The Grave of Orville Isaac LUKE (1855 – 1943)

Source: Gravestone of Orville Isaac Luke, Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver, Washington. Digital photograph. Privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. 2004.

A number of years ago, before I was a member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Conference, I attended one of their annual October workshops, and noticed a three-volume set of books for sale on their auction table. Excitedly, I realized that it was Park Hill Cemetery (Vancouver, Washington) published by the Clark County Genealogical Society, and although I really couldn’t afford it at the time, I purchased the set, because I knew many relatives of my husband were buried there. After I got it home and started looking up his various surnames, I began to realize just how many of his family members were interred at Park Hill. Many names of collateral relatives–siblings of some of my husband’s great-grandparents who actually were buried in other cities altogether–were found listed in the books. These transcriptions are now available online, so I have passed on the volumes.

We try to visit my husband’s parents at least once a year (it’s a 360-mile one-way trip), and four years ago, we visited on Memorial Day. I thought it would be a perfect time to visit area cemeteries and we made the most of it that weekend, visiting three cemeteries within 55 miles. While we were mostly recording my husband’s family’s burials, one cemetery held the graves of one set of my great-great-grandparents; two of only four ancestors of mine buried west of the Mississippi River.

This grave of Orville Isaac LUKE, although surrounded by others, is “alone” as far as not having other apparent family members’ graves nearby. Orville was the third of 14 children of Isaac LUKE and Rebecca HEWITT, and an older brother of my husband’s maternal great-great-grandmother, Angelia Rebecca (LUKE) MARTIN. I have not researched Orville nor his family, but what little information I have shows that he was born 17 March 1855 in Wonewac, Juneau Co., Wisconsin; that he was married first to Laura JOINER on 23 September 1883 in Ironton, Sauk Co., Wisconsin; that he later married Chloe May SMITH and had at least one child, Homer Oscar LUKE, b. 10 May 1892 in Bon Homme Co., South Dakota.

When Orville died 23 March 1943, he was buried in Section D of the cemetery. Homer was the lot owner, but he and his wife Jennie were buried in Section V. Chloe, whose cemetery information states that she was born in Minnesota in 1871, died 21 April 1937 (probably in Vancouver) and was buried in Section C. There are also three other Luke family members buried in two other sections of the cemetery, and until more research is done, it is not known if they are related. I find it curious that this family did not have a central plot, but perhaps they could not afford to do so, and bought each plot as needed, based upon what was available and what they could afford.

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Wordless Wednesday: The Grave of Orville Isaac LUKE (1855 – 1943)

Source: Gravestone of Orville Isaac Luke, Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver, Washington. Digital photograph. Privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. 2004.

The CHAPLIN – MARTIN Marriage Certificate


Source: Chaplin – Martin Certificate of Marriage. Washington. Clark County. Marriage Certificates 1889 – 1977. Digital image. Washington State Digitial Archives. http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ : 2008.

Yes, I realize that Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about displaying a photograph, not a document. Inspired by George Geder’s posts of posting ancestral photos on Wednesday and then a biographical sketch on Thursdays, I started doing WW back in February, based on a pattern of showing ancestral photos from my father-in-law’s, father’s, mother-in-law’s, and mother’s family trees, in that order. The problem was, I don’t have access to many photos from my mother-in-law’s family, and I don’t believe she does, either. Unless I can come in contact with some of her relatives and obtain scans of ancestral photos (if there are any), I’m relegated to displaying photos of tombstones and images of documents. So be it!

I did want to feature this document, however, for a variety of reasons. My husband’s family (both parents’ sides) has lived in this state since the early 1900s, and Washington State has a wonderful open-record policy, perhaps one of the best in the nation. In addition, the Washington State Digital Archives and FamilySearch Labs are featuring both indexes and images of county, state, and federal records for Washington residents. I’m waiting impatiently for FamilySearch to release the images that have been indexed on their pilot site, and decided to help them along by doing some indexing on that specific collection. That in itself has been a lot of fun…to see records from Stevens County (where my parents live), Spokane County (my residence), and Klickatat County (which we pass through on the way to visit my in-laws). I recognize all these little towns which certainly helps in determining messy handwritten locations on death certificates!

