Etta (on right) with her sister, 1925
|L to R: Paul, Roy, Jesse, Hugh, Clarence|
|The last home in Sedgwick, Kansas|
|Hillside Cemetery, Sedgwick, KS; Block J, Lot 14, Spaces 5 and 6|
Jesse's Obituary, Sedgwick Pantagraph, 8 May 1919
|There is some confusion about our Grandfather’s
name. His obituary lists him as Jesse Albert, there was one reference to him as Jesse Alfred and Joan,
and Hugh’s daughter had him listed as Jesse LeRoy. I chose his tombstone—it says Jesse Alexander, on
the theory that Etta had it erected. Anyway, Jesse was born October 26, 1864 in Salem, North Carolina.
This is in Davidson County. He was the third child of Henry Harrison Elliott and Eliza Jane Sappenfield.
The family moved to Indiana when Jesse was two, the on to Hardin County, Iowa when he was five. Jesse
was raised in Indiana around Sulphur Springs and met Etta Lee Cummins there. They were married September 16,
1885 and moved almost immediately to Kingman, Kansas. Jesse was a cook in a hotel there, according to Aunt Ruth,
when Bessie was born. The family moved on to Sedgwick and stayed there until his death in 1919.
all heard that Jesse and a brother of his, Mahlon, were acrobats in the Ringling Brothers Circus. According
to Ruth, Etta wouldn’t marry Jesse until he gave up his wild circus life. Mahlon was in poor health anyway
and I imagine that’s why the act broke up. I have contacted Ringling Brothers and they have no record of
the act, and neither does the Circus Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, however Ruth had a poster of Jesse and
Mahlon in their circus tights that was lost when a pipe broke in the basement and flooded a trunk of old
pictures. All of our parents’ generation remembers Mahlon visiting, and he even lived with them for a while
when he contracted tuberculosis. Jesse supported his family by his paper hanging and house painting work.
Hugh remembered his selling guns and ammunition from their home in Sedgwick. They only lived in two houses
in Sedgwick; one was torn down and the second one burned. Hugh also added that a gun club Jesse belonged to
built a cabin on the Big Arkansas River, west of Bentley, Kansas and remembered going there to shoot ducks.
Jesse was blonde, blue eyed, medium build, and slender. Etta was heavy in later years, short, very dark hair
and gray eyes. Jesse’s death certificate lists the cause of death as “cerebral apoplexy complicated by
nephritis.” Etta died of either a heart attack or a stroke.
Etta Lee Cummins was born January 1, 1866 in Henry County, Indiana, to Vincent Cummins and Margaret Susan
Whitworth. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Vincent’s obituary, which I have enclosed. He was born in
Monroe County, Virginia, on May 30, 1828 and was one of the first pioneer residents of Indiana, coming to
the territory when he was only two years old. In April of 1855, Vincent married Margaret Susan Whitworth
who was an Indiana native. Vincent and Margaret began having children and produced Elizabeth in 1856, Nan
in 1859, James in 1861, Jane in 162, Martha in 1864, Etta in 1866, Will in 1868, Mae in 1872, Charles Sylvester
in 1874, Lemuel in 1875, and Roy ended the family in 1880. Vincent lived in Henry County all of his life and
most of it was spent on one farm. He died July 10, 1912. His parents were Robert Cummins and Nancy Harvey,
both of Virginia.
There are more details on the Whitworth family at the bottom of the page.
Etta Cummins and Jesse Elliott before
Left to right: Ben, Jesse, Clarence, Etta, Bessie
|To begin to tell about the Elliotts, I chose to start with our parents’ generation and what we know of them. Jesse Alexander Elliott and Etta Lee Cummins
were the parents of nine children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. —SAE
Jesse Alexander Elliott
Born: 26 Oct 1864, Salem, NC
Died: 29 Apr 1919, Sedgwick, KS
Etta Lee Cummins
Daughter of Vincent and Margaret Susan (Whitworth) Cummins
Born: 1 Jan 1866, Sulphur Springs, IN
Died: 7 Feb 1933, Las Animas, CO
Interred: Hillside Cemetery, Sedgwick, KS
Margaret Susan Whitworth was the daughter of William B. Whitworth
and Elizabeth Tomlinson. Her father, William B., arrived in Indiana in 1829 with his uncle, Judge John Tomlinson,
settling in Delaware County where Judge Tomlinson entered 240 acres of land. William stayed on the farm five years
and then moved to Muncie to learn carpentry. In October of 1835, he came to Henry County and entered land in Jefferson
Township. He lived on these 80 acres up until his death. One of his sons, William W., took over the farm at that time.
On October 4, 1835 William B. married Elizabeth Tomlinson, his uncle John’s daughter. She was a native of Rowan County,
North Carolina where she was born on October 20, 1810. Their six children were Sarah Ann, our Margaret, John W., Mary E.,
Sanford, and Jemima J.
Elizabeth died September 28, 1853 and was buried in Painter Cemetery, 2½ miles northeast of Middletown. Eight months
after Elizabeth’s death, William married Catherine Deaver, who was 31 years old at the time. They had eight more children.
Eliza J., Celinda, Celica C., William W., Catherine, Emma, Ulysses S.G., and Philip H.S. The two daughters, Catherine and
Emma, were twins. Catherine died February 25, 1891 and William died February 19, 1895. They are both buried in the Miller
Cemetery 2 ½ miles east of Middletown. During his lifetime, according to Hazzard’s History of Henry County, William B. was
a well-known citizen of the county and held in high esteem. He was described as industrious and very civic minded. He was
well known as a radical republican and was involved in politics throughout his lifetime.
Hazzard’s History furnished a picture of one of William B. Whitworth’s sons, John W. Whitworth, who was Margaret’s brother.
He was a civil war veteran fighting on the northern side. He was a participant under General Curtis at the battle of Pea Ridge,
Arkansas with the Company E, 8th Indiana Infantry. Later he was under General Grant and fought at the siege of Vicksburg, then
went on to the battle of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia under General Philip H. Sheridan. He returned from the war to buy a
375-acre farm where he raised cattle and hogs, and also served as stockholder and director in the Central Savings and Trust
Company in New Castle. Of this family, Hazzard’s also notes that John’s brother Sanford was a civil war veteran serving with
Company G, 7th Indiana Calvary and John’s sister, Jemima’s husband, Joseph Hurst, was in the Company G 17th, Indiana Infantry
during the war.