Family Histories



Simmons is a very popular surname with the origin stemming from more than a single source. It is but one of the many spellings including, Simons, Simonds, Simmens, Symonds, and Simmans. Because of these many spellings, there are several ancient root origins.

One of the more unique sources of the name is from the old Norse personal name. "Sigmunds", or, the old Danish "Sigmund". Both meaning "Victory Protection" (from the high German). This was an ancient Teutonic battle name popularized by the 15th century holy Roman emperor, Sigismond. Many of the Norfolk and Lancashire names are of this Scandinavian Origin.

After the conquest of England in 1066, Simund was a popular Anglo-French form of the personal name Simon which can be traced to the Hebrew name meaning "The Hearing". In the old testament, Simion was the name of the tribe of Israel, named after the second son of Jacob. Popularity of Simon in the Middle ages was due to the affection for Simon Bar-Johah, surnamed Peter rather than to Simion, the second son of Jacob by Leah. The name gave rise to the family names, especially in England where Simmons and Simpson became the most popular forms.

One of the first records of the Simmons name is found in Domesday Book Census of 1086. A man named Simmons of Worstershire appears.

The name Simmons is also a very universal name. In Italy it is Simone, in Portugal it is Sismundo, in Germany Simons is Sigmunds, in Russia it is Szymon, in French it is Simeon or Sigsmond. The terminal "S" in the name is a product of the development of the personal name into a hereditary surname. It would indicate either "Son of Simon" or "Servant of Simon". The meaning most found for Simmons or Simmonds, was from English origin and meant the son of Simon or Simion. Other meanings were Hearkening, Snub Nosed, and Gracious Hearing, the most commonly found. The name Simons is ranked 90th out of the most common surnames in the United States. One-hundred-eighty-thousand-two-hundred (180,200) have this name.


Roy Simmons (4 Mar 1900 - 14 Aug 1975) was born in Augusta, Arkansas to John Wesley Simmons (1875-1936) and Alpha Eta Bell Davis (1877-1967). He was one of eight children. Two died in infancy and one died as a young child. when she fell into a tub of scalding water which was being used to scrub the kitchen floor. The brothers and sisters were Annie Lee (21 Jul 1888 - 21 Sep 1968), Irene (14 Sep 1902 -1985), Corrine ( 14 Sep 1903 - 29 Nov 1904), Allene (27 Jan 1906 -1985), Allan (27 Jan 1906 - 1906), Estelle ( 1907 - 20 Sep 1912), and John Wesley, Jr. (1 Mar 1908 - 1985). Roy's grandmother, on his father's side, could make medicine out of shrubs, etc. that she gathered in the woods and acted as a medicine woman for her neighbors. Roy's grandfather on his father's side was Nathaniel Elijah Simmons. He was born near Augusta and lived there all of his life. Nathaniel Simmons and his wife, Emma, died when John Wesley Simmons was only 12 years old. Major Dent, who had been a major in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, took care of John Wesley for only a few years then John Wesley went out on his own. John Wesley Simmons died in 1936 of pneumonia. He had two sisters, Annie born about 1870 and died abt. 1937, who spent most of her married life in Oklahoma and died a few years after her brother, and Carrie who was born about 1872. There is no information available on Carrie.

Eta Belle Davis was born in Georgia, the daughter of Robert Milford Davis (1842-1913), who was mostly Irish, and Frances Elizabeth Cash (1844-1921) who was mostly Welsh.