Besides featuring a document with personal sentiment from the fabulous digital archives site, I thought this record was unique because it contains the signatures of four my husband’s direct ancestors. John Franklin and Angelia Rebecca (LUKE) MARTIN were Leona Mary MARTIN’s parents. Forest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN and Leona were my mother-in-law’s parents. I’ve always seen Forest’s name spelled with two Rs, but here he signs it with one. Hmm… I had the privilege of meeting the widowed Leona once–at our wedding–and then attended her funeral in 1993. I’ve mentioned Leona and her twin brother Lee before in one of my earlier Wordless Wednesdays.

The CHAPLIN – MARTIN Marriage Certificate


Source: Chaplin – Martin Certificate of Marriage. Washington. Clark County. Marriage Certificates 1889 – 1977. Digital image. Washington State Digitial Archives. http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ : 2008.

Yes, I realize that Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about displaying a photograph, not a document. Inspired by George Geder’s posts of posting ancestral photos on Wednesday and then a biographical sketch on Thursdays, I started doing WW back in February, based on a pattern of showing ancestral photos from my father-in-law’s, father’s, mother-in-law’s, and mother’s family trees, in that order. The problem was, I don’t have access to many photos from my mother-in-law’s family, and I don’t believe she does, either. Unless I can come in contact with some of her relatives and obtain scans of ancestral photos (if there are any), I’m relegated to displaying photos of tombstones and images of documents. So be it!

I did want to feature this document, however, for a variety of reasons. My husband’s family (both parents’ sides) has lived in this state since the early 1900s, and Washington State has a wonderful open-record policy, perhaps one of the best in the nation. In addition, the Washington State Digital Archives and FamilySearch Labs are featuring both indexes and images of county, state, and federal records for Washington residents. I’m waiting impatiently for FamilySearch to release the images that have been indexed on their pilot site, and decided to help them along by doing some indexing on that specific collection. That in itself has been a lot of fun…to see records from Stevens County (where my parents live), Spokane County (my residence), and Klickatat County (which we pass through on the way to visit my in-laws). I recognize all these little towns which certainly helps in determining messy handwritten locations on death certificates!

Besides featuring a document with personal sentiment from the fabulous digital archives site, I thought this record was unique because it contains the signatures of four my husband’s direct ancestors. John Franklin and Angelia Rebecca (LUKE) MARTIN were Leona Mary MARTIN’s parents. Forest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN and Leona were my mother-in-law’s parents. I’ve always seen Forest’s name spelled with two Rs, but here he signs it with one. Hmm… I had the privilege of meeting the widowed Leona once–at our wedding–and then attended her funeral in 1993. I’ve mentioned Leona and her twin brother Lee before in one of my earlier Wordless Wednesdays.

A Civil War Sailor: Pvt. Isaac LUKE (1831 – 1920)

How Related: My husband’s 2nd-great-grandfather

Born: 1 April 1831 in Mount Vernon, Wayne Co., Ohio

Parents: Azel Isak LUKE (1791 – 1874) and Annabel MITCHELL (1793 – c. 1850)

Siblings: William (1818 – 1894), Lydia (1821 – 1913), John (1823 – 1864), Margaret (b. c. 1825), Mary (b. 1827), and Charlotte LUKE (1833 – 1910)

Married: first on 20 February 1851 to Rebecca HEWITT (1836 – 1911) in Sun Prairie, Dane Co., Wisconsin; after Rebecca’s death, he married three other women, outliving at least two of them: Florence SUMMERS, Eliza HURD, and Maryann (BEST) SPERB

Children: Isaac and Rebecca (nice Biblical names!) had 14 children!:

  • William Alonzo (1852 – 1919)
  • Robert Thomas (1853 – 1932)
  • Orville Isaac (1855 – 1943)
  • Mollisia Rachel (1856 – c. 1937)
  • Lydia J. (c. 1859 – c. 1877)
  • Orin Azel (1860 – 1932)
  • Julia Elizabeth (1862 – 1916)
  • Simeon Wesley (1863 – 1947)
  • Angelia Rebecca (1866 – 1941) – my husband’s ancestor
  • Mary Amanda “Mandy” (1868 – 1938)
  • Clara (c. 1870 – 1877)
  • Lucy (c. 1872 – 1875)
  • Eunice Rebecca (1874 – 1918)
  • Alice Viola (1878 – 1955)

Drafted: 26 September 1864 in Co. U, 16th Wisconsin Infantry; private

Side served: Union

Mustered Out: 13 May 1865

Biography or Information of Interest: Isaac has been difficult to research; the 16th Wisconsin Infantry’s Civil War Pension Index Cards have not yet been uploaded to Footnote, and I don’t find one for him at Ancestry, so I’m not sure if he collected a pension. Other than many names, dates, and locations that have been passed on by other Luke researchers for this family, I haven’t found any detailed information that gives me a flesh-and-blood portrait of the man. I did find a message at Genforum from a descendant who has a photograph of Isaac and Rebecca’s family, but the e-mail address I wrote to is no longer valid. One item of note: it appears his brother John was also a Civil War soldier who died at Memphis, Tennessee. This is the second time since starting this series that I’ve discovered new information on a brother of an ancestor that also served.

Died: 18 January 1920 in Avon, Bon Homme Co., South Dakota

Buried: Grave 6, Lot 15, Block 3, Section 3 of Hitt Cemetery, Avon, Bon Homme Co., South Dakota

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. Isaac LUKE (1831 – 1920)

How Related: My husband’s 2nd-great-grandfather

Born: 1 April 1831 in Mount Vernon, Wayne Co., Ohio

Parents: Azel Isak LUKE (1791 – 1874) and Annabel MITCHELL (1793 – c. 1850)

Siblings: William (1818 – 1894), Lydia (1821 – 1913), John (1823 – 1864), Margaret (b. c. 1825), Mary (b. 1827), and Charlotte LUKE (1833 – 1910)

Married: first on 20 February 1851 to Rebecca HEWITT (1836 – 1911) in Sun Prairie, Dane Co., Wisconsin; after Rebecca’s death, he married three other women, outliving at least two of them: Florence SUMMERS, Eliza HURD, and Maryann (BEST) SPERB

Children: Isaac and Rebecca (nice Biblical names!) had 14 children!:

  • William Alonzo (1852 – 1919)
  • Robert Thomas (1853 – 1932)
  • Orville Isaac (1855 – 1943)
  • Mollisia Rachel (1856 – c. 1937)
  • Lydia J. (c. 1859 – c. 1877)
  • Orin Azel (1860 – 1932)
  • Julia Elizabeth (1862 – 1916)
  • Simeon Wesley (1863 – 1947)
  • Angelia Rebecca (1866 – 1941) – my husband’s ancestor
  • Mary Amanda “Mandy” (1868 – 1938)
  • Clara (c. 1870 – 1877)
  • Lucy (c. 1872 – 1875)
  • Eunice Rebecca (1874 – 1918)
  • Alice Viola (1878 – 1955)

Drafted: 26 September 1864 in Co. U, 16th Wisconsin Infantry; private

Side served: Union

Mustered Out: 13 May 1865

Biography or Information of Interest: Isaac has been difficult to research; the 16th Wisconsin Infantry’s Civil War Pension Index Cards have not yet been uploaded to Footnote, and I don’t find one for him at Ancestry, so I’m not sure if he collected a pension. Other than many names, dates, and locations that have been passed on by other Luke researchers for this family, I haven’t found any detailed information that gives me a flesh-and-blood portrait of the man. I did find a message at Genforum from a descendant who has a photograph of Isaac and Rebecca’s family, but the e-mail address I wrote to is no longer valid. One item of note: it appears his brother John was also a Civil War soldier who died at Memphis, Tennessee. This is the second time since starting this series that I’ve discovered new information on a brother of an ancestor that also served.

