Wedding announcement, February 1963
1st Anniversary 1964
3rd Anniversary 1966
Late '67-early '68
Summer in Cyclone
Adam, Chad, Sue, and Dean, November 1979
Sue and Dean with Senator Eagleton, 1987
|Memorial program for Jack Vandergriff|
Park Cemetery, Carthage, MO
2015 Richard M. Webster Citizen of the Year award resolution from the Missouri Senate
2015 Richard M. Webster Citizen of the Year award resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives
Memorial Service program
Wedding 23 Nov 1963
|Jack DeWayne Vandergriff
Born: 8 June 1942, Neosho, MO
Died: 6 Jan 2004, Carthage, MO
Interred: Park Cemetery, Carthage, MO
I began asking questions about who the Elliotts were in 1979 when Aunt Ruth was still living.
I had become interested in genetics through cat breeding and that led to questioning my own genes. Also, other than my brother, I had never met any other Elliotts
in my age group. I had met aunt Bessie and had known Ruth all of my life but I remember no contact with any of the Elliott uncles.
The first contact I had with a cousin was getting to meet Pat Featherby Kent at Aunt Ruth’s funeral in January 1985. Her comment on meeting me was that she
could tell I was an Elliott—small and dark. We spent only a couple of hours together that day, but when Ed died in November of 1985 it fell to her and I to
clean out the house. Our relationship was quickly established after spending several days working 18 hours cleaning and sorting, a couple of hours sitting
in a stupor too tired to go to bed, then just four or so hours of sleep. Among the things we discussed were who were the Elliott cousins and who had she met?
A friend who is a professional genealogist got me started and pointed in the right directions. This led to finding three cousins in Kansas, Joan in Falun, Suzanne
in Hesston, and Don in Wichita. Joan was nice enough to furnish the pictures of three of the Elliott brothers, with negatives. I have corresponded with cousin
Mahlon in Albuquerque, cannot locate John in Alaska, and am working on the other Don, Clarence’s son.
I won’t ever be completely done with this book. I have to go back and find out who the Cummins were in Monroe Co. Virginia, who Christian Sappenfield’s father
was, who were Caroline Miliken’s parents, and those sorts of things. The best piece of advice I was given, was to not believe half of the old family stories;
they are in error. My first and biggest error was in our great-grandfather’s name. What follows in proven fact for most part, conjecture on my part where noted.
My son Adam has photographed old pictures for me, made me wonderful negatives and given me access to his Xerox machine at his office. Mom has proof read and
changed facts in our fathers’ generations where necessary. Joan kept a diary of her afternoon visits with her father Hugh, my friend Doris has listened to me
be sooo very excited over a death certificate, my brother Lee has quit asking “who?” and read the pedigree and knows “who”, and my husband Jack has just been
wonderful about vacation trips to sunny Indiana, looking for graves on the coldest day of the year and also the windiest, and taking pictures of everything
“Elliott.” Caroline Sappenfield has helped with information on the Sappenfield line and all of this has to be recognized. —SAE
|Sue Elliott Vandergriff is the author of Then & Now, An Architectural
History of the Carthage, Missouri Square & Nearby Structures (Cassville, Missouri: Litho Printers & Bindery, 2003)
|Carthage Author Writing Book about Local Homes
by John Hacker, The Carthage Press, 20 July 2015
The author of a book about the historic buildings around the Carthage Square is at it again, and this time her subject is the city's historic homes.
Sue Vandergriff, Carthage historian and author of Then and Now, a history of the buildings in Carthage's historic center, is working with Carthage
photographer and former Carthage Press advertising sales representative, Stewart Johnson, to collect the histories of 50 of Carthage's most interesting and famous homes.
She plans on calling the book Home Sweet Homes and hopes to have it finished later this year, but she still needs the public's help to finish out the book.
“I'd like to get 10 to 15 more houses, somewhere in that range,” Vandergriff said. “I've only had one turn-down, so that's made me feel good, and I understand why
they turned me down. We try to be very very respectful of people's homes and their privacy.”
In Then and Now, Vandergriff detailed the history of the business buildings around the Carthage Square, talking about when they were built, who occupied
them and when, and in some cases when they were destroyed.
Vandergriff said this book will be similar but larger than her previous effort. She said some of the homes were built by interesting, successful and nice people
who left enduring legacies that benefit Carthage to this day.
“There are so many interesting things about houses and the people who built them,” Vandergriff said. “Like the Steadley House, the Steadleys were such good people
and they were so well thought of, there's no scandal, no nothing. Kent's step mother, Stella, was great. And she's the one, in her will, she said I would like you,
Kent, to establish a trust, and that's why it's now called the Kent and Mary Steadley Trust. I wrote a booklet for the Steadley Foundation, kind of a short history
of the family, because there is such a lack of information about them. They were just wonderful people and I named the booklet, The Greatest Gift, because it was,
to this town, the greatest gift. My God, what they've done.”
Other homes have a hint of scandal attached to them, such as the Williams-Spencer Home on Grant Avenue which historians say was built with funds embezzled from the
county by the former Jasper County Sheriff and County Collector Clinton Spencer in the 1870s.
“Then there's the Dr. Birch House on Maple and Highland,” Vandergriff said. “He bought the land and it went from Highland south to, I can't remember the cross street,
and it was probably an acre or two. He spent two years clearing the land, because you're talking farm country, and planting trees. Then when he was ready to build his
house, he built it. There is something in every house, some unique thing or story.”
Johnson is photographing the homes for Vandergriff's book and she said the two are careful about taking pictures in a person's home.
“We're very careful not to photograph anything of value, like if there's a pile of jewelry laying there, it's not going to be in the picture,” Vandergriff said. “We
respect the houses and home owners. I interview the owner, when was your house built, what do you know about it?”
