Ready to Read

Ready to Read
Historical Novels -Bobi Andrews

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Mama, Love Sarah and The Sotweed Smuggler Now Published!

Illustrations by Rose Nuernberger





If you can't find a site, please e-mail me at

Sample chapters of the books are available
at the above sites as well as
my 2010 blogs archived below.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Rachel Brown –Ancestry

   1834 Rachel Brown – Cephas Ellis
      1804 William A. Brown-Dorcus Summa
        1771 Peter Summa – Dorcus Kindley
          1748 Peter Summy, Sr. – Elizabeth Briles
            1721 – Alsace France Hans Michael Summy- Barbara Merkle
              1675 – Bern, Switzerland Hans Peter Summi – Maria Haldy
                1641 Casper Sumi – Marie Clausr
                   1607 Peter Summi – Ann Gehret
                     1576 Casper Sumi – Margaretta Rychenback

Rachel Brown Ellis’s premonitions frequently came true. Contrary to dissenters doubting her accounts of voices talking to her, she remained convinced. Many people in Pilger, Nebraska, believed her, especially on one cold night in January. The year was 1888.

Settlers traveling from Iowa into Nebraska often chose the wintertime because they chanced their wagons would make it across the frozen Missouri River. Their fall crops were in and the root vegetables from their gardens harvested. Besides, they argued, they’d be settled before spring planting. Everyone knew finding fording areas in the spring on the raging river was nearly impossible.

Cephas and Rachel Ellis had moved from Pottawattamie County, Iowa, to Pilger a few years previously and it was time their oldest son and his wife--Henry and Isola--move to join them. So far, it had been a hard, early-freeze winter. Grampa (Cephas) decided to take a team of horses and a wagon to Iowa to help them move.

Wary, as always, Rachel began worrying the moment Cephas’s wagon pulled out of the frozen-over lane. Two days went by with Rachel sleeping very little. The third day passed, then the fourth. Rachel heard nothing. Tossing and turning on the fifth night, the voices began telling of a horrible accident where three loaded wagons crossing the Missouri had broken through the ice and plunged into the icy water. Sure that the voices were talking about Cephas, she feared all was lost.

Beside herself, Rachel summoned her neighbors insisting they go to the Missouri River to bring back the bodies and whatever may have washed ashore. The neighbors tried to console her and told her to wait a few more days . . . surely Cephas, Henry and Isola would be coming. It would be unheard of if Cephas, a cautious man, had ventured onto unsafe ice.

Rachel remained insistent. She described clearly the wagons in the water and the men struggling to reach their horses. She couldn’t be sure of Cephas as she awoke abruptly not knowing if anyone survived.

On the next morning as the sun broke over the horizon, she heard a call from the lane and saw an ice-covered man pulling his horse. It was Cephas. He hadn’t made it across the Missouri River from Nebraska to Iowa, but had rescued himself on the Nebraska shore, leaving Henry and Isola stranded on the Iowa side to wait until the blizzard of 1888 passed to cross safely.

Rachel loved to tell the story, the embellishment of the details growing with each time it was told. Married at age 15, she and Cephas lived to celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary in 1910.

**Pilger, Nebraska Century Edition. 1887-1987

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Funny Thing Happened Searching the Internet.

It's amazing what you can find on the Internet.  Just type in your name and see what you find!!!!!!

I did and found that one of the 693  Barbara A. Andrews found is an account for her Obituary.  Gave me a bit of a squeezy feeling to see my name and at approximately the same age as having demised.  Hope my dear friends don't take the entry as gospel--I haven't passed on!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Granddaughter Replies

This is in response to Grandpa Ellis, his ice cream "gene" and his bucking bronco riding.  This doesn't seem to be the Grandpa that I knew.  He was so gentle, patient, and loving.  He lived with us six months and then with my uncle's family for six months--changing back and forth.  One of my favorite memories of him is sitting on his lap and pulling out his lil' comb from his pocket and combing his hair.  He had a little wave in the front, and it was fun to comb it and comb it and comb it.  We probably had some wonderful "Grandpa to granddaughter" chats, but I only remember his gentleness in letting me comb his hair "endlessly."  Grandpa riding a bucking bronco?  Giving his horse a "whipping"?  You must be referring to Roy Rogers' grandpa!  Well, Grandpa may have done a lot of "whooping-dooping" on those broncoes, but I'll take the Grandpa that let me sit on his lap and comb his hair.  He probably didn't leave any sizeable monetary gift when he passed away, but he certainly left for all of us the "gifts of the Spirit" in being so gentle, kind and tenderhearted.  As I am in my late seventies now, it has been heart-warming to think of Grandpa again and to recollect this "little thing" that seemed very, very big to me at the time!  And it still does!  -- Rose Ellis Nuernberger.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Happy Birthday!

