William Harvey Wilbourn and Frances Victoria Daniel

This post goes from 1853 to 1927.

Here are the generations, like links in the family chain, at a glance:

Samuel?  → John? → John? → Edward?JohnThomasWilliam C. → ChampionAmonet Washington → WILLIAM HARVEY → Ella Washington (Rae) (our grandmother) → Go to summary of this line

The first four generations have question marks only because they are based on strong circumstantial evidence. John is the first to have court-sworn documents, and so do all the others after him.

William lived a three-state journey: Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Family tradition says he did not move with his parents to Arkansas. He became a cotton farmer and part-time Baptist preacher in the last state.

Frances also comes from the South. She was born in Georgia, but her family moved to Texas about a decade after the Civil War. It is there that she married William.

They had six children in the Lone Star state, including Ella. Then, when Ella was about two, the family moved to Oklahoma during the Great Oklahoma Land Rush. William and Frances had four more children in their new state. Ella outlived them all.

Eventually, Frances succumbed to Typhoid in 1902. Twenty-five years later William fell into a lit fireplace and soon died from the infection, in 1927. His death certificate is included in this post.

The living documents of all of them tell their life story.

Wlliam Harvey Wilbourn

He was born on December 9, 1853, in Athens, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. He got married on August 17, 1880, in Palo Pinto County, Texas. He died on February 17, 1927, in Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma, and was buried in Oakdale, February 17, 1927.

More about him

He was known as Bill. The information sourced as “Chappelear” comes from Gertrude Rosa and Clovis Gene Chappelear in a document dated January 1, 1980 (see child no. 8, below).

HELL BRAND was PREACHER. [He branded his cattle with HELL to scare away cattle rustlers.] At one time had a farm up in the pan handle of OK along with one on the river and Mountain View, OK. Buried along with wife and daughter Alice in graves North of MV [Mountain View]. In 1989 had markers put on graves by descendants. Some of his other kind of folk including a brother in the same graveyard. Graves are about three miles or more North of Mountain view on West side of road (Chappelear).

His daughter Ella W. Wilbourn’s handwritten account, part of which is found at the end of this post, and his granddaughter’s handwritten account at the end of this post, recount more about him.

On March 24, 1974, William’s (Bill’s) niece Helen Souter, daughter-in-law of Mildred (Wilbourn) Souter, and wife of Mildred’s son Farrey Souter, wrote to William’s daughter Ella, our Grandmother Rae, to answer some questions about Rae’s search for family history. Rae apparently asked her why William moved to Texas, and not to Arkansas with the rest of the family.

Helen Souter writes:

I do not know if Bill Wilbourn planned to visit any relatives when he went to Texas. I understand he decided to go rather suddenly. He was engaged to be married – and he decided he did not love her. So he thought the best thing to do was just to go on a trip and try to forget her – so that is why he left.

William comes from an illustrious heritage. His ancestor is William Clopton, who is a “gateway ancestor.” This means that William Clopton descends from a royal line several generations back and then immigrated to the American colonies.

His Clopton lineage works out like this:

William CloptonWalterWilliam → Mary m. William PerrinRebecca Perrin m. Robert AndersonElizabeth Ann m. Champion Wilbourn → Amonet Washington Wilbourn m. Maggie Nancy Gray → William Harvey

For more information, please click on William Clopton and Our Royal Heritage.

Further, Ann Booth, who married the first William Clopton, is the daughter of Dr. Robert Booth. He is one of the early settlers in Jamestowne.

To find out more, please click on Robert Booth and Jamestown Society.

Finally, his mother also comes from an illustrious family;, participating in three key historical events in America:

  1. A Founding Father of Pennsylvania – William Clayton.
  2. A Patriot during the Revolutionary War – Simon Hadley
  3. A Founding Father of Texas – Joel Leakey

Since William Clayton was the Founding Father of Pennsylvania, he has been admitted as a qualifying ancestor into the organization called the Colonial Dames.

Please click on the link going to Amonet Washington to find his mother.

Frances Victoria Daniel

She was born on August 1, 1856, Chattooga County, Georgia. One family tradition says it was in 1854, but the census records support 1856. She died on October 19, 1902, in Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma.

More about her

Tradition says she “had flaming red hair.” She was called Fannie. She died of Typhoid fever, from drinking the water supply, along with her daughter (Chappelear). The handwritten account of Ella (Rae) Wilbourn says that Frances died in 1903, not 1902. But it’s best to settle on 1902.

Her Daniel family has been tracked only so far. Her father was James H. Daniel and her mother was Jane Caroline Russell. Jane was born on May 28, 1818 in Summerville, Chattooga County, Georgia. She died on April 12, 1896 in Santo, Palo Pinto County, Texas. She is buried in Santo East Cemetery. He was born about 1822-1825, in Georgia. He was married after 1848 and before September, 1850, to Jane, near Atlanta. He died in late 1866 or in 1867, in Chattooga County, Georgia.

James is Jane’s second husband. With her first husband Lemuel Wilson Daniel, she had children John H. (c. 1837-?), Susan Margaret (c. 1840-?), Lemuel Russell (c. 1843-1926), and James Taylor (c. 1845-1925).

Children from Jane’s second marriage to James H. Daniel are as follows: William Beverly (c. 1852-1914), Wiley Echols (c. 1853-1943), Frances Victoria (the subject of this post), and Virginia Houston (c. 1857-1892).

The best evidence says James’s father was Richard. He was born about 1775 and died at an unknown year in Georgia. He married Savannah Moore on July 15, 1800, in Wilkes County, Georgia.

Richard’s deed of gift can be found in the Newton County, Georgia, Will Book; the will was written March 19, 1824.

It reads:

Know all men by these presents that I Richard Daniel of said county for and in consideration of the natural love and affection which I have and bear for my children to wit, William Burgess, Jesse, James, Lemuel, William, Elizabeth, Richard and Pollyann Daniel, I have given and granted and do by these presents grant and confirm to my said children, jointly, to them and their heirs forever in fee simple, the following property, both real and personal, to wit fifty acres land whereon I now reside, being parts of lot no. one hundred and eighty seven, four head of cattle, ten head of hogs, one bay mare and all the household and kitchen furniture, working tools, etc. To have and to hold to these my said children and their heirs forever in fee simple the above named property. Given from under my hand seal this 19th March 1824.

Witness  Richard Shackleford and Edward Williams

Richard Daniel (his mark)

Recorded the 5th April 1824

The dean of Daniel family researches for our line is Wes Phinney, a retiree living in Georgia. His posts at roots web are accurate and authoritative. Refer to them for more information about this line of Daniels.

William’s Census Records


In Ward #2 (or 7), Post Office of Homer, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, page 21, Am W. Willborne is 48 years old and from South Carolina. He is a singing master. This matches up with the handwritten accounts of Ella Washington Wilbourn, his granddaughter (and our grandmother), who says he was a skilled musician and taught singing. His estate is valued at $800.00 (real) and $500.00 (person). Nancy is 42 and keeping house; Alex H. is 20 and at home. William H. (our direct line) is 17 and at home, as are all the other named children. Emeline G. is 15; Sarah L J is 12; Champion E is 8; Mildred F. P. is 5; and Judson is 2. They live in dwelling no. 95; family no. 158; the census enumerated 13 August 1870.


Where is William in the 1880 Census? In Palo Pinto County, Texas, his future bride Frances (Fannie) Victoria Daniel appears in the census. It was finished in June 1880, and William and Frances were married in August 1880.  I have looked for him, turning the county census pages one by one. I even looked in a long precinct in Parker County, to the east, page by page. Here is why he may not be found, possibly. In Palo Pinto and adjacent counties, many census pages list single men who worked on the railroad. It’s not difficult to imagine that the census takers missed a few – quite a few – of them in their enumeration. William was single and mobile, so maybe he was overlooked in the count. But he was in the vicinity and was known well enough to marry Frances.