Vandergriff said she recently finished interviewing Carthage philanthropist and businesswoman Roth Kolpin Rubison about the home built by Dr. John Carter, located
just east of Carter Park and the Battle of Carthage State Historic Site. Kolpin has restored the home and Vandergriff said one of Johnson's pictures of the exterior
of the home will likely be the cover photo for the book.
Vandergriff said she's still searching for contacts on some homes she wants to write about, such as the Cassill home on Central, built by Gustavius Adolphus Cassill,
who developed the Cassill Place addition. The remaining homes from that addition are part of a historic district located on Central between the railroad tracks and
Vandergriff said while she's writing about the famous and historic Victorian homes on Grand Avenue, she's also getting off Grand and writing about interesting homes in
“Charles Harrington built the Drake Hotel and his house was 802 Prospect,” Vandergriff said. “Across the street was his son, Walter's, home, and that's at 803. Then
there's one at 1011 Prospect, I don't know anything about the house, but the architecture caught my eye.”
Anyone who has information about an interesting or historic home in Carthage can contact Vandergriff by email
or at home at 417-358-4751.
|Carthage Residents Honored at Annual Chamber Banquet
by Susan Redden
, The Joplin Globe, 16 Jan 2016
CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Citizen of the Year Award went to Sue Vandergriff at the annual Carthage Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
Vandergriff is a Carthage writer and historian. She also helped develop the Carthage Hall of Heroes, which is on display at the
Fair Acres YMCA. The hall honors Carthage residents who have made significant contributions to Carthage and its development.
Named in honor of the late state Sen. Richard M. Webster, the award is presented "in recognition of demonstrated devotion to the Carthage community."
Nearly 400 chamber members and community leaders gathered Friday night to recognize outstanding teachers, business leaders, volunteers
and community members at the banquet held at the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix monastery.
Mis Arcos Mexican Restaurant received the Spotlight Award recognizing a business that has contributed to Carthage by improving
a business location, and the Small Business of the Year Award went to Palms Massage and Day Spa.
The Athena Award honoring efforts to develop women leaders went to Tina Hallmark, LPL Financial, while Ida Ruth Locarni
received the Artist of the Year Award and Vivian Loveland earned the Humanitarian of the Year Award honoring efforts to improve health care in Carthage.
Chuck Bryant of Carthage Water & Electric received the Chairman's Award recognizing contributions to the chamber and the Carthage
community, and the Emerging Leader of the Year Award went to Jake Heisten, of the office of U.S. Rep. Billy Long.
The Carthage Police Department, Carthage Fire Department, and Jasper County sheriff's office received the Community Enhancement Award, presented to a group or individual.
Golden Key awards recognizing outstanding teachers in Carthage schools went to Margaret Youngworth, a second-grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School;
Kelly Jacobs, assistant principal at Carthage Middle School; Brian Crigger, social studies teacher at Carthage Junior High; and Kelly Avise, process
coordinator at Carthage High school.
Also honored were retiring chamber officers Steve Swearengen, of Heritage State Bank, and Rodney Hinds, of Southwest Missouri Bank.
|Obituary of Sue Ann Elliott Vandergriff – January 4, 1945-March 14, 2020
Sue Ann Vandergriff, local historian, author, and longtime resident of Carthage, Missouri passed away at 3:07 p.m. on Saturday at St. Luke’s Skilled Nursing and
Assisted Living in Carthage where she had been a resident following complications from a fall in January 2019.
Sue was born in Kansas City, Missouri on January 4, 1945 to Paul Kanavel Elliott and Zelma Zelia Zink Elliott; and upon his passing, was later adopted and raised
by Joseph Clinton Lundy and Zelma. She was a 1963 graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School, in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Sue married Jack DeWayne Vandergriff
on November 23, 1963 and worked as a bookkeeper until 1994, when she and Jack opened and operated Bee’s Old Fashioned Variety Store and then Private Events on the
square in Carthage until closing and retiring in 2004.
Also during this time, Sue was active in many civic organizations. She was past president of the area chapter of Soroptimists, served as the head of the Carthage
Courthouse Preservation Committee, was a Beta Sigma Phi lifetime member, General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Carthage, and served as a member and president of
the Main Street Carthage board. She and Jack were awarded Missouri Main Street Merchant of the Year for Bee’s Variety. Sue also received the Athena Award for
professional excellence, community service, and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
From February 2007 to August 2009, she authored articles on local history for Main Street Carthage and the column, People, Places, and Things for
the Carthage Press. She was a committee member of Hall of Carthage Heroes at the Carthage YMCA and wrote the biographies of the first 19 inductees in 2012, and
authored and published two historical books on Carthage–in 2003, Carthage Then & Now, based on the Main Street Carthage articles and research, and in 2015,
Home Sweet Homes, a pictorial history of some of Carthage’s beautiful historic homes. In 2015, Sue was nominated by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce and
recognized with the prestigious Richard M. Webster Citizen of the Year award in January 2016 by resolution of the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri
Senate for being an exemplary citizen in her community.
Sue was preceded in death by husband, Jack, son Adam, granddaughter, Emily, and brother, Dr. Arlen Lee Elliott of Los Osos, California. Survivors include son Dean
and his wife Barb Orler Vandergriff of Carthage, their children Amanda Cooley of Springfield, Ali Vandergriff Bass and husband Cory and their children, Bella Claire,
Carter Ray, and Dean Henry of Diamond, and son Chad and wife Heather Storey Vandergriff of Conifer, Colorado, and their children, Madison and Jack.
During her years in Carthage, Sue made many friends and acquaintances, and was well liked and respected by many. She will be truly missed.
In lieu of flowers, Sue’s wishes are to send donations to the Carthage Public Library and the Carthage Humane Society.