My grandmother’s colorful autobiographical story of the accomplishments and struggles of new westerners settling Oklahoma. Claiming land in this frontier territory held a dangerous and unknown future for those courageous enough to try.
My intention for this web site is to remember and honor the amazing people who worked to provide me such a rich family history and wonderful life today. I offer family members near and far access to my genealogical research and resources with the intent to connect, share, and support one another in feeling and expressing our gratitude.
Arriving in America at the beginning of the 17th century, some of my ancestors helped to establish some of the first non-indigenous settlements in the New World. They quickly spread west across the continent.
In the early to mid 1840s, the Garrison and Lee families traveled over the Oregon Trail to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The Bennett, Creswell, Gowdy, Odell, Clark, Hull, Roelofson and Kemp families followed them in the “Great Migration” of 1851-3. The Tuggles arrived nearly a century later in 1945.
Western Oregon is warm and pleasant in the summer, and soggy wet in the winter months. It is also breathtakingly beautiful, offering ideal conditions for farmers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Though hard, life in Oregon was the opportunity my ancestors sought and many made their mark on the history of the State and their communities.
The Beard family farmed the wide open spaces of Kansas, then ran the race known as the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. They established several cities in Oklahoma and have left a legacy of meaningful contributions to country and community.
I’ve amassed a collection of family photos you’ll find in the Photo Gallery including photos from the Bennett, Creswell, Gowdy, Odell, Clark, Hull, Roelofson, Kemp, Tuggle, Helm, Beard, McCormick, Gates, Hurd, Warwick, Norman, Huddleston, Bardin, Mitchell, Luper, and Campbell families.
I’ve collected some Stories – and would love to receive more (feel free to share with me!). Some stories have been compiled into books, many of which are available as free downloads from my Books page. My entire working database is available on Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com. Please sign my Guestbook or leave a comment on any page or story.
My current research focus is on George Beard (born c. 1785?, in TN or VA) married to Matilda Neal – still searching for documented evidence of his parents. I hope to soon have some DNA evidence to work with. Many thanks to Mary (Bennette) Toliver for allowing me to use her DNA profile to confirm our Bennett ancestry in the Glossop area of Derbyshire, England.