William Slavens

Upon reaching adulthood, William Slavens was struck with wanderlust. The 1870 census finds him in Jasper County, Iowa, not terribly far from his half-brother Jesse. He was soon back in the North Salem area, where he married Emily Adeline Gowin on 27 Oct. 1872. Adeline came from a large family herself; she had four brothers and sisters. In addition, both her parents had earlier families-- Adeline had ten half-siblings from her father Stephen Gowin and five more half-siblings from her mother Elizabeth Debery Walton Gowin.

William and Adeline's first sons Oder and Jesse were born in Indiana in 1873 and 1875 respectively, then the family moved to Nebraska for a few years. Son Ernest was born there in 1877. They then moved to Jasper County, Iowa, where they rented a farm for a couple years, before returning to Hendricks County, where Myrtle was born in 1880, Garner in 1882, and Tide in 1885. The family then emigrating to Oklahoma by 1888-- perhaps by way of Kansas, as an 1885 county history biography of Adeline's half-brother Jonathan Walton places the family there. While in Oklahoma, Guy was born in 1888, Margaret in 1891, and Nitus in 1893. Son Garner died in Oklahoma in 1893.

Family lore has it that William had a claim on a parcel of land in Oklahoma, but lost it in a poker game. That land supposedly became a portion of downtown Oklahoma City.

From Oklahoma, the family returned to the North Salem area. By the 1900 census most of the kids had left home: Ernest was in Adair County, Iowa, working as a farm hand for his cousin John Walton. Jesse was not far away working for Benjamin Fry; Ernest must have visited his brother often as he married Sarah Fry 1901. (In 1900 John Walton was a newlywed himself, having married Sarah Fry's sister in January of that year.) Back in Hendricks County, Myrtle was working as a servant in Danville, as was Tide for a family in Marion Township. Guy, Nitus, and Maggie were still at home with William and Adeline, who at that time were living in Union Township.

William and Adeline Slavens headstone.

In a few years Guy and Nitus moved to central Iowa, and after William retired, he and Adeline moved to Waukee, Iowa, near Guy's home. Guy later moved to Earlham, Iowa, and his parents followed, with tragic consequences. Within two weeks of the move, William was crushed beneath a train when he fell while unloading coal from a car. He and Adeline are buried in the Earlham Cemetery.

back   home  next