Monday, October 12, 2015


In the beginning, of course it was just the two of them.  So let’s start there.
This post will be about Grandpa Jesse.

Jesse James Poyner was the son of Jonathan L. Poyner (1832-1907) and Martha Ann Scott (1848-1829).  He was born in Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas according to some records, although one census record shows him born in Iowa. Still another birth location can be found in one section of his railroad retirement papers where it says he was born in Nevada, Vernon County,  Missouri.  This is a possibility because his parents were in Platte County, Missouri in the 1880 census.   More on this later.

He and his twin sister Esse Mae were numbers 12 and 13 of the thirteen children born to John and Martha.  According to most records they were born on November 12, 1887 in Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas.  Although one record showed the twins born in two different locations and days apart.  Neat trick if you can do it.

I’ve not learned much about young Jesse but I am certain life was interesting in the Poyner household with 13 children.  I know his family was involved in the Civil War on the Union side.  But I’ll write more on that as I flesh out those ancestors for you.

One family story is that he was named after the famous outlaw Jessie James who visited the Poyner household and gave them $50 when he left.  This story, does say the father Jonathan was dead at that point, but documents show John did not die until 1907.  He was, however, some what disabled and therefore, the outlaw may have sought to help out the large family due to John not being able to work.

Whether Jesse James visited the Poyner household or not he would have visited long before the twins were born because the outlaw Jesse James died in 1882 at St. Joseph, MO, five years before the twins birth.

I am certain that the outlaw being famous at least made the idea of the name Jesse James feasible.

On January 5, 1907 Jesse registered for the military draft.  From his draft records we learn that at that time he was short in stature, of medium build with blue eyes and dark hair.  I guess that is where my mother got her blue eyes and Lula’s  her dark hair.

From a telephone conversation with Dollie Faye Poyner Keefover Jones on January 10, 1997:

Jessie age 22 proposed to Lena age 15 and told her if she would marry him he would homestead a piece of land of about 160 acres near Jasper, Arkansas on Mount Sherman and he would build her a home there.  She accepted and he did just that.  They spent their honeymoon under a large tree on the homestead.  He built a cabin out of the pine trees on the land.  The original cabin had two large rooms.  After they moved into that he added two more large rooms.

Years ago I was sent photos of the remains of the log cabin.  This was all that remained in the late 1990’s. Even in this state you can get an idea of how much work young Jesse put into the cabin for his young bride

 They lived there until Edith was about 6 months old then moved Collinsville, Oklahoma.

 When they moved to Collinsville they basically moved off and left everything, including the pigs.  This was around the depression era and no one had any money to buy anything. He worked at a smelter in Collinsville until Dolly Fay was about 6 months old.

 Then he went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad. When Faye was 6 years old they went to Vera, Oklahoma, when she was 13 they moved to Owasso, Oklahoma at age 15 they moved back to Collinsville, Oklahoma and then when she was 16-17 they moved to Tulsa.  Each of the moves were with his employer the Santa Fe Railroad who he stayed with in Tulsa until he retired.

It was once mentioned to me that Grandpa Jesse was minus one finger due to a train coupling accident while working for the Santa Fe.  I vaguely remember someone we knew, when I was young that was minus one finger, but I can’t remember for certain if it was him.  Does anyone know for sure?

They were married on January 2, 1910 by Elderman Aaron D. Cole, Minister of the Gospel in Jasper, Newton County, Arkansas.

They were married nearly 55 years until his death on November 24, 1964 in Carbondale, Tulsa County, Oklahoma from coronary acclusion (thrombosis, coronary sclerosis, aterioseratic cardiovascular).  He was at Paul’s (#6) when he died.

At this point I should be placing a copy of the death certificate, but I no longer seem to have one.  If you have a copy of his death certificate I would appreciate a scan or photo of it please.  In the meantime I will try to figure out where my copy went

During his lifetime he was a hardworking man who worked as a section hand for the Santa Fe Railroad.  His retirement record provides the following information.
On Sept 15th 1939 He lived in Vera, Washington County, Oklahoma this form says he was born in Topeka, Kansas, he was section labor and began with them on Oct 16, 1926 in the Tract department in South Kansas for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway System out of Topeka Kansas. On the typed copy of the handwritten form it is noted that his birth place and date has not been verified.  This is important as in later paperwork in this file it says he was born in Nevada, MO on the same date as what he has listed for Topeka, KS.  he is always listed as a laborer and his salary is given for each time period.  His last day to work was Dec 31, 1952 and he started receiving his pension in Jan. 1953.  Prior to this time he had signed all of his own forms, but the form with the Nevada, MO date and his pension paperwork are signed by a witnessed X.  He may have had his first stroke by that time.  He was then living at 1068 N. Peoria, Tulsa, OK. To prove his age he gave a copy of a census records showing him to be 32 in 1919.

