Where’s Magdalena From?

Border disputes in this area of the world meant your ancestors country of origin could change every few years. It makes it hard to know which nationality your ancestors actually were. For example, my great great grandmother is listed as being from Germany (1900, 1910), Prussia (1880) and France (1870, 1920) on US Federal census records. It all depended on the which country was controlling the area she was from the year the census was taken.

Prussia, German, or France? Where was she from?

On This Day In 1907

The tragic accidental death of David C Whitney at the age of 51. He was survived by wife, Elizabeth, and children, Ada, Charles, and Emmett.

The first article had most of his personal information wrong. C L Whitney was the name of his son who just happened to work for the railroad too.

In a strange coincidence Elizabeth’s brother, Alexander, would be killed in the same way 20 years later.

Dad’s Brothers and Sisters

There’s not a picture of all of them together and, sadly, I only remember meeting one of the, Uncle David. Here’s a list of all my aunts and uncles. Siblings of Philip Lloyd Whitney, 1934-1996.

Carrie, Emmett, Emmett Jr and Anna about 1918

Emmett Leroy “Bob” Whitney Jr., 1913-1996

Anna Marie Whitney Uselton Altmeyer, 1915-1965

David, Paul, Joseph, Dale and Philip about 1937

David Wayne Whitney, 1921-1994

Paul Jean Whitney, 1922-1945

Dale Keith Whitney, 1925-1937

Joseph Dean Whitney, 1931-1937

Arthur, Fanny, Berniece and Pauline (?)

My grandmother abandoned her four little girls after the death of her first husband, Arthur Huff, and I don’t have much information on them. Three were adopted out in Nebraska around 1920. One, Winifred, supposedly died in the flu pandemic of 1918.

I did find two of the girls but unfortunately they had passed before I found them. The girls were named Berniece, Pauline, Gladys and Winifred before adoption. Only Berniece kept her given name. I’m not sure which girls are Pauline or Gladys.

Berniece Lorraine Rickard Grosvenor, 1912-2002

Winifred Huff, 1914-1918


Elizabeth Ann “Bette” Brown Smith, 1918-2003

“Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell.”

Louisa May Alcott

The Music Man

Reverend C Tom Davis, Music Director Emmett Leroy Whitney and Organist ? at Rose Hill Church of the Nazarene.

Emmett Leroy Whitney was a piano man from an early age. At age 15, he was already advertising as a music teacher in the East St Louis, Illinois City Directory (1906).

Emmett liked to play the piano in a ragtime music style that was popularized in the late 1890’s but he could also perform the classics with style and grace.

He wrote, performed and recorded music across the United States. He was comfortable playing in churches, theater productions and saloons. Also he tuned and repaired piano’s when not performing.

In the late 1940’s, and throughout the 50’s, he was the music director of Rose Hill Church Of the Nazarene in Little Rock.

Emmett Leroy Whitney was born in 1891 to David C. and Elisabeth Ann (Linder) Whitney in Ramsey, Illinois.

He married in 1911 to Carrie Isabel Montgomery and they had two children, Emmett Leroy “Bob” Whitney, Jr and Anna Marie Whitney

Emmett married around 1920 to Fanny Susann (Roberts) Huff and they had five boys, David Wayne Whitney, Paul Jean Whitney, Dale Keith Whitney, Joseph Dean Whitney and Philip Lloyd Whitney.

During his time at Rose Hill, he married for a third time to Viola Smith. They had no children. Emmett and Viola retired to Chetopa, Kansas in 1964. Unfortunately, both died there in 1965.

Preserve Your Memories

Edna, Clifford, Nettie, Colleen and Rosa about 1956

“Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell.” – Louisa May Alcott

Write them down, take photos, do anything you can to remember. Memories do fade. Things are forgotten. Time and family slips away.

On This Day In 1983

“Rosa Adeline Kaufman, aged 81 of 7200 Gable Drive, widow of Edward Robert Kaufman, died Monday. Born in Little Rock, she was a daughter of J. D. and Delilah Williford Henslee and was a retired grocer and member of Tatum Street Baptist Church. Survivors are two sons, Thomas David Kaufman of Little Rock and James Estes Kaufman of Atlanta, Ga.; three daughters, Lucille McAllester, Nettie Mae Mann and Nancy Arlene Davis of Little Rock, 21 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Griffin Leggett Healey and Roth by Rev. Lloyd Goodman. Burial will be in Pine Crest memorial Park.”

Arkansas gazette January 11, 1983
Ed and Rosa Kaufman


Grandma Kaufman always had a smile and could make me laugh at her stories. I can still smell her rolls baking in the oven. Oh how I would give anything if I had her roll recipe.

We had moved into the same neighborhood where Grandpa and Grandma Kaufman lived and one day, on the way home from the bus stop, I dropped in for a visit. Grandpa and Grandma were out in the yard working and she was clearing out from under a huge wisteria bush that was in a corner. She had seen me coming and grabbed a couple of peaches from the tree and we sat down underneath the wisteria canopy she had just created and ate our peaches. We talked until it was almost dark about this and that and I can’t even remember what we talked about. Around dinner time Grandpa came out from the shed and demanded dinner. Grandma just fussed back at him telling him that the girls were a talkin’ and she’d get dinner done when she got it done.

Those two always fussed and fumed at each other but you always knew they really loved each other. One day we stopped by to visit Grandma after Grandpa had died and she was sitting on the couch working on a quilt. She looked sad so I leaned over and asked her how she was doing and she simply replied, “I miss him.”

from: Laurie Skillern, Kaufman GAZETTE, July 2000, EDITED

Grandma Kaufman’s Quick Raisin Coffee Cake

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 stick butter

Beat eggs. Add sugar, oil and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and add to egg mixture, alternately with milk. Add raisins. Pour into greased oblong pan and sprinkle with brown sugar that has been mixed with cinnamon. Dot with butter. Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes.

