While I was working on a genealogy project this past August, I realized I did not have very much information on the life of my great aunt, Maude M. McCormick.
Aunt Maude was my Grandma Lewis’ sister. They were Millers. I knew the basic stuff: she was born on her parent’s farm on Brushy Creek…lived in Piedmont most of her adult life. She had no children. She would come to Cape to visit her sister and sometimes stayed long enough to work at Wimpy’s when they when they were short of help. Once, in the late 50’s or early 60’s, Grandma Lewis hosted a Miller Reunion, and all of her siblings and families came.
It was a major expedition (at least as a kid) to travel the winding, car sickness inducing roads to Piedmont to see Aunt Maude. I can remember one of the earliest trips I made to Piedmont, when we went to the funeral home when her husband, Mr. McCormick, died. That was in the late 50’s, and I was only 5 or 6 years old. Until I did this research, I didn’t even know his first name.
Spending Memorial Day weekends at the Lewis Family Reunions at Sam A Baker Park, I had the opportunity to be given a tour of the Mountain View Cemetery by my Uncle Francis and Aunt Leta before the annual Memorial Day service there. They pointed out the graves of a lot of Lewis relatives. They also showed me the tombstone on Aunt Maude’s grave. It showed her name as Maude Hickman McCormick. Where did she get the Hickman name? Well, buried next to her, was another husband, John L. Hickman.
So, I added his name into my genealogy records.
A few years pass.
Another time, some of my aunts and uncles were talking about Aunt Maude. I found out she had another husband, with a last name of Smith. Such a common last name. Even harder to track down a Smith than a Lewis.
A few more years go by.
Another Memorial Day, Aunt Leta, Uncle Frank, and I were touring cemeteries in Iron County looking for any tombstones of relatives to add to the genealogy info we were gathering. We stopped at the Meadows Cemetery on Highway F, where Grandma Lewis’ parents, Jay and Martha Miller are buried. Not too far away was the grave of a William Smith. Perhaps this was Aunt Maude’s first husband. Uncle Frank and Aunt Leta thought that it was. So now I had his birth and death dates.
A few more years pass.
So this past August I decided to find out the rest of the story.
I wrote to the funeral home in Piedmont for information. Lucy from Reugg Funeral Home was kind enough to send me what she had on Aunt Maude and her last husband, whose full name was Thomas Theodore McCormick. Thomas has been married before…he had had six children…he was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Piedmont.
I put in a call to Uncle Bill. I asked him if he can fill in some of the missing info. When, where, and who did she marry. When, where, how, and why did they pass away? I gave him the new info about Thomas McCormick and Aunt Maude from the funeral home.
Uncle Bill volunteered to go to Piedmont, Greenville, and Ironton to see what he could find. He took Aunt Frieda with him. I gave him the dates I had from tombstones. That gave date ranges for marriages.
On their trip, at the courthouse in Ironton they found the marriage licenses for Aunt Maude’s first two marriages. SUCCESS!
At the Wayne County Courthouse in Greenville they find the Will and Probate for Aunt Maude. MORE SUCCESS! But no marriage license for her third marriage.
In the meantime, I tried the power of the Internet. I put a query on a genealogy site that had a forum for Wayne County and another for the surname McCormick. Within a couple of weeks, I receive an email from a Pat McCormick. She is a granddaughter of Theodore McCormick!!!! And she also says she grew up considering Maude her grandmother. Now I have even more info coming my way. Pat lives in Aurora, Missouri, which is southwest of Springfield. She visits Piedmont every once in a while.
By email, I ask him if she knows where Thomas and Maude were married. She didn’t.
We agree to try to find out.
One Saturday at lunch at Café Cape, the Lewises were discussing Aunt Maude’s marriage. It is suggested that they may have gotten married in Arkansas, which was a common practice at the time…no 3 day waiting period, no blood test, and no friends and relatives around.
Weeks later, Pat McCormick is talking on the phone to an “old timer” he knows in Piedmont, Leroy Fowler. She asks Leroy about Maude and Theodore. Leroy stood up for them at their wedding!!!!
“Where did they get married?” “They got married in Piggott, Arkansas!” Leroy says.
In October, Uncle Bill got his reply from the Missouri Historical Society. He had written to them asking for the obituaries in the local papers. The Society has microfilms of all of the local papers statewide. They sent him the obits for Aunt Maude and Tom McCormick. No luck on the obit for John Hickman.
So here is what we now know about Aunt Maude:
Maude Mae Miller
Generation No. 1
MAUDE MAE4 MILLER (JAY LAFAYETTE3, GEORGE H.2, JOHN W.1) was born 17 October 1887 in Iron County, MO, and died 19 August 1980 in Piedmont, MO. Buried Mountain View Cemetary, Des Arc, MO. She married:
(1)WILLIAM A SMITH 3 April 1904. He was born 28 May 1883, and died 14 November 1908 in Iron County, MO. Buried Meadows Cemetery, Iron County, MO
Child of MAUDE MILLER and WILLIAM SMITH is:
i. DEWY5 SMITH, b. 8 June 1905; d. 29 June 1906.
