Tombstone Tuesday ~ John Beasley Corel

John Beasley Corel

John Beasley Corel

John Beasley Corel was the sixth child and fourth son born to Emma Augusta Miller and James Henry Corel (son of James Pickens Corel) on Monday, June 27, 1904 at 3 PM in Wakarusa Township, Douglas County, Kansas1.  I often wondered where the middle name of Beasley came from….

In early March 2009, I was surfing and seeing if I could make any connections with aunts and uncles from previous generations when I found the husband of Emma Miller’s sister, Louisa Miller.  Louisa had married John H. Beasley about 1888.  This was quite a find for me, as although Emma and James had 8 children, only 3 of the children had appeared to be named after other family members.

That John Beasley Corel was named completely after his uncle explains why he had a nickname, if not the reason for the nickname.  Jiggy, or as his wife often called him, Jigs, is a nickname that is still attached to him today, more than 60 years after his death.

John Beasley lived with his parents in Wakarusa Township, Douglas County, Kansas through, at least, 1925 where he is shown on the Kansas Census2.  On June 4, 1927, John Beasley Corel married Miss Gertrude Nichols of Pawnee County, Kansas in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri3.  The couple may have met while John Beasley was serving in the Kansas National Guard.

On August 21, 1928 John was in an unfortunate accident as described by this article from the Thursday, August 23, 1928 Lawrence Daily Journal-World in Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas:


Guardsman Wounded by
Machine Gun Bullet
Is Resting Easily


Sergeant John C. Corel, of Co. H. 137th infantry, a Lawrence, Kansas National Guard unit encamped at Camp Whitside, near Fort Riley, Kans., was reported this morning as resting easily after being wounded with a machine gun bullet Tuesday. The bullet struck Corel in the right chest and lodged behind a rib on the right side of his back, according to George Reed, deputy sheriff, who was at the camp yesterday.

A report from the camp this morning stated Corel spent a restful night in the Fort Riley hospital last night, and that if complications do not occur, the injured man will recover. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Corel, of route 2, Lawrence, expected to start for Lawrence today.

Same Bullet Hit Two Men

The accident occurred when a machine gun in a truck was discharged. The bullet struck Private Emmett Smith in the foot and then struck Sergeant Corel in the right chest.

The force of the bullet knocked Corel down, according to accounts from the camp, but the sergeant got up and was looking after Smith when the pain in his chest caused him to fall again. The wound in Smith’s foot is slight, according to the report.

1937 James H Corel and sonsIn speaking with my grandmother, Billie Hahn Laughlin – a niece of John Beasley Corel, about this incident, her recollection was slightly different than this report.  From what she had been told as she was growing up, John was struck by shrapnel while training for World War I.  She recalled that John’s face was also struck by the shrapnel and that he grew a mustache (such as he is sporting in the photo on the left) to hide his wound.  Billie went on to explain that the wound to John’s chest was so extensive that he ended up losing a lung.

As you can see, this photo is from 1937.  Pictured from left to right are Charles Wesley, Eugene William, James Henry, Glenn James, and John Beasley Corel.

I have not been able to figure out what happened with John’s wife Gertrude.  There is no mention of her in the article reporting the accident at Fort Riley.  I have not been able to locate either John or Gertrude in the 1930 census.

Reverend Ernest Jones married John Beasley Corel and Katheryn A. Reeves on January 8, 1941 in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri4.  The couple soon had a daughter, Glenna Kay Corel.

Sadly, the story of John Beasley Corel ends much too quickly.  John passed away on August 10, 1946 in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas.  The following is transcribed from a newspaper clipping with a date handwritten of 8/10/46.

To Hospital Tuesday

John Corel, 42 years old, Sunflower Village, DeSoto, Kas., died early today at the University of Kansas hospitals where he was admitted Tuesday. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Kathryn Corel, and a daughter, Glenna Kay Corel, both of the home; his father, James H. Corel, Lawrence, Kas.; three sisters, Mrs. George Dunkley, Lawrence; Mrs. Kathryn Hahn, Lawrence; Mrs. Herbert Buchanan, a resident of the state of Nevada, and three brothers, Charles Corel, Arthur Corel and Eugene Corel, all of Lawrence. Private graveside services will be held at 5 o’clock this afternoon in the Oak Hill cemetery, Lawrence.

These five cases of infantile paralysis were reported:

Ralph Nesbit, 13 years old, son of Mr. and Mrs. Red Nesbitt, Parkville, Mo., in the General hospital.

Flora Mae Hedrick, 14, of Stotesbury, Mo., in the General hospital.

John Hogan, 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Hogan, Polo, Mo., in the Menorah hospital.

John Beeks, 14, son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Beeks, Baldwin, Kas., in the University of Kansas hospitals.

Lyle Hunter, Edgerton, Kas., in the University of Kansas hopsitals.


Polio Case Leads to Postponement at Oak Grove

The thirty-second annual Webb family reunion, which was scheduled for tomorrow in Webb park, near Oak Grove, has been postponed until September 15, because of a case of infantile paralysis in Oak Grove. The victim is Donna Owings, 5 years old, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walker Owings.

  1. Family Bible of James Henry Corel.  Photocopy in possession of Paula K. Hawk.
  2. Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 (database on-line). Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009. Original data: 1925 Kansas State Census. Microfilm reels K-1 – K-177. Kansas State Historical Society. <> (accessed February 7, 2009)
  3. Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 (database on-line). Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm. <> (accessed March 5, 2009)
  4. Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 (database on-line). Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm. <> (accessed June 30, 2009)
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