Helen Irma Shellhaas (10 Jul 1900 - 17 Jul 1997) was born in Abilene, Kansas, the daughter of William Shellhaas (19 Apr 1877 - 4 Jun 1955) and Grace Belle Forney (29 Jun 1878 - Apr 1925). William Shellhaas' father was John Shellhaas (1844 - 13 Jul 1936). John Shellhaas died in Abilene, Kansas. He was a carpenter by trade. On 15 August 1866, John married Anna Martha Klahold (12 Jul 1840 - 18 Mar 1898). Anna Martha was born in Keismer Kyrfessten, Thum, Hessen, Germany and died in Abilene, Kansas. John and Anna Martha had eleven children. They were William (19 Apr 1877 - 4 Jun 1955), Conrad, John, Elizabeth, George, Lillian Jane Shellhaas Romine (26 Apr 1882 - 21 Aug 1979), Milton P. (Mar 1874 - 16 Sep 1935), Teresa Grace Shellhaas Polley (2 Feb 1871 - 14 Jan 1968), Champion (29 May 1878 - 25 Apr 1959), Anna Martha Shellhaas Folk (29 Dec 1872 - 12 Jan 1955), and Henry Shellhaas (1875-12 Apr 1945).

Lillian Jane Shellhaas was born in Pennsylvania and died in Abilene, Kansas. On 20 Jan 1913 she married Claude Romine (25 Mar 1889 - 2 Nov 1971) in Minneapolis, Kansas. They had two children, Delos Vincent (D.V.) Romine (15 May 1915 - 19 Jan 1983) who married Sue Borum, and Gwendolyn Francis Romine (25 Apr 1917 ----) who married Dr. Frank W. Jordan (25 Sep 1913 ----) on 3 Jan 1940 in Manhattan, Kansas. Dr. Jordan was born in Beloit, Kansas.

Milton P. Shellhaas (Mar 1874 - 16 Sep 1935) was born in Pennsylvania and died in Abilene, Kansas. On 24 Aug 1899 at Abilene, Kansas he married Etheleyn "Peggy" Reed (31 Dec 1877 - 19 Jun 1954). Peggy was born on a farm 4 miles north of Abilene, Kansas. They had 5 children, Donald, Juanita, Russell, Roy, and Dale.

Champion Shellhaas (18 May 1878 - 25 Apr 1959) was born in Wellsville, Pennsylvania and died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Anna Martha Shellhaas (29 Dec 1872 - 12 Jan 1955) was born in Middlesex, Pennsylvania and died in Abilene, Kansas. On 31 Oct 1897, in Abilene, Kansas she married Elmer Jefferson Folk (----12 Aug 1939). They had 4 children, Irene M., Herbert, Dorothy Folk Arganbright and Donald.

Harry Shellhaas (1875 - 12 Apr 1945) died in Denver, Colorado. In 1900 he married Elsie (last name unknown) Elsie was born 6 May 1878 in Holstein, Germany and died 11 Oct 1971 in Nederland, Colorado. They had one daughter Marguerite Shellhaas.

No other information is available at this time on the children of John Shellhaas and Anna Martha Klahold.

Grace Belle Forney (29 Jun 1878 - Apr 1925 was one of eleven children of Michael Forney (24 Sep 1843 - 13 Apr 1886) and Sallie Hoffa (8 May 1845 - 21 Oct 1912). There is a separate story on the history on the Forney family.

Grace Belle was a beautiful seamstress and could copy any fashion she saw in stores. She made coats, hats and everything. Since they could not afford store bought clothes, she was very lucky to always make pretty ones.

Roy Nathaniel Simmons was born March 4, 1900 on a farm near Augusta, Arkansas. His first school was a little county School near where he lived. He was about six at the time. Then they moved to the city and he got his education in the city schools. His father alternated between farming and having a meat market and grocery store. So, most of Roy's life during the school years were spent on the farm. During the winter, they rode to school in a buggy pulled by one horse; but, when Spring came, the horse was put to working the fields and the children walked to school on sandy roads. Roy's father made the children take their books home every day and study. As soon as the children got home from school, they had farm chores to do like feeding the horse, cows, hogs and chickens, and bringing in firewood for the fireplace as that was their only source of heat. They didn't have any electricity, so their light was derived from a kerosene lamp and the cooking stove burned wood. After they ate supper, they had to study their lessons until bedtime. In the morning, they would have to get up at the crack of dawn and feed the animals again and eat breakfast before they had to walk the three miles to school. After high school, Roy worked part of the time on the farm and part of the time as a rural mail carrier until he earned enough money to go to Gen City Business College where he learned to keep books and got some banking knowledge. During World War I, he was in the student army training troops. He went in to service in October and the war ended in November; but, they weren't discharged until December 12, 1918. His first job was as a bookkeeper and then he enrolled n the Walton School of Commerce of Chicago. In those days they worked 6 days a week from 8 to 5:30. In the meantime he switched to being a traveling auditor and met Helen Shellhaas. He requested a transfer from the traveling job back to an office job so he could see Helen more often. In November 1925 he passed the Nebraska CPA examination and was transferred back to Abilene, Kansas as Assistant General Auditor for United Utilities (now United Telecommunications, Inc). Then they had two children, Helen Lucille and John William.