Image that he raised all ten kids on this salary.  Also notice it says his middle initial was F.  But we know better, I am certain this is his file  This was just one page in his employment record.  His complete record will soon be on the companion site and then I'll add hyper links to this blog for it.  In the meantime, here is his compensation sheet.

To receive his pension after his death Lena supplied a copy of the marriage license showing him to be 22 and her 15 in 1910.

Several years ago while visiting with Faye, #7, we discussed how Grandpa had put money into that retirement fund all the time he had worked and when it came time for retirement he was told he could either have his railroad retirement fund or his social security, but not both.  At that point she showed me a metal gold colored card that was his rr retirement card.  I told her then I would love to have that card if she ever wanted to part with it.  I wonder if Tom still has it.  If so I would still love to have it.

Over the years various family members have told me that at one point, during economic hard times, most likely during the depression/dust bowl.  Jesse and Lena loaded up all the kids that were still living at home in an old car, strapped everything they owned to it and headed for California in search of a better future.  They went to perhaps the Rosewood, CA area, but I am not certain.  I am basing this guess on the fact that at the recent reunion there were two unidentified photos from family files that said “Rosewood, California” on the back of them.

I, however, think they must have gone to CA prior to 1926 since that is when he started work for the railroad.

Every time I have heard this story I have thought of the “Grapes of Wrath” story and have envisioned that car with Poyner children hanging out all over as a cross between the iconic Grapes of Wrath car photos and the Beverly Hillbillies truck.  I’m sure neither one is entirely accurate, but I have an active imagination.

I was 14 when Grandpa died and remember very little about him other than he was a sweet, gentle man that seemed to take pride in all his grandchildren.  In his later years he stayed with us for a short while and I read to him daily from a tiny red bible per his request.  I was also in charge of washing his feet, which he said tickled when I did it. 

I know by that point he had some skin cancer and it was prescribed he drink goat’s milk as a possible “cure” and preventive for that.  He had the places removed from his face surgically. 

I also remember Grandma Lena complaining the goat milk made his urine smell, but my mother kept taking goat milk to him.  Where she got it I don’t know, but the doctor said he needed it so she took it.

I remember attending his funeral and being very upset when they opened his casket at the graveside because it was so cold and windy and I didn’t want him to be cold.

I also seem to be missing my photo of his tombstone, so if someone has one I would love a digital image of it too.  

Those are the facts and memories of Grandpa Jesse I have.  I would love to hear from all of you about your memories and additional information you might have on him.  Please send them to me at my friends and family email address:  Below is a list and the dates I have for the children of Jesse and Galeenah.

Transcription of census records for Jesse James Poyner
1900 Jackson, Newton Co.,  AR
Poyner, John L. 68 India (na?) day laborer NC MD
                Martha 52 IN IN IN
                George W. 20 KS
                Anna 15 KS
                Essa 12
                Jessa 12

1910 Newton Co. AR Census: Soundex 043 0097 0178
Poiner, Jesse J. husband white age 23 b. KS AR
     Lena white age 16 b. OK

1920 AR Soundex, Newton Co:
Poyner, Jesse J. Vol 44 ED 100 Sheet 8 line 79
Age 32 b. IOWA (JP NOTE: this is the first Iowa has shown up as a birthplace, but his father enlisted in the Union Army in Iowa, so this is a good possiblity)
     Lena age 25 b. AR (uhhh, everything I have says OK
     son Evrett age 8 b. AR
     Son Edward age 5 b. AR
     daug LuLu M. 3 8/12 b. AR
     daugh Edith 1/ 4/12 b. AR

