Ronald L. (Ronald Lee) Akers.

A westward journey : the Akers from Virginia to Washington : including data on Charles, McCoy, Range, Smith, Howell, Klepper, Mead(e), Humphreys, Bowman, Lorton, Rhoade, Dickson, Ronimus, Carr, Steel/Stahl, Blackburn, Abrell/Abrahall, Coons/Kon online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibraryRonald L. (Ronald Lee) AkersA westward journey : the Akers from Virginia to Washington : including data on Charles, McCoy, Range, Smith, Howell, Klepper, Mead(e), Humphreys, Bowman, Lorton, Rhoade, Dickson, Ronimus, Carr, Steel/Stahl, Blackburn, Abrell/Abrahall, Coons/Kon → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook














Erraxa to "A Westward Journey", as of 7 S«;p 1998
page p ara/line co rre aioq

3 lib J it) 4

81 2/17 " 1 9 1 0" 3/T? " 1 9 1 6", note: the location was Rocicvford, which

was about 50 tniles east of Calgary.
2/20 "3 3" s.'b "40"

84 4/19 note; Harriet is missing Ixom the 1920 WA census as Tom's


"seven" vb "eight"

"Kalispell" s/l? "Coiumbia Fails"

top photo "ca 1916" sJh "ca 1912"

delete; "or 1932"

"1936 or 1937" s«'b"1935"

"abtut" s/b "about"

"Matilda" sjh "Elizabeth"













C^ 3/ ^ ^o














APR 1 3 2001
1TF.M ?#_/

PnOjEC'!' and G S.

RC i-L =* , CALL i*

5 23 142 5 442

IV/^/ ^

U^C^ ny


Over the past four (and more) years many people have come to my assistance and supplied
me with information about my Akers family and its many supporting branches. Since
initially I knew very little about my paternal roots I was dependent upon newly found
relatives and others that had researched and recorded much of the Mers' history In later
sections of this book I will try to fijrther explain the process that unfolded and how I came
to the level of knowledge that now exists.

So, without further fanfare I would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their
generous help and encouragement:

a. Sister Virginia (Akers) Pullen

b. Aunt Ora (Jacks) Akers

c. First cousins:

1. Thomas J. Akers, Jr. and his daughter .Alice (Akers) McWilliams

2. Larry Hovig

3. William Johnson*

4. Linda (Akers) Melville*

d. Second cousins:

1 . Anna Ruth (Akers) Lycan*

2. Gary Douglas Akers*

3. Liza (Akers) Kidd

4. Dale (and wife Margaret) Range

e. More distant relatives, but just as helpful:

1 . Cornelius Carroll

2. Dessie Little Simmons

3 . Dorothy Fulton, granddaughter of my deceased cousin Cora (Holmes)

4. William C Akers, a descendant of my great x 4 uncle, Valentine Akers

5 Nora Holmes, widow of my cousin Cecil Holmes

6 Patricia (.\kers) Hunter, she sent me the first picture I had ever seen of
my grandfather!

f And many others, unnamed and some deceased, that helped in many ways. My
own family has put up with my passion and perhaps excessive use of time on this project,
but I especially thank my wife, Mildred, for supporting my desire to gening the story
down on paper.

* indicates "once removed"

I would like to dedicate this work to the continued memory of this family, although it was
in no way seemingly historically imponant it had a fierce determination to survive in
difficult circumstances through hard work. We have our share of minor legal scrapes and
a few with histories that we might prefer did not happen, but they did and we can't change
it, only learn from them. So I hope this documentation will help all of the family's
descendants better understand from what humble roots we come fi-om.


This book will attempt to trace the paternal line of Mers of Colonial Virginia (and a bit
before) and their many supponing maternal lines, dowir to the present time of the author
It will ultimately focus on the life of my grandfather. Robert Alexander Akers, the family
thai he was bom into, his famihes, and his descendants.

Some data will be provided, as background, that relates to the Virginian Akers families of
the pre-Revoiutionary War penod as well as those that panicipated in the opening of the
Ohio Valley in Kentucky in the very early 1800's.

These ,\kers families were primarily of the land, farmers, and their desire to move where
there was more or better quality land took them from Europe (as known, primarily the
Bntish Isles) to .America, across Virginia, to Kentucky, to Missouri, and for my
grandfather (and a few other .Akers plus members of the Range, Smith, and Brewer
families) to Washington State.