Roy Simmons was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and specialized in auditing the accounts of various public utility firms. A large percentage of his practice was in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and other distant states. The remainder was with Kansas firms.

In 1947 Roy Simmons bought an all fabric 90 hp. Taylorcraft and learned to fly on doctor's advice. The physician recommended that Roy take up flying for relaxation. Shortly after purchase he found that it also had a distinct use in his business. His wife, Helen and his son John also learned to fly the Taylorcraft. He paid $700 for the plane and sold it for $700 and bought a Cessna 170.

Roy once said, "I can fly to Powell, Wyoming in 6 hours, while the trip takes two days by automobile". He flew to Warsaw, Indiana, in 6 hours (two days by car). A trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania takes 10 hours by the 170 and three days by car. He flew to Kansas City in one hour, 15 minutes (a five-hour road trip in the 1950's) or to Wichita in 45 minutes, over 2 hours away by car. In the devastating floods of 1949, Roy used his plane to fly over nearby Smoky Hill River (the bridges were out), to fly personnel to packing houses across the river, and to bring back urgently needed meat to the Abilene, Hospital. Another time the plane was used to pick up his grandson at McCook, Nebraska, and to fly the child to Children's Hospital in Omaha (fortunately, the child did not have polio).

Helen Simmons also used the Cessna. She was Dickinson County Chairman of the Kansas Tuberculosis Association and a member of the State TB Association. She would use the Cessna to attend the meetings. Later in life when Roy could no longer pass his physical, Helen would be the pilot and Roy would be the co-pilot. Helen was a charter member of the Kansas Chapter of the 99's, a women's, pilots association founded by Amelia Earhart.

Roy and Helen Simmons were members of the Flying Farmers Association and flew to many state and national conventions. They also used the plane for pleasure trips and vacations. Helen once said, "We couldn't possibly have as many pleasurable weekends as we do without the Cessna". The family has flown from coast to coast and border to border of the US.

Roy later upgraded to a Cessna 172 and finally to a Cessna 180 that he owned until he died. Helen then sold the Cessna and the hanger at the Abilene Airport.

Roy Simmons loved catfish. He had a motorboat and would set lines on the Smoky Hill River and run them in early mornings and evenings. He used crawfish for bait that he caught with a net in Crane Creek. He always had a freezer full of Smoky Hill Catfish. He skinned them and Helen deep-fried them. Roy also played golf. He had a hole-in-one at the 2nd hold of the Abilene Country Club. He would also shoot skeet at the Country Club. He saved the shell casings and reloaded them himself.

Roy had a workshop in the basement of the home on 9th street. He would go out to the Smoky Hill River, pull out walnut logs, and have them sawed into boards. He had a two-car garage, but one side was full from floor to ceiling with walnut lumber. He built many beautiful pieces of solid walnut furniture. He had a complete set of power tools including a lathe, jointer, table saw. bandsaw, drill press and a huge home made belt sander with 6-inch wide belts. The sander ran the full length of the workbench that was at least 10 feet long. His son, John, learned to use power tools at an early age. He started with a jigsaw a small drill press and a small lathe. Roy lost part to two fingers (on two separate occasions) while running walnut lumber through the jointer.

Roy was a deacon in the Abilene Presbyterian Church and often could be found reading his bible.