I have looked everywhere for William and his family’s 1900 Census, but have come up empty. I have even looked at each page in various districts and counties. It is a pity it can’t be found, for Rae would be on it, at around eleven years old.


William resides with his son-in-law Clarence and daughter Myrtle Lillian. Rosa Gertrude is eleven months old. Her two handwritten letters in her old age are transcribed, below.


William lives with his daughter Abbie Lee. She will take care of him after he accidentally falls into a lit fireplace. See his death certificate, below.

Frances’s Census Records


James H. Daniel, 35 years old, is Jane’s second husband and father of Frances Victoria. He will die in 1866. We now have a blended family. Lemuel Russell Daniel and James T. were from Jane C. Russell’s first marriage with Lemuel Wilson Daniel. Ella W. Wilbourn, James H. and Frances’ daughter, refers to William as “Uncle Billie” (Billy), in her handwritten account.

James H. Daniel is 35 years old and a farmer, his real and personal property recorded as $2,000 (real) and $1,600 (personal). Jane C. is 41, occupation unstated. Lemuel B. is 17, occupation unstated (as are the rest of the kids) and attends school.  James F. (sic) is 13 and attends school; Wm. B. is 9 and attends school. Wiley E. is 6 and is not said to attend school; Frances V. is 4. Virginia H. is two. Frank Fuller, a hireling, is 20. In the Color category, he is marked X (an odd designation unless he was a freed slave). Everyone is born in Georgia.


In the 925 District, Chattooga County, George, Summerville, Lemuel B., son from Jane’s first marriage to Lemuel Wilson Daniel, 26 year, is now the head of the house, his occupation unstated. His property is valued at $300.00 (real) and $400.00 (personal). Jane C is 52 and keeping house. William is 19 and at school. Wiley is 16 and a farm laborer. Frances V. is 14 and at home. Virginia H. is 12 and also at home. Everyone is from Georgia by birth.

1874-1876. Many Georgians moved out of the state, especially after the Civil War (1861-1865). Many indeed made their way to Texas. They needed a fresh start. Family tradition says Wiley moved from Georgia in 1874 and arrived in Texas in 1876.


Wiley A. Daniel, son from Jane’s second marriage to James H., is now the head of the house and is 27 and single. Jane C., keeping house, is 62 and is a widow keeping house. It is a pity that she developed a goiter. But she lives for another 16 years. Fannie V., 25 and single, is Frances Victoria. This census was finished in June, and she will marry William Harvey Wilbourn in August 1880. Jane C. father is said to be from South Carolina. Everyone else is from Georgia.


August, 17, 1880. The 1880 Census was finished in June. William Harvey (W. H.) and Frances Victoria (F. V.) were married in August, in Palo Pinto County, Texas.

Transcription of the marriage license:


W. H. Wilbourn } State of Texas

F. V. Daniel } County of Palo Pinto

To any Judge of the County or District Court ordained minister of the Gospel or Justice of the Peace in and for said County.


You are hereby authorized to solemnize the Rites of Matrimony between Mr. W. H. Wilbourn and Miss F. V. Daniel and make due return to the Clerk of the County Court of said County within sixty days thereafter certifying you[r] action under this License.

Witness my official signature and Seal of office at office in Palo Pinto this 17th day of August AD, 1880 [Seal]

Wm Metcalf Clerk to Court

Palo Pinto Co Texas

I do hereby certify that on the 17th day of August AD 1880 I united in marriage W. H. Wilbourn and Miss F. V. Daniel the parties above named.

Witness my hand this 17th day of August AD 1880

John A. Patterson, JP

___ No. 4 Palo Pinto Co Texas

Filed and Recorded Oct 21st 1880

John A. Metcalf Clerk

By Jas E. Beaman Deputy


Deed: Grant

December 9, 1909. This is a land grant from President William H. Taft to new Oklahomans like William. Per Ella’s (Rae’s) handwritten account, his first six kids were born in Texas, and his last four in Oklahoma. So that means the family moved after May 1889 and before December 1891. He owned more property than this patent shows.

William’s Death Certificate

February 17, 1927. Family tradition says that he fell into a lit fireplace. The death certificate confirms the accident.

The certificate can be summarized as follows:

  • The death certificate of the Oklahoma State Department of Health says that he died of an abscess from a burned hand.
  • Abbie Moore, his daughter, signed the document that says, “The above is true to the best of my knowledge.”
  • The certificate says he was 74 years, five months and 10 day old. It shows his date of birth as September 7, 1852. But it is most likely Dec. 9, 1853, as noted above.
  • The certificate wrongly says his mother’s maiden name was Daniels, but it should be Gray. Daniel was his wife’s maiden name. Perhaps daughter Abbie was distraught and mixed up the names and dates, or maybe she thought they were asking for her mother’s maiden name.
  • Abbie gave his mother’s place of birth as “Don’t know.”
  • The date of death is February 17, 1927.
  • Abbie says in the certificate that she attended her father from January 10, 1927 to February 17, 1927 [the handwriting on the certificate looks like 1925].
  • It says the ailment lasted forty-five days.
  • Abbie saw him alive on February 16, 1927.
  • The certificate further says that he died at 2:30 am.
  • Gray, MD, signed it.
  • The certificate says it was filed on Jan. 17, 1927 [sic].

Here is the link to the cemetery:


At that link, you will find links to his father, spouse, kids, and siblings.

Here is a link that cites his wife’s passing, his own (wrong date of death), and one of his daughters, Alice Hines:


Family Traditions

Ella Washington Wilbourn

Rae is William Harvey’s and Frances Victoria’s sixth-born. She insisted on being called Grandmother Rae, but she was known as Aunt Ella to her nieces and nephews. The accounts were written at various times. Some are undated. My comments are inserted in brackets.


Date unknown.

William Harvey Wilbourn, known as Bill, was a farmer, and his daughter (Grandmother Rae) recalls that the family was “dirt poor.” She said that her own posture had a slight hunch to it because of all the hours she spent stooped over picking cotton.

March 1974 (other dates unknown).


March 1974

This is all the information I have of my maternal grandparents, Daniels.

Grandfather Daniels I do not not [sic; read: know] his given name the date of birth or where born. He was killed fighting in the Civil War. He and grandmother were living on a farm 6 miles of Atlanta Georgia when he had to go to war. When he died she was left with six children. He was her second husband.

Grandmother Daniel’s name before first marriage was Jane Beverly [This is possible. A descendant of the Daniels says he heard a family tradition that the name was Beverly. William (Uncle Billy) Daniel, Jane’s first born from her second marriage, has the middle name Beverly]. Her first husband’s name was also Daniels. Though I have heard they were cousins also heard they weren’t [they were probably cousins]. She had two sons by the first husband – Taylor and Russell [actually three sons and one daughter]. When I was sixteen I visited them [1905]. They had farms near Mineral Wells, Texas.

The last four children born of the 2nd husband are William (called Billie), Frances Victoria (my mother), Wiley, and Virginia May. I do not know when Grandmother & family moved from Georgia to Texas. Where or when my father met my mother in Texas.

I do know my father left the farm near Athens La, presumably went to Texas when he was 19 yrs. He never lived on the farm near Magnolia, Ark. When the family moved from Athens, La to Magnolia Ark, my father did not go with the family. So Aunt Millie his sister says. I hope some day to get more information on the Daniels. (Over)


[This appears to be the reverse side of the previous page, but it is not numbered.]