(2) DR. JOHN L. HICKMAN 21 December 1913. He was born 10 April 1871, and died 2 July 1937 in Piedmont, MO
(3) Thomas MCCORMICK 23 December 1948. He died 22 July, 1957 in Piedmont, MO.
Marriage License – Maude and William Smith
Des Arc Items
This beautiful Sunday, while the young are having their pleasure, there is one sad home in our community. Wm. Smith, son of John Smith, died Saturday at 3 o’clock. He had been sick about three weeks with that dreadful disease, typhoid pneumonia. Drs. Jones and Toney did all they could for him. He held out so long that we thought he would recover. But alas! It was his Master’s will that he should go. One consolation: he was ready for the call. Interment occurred Sunday at King’s graveyard. He leaves a young widow, father, mother, two brothers, and three sisters to mourn his lost.
(Located in the Ironton Library August 2000 by Bill Lewis)
This is a recent photo from Google Earth of the building that was the McCormick hotel at 127 West Elm in Piedmont, Missouri.
Aunt Maude’s Will:
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
MAUDE M . McCORMICK
AUG 26 1980
Wayne County. Mo.
I, Maude M. McCormick, a single person, now a resident of and domiciled in Piedmont, County of Wayne, State of Missouri, being of sound and disposing mind and memory and more than eighteen years of age, do hereby make, publish and declare this instrument to be my last will and testament and I do hereby revoke any and all former wills and codicils made by me at any time.
SECTION ONE: I authorize but do not direct that all of the lawful debts and expenses of my last illness and funeral be paid by my executor hereinafter named as soon as practicable after my death.
SECTION TWO: To my five (5) brothers and sisters, namely, Sam
Miller, Winfred Miller, Posey Miller, Edith Lovelace and Minnie
Dorsey, I give, devise and bequeath the sun of Five Hundred Dollars
SECTION THREE: To my three (3) stepchildren, namely, Oresta
Hickman, Freda Fakes and Lynna Rayfield, I give, devise and
bequeath the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) each.
SECTION FOUR: If any of the persons named in Sections Two or
Three above should predecease me, then their share shall go into
the residue of my estate and disbursed as provided for in Section Five below.
SECTION FIVE: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest and residue of my estate wheresoever located and of whatsoever nature to be held in trust by my executor hereinafter named and the State Bank of Greenville to act as co-trustees and I direct that they act as co-trustees of said trust and to use both the trust income and trust corpus as they best see fit in providing for low income senior citizens housing within the city limits
This is page 1 of 3 pages
of Piedmont, Missouri, for low income persons in Wayne County, Missouri, over sixty‑five (65) years of age. I furthermore direct that any project or buildings conducted or constructed from this trust be named "Hickman-McCormick", after my two late husbands. It is my intention to give the co-trustees of said trust complete and absolute discretion in managing, selling, buying or constructing housing needs for the benefit of low income senior citizens as stated above .
SECTION SIX: I appoint my nephew, Frances Lewis of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, executor of this will, and direct that he shall be required to furnish bond in order to serve. If he shall die, or shall fail or refuse or be disqualified to act, or to continue to act for any reason whatsoever, or shall resign, I appoint my brother, Posoy Miller of Annapolis, Missouri, executor hereof, and I direct that lie shall be required to furnish bond in order to serve.
SECTION SEVEN: I authorize and direct my executor to take charge of all real property in my estate and to sell said property without obtaining any order of the court having jurisdiction over the administration of my estate, upon such terms or conditions at such time or times and for such consideration as my executor shall deem proper within his sole discretion; and to execute and deliver such deeds and other documents, and to do every act or thing which my executor may deem desirable or proper to fully effectuate any power herein given, whether expressed or implied. My executor shall pay and shall have credit for all reasonable charges and expenses incidental to the exercise of the powers of discretion herein granted, including, without limitation, real estate and brokerage commissions, and other like expenses incurred in the sale of any real property of the estate. Every act and determination by my executor shall
be conclusive and binding upon all beneficiaries of the astute, and upon all persons claiming under them.
SECTION EIGHT: As used in this will, all masculine forms shall
include the feminine and the singular shall include the plural, and vice versa.
This is page 2 of 3 pages
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and acknowledged and published this instrument, containing this and two other type written pages, each of said pages identified by my signature as my will in the presence of the undersigned witnesses on this 3rd day of December, 1976.
The foregoing instrument, consisting of this and two other type-
written pages, each page bearing the signature of the testatrix,
was signed and published by the said testatrix as her last will
and testament in the presence of each of us, who at her request,
and in her presence, and in the presence of each other, have here
unto subscribed our names as witnesses. We certify that at the
time of execution of this will the testatrix was mentally competent
and acting voluntarily.
