Families mentioned: Kimmel, Gorgas, Manning, Entler, Ponder, Whitelaw, Block, Rodney, Penny, Staley, DeLassus-St. Vrain, Menard, Lambert, Greene, Houck, Bennett, Belo, Adams, Ramsey, Owens, Virgin
I’ll start by saying I have neither Kimmel nor Ponder family connections of which I’m aware. Also, I’m no expert on either family.
Not long ago, I was searching for information about lawyer Robert Henry Whitelaw (1854-1937), a Virginia native who had represented a southeast Missouri district for part of the Fifty-first United States Congress (1889-1891).
I found him residing in this large “household” in Cape Girardeau City, Missouri, in 1880:
BLOCK Zalena Head M Male W 68 VA Hotel Keeper AUSTRIA NOVA SCOTIA
BLOCK Matilda Wife M Female W 64 MO Keeping House --- TN
BLOCK Blocky Son S Male W 19 MO Clerk in Store VA MO
BLOCK Robert Nephew D Male W 36 MO Clerk in Store VA MD
DUCAN Emma L. Daughter W Female W 26 LA At Home VA MO
DUCAN William C. DUCAN GSon S Male W 6 LA LA LA
DUCAN Emma L. GDaughter S Female W 4 MO LA LA
WHITELAW Robert SonL M Male W 25 VA Lawyer VA VA
WHITELAW Arabella M. Daughter M Female W 23 MO At Home VA MO
WHITELAW Ellen GDaughter S Female W 5M MO VA MO
SMOOT Rachel Sister W Female W 60 VA AUSTRIA NOVA SCOTIA
HIMSTEADT Matilda Other W Female MU 40 MO Servant TN MO
WISE Carolina Other M Female B 37 MO Servant MO MO
WISE Hattie Other S Female B 6 MO Servant MO MO
CLAY Henry Other S Male MU 18 TN Servant UNK UNK
TORRENCE Hugh Other M Male B 28 MO Servant NC NC
TORRENCE Ann Other M Female B 35 MO Servant MO UNK
PONDER William A. Other M Male W 31 GA Merchant TN GA
PONDER Cora Other M Female W 31 MO PA PA
EUTLER Theodore Other S Male W 8 MO MO MO
PONDER Nellie Other S Female W 4 MO GA MO
STUART Edwin Other M Male W 35 SCOT Actor SCOT SCOT
STUART Stella Other M Female W 40 NY Actress NY NY
STUART Stelle Other S Female W 4 IL SCOT NY
ENGLISH Sim G. Other S Male W 25 MO Agent Boot & Shoe MO MO
DE KANE John Other M Male W 25 IL UNK UNK
DE KANE Annie Other M Female W 22 MO UNK UNK
STEELE Florence GDaughter S Female W 18 NY NY MO
MC CULLAN Anna Other W Female W 45 MO RI RI
MC CULLAN Anna MC CULLAN Other S Female W 18 MO At School RI MO
BEDFERD Ethel Other S Female W 17 MO At School MO MO
BOSS Henry Other M Male W 38 HESSE CASSEL HESSE CASSEL HESSE CASSEL
SCHWEPKER August I. Other S Male W 19 MO Druggist HANOVER HANOVER
WISE Moses Other W Male W 54 OH Photographer OH OH
TRAYLOR Lucius Other S Male W 23 LA Druggist LA LA
SCOTT John Other S Male B 30 MO Porter MO TN
MC CAHILL Anne Other S Female W 19 MO Servant IRE IRE
MC MAHON James Other S Male W 21 IL IN IRE
LANCASTER John Other S Male W 29 MO ENG ENG
I soon learned Zalena Block wasn’t Zalena Block. He was Zalma Block, and the large household of which he was head in 1880 was the St. Charles Hotel, including staff, permanent residents, and guests. Zalma Block was a member of a large Jewish family with roots in Bohemia (now the largest part of the Czech Republic). University of Missouri-St. Louis historian Walter Ehrlich devotes several pages to the Block family in Volume I (1807-1907) of his “Zion in the Valley: The Jewish Community of St. Louis.” Professor Ehrlich quotes St. Louis journalist, civic leader, and abolitionist Isidor Bush (1822-1898), who chronicled the early history of St. Louis’ Jewish community, as stating the Blocks were, “the most numerous Jewish family that settled west of the Mississippi River.” Zalma Block’s parents, Simon and Susan Block, had moved with their children to the Cape Girardeau area from Richmond, Virginia. The exact date of their move is not clear to me. From census reports and will abstracts, it appears to have been made after 1803, but before 1820.
