From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tangled Branches of Two Family Trees

Dillons, Spraggs, Saars, and Hills


You never know what you're going to get in your e-mail! After my name along with my parents' names appeared recently in Raleigh Emry's newletter, Marcia Dillon Whitson sent an e-mail to introduce herself. We aren't blood relatives to each other, but we're cousin's cousins.

She refreshed my memory about some of the ways our family trees intertwine. I'm going to summarize them here, so unless you really enjoy genealogy, I suggest that you skim over the next few paragraphs!

Our closest family tie is that Marcia's great-uncle (Webster Spragg) was married to my great-aunt (Ruth Hill Spragg). That was on my father's side of the family.

Another connection is on my mother's side of the family. Marcia's brother, Brad Dillon, married my second cousin, Gwen Saar. Also, Marcia's step-sister, Jeanne Dillon, married my second cousin Mike Saar. Gwen and Mike's mom, Mick Saar (wife of Marion Saar), was my mother's first cousin.

Here's yet another connection. My mother's cousin's sister-in-law (Geneva Saar, wife of Bill Saar) was a cousin to Marcia Dillon's father, Kenneth Dillon. Simplified as much as possible, that means that Marcia Dillon's second cousins (Jim, Don, and Doug Saar) are cousins of my second cousins (Mark, Gwen, Gary, and Mike Saar). Or something like that!

I don't think I've ever met Marcia, though I remember some of her younger siblings as competitors at 4-H calf shows. I grew up with all the Saar kids I've mentioned, and I also knew Marcia's aunt, Wilma Jean Mengers.

Miss Wilma Jean Mengers was a neighbor lady who attended the country church I grew up in. She never had children of her own, but she took a real interest in the children of the church. She was my Sunday School teacher and Vacation Bible School teacher at various times, and she was in Missionary Society with my mother for years. I visited Wilma Jean's home many times when I was a child, and I even remember her father and mother (Marcia's grandparents.)

Marcia wrote that Wilma Jean is 94 years old now, and she lives in the Rock County Long Term Care Center in Bassett, Nebraska. When Marcia asked her about me, she still remembered me after all the years that I've been gone from Bassett. I should send her a note.

I forwarded Marcia's letters to my brother and sister, and Dwight called me tonight to talk about the family tree for a while. I should take notes when I talk family history with him because he knows much more than I do.

Like the Hill kids, Marcia left the Sandhills, but still has "sand in her shoes". We all remember our childhoods there with much affection.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.