My Uncle Wiley’s daughter Ollie Bradford who lives in Las Vegas & whom I expect to go see in May or June maybe can help me.

My mother’s brother Uncle Billie was a conductor on the railroad from Ft. Worth to Big Springs Texas. He is the one that got a job for my brother “Am” as a boiler maker in the R.R. shops at Big Springs Texas that led to brother “Am” getting a boiler maker job for brother Ellis when he grew up. They both wound up together in the RR shops at Wichita Kans where brother Am died at age 40.

More on Wiley Daniels and wife Molly. They had ten children. I only know where one is Ollie Bradford.

Mother’s sister Virginia May had two daughters, Fanny and Ellie. Reese [Clark, Grandmother Rae’s second husband] & and I saw Fannie when we visited Wheeler Texas in 1949. That’s when I should have asked Fanny about the Daniel kinfolks.

[NEW PAGE, which repeats much of the information on numbered page 2]

My maternal grandfather was a Daniel. Don’t know his given name nor the date of birth or death except he fought and was killed in the Civil War.

My grandmother’s maiden name was Jane Beverly [records say Jane Caroline] Do not know the place of birth or date of birth or death. She was of English descent.

I do know she was married twice both times to a Daniel. I heard these men were cousins & also heard they weren’t. She had two sons by the first husband, Russell and Taylor. The second husband she had four sons & two daughters. William (called “Billie”) Wiley, Frances Victoria and Ettie.

I hope when I go to Las Vegas to visit my cousin Ollie (Uncle Wiley’s daughter) she can tell me more. I hope.

I had a cousin by marriage living at Poway. She and her 2nd husband called on me about a year ago she told me the name of my grandmother was Jane Beverly [records say Jane Caroline].


Note: My father Wm Harvey was born in Athens, La, Nov 1851 died 1925 [actually 1927], age 74. My mother Frances Victoria born 6 miles of Atlanta, Georgia, Grandmother [Margaret Nancy] Wilbourn who had very red hair curly and blue [eyes], didn’t have child with red hair, but had several grandchildren with her color of red hair.

Gertrude Rosa (Chappelear) Woods

Rosa Woods is the firstborn of Myrtle Lillian and Clarence Cecil Chappelear (see child no. 8, above). She was Ella’s (Grandmother Rae’s) niece. She was seventeen years old when her Granddad Bill (William Harvey Wilbourn) died in 1927. Her memory of him was direct, not secondhand, though she heard a lot of information from her mother and father. Ella’s (Rae’s) Leone daughter and granddaughter Janis went out to Oklahoma to visit their cousins in 1982 or 1983. Rosa corresponded with me shortly after the death of my mother (her cousin) in September 1994. That was very kind of her. I transcribe her letters just as she wrote them, which are charming beyond words. My comments are in brackets.


[Nov.] Saturday 20 – 94

Dear Cousin James:

Wanted to write you a letter before now, but have been ill. You may not be able to read this, for am writing in my recliner, for am to stay off my feet.

Am sending you 3 pictures 1 of Grandad and Grandmother & Aunt Alice tombstone in the Oak Dale cemetery north of Mtn View Okla. 2 of Glenn & I. One of our 60 wedding anniversary other on a holiday.

Thank [Think] Aunt Ellie [Rae] has her history of the Wilbourn family about written far as I knew.

She did not have it down were [where] Granddad and Grandmother & Aunt Alice were buried and the pictures will tell you.

Then she sayed something about Aunt Fannie family at Wheeler, Texas. I visited a lot with them when I was a young girl. Have lost contact in later years. Might find out something at the Wheeler Texas Court house. Their was were [where] Aunt Mae & her family was raised.

Aunt Mildred Souter came to see us when I was a girl of 12 years old. Had a Dr at Guthrie, Okla That was 74 years ago.

Another Aunt Emma & her husband run a Drug store at Mtn View, Okla years ago don’t remember then [when]. She taught music & voice. One of there sons is buried in Mtn. View Cemetery. They had another boy and they left Mtn View on account of his health and went to some where in New Mexico. Can’t remember their last name.

I have a picture of Grandmother Wilbourn that Aunt Ella took off someone’s picture Am sending it to Gene and he will have it enlarged & send you one Hope he has sent you 1 of all the pictures I have sent him & he has enlarged. Was so proud of the picture of Grandad Wilbourn, it is just like him & the girl he has in his arms is your mother [grandmother?], my mother, Rosa & Herschel my brother who is dead.

Thank [Think] you have just 6 cousins of the Wilbourn generation left, me, Gene, Dess of my Mother Lillian Chappelear 2 of my aunt Abbies Moore family Ione & Harmon [?] 1 of Uncle Ellis children a daughter in Muskogee Okla. He was married 2 times. He & His first wife did not have any children her name was Alice and his 2nd wife was Alice & they had 2 children a son and a daughter. The boy is buried in California (he was diabetic) and the last I heard of the girl & her mother they returned to Muskogee Okla.

Am sending Aunt Abbie daughter address she has two sons [gives address]

Will send you address to Ione in Christmas card. Don’t know where Shannon Moore is he is Aunt Abbie son. He has 3 sons. 1 son lived in Cordell, Okla [gives name]

Our family is [gives three addresses]

We just had the one son 1 Great Great Grandaughter

Well, James, if you are every in Oklahoma look Victor up. He sayed he was going to see Ella Leone some time, but she will not be their maybe [my sister’s first name] will still be there. He is a big farm[er] and so to [too] much to do in the summer time & that is only time on the farm can get away.

With lots of love

Your cousin Rosa Woods

James, you are Welcome at our home but Glenn & I are in ages 85-86. May not last to [too] much longer.


Nov. 29 – [19]94

Dear James,

Will try to write down all I can tell you of Grandad Wilbourn and Frances Wilbourne.

I knew the Friends that own the place that Grandad Wilbourn owned. On their deed he was the first one to own the place. Don’t know if he homesteaded the place or bought it from someone. Mother Lillian Chappelear told that negroes swim the Washita river to get Grandad to keep them, but they had been freed & he told them that he could not keep them.

Grandad hauled the lumber from Chickasha, Okla. to build the house (that Gene sent you) and the rocks in the fire place, came from the Chappelear farm for the fireplace.

Mother told of what a good provider Grandad was for his daughter

Now will go back to the time when 5 five of them had typhoid fever which took the life of Aunt Alice and Frances Wilbourn. My mother was one of them [who had fever but did not die], she was just 9 years old She sayed that they did not tell right off that her mother had died. Aunt Alice & Grandmother are buried in Oakdale Cemetery.

You wanted to know what religion they were, it was Baptist. Your [great] Grandad was a preacher at one time in his life. Mother told how they took their family to camp meeting. She was just old enough to remember the water bucket on the platform were [where] they got a drank. The Indians stole cattle from Grandad, so his brand was (hell) the Indians did not steal after he put this brand on his cattle. They knew what the brand hell meant. Frances asked him not to put hell on her pony she drove around.

I don’t know how many brothers & sisters Grandad had. I don’t know if they are that mother called Aunt Emma Smith was his sister. They run drug store in Mts. View. They lost one son buried in Mtn. View Cemetery. Aunt Emma was a music teacher. They left here and went to Mexico.

Mother told about Grandad courting a nice lady, & those girls threatened to do something to her if he married her. Mother sayed they should not of done Grandad that way.

Grandad could sure jig. He sayed he learned it from the negro people. I have seen him jig.

When Mtn. View was blowed away from a Tornado. Aunt Abbie Moore was telephone operator. They must of had a telephone, for she called and told all them to go up stairs for a water spout was coming. It was not a water spout it was a tornado. It rose and went back up in the sky, just before it got to their home.

