The Bucher/Booker Family, 1686-1990: Chapter VIII, Part 2


The Thomas Benton Booker and Emily C. Taylor Family

According to his obituary and the Sullivan County, Indiana courthouse records, Thomas Benton Booker married twice. His first marriage was to Malinda Church on 6 January 1864. In the Sullivan County, Order Book D, pages 425 through 435, dated September 10, 1867, divorce proceedings are found between Thomas B. Booker and Malinda Booker. Further research into the Divorce records of Sullivan County, I discovered in Probate Book I, Booker vs. Booker Divorce CC 8 & 6, “Cause decided #47”, dated July 15, 1868, Laurinda Booker versus Thomas Benton Booker. Thomas Benton Booker’s obituary stated he was first married to a Rene or Laurinda Nichols in the year 1864, and after having one child, his first wife, Laurinda, died. More research is needed in discovering what actually happened to Thomas’s first marriage, and his marriage to Malinda Church. Could Malinda and Laurinda have been the same person? Was the maiden name Nichols confused with the maiden name Church? Anyway, the evidence points to the fact that Thomas was embroiled in a rather “nasty” divorce from his first wife, Malinda. I leave it up to the descendants of Thomas B. Booker whether to pursue this episode in Thomas’s life.

Thomas Benton Booker (his daughter, Rose, wrote down on her marriage certificate that her father’s name was Benjamin) married Emily C. Taylor on 11 August 1868 in Sullivan Co., Indiana. Emily, born 9 May 1835 in Switzerland County, Indiana, was the daughter of John Taylor (21 July 1775 – 18 October 1851) and Delilah Cox (1 March 1797 – 4 April 1889). As mentioned earlier, Mary Counts of Ft. Worth, Texas has Thomas Benton Booker’s Bible containing much Taylor information. Using the 1860 Census and the Bible records, I consolidated the following Taylor information:

Family of John Taylor and Delilah Cox

Joseph C. Taylor (1 September 1833 – 27 August 1863)

On 1860 Census – Sull. Co., IN, Haddon Twp., Page 34: 235/235

Joseph C. Taylor age 27 Male Farmer born IN

Sarah age 28 Female born Indiana

John W. age 3 Male born Indiana

Dan’l K. age 8/12 Male born Indiana

Martha Ann Taylor (3 May 1837) Married William Grizzle (Griswold)

On 1860 Census – Sull. Co., IN, Jeff. Twp., Page 80: 547/549

Wm. Grizzle age 25 Male Farmer born Illinois

Martha age 23 Female born Indiana

John W. age 1 Male born Indiana

Delilah Taylor age 65 Female born Kentucky

Before William Grizzle was killed in the Civil War, Martha gave birth to Mary Delilah Grizzle, who later married Ruel H. Booker, brother of Thomas B. Booker. After William’s death Martha remarried to Jacob N. Booker – a widower – he having previously been married to his cousin, Elizabeth Ann Booker, daughter of Phillip Booker and Martha Purcell. For more information on the Jacob N. Booker Family, see Chapter III, William Jarrett Booker Family.

Emily C. Taylor (9 May 1835 – 26 June 1906) Married Thomas Benton Booker

On the 1860 Census, Sullivan Co., IN, Haddon Twp., Page 56: (Hired girl living with the Henderson Family)

380/380 Emily Taylor age 24, Female, Hired girl, born Indiana

Benjamin F. Taylor (24 September 1840 – 12 October 1861), age 21 years and 19 days. – From Thomas Benton Booker’s Bible

Thomas B. Booker and Emily can be found on the 1870 Census of Sullivan Co., IN, page 31, Jeff. Twp., date 7 Sept. 1870: 234/209

Booker, Benton 23 Male Enginer in Mill born IN

Emily C. 30 Female Keeping House born IN

Emily J. 5 Female born IN

Ada B. 3/12 Female born IN in Feb.

Thomas and Emily lost their first child, Ada Belle Booker, on 11 October 1870 in Sullivan Co., Indiana. Ada is buried in the Methodist Cemetery in Pleasantville, Jefferson Township. From the Sullivan Union, a newspaper in Sullivan County, 18 October 1870, Wednesday, “T. B. Booker’s child died of chronic diarrhea on the 12th…”


On the 1880 Census of Harrison County, Missouri, Jefferson Twp, enumeration district 297, page 15, line 7, we find the following Booker families:

All living in the same dwelling – #97 (date 8 June 1880)

W = White, 47 = age, M = Male, birthplace, Father’s birthplace, Mother’s birthplace

Booker, Jacob N. W M 47 Farmer born IN F.born KY M.born KY

Martha A. W F 43 Wife K’ping House born IN F.born PA M.born KY

Margaret E. W F 19 S.Daughter At home born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Louvisa W F 17 Daughter At home born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Charles J. W M 14 Son Farmer born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Benjamin A. W M 12 Son born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Martha E. W F 7 Daughter born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Taylor, Delilah W F 83 M’in Law Widowed born KY F.born KY M.born KY

Booker, R.H. [Ruel] W M 26 Farmer born IN [sic] F.born IN M.born IN

Mary D. [Delilah] W F 19 Wife K’ping House born IN F.born IN M.born IN

William A. W M 10/12 (Oct) Son born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Booker, Thos. B. W M 35 Farmer born IN [sic] F.born IN M.born IN

Emily C. W F 45 Wife K’ping House born IN F.born PA M.born KY

Jane W F 16 Daughter born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Thomas E. W M 9 Son born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Louisa M.D. W F 7 Daughter born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Rosa A. W F 5 Daughter born IN F.born IN M.born IN

Mary I. W F 3 Daughter born IN F.born IN M.born IN

It must have been a really crowded home with all these family members living in the same house. Maybe that’s why some of these families left soon afterward for Kansas and some back to Bement, Illinois. Although this Census says otherwise, Thomas Emmett Booker was born in 1871 in Lake City, Illinois near the border with Piatt, Moultrie, Macon Counties, Illinois. Thomas’s other children were born later in Indiana, leading me to believe that Thomas and Emily moved back to Sullivan and Greene Counties, Indiana before making the trip to Missouri in 1880.

