Just tell him I

Kenneth Lasley
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This is an excerpt from a letter of one of my now deceased cousins to another of our cousins. Although it is a serious subject, I can't help laughing about it whenever I am reminded of it.

***** Just tell him I'm dead.*******

As you might know, William L Stogsdill, the father of Uncle Melvin and grandpa Harrison, married a lady up in Missouri named Sarah Frances Hartful Albright and when grandpa Harrison was about 7 years old, grandpa William L put Harrison and the youngest son, Albert, on a horse and rode off, leaving Uncle Melvin up in Missouri with his mom.

Around 1900, Uncle Melvin helped a man walk a herd of cattle from MO to Franklin, Ark and a year or so later, he heard that a Stogsdill man was working in a sawmill down around Strawberry. Uncle Melvin walked from Franklin to Strawberry and found that it was his brother, Harrison.

Uncle Melvin told the tale that he had lived with his Mother in Bolivar, MO until he was 17 years old and then she died. He said that they buried his mother and then he took the trip to Arkansas with the cattle.

The point here is that Uncle Melvin (William Melvin) said that their mother died when he was 17 and that was before 1900. I did lots and lots of research up in that Missouri area and could not find one piece of information that would prove that story, no grave, no record of death (although her father, mother, and all brothers and sisters were recorded).

Her father was a minister of the gospel and a Justice of the Peace (JP) for Polk County, MO and I believe that when she died, her father would have ensured an appropriate gravesite/headstone as he did with the rest of his family.

Anyway, back about a year ago, I was doing some more research of records in Polk County, MO (specifically in the area of Pleasant Hope, MO where the Albrights and our Stogsdill's lived at the time) and I found a probate/will record for a "Sarah Frances H Blevins" (whose birth year was the same as our "Sarah Frances Hardful Albright", but the Blevins lady died in 1908 in Pleasant Hope and left land and money to two daughters (I don't know if she had any son's with the Blevins surname).

However, it is my opinion that sometimes prior to 1900, our grandmother, Sarah decided to marry a Mr. Blevins, and she told Uncle Melvin "son, I'm going to get remarried and want to start a new life. Now, you are 17 and old enough to get out on your own. Your dad and brothers are living down in Arkansas, so why don't you go down there and find them" (I can't say that those are the exact words but I believe that something to that effect happened), and then Grandma Sarah probably continued with, "if you find your dad and brothers and they ask about me, just tell them that I am dead".

All of our kinfolks back there in Arkansas tell me that Uncle Melvin, Grandpa Harrison and Uncle Albert always refused to talk about their parents and if questioned, they would change the subject or say that they didn't know. Grandpa Clyde tells that same story about our grandparents not talking about their parents.

Uncle Albert was alway the strange one though and he was know as "Slick". He supposedly gambled a lot somewhere and he was envolved in trading horses/mules/cattle and was always taking off for lengthy periods of time and when he came back he always said that he had been out to Tucson, AZ and that he stayed at the mens club in the Mason's lodge there.

I have checked all the mens clubs in Tucson, Yuma, and Phoenix and none of these places have a record of an Alber Stogsdill staying there, anytime. I believe that Uncle Albert didn't want anyone to know where he was going or doing and since he was living with my grandpa Harrison in Independence County (Batesville area) when Harrison married and shortly thereafter disappeared, I believe that he may have made repeated trips back up to Missouri and stayed with his mom for periods of time.

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