Mother was 16 when she married my Dad. They went to Hobart, Okla to get married, but could not marry for she was under age. So they had to come back to Mtn View, to get Grandad to go back to Hobart with them. In those days they had strick laws about getting married.

Guess the girls had a little entertainment. Mother told about her and Maggie being called the roller skating twins in Mtn View.

I know that Grandad Wilbourne was a wonderful man. To have raised is [his] family by his self. Going back to were [where] I sayed he was a good provider for his family. Mother told how Grandad had a smoke house were [where] he keep his pork meet. How the girls were so [Wastful?] with the meat. How they would take a ham and just eat the best and throwed the rest to the dogs.

Did anyone tell you about Aunt Abbie family. She had [Dea?] the first son (he died) next set of twin boys (They died)

Next set of twins Earl and Pearl

Next set of twins Shannon (& girl died)

Next Ione, the last was Ella Leone, named after Aunt Ella.

Aunt Alice married Park Hines they had one son Ellis Hines. He was a small child. They wanted mother & Dad to take and raise him. Mother & Dad had just got married, they didn’t have the money to raise him. One of Park relatives raised him Zun [?] Hines. Ellis & wife are both dead & no family. This is things mother never told me.

My parents

Cecil Clarence Chappelear

Lillian Myrtle Chappelear

Had four Children

Rosa Gertrude Chappelear Woods

Herschel Glenn Chappelear (died)

Gene Clovis Chappelear

Dess Lee Chappelear

All of their children were high School graduates

Gene & Dess Lee College graduates

They raised all of us on Farm. They were wonderful parents to us.

My family

Glenn Thomas Woods

Rosa Gertrude (Chappelear) Woods

Son Victor Lee Woods

Daughter in law Vickie Lou (Dark) Woods

Granddaughter Marcia Michelle (Woods) Ard

Grandson by Married John Mark Ard

Great Great Grandaughter Kyla Hope Ard.

Our son Victor is a big farmer, he farms 3340 acres, has wheat, cotton, alpha and cattle. He & is [his] Dad work together. They have a beautiful home just ½ mile north of us, Glenn says he is a one person family 1 wife 1 son, 1 daughterlaw [sic] 1 Grandchil 1 Grandson by married 1 Great Great daughter. Don’t have much trouble when Christmas comes.

Jim, all I have written is things that were told to me be my mother and Dad.

Sent Gene picture of grandmother Frances. He will send you one. Grand Bill Wilbourn was a 6 footer, had sandy hair & blue eyes. A a loving smile.

Yours sincerely,

Your cousin

Rosa Woods

Wish I could see you sometime, but my health is breaking fast. Hope you can read what I have written. Set in my recliner to write this down. We loved Janis’s & your mother visit.

Ella Leone (Ryland) Arlandson


Bill Wilbourn’s granddaughter wrote an article on the family tradition that he used the Hell brand to mark his cattle. She published the story in a few magazines, with a little literary license.

Ella Leone (Lee) notes in a handwritten dedication to her mother Ella (Wilbourn) Ryland Clark, daughter of Bill Wilbourn:

With Love,


Sorry about Grandad’s Hair and (beard?).

This means that she realized that her grandfather did not have red hair, but sandy, and photos of him in his later years do not show a beard. She took some literary license. Also, he was not of Scottish origins, but English. His daughter Ella (Grandmother Rae) seemed to believe that most of her family was Scotch-Irish, but the vast majority had English lineage.

Using her penname Lee Ryland (maiden name), Bill’s granddaughter writes:

The Brand of Bill Wilbourn

Bill Wilbourn was a rugged Scotsman by chance and a tough Oklahoman by choice. Once you’d met him you weren’t likely to forget his sharp, blue eyes or his red beard which flamed out from all sides, matching the unruliness of his red hair.

Wilbourn never doubted his ability, his future or the power of his Creator. He proved this simple philosophy by applying his sweat and his sturdy sons to pioneer homesteading in the Washington River Valley, during the late 1880s. Although Wilbourn trusted the Creator to take care of all evil, he gave a hand with that chore by preaching fiery sermons to the neighbors every Sunday.

Life was good to this durable rancher and to his family. Then something happened that put him into a hellfire-and-brimstone rage. Rustlers began stealing his stock!

Sometimes the thieving was done by rascally white men. Sometimes it was done by hungry Indians slipping over from the nearby Kiowa reservation.

Now Wilbourn would have gladly given a beef to satisfy another man’s hunger – but stealing one for the same purpose was, you might say, a cow of a different color. In either case, because Wilbourn raised fat cattle and fine mules, he had more than his share of trouble.

Rustling, of course, was a serious offense, yet Bill Wilbourn considered it was much worse than an act against him. It was sinful, despicable offense against his Creator!

If Wilbourn’s opinion of rustling was somewhat unusual, so was his idea of no violence in handling rustlers. The way he figured it, “branding-iron sinners (indeed, all sinners) would get their punishment on “Judgment day!” It would take place in the furnaces of Hell – unless these sinners could be persuaded to give up their deviltry, repent, and trod that straight and narrow.

Bill Wilbourn could get mighty overwrought about Satan and Sinners, but he was plenty level-headed about the Profit and Loss side of his ledger. Its tally showed that they steady depletion of his stock was putting him out of business. Since shooting-sinners-on-sight was not for him (or the Lord) the next best deterrent had to be to find a brand that couldn’t be altered.

A brand that can’t be altered is most effective, but this Scotsman wanted his brand to have another quality. He wanted it to carry a message. So, with his strong feelings about Sin, Wilbourn was “inspired” to create exactly the marking he needed.

He explained it to his wife, “Frances, I’m going to brand the word HELL on my stock. It will remind every sinner where he is going if he steals. It might save a few souls for the Lord.”

Frances Wilbourn was a patient, calm woman (one could hardly be anything less with 10 children and a stubborn husband to care for.) But the proposed brand shocked her propriety. As far as she was concerned, Hell was a four-letter word no decent person ever used – much less spelled out and exhibited for all the world to see!

She protested, “Husband, have you forgotten your daughters will be reading that blasphemous word on every cow they milk? Your sons will be helping to brand our stock – actually be spelling out the word!”

Frances Wilbourn made one last desperate plea, “Then, for my sake, please don’t brand my buggy-horse, Kate. I couldn’t hold up my head if I had to drive a buggy, pulled by a horse wearing such a terrible word!”

For all his sternness, Wilbourn had a sense of humor (one could hardly have anything else with 10 children and a determined wife to care for). He could picture his humiliated wife and embarrassed daughters riding prim and starched behind old Kate with the brand HELL rippling scandalously on the horse’s muscled hip.

Wilbourn’s humor mellowed the severity of his eyes. “All right, Frances. There’ll be no brand on Kate. But she’d better not turn up missing.”

So came into being the HELL brand. Every four-footed animal that Bill Wilbourn owned (except the buggy-horse Kate) was thus emblazoned. When the brand was burned on the young stock, it “grew” with them until each letter stretched bold and tall.

The infamous brand served Bill Wilbourn well. The rustling stopped. As for how many souls it saved . . . he knew of 10 . . .  for sure! His children. Until he died at 74, Bill Wilbourn was positive that the daily sermon, preached by his brand, had kept his offspring corralled and proper!

Source: Lee Ryland, “The Brand of Bill Wilbourn,” Oklahoma Today, Vol. 19, No. 1, 1968-1969, pp. 20-21.

