Texas Bluebonnets in a Hill County Cemetery

Saturday, November 20, 2010



Let me back up and tell you a bit about the beginning of my grandmother's entry into this world.  Mary Alice Kirkpatrick, daughter of John A. Kirkpatrick and Clara Daisy Utley came into a 'frontier world' like all the women before her. It was 20 years since the Civil War but the aftermath loomed large in the minds of many people. Alice's mother Clara and grandmother Dorcas [Harper] Utley lived comfortably in a town in Indiana before picking up and moving to south central Kansas.  Their first home was a sod dugout.  It also served as the pony express station and first post office.  Dorcas and her husband Simon were the postmasters. Suitable housing was something each family built with what they had. Timber had to be hauled in. Kaw, Pawnee, Ponca, and Pottawatomie Tribes with agency posts now had to live side by side with Anglo dugouts and lean-to structures.
Morris Co. KS 1885

Mary Alice Kirkpatrick
Alice was born November of 1887 in Kingman KS. Within months the family moved to Council Grove and thus began an unbroken pattern of movement, never staying in one place for very long. Her parents worked at the Harvey House, a public lodging facility with dining room where John and Clara took turns working shifts.
Anna was born in 1889 and in 1892 their father met with a violent death.  He was 44 years old.
In the article "Her First View Of Death", four year old Alice is quoted as have said: "Papa, dear, speak to me and say you will come to 'the beautiful gate' and meet your little Alice some day". (News papers from the Victorian era were noted for taking liberties with their reporting.)

Clara Daisy Utley Kirkpatrick, a widow at 26 with two small children, employed the most common strategy of her times; Clara married Clifton Kirkpatrick, brother to her deceased husband.  They had two daughters, Bessie born in 1896 and Ethel born in 1898.

The family of six moved briefly to El Reno, O.T. and upon contracting for a hotel they removed to Anadarko, O.T.
Alice and Anna enjoyed moving to a 'real' town where there was entertainment and opportunities for education and work. They spent many weekends with potential suitors who took them out for "Kodaking" the countryside. Alice began teaching school at the age of seventeen.School teachers signed contracts for however many months the parents could pay for their children to attend.  She began in 1904 and taught at Deep Dell, El Reno, Binger and, Black Jack school outside Ft. Cobb O.T.