Volume 5, Number 5, Fall 1974
In July of this year John W. Rulketter, Birmingham, Mich, received a letter from Ruth Gum of Seneca, Ill., saying: "I have become acquainted with a lovely elderly lady in Lewistown, Pa., she says that Old Uncle Matt was her mothers first cousin. She is most anxious to know if she might have any distant relatives somewhere in the Ozarks."
On July 11th John W. Rulketter wrote to Mrs. Gumm this information: "Old Matt (John Keever Ross), I knew was born in Pennsylvania. He moved to Indiana then to Southern Illinois and then to Missouri. He moved to Indiana from his old homesite at Notch, MO. to Barber when the railroad went thru in late 1906. He had a cousin (blood or by marriage) who lived in Springfield. He died at this home in 1922. "J.K." which was the name he asked me to call him, never told me much about his earlier life. He did tell me of his first marriage and their son, Charley, who he said, was always sickly, just the opposite of the Harold B. Wright portrayal. Charley lived in California and they heard very little from him. J. K. did tell me that he had been a policeman in Springfield, Ill., for a time. It might be interesting to check to see if records of personnel were kept that far back (1875 to 1890). The force must have been small at that time.
Anna Keever Bennett did visit the Rosses around 1915. She was a fine looking lady and J. K. was proud of his sister. I have a picture of her From Mrs. Ross and J. K. I understood she died around 1920.
Wright came to visit the Rosses in about 1917 for four or five days. When I asked Mrs. Ross how she enjoyed his visit she said, "It was alright, but you would have thought he might at least have brought us a rocking chair". The rocking chair part never made sense to me until I got your letter and learned that H. B. W. had given them a rocking chair before he made his millions, and this time not even a house gift. Not that Mrs. Ross or J. K. wanted nor would accept any form of charity. They were the kind of people that were always doing things for others.
The chair and clock were collected by Lizzie McDaniels, a Springfield woman who took an interest in the book and the people it told about. Mrs. Trimble came along later and had done an excellent job.
The day J. K. left Garber he wrote me a long letter. He told me Charley had come to take him to California that day. He stated, however, that he would never leave the Ozarks as he had heard the death call of the coyote the night before, He was correct, as he died in Springfield the following day.
As I told you before, he died at the home of a cousin. This cousin was an Uncle of Ellie Jennings, Lake Shore Drive of Branson. The uncles name is Oscar (?) Jennings.
Yours truly, John Rulketter.
On Sept. 11, 1974 I received the following information from John Rulketter:
"The lady in Lewiston. Pa., whose mother was a first cousin to J. K. Ross is Elizabeth Sheely. Her grandmother was Margaret Keever a sister to Asseneth. Asseneth was born Oct. 1828 and married a John Ross in 1848. J. K. was born around 1850. Perhaps you should check J. K.s headstone about this date, although I do not know if the headstone is right as it was put up long after J.K. and Mrs. Ross died. Oscar Morrill arranged for the stone.
J. K. had the one sister Anna Keever. The picture I referred to in my letter was of Mrs. Ross, J. K., and Anna.
My reference to the Ross move to Garber was from the cabin on what is now called the Shepherd of the Hills Farm. I used Notch only as his mailing address. However, he never lived in that "City". For any new-comers information, there was not any #76 nor any tourists. The road that ran from Notch east followed the present #76 to a about or a little beyond Compton Ridge and then went down into the valley (Mutton Hollow) and finally when it was only a faint wagon track back north and to the Rosses.
John K. Rulketter
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