As a child one afternoon, I remembered sitting quietly in my grandmother’s living room and listening to her talk to about her family. For many years after her mother died when she was so young, she didn’t have very much information about her family. Since some of the talks were for adults only, my grandmother sent me to another room where, I admit, I eavesdropped their conversation. One name that came up time after time was Uncle Walter. This kind man, who never married, always cared for his many family members and shared his home to all who needed a place to live.
On July 8, 1826, Walter Frink was born in Cambria, New York to Elias and Hannah (Carney) Frink. In 1835, his family moved to a farm in Macomb County, Michigan. He also consistently attended school and decided to choose farming as his occupation.
In 1850 at the age of twenty-four, he was living at home with his family while helping with the family farm. My Uncle Walter also supported the Democratic Party.
When his father died, he continued caring for his family. In 1860, this gentle farmer opened his home to his mother, his sister Ellen, his sister and brother-in-law, Clarissa and Joseph La Duke and their five children: Almira, Herman, Joseph, Hannah, and Ellsa. He helped Clarissa care for her children while Joseph was fighting in the Civil War.
In 1876, Walter and his family moved to West Cherry Township, Montgomery, Kansas. For a time, he lived with his sister and brother-in-law, Clarissa and Joseph La Duke. He eventually bought land, “ a quarter section in section 27, township 31, range 16, and paid is owner, Patrick Dougan, $2500.00 for it” (Duncan 776).
Over the years, Walter and his sister, Ellen, opened their home to many, including his nieces and nephews. My great-great-grandfather, William Strasburg and his children lived with them for a time after William’s wife, Ellsa, died. Often, Walter and Ellen cared for William’s children when the father was out of town.
On March 18, 1908, after a long battle with cancer, Walter Frink died. His funeral was held on March 21, 1908, at the Choteau Church; Reverend Smith presided over the services. He was later laid to rest at the Choteau Cemetery (The Daily Republican).
In the book, History of Montgomery County Kansas, the author stated, “Here he has since made his home and, while having no family of his own, his home is presided over by his sister, Ellen, and it is one of the hospitable places of West Cherry Township” (Duncan 776). This kind man spent his life helping others and caring for those in need.
father of Walter Frink
daughter of Elias Frink
daughter of Clarissa Amelia Frink
daughter of Ellsa LaDuke
daughter of Anna Strassburg
daughter of Elva Marie Bryant
daughter of Dorothy Marie Allen
- 1840 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010, search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8057.
- 1850 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009, search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8054.
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- 1900 US Federal Census Records | Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004, search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7602.
- Duncan, L. Wallace. History of Montgomery County, Kansas. Press of Iola Register, 1903.
- Floyd, Mary D. La Duke Family Tree. 1970. (Typed).
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- Newspapers.com, The Daily Republican, Cherryvale, Kansas, 19 Mar. 1908, www.newspapers.com/.
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- U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011, search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2469.
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