her father enlisted in the Confederate 1st Regiment, Missouri Cavalry State Guard (1st Division), Company C to help keep family and neighbors safe. We have been unable to find details of his service, although he may have also served in the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas. Her brothers were a bit young to fight, though the older siblings may have participated, and likely were charged with protecting the family while their father was away on business or at war. Food shortages would have often been a problem, so the family worked hard but may not have been able to enjoy the fruits of their labors during the hard years of the Civil War.
Elizabeth was 6 when her younger sister Susannah Ellen Underwood was born in 1861, so she likely took care of her throughout the day so their mother could accomplish all her home and farm tasks.
At age 20, on 13 Feb 1876, Elizabeth married Joseph Abner Underwood (1847-1930). Joab, as he was called, was a farmer like Elizabeth’s father, so she moved from her father’s farm to her own in Crooked Creek, Bollinger, Missouri. Elizabeth birthed 7 children-all sons- beginning in 1877 (tomorrow’s post will have details) but two died as infants. Infant Cornelius Underwood lived less than a month in September of 1884. Their last child, little Artey M. Underwood, born when Elizabeth was 37, lived less than 16 months, dying 10 January 1894. How terrible to lose a child! And to have to lay him to rest in the cold hard ground of a Missouri winter…
Elizabeth and Joab still had three sons living with them in the 1900 US Federal Census, but by 1910, it was just the two of them living on the farm again. They were together there in 1920, too.
Another war took another toll on the family. Son Charles Francis Marion Underwood was living on his own in June of 1917, farming for himself, when he registered for the draft for World War I. He apparently enlisted and went off to training and possibly Europe- we have not found his service record. He sadly was one of the victims of the Spanish Influenza Epidemic that decimated the population of young people around the world in their prime. Charley died 22 Oct 1918 in Sault Sainte Marie, Chippewa, Michigan, likely in a military hospital. He was brought home to be buried in Trace Creek Cemetery.
Joab’s death began the year of 1930 (he died 21 Jan 1930), thus Elizabeth was enumerated in the 1930 census as a widow. Her son John Henry Underwood and his family had returned to the area after living in Colorado, so perhaps he had come back to help on the farm- his family was enumerated right after Elizabeth.
Elizabeth survived her husband by almost 6 years, dying 02 Jan 1936 in Crooked Creek, Bollinger, Missouri.
She is buried in Old Trace Creek Cemetery, Glenallen, Bollinger, Missouri, alongside her husband of almost 54 years. All their sons are buried there as well.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Whitener Family Treasure Chest of Photos.
2) For more information about this family see “Wedding Wednesday: James E. Rickman and Elizabeth Whitner” at http://heritageramblings.net/2015/05/27/wedding-wednesday-james-e-rickman-and-elizabeth-whitner/
“Those Places Thursday: The Farm of James E. Rickman in Madison County, Missouri” at http://heritageramblings.net/2015/05/28/those-places-thursday-the-farm-of-james-e-rickman-in-madison-county-missouri/
3) Civil War confederate Unit 1st Regiment, MO Cavalry State Guard- https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/1st_Regiment,_Missouri_Cavalry_State_Guard_(1st_Division)_-_Confederate
No unit history available.
4) Way too many censuses, memorials on Find A Grave, etc. were used in this research to list here. Let us know if you need any specific sources.
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