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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Treasure Chest Thursday – How One Little Clue Led to the Church

     Lately I’ve been reviewing record images for my great-grandparents, Minnie Chamblin and Eliphaz Kinsel, and decided to focus on their marriage record from the "Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002." My second look pulled out even more than the initial date and place of their wedding, but an afternoon of web-trawling has added yet another layer of colorful paint to the picture.

    The record itself is two parts: a marriage license and the marriage return. The License, dated 21 December 1889 shows that Eliphaz B. Kinsel of Jackson County, Missouri, over the age of 21, and Minnie L. Chamblin, also of Jackson County, Missouri, and over the age of 18 are duly authorized to be married.

    The lower section of the record shows that on four days later, on 25 December 1889, the couple was united in marriage by, Minister of the Gospel, B. P. Fullerton, 2210 Troost Avenue, City. Three days later, on 28 December 1889, the marriage was recorded by the County recorder.

    Now the real fun begins. I already knew the names and ages of the couple, but I was unsure as to their residence. I can add this information to my data.

    I am also curious about the pastor who performed the marriage. First, I look for a church at the address on Troost Avenue through GoogleMaps. It looks to be a highway. Historical Maps accessed via GoogleEarth do not show any data. I then searched the Missouri Archives for atlases and Sanborn fire maps of the area. I can find Troost Ave, and the approximate address at 22nd and Troost, but no church.

    I decide to look for the minister and search “B.P. Fullerton” at Not only do I find several Fullertons in Missouri, I also find a Baxter P. Fullerton. This sounds promising. The closest census would be the 1890 census, which is unavailable, so I do a direct search of the 1890 census substitutes. This is a great resource I have not fully utilitzed before. It returns three relevant hits from Kansas City, Missouri City Directories 1889-91. Two cite Rev. Fullerton at his place of buisness

    Rev. B.P. Fullerton, Oak northwest corner 13th, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, MO, Pastor

    and one cites his full name and residence

    Rev. Baxter P. Fullerton

    r 2210 Troost

    First Cumberland Presbyterian Church


    I now know that Minnie and Eliphaz were married at the pastor’s home on Christmas Day. I wonder if he performs many marriages there and briefly browse the marriage record images on Ancestry for the days and weeks before and after December 25th. I only find one other marriage performed at the Troost address, on 27 December 2010.

    Next, I return to the church itself. A Google search returns many hits. I learn that this particular denomination grew out of the Second Great Awakening of the early 1800s.  I even locate the Cumberland Presbyterian website where a page on the Birthplace Shrine explains the history of the church.

    Founded in Tennessee, churches in the Midwest “frontier” were established first as missions, and later as full independent churches.

    Another search on GoogleBooks, yields several church histories where I learn that the Kansas City church was organized 21st March 1868 as a “missionary congregation.” In 1881, the congregation occupied “a small frame building gothic in style being 26x40 feet … built in the fall of 1869 at a cost of about $2 ooo”  (The history of Kansas City, by William H. Miller (1881). In 1878, “the Presbytery called Rev BP Fullerton as the missionary who is yet the pastor.” Church membership in 1881 was reported as forty three. Miller adds,

    The old property has been sold and a more suitable lot chosen on which a more commodious and attractive building will soon be erected when it is the purpose of the friends of the enterprise to make the work self sustaining.

    I learn about the “new” church building from another book accessed through GoogleBooks, Encyclopedia of the history of Missouri, by Howard Louis Conrad (1901).

    The congregation built a gothic frame church in 1869 costing $2,000 and in 1884 they built a brick edifice at Thirteenth and Oak Streets costing $14,000. Rev EN Allen is the present pastor and the church is prospering under his care.

    I now have a little timeline for the church and the pastor:

    1868 – First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Kansas City, organized

    1869 – small gothic style building constructed at cost of $2000

    1878 – Rev. Baxter P. Fullerton arrives

    1881 – church membership 43, old property sold

    1884 – brick building constructed at 13th and Oak Streets costing $14,000 to build

    1901 – Rev. E.N. Allen is pastor, church prospering

    I am curious what happened to Rev. Fullerton, and discover that he was in Kansas City until 1891, when he relocated to the Lucas Avenue Church in St. Louis. His name comes up in many different positions, and he eventually returns to Kansas City as Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly of 1908.

    Leonard, John William and Albert Nelson, eds. Who's Who in America, vol 6. 1910. Digital images. Google Books. accessed 26 May 2010. page 700

    My next step is to try to locate photographs of the church at 13th and Oak and perhaps even find a photo of the residences on Troost Avenue. I would also like to locate records of this congregation. Maybe my grandmother was baptized at this church. I have been unable to locate a civil birth record; but if the church records still exist, they could provide the missing information.

    I think I made considerable progress today, and it was all online.

    Sources Used for this Search, 1890 Census Substitutes, Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002


    Missouri Digital Heritage

    The Kansas City Public Library Missouri Valley Special Collections


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    Reader Comments (4)

    Great detective work and a good job outlining your process. Thanks.

    I live 1 block off Troost in Kansas City and pass that area often. I can check for a residence if you wish. It is not a highway, but that area has a bridge that goes over I35. In addition, practically no homes are there, but new low-income housing developments, and the Human Health Services building is located on that west side of the street which is the address you provide (2210 Troost). However, let me know if you wish for me to double check based on the address above.

    May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen Brandt

    What a nice offer, Kathleen. I looked at Google Maps and saw that there isn't much there anymore, but if you are in the area sometime it would be great to have that confirmed. I haven't been able to find the old church site, either. It does show up on a Sanborn fire map, but seems to be gone now. Maybe one day I can get to the Kansas City Library and find it in a book of old photos.

    Even without a photo, I do feel like I am zeroing in on a part of our family history. I'll look forward to learning if you spot anything that might be a home at that address.

    May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    What a great bit of tracking you did. I have a Cumberland Presbyterian minister in my lineage and while doing a google search for him I ran across a website that you might find interesting. Down at the bottom of this main page there is a link to a search of the archives of the site. Very helpful. Hope you find something useful. ;)

    May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Andrew

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