Friday, June 19

Postcard Friendship Friday: Get Out The Crayons

Phyllis E. CUPP
and her stepbrother
Clark Clenning WHELAN

Little Phyllis was the daughter of Jeremiah M. "Jerry" CUPP and first wife, Ellen MORGAN, who died in 1895 when Phyllis was 6 months old.

Clark was the only child of Mary HUMMER and first husband, Marcus W. WHELAN.

If "Hummer" sounds familiar, you read about Mary's sister Emma in yesterday's Thursday Drive. Emma was married to Jerry Cupp's brother Tom.

Now the part where you might want to get out the Crayons to keep it all straight.

Mary Hummer Whelan was Dovie and Robyn Cupp's aunt; Jerry Cupp was their uncle. Emma Hummer Cupp was Clark Whelan's aunt.

Before Mary divorced Marcus Whelan and before Ellen Morgan Cupp died, Clark and Phyllis were already cousins, and both were Dovie and Robyn's cousins too. Which makes it especially odd that Robyn wasn't taken in by his Aunt Mary or Uncle Jerry.

Mary (Hummer Whelan) & Jeremiah M. "Jerry" CUPP

When Clark was 11 and Phyllis not quite two, Mary Hummer Whelan married Jerry Cupp. Now the kids were step-siblings as well as cousins. I'm guessing these studio portraits were made to commemorate their new relationships.

Now the rest of the story.

By the time widow Emma Hummer Cupp wrote to Dovie and Robyn's grandmother in Kansas fishing for money, Mary (McClellan) Cupp had had her fill of the Hummers.

Family tradition says Mary Hummer put the idea in hubby Jerry Cupp's head to kick his mother off her own farm when his dad was still warm in the grave. His dad had willed the farm to Jerry, but only after his mother died.

Mary Hummer totally misjudged her mother-in-law.

Instead of going away quietly, 70-something Mary McClellan Cupp (left) beat a path to the county courthouse, got her farm back, and in her will, left Jerry exactly $1. The farm went to eldest son Will instead.

She left nothing to Dovie, Robyn or their mother Emma except a notation in the will that "they have already received their inheritance".

Jerry had become the black sheep of the family. He, Mary Hummer and Clark moved to Topeka, where Jerry worked for Santa Fe until 1932. He died in 1936. Robyn Cupp and wife Leila came up from Tulsa for the funeral.

I have no idea what happened to little Phyllis. She was supposedly put out for adoption after her mother Ellen died, but she was with her father and Mary Hummer in the 1900 census. However, there's no mention of a daughter in Jerry's obituary, which states his only survivors were nieces and nephews.

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Postcard Friendship Friday


Marie Reed said...

Wow!!! Naughty nauty Mary Hummer! What a big stinker! That was a perfectly evil thing to do. High five to Mumsie for declaring war! What a strong woman! SHe must have ben so heartbroken that her son would do something so ow down! This story reads like a novel! Poor little Phylis....Now I'm worried and sad for her too.. SHame on you for getting me so hooked! :) Happy PFF!

JamaGenie said...

And people wonder why I "hang out" with dead relatives...

The true stories in family trees many times are much juicier than any novel!

Debby said...

WOW!!! This is quite the story! Beuatiful pictures and giggling at your reply to Marie!

Sheila said...

Mary McClellan Cupp looks a bit fierce, I have to say. Such an interesting story!

JamaGenie said...

Debby, my pleasure! Glad you got a giggle out of my reply to Marie too!

Sheila, Mary McClellan Cupp was never thrilled to be homesteading in Kansas while her siblings were living in relative luxury in Illinois and Pennsylvania. I have many letters to her from them. They never gloated, but the difference in lifestyles was obvious.

Robin said...

Touché Mary dare they try to kick you out of your own home. I feel so sorry for Mary think that her eldest son would consider such a thing. I also think it odd that both Phyllis and Robyn are lost....they were would think they would be taken in. so sad....

Thanks for sharing your family history.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Marina Miranda said...

pure vintage
great pictures and fabulous idea

Kirby3131 said...

Fascinating! My sister wants my mom's house pretty bad and she always teases mom that she's going to put her in a nursing long before her time so she can get the house -- of course it's all in jest!! I can't imagine actually DOING it!

There is such a thing as karma :)

JamaGenie said...

I can't imagine actually DOING it either. Says something about the attitude toward women's legal status at the time that Ol' Jer thought he could get away with it.

I have copies of his dad's and mother Mary's wills. Michael's clearly says the farm (and the house) is to be hers until she dies. Mary's is rather humorous when you know the history behind the bequests...or lack thereof!