Helen Shellhaas Simmons was born July 10, 1900 in Abilene, Kansas and lived there until 1991. At age 91 she moved to Florida where her son, John, could take care of her. She and her sister Mabel and her mom and dad lived in a house with no electricity and no indoor plumbing. Water was always from a well pumped or pulled up by buckets. When plumbing and electricity came about, that was really something for them. Then the telephone came. Even when City water came about, it was outside the house; but, they could turn on a faucet instead of pumping it. Later a sink was installed in their kitchen. baths were taken on Saturday night in a big wash tub in the middle of the floor in the kitchen and close to the stove for warmth. Flat irons were heated and wrapped so they wouldn't burn themselves and placed at the foot of the bed for warmth in the winter. Before running water and electricity, Helen had to carry in wood and coal for the stoves. She also had to feed the chickens; but, she never learned to milk a cow. She had a notebook of medicines used back when she was a child. She loved the cough medicine which had unsalted butter, whisky, and honey, plus a couple of other ingredients. She tried to get it filled once; but, because of the FDA and government regulations, the druggist didn't think it was worth the trouble. Another mixture was a very potent mixture for pink eye. She said it burned terrifically; but, cured the pinkeye overnight. The location of the notebook is not known, it may be in the Dickinson County Historical Society.

Helen was six when she started school. She came home the second day and decided it was no use going to school because she couldn't make the letter "A". She was encouraged to keep on trying and she eventually accomplished it. She spent one year in the first grade and one in the second. She and a couple of others got through a normally 2 year 3rd grade, divided into "A" and "B" in one year. The same thing happened in the 6th grade. After Christmas they were transferred to the 7th grade. Milton Eisenhower, former President Eisenhower's brother,was one of those transferred. This put them in the same class as Milton's brother Earl. They ended up finishing high school in the same class. While in high school, Helen played in the orchestra, also, when in the college orchestra she played violin and had a 3/4 violin. It cost $125.00 which was most expensive then.

After high school, she went to Central Kansas Business College where she took shorthand, typing, and elementary bookkeeping. She decided to put her knowledge to use and became secretary to three men at the telephone company. She went to Kansas State Agricultural College after working a couple of years. The company wanted her back, so after a year at school, she went back. Then she met Roy Simmons. He also played an instrument. While Milton Eisenhower was home from college and working for the same company as Helen, they formed a small orchestra. Milton played the piano. She worked for the company one more year and then, because of her music and stenographic experience, she got a job in Topeka, Kansas with the Security Benefit Association. Then in 1923 when she and Roy married, that was the end of the job; because, married girls were not hired in those days. Later she worked for the Schouler Bishop Grain Co. until her mother died and she became pregnant with Helen Lucille. Then they moved back to Abilene and John William was born. While in Abilene, she joined a musical organization, which was disbanded for years, a literary Club called Colombian, (held offices in it), in City Federation of Women's Club of which she was treasurer and president, District Chairman of Scholarship Loan Fund for District Federation of Women's Clubs, was Nursing Chairman for the Local Red Cross, County Chairman for the Kansas Tuberculosis Association; and, then on the State Board of the Tuberculosis and Health Association from 1936-1970, Then she got interest in Shaklee Products and became Supervisor of her own business until the late 1980s.

When Helen was young, the daring thing for them to do was to jump off the buggy shed. Sometimes they would sit in the doorway of the shed and look out over the country and swear they could see China. In the Evenings when her dad was working and her mother sewing, they sat and played with paper dolls. The fun was cutting them out and making families of them. Holly Hocks and Violets were flowers in the spring that they used to make doll dresses, hats, etc.. Jacks, hopscotch, and run sheep were favorite games they played.

Helen Irma Shellhaas lived most of her life in Abilene. In 1991, she was moved to Florida and had an apartment is an assisted living center called "The Fountains". In 1993 she was asked to leave because the Fountains was not a secure facility and she would wonder off. She was then moved to the Alzheimers wing of a nursing home called The Meridian (Now the Indian River Center). She remained there until she died in 1997. She was one week past her 97th birthday.


