A Short Remembrance of the Stuarts of Roger Mills County, OK.

Click on picture to see a scene from the Oklahoma Land Run of 1892

Note: This story has been published in a book about the history of Roger Mills County, Oklahoma.  So far as I know, the book can be found locally in the library in Roger Mills County and can probably be purchased through the local historical or genealogical society there.
The story begins in 1886 with George A. Stuart and Emeline Murphy arriving in Payne County, Oklahoma. They traveled via covered wagon from Appanoose County, Iowa. They may have come, albeit late, because of all the news about land rushes and land availability there. My theory is that they came to Oklahoma, specifically, to Elk City, Roger Mills County, in 1904 in order to take advantage of lands on an Indian reservation being opened for white settlement.

A newspaper clipping from the area says that after the Stuart family entered Payne County, they lived there on a farm near Glencoe for five years. From Payne County the family next moved to Roger Mills County probably early 1905.

George A. Stuart, son of David & Elizabeth Sams Stuart was born May 26, 1854 in Illinois. The Stuart family moved to Appanoose County in 1850 and George’s parents remained there.

On July 27, 1857, Emeline Murphy, daughter of William & Lydia Brown Murphy, was born. George spent a lot of his childhood in Iconium, and Emeline was there from birth. Family stories have it that Emeline and her sister Belle were both schoolteachers before they married. At age 19, Emeline was converted to and became a member of the Christian Church.

George and Emeline married January 1, 1882 in the same town they grew up in. As far as we know this was the first marriage for both George and Emeline. Emeline was in her mid-twenties, and George entering into his later twenties when they married. There were eight children born to this couple: Frank Leslie Stuart born 1882; Edith Alice Stuart, born in 1883; Essie May Stuart, born in 1885; Roy Elmer Stuart born 1888; Ellen Artista Stuart, born in 1889; Ona Mabel Stuart, born in 1891; Cordelia Jane Stuart born March 18 1894 and finally, Lewis Bryan Stuart, born 1895. All the children were born in Iconium, Appanoose County, Iowa.

Remember to click these small images to see the bigger picture. In the picture left to right: George Stuart (man sitting), Woman on right, Emeline Murphy Stuart. Authors Great Grandmother is the little girl sitting between George and Emeline. The little boy between them is Lewis Bryan Stuart. Ca: 1899.

They came in about 1904 to settle near the cities of Elk City, Grow, and Shirley. George A. Stuart built a dugout for his family to live in until a home could be built. There is a family story that has been heard by many members who still live today. The members of the family include Erma Haddock (daughter of Ellen Stuart), Doris Cole (daughter of Ona Stuart), and myself, Peggy Rowe (a great granddaughter of Cordelia Jane). The story says that a big storm hit the area April 25, 1905. The powerful storm caused the dugout to collapse. The roof came down and crushed George Stuart to death. The story has it that wife Emeline was lying right next to him in bed and didn’t receive so much as a scratch. I now wonder if it was a tornado.

Thank you, cousin Erma.

The obituary in the Grow Tattler said that a ridgepole broke, collapsing on George. His body was badly crushed. It says that Emeline was hurt very badly, but the children escaped unhurt. It also tells us that it took three hours to clear the rubbish from the place. It was only after the clean up that the dugout could be recovered. George died at age 50 and the end came to the marriage that had lasted twenty-three years. He was buried in the cemetery in Shirley, Oklahoma.

Emeline seems to have been a strong, courageous and smart woman for her time. Even though she told a neighbor that it was a shock when George died, she went on with her life. I look at her with much admiration. On March 3, 1909 after the allotted time one must stay on a piece of property before they can homestead it, Emeline applied for a land patent on the land where her husband died. She paid $1.50 per acre for the land. The patent was finalized July 9, 1909, the land became hers and only hers for forever. The record at the Bureau of Land management shows it in the name of Emeline Stuart, widow of George A. Stuart. Emeline was owner of 160 acres in a time when William H. Taft was president.

Land patent papers showing Emeline as George's heir and owner of property. Thanks to: Judy in Cheyenne & BLM








In 1909, Emeline married again to a William Henry Clem. When asking my grandmother for family history data years ago she related to me that Emeline’s nickname was Clem. I never dreamed that it was actually her last name! The announcement was in the local paper. The headline was simple “Clam-Stuart”. Of course we know that Clam was Clem. The marriage was held in Mr. Clem’s home close to Shirley and took place November 3, 1909. After the ceremony a big dinner was given for friends and neighbors alike. And the line that I like best from the announcement is, “The match comes as a surprise to the people of Glencoe where the bride is known as an estimable woman.”

