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Verts Families of Missouri

Verts Families of Missouri  

contributed by B.J. Verts 

Names and dates included herein are from my grandfather Verts' bible.

My father William Trigg Verts, was the second of five sons of Isaac Mortimore Verts (1 May 1865-11 August 1956) and Minnie Emma Tucker Verts (21 January 1878-16 January 1962). My grandparents were married 8 November 1898 in Booneville, MO. My father went to grade school in Nelson, MO and high school in Napton, MO; no other public schooling was available. He worked in the Tri-County State Bank in Nelson, MO until it closed during the bank holiday in 1933. He joined my grandfather in the Verts General Store in Nelson where he worked until his death from kidney failure. My grandfather Isaac was one of 13 children born to Joseph Lewis (Ludwig) Virts (8 July 1821-16 March 1901) and Elisa Ann Baker Virts (21 September 1826-?? August 1901).


My father's brothers were: 

Jerome Speed Verts (26 August 1900-5 March 1962) who managed a Missouri Farmers Association grain mill and feed store (the elevator) in Nelson, MO. He married Viola Grace Rhoades (28 November 1898-18 May 1981) on 3 November 1921; they had no children. Ned Lee Verts (9 August 1907-16 June 1985) who was successively a minor league baseball pitcher, grocer, farmer, and carpenter. He married Kathryn Smith on 3 May 1926. Ned died from a ruptured abdominal aneurysm. They had one son, Jack Kassen Verts. This is the only line that continues to bear the Verts name in Missouri. 

Shuck Tucker Verts (18 December 1910-23 May 1992) who was a farmer, inventor, and carpenter. He married Lois Richardson (21 August 1912-?? January 1996) on 19 January 1931; they had three daughters: Isabel Ann Verts Payne (Mrs. Daniel F. Payne), Dorothy Verts Caton (Mrs. Thomas E. Caton), and Vivian Verts Bailey (Mrs. Bruce Bailey). Shuck Verts was a crack shot with a .22 rifle; he often exhibited his ability by hitting tin cans thrown into the air. He and his father-in-law (D. G. Richardson) invented a machine to strip the seed heads from bluegrass and for many years stripped bluegrass seed for sale. Shuck followed his father's footsteps in his love to make wooden toys and novelties for sale and gifts. 

Virgil Vance Verts (5 February 1914-10 October 1993) who was a piano tuner, movie operator, and laborer. He married May Florence Frost (15 June 1913-12 February 1993), a schoolteacher, on 15 June 8 April 1939; they had three children: Lysbeth Virgene Verts Stark (22 February 1943 - ), Lynda Flo Verts (10 June 1948-10 June 1948), and Gary Frost Verts (24 November 1949-2 February 1950). Virgil was in the army during World War II and saw combat in the Admiralty and Philippine islands. 

I was born 9 April 1927 to Jeanette Poindexter Verts (27 November 1903-14 February 1995) and William Trigg Verts (24 October 1903-30 April 1936) in Nelson, MO. My parents were married in Marshall, Missouri on 30 December 1925. I lived in Nelson, MO until the February following the death of my father when my mother took a job in Marshall, MO as a live-in nurse for a invalid woman. I went to live with my grandmother Poindexter and aunt (Sara Louise [Peggy] Yeagle) in Arrow Rock, MO. I lived there until June 1939 when my mother married Claude Raymond Hawkins (son of the invalid woman for whom she had once worked). We moved to Shelbina, MO where I completed grade school and high school (4 May 1945). I joined the U.S. Navy during the closing weeks of World War II and served 2 years as a hospital corpsman in the United States and after the war in the Mariana Islands (Guam and Saipan). I was discharged 17 November 1947 and entered Washington University (St. Louis, MO) in February 1948. In January 1950, I transferred to the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO). During the term, I was diagnosed with tuberculosis; I spent the next 2 years in a Veterans Administration hospital in Springfield, MO. In September 1952, I returned to the University of Missouri and completed a Bachelor of Science in June 1954. On 29 August 1954, I was married to Lita Jeanne Nash of Jonesboro, AR with whom I had a son, William Trigg Verts II (22 September 1955). We were divorced in 12 November 1975. I completed the Master of Science at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL) in June 1956 then attended the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS) for one semester. I worked for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (Williamston, NC) for 7 months as a wildlife biologist, then returned to Illinois (1 October 1957) to work for the Illinois Natural History Survey as a field mammalogist. I spent 5 years in northwestern Illinois conducting research on rabies in striped skunks, then returned to Southern Illinois University (September 1962) to complete the Ph.D. (August 1965). I accepted a position at Oregon State University (1 August 1965), where except for a sabbatical year at Pennsylvania State University (academic year 1977-1978) I spent the next 30 years conducting research on mammals and teaching courses in mammalogy and wildlife biology. I married Leslie Nike Tymniak Carraway (born: 8 November 1952) on 16 November 1979; we have no children. I became Professor Emeritus on 1 August 1995; Leslie and I maintain an office at the University and I continue to teach one graduate-level course each year. After 7 years of work, we have just completed a book titled "Land mammals of Oregon" that will be published by the University of California Press in June 1998. 