The Elder John Forney
Eve Horner
Elassanne Stahl

John Forney, born 25 April 1815. on a farm near Berlin, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, was of sturdy German Stock. His father, John Forney (Nov 1777- 20 Sep 1846), was born in Berlin Pennsylvania. His mother, Susan Beegley died 27 July 1862. John and Susan Forney were members of the Church of the Brethren.

John Forney was the sixth of a family of eight sons and three daughters. His only education was in the German, with three months English. The Bible was his only reader. In 1846, however, he became interested in the study of medicine, and although he never attended medical college, he was enabled by close application to practice medicine. He had great success in treating cancer.

In 1883 John Forney united with the Church of the Brethren. He soon set for himself the task of memorizing the entire Bible and made marked progress in that direction. He was called a walking Bible concordance. In 1856 he was elected to the ministry. In 1870, in the Silver Creek congregation, Nebraska, he was ordained. He was greatly beloved as an elder and once had seven congregations under his care. He served on the Standing Committee of Annual Conference in the years 1882, 1884 and 1890.

In 1858, John Forney moved to Illinois, first to Ogle and then to Carroll County. In 1869, he moved to Falls City, Nebraska. His last move, in 1878, was to Abilene, Kansas, where he lived until his death. Farming, practicing medicine, and preaching occupied his time. He prospered in all three occupations. He frequently traveled about among the churches of Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. By private conveyance he covered thousands of miles in his itinerant preaching. His ability and earnestness won many to Christ. Often his co-laborer was J. D. Trostle.

John Forney was an ardent friend of education and showed special interest in church history. His own lack of educational preparation was a matter of keen regret.

John Forney was twice married. His first wife was Eve Horner, who bore him five children. Elassanne Stahl, the second wife, became the mother of fourteen children. At the time of John Forney's death there were one hundred and three grandchildren, and twenty-four great-grandchildren, although three children, twenty-one grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren had preceded him in death. Paralysis suddenly attacked the veteran elder and he passed away at his home at Abilene, on February 6, 1895.

The following list of children was given to the editor of the Abilene Gazette August 31, 1894 by the Elder John Forney:
Grand Children/ Great Grand children

William Forney-------------------5/5
Christian Forney-----------------8/5
Samuel Forney-------------------10/5
Jacob Forney---------------------4/2
Michael Forney------------------11/5
Susannah Forney Judy-------------6/2
Sally Forney Royer---------------3/0
Harrietta Forney Stump----------13/0
Jeremiah Forney-----------------12/1
Catharine Forney Shick-----------7/0
Mary Forney Neely----------------3/0
John J. Forney-------------------2/0
Benjamin Forney------------------7/0
Abraham Forney-------------------0/0
Peter Forney---------------------0/0
Isaac Forney---------------------7/0
Amanda Forney Arnold-------------0/0
Eles-Ann Forney Miller-----------4/0
Elijah Forney--------------------1/0


The first 5 sons were by Eve Horner. The remaining 7 daughters and 7 sons were by Eles-Ann Stahl.

The editor of the Abilene Gazette wrote the following:

"The above is an unusual and wonderful family record - a record of a family whose members we believe average well as good and useful citizens, and are doing their full share towards making the world better and happier. Elder John Forney was born in Somerset county, Pa. He is a member of the Brethren (German Baptist Church) sometimes called "Dunkards", and has preached the Gospel during a period of more than 55 years--and though in his 80th year, is still a strong and able preacher and an honest man, one of the noblest works of God. May the useful life of the venerable preacher be prolonged yet many years" --- Abilene Gazette.

Elder John Forney is buried in the cemetery behind the Buckeye Church of the Brethren North of Abilene, Kansas.

The following article appeared in the Falls City, Nebraska Journal February 6, 1945. John Judy, the son of Susanna Forney Judy, who was the 6th child of the Elder John Forney, wrote the article:

The Journal Falls City, Nebraska Feb. 6, 1945

The following story relates the history of a family and a colony which came to the county in a great wagon train. Many of Richardson County's residents today are descendants of an early colony, mostly related, which settled at Silver Creek, North of Falls City in the late 1960's.