Thomas B. Booker and wife, Emily, are found on the 1900 Census in Piatt County, Illinois, living in Bement. Their grandson, Omar Staples, is living with them.

Emily C. Taylor Booker died at her home in Bement on Tuesday morning 26 June 1906. According to her obituary, “she had been ill for some time and seemed to know she would not recover, and was perfectly satisfied to die…Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at the family residence. The interment was in the Bement Cemetery.”


From the Bement Register dated 2 July 1908:

T. B. Booker Dropped Dead

End came without warning at his home Tuesday Evening at 7:00.

T. B. Booker dropped dead at his home in the norteast part of town Tuesday evening at about seven o’clock. Mr. Booker had worked at the tile factory during the day and had appeared in the best of health and spirits. He ate ahearty supper and was pulling weeds when the death stroke came.

Mr. Zorger a nearby resident was the first to learn that there was anything wrong. He heard someone groaning and when he got to Mr. Booker, he found him lying face down across a railroad tie. Death came a few minutes later. R. H. Booker, a brother of the deceased, was the next man to arrive. Dr. McPherson was called and pronounced Mr. Booker beyond human aid….Dr. McPherson pronounced the cause of Mr. Booker’s death as apoplexy…

T. B. Booker was born at Sullivan, Ind. Oct. 19, 1845. He was married to Lurenda Nickels in the year 1864. One child was born to this union. After his first wife’s death he was united in marriage to Emily Taylor, Aug. 11, 1868. She died June 26, 1906.

Five children were born to the second union, Addie Bell who died in infancy, Tom, of Arkansas; Louise Rector of Oklahoma; Rose Sims, of Bement and Clara O’Malley of Ohio.

Deceased is survived by six brothers, R. H. and W. N. of Bement; Perry of Oklahoma [sic]; James of Georgian [sic]; L. and Samuel Booker, of Decatur; and two sisters, Mrs. Halstead, of Decatur and Mrs. Ferree of Kansas.

The funeral services will be held at 4 o’clock this (Thursday) afternoon.



The Bement Register had printed on 30 June 1908 the following news brief:

Bent Booker died suddenly at his home at 7 o’clock Tuesday evening…

Mr. Booker was born in Sullivan County, Ind. on Oct. 1, 1845. He was twice married. His first was Miss Rene Nichols. His second wife was Miss Emila [Emily] C. Taylor, who died in 1906. He moved to Piatt county thirty-five years ago, settled first in LaPlace and then moved to Decatur. While in Decatur, he worked for Tuttle Bros. He moved to Bement about three years ago. He leaves five children: Mrs. James Jones [sic?], Boonsville, Ark., daughter by his first wife, Mrs. Iona O’Malley, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Thomas Booker, Hope, Arkansas, and Mrs. Bart Sims of Bement. Besides his children he leaves nineteen half-brothers, among whom are R. H. and Will Booker of Bement, Sam and Lafe Booker of Decatur…



Children from Thomas Benton Booker’s first marriage to Rene Nichols or Malinda Church:

Emily Jane Booker b. 8/12/1864, d. unknown. Living January 1916 in Boonesville, AR

Children from Thomas Benton Booker’s marriage to Emily C. Taylor:

Ada Belle Booker b. 14/2/1870 Carlisle, IN, d. 11/10/1870 Carlisle, IN. Buried Pleasantville Methodist Church Cemetery

Thomas Emmett Booker b. 12/8/1871 Lake City, IL, d. 11/10/1947 Selmer, TN

Louisa Delilah Booker b. 17/5/1873 Marco, IN, d. unknown

Anna Rosa Myette Booker b. 5/10/1874 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 29/1/1916 Bement, IL

Lola Iona Booker b. 28/7/1877 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 3/2/1936 Chicago, IL

The Richard C. Booker and Emily Jane Jett Family

According to their marriage certificate, Richard C. Booker and Emily Jane Jett, were married on 30 April 1869. (On the 1900 and 1910 Census’ Richard and Emily list their number of years married as 35 and 44 years respectively.)

Like his father and mother, I am unable to find Richard and his family on the 1870 Census (although I believe they were in Illinois near Dalton City). The 1880 Census of Fall River Twp, Wilson Co., Kansas lists Richard Booker and his family up to their daughter, Mollie. Notice their first child, Elizabeth J. Booker, listed on this census, was born in 1865 in Indiana.

By studying the 1880 Census, we can see how the migration pattern of the Richard Booker family is consistent with the rest of Phillip Booker’s children.

153/153 Bucker, Richard W/M/34, Farmer b. IN, Father KY, Mother IN

Bucker, Emma J. W/F/35, Wife Keeping House b. KY, Father VA,. Mother VA

Bucker, Eliza J. W/F/15 Daughter IN

Bucker, Philip E. W/M/9 Son IL

Bucker, Charley W. W/M/7 Son IL

Bucker, Clara S. W/F/5 Daughter IN

Bucker, John A. W/M/3 Son IN

Bucker, Daniel W W/M/2 Son IN

Bucker, Mollie W/F/1 Daughter KS

Richard settled in Wilson County, Kansas in 1879, and based on the 1900 Census of Texas County, Missouri, he remained in Kansas until 1885 or 1886.

1900 Census/ Morris Township, Texas County, MO 16 June sheet 14: 134/134

Booker, Richard Head of Household, White, Male, (no month of birth reported) b. 1835, age 65, Marr. 35 years, b. IN, Father b. KY, Mother b. IN, Farmer, can read and write, Own Home and Farm

Booker, Emily J., Wife, W/F, b. May 1846 age 54, Married, 35 years, 11 Children, 8 living, b. KY, Father b. VA, Mother b. VA

Booker, Jesse, son, W/M, b. Apr. 1883, age 17, b. KS

Booker, Howard Lorenzo, son, W/M, b. Nov. 1886, age 13, b. MO.

