Sonnystone Saga: The Reeds: Coda

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the sixth installment of the series…

Minnie Reed Olmsted took possession of her family home, now known as Sonnystone Acres, in 1908 upon the death of her mother, Mary Inwood Reed. Mary was the last surviving child of pioneers William and Hannah Inwood, a family that had been integral to the British Settlement established in 1819. I have loved stalking the Inwoods…especially Uncle John and his kids…

In 1910, Minnie Reed Olmsted, 52, and her husband, Goodrich, 60, were living here at the Acres with a “boarder”, William Harper, 14. I believe he helped out on the farm, as their occupation was truck farming. Their oldest daughter, Emma, had married in 1906 and moved to New Albany, IN. Daughter Mary Ella, had married in 1908, and she and her husband, Oscar Hanning, owned a dairy farm on nearby Kratzville Road.

Minnie and Goodrich Olmsted…

Ada Reed Van Dusen, 50, and her husband, Louis, 52, were also empty nesters. Their daughter, Mary Irene, had married in 1901. Her husband was a butcher by the name of Louis Yokel. By 1910 Yokel had opened his own grocery and meat shop on the corner of Main and 7th streets, named Yokel and Sons. The family still lived on Stringtown Road, though, in a house across from present-day Old North UMC that we Almost bought just before we found Sonnystone. Coincidentally, I got to know Mary Irene’s daughter, Marjorie Yokel Copeland, and her grand-daughter, Carol Stremming, when I was attending Old North back in the 80s…

Sometime around 1910, Minnie’s son, Charles Elston Olmsted, and her sister Ada’s son, LeRoy Reed Van Dusen, set out for the West where they bought a farm/ranch in Prairie Springs, Idaho. Cousins! How adventurous!

As for the other Reeds in 1910, Thomas, 64, is still a drayman, still on Goodsell Street with a houseful. Living with him are his sons Harry and Inwood, Harry’s wife and three children, and his daughter, Sadie.

Jack Reed, now 68, is living out on Darmstadt Rd, boarding with Fred and Mary Kaiser. His occupation is “own account” which means he works for himself or has an independent income.

George Childs, 63, was the Postmaster of Chandler in 1910, where he and his wife, Anna, the schoolteacher, resided. Their son, Leslie, still lived with them and his occupation is listed as “gold miner”… Seriously. More likely, he was a coal miner.

Louis Van Dusen died in 1917 and Goodrich Olmstead died six months later in 1918. Per the 1920 census, the two widowed sisters, Minnie, 62, and Ada, 60, were living together here at Sonnystone. They list their occupation as truck farmers…always…

I can’t find a record of the death of Jack Reed, but according to my abstract he died around 1921. I’m not surprised that he wasn’t buried in the family plot. George Childs died in 1923 and he was interred with the rest of the family in Salem Cemetery.

In 1923, Minnie sold the farm, at least that’s what it says on my abstract. Minnie died in 1929 and her death certificate says that the coroner “took her remains” for an inquest. That would mean, I think, that she had died unexpectedly, perhaps in her sleep. It says he came to the scene at 7:30 a.m. and that the informant was Ada Van Dusen. Cause of death was “coronary lesion” — heart attack. Here’s the mystery: the location of her death and of her residence on the certiicate are R.R. 5, Stringtown Road. That would be Here, but then when did the new owners move in…? Why was Minnie here in 1929? Or was she? I’ll work on that.

Ada Reed Van Dusen was the last survivor of the Reedmont days, living until 1943. She died at Regina Pacis Nursing Home.

The New Owners were George Davis Smith and his wife, Albion Bacon Smith. The Smiths placed the “S” on the chimney that inspired me to name the place Sonnystone Acres. They are responsible for the east addition and the garage-without-a-driveway, as well as the leftover kennel pens and the skeet-shooter hidden by brush on the edge of the woods. George and Albion were members of Elite Evansville Society, third-generation wealth.

Their fascinating family stories will take us back to the pioneer days of the British Settlement around McCutchanville and Mechanicsville again, but this time we’ll visit the bustling metropolis of Evansville before we return to “Stringtown Rd. 5 miles out”…

Stay Tuned…

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