Emeline lived to be eighty-four years and ten days. Emeline was buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery, south of Glencoe. At the services there was a quartet to play music. At the time of her death her faith was that of Penticostal. She outlived both of her husbands and two of her children. Roy E. died in infancy from Spina Bifida, and Cordelia Jane Stuart married in Roger Mills County to John Robert McClaskey, son of Robert John McClaskey and Rozella Elizabeth Clapp of Milan, Sullivan County, Missouri. Cordelia died in 1928 at age thirty-two years of Scarlet Fever in Colorado leaving behind husband and children. Emeline passed away in 1941 on August 6th. When Emeline died she had 30 grandchildren, and 21 great grandchildren. Her second husband William H. Clem lived until June 29, 1921. After his death she kept her home for nearly 6 years before she finally moved in with daughter, Edith, and there she stayed until her death because of ill health.

I thank George and Emeline for coming together and living a strong life. Without them myself, and many others in our family would not be here. Also, I thank Emeline for setting such a strong example for her descendants, especially us girls! With her life she shares with us today a legacy of strength and the ability to move on with life. She teaches us that life, indeed, is full of changes and in order to succeed, we must change with life. For these reasons alone I feel obligated to tell the story of George and Emeline with love and as completely and accurately as possible.

George Stuart's Headstone

•Special thanks to cousin, Erma Haddock for the following:

  • George A. Stuart Obituary in the Grow Tattler.
  • Emeline Stuarts Obituary
  • William Clem & Emeline’s wedding announcement in a local paper.
  • Transcription of a letter from Mary West of Leedey, OK.
  • Cordelia Jane Stuart-McClaskey’s death certificate.
  • For confirming memories and helping me to understand the history of the area and of our family more accurately.
  • For Proofreading!!!

•Cousin, Doris Coles, for confirming memories!

•Cousin, Ed Snell, who has helped so very much with the Murphy & Brown side of the family!

•Great Aunt Mary Frances DeGuzman who shared with me the first hints to breaking down this brick wall, and for encouraging me onward even though she and my grandmother are ½ sisters and she is not even related to the Stuart/Murphy line.

•Many thanks to Judy in Cheyenne for getting land papers from the Roger Mills County Seat.

•The Bureau of Land Management

Emeline's Headstone

About the author: Peggy Ann Rowe is a great-great granddaughter of George A. and Emeline Murphy Stuart. She has been an avid lover of history and genealogy since she was 16 years old. When this story was originally written she was 39 years old and living in Cloverdale, CA. She had at the time, three children and one niece. She strongly believes that her family history is important to pass down to future generations as it shows the young ones who they came from, it explains much about family culture, and finally it gives them lessons in life that their own blood has learned over the ages.

Emeline's Obituary

Emeline's Obituary

Further Notes:

Shirley CemeteryRoger Mills County, State of Oklahoma
Made available to The USGenWeb Archives by Wanda Purcell (WPurc25758@aol.com)
Legal description NE 1/4 27-17-21, Located 5 1/2 Miles West , North 3 miles, 1 mile East of Leedey.

Stuart, George A. Born 05-26-1854 Died 08-25-1905

Other family members buried on the site:
McClaskey, Bertha D., Born 02-04-1879 Died 09-18-1957
McClaskey, William J., Born 05-01-1865 Died 07-07-1934

It contains the index of marriages from 1893 through mid 1995 and was formatted and placed on the OKGEBWEB by W. D. Kirby.



3 Responses to A Short Remembrance of the Stuarts of Roger Mills County, OK.

  1. Cordelia Jane Rowe (Packard Marriage name) says:

    Thank-you cousin Peggy for all the info. I remember when we both turned 16 when you started this and Have continued on for yrs. I hope someday you can publish a book. Give me notice and i’ll gladly help you with finances to do that. Much Love to you and our family. Love Cordie Aka Cordelia

    • Cordelia Jane Rowe (Packard Marriage name) says:

      Also Uncle Richard Rowe has some pictures i gave him and I do to that may be of interest to you and your research.

      • PeggyAnn says:

        No doubt those pics would be of interest to me, Cordie!! 🙂 I hope to see them soon.

        Aunt Alveta wanted me to write a book too. I actually have started on that project twice. My problem is that I’m not sure just where to start with all this. It has become quite obvious to me that I am good at writing an essay…. short format. So, probably what I’ll end up doing is putting all this information about the family into individual stories such as this. Then at some point putting them together into a book form.

        Though it seems an obvious thing to mix the McClaskey /Rowe line in a book, that would make it so that the only people interested in it would be our immediate family. So in order to make it more interesting for more people, I keep gathering information. The more generations I can go back, the more people will be interested.

        LOL!!! And, about the moment, I’ve decided that I’ve done enough and it’s time to get it organized and done, I find another new little tidbit, and that just encourages me to keep looking. Hence, I get off on a side trip again! hahaha!!! Genealogy! Gotta love it! LOL.

        Love you too, thanks for the comments!! Peg

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