Booker, William H., son, W/M, b. Oct. 1891, age 8, b. MO

Richard Booker, Emily and son, Renzo, are found on the 1910 Census of Wright County (next county over from Texas County), Missouri, East Second St., Mountain Grove, Missouri. Richard and Emily lists they have been married 44 years, and Emily lists she had eleven children, only seven living. (Their son, Charles Wesley Booker, had died by then.)

I have several copies of letters and photocopies of family pictures of descendants of Richard and Emily Booker. They were sent to me by Zelma Aileen Booker Young of Mountain Grove, Missouri and Lois Marilyn Booker of Sun Valley, California. I included in this chapter one letter (dated January 26, 1921) from Richard Booker to his widowed daughter-in-law, Effie L. Phillips Booker, that gives the whereabouts of each of his children.

Dear Dauter,

I will try an answer your kind most welcom leter. We was glad to hear from you and hear you was all well. I wish i coud Say that But i cant and tell the truth maw [Emily] has Bin Sick evry sinc Chrismas But is doin beter now and i can hardly go. we are glad you are all Doing Well. We have had nice winter So far and not much snow or not very cold. Tell Ernisteen we got the corn and it was nice and we wod love to kiss the hands that sent it and am sorow to tell her that we could not eat the curnels for we had no teath to chew them. But they was nice all the same. i havnt had a tooth in my head for 7 or 8 years. i never could git any made to fit. Maw had som made and cant use them. Maw sid that She wod love to see you and your momie and all the children and was glad that you are doing well and I gess your mamie feels beter in her one house. Tell Earl we hant for got him yet and wod love to see him and all the rest. Willies are all well. Hettie Said She rote to you when in Wyoma and got no answer. Claries are all well. Ed is Still in Okly homea. Lacy hant git much beter. John & Renzo Dan livs in the mountain [Mountain Grove?]. We got a leter from Jess he is maried and hant never com home yet he is in Organ. They are all well. So that is all now. So Good By


From Paw and maw to Effie and children Goody By.



The address to which the letter was sent reads: Mrs. Effie Booker, 610 Carillo St., Los Angeles, Californa. On the other side of the envelope, there is written “Grandma Booker died Jan. 3, 1923.”


Mrs. Zelma Booker Young writes:

“I have had trouble finding anyone who remembered Gravel Point had a post office. However, I have now located a fellow who lives quite close and whose family are old-timers. He graduated in the same class as I did at Cabool, and niece did too…Now, I have two or three others, one the husband of my 5th grade teacher, who remembers a place they called ‘Booker Hill.’ I believe it is near Brushy Knob School near Greenwood Church…”



Ernestine Booker, daughter of Charles Wesley Booker, many years ago wrote on a piece of paper the following information (brackets are mine):

Mama – [Effie Phillips] MO. Gravel Point, Texas Cty.


Papa – [Charles W. Booker] Illinois


Grandma – [Osie Thompson] Indiana


Grandma Booker – [Emily J. Jett] Kentucky


Grandpa Booker – [Richard C. Booker] Indiana


Great Grandma Thompson – Ohio

Great Grandpa Thompson – Ohio

Grandpa Phillips – Tennesee

Great Great Grandmother Gaskill – Ohio?

Great Great Grandfather Gaskill – England

Great Great Grandmother Thompson – Ireland

Great Great Grandpa Thompson – Ireland

Great Great Great Grandpa Gaskill – England

Great Great Great Grandma Gaskill – England

Great Great Great Grandma Flock – Germany

Great Great Great Grandpa Flack – Germany

Great Grandpa Booker – [Philip Booker] Pennsylvania [incorrect]

Richard C. Booker died 5 November 1933 in Gravel Point, or Mountain Grove, Missouri. Emily J. Jett Booker died 3 June 1923 in Mountain Grove. Both are buried in the Greenwood Brethern Cemetery in Texas County, Missouri.

Here the children of Richard C. Booker and Emily Jane Jett:

Eliza J. Booker b. 1861 Sullivan Co., IN, d. unknown

Phillip Edward Booker b. 1871 Illinois, (Could be Edward D.) d. liv. OK in 1927, died in Kansas City, MO; Went by “Ed”, owned store in Dunn, MO

Charles Wesley Booker b. 11/8/1873 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 30/1/1907 Los Angeles, CA

Clara S. Booker b. 27/6/1874 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 18/1/1942 Gravel Point, MO. Bur. Stubbs Cemetery, Texas Co., MO

John A. Booker b. 1877 Indiana, d. 195? TX. Co., MO. Bur. Fowler Cemetery, TX Co., MO

Daniel W. Booker b. 1878 Indiana, d. 1963 Mountain Grove, MO. Bur. Hillcrest Cemetery, Wright County, MO

Mollie A. Booker b. 1879 Wilson County, Kansas, d. unknown

Jesse Booker b. April 1883 Wilson County, KS, d. liv. in Oregon in 1921

Lorenzo Howard Booker b. Nov. 1886 Morris Twp, MO, d. 14/12/1961 Mountain Grove, MO. Bur. Lee’s Summit, MO

William Henry Booker b. 7/10/1891 Mountain Grove, MO, d. 22/4/1964 Mountain Grove, MO. Bur. Greenwood Brethern Cemetery

In the Cabool, Missouri Centennial book published in 1982, the William H. Booker family is found on page 54. The information in the book is also found in William’s obituary.

William Henry Booker

William Henry Booker, son of Richard Booker and Emily Jane Booker, was born in Texas County on October 7, 1890, and departed this life at the Mt. Vernon hospital on April 22 at the age of 73 years, 6 months, and 15 days.

On February 20, 1912, he was married to Hettie E. Carter, who preceded him in death on March 9, 1947. To this union were born three girls, one of whom, Wilma C., also preceded him in death on August 16, 1930.

He united with the General Baptist Church at Dunn and remained a member until his death. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge, Barnes Chapter 116, in Cabool. Practically his entire life was spent in Texas and Wright Counties, being a retired farmer and carpenter, and at one time he served as City Marshal of Cabool.