Wesley Leland Ellis
October 23, 1904 - January 21, 1978

Friday, October 21, 2011


From “Dear Mama, Love Sarah” (see story blog below), a chapter describes a revival in Statesville, North Carolina, which this year (1780) Sarah and her family attend after the harvest is brought in. With the children dressed in their best calicos, the Simpsons camp with their neighbors in a pasture for hymn singing and to listen to Reverend Phillip Mulkey and his son, Jonathon Mulkey, exort their audience to praise and righteous living. Anticipating the grand occasion, the family sings “Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah” and “Rock of Ages,” as their wagon bumps along on the way to Statesville. Both hymns are sung at the revival. Below, Aggie Ann, the Simpson’s youngest daughter, is dressed for the occasion.

Jump forward two hundred thirty years.  Last Sunday, while sitting in a Methodist pew in Sugar Land, Texas, I noticed the two hymns chosen for the service were “Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah” and “Rock of Ages.”    For a moment, I thought I saw Sarah’s ghost emerging from the smoky, flickering candles at the front of the altar . . . instead of the coincidence of two old hymns being sung again in worship. 


Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Ice Cream Genes - Charles J. Ellis

If you clicked on the previous post, the image enlarges. 
Here comes the first Ellis true story.  Hope you enjoy.


I just finished reading James Patterson’s, The Murder of King Tut, which is an amazing story of the life of Egyptians circa 1500 BC. His research, descriptions, and story were possible because of the practice of Egyptians to bury their Pharaohs and their belongings in sealed, secretive underground vaults which preserved the information and artifacts, and when later discovered, told of their lives thousands of years ago.

Most family lore is lost because no one bothered to record it, or the people who knew the stories died before passing it down to their descendents. To be truthful, we probably didn’t ask our grandparents soon enough. Obituaries tell of death, not life.

Communication between generations got me wondering what our descendents one hundred years from now (let alone thousands of years) will know of our everyday living. Will Facebook archives and “buried” blogs be accessible? Will there be libraries of genealogy information? Or will little green men and women from Mars think we were a funny species who lived in an old-fashioned Internet age?

Although not as profound as King Tut, my thoughts reminded me of a snapshot of events recorded by early prairie newspapers telling of Grandpa Ellis’s life on the prairies in western Kansas.

                                          The Ice Cream Gene

Charlie Ellis liked ice cream and broncos. So says the Cheyenne County Democrat, the Cheyenne County Rustler, the Weekly Review, the Cheyenne County Herald, and the People’s Defender of Cheyenne County, Kansas from 1890 to 1893.*

Soon after their marriage in 1890, Grandpa Charlie and his wife, Minnie moved from Pilger, Nebraska, to St. Francis, in Dent Township, Kansas, to be near her parents, the Montgomery’s. Cheyenne County, established twenty years earlier in 1873, supported five prairie newspapers which followed the practice of contacting the country folks and townspeople every week for “news” of themselves and their neighbors. Here is what they said about Charlie:


March 1 - Charlie Ellis of Dent, team ran away with harrow.
April 19 - Charlie Ellis of Dent killed a rattlesnake with 7 rattles.

July 13 - Charles Ellis held an ice cream supper on Saturday night
July 20 - Charles Ellis hosted an ice cream supper Tuesday night.
Jan 5 - Charlie Ellis, sports a new buggy, bought it of Henry Bowers
Jan 19 - Charlie Ellis riding a bronco, reminded us of Humpty Dumpty
      on the wall
Feb 2 - Charles Ellis is riding that bronco again.
Feb 16 - Charles Ellis sold a gray mare and bought a team of broncos.
Mar 2 - Charles Ellis and John Merrell took part in a rabbit hunt.
Apr 6 - Charles Ellis sold a team of broncos to N. B. Woodruff.
Apr 20 - Charles Ellis prairie fire burned some feed; it started from a
      lighted cigar from someone’s buggy.
Apr 27 - Charles Ellis and wife were sight seeing on Cherry Creek.
Jan 26 - Charles Ellis was seen riding his bronco again. Be careful, Charles.
Feb 16 - Charles Ellis has another bronco. Now Charlie, be careful.
Feb 23 - Charlie Ellis and Charley Burnham captained the squads for the great
      wolf hunt.
Mar 2 -Charlie Ellis has built a nice chicken house, or his neighbors built
       it for him, rather.
Apr 13 -We hear Charlie Ellis is hauling back the water W. T. Atkinson
       borrowed last winter.
Apr 8 -Charlie Ellis hosted a grand affair for the birthdays of Chas. Pritchet,
       Jud Tedrick , Mrs. Pearson, and himself. Number present – 70.

