Gertrude Wilburn Nichols is my great-grandmother. She was born to Simon Nichols and Sarah Frances Douglas in Union, Clark, Missouri on May 17, 1878. Her siblings by Sarah were Lorena R, Lilly F, Addie, Robert Lee, and Simon Leonard Sells.
She also had half-brothers and half-sisters because her father had been married before to Mary Frances Noel. They were William Ruben, John Clayton, Nancy, Mary A, Alvira Ellen, and Emma E Nichols.
Gertrude lost her little sister Addie when she was about 3 years old of some unknown illness at that time they were living in Union, Clark, Missouri.
At the time of her father’s death, she was living in Williamstown, Lewis, Missouri. By 1884 the family was living in Kahoka in Clark County and at the age of 16 years old, she married my great-grandfather Columbus Sells of the same county on November 15, 1894.
Gertrude and Columbus started their family by having a son, John Wesley Sells on February 10, 1896, in Kahoka. The family had moved once again to Farmington, Iowa when my grandmother, Nellie Opal was born in 1900. They had their last child, Sylvia Pearl Sells in Ft. Madison, Lee, Iowa on February 28, 1902.
UPDATE: Since I last published this post I have learned more information about Gertrude and Columbus’s family. It was thought that John Wesley Sells, Jr., was the first son born to their family but it was Wilburn Sells. He was born in 1893 and died at the age of six years old on August 4, 1899, in Kahoka, Clark, Missouri. His death notice was published in the Kahoka Gazette-Herald and the Kahoka Courier Aug. 11, 1899. The cause of death was not known. He was buried in the Chambersburg Cemetery in Chambersburg, Missouri. There was also the following poem for him in the newspaper death notice;
A precious one from us has gone
A voice we loved is stilled;
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled
God in his wisdom has recalled
The bloom his love has given
And though the body slumbers here
The soul is safe in Heaven.”
For years my mother and I have wondered what Gertrude’s middle name was, it was always just a “W” for the middle initial. Since I have learned about her young son’s passing and his name, I now know that it stood for Wilburn.
Missouri Census Columbus and Gertrude and their family were living in Union, Laclede, Missouri. They moved again sometime between 1910 and 1920 to Springfield, Greene, Missouri. Gertrude developed pneumonia and died on November 6, 1919, she was only 41 years old and was buried in Springfield. Gertrude never had a proper headstone so my aunt, Shirley Ann Brumley Stevens purchased one for her gravesite in Springfield, Green, Missouri, and had the grave properly marked.
As I have written about before, Gertrude and her family were 7th Day Adventist. The early Adventist Church emerged from a climate of religious revival in the Northeastern United States. Camp meetings, such as this Millerite gathering, were a hallmark of the Second Great Awakening. Gertrude continued her faith into her own marriage to Columbus and brought the children up as 7th Day Adventist.
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