In the case of my paternal grandmother, Maiy Jane Range, her ancestors were also
colonial era immigrants from several European countries, primarily Germany (including
the .Alsace). Switzerland, and the British Isles. After arriving in America these people
moved across mideastem United States (New Jersey. Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the
Carolinas), ultimately concentrating in Washington County, Tennessee.

I never knew my Akers/Range grandparents, and in some ways barely knew my father or
any of his siblings. This situation, which will be more fijlly developed in the Introduction
Section, required me to start my search for my roots with very little hard data. As the
reader will discover, I have been very fortunate, and have for me at least found a wealth of
information and family history. I have done this work not only to satisfy my own lifelong
curiosity as to where I came from but for my close relatives and my offspring as well. It is
a great privilege to walk vicanously in the times and locations of one's ancestors.

Ronald L. Akers
13203 Clyde Park Ave
Hawthorne, CA 90250-4915

Summer 1998

















Front: Sketches of farm implements and life, on Gold, the color of the "ripe
Palouse wheat"

Back: The Robert Akers Bam, Fairbanks Road, four miles west of Tekoa,
Washington, still standing in 1998 and probably over 100 years old. Photo taken
by Ronald L Akers, August 1994.

Spine; Green, the color of Spring in the "Palouse".



In this section I will anenipt to relate how the process of learning what I now know about
the .\kers fanyly and its supporting lines occurred. It will also include information on the
research I have done on the ongins of the fanuiies of the three wives of my grandfather as

I should state "up front" that I was always interested in my family roots, but because of
the lack of information readily available or my waning persistence nothing much happened
until I decided to retire from frill time work in late 1993. My mother's German immigrant
roots were well if not deeply, known and were a great sense of historical pnde on her side
of the family with several pictures and many stories to back them up. However my father's
family almost was a total mystery.

My father's roots were shadowy, with the aura of the unknown and "well, they didn't get
along", so we didn't talk about them much. We had no pictures of his father, Robert
.-Mexander .^kers, and I believe only a veiA' small one (about one inch square) of his
mother, Mary Jane (Range) We knew that Robert was bom in Kentucky and settled in
Washington after a lengthy stay in Missouri where his first wife, Malinda Catherine
(Charles) died and that there were four children of that marriage. We knew that my father
was the only surviving child of Robert and Mary Jane's marriage and that she died before
he was a year old. We knew that my grandfather married a third time and that there were
five children of the marriage. By the time I was 18 years old I had only met one uncle
from the first family, Thomas, and one from the third, John. M the rest were basically
unknown. My father said that he did not get along with his father from an early age and at
about the time he would have started high school he ran away from home and did not
return for about two years. He was close to his brother Tom (Uncle Thomas) of the first
family, and several of his brothers in the third family but apparently not close enough to
keep in close contact.

My father, Dewey Akers, died in the crash of a light aircraft in August of 1952 and I lost
my pnmary source of information, in addition I was really not either interested or v^nse
enough to ask the right questions or to get things written down. It wasn't until the late
I960'3 when in July of 1968 during a change of stations (I was in the US. Air Force at
that time as a career officer) that we visited my Uncle John m Lewiston, Idaho. At that
time he introduced me to two of his brothers (Earl and Rolland) and his sister (Nell) and
took me to the site of the Roben Akers' property near Tekoa. Wastungton where the
.Akers bam. built probably in the 1 890'3, was still standing. I should note here that my
mother, unfortunately had almost no knowledge of the Akers/'Range femilies.

This experience again sparked my Interest and with Uncle John's help I was able to
construct by about 1 969 a crude and incomplete chart showing my grandfather's three
families and descendants. It seemed that Uncle John, even though he wanted to help had
some major limiutions and "hang ups" with the details of the Robert Akers' family I also

attempted to follow-up on some of the major steps in my father's life having to do with his
early school attendance, military service, and college and university accomplishments.
This later area resulted in supplied reports that were at considerable variance with the
stories of my childhood (maybe I didn't listen very well) and I became dtsheanened and
stopped searching for my roots by about 1972. My Aunt AJdyth, widow of my Uncle
Tom, also tned to help me but had little data, ahhough she did send me a picture of my
father with his first wife, taken in the late 1920'3 which was helpfiil in learning her identity.