First Birthday In Heaven

Granny, Nettie Mae Kaufman Mann, would have been 99 today.

Nettie Mae Kaufman about 1937.

She once joked, “I was born in the northbound lane of I-430,” and she really was, just long before the interstate ever existed. What is now known as the Big Rock Interchange in Little Rock is where the farm once sat.

16 years old

She lived most of her life within a mile of that old farm. Raising her family of 4 girls and one boy. Her husband, Harold Curtis Mann, died in 1957 when her oldest child was 16 and the youngest almost 2.

Granny attended church at Rose Hill Church of the Nazarene, which was located right down the road from the farm (Shackleford and Kanis Road) from her mid-teens until about 2 years before her death.

1940’s ?

Granny loved her family and her church but she also loved to cook. She could make anything taste good with ease. Every year, around this time, she would be in the kitchen baking bread to give to family and friends.

Granny’s Yeast Bread / Cinnamon Roll Recipe

One of my biggest regrets is that I don’t have any of my Grandmother Whitney’s recipes. So when I got married the only thing I requested as a wedding gift from Granny were some of her recipes.


Abandoned First Families

I don’t remember ever meeting any of my grandfather’s first family. Before he met my grandmother, he had been married and had two young kids when he just up and left. I don’t even know why he left them or exactly when. He left sometime around 1920.

Carrie Montgomery Whitney and Emmett Leroy Whitney with son Emmett Leroy “Bob” Whitney, Jr and Anna Marie Whitney about 1918 in East St Louis, Illinois

Sadly, I never met my grandmother’s first family either. Shortly after her first husband died in December 1918, she abandoned her 3 (or 4) little girls somewhere in Nebraska. By 1920, three of the girls had been adopted out. It was said she had four daughters with one dying in the 1918 flu pandemic but so far that’s just family talk with no actual records of a fourth child being found.

Arthur A Huff, And Fanny Susanne Roberts Huff with daughters Berniece Huff and Pauline (?) Huff about 1914.

By 1921, Emmett and Fanny met, married and had their first of five sons. Out of their total of 10 (or 11) children I only knew my dad and his brother David.

Franz Otto Kaufmann

On December 4, 1938, the patriarch of a rather large Kaufman family in Little Rock, Arkansas, Franz Otto Kaufmann, died at the age of 82 (84). He was living with son Edward Robert on 12th Street Pike (Kanis Rd) in Little Rock at the time of his death.

Not much is known about his life in Germany. He was born September 17, 1856 (1854) in Linda, u. Ronneburg, Sachsen, Deutschland (Linda, Saxony, Germany) and was baptized September 26, 1856. Baptismal records indicate his father is Johann Gottfried Kaufmann and mother as Christine Pilling. It is said he served five years in the German army before immigrating to the United States. There is a discrepancy with his birthday. All official records in the US his birthday year is 1854 but on German records the year is 1856.

Otto enlisted in the US Army on January 11, 1881 Fort Hamilton (NY). He had just arrived on the SS Main from Bremen, Germany on January 8, 1881 at the Port of New York. He served at Fort Hamilton until he was sent to the Little Rock Barracks, December 9, 1881. He was promoted in rank twice. First to Corporal on December 26, 1882 and then to Sergeant on September 23, 1883. He lived in what is now the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History while serving.

Upon arrival in Little Rock in 1881, he was spotted by a young French girl, Lena Harveil, who saw him getting off the train and she turned to her parents telling them that he was the man she would marry. Her father was not too happy about it though since he did not like the military. On February 21, 1885 Otto and Lena were married by Father Felix Rumpf, of the Arkansas Catholic Dioceses, soon to be the first pastor of St Edward Catholic Church which was across the road from the barracks. Her parents were devout members of St Edward until their deaths in the 1920s.

Now this is where family history and verifiable facts do not agree. Otto Frank Kaufman, Jr told his descendants that his parents married in 1884 and that he was born January 10, 1885 at the Little Rock Barracks. County records show that they actually were married over a month later. Otto, Jr’s Delayed Birth Certificate, signed by mother Lena does have 1885 as his birth year.

On January 10, 1886, Sarge, as he preferred to be called, was discharged and moved his small, but growing, little family to a place on 7th Street before buying a farm in the Sand Hills (Arch Street Pike/Granite Mountain) area of Little Rock.

At least once a week vegetable crops grown on the farm, that the family did not use, were loaded onto a wagon and Lena, with help from a couple of the kids, took the vegetables to be sold to markets and some of the residential residents in the Quapaw Area of Little Rock. Lena would start the long trip to Little Rock before daylight and wouldn’t return to the farm until after dark. Back then it took hours to walk into town instead of the twenty minutes by car it takes today.

The kids that stayed at the farm would have to work the fields while Sarge sat on the porch and supervised. He had a whistle that he’d blow to let them know if he saw them doing something other than working. At the end of the day he would tell each one how many times they stopped working even if it was a just few seconds to rest their backs. The little kids that were too small to work the fields still had chores to do like feed the chickens or gather fire wood. They would also find and tie twigs together for kindling. Otto and Lena had 13 children with 9 reaching adulthood.

Otto was about 5’9” in height, slender build, fair complexion, with light brown hair and grey eyes. He walked with a cane in later years though it was thought that it really wasn’t needed. He treasured his Army days and would talk about it for hours if you let him. His children and Lena called him Papa but to everyone else he was Sarge. He spoke German and English and Lena spoke French, broken German and broken English. Otto officially became an US citizen on October 20, 1919, 38 years after his arrival in the US.

If you visit the MacArthur Musuem be sure to say hi to Sarge you might just get an answer back. 👻