William and Frances’s Children

  1. William Amonet (1881-1921)
  1. Ernest Hastens (1882 or 1884 to 1955)
  1. Virginia Mae (1882 or 1884 to 1967)
  1. Alice Beatrice (1884 or 1885 to 1909)
  1. Abbie Lee (1886 or 1887 to 1958)
  1. Ella Washington (Rae) (1889-1982): she is our direct line and was a detailed record-keeper, so her story will be told in a separate book, now privately published in 2014: Ella Washington (Rae) Wilbourn: Her Life in Pictures, Words and Deeds. It’s available upon request.
  1. Nancy Maggie (1891-1911 or 1918)
  1. Lillian Myrtle (1892-1972)
  1. William Oscar (1893 or 1895 to 1956)
  1. Grady Ellis (1896 or 1897 to 1955)

1.  William Amonet

Per his death certificate, he was born June 3, 1881. From family history we know he was born near Santo, Palo Pinto County, Texas. He married Myrtle Johnson July 17, 1902, in Independence, Custer County, Oklahoma, by J. T. Hoyt, Minister of the Baptist Church, in Independence, Custer County. He died December 8, 1921, Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas and was also buried in Wichita, December 12.

More about him

He is named after his grandfather Amonet and called “Am.” The marriage license says Myrtle is from Arapahoe, Oklahoma Territory, and was 18 at the time they got the license, July 12, 1902 (she was born in 1884). He was 21. A. J. and D. C. Wiser were the witnesses. Am and Myrtle had two daughters: Thelma (b. 1906) and Louise (b. 1910).

1920 Census

William G (sic) Wilbourn, 38, appears in the 1920 Census, Wichita (Part of Precinct 4), Sedgwick County, Kansas. He and his wife Myrtle, 34, have two daughters: Thelma (14) and Louise (10) who can read and write, for they attend school. Both their parents can read and write too. He’s a contractor in oil and makes money on his “own account.” He was born in Texas and his parents’ places of birth are marked “United States.” She was born in Illinois and her parents are also marked as being born in the United States. William and Myrtle’s home is mortgaged.

His Passing

William’s death certificate says William A. Wilbourn died of cirrhosis of the liver on December 8, 1921, in St. Francis Hospital, in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas. He was born June 3, 1881 to W. H. Wilbourn and Fannie Daniels and was 40 years, 6 months, and 5 days old at his decease. The informant, George Sowers, who resided at 306 Schweitzer Building, says William was born in Oklahoma (he was actually born in Palo Pinto County, Texas). William resided at Hamilton Hotel in Wichita and was an oil driller. He was divorced from Mrs. Myrtle Wilbourn. The attending physician was George W. Mattison who says he cared for the deceased from November 24, 1921 and until he last saw him alive December 8, 1921. William’s place of burial or cremation or removal is abbreviated O. M. The undertaker was Gills of Wichita. He was buried December 12, 1921.

Here is his grave marker:


2. Ernest Hasten

He was born on September 20 or 30, 1882 or 1884; he never married. He died Monday, November 7, 1955, near Guymon, Texas County, Oklahoma, in a car crash.

More about him

His draft registration says he was born September 30, 1882, while family history says yes to the day of birth, but it was in 1884. The problem with the day is the mix up in his twin sister’s vital statistics, next. He lived in the Panhandle of Oklahoma most of his life. He was the twin to Virginia Mae. Asthma bothered him most of his life. He died in auto accident at [?] years old (Chappelear).

Draft Registration

Ernest registered for the draft on September 12, 1918, as follows: Ernest H. Wilbourn; he resides in Texhoma, Texas County, Oklahoma. He is 35; he was born September 30, 1882. He is a self-employed farmer. His father is named Harvey William Wilbourn (sic). Ernest resides in Mountain View, Oklahoma; he has blue eyes and brown hair.

1920 Census

He appears in the 1920 Census, Texhoma (outside of town), Texas County, Oklahoma. He is 27 (sic, read: 37) years old, single, head of household, and a general farm laborer. He mortgages his own home. He is able to read and write.

His Passing

The newspaper article reporting on the car crash in which Ernest died, reads in part:

ERNEST HASTEN WILBOURN . . . Trooper Jim Cross of the Guymon patrol unit, said the car [Robert Francis] Conway was riding in, driven by Herman Turpin, 57, Borger, was traveling north on SH 95 about two miles north of Texhoma.

Wilbourn, traveling south, lost control of his car when it skidded on the snow and ice-covered pavement. The Wilbourn car slid broadside into the northbound car. The crash occurred less than three miles inside the Oklahoma state line. Cross said Turpin was in a Guymon hospital Monday night suffering from severe shock. (Daily Oklahoma, November 7, 1955)

Here are some facts about him at find-a-grave:


3.  Virginia Mae

She was born on September 20 or 30, 1882 or 1884, in Palo Pinto County, Texas. She married George C. Wilkinson January 21, 1902 in Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma. She died August 11, 1967 in Corona, Riverside County, California. She was buried in Elsinore Valley Cemetery, Riverside County, California, on August 15. The link at the end of Virginia’s section here says George Cleveland Wilkinson was born December 29, 1875, and died July 29, 1954. He too was buried at Elsinore Valley Cemetery.

More about her

We have some discrepancies as to her day and year of birth. The California Death Index says she was born September 20, 1882, but the Social Security Death Index says September 30, 1882. Family history says September 30, 1884. Yet her funeral announcement says it was September 20, 1882. The link at the end of her section says September 20, and so does her death certificate. It seems the records weight most heavily towards September 20, 1882.

The California Death Index says she died August 11, 1967, a date that agrees with her funeral bulletin and death certificate, below.

Virginia’s children are as follows:

  1. Ethel, who lived the last years of her life in Moreno Valley, CA. She and her husband adopted Korean children and had no natural children of their own.
  2. Opal Mae
  3. Clota
  4. Alma
  5. Alton

Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary

In 1952 George and Mae Wilkinson were given a TV on their golden wedding anniversary. Part of the newspaper article says:

Mr. and Mrs. George C. Wilkinson of 3697 South Ellis street, Home Gardens, received a magnificent surprise Sunday morning when workmen from TV Center arrived to install a television set in their home. The television set was a Golden Wedding anniversary from their five children, Mrs. Lindy Birosal of Los Angeles, Mrs. E .F. Armstrong of Wheeler, Texas, Mrs. W. C. Hyatt of Fort Benton, Montana, Mrs. C. L. Melroy of Monterey Park, and Alton Wilkinson of Fort Benton, Montana . . .  Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson were married Jan. 21, 1902, in Mountain View Oklahoma. . . .  They came to California from Wheeler, in the panhandle of Texas, 15 years ago. They lived in Paradise and Elsinore before coming to Home Gardens which has been their home the past four years. Mr. Wilkinson is a retired farmer. Both of them enjoy good health.

 Her Passing[1]

Her death certificate says that she was found dead at 6:15 p.m. She was born September 20, 1882, in Texas and was 84 at her decease. She was a housewife for 65 years and widowed. The informant is George A. Wilkinson, who reports that her father was W. H. Wilkinson (it should be W. H. Wilbourn), born in Georgia (it should be Louisiana), and her mother was Francis Danials (sic), born in Georgia (correct). Virginia had resided in Corona, Riverside County, for 20 years, and in California for 32 years. The cause of death was acute myocardial infarction and coronary arteriosclerosis. A contributory cause was diabetes mellitus.

These photos are posted at Find-a-Grave:





4.  Alice Beatrice

She was born October 19, 1884 or 1885 (family tradition), in Palo Pinto County, Texas. She married Parker Hines, January 8, 1904, in Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma (Marriage Book 1, Kiowa Co. O.T. (Okla.): Sept. 9-4-1901-Feb. 2-22-1905). She died May 5, 1909, and was buried Oakdale Cemetery, Cowden, Washita County, Oklahoma. Parker was born January 15, 1884 and died November 1965, Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma.