I can only say that the spark of interest and curiosity did not totally die because in the mid-
latel980's I bought a series of books which in addition to giving some "rough" information
on genealogy and the historic Akers names in Europe and America gave the names and
addresses of all the Akers families in the World. One can say that these are a waste of
money, and this is true in the sense if one expects to find "their family" in this history, but
as a precursor to the "Phone CD-ROM" they did their job.

During this time (1991-2) my cousin Thomas (Jr) Akers' daughter, Alice, became
interested in the family and accessed the U.S. Census records and was able to record the
family of Robert back about two generations confirming the family's connection with
Floyd Co, Kentucky, With this information and the addresses of all the people with an
Akers name within a 30 mile radius of Prestonsburg, the county seat of Floyd Co, a semi-
massive search was planned. In mid/late 1993 I prepared and sent out about 165 letters to
persons within that 30 mile radius of Prestonsburg, KY (where by my books accounting
about 2% of all of the World's supply of Akers' resided!) with an ancestors chart and
other pieces of data (along with a self addressed stamped envelope) requesting that they
respond with any data on ,\kers families and in specific the Jonathan/ Solomon ones.

As most surveys are norm to result, about \0% were returned (in one way or another), but
fortune, or fete, was on my side because one Akers addressee passed the letter to his sister
living nearby in Ft Gay, WV, and the dam was broken; she was my second cousin, Anna
Ruth (Akers) Lycan, great grand daughter of John Henry Akers an older brother of my
grandfather, Robert Alexander Akers. Initially she did not recognize that we had found
each other, and I not knowing much was not a lot of help either. The recorded history
that the Kentucky relatives we had located did not accurately document that my
grandfather, Roben, not only was the youngest of the family, but that had ended up in
Washington State. But in any case contact had been made and the information flow went
at a high rate thereafter. Anna Ruth has been my most faithful and helpful correspondent.
She has willingly shared all of the Akers ancestral history that she had gathered and has
referred me to other Akers cousins so that I might write to them as welL

Following this major success, I began looking for records (based on what little I knew) of
my grandmother, Mary Jane (Range) Akers, bom in TN in 1853 An exhaustive search of
the Tennessee censuses was launched at the local LDS Family History Center in Santa
Monica, After a suitable period I found she and her family in Washington Co, TN. The
facts as to when and where she had died, and where she was buried were still unknown. I

wTote to Washington State wth no results. My only hope (or next best guess) was that
she was buned in TN. We would check that out later!

In 1994 wtth .-Knna Ruth's help I contacted Gary Douglas Akers, a great grandson of
Thomas Washington .\kers, another older brother of my grandfather, Gary, thank
goodness like Anna Ruth, was also intensely interested in his family history, so on our first
visit to MO and KY we toured in reverse chronological order the sites of my grandfather's
habitation tn those areas. This first trip was one of feeling our way, we visited, with
Gary's kind assistance, the gravesites in Freeman, MO and the Courthouse in Harrisonville
(the county seat of Cass. Co) and collected several documents and records that helped
piece together many aspects of our family, Gary talked about these ancestors like he had
personally known them. His memory for this data is quite phenomenal

The next step of the 1994 trip was to visit Floyd Co, KY the birthplace of my great
grandfather and grandfather and all of his siblings. Here we visited the Courthouse and
Library in Prestonsburg (the county seat of Floyd Co, KY) and found many deeds and the
mamage cenificate of my great great grandparents Solomon Akers and Matilda Mead,
dated 1812. Anna Ruth and I met for the first time in person and after the initial
formalities set off to find the grave of our grandfather (great for me and great great for
her) Jonathan .\kers on Toler Creek, abranchoffof the Sandy River. Finding of the
grave, which was ultimately successfijl, was quite an adventure, It seemed that Anna
Ruth, who I believe had never been to this "Hallow" (pronounced locally as "Haller"), was
a bit concerned as to how we the outsiders (especially myself with a definite non-Kentucky
accent) were going to be regarded. To cut this short, we were treated very cordially, but
with some latent suspicion, and after two false starts found the location of Jonathan's
grave The caretaker of the cemetery (the Rainey-Hunt) first looked at me with a
practiced eye and said in his thick Kentucky drawl: "what part of the U. S. Government
are you from anyway''" (ie; are you a revenuer''). After I had assured him that other than
being retired fi-om the USAF , I was just a private citizen looking for the grave of an
ancestor, his demeanor changed completely and said "follow me up the hill after I open the
gate" There high on the side of an old strip coal mine and its restored topography we
found the headstone of Jonathan Akers, my great grandfather. Who knows if it is his
actual gravesite or the actual dates of his birth or death, as the caretaker said, "One day
this headstone was just here, I don't know who put it up!". I guess it doesn't matter that
much as we all believe this where it happened and the exact spot or time is not that
imponant. There are few Akers of direct lineage still living in this area so we had no one
to ask at to how and when it had happened. It was quite amazing to be driving down the
narrow roads and see mailboxes with ".■^kers, Howell, Keathly and other &imily names"
thereon Looking at the Floyd Co map we found at least four ".^kers Branches" (streams
or creeks to us Westerners). It was an adventure of an lifetime and continued as we
toured with .Anna Ruth the area of her grandparent's home and cemeteries,