He leaves to mourn his passing two daughters, Mrs. Bea Kenney of Cabool and Mrs. Zelma Young of Mtn. Grove; one grandson, Eddie Young of Mtn. Grove; and one great grandson, a number of nieces and nephews and other relatives and a host of friends.

Funeral services were conducted on Friday, April 24, at 2 p.m. in the Elliot-Gentry Chapel in Cabool with Rev. Marion McKellips officiating. Burial was in the Greenwood Cemetery.



The Mahala Sophronia Booker/Jones/Ferree Family

Mahala S. Booker first marriage was on 17 April 1869 to Mayo Jones, son of Mayo Jones, Sr., (b. 1809 VA) and wife, Delila (b. 1814 KY). Mayo, Jr. died 11 November 1871, but not before he and Mahala had one daughter:

Flora Belle Jones b. 3/5/1870 Bement, IL, d. 3/3/1904 Bement or Decatur, IL. Marr. 1885 to James Hollis in IL

After the death of her husband, Mahala returned to Sullivan Co., Indiana, where on 17 September 1874, she married Isaiah M. Ferree, son of Joel M. Ferree (b. 1817 IN) and Rachael (b. 1810 KY). Mahala and Isaiah had three daughters:

Anna Salina Ferree b. 29/4/1876 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 30/11/1931 Larned, KS

Gussie Linder Ferree b. 23/1/1880 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 26/1/1959 Larned, KS

Minnie Myrtle Ferree b. 29/12/1882 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 21/3/1944 Larned, KS

About 1885 Isaiah and Mahala moved to Piatt County, Bement, Illinois. Isaiah M. Ferree died 8 April 1904 in Bement, and was buried in the Bement Cemetery. Mahala, on 3 February 1909 in Larned, Kansas, remarried to John George Harr. John was born 9 July 1836 in Wurttemberg, Germany and died 24 July 1923 in Zook, Kansas. There were no children by this marriage.

Mahala S. Booker/Jones/Ferree/Harr lived her last years surrounded by her daughters and grandchildren. She told a story to her namesake – grandaughter Mahala Ann Grizzle Slingerland who related it to me:

“I recall a story my Grandma told about she and her brother. The County fair was coming to town and everyone was excited about getting to go. But the day of the fair came and Grandma (Mahala Saphronia) and her brother were told to go shuck the corn. They were very upset and finally came up with a plan so they could go to the fair afterall.

Their horse was easy to frighten, if any noise got close to his ear. The plan was set and an ear of corn was snapped by his ear, and away he ran. The two went back to the house and told their father [Phillip] about the terrible thing that had happened, and they couldn’t shuck corn now. But the father thought otherwise. He told them to go on foot and find the horse and bring it home. Well, so much for the plan. The fair came and went, and the horse was finally found and brought home, but no fair.”



Here is Mahala Ann Grizzle Slingerland’s description of her grandmother.

My Grandmother Mahala Saphronia Booker

I guess I knew Grandma better than most of the other children. I stayed with her one summer, when she had been feeling poorly. Some of the things she told me was about when she was growing up. She told me about wrapping her feet in gunny sacks to keep them warm when she helped her brothers shuck corn. Being one of the oldest, she had to help with the outside work. She smoked a clay pipe. When they quit making them, she used a corn cob pipe. We would go out in the early spring and gather wild greens. My father was ten years younger than Grandma, and they all lived in the same community. My Dad would torment her till she would chase him. She would fall over him and go rolling down the hill. By the time she got up, he was gone. This was one of his favorite sports. Back in those days, there was no radio or television. The children had to make their own games.


During World War I Grandma did knitting for the soldiers. She started up groups for war work. She received a certificate for all the knitting she had done, signed by President Woodrow Wilson. We were all very proud for her. She also received a sewing chair with a big blue ribbon tied on it from her knitting club.

One of her brothers, [most likely Marquis L. Booker]… traveled with a carnival. They made their own cones. The appliance he made the cones on was on the order of a waffle iron. Then they were filled with ice cream. I remember when she [Mahala] got word that Uncle Lafe had passed away. [This could not have been Marquis Lafeyett Booker since he did not die until 1943, and Mahala died in 1937.] He had been pulling weeds for the pigs, and had a heart attack. As I was her name-sake [Mahala], I was to get her gold watch after she was gone. I still have it and also her little rocker.


That was my Grandma.



Mahala Saphronia Booker/Jones/Ferree/Harr died 10 December 1937, and was buried in the Larned, Kansas Cemetery. From the newspaper “Tiller and Toiler”, December 16, 1937, Larned, Kansas.


Mrs. Mahala Harr Dies, resident here for 30 years, passes at age of 87 years. Mrs. Mahala Harr, 87, died Friday morning at 5 o’clock at her home here. She had been in failing health for some time.

Mrs. Harr was born in January 17, 1850 in Sullivan, Ind. She had been a resident of Larned for more than 30 years. She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. W. E. Seitz and Mrs. Joe Coykendall, 12 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1923.

The Ruel Howard Booker and Mary Delilah Grizzle (Griswold) Family

There has been some question as to Ruel’s middle name; some descendants say that his middle name was Henry; others insist that it was Howard. I believe the latter based on the following. First, Ruel’s father lived very near the Howard family in Haddon Township in Sullivan County, Indiana, and were probably very good friends. In fact, one of the Howard girls, Mary Ann, married David J. Booker, son of Jacob Booker and Henrietta Cowden (see Chapter V). Jones Howard, had a son, Ruel Howard, (age 23 on the 1850 Census of Sullivan) and his brother, Cornelius Howard, also had a son, Ruel M. Howard. The Howards are on page 423, 15 August 1850, and Philip Booker’s family is on page 424, same date. On the 1840 Census Ruel Howard is on page 51, and Philip Booker is on page 50. Notations from Calvin Sylvester Booker (died 1988) lists R. H. Booker’s and Mary birthdates and all their childrens’. At the top of the list is Ruel’s full name written – Ruel Howard Booker. Also, Ruel’s daughter, Elma, always gave her father’s name as Ruel Howard Booker. She even named one of her sons, Raymond Howard Moore, after her father.

