A Letter from
James William Bell Appleby
Bank of Fair Grove
Fair Grove, Missouri
14 December 1914
(son of Andrew McMurry Appleby and Letitia Logan Sumners
to his cousin, John James Sumners, son of Abraham M. Sumners.
"My Dear Cousin,
I got your last letter while I was in Northern Ohio. We had gone to Cleveland Ohio on a visit to my wife's
folks who live there. I had not been up in that country for over thirty years. In a country that has been
settled up so long as that has the changes in thirty years are very few. I found the roads just where they
were when I first saw them. The houses, barns and fences are all the same as then, the only thing that
struck me hard was this. I did not find a single man or woman living along a road for five miles, with which
I was very well acquainted, that was there when I first saw the road. I found their children and
grandchildren living in the old homes. All the others had gone to sleep under the sod. When I think of all
this I can not see but we will all sleep soon. The reasonable thing for us to do is to be ready. We will no
doubt have our beds made, will they be hard or easy, that depends on our own efforts.We live in a little
cross road village with the usual stores, shops, mill and churches. Not very exciting, but peaceful restful
and quiet, in fact a little to much peace, quiet and rest to suit me, as I always did like a little action. This
is a farming country where we raise corn, wheat, oats, hay, potatoes, turnips, etc with horses, cattle,
mules and sheep. There are many cows milked here for profit, farmers milk all the way up to 100 or more
cows and the farmer that milks the cow is the one that make the money. Our social life is the Church,
Lodge and kindred societies to some one or more everybody belongs. We go to the methodist church
although we are Presbyterians, there is no Presbyterian church here.William G. Sumners your uncle
and my grandfather had four daughters. My mother the oldest had four boys oldest boy a doctor lives
now at Republic MO. I am next. I have farmed, sold general merchandise and am now banking with
my mind made up to retire next April. The next brother is or has been a carpenter is now living at
Bristow, Okla. The youngest is a congregational preacher and has a church at Independence Kansas.
The next daughter, Aunt Rosetta had four boys and one girl a family of not much vitality. There are
but two of the boys living. The older is President of farmers Bank at Ash Grove Mo. The other is a
farmer and Baptist preacher lives on a farm north of Ash Grove. By the way, Wm. G. Sumners was the
first Post Master at Ash Grove. The office was in his home and the name came from a fine body of
timber in which he lived. But to go back: the 3rd daughter Lydia Ann had and raised a family of six girls.
Now only three living the oldest married a methodist preacher and is now living in the north part of this
state. the next married a farmer and is living near Greenfield Mo. The next married a teacher, who is
now President of the Bank of Morrisville. The 4th daughter, Aunt Nancy and the only one living is in
Texas never had any children. The 5th Aunt Mary, the mother of John Taylor you probably know more
of than I do. I had never thought of it before but each of this family of girls had one son that was a
preacher except one and she had a girl marry a preacher.
Hoping that this may be of some interest to you and that I may hear from you again,
I am yours truly, J.W.B. Appleby
PS My name analyzed is James for my Grandfather Appleby and William Sumners and Bell a Family
name of Tennessee ancestor. I have been called Jimmie, Billie, Button and Bell. Every man woman and
child used to call me Bell so I guess that is the name I am most known by. I have just noticed in reading
over your letter that your father though you looked like Aunt Lydia Ann. You have a right to be pleased
as we all used to think She was the beauty of the family and good all the way through.
Note with letter. There was no envelope, but it was obviously written to my "Uncle Jim" John James
Sumners, son of Abraham M. Sumners and J. K. Cox, nephew of William G. Sumners. I assume Wm. G.
had a daughter who married an Appleby and that they stayed in Missouri long after Abraham and the
Coxes migrated to Texas."
Appleby Heritage note: This letter was sent to the MOGREENE-L@rootsweb.com mailing list by
on 28 October 1999. In an email to Appleby Heritage Marte Kellogg sent a Sumners' chart.
page: 05 February 2003
revised: 16 March 2005