Unpacking History One Discovery at a Time
Last month 10 Riggle cousins met in Independence, Kansas for Neewalloh celebration. Neewalloh is Halloween spelled backwards and is long-standing tradition in Independence. Begun some 50 years or more ago, carnival games, food trucks, band stands, and of course, pie eating contests bring thousands of fans from all across the nation. Our family has been going for 18 years and this year, my sister Gail and I got to join the fun.
So a little about my Riggle line. My mother had three sisters and four brothers. The 10 cousins at the reunion were all children from the Riggle girls, Eleanor, Wilma, Violet, and Juanita. They have all passed on and now it is up to the cousins to keep our family connected.
My mother and her siblings were born to Paul Shaylor Dickinson Riggle and Flossie Phelps. Paul’s father died when he, Paul, was 7 and when his mother, Ida Mentzer Dickinson remarried Immer Josiah Riggle Paul took the Riggle name. My sister and I are both adopted, too, by the way.
Immer and Ida moved from Pennsylvania to Kansas in 1910, and Paul and Flossie came too. They moved for good jobs with the oil companies, and to find the stolen gold hidden somewhere in the Kansas-Oklahoma border by the infamous Dalton Gang. But that’s another story.
This photo at Mount Hope Cemetery in Independence shows where my grandfather, grandmother, great grandparents, one aunt, two uncles, and one cousin are buried.
While in Independence I was able to do a little family research. I found city directories and a marriage license which helped filled in my timeline.
My cousins Teddy, Carol, and Joanne took me around to see the homes where the family lived. I now have a clearer picture of my mom, of her early life, and of how much courage it took for her to leave her family and move to California during the Great Depression.
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