Ruel H. Booker married Mary Delilah Griswold (maiden name on marriage certificate) on 16 October 1878 in Greene County, Indiana. At first I could not understand why Ruel and Mary were married in Sullivan County. But once a handwritten note in a box of marriage permission slips in the Sullivan County Courthouse was found by researcher, Mona Mitchell, it became apparant that Mary’s mother, Martha A. Booker, was not happy about her daughter’s intention to marry Ruel H. Booker.

The handwritten note reads:

Pleasantville, Ind [Sullivan County]


July 1st, 1877

Jesse Bicknell Dear sir, if anyone should call at your office for to git lisans [license] for Mary D. Grizzle, please dont let them have this with out an order from her guarden [Jacob N. Booker] and Mother.

Martha A. Booker

[an afterthought?] her age 16 years



Mary Delilah Grizzle, born 21 December 1860 in Carlisle, Indiana, was the daughter of William Griswold or Grizzle who was killed in the Civil War. Her mother was Martha Ann Taylor Grizzle. After the death of Mary’s father, her mother, Martha, remarried to Jacob N. Booker, a widower himself, having been married to Elizabeth Booker, Ruel H. Booker’s older half-sister. (For more on this family see this Chapter -Thomas B. Booker and Chapter III, William Jarrett Booker Family). On the 1850 Census in Jackson Township, Sullivan Co., Indiana, dated 24 September, page 532, I found Mary D. Griswold/Grizzle’s father, William, age 15, listed under his father, William Griswold, age 38, born in Tennessee, and his mother Mary, age 35, born in Virginia. By 1860 only the John Grizzle and William Grizzle [Jr.] families are found in Sullivan County, and with their name spelled with the double Z.

Ruel H. Booker’s family wanderings are very much the same as his brother’s and sister’s families. The birthplaces of their children tell the migration pattern well.

William Arlandor Booker b. 20/8/1879 Sullivan Co., IN, d. 1/5/1945 Pasadena, Los Angeles, CA

Claude Duvall Booker b. 2/9/1881 Mt. Zion Twp., Macon Co., IL, d. 16/11/1936 San Francisco, CA

Leroy (Roy) Booker b. 3/1/1884 McCune, KS, d. 26/9/1939 Bement, IL

Elma May Booker b. 12/4/1886 Cherryvale, KS, d. 17/6/1972 Cerro Gordo, IL

Clinton Andrew Booker b. 29/5/1888 Cherryvale, KS, d. 19/10/1953 Decatur, IL

Lulu Della Booker b. 6/6/1891 Cherryvale, KS, d. 25/5/1946 Decatur, IL

Calvin Sylvester Booker b. 2/2/1894 Cabool, MO, d. 21/4/1988 Glens Falls, NY

Candice Lillian Booker b. 27/5/1897 Bement, IL, d. 25/4/1955 Decatur, IL

Lona D.(?Delilah) Booker b. 16/9/1899 Bement, IL, d. 19/4/1903 Bement, IL. Died of Scarlet Fever. Buried Bement Cemetery

Dora Bernice Booker b. 1/11/1903 Bement, IL, d. 23/2/1952 Decatur, IL

In 1949 Elma May Booker Moore decided to write her life story, I have included most of it here.


In the little town of Cherryvale, Kansas in the month of April, on the 12th day and the year 1886, there was a little dark complected baby girl born to Mary and Ruel Booker. They named this little girl baby Elma May Booker.

I was the fourth child and the first girl in the family. I was named for a merchant’s daughter, Elma May Wining. I was quite a favorite of my father and being the only girl in the family, was somewhat spoiled. I had dark eyes, and dark hair and dark skin. I lived on a farm while quite small and used to go with Father to market on the weekdays and stop off at Grandmother’s [Martha A. Taylor Grizzle/Booker] and visit until Father did the buying. I also used to watch them thrash caster beans by hand and once ate quite a handfull of these beans and was very sick over it. Two years passed and I got a little new brother (Clinton A. Booker) and three years later a new sister (Lula Dell Booker). My brother Clinton and I used to play a lot with Grandfather [Jacob N. Booker -step-grandfather]. Grandpa would cover us up in dirt, all but our heads, to see us dig out. I wasn’t very long getting out and then would help brother out. Once while small I sat down in the chicken house to see how many chicken lice would crawl on me. My father always came to help me out!!

In the year 1891, my father decided to sell out and move to Missouri. One morning bright and early in September, we kissed Grandma good-bye and crawled into a covered wagon to make the trip. The wagon was pulled by two pretty dappled grey horses. We traveled for days and days. We children played along the roadside and we camped out at night and cooked outside. As we went through the large cities, the fruit and vegetables always smelled so good. We bought jelly which was in wooden buckets in those days.

In the month of November in 1891 we arrived at a brother of my father’s by the name of Dick Booker [Richard]. We were very happy to sleep in a bed once again. We stayed there until my father took over a claim of land. The neighbors all got together and sawed logs enough to put up a one room log house, very small; one window and one door. We lived in this one room, Mother, Father, and we six children, until spring. I used to feed the little birds from this one window. For food my brothers trapped and caught quail and rabbits. My father took logs to a small town of Cabool, Missouri to trade for flour and suger and other needs. We got our water from a spring a mile away. My father cleared off the timber and made fences and set out fruit trees. We made our own suger cane mollasses and took some of the grain on large sheets and beat the grain out. It was a hard winter with so many good Christian people helping. In the spring men and women and children came from miles around and cut logs and helped my father build a large log house with a larger fireplace at one end. I used to sit and watch my mother cook quail and rabbit in a large iron kettle over the fire. Travellers used to come through the woods, and I was afraid of them. Mother and the older boys went each evening to get the cows that had brands on them and ran loose in the woods. I being the oldest girl, but still quite young, was so afraid of travelers, that we would get in the rainbarrels until Mother got home.