More about her

Her sister Ella (our Grandmother Rae) says Alice was born October 19, 1884 or 1885 and died at 24 years old or in 1909, and was buried in Mountain View, Kiowa County.

Her Passing

Alice’s child was Ellison Hines, who died of Tuberculosis (see Rosa Woods’ handwritten account, below).

Ella (Rae) says Alice also died of Tuberculosis.

Find-a-Grave says Alice was born April 12, 1886 and died May 5, 1909.

The date of her father’s passing is wrong, as shown by his death certificate, reported by those on the scene. His date of birth is also off.

Further, Alice’s sister Abbie Lee Wilbourn Moore was born April 12, 1886 or 1887. Her husband says 1887, while her sister Ella says 1886 (see Abbie’s data, below).

We have asked the Oklahoma State Department for Health for Alice’s death certificate, but they come up empty. Oklahoma death records were kept beginning October 1908, but they were not mandatory until 1917, so the earliest records are spotty.

Parker’s 1910 Census

Alice’s husband Parker Hines appears in the 1910 Census, Oakdale Township, Washita County, Oklahoma, living with Clarence C. Chappelear and his wife Lillian. Parker is said to be 25 and widowed. So we know Abbie’s year of death in 1909 is correct. His father and mother’s birthplaces are Kentucky. See this census table, below.

Parker’s Draft Registration

Parker Milton Hines registered for the draft on September 17 (12?), 1917, when he was 34. His date of birth is January 15, 1884. His height and build are medium, and his eyes are blue and hair brown. His occupation is ginner, at George Esters, in Lindsay, Garvin County, Oklahoma. His nearest relative is Mrs. Goldie Hines, who also lives in Lindsay. He signed his name P. M. Hines.

Parker’s Passing

Parker is found in the Social Security Death Index. His date of birth matches the draft registration, and his death was in November 1965, in Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma. A search of all the 1,600 Social Security records at ancestry.com under Hines, Hine, Hynes, Heins, Haines, Hahn, and so on reveals this is the only Parker Hines in the entire county in the Social Security Death Index. Plus, the state is right. So probability says we’re looking at the right one.

Here is his grave marker:




5.  Abbie Lee

She was born April 12, 1886 or 1887, in Palo Pinto County, Texas. She married Jim C. Moore in about 1910, in Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma. She died October 2, 1958, in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, October 5, 1958, in Tucson.

More about her

This date of birth April 12, 1886, comes from her sister Ella (Rae). Yet Abbie’s husband says she was born April 12, 1887.

Abbie had twins Earl and Pearl and three other children, Shannon, Ione and Ella Lou; the latter died at a young age (Chappelear). Jim Moore was a professional gambler (Chapplear). See Rosa Woods’ handwritten account, below.


James C. Moore (27) and Abbie L. (24) appear in the 1910 Census, Oakdale Township, Washita County, Oklahoma. Their twins Pearl and Earl are 1½. His parents are from Missouri, while hers are from Louisiana (father) and Georgia (mother). Grady (or Grada in the census), Abbie’s brother, lives with them (see his data, below). James was a farmer on a “general farm.” The adults can read and write, and so can Grady. They rent their farm.

James C. Moore and Abbie L. are found in the 1920 Census, Oakdale (West Part), Washita County, Oklahoma. James is 36, born in Texas, and a farmer on a “general farm.” Abbie is 32 and born in Texas. Their children: Earl and Pearl are marked as twins (10); son Shannon is 6; Ioan (sic, read: Ione) is 4 years and 11 months; William H. Wilbourn, father-in-law to James, resides with them, is widowed, and 69 years old. James’ mother Elizabeth lives with them, is widowed, and 69.

Her Passing

Abbie’s death certificate says she died 3:56 a.m., October 2, 1958, Tucson Medical Center, Pima County, Arizona, and she was buried October 5, in Evergreen Cemetery. The informant was her husband James C. Moore. He says her date of birth was April 12, 1887 (not 1886). She was 71 years old at her decease. She was a housewife who was born in Texas. They had lived in Tucson since 1939. James says Abbie’s father was William Hasting Wilbourn (it was Harvey), and her mother was Fannie Virginia Daniel (it was Victoria). Both are said to be born in Louisiana, but Frances was actually born in Georgia. The doctor attended Abbie from October 1, 1951 to October 2, 1958. The latter date is when he saw her last alive. She had (illegible) Thrombosis for 5 days, and arteriosclerosis for 1 year. A contributory cause of death was Bronchial (difficult to read) pneumonia.

These photos are posted at Find-a-Grave:





6.  Ella Washington (Rae)

She is our direct line and was a detailed record-keeper, so her story will be told in a separate book which has now been published privately: Ella Washington (Rae) Wilbourn: Her Life in Pictures, Words and Deeds.

But here are the vitals:

She was born on May 13, 1889, in Santo, Palo Pinto County, Texas. She was married February 18, 1907, in Salinas County, Kansas, to Floyd (Frank / Slim) Rucker Ryland. They had three children, one of whom is my mother, Ella Leone. Rae and Frank were divorced on March 23, 1928. She married Reese A. Clark, February 3, 1938, in Pacheco, Contra Costa County, California. No children. Reese was born April 8, 1891, and died September 29, 1971, in Escondido, San Diego County, California. She died on January 26, 1982 in Medford, Jackson County, Oregon. A small memorial service was held in Medford on that day, at her daughter’s home. Her body was cremated, inurned, and buried on January 30, 1982, in Cypress View Mortuary, San Diego.

7.  Nancy Maggie

She was born on December 7, 1891 in Old Indian Territory, Oklahoma. She married in 1910 a man who is so far unknown to us, in Mountain View, Oklahoma. Clearly she was named after her paternal grandmother Nancy Margaret Gray Wilbourn. One tradition says she died on March 23, 1918, in Dalhart, Dallam County, Texas, from a miscarriage. However, one family tradition says she died in 1911. “Not much information on her” (Chappelear).

We have looked thoroughly in Dalhart newspaper obituaries, but to no avail. The Texas Department of State Health Services cannot find her date of death without her married name, so says their return letter to us.

8.  Lillian Myrtle

She was born on August 1, 1892, in Chickasaw Nation Indian Territory, Oklahoma. On July 29, 1908, she married Clarence Cecil Chappelear in Mountain View, Oklahoma. She died on January 4, 1972, Hobart, Kiowa County, Oklahoma, and was buried January 6, 1972, Mountain View Cemetery, same county. Cecil was born May 14, 1886, Cloud County, Kansas, and died January 1, 1967, Oklahoma City.

More about her

She was crippled in a buggy accident when young. Rosa her daughter was with her at the time. She never complained and was a wonderful mother and person (Chappelear). She preferred to be called Lillian or Lillie. But another family tradition says her nickname was Myrtie. Our family kept in touch with her son Gene Chapplear (iii, below).

Lillian’s children and grandchildren are as follows:

  1. Gertrude Rosa: b. April 7, 1909 [sic]; She married Glenn Thomas Woods. Also see her two handwritten letters, below.
  2. 2. Glenn Herschel: b. April 17, 1911 and d. Jan. 19, 1968; m. Laura Mae Epps (d. 19 Jan. 1968)
  3. 3. Clovis Gene: b. 25 Jul. 1921; m. Margaret F. Campbell (b. 10 Nov. 1922). He was a college graduate, says his sister’s handwritten accounts.



