Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Silas and Cora Bell

Silas Filetas Wedlock

Silas Wedlock was born in 1860 in Pennsylvania, son of James Wedlock and Anna Purse. His ancestors had come to New York from Scotland, and then to Millville, Pennsylvania. Millville was a Quaker town, but at some point before the family's arrival in Iowa, the Wedlocks became Mormons. Parts of the family were drawn to Missouri, where there was a large offshoot within the Latter Day Saints movement.(1, 2)

Silas and Cora Bell Ellis married in Pilot Township, Cherokee County, Iowa in 1879. They had three children: Leroy, born 1880; Anna, born 1885, and who died before the age of six of "quick consumption"); and Harold, born 1900.

From the memorial for little Anna:

Anna Josephine, daughter of Bro. Silas & Sr. Cora Wedlock; born at Cherokee, Iowa, August 29th, 1885; age 5 years 7 months and 17 days, of quick consumption. The remains were brought to Deloit, Iowa, and buried beside its [step]grandmother, Sr. Helen Wedlock, April 17th. Funeral services at Saints' church, sermon by Bro. W. W. Whiting, assisted by Bro. J. T. Turner. The large and sympathizing body of friends that followed the little one to its last resting place showed the respect in which Bro. and Sr. Wedlock were held, in this their former home.

"We are weeping, darling Anna,
In our cottage home today,
For oh! we are so lonely
Since the hour you went away.
And we wonder if you're singing
As you sang for us while here
In our hearts we hear your music
See your face -- forever dear."

The memorial implies that both the Wedlocks were by this time members of the Latter Day Saints. Cora Bell's mother, Eleanor, had been baptized a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 22 September 1877 at Galland's Grove, in Shelby, Iowa. Perhaps all the members of the Ellis family joined at that time, but Eleanor is specifically mentioned in the records. (4)

By 1920, Cora Bell, Silas, and their 20 year old son, Harold, were all living in White Cloud, Missouri, presumably having joined other members of the Wedlock extended families. Leroy had earlier married and moved with his family to Minnesota, but now also moved to Missouri, perhaps around the same time.

Cora lived to the age of 76, dying in 1939. She and Silas had been married for sixty years. 

Silas lived on to be quite a feisty old man, if the stories are true. He met and married Hattie Burnett at the age of 79. Several years later they divorced. Silas then lived with his son, Harold, until he moved to a nursing home in Clearmont, Missouri. Apparently, he used to run off from there to visit his granddaughter in Fort Dodge, Iowa. (2)

I like to think of the span of their pioneering lives. Cora started out on a farm in Maine and traveled by covered wagon to Iowa, where her parents broke the sod and proved up on their prairie homestead. Silas was born in Pennsylvania, lived and farmed in Iowa, and moved with Cora Bell to Missouri. Silas came from a Quaker town, and later both Silas and Cora Bell and their families took part in the early days of the reform movement of the Latter Day Saints. 

Over the sixty years of their marriage, they had traveled plenty by horse and wagon, but by the time their son, LeRoy, was old enough to work, both he and Silas worked together on the railroad. They all lived through so many changes.

Silas died in 1955. From his death certificate (5):

Silas Wedlock was buried next to his Cora Bell, in Independence, Missouri. There are plenty of Wedlocks still living in Missouri today.

Sources and Notes

1. Community of Christ: Wikipedia,
2. John Wedlock Born 1812, undated narrative by K. Callaway posted on
3. Find a Grave memorial for Anna Josephine Wedlock
4. Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
5. Missouri, Death Certificates, 1910-1962.

Silas was the husband of my great-great Aunt Cora Bell. Here is how Cora Bell and I are related:

Cora Bell Ellis (1862 - 1939)
2nd great-aunt

Robert Winslow Ellis (1821 - 1876)
father of Cora Bell Ellis

Oscar J. Ellis (1852 - 1907)
son of Robert Winslow Ellis

Eva Josephine Ellis (1888 - 1943)
daughter of Oscar J. Ellis

Daniel Lawrence Harris (1907 - 1972)
son of Eva Josephine Ellis

Clair Marie Harris (me)
I am the daughter of Daniel Lawrence Harris