Tag Archives: Abijah Houston Sturgell

Columbus Taylor and Juliann Sturgell, Oklahoma Settlers

The last several months have had a strong focus on my family tree, so it’s time to turn to the Stufflebean-Sturgell family tree to share some stories.

A quick glance at previous posts made me realize that I’ve never shared the stories of the children of Abijah Houston Sturgell and Martha Susanna Alberty of Barry County, Missouri.

They were the parents of eleven children, three of whom died in childhood. Child #9 was my husband’s grandfather, Oscar Eldon Sturgell, and I’ve written about his life.

That leaves: Juliann, Maggie Clementine, John Houston, Lee Rue, Nora Bell, Amy Cora and Andrew Herman (Bud). Today, we’ll begin with Juliann.

Julia Ann, or Juliann as she was often called, Sturgell was the second child, but eldest surviving child of Abijah Houston and Martha Susanna Alberty, born 5 January 1879, probably in Van Buren, Newton, Missouri as that is where the family lived for the 1880 census.

Juliann had the opportunity to attend school, as the 1940 census taker recorded that she had completed the 8th grade.

Like many other young girls of the time, Juliann married when she was quite young – just a few weeks past her 16th birthday. Juliann married Columbus Washington Taylor, known as Lum, on 7 March 1895 in Barry County, Missouri.

Juliann & Lum, early 1900s enhanced with MyHeritage Photo tools

Lum was born on 25 December 1870 in Huntsville, Madison, Arkansas and died in 1957 in Verden, Caddo, Oklahoma.

For the first few years after marrying, Lum and Juliann worked on their small farm in Mineral Springs, Barry, Missouri. However, Oklahoma had opened up for settlement in the 1890s and was nearing statehood in the early 1900s. Many of Lum’s and Juliann’s family and friends made the decision to leave Missouri for a new life in Oklahoma. Sometime between 1900 and 1910, the young Taylor family decided Oklahoma was right for them, too.

By 1910, Lum, Juliann and their three children – Emory, Nina and Leroy, were living in Lincoln, Caddo, Oklahoma, where Lum continued to farm his rented land.

By 1920, the family had moved once again to the nearby town of Delaware, still in Caddo County and Lum, again, farmed on his rented property.

The 1930s brought on hard times with both the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Lum and Juliann were both well into their 50s and Lum had given up farming. Instead, he was a clerk in a grocery store in Verden, again in Caddo County. Verden is where many extended family members were living.

As the Depression years passed and World War II was approaching, Lum worked as a salesman and then, after the war, got a job working in the City Clerk’s office. Life had to be hard for them, as Lum was 79 years old when he worked in the clerk’s office.

Through the years, Juliann worked as a homemaker, raising their children.

On 7 March 1945, Lum and Juliann celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Lum & Juliann, 50th Wedding Anniversary

Lum died in early February 1957, as his obituary was published on 6 February in The Carnegie Herald in Caddo County.

Juliann outlived Lum by eleven years, passing away on 5 March 1968, just two days shy of what would have been the 73rd anniversary of her marriage.


  1. Emory Oscar, born 4 January 1896, Barry County, Missouri; died 8 January 1973, Oklahoma; married Grace McClane, 5 February 1920, Grady County, Oklahoma. They were the parents of four children.
  2. Nina Pearl, born 25 January 1898, Barry County, Missouri; died 2 December 1923, Verden, Caddo, Oklahoma; married Rufus Monroe Caldwell, 3 September 1916, Caddo County, Oklahoma. Rufus married (2) Emma Warkentin, 1926, Caddo County, Oklahoma. Rufus and Nina were the parents of one daughter and two sons.
  3. Leroy, aka Roy Lee, was born 14 September 1903, Barry County, Missouri; died 2 January 1983, Verden, Caddo, Oklahoma; married Flossie Mae Sigman, 28 January 1927, Verden, Caddo, Oklahoma. They were the parents of two sons and one daughter.

Next in the Sturgell family stories is that of Maggie Clementine, third child of Abijah Houston and Martha Susannah Alberty.

Abijah Houston Sturgell

Abijah Houston Sturgell was the one son of Isaac and Mary Bandy Sturgell who stayed put. Byge’s brothers, Andrew Jackson and George Washington Sturgell, went wandering through the Arkansas Ozarks with their father. Byge, on the other hand, remained in Barry County, Missouri. He married Martha Susannah Alberty on 5 June 1876 in nearby Newton County, Missouri. She was the daughter of John Alberty and Susannah Douthit. Susannah was the unfortunate widow who married Abijah’s father, Isaac, as his second wife.

