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Frank and Girtie (Mathia) Steele Family Record

Submitted to Mathia/Matthia Family Organization by Duane G. Davis July 2008. Used with permission.

Acknowledgement by Duane G. Davis: I would like to acknowledge my mother, Eva Mae (Steele) Davis,(1) for the information given below. I would also like to acknowledge mother's sister, Noma (Steele) Harris(2) for correcting, and adding to this information. This information has been invaluable to me and I am very grateful for their help. Any errors in this information are mine.

Frank Steele was born in McDonald County Missouri near Saratoga Springs, Missouri. Girtie (Mathia) Steele was born in McDonald County Missouri near Hart, Missouri.

Frank and Girtie were married on March 10, 1909 in Grove, Indian Territory, Oklahoma (now Delaware County). Their first residence was a rented farm, known as the Winney place. They rented this farm from an Indian Agency, since this was still Indian Territory and Oklahoma had not become a state yet. This farm was located 1 mile north, 1 mile east and 1/4 mile south of the old Mathia homestead.

Since several farm locations are referenced to the Mathia homestead, it is imperative to establish the location of this farm. The old Mathia homestead is located 2 miles east and 1+ mile south of Turkey Ford Oklahoma, but in Delaware County. This road now dead-ends at the Lake O' the Cherokees south of the homestead. This farm was homesteaded by Peter William and Arra Elizabeth (Beeman) Mathia. These were the parents of Gertie Ethel (Mathia) Steele.

While Frank and Girtie were living on the Winney farm, Eva Mae Steele was born on May 21, 1910. They lived there for about two or three years.

The next farm was known as Dixon's place. This was located approximately 1-3/4 miles east of Turkey Ford on the north side of the road (Ottawa County). The owner, Mr. Dixon, lived across the road. Eva recalls that she would visit this farm, without her mother's knowledge, because a dog and a horse were there. Girtie would come for Eva and Mr. Dixon would plead that Eva not receive severe punishment for the unpredicted visit. They lived there until about 1915.

Then they moved to a farm south of Elk (Cow Skin) River. This was located south and east of the Mathia homestead. Eva recalls that while on this farm, the wolves were so bad that they would catch the chickens in the farmyard. She also recalls that her first grade teacher was a Mr. Mason.

By 1919, they had moved to a farm located about 1/2 mile east of the Mathia homestead. This is where Grace Elaine, Owen, and Noma Jean Steele were born. Dr. Chase delivered these children and Mariah Jane (Weeks) Steele, Frank Steele's mother, was the midwife.

Frank, Girtie and family moved to Kansas in January 1925. They moved household goods and livestock in a rented boxcar on a train. The Steele’s detrained at Eudora, Kansas. They lived with Abby and Lillie Miller from January to March of 1925. The Miller's lived near the railroad tracks in Eudora, Kansas. The rental year was from January to January in Oklahoma and from March to March in Kansas. Thus, it would be two months before they could take possession of a farm in Kansas.

In March, they moved to a farm known as the Brazel place located 2 miles west of the main street of Eudora, Kansas on old state Highway 10. The farm is on the south side of Highway 10. They lived there for 9 years. Eva attended a school known as Farmland. This was located 1 mile north of the Brazel place. Eva lived there until she married Gordon Davis on September 17, 1932.

In 1934, the Steele’s moved to a farm known as the Wellman's place. This was located in Jefferson County north of U.S. Highway 24 at Midland and west of Douglas County Road number 1045, known as the Wellman Road. They lived there for one year.

In 1935, the Steele’s bought a farm in Oklahoma, south and west of Tiff City, Missouri. This was the first farm they owned. The farm was located 5-1/2 miles east and 2+ miles south of Turkey Ford, Delaware County Oklahoma, between Buffalo Creek and Elk (Cow Skin) River. They lived there for five years.

In 1940, they bought a farm in Kansas and lived here for the remainder of their lives. This farm was located about 1/4 mile west of Fall Leaf, Leavenworth County Kansas, north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Fall Leaf is about 2 miles north and nearly 3/4 mile west of Eudora, Kansas. The northeast corner of the Steele's farm bordered the north-south road of Fall Leaf. One block east was one more road running north south, leaving a rectangular area in the middle bordered on all sides by a road. The Charles Bauer family owned this rectangular area. The house they lived in was made of railroad ties. There was another very small house just north of this house the Bauer's rented. Some of aunt Ester (Mathia) Wolfinbarger's sons rented this small house when they came up from Oklahoma and worked for the summer. Further north of the small house was a good size one room log house that a "rift raft" family moved into with no intentions of paying rent. None of three houses had water or bathrooms inside.

The Union Pacific depot was just east of this rectangular area on an extended road on the south end, but north of the railroad tracks. The railroad furnished its workers small one-story houses. All of the houses were yellow like the Union Pacific diesel trains and boxcars are now. Girtie Steele's brother, David Mathia with his wife and family lived in one of these houses. There was a schoolhouse up on the hill north of the depot that is still there. However, the depot and railroad houses are long gone. There was a grocery store just south of the railroad tracks. After the grocery business died, a family by the name of Paxton bought the building and made a home of it. This building is now gone too.

The only water the Steele's had when they moved to this farm was a cistern near the southwest corner of the house, and a sand point type well located down under the hill below the barn. There was a dug well just northeast of the house that had walls laid-up of native stone. This well was not very deep. The Steele's were afraid to use this well since Frank Steele had come down with malaria from drinking water from a similar well in Oklahoma. Girtie would use the well to store butter, milk and perishable items, since there was no electricity to the farm at this time to operate a refrigerator. Girtie would place the items in a bucket and lower it into the well with a rope. Later, a well was drilled just west of the house. In the meanwhile, they used the water from the well under the hill. This was the best tasting water, but wonder now just how pure it might have been with the cow and hog lot run-off and later a sewer line was run in that direction. No one was ever ill, thanks to a lot of sand in-between. Every summer the sand would have to be dug from around the pump to keep it from being buried by sand washing down the hill. When the farm was sold in 1985, only the top of the pump was visible.

(1) Eva Mae (Steele) Davis' address is 1700 Massachusetts Street, Apt. 714, Lawrence, Kansas 66044. She moved to this address on April 21, 1986.

(2) Noma (Steele) Harris' address is RT 3, Box 44AB, Lawrence, Kansas 66044.

Prepared by Duane G. Davis
Filename: STEELE2.DOC

Owner/SourceDuane G. Davis
File name
File Size
Linked toMathia Gertie Ethel, Steele Benjamin Frank

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