Mike Atkinson, descendant of George Gillaspie, shares family history with us

Mike, a resident of Sumner, Washington, was kind enough to begin to send me items from his family history and how they ended up settling around what became the town of St. George.

My (Mike’s) grandmother was born in St. George in the 1880′s her name was Ona Dee Woods. The picture below has been in my (Mike’s) family since it was taken (probably before the turn of the century. My grandmother’s grandmother, Amanda Melvina Gillaspie, is front left with her sisters. Her husband, John C. Woods, my great X3 grandfather died during the Civil War. He was in the 11th Kansas Volunteers. Her father, George Washington Gillaspie, built the house behind her for her to live in when they found out that he was dead. She had lived on an outlying farm or mill. Amanda’s house is still there but the tree was removed in the summer of 2006 when the retaining wall was replaced with a newer, more sturdy retaining wall.

Family tradition states that George Washington Gillaspie either named St. George or that it was named after him. He came there from Kentucky. The first letter is a family historical account of how the Gilliespies came to move West to Kansas from Kentucky in 1850. On the way there my great great grandfather John Cyrus Woods jr. married Amanda Melvina Gillaspie (pictured above). They were married in Missouri. He went off to fight in the 11th Kansas volunteers in 1863 and was dead within 6 months. The 11th was made up from men from St. George, Zeandale, and nearby. Many were friends, relatives and neighbors. Most were middle aged with families.

The second letter is interesting, not only for what it says, but for the information between the lines. The doctor knows John C., Amanda and GW Gillaspie. He gives them news of friends and neighbors. The Kansas Civil war website allows you to find out what happened to these men.

Below, G.W. Gillaspie (sometimes spelled Gillespie) and his children. He was my great great great grandfather. The middle woman on the right is my great great grandmother (his daughter) Amanda Melvina Gillaspie Woods. Her husband served in the 11th Kansas Vols and died at Omaha Hospital (see Omaha letter).

Below right, Amanda second from right with her children. I believe that the upper left is my great grandfather Louin O. Woods.

Key to above photo identifying individuals.


Amanda’s Obituary