This is page 3 of 3 pages
Wayne County Journal-Banner Aug, 28, 1980
Maude Mae McCormick, daughter of Jay Lafayette and Martha King Miller, was born in Des Arc on October 17, 1886 and died in Clark's Mountain Nursing Home in Piedmont on August 19, 1980 at the age of 93 years, 10 months and 2 days.
On December 20, 1913 she was united in marriage to Dr. John L. Hickman who preceded her in death.
On December 23, 1948 she was united in marriage to Thomas T. McCormick who preceded her in death on July 22, 1957.
She is survived by one stepson, Oresta Hickman of Kansas City, one step‑daughter, Lynna Rayfield of Annapolis, two brothers, Sam M. Miller of Jefferson, Iowa, Posey L. Miller of Annapolis, two sisters, Edith Lovelace and Minnie Dorsey, both of Farmington.
One stepdaughter, two brothers and one sister preceded her in death.
Mrs. McCormick was a member of the United Methodist Church in Piedmont and a 50-year member of the Order of Eastern Star, Piedmont Chapter #347.
Funeral was Thursday, Aug. 21, 1980, 10:30 a.m. at Gish-Bowles and Coder Piedmont Chapel.
Minister was Rev. Kenneth Sharp with soft organ music.
Pallbearers were Everett Seals, Francis Lewis, Bud Carter, Artie Lutes, Ed Waltrip, and Bill Burch. Interment was is Mountain View Cemetery.
Wayne County Journal-Banner July 25, 1957
Dr. Hickman’s Death Causes Much Sorrow
Highly Esteemed Citizen Passed Away In St. Louis Hospital Tuesday Night.
The sad news reached friends here late Tuesday night, March 2, that Dr. John L. Hickman, a long-time resident of Piedmont, well known and universally respected throughout Wayne and Iron counties, had passed away that evening at Barnes Hospital, St. Louis. Death was due to a complication of diseases.
Dr. Hickman had been critically ill for two months. After being treated at his home on Highway 34 just east of the city limits, for some two or three weeks, he was taken to Brandon Hospital, Poplar Bluff, where he remained under the care of staff physicians for a month. His condition failed to improve, and a week ago last Friday, he was removed to Barnes Hospital in the hope that specialists connected with that institution would be able to restore his health. But, although he had the best of care and skilled attention, he continued to fail, and the end came about ten o’clock.
The body was brought to Gish Funeral Home Wednesday morning and lay in state there Wednesday. The funeral will be held at the Methodist Church in this city at two o’clock Friday afternoon, March 5, and burial will be made in the Des Arc cemetery. Dr. Hickman was a devoted member of the Methodist church, and the church service will be in charge of his pastor and close friend, Rev. T. E. Smith. The service at the grave will probably be conducted by Wayne Lodge No. 526 A. F. & A. M., of which deceased had been a faithful member for many years.
Surviving is his wife, Mrs. Maude Hickman, and three children, one son, Orestes Hickman of Kansas City, two daughters, Mrs. Frieda Long of Des Arc, and Mrs. Lenna Rayfield of St. Louis. He was about 65 years of age.
Dr. Hickman was a splendid citizen, a faithful friend and a good neighbor. He was devoted to his family, and was affable and congenial to all. He was known far and wide throughout this section of the state, and his passing will be deeply mourned by all who knew him and admired his many virtues of head and heart. His place in the life of the community will, indeed, be hard to fill. We hope to have an obituary for next week’s issue.
Rites Were Held
At Methodist Church
For T. E. McCormick
Funeral service was conducted at the Piedmont Methodist Church yesterday afternoon for T. E. McCormick, well known Piedmont and Wayne County citizen, who died at the Ironton Hospital Monday. Rev. D. E. Russell, Methodist pastor, officiated at the service and burial was in the Masonic cemetery, with Gish Funeral Home Service.
Thomas Theodore McCormick, son of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore McCormick, was born near Patterson December 12, 1876, and died at the St. Mary's Hospital in Ironton, Missouri, July 22, 1957 at the age of 80 years, 7 months and 10 days.
In 1901 he was united in marriage to Eva Poynter and to this union six children were born.
On December 23, 1948 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Maude M. Hickman.
He leaves to mourn his departure his wife, Mrs. Maude McCormick; three sons, William Robert McCormick of Moab, Utah; Charles R. McCormick of Sandusky, Ohio and James B. McCormick of Piedmont. He also leaves 10 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, one brother, John McCormick of Fullerton, Calif.; one sister, Mrs. Nellie Ruble of Annapolis, and a host of other relatives.
In 1916 he professed his faith in Christ and united with the Christian church on Creek, then in 1953 he transferred his membership to the Piedmont Methodist Church, where he was faithful in attendance until failing health caused him to remain close to his home. He will be greatly missed by all who loved and knew him.