Died: 18 January 1920 in Avon, Bon Homme Co., South Dakota

Buried: Grave 6, Lot 15, Block 3, Section 3 of Hitt Cemetery, Avon, Bon Homme Co., South Dakota

Twins Leona Mary and Lee Joseph MARTIN


(click photo several times to enlarge)


(reverse of photo)

Source: Martin, Leona Mary and Lee Joseph. Photograph. C. 1907. Original photograph in the possession of Michael Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Isn’t this a darling photo? The little girl on the arm of the sofa is Leona Mary “Sis” MARTIN, about a year old, and her twin brother, Lee Joseph “Mick” MARTIN, is on the sofa back. Leona was my husband’s maternal grandmother. This photograph was sent to the children’s maternal grandparents, Isaac LUKE and Rebecca HEWITT, as evident by the message on the back: “for Grandpa & Grandma”. The children’s paternal grandparents, Francois Joseph MARTIN and Rachel HUBBY, had died in 1887 and 1892, respectively, so they could not have been the recipients of this photographic gift, perhaps sent as a Christmas gift when the children were a year old.

Lee and Leona were the youngest of twelve children born 17 December 1906 to John Franklin MARTIN and Angelia Rebecca LUKE. A large Catholic family of French, Scottish, and English roots, they were living in Bonners Ferry, Bonner (now Boundary) County, Idaho in 1906, where Frank worked for the railroad (probably the Northern Pacific). At the dinner after Leona’s funeral in 1993, Mick’s daughter, cousin of my mother-in-law, told me the story she had heard about the day the twins were born. Apparently, no one knew that Mama Martin was pregnant with twins. The family at that point consisted of five sons and five daughters, and there was a competition on as to whether the next baby would be a boy or a girl, since Mama had declared that there would be no more babies. According to the family story, the children, ranging in age from 21-year-old Gertrude (who was married) down to five-year-old Steve, were waiting outside the house to hear the news (seems somewhat inaccurate, given the fact that it was December in Northern Idaho–brrr! Perhaps instead they were waiting in the front room.). The doctor came out and announced, “It’s a boy!” to the rousting cheers of Frank Jr., Clarence, Isaac, John, and Steve. He went back in to the house/bedroom and returned not much later to announce, “and it’s a girl!” to the delight of Gertrude, Maude, Jane, Agnes, and Viola.

True or no, it’s a fun story. When Lee grew up, he settled in Eastern Washington. He was married three times and fathered five children. Leona also lived in Eastern Washington, but spent her latter years in Vancouver, Clark County on the southwest side of the state. She and her husband, Forrest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN, had three children, the youngest of whom is my mother-in-law. Leona was present at our wedding, along with our other three grandmothers, my paternal grandfather, and our two step-grandfathers. This was the only time I got a chance to meet her, as her health was poor and she lived on the other side of the state. Lee died in 1984, before I knew my husband or his family. Interestingly, his Social Security Death Index information states he was born 17 December 1907, rather than 1906, while Leona’s has the correct birth date. I spoke with my mother-in-law to verify their birth year (Idaho didn’t record births until 1908), and she told me that an error had been made on Lee’s birthdate, either by the Social Security Administration (or perhaps by a surviving family member after his passing) but no one in the family wanted to go through the paperwork to correct it.

As an aside: we know that giving birth to fraternal twins is a genetic female trait, usually appearing every other generation, while giving birth to identical twins is not genetic (it’s a “mutation” in the development of the embryo, where one splits into two complete embryos). Leona’s oldest daughter had twin fraternal daughters. I imagine that eventually one–or both–of them may have twin grandchildren someday.