Editor's Note: The story of a covered wagon caravan, one and a half miles long, which brought a large colony of Richardson County's early settlers out to Falls City is related in the following story by John H. Judy of Topeka, Kansas and formerly of Falls City. It took that great caravan ten days to cross the Missouri River at Iowa Point, Kansas, then a frontier ferry point of importance. The story, as Mr, Judy points out, might well be called the history of one man's family. That man is Elder John Forney and his family and the relatives or descendants of that early colony probably can be found on almost every square mile of ground in eastern Richardson County today.

By John H. Judy

To start we must go back to 1717 and 1720 when five brothers and two sisters arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Switzerland (This may be an error and should be Germany). One of the brothers John Forney and his wife Elanor, her maiden name not known, settled in Berks County Pennsylvania. This family had children Barbara, Jacob, Catherine, and Peter. Peter was born in 1747 and died in 1788. He served in the Revolutionary and was married to Sarah Schrock. After the war he emigrated to Somerset County Pennsylvania and settled on land near Berlin. They had children Abraham, Christian, John, and Peter. John was born in 1777 and died September 6, 1846. He married Susannah Beeghley who died July 27, 1862.

John and Susan had eleven children. The sixth child was John born April 25, 1815 and died Feb. 6, 1895 (perhaps 1896). He married Eve Homer in 1836 at about age 21. About the time of his marriage, he was ordained to the ministry in the German Baptist or Dunkerd Church and who afterward became Elder John Forney and organizer of the Silver Creek Church. He also about that time began to practice the profession of medicine and though primitive in that day, he became an extremely proficient physician and practiced both the divine and physical ministrations to the day of his death.

To this union were born five sons, William, Christian, Jacob, Samuel and Michael.

After the death of his wife Eve, he married Eles-Ann Stahl and she bore him fourteen sons and daughters as follows: Susannah Forney Judy, Sally Forney Royer, Harrietta Forney Stump, Jeremiah, Catharine Forney Shick, Mary Forney Neeley, John Jr., Benjamin, Abraham, Peter(P.J.), Isacc, Amanda Forney Arnold, Eles-Ann Forney Miller, and Elijah.

Elder John Forney bought lands and improved them in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. In 1859 he sold his holdings in Pennsylvania and emigrated to Ogle County, Illinois where he bought land at Buffalo Grove near Polo and started improving it by the labor of his sons, while he traveled up and down the state preaching the gospel, helping to organize churches, and healing the sick.

After about three years, he sold his holdings and bought more land in Carroll County, Illinois, East of Lanark. Two of his children, Peter (P.J.) and Isaac were born near Polo. The last three, Amanda, Eles-Ann, and Elijah were born on the farm east of Lanark.

In the spring of 1868, he sold his holdings in Illinois and taking William, Christian, Samuel, Jacob, Michael, and Jeremiah with him, together with Joseph Johnson, Abraham Horner, and John Horner they went overland to Falls City, Nebraska, where they bought more than a thousand acres of land down the muddy creek valley, Steven B. Miles. These were all married, except Michael and the Horner boys. William Forney, being an expert carpenter and builder, was left in charge of the rest of the above named men to build houses on the lands purchased as well as a school house on the Northeast comer of the Christian Forney land North of Falls City.

Elder John Forney then returned to Lanark by way of Highland and Iowa Point, Kansas in Doniphan County, Kansas, where a small ferry was being installed and with whom he arranged for the crossing of the caravan which he was making up to bring the families and the householding materials out. He then went home and got the caravan organized, the largest covered wagon train ever to cross the Missouri River between Kansas City and Omaha. This caravan was more than a mile and a half long.

Those composing the caravan were nearly all related by marriage. William Forney was married to Maggie Wicks, whose mother and father were in the caravan. The father was Jacob Wicks. Christian Forney was married to Sabina Meyers, daughter of Phillip Meyers and wife Betsy, who with two single daughters, Anne and Sue, and three sons, David, John and Solomon also made the trip. Another daughter, wife of Joseph Johnson above mentioned, were members of the train.