In 1892 my father took down with lung fever, as it was called in those days. He was very low and the good people came and baptized him and my mother. Father was soon well again but never very strong. That summer the locusts took all the fruit. I used to go with my brother and see how many locust shells we could gather at one time. I had four bushel baskets full. We gathered wild blackberries and huckelberries for our Sunday pies. Our schoolhouse and church were the same little house four miles away. I was too small to make the trip with my brothers. They had long benches and no desks like they have today. Everybody went to church on Sunday and paid close attention to the Preacher. I used to go to bed with a house full of company reading the Bible to see if the Minister had made a mistake. I was seven years old but couldn’t go to school. I wanted to read so bad I used to take our weather book and try to read it. My mother taught me the ABC’s and how to count. All the money I had ever seen at this age was a dime my father gave me. Our money was Log Checks. That winter I was very proud of my new home spun dress; it was a Sunday dress. There was lots of fun in the wild woods of the Ozarks. As we went to bed we could hear the coyotes and once in a while see a bear trot by and lots of sheep run through the woods. My three brothers and I used to get outside a fence with a little salt in our hands and call the sheep, and then run like fire to get to the other side before the sheep caught us. I did or tried everything my brothers did. My favorite brother was Roy (Leroy). He and I used to quarrel a lot, but loved each other dearly. When we quarreled, Mother always made us kiss each other. If it was dark, there was an old stump on each side of the house; we were made to sit on these stumps until we could be very good. Well, it didn’t take too long for that promise to be made. With so many coyotes in the woods, food was sometimes hard to get, with Father being sick, I know what it is to be hungry. Many an evening Father was late getting home from Cabool with flour and other needs, and we got pretty hungry before he arrived. Each child was taught to work; I was washing dishes when I had to stand on a box to reach the table.

In January 1894, I had another little brother (Calvin Sylvester Booker), and Mother was very poorly. I had to help a lot and help take care of the small children. On the Fourth of July we all went to Cabool to see the fireworks. Our way of going was in a big wagon drawn with horses. Many people around us had oxen, but we had horses. This one celebration was big one; the fireworks all caught on fire and several people were hurt.


In the fall of 1894, Father was still not well and he decided to sell out and go to Illinois. So in October we crawled in a covered wagon, drawn by mules, Dick and Beck, and started to Illinois. Missouri land was all clay. Father told us Illinois was all black ground so we looked forward to seeing this black dirt. The first black dirt we saw, we children rolled up mudballs. Lots of fun traveling and gathering persimmons, and meeting people in the camp. We had quite a few children, so a tent was put up each night for part of the children to sleep in. I always slept in the wagon with Father and Mother. I always wanted to be with my father. When we got to the Mississippi River, Father told us we could walk across the bridge, but when he found it cost $.25 for each child, we had to get back into the wagon.

In November we reached Bement, Illinois at Grandma Booker’s [Louisa Jane Plew Booker], my father’s mother. There was a little snow now falling and it felt good to get into a good warm bed and stretch out and feel safe. We stayed a few days at Grandma’s and visited with aunts and uncles. In a few weeks we moved into a four room house south of Judge Cloyd. There was a lot of happiness there. My father started draying in Bement. We were great friends of the Cloyds, so with their help in giving us milk and clothing, we got through the winter.

At the age of nine I got to start to school and was scared to death. Charlie McIntosh was my first principal. I had to be taken to him to see which grade I belonged. I was so scared. I couldn’t even spell my own name, forgot my ABC’s and cried like a baby. He said, “Little girl, I will not hurt you.” I was put in the first grade. Mary Thomas was my first teacher, and it didn’t take long for me to come out of that backwoods stuff. I didn’t have many clothes. Most of them were given to me. I tied my stockings up with carpet string. I had fun in jumping the rope but the string often broke. I would laugh and ask the girls to wait until I tied my carpet string. I was full of pep and had fun as I went along. School was hard for me. Examinations were very hard. When in the third grade our school house burned down, we were placed in different buildings in Bement, to go to school. I and my brother Clinton, two years younger than I, went into an old saloon building to study. We had to study out of the same book. My girl friend used to ask me what I had for breakfast; well, to hear me tell it, I had as much as she had.

When our new school house was finished, I went to the 4th grade. My teacher was Minnie Goodrich. We had programs each Friday afternoon of singing and speeches. We never went to school on election day. On Christmas we set our shoes along the wall for Santa to fill. Each child got a small amount of candy, nuts and one orange or an apple. We children would get up at 4 A.M. to see what we got; and [we] were so happy with it all.

In 1896 my father bought a large house just south of the viaduct, where the doctor brought mother two more baby girls (Candace 1897 and Lona 1899) so I had to help a lot but still liked to play and have fun. We all went to church and Sunday School each Sunday. Father played the organ at home and we children practiced our singing at home before church time. Mother and Father always took home one or two families for dinner on Sunday.


In the year 1903 Scarlet Fever broke out in Bement, and we lost our youngest sister (Lona). Four of the children were sick with it and Mother was expecting another baby. This was a terrible thing, losing our little sister. The family was never the same. My father couldn’t go to church as he had always been so proud of his family. Mother was not well, and Father finally sold that place and bought another house in the East part of town from a Mr. Browning. A new home and the new baby girl (Dora) born there, made [us] all so happy. As she grew Mother let her wear the other little girl’s clothes.

I was a woman of 17 by now and hadn’t got to go out much, but finally through a cousin of mine Minnie Free [Feree – Mahala’s daughter], I had my first boy friend, a barber from Lovington, IL. – Walter Ray. He asked me to marry him, but I was only 17 and told him as soon as I was 18, I would let him give me a ring. One year passed and my girl friend Gerty Duncan wanted me to go to town to work. I accepted a job in the Bement Register setting type. I was shy and and backward so they had a lot of fun out of me showing me “type lice” and asking me to get the “bray” and to look through the “Hell box” and so on. I learned that there were more men in the world than just one, so I gave the ring back to my sweetheart and told him I had changed my mind. I worked in this one place six and one half years, had lots of fun, learned to skate and dance. I met lots of young men, none I really loved…Those days everyone sang and played music of some kind. I loved music but my parents couldn’t give me lessons.

