Family Stories

The Mystery of Fannie Kagey and Homer Fadley

Scan145 1While in Virginia in April I purchased this photo postcard at an antique shop.  Children are always a good subject, plus this was an actual postcard that was mailed, with an address and note written on back!

Scan146This postcard was sent to Miss Fannie Kagey in Bridgewater, Virginia.  The note says, Dear Fannie, Saturday eve and I have not written to any of you this week, have been busy paring fruit.  Had council today, preaching tonight from a strange minister.  Hope you are all getting along well.  Will try to write a letter soon.  These are our little ones, taken in our yard.  Jennie.

The children are adorable – smiling, happy.  The little girl has a doll in her stroller!

Notice the one cent stamp, but more importantly is the postmark – October 4, 10 A.M., 1909, Tekoa, Washington.  Talk about across the country.  Could Jennie be a sister to Fannie?  Fannie is not married, and in the note Jennie writes ‘Hope you are all getting along well’ as if she were speaking to a group of people – her family?  Left behind in Virginia?

Never one to shrink from a mystery I went to ancestry search and put in Jennie and Fannie with the last name Kagey, in Bridgewater, Rockingham County, Virginia, with Jennie’s birth date at 1875, since she already had four children in 1909, with +/- ten years.  An ancestry tree popped up with a Jennie Kagey married to a Homer L. Fadley.  There was an 1870 census attached to the tree.  It was for Rockingham County, Virginia, which listed a father, Jacob Kagey, 35, a mother, Frances, 35, and eight children – Mary, 11; John, 9; George, 7; Jacob, 6; Phillip, 5; Barbara, 4; Charles, 2; and Alice, 1.  Hm, no Jennie!  On the the 1880 census.  The parents were again listed with Mary, 21; Harvey (John from the 1870 census – I’ve noticed the children are sometimes called by either the first or middle name!), 19; Jacob, 17; Phillip, 15; Jennie (Barbara), 13; Charles, 11; Alice, 10; Annie, 9; Fannie, 8; and Benjamin, 6.

The 1900 census for Rockingham County, Virginia, included Homer L. Fadley, 37, B. May 1863, married 12 years; wife Jennie, 34, born June 1866; gave birth to four children, four children living – Nellie May, born June 1888, age 11; Arthur Lee, born march 1889, age 10; Laura Virginia, born June 1891, age 9; and William Henry, born February 1894, age 6.

Therefore, it was sometime after the point of the 1900 census and October of 1909 that the family moved to Tekoa, Whitman County, Washington!  In the note Jennie mentions that the picture was taken ‘in our yard’.  They were living there at the time.  I believe the youngest child to be about three – that should be daughter Zena who was born in 1901.  The son would be William Henry, according to his age, the oldest daughter Nellie May, and the middle daughter Laura Virginia.

Now comes the mystery.  The family was back in Rockingham County, Virginia, by 1910, according to the census records – Homer, 46; Jenny, 42; Nellie, 21; Laura Virginia, 18; William Henry, 16; and Zena, 9.  Son Arthur Lee died between 1900 and 1910.  Homer and Jennie have been married 22 years, and had six children, five living.  Daughter Courtney was born in 1911.

Why did this family move all the way to Tekoa, Washington – over 2,500 miles – and then return to Virginia?  Is this postcard the only evidence that shows they did live there at one time?  In my own Taylor family there was a move to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where many of the family members died, and the rest moved back to Kentucky.  I don’t think that the case with the Fadley family, but perhaps things did not work out as planned – and it may have been too far away from both sides of the family!  Whatever the reason they must have come home.

Fadley death certHomer Fadley, son of William Henry Fadley and Sarah Catherine Hollar, died in 1937.  Jennie lived on until September 20, 1943.  Her death certificate lists her as the daughter of Jacob Kagey and Frances Weller, and the widow of Homer L. Fadley.  The informant was her daughter, Courtney Fadley.

I think this a good example of how there are little mysteries in each of our families – perhaps some that we do not know, but one day may run upon due to a family letter, photo or newspaper article.  This is what makes genealogy interesting!

4 replies »

  1. I had a maiden great aunt named Fannie Kagey. She lived with her sister, Annie Kagey Dunkelberger in Germantown, PA after they moved there from Harrisonburg,VA. They may have had a sister. Will pass this along to other relatives! Thanks!

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