Clarence C. (23) and Lillian M. (17) appear in the 1910 Census, Oakdale Township, Washita County, Oklahoma. Their daughter Rosa G. is eleven months, and William H. Wilbourn, Lillian’s father, lives with them. See this census table, below, and the data on William Oscar, next.


Lillian (27) and Cecil (34) are found in the 1920 Census, Harrison Township. Kiowa County, Oklahoma. They live with his father and mother John B. Chappelear (70) and Mary (or May) Jane (66), who are from Ohio. Their son Oatho (sic, read: Otho) is single, 24 and was born in Kansas. Lillian and Cecil’s daughter Rosa is 10 and their son Herschel is 8. Lillian and Cecil are from Oklahoma and Kansas, respectively. All the men are farmers, though the more specific occupations of Oatho and Cecil are illegible.


In the 1930 Census, Harrison Township, Kiowa County, Oklahoma, C. C. Chappelear is 42, a farmer on a “general farm,” and was 22 at his first marriage (to Lillian). He was born in Kansas, and both his parents are from Ohio. Mertie Lillian is 36 and was 16 at her first marriage (to Clarence Cecil). Her occupation is marked “none.” Her father’s from Louisiana and mother’s from Georgia. Their daughter Rosia (sic, read: Rosa) is single, did not attend school within the last year, able to read and write, and is said to have “none” as an occupation. Glenn Herschel is 18, single, did not attend school within the year, is able to read and write, and is a farm helper on their “general farm.” Dess Lee has “daughter” crossed out, but his sex is still cited as “F” and is two months old. Cecil and Lillian rent their house.

Her Passing

Part of the newspaper obituary reads:

. . . Mrs. Chappelear died January 4, 1972 in Elkview Hospital, Hobart, after a short illness. She was born August 1, 1892 in Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory and was married to Clarence Cecil Chappelear July 29, 1908. She resided in Kiowa Flats community all her life until she moved to Mountain View. She was preceded in death by her husband and one son Hershel Glen . . . (Mountain View News, January 13, 1972, Vol. 34)

Lillian Myrtle’s death certificate very closely repeats what the obituary and funeral bulletin say, so we skip over those parts. The certificate says the informant was Mrs. Glenn (Rosa) Woods (see her letters, below). She says the burial was January 6, 1972. The doctor attended Lillian Myrtle from December 26, 1971 to January 5, 1972 (sic). She died of Coronary Thrombosis, and the contributory cause was Embulus (?). No exact hour of death is given.

Posted at Find-a-Grave:





At both links you can find their children.

9.  William Oscar

He was born November 8 or December 21, 1893 or 1895, in Mountain View, Oklahoma. He died 12:55 p.m., December 24, 1956, Fort Supply, Woodward County, Oklahoma. He never married.

More about him

His sister Ella (our Grandmother Rae) says, “He disappeared in his late twenties.” In another family history she says, “Never married so far as I know disappeared when about 22 or 23 never knew what became of him.” Another tradition says he was last seen in Wheeler County by Ethel, daughter of Virginia Mae. It’s a big mystery as to his whereabouts (Chappelear).

Family tradition says he was born November 8, 1895. But other records tell a different story.

As to his whereabouts, the mystery has been cleared up by the worldwide web and old fashioned letter writing. Thanks to the Oklahoma state clerk who found his death certificate and the clerk at Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, who found his naval and patient history.


Before his admittance into a mental hospital, however, William, 15, single, appears in the 1910 Census Oakdale Township, Washita County, Oklahoma, living with Clarence C. Chappelear and Lillian M., who is Clarence’s wife. William is named Oscar W. Wilbourn and is the brother-in-law to Clarence, the head of household. His father William Harvey Wilbourn also lives with them and is named as the father-in-law in relation to the head of household Clarence (See this census table, below). Being 15 in 1910 means he was born in 1895.

His enlistment record, found in possession of the mental hospital, says he is Wilbourn, William Oscar, and his rate is Boilermaker. He enlisted July 13, 1915, at Kansas City, Mo., for 4 years. His sobriety is rated 5 (excellent), Obedience is 5, and his average standing for term of enlistment is also 5. He was born Mountain View, Oklahoma, December 21, 1893. He is 21, 8 months; height is 5’9 1/2” and weighs 171 pounds. His eyes are blue, hair brown, complexion ruddy. The surgeon lists many personal characteristics, like moles. The percentage of time he was on sick list is 46%. He was paid $51.19 in the two months he served. “Is not physically qualified for reenlistment.” This record is dated Sept. 9, 1915. So he was discharged after only two months.

William appears in the US draft registration on June 15, 1917, when he was 24 (= b. 1893). His place of residence was in Guymon, Texas County, Oklahoma. His rank was private, and he was assigned to the infantry. However, he is said to be an inmate in the Oklahoma Hospital for the Insane. Where employed? “Supply, Oklahoma” Woodward County. Does this imply he was able to work in 1917? He is of medium height and build. He has dark brown hair and blue eyes and is not bald. He is listed as “Insane Patient.”

Clinical History

A summary of the record at the mental institution reads:

January 15, 1919: Mr. Wilbourn was admitted to Institution February 20, 1915. From Texas County [Oklahoma]; single; 22 years of age; occupation, Boiler Maker. His first attack occurred in February 1915, manifested by bolting doors at night and keeping a shot gun at hand. Would talk of fighting. No history of mental or nervous trouble in the family; patient had a severe blow between the eyes three years ago; has been intemperate. He was in the Navy two months, was discharged on account of illness. Supposed cause of his trouble is the blow on his head and intemperance. Physical condition seems good, gives no particular trouble on the ward.

August 28, 1920: No change, except he is quite untidy at times.

February 2, 1921: No change.

September 7, 1923: Physical condition about the same, no change in mental condition.

January 6, 1928: No change

March 28, 1926: Getting along as usual

June 28, 1927: No change



Wm O Wilbourn appears in the 1920 Census, Supply Township, Woodward County, Oklahoma, as an inmate of the Western Oklahoma Hospital. He is 47 (= b. in 1893), and was born in Oklahoma, his father in Louisiana (correct), and his mother in Georgia (correct). William Oscar is not employed. He is unable to read or write.


William O. Wilbourn is in the 1930 Census, Supply Township, Woodward County, Oklahoma. He is a patient in the Northwestern Oklahoma State Institution. His age is recorded as 39 years old (b. 1891). He was born in Texas, his father in Louisiana, and his mother in Georgia. William is said to be unable to read or write. So we have a little discrepancy between the censuses.

His Passing

His death certificate at the Oklahoma Department of Health (not mental health department) says his name is William O. Wilbourn. He lived in the Western State Hospital, Fort Supply, Woodward County, Oklahoma, for 41 years and 3 months. His usual residence was Texas County, Oklahoma. He’s a white male. His father was W. H. Wilbourn, and his mother’s maiden name was Fannie Daniels. He was born December 21, 1893. The informant was Hospital records, Fort Supply. He died 12:55 p.m., December 24, 1956, of coronary occlusion. The interval between onset and death was 20 minutes. He was buried in the Hospital Cemetery, in Fort Supply. The funeral director was Stetcher Mortuary, Woodward. The doctor was present when William passed.

The clerk at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health informs us by letter that Stetchers is no longer in business, but Nichols-Zwanziger Funeral Home, 1322 8th St. Woodward, OK 73801, (580) 256-3346, now handle the records.