Jan 25 -Charles Ellis and wife prospecting over on Cherry Creek.

*The newspaper accounts above were generously shared by Cindy Anderson, Cheyenne, Wyoming, during my genealogy searches.
For the bronco riding, it appears that it was a fling of his youth, the ice cream an addiction for life. Here’s how Grandpa made ice cream:

As soon as the ice disappeared from the horse tank in the spring, Grandpa threw the wooden ice cream bucket in the tank so that the wood would soak and swell closing the cracks between the wood slats in the bucket. Periodically through the summer, he soaked the bucket for at least three days before he intended to use it.

He invited his friends and relatives to come by late in the afternoon on Sunday. Before he went to church, he skimmed the cream from the top of the milk pails and made sure he had enough fresh eggs. On the way home from church, he stopped his buggy to pick up a block of ice from the town’s wood-framed storage,  packed deep in sawdust, taken from the Republican River in February. After changing from Sunday clothes, he chipped into a burlap bag the ice and rock salt while Minnie whisked the cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the gallon canister, closed the lid, and locked in the wooden paddle.

He planned the time so that he barely started cranking the bucket when his guests arrived. “Here, I have to tend to my horses, (or chickens, or whatever excuse he thought of) and pass the cranking of the bucket to a young nephew or friend to continue the cranking. The cranking started out fast, but then slowed to a tedious chore as the ice cream slowly froze. Most of the time, men folk watched and told stories under the tree, pausing only long enough to turn the crank once or twice to see if the handle was getting hard to crank, or to unplug the hole at the bottom of the bucket to let the brine drain, or to pile on more ice and salt. When Grandpa was satisfied the handle would no longer crank, he announced the ice cream would be ready in a half hour. He removed the paddle, left the canister in the bucket with the brine, packed more ice around it, and covered the bucket with an old heavy quilt to season. ( I would hope whoever cranked the bucket the most got to lick the paddle.)

Only if you have had ice cream home-cranked with real cream, would you know what you wanted in heaven. Although scientists have not yet found an ice cream gene, I am sure there is one. Grandpa passed his ice cream genes to my father, who not surprising operated a creamery and manufactured ice cream. Growing up, my brother, sister, and I ate our fill of broken ice cream bars. We had beet sugar stored in our basement during World War II, and an abundance of cherries, butter brickle, nuts, chocolate, and other goodies stored in large containers upstairs in the creamery. A pint of ice cream sold for 25 cents, a quart for 50 cents.

When my father sold his creamery, we graduated to Blue Bunny ice cream from Sioux City, Iowa, and of course in Texas, Blue Bell ice cream reigns.

The other day, I was clearing out my garage and found my old ice cream bucket with its crank. On the shelf in the laundry room is its matching canister and paddle, and in the pantry a box of rock salt.

Hm-m-m-m-m-m! I think I’ve got the gene.

Enlarged Descendency Chart for Ellis Family

Look for your ancestor on this chart.


Currently, I have an ancestral database covering over 19,000 individuals and families. Through the years of research and through the assistance of a great many people, I have stories that may be of interest to you as well as four fictional novels using our ancestors as a base. During the next year I will take a family at a time, give a chart of relationships, and pass on stories that have been accumulated. Because I write novels, I will be careful to mark those that are fictional.

The first attachment are descendents of Charles Jefferson Ellis. If your immediate or recognizable ancestor is on the chart, you will probably enjoy the stories. Because of the limitations on printing very large charts, I have not listed all of the generations available. The Ellis family itself has over eleven generations in the database. Since I am new at using Blogs, let me have your questions and comments to make it better.

My aim is to bring our family together!