A new and fresh genealogy find always gets my heart to pumping. I so love how the genealogy community works together to solve each other’s mysteries. My hat is off to those of you that started out “pre-internet” – I don’t know how you did it!
Today I received a comment on the blog from Norma Thronburg. And guess what? The little sons of Jennie Curbow and Robert Alexander Story have been found! Not that they were ever lost – we just didn’t know where they were laid to rest! We always assumed that the boys were laid to rest in Axtell Cemetery along with their parents and brother Frank Story (the only son to survive to adulthood). However, they are not listed on the burial index nor did my husband and I find markers for them when we visited Axtell last summer.
Well, thanks to Norma and Find-a-Grave volunteer Mark Dutton, we now know that the boys are laid to rest in Yowell Cemetery. I haven’t been successful in finding any history on this cemetery but it appears to be a small abandoned family cemetery located on ranch land near Axtell in McLennan County, Texas. Many of the stones seem to be toppled and some are broken. Thankfully, the Story boys each have a stone that is still readable.
How our Story family connects to the Yowell family is unknown to me. It looks like most of these burials took place prior to 1877 when Robert purchased his farm in Axtell. So perhaps they were neighbors? Or perhaps Robert worked for the Yowell family? In the 1880 census Robert and Jennie are in McLennan County with their sons (on Page 55). At the top of page 55 directly above the Story family two Yowell family members are enumerated: Frank Yowell, age 20, born Missouri, indexed as “son”; and John Yowell, age 19, born Missouri, indexed as “son.” However, when you check the previous page (page 54) there is no Yowell “head of house” listed. This is apparently an enumerator error – so the relationship between the families remains unclear.
The following is a listing of the Story headstones that were located in Yowell Cemetery:
Levy Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 27 Nov. 1869
Died: 20 July 1871
Levy lived only about 30 months. Robert and Jennie married on 23 Feb of 1869. He was born practically 9 months to the day! Levy was 8 months old when the 1870 census was enumerated. He was with his parents Robert and Jennie Story – his Curbow grandparents lived a few doors down – all living “east of the Brazos River” in McLennan County. Also in the home was Harriet Hamilton (and her relationship to the family is also unknown.)
E. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 17 Feb 1870
Died: 17 Mar 1870
Lived about 1 month – it is unknown whether E. was a male or a female – and we did not previously have this child listed in our database. E. does not appear in any census record – the 1870 census was enumerated in July of that year, after the time of death.
T. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 20 Nov. 1872
Died: 29 Dec 1873
Lived about 13 months – it is unknown whether E. was a male or a female – and we did not previously have this child listed in our database.
John F. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 20 Nov. 1873
Died: 7 Nov. 1882
John lived almost 9 years and can be found with his parents in the 1880 census. We know the circumstances of John’s death through this newspaper article published in the Waco Daily Examiner, on Tuesday, November 7, 1882:
Mr. R. A. Story, who lives seven miles east of the city, on Williams Creek, lost a son, Sunday, about nine years old from a very peculiar attack of sickness. The child was recuperating from chills and had got strong enough to pick cotton. Friday morning, while going to work, he was attacked with a spasm, and from that time until death never moved or spoke, dying at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. Two physicians were called in. Dr. Pitts, of Mt. Calm, described the malady to congestion of the brain and spine. Dr. Howard of Waco, said it was black jaundice. The stricken parents only know that their child is dead and buried.
Henry A. Story (click on the link to see a picture of the headstone)
Born: 20 Jan 1875
Died: 27 Jan 1883
Henry lived 8 years. We can find him with his family in the 1880 census where he is misindexed as “Kenny A.” It is believed by me that his mother’s grandfather was Henry Curbow of Cass/Bowie County, Texas. Perhaps he is named after him?
In addition to these children, we know from the 1880 census that Robert Alexander and Jennie Curbow Story also had a son named Joseph who was born sometime in 1879. He can be found with the family in the 1880 census. Jennie stated in the 1900 census that all of her children but one had died – and it is presumed that Joseph died prior to 1900. Joseph’s burial location is unknown to me at this time.
The only son of Robert Alexander Story and Jennie Curbow to reach his adulthood was Frank Edward Story (1892-1954) who is laid to rest in Axtell Cemetery in McLennan County with his parents.
While performing this genealogy study, I have come across many family stories of drama and trauma – but this story strikes me as one of the most tragic. I simply cannot comprehend what it must have been like for Robert and Jennie to bury one child after the next. The death of one child would change your life forever – but this couple lost 6 of their 7 children – incredible heartache and an incredible testimony to their perseverance.
Thank you again to Norma and Mark for their time and effort and dedication to the genealogy community. We appreciate you!