In those days we wore long dresses, black hose, and long hair. No smoking by the women at all, no red was worn those days. We never looked at railroad men. We were never allowed to loaf in the stores and we went by horse and buggy…Clinton always liked to tell too much, so we had fun out of him. We would chew coffee and tell him it was tobacco to get him to chew it [tobacco] and get him sick.

My days in the Printing office were happy ones. Anna Carden, Mammie McMern and Gerty Duncan worked with me and a man by the name of Wesley Smith. We had fun when the boss was gone…We set type and fed the large press; we set type by hand in those days…Wages were never very much, but other things were cheap according to wages. I got $3.00 a week to dress myself and tried to help my sister with her clothing.

One bright Sunday in June 1908, we started to Decatur, IL on the Interurban which was new in those days. We were on our way to meet friends in Decatur. It was on this trip that I met Chester. I am sure it was understood right at the first that we were to get married. We were so happy together and never before had my parents liked any boy that came to the house, but Chester won the whole family. On Christmas in 1908 he gave me the ring, and the date was set for April 7, 1909. We worked away, I at the printing office in Bement and he in the shoe store in Cerro Gordo, IL. Time went on until that happy day came.


This was a great day for both of us. The wedding was to be at my parent’s home. We were to be married by the Methodist Pastor, Rev. Want, but his wife was very bad from giving birth to a baby girl, so we got a Presbyterian minister, Rev. St. Clare Adams to marry us. At 8:30 April 7, 1909 we were happily married. We didn’t go on a honeymoon; we wanted to save money, so we spent the first night at my mother’s. With 5 brothers you might know they showed us a good time….



There is more to Elma’s story. If anyone would like a complete copy of it, they should contact Rev. Dward Alton Moore of St. Joseph, Missouri, eldest son of Elma and Chester Moore.

In the Bement Register dated 5 May 1904, there is a picture of R. H. Booker seated on his wagon and holding the reins to his two mules. The caption reads, “The street sprinkler, with R. H. Booker and the mules in charge, made its debut on the streets Monday evening and was a welcome visitor for the merchants who have been “fighting dust” for some time.”

According to Eugene Peer of Decatur, Illinois, Ruel and Mary Booker lived out their lives with their youngest daughter, Dora Bernice Booker, who married David Nathan Peer on June 15, 1921 at the home of the bride. The wedding had been postponed a week as Dave didn’t have the money to get his new suit out of lay-a-way. Before permission to marry his daughter had been given, Dave had been told by Ruel Booker, “You can have our Daughter, but you can never take her away from us–where she goes, we go also.” This was true, because after they were married, wherever Dave and Dora moved, Ruel and Mary moved with them.

During the depression, Ruel Booker had a job as Night Watchman, guarding new sewers being put in on the South side of the 1500 block of Cantrell St. It was bitter cold one night, and Ruel, to escape the harsh weather, crawled inside a sewer tile that was on top of the ground and close to the fire. He fell asleep, and his feet were severely burned and blistered. Eventually, he recovered, but the depression years were remembered by Ruel H. Booker’s family (as well as the rest of the world) as a terrible period for everyone.

On 16 October 1928 the Decatur Daily printed the portrait of Ruel and Mary Booker, describing the celebration of their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

The Half Century Mark

Tuesday marks the half-way mark in a century of married life for Mr. and Mrs. R. H. (“Dad”) Booker of Decatur. Mr. and Mrs. Booker were formerly of Bement, having lived in Decatur for the last three years. The golden anniversary, although Tuesday, was celebrated Sunday in order that several of their children could be present.

The party was held in a cabin at Faries park, all taking well-filled baskets and having a picnic dinner in the cabin before a blazing fireplace. Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Booker, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Moore and family of Cerro Gordo, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Peer and family, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Weakley and Clinton Booker of Decatur. Dward Moore, grandson entertained the gathering with several selections on the marimbaphone.

Mr. and Mrs. Booker were married in Bloomfield, Ind., Oct. 16, 1878. They set sail upon their matrimonial sea in an “efficiency two-room” log cabin in Pleasantville, Ind., where “Dad” worked as a stationary engineer at a flour mill. They moved to Bement in 1895, where Mr. Booker was employed for twenty-three years by the Bement Grain company. Since moving to Decatur he has been employed by The Decatur Review Publishing company as a molder in the composing room.

The Bookers were the parents of ten children – nine of them still living, three in California and the others in Illinois. The couple are in the best of health and enjoyed the anniversary celebration immensely.

Ruel Howard Booker died 21 January 1937 in Decatur, Illinois, and was buried in the Bement Cemetery.

From the Decatur Daily Review, 22 January 1937:

Ruel H. Booker Dies. Services to be Sunday

Funeral services for Ruel H. Booker, 82, who died in his home in the 3900 block East Cerro Gordo Street Thursday noon, will be held in the Dawson & Wilkoff Chapel at 1:30 p. m. Sunday. Burial will be in the Bement Cemetery.

He was born in Sullivan county, Ind. July 17, 1854, and married Mary D. Grizzle there in 1884 [sic]. He moved to Missouri and later to Bement, where he lived until coming to Decatur 10 years ago. He was a former drayman.

He leaves the following children, Arley Booker, California; Roy Booker, Clinton A. Booker, Mrs. W. B. Sims, Mrs. E. M. Weakley and Mrs. Dave Peer, all of Decatur. Mrs. C. E. Moore of Cerro Gordo and Calvin S. Booker of Glendale, Calif. There are three brothers, James, Sam, and M. L. Booker all of Decatur, and two sisters Mrs. Winnie Halstead, Montana, and Mrs. Mahaley Harr in Kansas. There are 23 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He was a member of the Cerro Gordo Methodist Church.




From the Decatur Herald dated 30 January, 1943, page 3:


Mrs. Mary D. Booker, 82, died in her home at 3900 East Cerro Gordo Street at 4:50 A.M. Friday. Funeral arrangements are incomplete, but burial will be in the Bement cemetery. Friends may call at Dawson & Wikoff funeral home after 9 a. m. today.