10.  Grady Ellis

He was born on November 8, 1897, in Mountain View, Oklahoma, though his enlistment record says November 8, 1896. His marriage certificate says G. E. Wilbourn married (1) Myrtle Toms June 25, 1917, in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, by probate judge G. W. C. Jones; Grady was 21 and Myrtle was 19. However, family tradition through Ella (Rae) says her maiden name was Martindale (see photo, below). Then he married (2) Alice. He died May 5, 1955 in Sacramento, California and was buried May 7, in St. Mary’s Lawn Cemetery, Sacramento.

More about him

He thought he was a “wheeler and dealer.” He was a welder on locomotives in Oklahoma. He was handsome (Chappelear).

This excerpt is from the handwritten account by his sister (our grandmother) Ella W. Wilbourn:

My mother’s brother Uncle Billie was a conductor on the railroad from Ft. Worth to Big Springs Texas. He is the one that got a job for my brother “Am” as a boiler maker in the R.R. shops at Big Springs Texas that led to brother “Am” getting a boiler maker job for brother Ellis when he grew up. They both wound up together in the RR shops at Wichita Kans where brother Am died at age 40.

Grady Ellis’ children are as follows:

  1. Barbara Jean
  2. Shannon
  3. Earl (died when 32 yrs. old)

Censuses and Draft


Grada (sic, read: Grady) E. Wilbourn is in the 1910 Census, Oakdale Township, Washita County, Oklahoma, living with his brother-in-law James C. Moore and his sister Abbie L. Grady is 13, has no occupation yet, and is able to read and write, for he attended school in the past year.


Ellis Wilbourn and his wife Myrtle J. are in the 1920 Census, Wichita Ward 5, Sedgwick County, Kansas. He’s 22, and she’s 21. Both are able to read and write. He was born in Oklahoma, and his father and mother are said to be born in Oklahoma, but this is an error. His father was born in Louisiana, while his mother in Georgia. Further, the census says Myrtle was born in Kansas, and her father was too, while her mother was born in Illinois. Ellis is employed as a boilermaker in the Railroad shop, while hers is cited as “none.” He is said to earn a wage. They rent their house.

Grady and Myrtle appear in the mid-decade 1925 Kansas State Census, Wichita, Sedgwick County. He is 29, she 28, so his year of birth is 1896, per this census. He was born in Oklahoma and is a boilermaker. She was born in Kansas.

WWI Draft Registration

Grady Ellis is found in the draft registration, in June 5, 1917. He’s 21 and lives at 121 N. Walnut, Wichita, Kansas. His date of birth is November 8, 1896 (not 1897). His father is said to be born in Shrevesport, LA (an error in reporting). He is married to Myrtle J. and employed at M. & C. Railroad (Orient). (Note the slight discrepancy between the dates in his draft registration and his marriage certificate.) His eyes are gray, and his hair light. His health is sound. He resides in Plumas, California. He signs his name.

Newspaper Story

Ellis is mentioned in the local newspaper as participating in the installment of new officers for the OES, Portola Chapter, California, in about 1946. He sang “Stairway of the Stars,” and he and Beulah Rees sang a duet, “Perfect Day.” Alice Wilbourn was the organist. His children Barbara Jean and Earl Wilbourn were the guests and were introduced to the meeting of about 100 members and visitors.

His Passing

Grady Ellis’ California Death Index says he was born November 8, 1897 in Oklahoma and died May 5, 1955 in Sacramento, California.

His death certificate repeats very closely the obituary, so we skip over those parts. It says he was born November 8, 1897, in Oklahoma. He served in WWI. His wife was Alice C. Wilbourn, who was the informant. She did not know who his parents were. Grady and Alice had resided in Sacramento for three years. He died at 8:45 p.m. in Sutter General Hospital, from heart trouble (difficult handwriting). The contributing causes were cardiovascular renal disease, and cardiac dilatation. The doctor attended him from July 14 or 19, 1952 to May 5, 1955. He was buried May 7, 1955, St. Mary’s Lawn Cemetery, Sacramento.

The obituary in the local newspaper reads:

Services will be held tomorrow for Grady Ellis Wilbourn, 57, a retired Western Pacific Company boilermaker, who died yesterday in the Sutter Hospital. He resided at 2665 6th Avenue.

Wilbourn for 13 years lived in Portola, Plumas County, and worked for the WP. He moved to Sacramento three years ago and retired a year ago.

He was the husband of Alice C; father of Mrs. Barbara Fisher and Earl Wilbourn, both of Sacramento; brother of Mrs. Ella Rae Clark of Escondido, Mrs. Mae Wilkinson and Abbie Moore, both of Arizona, and Ernest Wilbourn and Mrs. Lillian Chappelear, both of Oklahoma.

Services will be held 11 AM in the W. F. Gormley & Sons Funeral Home. Burial will be in the St. Mary’s Lawn Cemetery.

This is his grave marker photo posted at Find-a-Grave, St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, Sacramento, California:


This is Grady’s first wife’s grave marker photo posted at Find-a-Grave, Old Mission Cemetery, Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas:


Summary of William and Frances’s Life

William had a three-state journey: Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Family tradition says he did not move up to Arkansas with his family in about 1876, but went out to Texas.

He was about twelve years old and still living in Louisiana, when the Civil War ended in 1865. He must have remembered stories from returning veterans, both during and afterwards. He surely heard and read newspaper accounts.

Why did he move to Texas? Family tradition says he was set to marry a woman, but did not love her. Also, train tracks were being laid near Fort Worth, and the 1880 Census reveals lots of single men working on the railroad. Unfortunately Bill is not found in that census completed in June. As a single man he was mobile. He did get married in August 1880, so he was in the area. The census taker must have missed him.

Frances enjoyed a three-state journey as well: Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Her family moved to Texas about a decade after the Civil War. She was eleven or twelve when the war ended and living near Atlanta, so she felt the devastation of Sherman’s march. She was probably glad to move. Texas must have seemed almost magical, by reputation. A new beginning.

Frances lived with her brother Wiley Echols on a ranch in Palo Pinto County, where they raised livestock and grew crops. Wiley used to drive cattle into Fort Worth for the meat market. William met them on their ranch. He may have worked there a while to get more training for farming.

William and Frances had six children in the Lone Star state, of whom our Ella (Rae) was the last born in 1889. The seventh was born in 1891, in Oklahoma, so we know the family moved between those dates. They were part of the Oklahoma Land Rush. They became Sooners.

William does not appear in the 1900 Census, so it is difficult to pin down where he lived. The one land record we have is in 1910, but he had bought or acquired property sometime between 1889 and 1891. Everyone in the family talks about Mountain View, near the Washita River, in the western part of the state, so that’s where we’ll say life was established for this generation of Wilbourns.

Rae reports they were cotton farmers; she says she had a crooked back from picking the crop so many times. Bill was also a part-time Baptist preacher, who held local revival meetings and thundered about hell fire. He was registered in the county as a minister. Rae noted with irony that he preached hell fire, and he fell into a lit fire and soon died.

Frances succumbed twenty-five years earlier to Typhoid that swept through the area. One of her children got it too, but survived.

So who was this specific generation of Wilbourns?

They were ordinary folk who lived on a ranch and grew cotton. They raised livestock too. They were one of the pioneers of the Sooner state. Their values were simple, but not simplistic. They were not complicated: hard work, faith in God, and kindness towards their neighbors. They go well beyond clichés.

They reflect the same values of millions of other Americans. Living out these values and putting them into practice is the main ingredient to this fine generation of Wilbourns and to a great nation.


[1] A transcription of her and George’ grave marker is here: http://www.bakerfamily.org/legs/Wtable.htm; it shows Virginia M. Wilkinson, but with different dates from those on her death certificate. The certificate says she died August 11, 1967 and was buried August 15, 1967. That also link shows that George Cleveland Wilkinson was born December 29, 1875 and died July 29, 1954.


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