Extra! Extra! The Latest on Joseph LaDuke

While scrolling through old newspapers for family history, I always felt as though I transported back through time. Reading about the lives of my family and their neighbors and friends have given me a sneak peek into their daily lives. It was enjoyable, a simple pleasure, and I felt a connection to my ancestors that in many ways helped me better understand their lives.

Searching through old newspapers online, I discovered new details about my 3x great grandfather, Joseph LaDuke. The research took time, but it was worth the information I garnered, and more than once, I wished my grandma and my mom were still here with me, so I could share this information with them. They would love it, and now with all the latest technology, they would be doing the research too!

The news articles I found were centered around West Cherry, Kansas. This is where my family settled after leaving their home in Michigan.

In 1883, I found my grandfather in an advertisement for wrought iron stoves! This one made me chuckle (The Parsons Daily Sun, 14 Nov 1883).

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The Weekly Star and Kansan 13 Jun 1884

Another discovery uncovered my grandfather Joseph involved with the West Cherry community as he was taking bids to build a bridge  across Choteau Creek (The Weekly Star and Kansan 13 Jun 1884).

This article made me smile, for it showed all the latest news from West Cherry. It discusses daily life in their corner of the world. It provided information about new broods of chickens, the weight of hogs, buggy rides with a best girl, and more. Joseph made the news too. People in the area were happy with his steam corn grinder (South Kansas Tribune, 13 Mar 1889).

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The Neodesha Register, 24 April 1891

In 1891, both my grandparents made the news as they traveled to Montrose, Colorado to visit two of their daughters in Montrose, Colorado (The Neodesha Register, 24 Apr 1891).

On the 21 Apr 1897, The South Kansas Tribune shared an article about the West Cherry History, and it listed the names of the first white settlers and pioneers to enter this territory.

In 1902, the West Cherry News shared that two men, Frank Snider and Joseph Bowen helped my grandfather on his farm by “making hay.” This was two years before he passed, so this farmer was 75 at the time (The Coffeyville Daily Journal, 19 Sep 1902).

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The Evening Star 18 Mar 1904

By 1904, the latest news revealed that my grandfather has a cancerous growth, but it also maintained that he was in good spirits despite his usually ornery ways. It also went on to discuss his political views which showed his no-nonsense observations. I discovered quite a fondness for this grandfather. At this time of his life, he was living with his brother-in-law, for his wife, Clarissa, had died in 1892.

Nearly two years after his death, The Coffeyville Weekly Journal and The Evening Star wrote about the old settlers that moved to the county and provided a list of those early pioneers.

In 1910, a tragic tale caught my eye in The Neodesha Register. The article told about two West Cherry residents that died, a mother and her son. According to the article, the grieving son died from a broken heart. Later in the article, the news shifted to the dead man’s father and discussed his claim on Choteau Creek; this man, Patrick Duggan, later sold his land to my grandfather, Joseph LaDuke.

While reading the newspaper articles from another era, I relished the news about days gone by, and it seemed those days were full of spirit.  The easy going nature and fun loving antidotes brought a smile when I read about the latest news and gossip.  It felt as though I had stepped back in time   Finding these added tidbits brought some insight to my grandfather’s life as he settled into his new life in West Cherry, Kansas. Through these writings, it felt as if I had met my grandfather and learned about his life in this charming Kansas community where he lived, loved, and eventually was laid to rest.

Sources:

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