Mrs. Booker was born in Sullivan, Ind., Dec. 21, 1860. She came to Decatur 17 years ago from Bement. Her husband, Ruel H. Booker, whom she married at Bloomfield, Ind., Oct. 16, 1878, died December 21, 1937 [sic]. Mrs. Booker was a member of the East Park Baptist Church.

She leaves three sons, Arley Booker of El Monte, Calif; Clinton A. Booker of Decatur, Calvin S. booker in Utah; four daughters, Mrs. C. E. Moore, Cerro Gordo; Mrs. W. D. Sims, Mrs. E. M. Weakley, and Mrs. Dave Peer of Decatur; a sister Mrs. Dal Headley, Cherry Vale, Kan.; 24 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.


The James F. Booker and Ida ? Family

I know very little about James F. Booker. He was with his parents on the 1880 Census in Harrison Co., Missouri. Next, I found him on the 1898 Oklahoma Territorial Census in the Village of Lexington, dated 7 July. He was listed just below his nephew, Phillip W. Booker, son of John R. Booker.

101 Booker, J. F. Male age 38, b. in Indiana; came from Texas to Oklahoma.

Booker, Ida Female age 23, b. in KY; came from Texas to OK

As mentioned earlier in this chapter, brothers, John R. and Marquis L. Booker, are also included in this same Census in Lexington, Oklahoma. John R. and his son, Phillip W., listed that they had come from Texas. We know now they had journeyed to Oklahoma around 1895 from Bell County, Texas. More than likely, James F. Booker had left Illinois in the 1880’s to join his brothers, John R. and Josiah Booker, in Bell County, Texas, married Ida there and then moved to Lexington with his kin.

I could not find James F. Booker on the 1900 Census, but I did find him on the 1910 Census in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. At first I thought his daughter’s birthplace would give me a clue to where this family was located in 1900, but I checked the 1900 Census in Alabama (her birthplace), and found no James F. Booker family. Here is the 1910 Census in Oklahoma City:

Enumeration District 220, FG 246, p. 5546, sheet 21 A; 1910 Census Campbell Bld., North Broadway St.

Booker, James F. Head, age 47, Marr. 16 yrs., b. IN, Father b. IN, Mother b. IN, barber and manager of Campbell building not out of Work, reads and writes, ownes house, free of morgage.

Booker, Ida age 35, Marr. 16 years, 0 children [mistake?], b. KY, Father b. KY, Mother b. KY, reads and writes

Booker, Myrtle age 11 years, b. Alabama, Father b. in IN, Mother b., KY, Student, reads and writes.

Catherine Booker Greene’s notes contain a reference to an Ida Booker living in Oklahomas City in the early 1920’s, and Marquis L. Booker’s letter in 1937 states “the last I heard, he [Jim] was in Oklahoma City.”

Perhaps, someday, some descendant of James F. Booker will come forward and disclose what happened to James and Ida Booker, and their daughter, Myrtle.

The William Nelson Booker and Mary Jane Elizabeth Cox Family

Much of the information on William N. Booker was given to me by Elizabeth Varner of Monticello, Illinois, great-grandaughter of William. William Nelson Booker married Mary J. Elizabeth Cox on 30 July 1879 in Sullivan County, Indiana. Based on an old postcard dated 26 December 1908 that was sent from Dicey Spencer of Pleasantville, Indiana to Margaret Ella Booker of Bement, Illinois, Mary J. Cox Booker (born on 17 November 1863) may have been the daughter of James W. Cox and Dice Runniner of Sullivan County, Indiana. No proof at this time, but James and Dice can be found on the 1860 Census dated 29 June 1860 in Sullivan County, Jefferson Township. I found several of James and Dice’s children spread among friends and relatives on the 1870 Census in Jefferson Township, but no Mary.

Soon after their marriage William Nelson Booker and his new bride, moved with William’s father, Phillip, to Harrison County, Missouri. William and Mary’s first child, Walter Sylvester was born there. When the rest of Phillip Booker’s family left Missouri, William and Mary returned to Illinois settling first in Long Creek near the home of James Booker, William’s uncle. After the birth of their daughter, Margaret, in Long Creek in 1882, William and Mary moved their growing family to Bement, Illinois. The remainder of the William Nelson Booker’s family were all born in Bement. Like his brother, Ruel H. Booker, William was a teamster.

Here are the children of William Nelson Booker and Mary Jane Elizabeth Cox:

Walter Sylvester Booker b. 7/8/1880 Harrison Co., MO, d. 23/11/1920 Inka, IL

Margaret Ella Booker b. 26/2/1882 Long Creek, IL, d. 16/10/1970 Bement, IL

Mattie Myrtle Booker b. 28/2/1884 Bement, IL, d. 13/9/1959 Decatur, IL

Annie Viola Booker b. 14/6/1886 Bement, IL, d. June 1942 Decatur, IL

Lily May Booker b. 1/6/1893 Bement, IL, d. 7/4/1911 Bement, IL, Committed suicide

William Allen Booker b. 18/10/1897 Bement, IL, d. 13/2/1934 Monticello, IL

Daisy Ora Booker b. 5/3/1900 Bement, IL, d. 14/11/1921 Indianapolis, IN

From the Piatt County Republican dated 16 January 1902:

Mrs. Wm. Booker died of consumption Tuesday. Buried at Bement Cemetery. Husband and seven children survive her. [bur. in Lot 41 S. E. Section]



From the Piatt County Republican dated 13 April 1911:

Lillie May Booker, daughter of Wm. Booker committed suicide Friday. Father Wm., Sisters Mrs. Anthony Redman, Mrs. Oliver Kearns, Daisy Booker, Mrs. Anna Nottingham, Brothers Wm. Jr., Bement, Walter [in] Colorado. Bement Cemetery.

William Nelson Booker was buried in the Bement Cemetery, Lot 41, S. E. Section, on 11 April 1923.

The Bucher/Booker Family, 1686-1990 © 1990 Charles Lee Booker Jr.


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