Aside from the 1880 census, everything I had seen named Robert Whitelaw’s wife as Katie. I assume that Zalma Block’s daughter, the Arabella M. Whitelaw listed on the 1880 census, was Katie (Block) Whitelaw. Katie Whitelaw died in Cape Girardeau in September 1942. A Missouri Certificate of Death named her as Katie B. Whitelaw, a widow, and listed her parents as Zalma Block and Matilda Rodney. Confusingly, it said her father Zalma was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, not in Virginia.
I’ve yet to find proof, but I believe Zalma’s wife, Matilda (Rodney) Block, was a daughter of Martin Rodney and his second wife, Mary (Penny) Rodney. Martin Rodney, whose surname had been anglicized from Rodner, is reported to have been one of many Hessian soldiers brought by the British to fight against the Americans in the Revolutionary War. A descendent reported that Martin Rodney was captured in North Carolina. Martin Rodner/Rodney stayed in America after the British defeat at Yorktown, eventually making his way to southeast Missouri.
Looking for more information on members of Zalma Block’s hotel household in 1880, Google searches took me to a linked series of postings made to a Ponder family message board in June 2003. That exchange was between Larry Ponder, Lee Ponder, and Meredith Clapper. In part, they discussed the William A. Ponder and Cora Ponder listed in Zalma Block’s household in 1880.
In one posting, Larry Ponder cited a letter from the archivist at what is now North Texas University in Denton, Texas. In it, the archivist said William A. Ponder had married Cora Kimmel Butler in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, before the couple moved to Denton in 1884.
By the time I read that exchange, I knew that William Ponder’s wife wasn’t Cora (Kimmel) Eutler or Cora (Kimmel) Butler. She was Cora (Kimmel) Entler, the widow of George Lawrence “Larry” Entler. Likewise, the Theodore Eutler reported as residing in Zalma Block’s St. Charles Hotel in 1880 was Larry Entler’s son Theodore Entler.
Cora Kimmel’s husband Larry (b. 1836) was a son of George W. Entler and Ann Rebecca (Staley) Entler. The Entlers were from Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which at the time of Larry Entler’s birth was in Virginia. According to one history, George W. Entler and George W. Staley – the latter likely some kin of George Entler’s wife Ann; exactly how I don’t yet know -- traveled to Kaskaskia, Randolph County, Illinois, arriving there by steamboat in April 1837. George Entler’s wife Ann and four children -- Laura, William, Pink, and [George] Lawrence -- are reported to have joined him at Kaskaskia in May 1838. Early in 1844, the Entler family crossed the Mississippi River and settled in Perryville, the seat of Perry County, Missouri. Perry County abuts Cape Girardeau County on the north.
According to his obituary, Larry Entler later returned to Kaskaskia from Perryville, moving next to St. Louis, where he worked first as a clerk in a city business, then as a steamboat clerk. Larry Entler’s obituary said he gave up being a steamboat clerk when he married Cora Kimmel in Cape Girardeau City. The obituary did not say when Larry Entler and Cora Kimmel married. It said Larry Entler died in April 1872.
Larry Entler’s obituary made no mention of a marriage earlier than his to Cora Kimmel. However, I’m confident Cora Kimmel was Larry Entler’s second wife. One transcription of a marriage record from Randolph County, Illinois, shows George L. Entler marrying Josephine Svrain there on 13 January 1858. His bride’s family name almost certainly was St. Vrain, not Svrain.
I believe Josephine was a member of the DeLassus-St. Vrain family, one prominent in the history of the Illinois Country and the West. I think Josephine (St. Vrain) Entler was the daughter of Savinen St. Vrain and Francoise V. (Menard) St. Vrain. Josephine’s mother Francoise was a daughter of Pierre Menard, a fur trader and the first (1813) Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Pierre Menard’s home still stands at the foot of Garrison Hill Bluff in Ellis Grove, Randolph County, Illinois. It’s a State Historic Site operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Society.
The remnants of Fort Kaskaskia sit atop Garrison Hill Bluff. Just north of those remnants is Garrison Hill Cemetery. Pierre Menard was buried there, as were his two wives and other members of his family. The latter includes Josephine (Menard) Entler, “Wife of G.L. Entler,” who died on 29 March 1861. Jose Entler, a month-old daughter of G. L. and Josephine Entler, was buried at Garrison Hill Cemetery as well, suggesting to me the possibility that Josephine Entler died in or shortly after childbirth.