Samuel Forney was married to Sabina Teeter, whose sisters Anna Teeter and Mrs. Quince Birdsley and her husband were in the caravan. Anna Teeter afterwards became Mrs. Johnathan Stump and now lives in Stella, Nebraska. Joseph Meyers and wife, who later emigrated to the Holy Land and died in Jerusalem were parties. Catherine Horner, whose son Abraham is mentioned, together with her daughter Susan and her husband, Francis Shaffer, Elias Meyers and wife and Jacob Forney mentioned above were married to Matilda Peck. I am told that Uriah Miller and wife, Michael Lichty and wife were also members of the caravan, but I cannot vouch for that. However it was some caravan.


Of this caravan crossing, I have the statement of a man, a son of one of the owners of the ferry, now 85 years of age, then a boy of ten or twelve years. The crossing was to be made March 1, 1869. This man said they began looking for the caravan about two weeks before, and asked everybody who came along about it. One day a man on horseback came along and said he passed it some ten miles back, and that it should arrive sometime the next day. In the afternoon of the next day it arrived and formed a great circle of wagons, into which the loose stock was driven when night came. First, there were the covered wagons in which the families rode, and in which beds and bedding and cooking utensils were carried. Then there were more covered wagons which were loaded with furniture, feed and seed. Then came wagons without covers which were loaded with plows and other farm utensils. Then came the horses and cows and other loose stock, while youngsters, boys and girls, rode horseback and herded the stock so they would not stray. He said it was a sight he never would forget.

The crossing started the next morning, the ferry boat would only accommodate one team and wagon at a time, and the grades were steep and very dangerous. However, in less than ten days it was accomplished.

My mother was Susan (Susannah), and the sixth of that great family. She was married to Franklin Judy, and she was the only one of that family of 19 children who did not make the trip at the time; but, she was the oldest of the girls my father and mother went up to help pack and get this caravan started. I can remember the three day sale, which was held for the surplus stock and utensils, which they could not take along. People from miles around came and many of them brought property to be sold. Grandmother died at the birth of Elijah, the youngest who was less than two years old.

They crossed the Mississippi at Savanna, Illinois and from there they went Southwest across Iowa and the North end of Missouri to Iowa Point, Kansas. The roads were only trails. From Highland, the caravan went Northwest by the way of Hiawatha, Kansas to Falls City. These people settled on their various lands and became a real community at once.


I am told that the Kimmels, and Stumps and some of the Pecks came about 1870. 1 do know that my Grandfather, Elder John Forney, in the Summer or Fall of 1869 organized the church in the schoolhouse which the men above had built.

My uncle P.J. (Peter) Forney of Salida Colorado told me that in the early Spring of 1870 they built the bank barn on Grandfathers farm about three quarters mile West of the Silver Creek schoolhouse. That they hurried the building so that it would be finished in time to hold a big love feast in it before they would put in the hay and grain. The love feast was held in early June, and was attended by people from Morrill Kansas and points as far away as Iowa. At this love feast my Uncle, Christian Forney was ordained to the ministry. Only three of this great family are now living, namely P.J. (Peter) Forney of Salida Colorado, Isaac Forney of Phoenix, Arizona, and Eles-Ann Miller of Battle Mtn., Nevada. Of this family, the sons William, Christian, Samuel, Benjamin, Michael and Isaac became ministers.

While Great Grandfather lived in Ogle County, Illinois his activities as a physician were so heavy, especially with regard to malaria and typhoid fever; and, as there were no graduate nurses in that day, he took my mother, then a girl only thirteen to help in nursing. They called it sitting up with the sick and helping with the house work. She did that nurse work and became so efficient that, after she was married, she was called up almost continually; and, after she came to Falls City, she followed work up till she was 83 making 70 years of nursing. In 1943, P.J. (Peter) was living in Meeker, Colorado. Isaac in Phoenix, Arizona and Eles-Ann Miller in Battle Mtn., Nevada. Ida Canfield, child of Christian Forney was in Beaver City, Nebraska.