From Floyd Co we drove south through the western tip of VA and into TN. Now we
were on our own. No newly found relatives to hdp us, but I knew that my grandmother,
Mary Jane Range was fi-om Washington Co, TN based on my research into the censuses of

that area. As we drove south, my wife, Mildred, said, "well, where are we going'"^
Previously I had thought about the possibility of looking for my grandmother in Johnson
City, Elizabethton, or Jonesbourough, TN, all had some geographical attachment to her
In desperation I said, "let's go to Jonesbourough since it is the county seat" As we pulled
off the Interstate we entered a lovely, small city with beautitlilly restored colonial style
buildings. Within no more than a few blocks we found a visitor's center and although late
in the day it was open and we went in to inquire about our quest. I asked about the
location of a library where we might look into genealogical data. The helpftii lady behind
the desk said, "yes, right next door is the county library and they have a large genealogical
section and many helpful volunteers" She then helped us find a local city run campsite for
us to stay with our RV for the mght. The next day we arrived at the library early and very
quickly the volunteers asked us what family we were interested in, I said, "Range", and
they said rather to my surprise, "oh, there are a lot of them around here"! I looked at
book after book that morning and into the afternoon without any success; then in the late
afternoon I was given a series of books dealing with the cemeteries of Washington Co
There in one of the volumes I found the entry of my grandmother's grave in a nearby
cemetery, including a transcription of her stone, which included my grandfather's name
(wife of R.A. Akers). I knew we had found her; checking a map which the library had we
located the cemetery only about 20 miles away from where we sat. She was buried with
her parents and other family members. My hunch was right, fortune was still on our side.
The next day we drove through Johnson City to the Bluff City Cemetery and without
much trouble found her grave. What can I say, it was an emotional moment, a
grandmother I had never seen, a mother my father had never known, had any descendant
ever visited her grave? I don't think so. Pictures were taken and notes were made Her
gravestone is the only record we have of her death date. We still don't know where she
died, we can only assume Whitman Co, WA, but since there were only spotty death
records kept there at that time, we don't know. After copying the records in the library
that pertained to the Range and allied families (that we knew about at that time) we left
the area and continued our trip home via the southern route to CA.

From data found in TN in 1994 we were able to locate information on a closely related
Range family still living in Washington Co. A history of Washington Co. TN had been
published in 1988 and therein was an article on the family of John Albert and Rutha
Range. John .Albert was an older brother of Mary Jane, so we attempted to contact the
author; Mrs Eddie Range, whose husband would have been my father's first cousin. The
reply to my letter came from her son and daughter-in-law. Dale and Margaret Range, my
second cousin. Dale and Margaret were able to supply a considerable amount of
information on our Range line and many clues to supportive lines. Unfortunately Mrs
Eddie Range had died the prior year.

During 1995 added research was done on all fronts to study and expand the Akers and
Range known history Slowly, more and more of the family became understood and many
key documents were located. Trips to Whitman Co. WA were made to meet with Aunt
Ora .Akers and to visit area libraries and court houses. During this time we also
discovered two additional Akers cousins: William Johnson and wife Ruth and Linda

Meivrlle, both grandchildren of my father's half brother, William Akers. They were equally
helpful in filling in data on William's family and their own families