There is no family lore as to how Isaac and Susannah met, but Susannah apparently had no objections to Byge marrying her daughter. (This wedding took place two years after Susannah’s bitter divorce from Isaac.)

Abijah and Martha had eleven children born to them in Barry County over the following twenty-two years:

1. Mary Susannah, born 18 October 1877. She was named for her two grandmothers, Mary Bandy Sturgell and Susannah Douthit Alberty. Sadly, Mary Susannah died just past her first birthday on 27 November 1878.
2. Juliann, born 5 January 1879; died 5 March 1968 in Chickasha, Grady Co., OK. She married Columbus W. (Lum) Taylor on 7 March 1895 in Barry County, MO.
3. Maggie Clementine, born 8 November 1880; died 18 Oct 1921 in Monett, Barry Co., MO. She married William Al Periman on 25 Feb 1897 in Barry County, MO. Al was the older brother of John Periman, who married Maggie’s sister, Nora.
4. John Houston, born 15 April 1882; died 1941 in Chickasha, Grady, OK. He married Della Brooks on 12 Nov 1902, Barry County, MO.
5. Lee Rue, born 3 December 1884; died 16 Aug 1947, Oak Ridge, Barry, MO. He married Gertrude Shirley on 8 Aug 1906 in Barry County, MO.
6. Nora Bell, born 5 November 1886; died 28 July 1960, Oklahoma City, OK. She married John D. Periman on 18 Aug 1901 in Barry County, MO.
7. Gertie May, born 6 Dec 1888; died two days after her 12th birthday on 8 December 1900, Barry County, MO.
8. Amy Cora, born 21 August 1891; died 19 May 1964 in Castroville, Medina, TX. She married Frank Slemp on 22 August 1910, in Chickasha, Grady, OK.
9. Oscar Elden, born 13 September 1893; died 15 June 1968 in Anadarko, Caddo, OK.
10. Glena Agnes, born 29 February 1896; died 16 December 1907 in Cato, Barry, MO.
11. Andrew Herman (Bud), born 6 October 1898; died 27 January 1989 in Blanchard, McClain, OK.

It must have been difficult for Abjiah to see the break up of his family as he was growing up. He was only twelve at the time that his father married Susannah Alberty. Because of the fact that he named his first child “Mary,” I would say that he loved his mother and likely missed her and his sisters very much.

However, Uncle Bud Sturgell had good memories of his family life as he grew up with the exception of Abijah’s death. He remarked that Abijah died of burns when an oil lamp tipped over and started a fire.

Part of the story was omitted, though. I had assumed from Uncle Bud’s description that Abijah died at the time of the fire or immediately after. That was not the case. There are few death records to be found in Missouri pre-1916 and Abijah’s is not one of them. I tracked down microfilms of the Cassville Republican newspaper for 1905. It appears that the fire happened sometime in 1904.

From the Cassville Republican, 12 January 1905 under the “Mountain Home” section says:

“B. Sturgle is in bad health and has been for some time.”

To me, “for some time” implies at least a month and perhaps longer. “B. Sturgle” was Bige, short for Abijah, Sturgell.

Next, on 30 March 1905, there is another mention. Part of this sentence is cut off of the copy, but says “Bige Sturgle’s condition is no better. . . .” It’s been many years since this copy was made off the microfilm, but I think the missing part of the sentence says “since June.” If so, Abijah, or Bige, had been suffering for nine months at this point.

The final mention of Abijah was found in the 8 June 1905 issue of the Cassville Republican.

“Bigey Sturgle died Saturday and was buried Sunday at the Snider Cemetery. He left a wife and several children to mourn his departure.”

Thus, Abijah suffered for about a year before finally succumbing to the effects of the accident. I can’t imagine a much more painful way for someone’s life to end.

If Abijah ever had his picture taken, it may not have survived as no one in the family seems to have a photo of him. I wonder if this photo of the family was taken around the time of his funeral:

Sturgell Family
Sturgell Family

Widow Martha Susannah is on the left. The young boy next to her is Bud Sturgell and I believe the girl behind him is Amy. the couple in the middle look like John D. Periman and Nora Bell Sturgell who married in 1901. They had no surviving children until son Elzie was born in 1909. Next to Nora is Oscar Elden Sturgell.

Everyone in the picture is quite dressed up, the way they would be if attending a funeral, particularly that of their husband and father. I have been to Snider Cemetery and visited the family graves there. It is a very wooded area with a small clearing where the graves are. In fact, it looks very much like the foliage behind the family. If this was taken after Abijah’s burial on 3 June 1905, Bud would have been 6 1/2 years old, Amy would have been almost 14 and Oscar just short of 12 years old. That seems to be a close match to the children’s ages in this picture.