One account says Josephine Entler died in St. Louis. So far, I haven’t been able to find Larry and Josephine Entler on the 1860 census, either in Missouri or Illinois. I suspect they were in St. Louis, as a George L. Entler is listed in the 1860 Kennedy’s Business Directory for St. Louis as a salesman for Collins, Kellogg & Kirby, a firm of dry goods jobbers and importers.
By 1870, Larry Entler was head of this household in Dwelling 9, Ward 2, Cape Girardeau City, Missouri:
ENTLER Larry 33 Male VA Commission Grocery
ENTLER Cora 22 Female MO Keeps House
ENTLER Wenona 12 Female MO
ENTLER Florence 3 Female MO
ENTLER Kimmel 1 Male MO
FRANKE Mina 15 Female MO Servant
Wenona Entler likely was a child of Larry Entler and his first wife, Josephine (Menard) Entler. Wenona was old enough in 1870 to have married by 1880. I don’t know what became of her after 1870. I also don’t know what became of Florence Entler and her brother Kimmel after 1870.
Larry Entler’s obituary said he joined the family grocery and commission business after marrying Cora Kimmel. I assume that was a Kimmel family business, not an Entler family business. According to the Wiggins & Weavers Ohio River Directory for 1871-1872, Larry Entler was partner in Kimmel & Entler, wholesale and retail grocers and forwarding and commission merchants of Cape Girardeau City.
Larry Entler’s business partner was George Gorgas Kimmel. He and Cora Lee (Kimmel) Entler were siblings. Their parents were Singleton Husband Kimmel and his second wife, Sarah (Gorgas) Kimmel.
Singleton Husband Kimmel (b. 1797, PA; d. 1868, MO) was a son of Peter Kimmel and Phoebe (Husband) Kimmel. His first wife had been Caroline Manning. They married in Perry County, Missouri, on 16 February 1830.
Singleton and Caroline Kimmel had two children of whom I know: Julia Margaret Kimmel (b. 1830, MO; d. 1924, MO) and Manning Marius Kimmel (b. 1832, MO; d. 1916, KY). Both Julia and Manning Kimmel were born in Perry County.
As appears to have been the case with Josephine (St. Vrain) Entler, Caroline (Manning) Kimmel died giving birth (to son Manning) or soon thereafter. After Caroline died, Singleton Kimmel returned to Pennsylvania, where he married Sarah Gorgas in Philadelphia on 3 March 1836.
Singleton Kimmel moved back to Missouri sometime after the birth of son George Gorgas Kimmel (Larry Entler’s future brother-in-law and business partner) in Philadelphia on 30 December 1836, and before the birth of son Edward Allen Kimmel in Missouri on 4 February 1844. One source says Edward Allen Kimmel was born in St. Louis, but I can’t confirm that. Regardless, by 1850 Singleton Kimmel was listed as head of this household in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri:
KIMMEL S.H. 53 Male PA
KIMMEL Sarah G. 36 Female PA
KIMMEL Jedia M. 16 Female MO
KIMMEL M.M. 17 Male MO
KIMMEL George G. 13 Male PA
KIMMEL E.A. 6 Male MO
KIMMEL C.L. 3 Female MO
GREEN S.M. 21 Male MO
MOLSON Julius 18 Male Germany
GORGAS Caroline 22 Female MO
If you expand the names and correct misspellings, Singleton Kimmel’s 1850 Cape Girardeau County household looked like this:
KIMMEL Singleton Husband 53 Male PA
KIMMEL Sarah Gorgas 36 Female PA
KIMMEL Julia Margaret 16 Female MO [She was 19 or 20, not 16.]
KIMMEL Manning Marius 17 Male MO
KIMMEL George Gorgas 13 Male PA
KIMMEL Edward Allen 6 Male MO
KIMMEL Cora Lee 3 Female MO
GREEN Samuel McKnight 21 Male MO
MOLSON Julius 18 Male Germany
GORGAS Caroline 22 Female MO
Singleton Kimmel’s son Manning went to the US Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1857. According to his obituary, Manning Kimmel served with the Army in the West after his graduation from West Point. He remained in federal service until after First Bull Run in July 1861, when he switched sides, later serving under Confederate General Sterling Price in Missouri and on the staffs of Confederate Generals Ben McCullogh, Earl Van Dorn, and John Bankhead Magruder.