In 1996 we made our second trip east, agam visiting Cass Co, MO; Floyd Co, KY: and
Washington Co, TN As before, Gary .-Vkers, .Anna Ruth (.AJcers) Lycan and families were
our gracious hosts and never seemed to tire of showing us around or supporting our
quests for data During this tnp we added several new family members to our list of
visitees They are: William (Bill) C. .Akers and wife Vivian of Lexington, KY (Bill is a
descendant of great x 3 uncle Valentine Akers); Cornelius Carroll and his father Amos of
Harold, KY (Cornelius is a relative via the Howell line and the Editor/Publisher of the
"Old Floyd Co., KY Families", a quality quarterly journal of genealogy of that area); Liza
(Akers) Kidd of Pikeville, KY (a granddaughter of Nancy Ann Akers, my grandfather's
sister), and of course Dale and Margaret Range of Gray, Washington Co, TN. During this
trip we, with a better understanding of the basis for the Akers family and supporting family
lines, were able to concentrate on new areas and specific questions. For example, while in
HamsonvUle, MO (county seat of Cass Co) Gary Akers and I were able to find the death
record of Sarah (Howell) Akers, which gave not only her exact date and cause of death,
but her exact age which allowed us to calculate her date of birth, which was previously
unknown to we .Akers researchers. Try as we might, we were unable to find any record of
Malinda's (my grandfather's first wife) death; as irony would have it, the county started
keeping death records the month following her death. Also we were unsuccessful in
finding what happened to Solomon Akers, Jr's first wife, Matilda (Mead) Akers who
disappears fi-om the MO public records in 1 846. While Gary and I dug through court
houses, libranes and historical society archives, Mildred became an expert on the exploits
of the infamous Quantrill band (raiders) of which three of Solomon Jr's sons (Sylvester,
Larkin and Henry) were members. To jump ahead a bit but on the same thought, while in
Floyd Co, KY she read up on the history of the Hatfield - McCoy feud in the adjoining
Pike Co, as the McCoy clan includes as a member, the first wife of my grandfather,
Malinda Charles who was a great granddaughter of the family patriarch, William McCoy
It seems she enjoyed researchmg the more exciting or (?) aspects of the family.

On to Floyd Co, KY, using Anna Ruth (Akers) and E.B Lycan's place in nearby Ft Gay,
WV as homebase, we spent time getting to know Cornelius Carroll and his father .Amos,
and Liza (.Akers) Kidd As usual and expected they were very hospitable and helpful to
our search for expanding our .Akers database One of the successful quests of this period
had been to find the military/pension record of my great uncle Marion .Akers (my
grandfather's oldest brother). Up to this time we had all been unsuccessful but through an
accident when Anna Ruth had sent me a portion of a recently published book which dealt
in pan with the greater Akers family and erroneously included great grandfather Jonathan
.Akers' family did we notice that "Marion" was listed as James M (Marion) .Akers. With
his seemingly more complete/correct name we quickly found his Civil War records
revealing that he had not died in the war "per se" but of typhoid fever in a military hospital
in .April 1 863 after only about six months service. From his pension file we learned the
dire circumstances of Jonathan's family at that time, Jonathan's ultimate death fi-om the
effeas of cholera, and how it took Sarah over 15 years to get James' pension! While in

KY we had hoped to find the location of James' grave but to no avail, success one piece at
a time I guess.

Liza Kidd was kind enough to let us photograph the large framed historic charcoal
drawings she has hanging in her house, one of Nancy Ann Mers and the other of the four
sons of Sarah (Howeil) Akers. A photocopy of the latter was the first picture I had ever
seen, sent to me by Patricia (<\ker3) Hunter in 1993, of my grandfather.

As in 1994, from Floyd Co, KY we drove on to Washington Co, TN to visit our newly
found Range cousins. Washington County was now somewhat familiar ground to us this
time. After checking into our well known Jonesborough RV park we called Dale and
Margaret Range to let them know we were "in town". They were also wonderiiil hosts
and showed us many of the local historic spots of direct interest to our family such as: The
Peter Range House, The Issac Hammer (and Susannah Milhous Bowman Hammer)
House, The John and Louvisa (Isbell) Carr graves and homesite, and their ancestral home.

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryRonald L. (Ronald Lee) AkersA westward journey : the Akers from Virginia to Washington : including data on Charles, McCoy, Range, Smith, Howell, Klepper, Mead(e), Humphreys, Bowman, Lorton, Rhoade, Dickson, Ronimus, Carr, Steel/Stahl, Blackburn, Abrell/Abrahall, Coons/Kon → online text (page 1 of 13)