I was the only grandchild for nearly 8 years and for most of that time lived in a house next door to my grandparents. After leaving Nelson in1937, I often returned to visit for a few days. During the summers of 1944 and 1949, I worked for my Uncle Jerome in "the elevator," and lived with my grandparents. My grandfather had a tremendous memory for things that happened in his youth and loved to tell me stories about his life in Loudoun Co., VA. He often told of the hard work on the farm, of reaping wheat with a scythe and cradle, of forming bundles and shocking the wheat, of winnowing the grain, and of transporting it to a mill for grinding into flour. He developed "white swelling" (tuberculosis of the bone) in one of his legs when he was 14 years old. He was an invalid for a time but recovered; he remained a cripple and walked with a cane all of his life. When he was 20 years old he left the farm and went to Vienna, VA where he worked with his older brother John Henry as a carpenter. I do not recall precisely when he came to Missouri, but he moved to Booneville where he operated a grocery. He met and married my grandmother in Booneville. Heand his brother Jonah moved to Nelson, MO about the turn of the century; I'm not certain, but I think that my Uncle Jerome was born in Nelson. I'm absolutely certain that my father was born in Nelson. My grandfather operated a general store, and over the years acquired a garage, gas station, movie theater, two houses, and a farm. I remember going to silent movies for which my father was projectionist and my uncle Virgil played the piano accompaniment; this must have been about 1931. After my father died, my mother helped in the grocery for a few months, but when we left, grandfather turned the store over to my uncle Ned. This was still the Depression era and the town of Nelson had shrunk from more than 600 to about 325. It could no longer support four grocery stores; Ned sold out. My grandparents subsisted on funds obtained from sale of the various properties. They finally moved next door to the house in which I lived as a young child; grandfather died there. My grandmother continued to live there for a few years, but when she was no longer able to care for the place it was sold and she moved into a nursing home. Jonah Asker Verts operated a grain mill in Nelson, but he died before I was born. I am not certain, but I think that he lived with my grandparents. My grandfather commonly told of Jonah's extraordinary strength. He told me that Jonah would demonstrate his prowness by picking up a section of railroad rail. I always had the feeling that my grandfather bore a bit of animosity toward his brother. I am not certain what the problem was, but I think that my grandfather thought that Jonah had taken advantage of him. On several occasions, I met Joseph Albert Verts who lived with his son's family in Booneville. I do not remember much about him, but I do recall that his son Charles was a postman. Charles and his wife had a daughter named Phoebe who was a year older than I am. I do not know where she resides or if she stills lives. 

In August 1935, my father, mother, grandparents, and I traveled in a 1935 Ford V-8 from Nelson to Vienna, VA to visit with my grandfather's brother John Henry and his wife. Great uncle John had a small truck farm where he grew vegetables and raised chickens for sale. He had steady customers to which he delivered dressed chickens and vegetables each Saturday. During our visit my mother and I accompanied him on one of his delivery routes. I found it amusing that he pronounced the word "tomato" with a long "a" when talking with some customers and with a short "a" when talking with others. In listening carefully I determined that he pronounced the word the way that his customers pronounced it. I recall that during our visit that we stayed in a small building that John called the "summer house," but we assembled in the big house for breakfast each morning. Breakfast consisted of sausage, biscuits, and gravy. 

During our visit, we made several trips into Washington, D.C. I met a Frank Reeves who I think was the son of Lydia Catharine Verts. I visited with Frank and his wife again during the last days of World War II when I was stationed at Bainbridge, MD. I recall that he took me to see the Joseph Lewis Verts farm in Loudoun County, VA. I think that he was retired, but I recall that his wife worked in the U. S. Treasury Department. 

Jane Rubiter Verts Figgins lived in Pilot Grove, MO about 25-30 miles southeast of Nelson. I recall several in my family (perhaps my grandfather) refer to her as "Crazy Jane," I think that this stemmed from her independence. I recall going with my mother and grandparents to her house when I was a child. She made beautiful quilts and the day we were there, she had a dozen or so hanging from the railing that surround the porch. I do not recall why they were hung outside.

My grandfather's sister Molley died 2 days after Joseph Lewis Verts died. I recall my grandfather telling me that she had taken care of her aged parents and when great grandfather died, she became so upset that she simply grieved herself to death. 

Because I have lived in Oregon for nearly half my life, I found a newspaper clipping that Lois Richardson Verts showed me a few years before she died most interesting. It was an article about my grandfather Verts traveling to Oregon in 1919 (I think) to visit his wife's brother Nathanal Tucker and to investigate the possibility of establishing a business here. Obviously, he decided not to come. Great uncle Nat is buried in the Corvallis Cemetery.



AlbumsIsaac Mortimer Verts and Minnie Emma Tucker

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