Sipple Stories

Pictures & stories of my Grandparents Joy & Adda Rockwell Sipple, their family and their ancestors.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Abraham Rockwell Family

This photo was probably taken about 1903. It shows Abraham and MaryAnn Maple Rockwell and 9 of their 10 children in front of their farm home which was just north of Weeping Water, Nebraska.

The tall boy in the overalls on the far left is either Walter or William.
Walter was Abraham and MaryAnn's oldest boy and would have been in his early 20s at the time of the photo... It is possible they had a family photo taken with him absent... however I think it more likely that he is in the photo and William missing.

William was Abraham and MaryAnn's second son. According to a letter I received from Abraham and MaryAnn's youngest daughter, Sue Rockwell Thompson, in 1979, William was helping a neighbor put up hay and got sun stroke. He never quite recovered from it, was sick and under a doctors care for several months, finally going to Omaha to the hospital. He died in November 1902 or 1903. I think the photo was taken after he passed away, judging from the sizes and ages of the smaller children.

Left to right are: Walter or William, Steve, Sue, Jess, parents: Mary Ann & Abraham [seated], Laura, Gifford... and in the wagon, Ben, Adda and Pearl.

Ben was born in January 1901... and the smallest child in the photo looks like he would be at least 2 or 3 in the photo... After Ben, the last child, Louis, was born in July 1904.

Two photos of the farm house as it looks today

This photo was taken after the family moved in to Weeping Water.
Adda Rockwell Sipple is the young girl in the back, second from the right with her head tipped. Great Aunt Sue Rockwell Thompson is the girl next to her, far right.

Some time after Abraham went blind, he had a house built in town, across the river, several blocks south of the downtown area. The house built as an exact replica of the farm house that Abraham was accustomed to living in except that a big wrap around front porch was added. Abraham's obituary says he was blind the last 15 years of his life. He died May 7, 1917 at the age of 67.

In 1970, the present owners of the house had some remodeling done on it. Sam Baker, the son of the original builder of the house in 1906, came along with his son, also a carpenter, who was doing the remodeling and told the owners about helping his father with the construction of the house. The lady who lives there now said that they have made some changes over the years but much of the house remains the same. Her father was the third owner of the Rockwell home, buying it in 1918. She has invited me to come and tour her home and I hope to do that sometime this fall.

In the Weeping Water Museum on Main Street, there is a display of carpenter tools donated by Mr. Baker. There is a picture of the Rockwell house. Under the picture it says "This house was built by the Bakers in 1906 using some of these tools..."

A picture of that picture

The display of tools in the Weeping Water Museum

The house as it looks today

Both Abraham and MaryAnn Rockwell are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery on the north edge of Weeping Water, NE. They have no tombstones. No one could afford to buy one at the time of their deaths. Great Aunt Sue told me that she and my Grandmother, her sister, Adda, had always planned to purchase a tombstone for their parents when they could afford it... but then came the Depression and then Adda died at a young age and it just never got done.

Abraham's Mother Eliza Rockwell has a tombstone as does his brother Jesse and his wife Mary. Eliza's Mother, Sally Tabor, shares the same stone with Eliza. Seth's death details are not written on the stone. He passed away after Eliza and perhaps no one could afford to have the inscription done. These two tombstones are located just inside the main gate of the cemetery on the east side of the road. See photos below:

Eliza Rockwell and Sally Tabor's tombstone

Abraham's brother
Jesse D Rockwell and his wife Mary

I didn't find tombstones for MaryAnn's parents: William and Martha Jenkins Maple (or Mapel). I don't know if I just missed them or if they don't have any. They are also supposed to be buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Maybe next time...