Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Leonard Muffitt

Leonard L. Muffitt
(from the Kinsley Mercury Newspaper July 20, 1954)

Leonard L. Muffitt, Old Timer Here, Dies Monday
Leonard L. Muffitt died Monday at the Edwards County Hospital after a short illness. Mr. Muffitt was forman of the local Kansas Power and Light plant and was serving his 31st year with the company.
Funeral services were held at McKillip's chapel at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon with Rev. Martin Pullman officiating. Interment and graveside services were at Wayne cemetery at Lewis, Kansas.

Mr. Muffitt is survived by four daughters, Mrs. Bill Scheuman, Murdock; Mrs. Clyde Smith, Wichita; Mrs. Raymond Roeabaugh, Geonosa, Colo. and Mrs Henry Lewis, San Diego, Calif.
Two sisters, Mrs. Hazel Bushnell, Lansing, Mich.; and Mrs. Edna Altenburg, St. Petersburg, Fla; and one brother, Earl Muffitt, Kalvesta.

Kinsley Kansas Power and Light plant 1937

Leonard's mother was Mary Ann Johnson Darling (July 9, 1868 - July 31, 1953). Leonard was adopted by Alonzo Muffitt. Leonard's biological father is not know at this time but the the name "Darling" may be a clue.

Mary Ann Johnson was the daughter of William H.H Johnson (01/15/1841 - 12/27/1910 Lewis KY) and Clara Thomas.

William H.H Johnson was the son of John Johnson (02/02/1800 - 01/28/1888 Mason, KY) and Harriett Wallingford (06/15/1807 - 09/17/1852)

This is the only Photograph that we curently have of Leonard. Dorothy (Muffitt - Preston) Smith wrote "Dad" on the picture with the arrow.

(January 15, 2011)
Although not much of Leonard was previously known, thanks to recently found descendants of Leonard's mother (Mary Ann Johnson - Darling -Muffitt -Leary)A little more is now known ! 

Leonard's mother Mary Ann Johnson (born in Indiana), was the daughter of  William Henry Harrison Johnson (Wm H. H. Johnson, of Kentucky) and Clara Thomas (of Kentucky). Wm H. H. Johnson and Clara had two children Harriet and Mary Ann.  Clara died in Hickory Co., Missouri (no death record has been found).   Wm H.H. Johnson took the two little girls (Harriet and Mary Ann) and went back to Kentucky.  He then married Mary Francis Holland and had 2 more children, John and Clarissa.  They moved to Kansas and then Mary Francis died.

Then, according to family stories, Wm H.H. Johnson met and married 'other' women. 3 more,  may be 4 more. One was a widow with a big farm and when she found out about all the other wives, she kicked him out.  These stories are from Wm H. H. Johnsons' daughter Clarrisa (from the Wm H.H Johnson's second marriage) and she said that  Wm H.H. lived with them in between all the different women and she remembered him. She said he had a deep speaking voice and dark auburn hair and wore all his medals (from the Civil War) when he went to the GAR meetings. He always said he was younger than the age on his marriage records. She said she thought that he looked young for his age, so he fooled some of the women!

According to some remembrances of relatives in Kansas, Mary Ann was married first to a "Mr. Darling".  But no marriage or divorce records have been found to date.   He was always referred to as "the handsome Mr. Darling" according to relatives stories.  It is said that Mr. Darling did not like kids and left Mary Ann when he found out she was pregnant (with Leonard).   No Birth record of Leonard has been found but census records indicate that he was born in Kansas..

Leonard was born before Mary Ann married Alonzo Muffitt in 1893.  Leonard always went by the name of "Muffitt", although no adoption records have been found.  In Alonzo's obituary it states that Leonard is a step son.  Alonzo was from Michigan, the son of John Muffitt and Julia Strong.  Alonzo was married first to Amelia French.  Alonzo and Amelia divorced and then Alonzo married Mary Ann Johnson-Darling. Alonzo and Mary Ann had  three children together ( Edna, Hazel, Clyde "Earl" ) + Leonard.  We do not know where Alonzo and Mary Ann met. A granddaughter of  Hazel  asked Hazel and the reply was that she did not know where they met. 

Mary Ann's sister, Harriet Johnson married Will Becker. Will and Harriet had a son Bill who married Anna. The Beckers lived in Kansas as well.  They owned a lot of land and oil wells in Kansas.. Leonard was very friendly with the Beckers.   Leonard and Bill Becker were 1st Cousins.  

Not much is known about how and when Leonard met Ruth Preston.  And not much is known about what happened when Ruth died giving birth to the twin girls (Dorothy & Louise).   For years, on the Preston side of the family, the story was that Leonard 'left' and Ruth's mother Daisey raised the girls.  Although we have family stories that Leonard did make an attempt to reconnect to the twins when they were adults....not much is known.  Leonard was not discussed much, if at all.

 A recent connection to descendants from Leonard's half siblings provides 'the other side' explanation of events.

"The story we were told was that when Ruth died, Leonard could not take care of 2 new born babies and Daisey took them and wouldn't give them back when he remarried.  Leonard 2nd wife was  jealous of the girls and couldn't have children, so she wanted to adopt 2, which they did."

When Leonard died (1954), several half sisters and cousins ( from Michigan) attended the funeral and it was thought that the girls (twins Dorothy and Louise) were there.   Later, a descendant from one of  Leonard's half siblings, found the twins names in Leonard's obituary and tried to contact them but the letters were never answered or returned.  The Muffitt 'side of the family' never knew what happen to the Twin's. as reported:

"I have been working on the Muffitt tree for many years and always wondered if the twins had children."

Leonard's nieces and nephew have fond memories of Leonard.  They they would often go to stay at his house during the summer.  He would always show them the sites.  A nephew recalls being driving around in Leonard's 'big ol Buick'   The 1930 Census show that Leonard's step father Alonzo (age 80), was living with Leonard in Kinsley, Kansas.

Mary Ann divorced Alonzo (date unknown) then married Walter Leary.  She ended up in Michigan and lived near her granddaughter (that she raised ).  Her daughters (Edna and Hazel ) also ended up in Michigan.  Mary Ann died July 31, 1953.


Anonymous said...

Hello- Stephen, I am William R. Preston and have been searching for some of this information about William Hobbs (Henry) Preston, My great grandfather. So glad to see this information. I have a certificate about his judge appointment that says Henry as his middle name. I am most interested in your information. and would like to talk with yousometime. We live in Topeka, KS. 785 232 4994.
Charles Edward was my father, mother, Leta. email address: Would like to hear from you. Bill

Terrell Adams said...


My name is Terry Adams and my parents now live in the house at 1209 2nd AVE. Just for the record the picture you have is of 1209 Central and not 1209 2nd. If you like I'd be happy to email you the actual picture.

I loved your blog. I have been researching Dodge City history for some time now, and for obvious reasons, have special interest in the history of the house.

My relation, William Terrel Adams, moved here in 1885.

Stephen said...

Hi Terry,
thanks for the note about the house. the one that is now pictured is the correct one. I would appreciate a picture of what the house looks like now... or any interesting things that may still be lingering.... My mother always felt the place was haunted, but perhaps it was just her memory of the bodies that layed in state there when she lived there as a child.


Anonymous said...

Leonard's half sister, Hazel June Bushnell, b. July 26, 1936, d. Oct. 11, 2010, buried: North Cemetery, Lansing, MI.