1930 OK, Tulsa County, Incoporated Place Collinsville. CT Ward 2 ED 72-7 Supervisiors District #6 Sheet 2A pg 79  April 3, 1930 Alma E. Miller
1216 33 34
Poyner, Jesse J. Head of household  M W 42 married at age 22  IA, IA, IA RR worker
                Lena    wife                          F W 35                          15, OK, TN, AR
                Everett J. son                       MW 18 single                     AR, IA, OK field laborer
                Eddie C. son                        MW  16 single                     AR, IA, OK dairy laborer
                Lula M. daughter                  FW 13 single                      AR, IA, OK
                Edith I. daughter                  FW 11 single                      AR, IA, OK
                Gladys F. daughter             FW 8 single                         AR, IA, OK
                Clarence P. son                   MW 5 single                        OK, IA, OK
                Dolly F. daughter                 FW 4.5 single                     OK, IA, OK
                Kenneth L. son                     MW 1.5 single                     OK, IA, OK

Family Group Sheet for Jesse James Poyner

Husband: Jesse James Poyner
Birth: 12 Nov 1887 in Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas, USA
Marriage: 02 Jan 1910 ; Married by Elderman Aaron D. Cole, Minister of the
Burial: Nov 1964 ; Collinsville, Oklahoma in Ridgelawn Cemetery..
Death: 24 Nov 1964 in Carbondale, Tulsa County, Oklahoma
Mother: Martha Ann Scott
Father: Jonathan L. Poyner

Wife: Galeenah Carney
Birth: 16 Jul 1893 in Oolagah, Cherokee County, Oklahoma IT (now
Rogers County, Oklahoma)
Death: 29 Dec 1983 in Oklahoma, USA
Burial: 30 Dec 1983 ; Ridgelawn Cemetery, Collinsville Oklahoma
Mother: Columbia Porter Branham
Father: Chesterfield Monroe Carney
Married second: Simon Peter Barnes August 2, 1965

Name: James Everett Poyner
Birth: 19 Aug 1911 in Arkansas, USA
Marriage: 1936 in Oklahoma, USA
Death: 19 Aug 1984 in Collinsville, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Burial: 22 Aug 1984 in Collinsville, Rogers, Oklahoma, USA
Spouse: Iva Lou Maines

Name: Eddie Chester Poyner
Birth: 01 Feb 1914
Death: 04 Jul 1993
Burial: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Spouse: Ada Loweda Adkins
Spouse: Thelma Douglas

Name: Lula May Poyner
Birth: 04 May 1916 in Newton, Arkansas, USA
Marriage: 10 Mar 1934 in Collinsville, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Death: 16 Dec 2006 in Iowa, USA
Burial: 20 Dec 2006 ; Collinsville Cemetery, Collinsville, OK
Spouse: Charles Deward Maxey
Spouse: Mike Maynard

Name: Edith Irene Poyner
Birth: 30 Aug 1918 in Jasper, Newton, Arkansas, USA
Marriage: 05 Feb 1941
Death: 03 Jan 1979 in Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Spouse: Leo Raymond Deckard

Name: Gladys Fern Poyner
Birth: 09 Apr 1921 in Arkansas, USA
Death: 21 Oct 1987
Spouse: Vernon Worley
Spouse: Lawrence Wickham
Spouse: Marion Beall

Name: Clarence Paul Poyner
Birth: 20 Apr 1924 in Collinsville, Rogers, Oklahoma, USA
Death: 17 Sep 1980
Spouse: Effie Cunningham
Spouse: Phala Dean Lunfod

Name: Dollie Faye Poyner
Birth: 21 Mar 1926 in Collinsville, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Marriage: 11 Feb 1942 in Collinsville, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Spouse: James Russell Keefover
Spouse: Willard Spotted Horse
Spouse: Thomas Edward Jones

Name: Kenneth Lee Poyner
Birth: May 6, 1929
Death: October 7, 2015
Marriage: February 25, 1956
Spouse: Ella Mae Sandfer
Spouse: Vantress Unknown
Spouse: Geraldine Robinson

Name: Hazel Elizabeth Poyner
Birth: 23 Apr 1931 in Collinsville, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Marriage: 03 Jun 1947 ; Marriage License lists Hazel's age as 18, she was
barely 16 at the time.
Death: 04 Apr 1988 in Eucha, Delaware, Oklahoma, USA
Burial: 06 Apr 1988 ; Ridgelawn Cemetery, Collinsville, Rogers, Oklahoma
Spouse: Earl Boykin

Name: Charles Clyde Poyner
Birth: 23 Nov 1934 in Vera, Washington, Oklahoma, USA
Marriage: 01 Sep 1952
Death: 23 Feb 2003
Burial: 28 Feb 2003 ; Calvery Cemetery, Tulsa, Tulsa Co., OK
Spouse: Claudia May “Snooks” Badgwell

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