Manning Kimmel married Sibella “Sibbie” Lambert on 28 December 1868. They had at least seven children, including Rear Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, who was commander of the US Pacific Fleet when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
A Cape Girardeau County Genealogical Society transcription of the 1870 census listed Manning Kimmel as head of this household in Dwelling 42, Ward 2, Cape Girardeau City:
KIMMEL Manning 37 Male MO
KIMMEL Sibbell 24 Female KY
KIMMEL Singleton 1 Male KY
KIMMEL Anna 17 Female MO
Manning Kimmel died at Henderson, Kentucky, on 27 February 1916. According to his obituary, Manning Kimmel was survived by his wife, seven children, and two sisters. The latter were Mrs. Julia M. Green of St. Louis, Missouri, and Mrs. William A. Pointer of Dallas, Texas. Manning’s full sister, Julia Margaret Kimmel, had married St. Louis lawyer Theodore P. Greene. Mrs. William A. Pointer was almost certainly Manning’s half sister, Cora Lee (Kimmel) Entler Ponder.
Backing up a bit, hotel keeper Zalma Block was a friend of Louis Houck, a Cape Girardeau City lawyer, railroad entrepreneur, and author/historian.
In 1886, Houck acquired the Brownwood & Northwestern Railroad, which ran from Brownwood in Stoddard County, Missouri, to Bollinger’s Mill on the Castor River in Bollinger County, Missouri. According to several sources, Houck renamed Bollinger’s Mill as Zalma, after his friend Zalma Block.
A protégé of Louis Houck was Abram Russell “A.R.” Ponder, a son of Amos Franklin Ponder and Nancy (Dudley) Ponder of Ripley County, Missouri. If my information is correct, A.R. Ponder and William A. Ponder (the latter living in the St. Charles Hotel with his wife Cora, stepson Theodore Entler, and daughter Nellie in 1880) were cousins. Both Ponder men are reported to have been descendents of Daniel Ponder and Jemima (Bennett) Ponder. That William Ponder was living in a hotel run by Louis Houck’s friend Zalma Block may have been a coincidence, but I doubt it.
In June 1905, construction began on a Cape Girardeau City home for A.R. Ponder. He and his family did not live in that home long. In 1909, he moved to Texas to help build what became the San Antonio, Uvalde & Gulf Railroad, which was absorbed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1926.
Between 1880 and 1884, William and Cora Ponder moved from Cape Girardeau to Denton County, Texas, where William Ponder worked for the Exchange National Bank, rising from cashier to president. As noted by the university’s archivist, William Ponder was among a group of nine men who donated land for what is now North Texas University.
William A. Ponder died on 15 March 1911. According to an obituary, he was survived by his wife Cora and three married children, all of Dallas: Mrs. Alfred H. Belo, Mrs. Hearne O. Adams, and Theodore Ponder.
Alfred H. Belo was Alfred Horatio Belo, Jr., a son of the founder of the Dallas Morning News. The junior Alfred Belo’s second wife was Helen Ponder, a daughter of William and Cora Ponder, whom he married in 1900. Helen Ponder was the Nellie Ponder living with her parents in 1880 in Zalma Block’s St. Charles Hotel in Cape Girardeau City.
Hearne O. Adams was Hearne Oliver Adams, a son of Samuel J. Adams and Alabama H. “Bama” (Hearne) Adams. In 1907, Hearne Adams married Willie Ainice Ponder, the Texas-born daughter of William and Cora Ponder.
I assume William Ponder’s survivor, Theodore Ponder, actually was Theodore Entler, the son of Larry and Cora Entler, and that Theodore Entler had been adopted by William Ponder.
As I noted, I have no kinship connection to either the Ponders or Kimmels. The same is true for Zalma Block. However, I do have geographical, not genealogical, connections to Zalma, Zalma Block's namesake town in Bollinger County, Missouri.
My late father was born in Greenbrier, Bollinger County, in 1912. Greenbrier was just east of Zalma on the rail line (long gone now) that had been the Brownwood & Northwestern. By the time my father was born, that rail line had been acquired by the Saint Louis-San Francisco Railroad, the “Frisco.” My father was delivered at home in Greenbrier by Dr. William Lages of Zalma.
My paternal grandmother was Stella Jane (Owens) Ramsey. Her parents were John Madison Owens and Missouri Belle (Virgin) Owens. The home place of Belle’s Virgin family was on Virgin Creek, almost as far northeast of Zalma as Greenbrier was east. John and Belle Owens lived in Greenbrier, where John kept a general store and was postmaster.