Tombstone Tuesday – James Pickens and Susannah Clay McGee Corel

Susannah Clay McGee and James Pickens Corel Tombstone

James and Susannah are my great-great-great grandparents. They are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas.

James Pickens Corel was born February 16, 1832 in Tazewell County, Virginia to William and Rebecca Oney Corel. He moved west with his parents and several of his brothers and sisters in 1849, first settling in Kaw Township, Jackson County, Missouri, then in 1854, his widowed mother moved her children into the newly opened Kansas Territory where she staked her claim along the Kansas River. Rebecca Oney Corel signed over her land to James Pickens, which he claimed after her passing in 1860. Descendants of James Pickens Corel still live on this land today.

Susannah Clay McGee was born December 25, 1828 in Bellefonte, Centre County, Pennsylvania to James Joseph and Mary Ann Neidigh McGhee. Susannah’s family also traveled west, first settling in Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois about 1839. Susannah’s father is first found in Kansas on the 1857 Territorial Census.

On August 20, 1857 Susannah C. McGee married James P. Corel in Wakarusa Township, Douglas County, Kansas Territory. Together they had seven children and nearly forty years of marriage when Susannah passed on September 15, 1895. Her obituary, from the Lawrence Daily Journal and Evening Tribune on September 16, 1895 was entitled “An Old Settler Dead – Susan Corel.”

Susannah Clay McGee-Corel Tombstone

Mrs. James Corel Dies at her Home East of the City.

Mrs. Susan Corel, wife of Mr. James Corel, who lives two miles east of Lawrence on his farm, died at her home there yesterday morning. She had been sick but a few days with fever, but gradually grew worse till the end came Sunday morning in the presence of her family.

Mrs. Corel was born December 25, 1828 in Center County, Pa. and was the daughter of James McGee, one of the first of Kansas settlers and well known all over the country. She came to Kansas with her father and has been a resident of the state for over forty years. She was married to James P. Corel and was the mother of seven chidren, six of whom survive her, five girls and two boys: Jennie, now Mrs. Charles Engle, eldest daughter, Ollie Sperry, deceased, Mrs. Geo. Bowman, Mrs. Anna Stanley, James and Dr. Charles Corel of Kansas City, and Mrs. Kate Hughes of Arapaho, IT [Indian Territory].

A more loving and affectionate mother did not live. The family are grief stricken and every one who knew her will miss her. She was universally beloved by everyone who knew her and in her long residence in the city made many friends who will join with the sorrowing family in mourning the loss of one who had lived so long among them.

The funeral will occur tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock at the family home two miles east of the city.

James lived on for another 30 years, passing on October 31, 1925. The obituary for James Pickens Corel was found in an unnamed, undated Lawrence, Kansas newspaper and was entitled “Another Pioneer Gone.”

James Pickens Corel Tombstone

In the passing away of James P. Corel at the home of his son, James H. Corel, Saturday afternoon, October 31, [1925] at three o’clock, one of the oldest pioneers of Douglas county passed to his reward. He was preceded by his good wife by about thirty years.

Mr. Corel was born in Tazewell county, Virginia, February 16th, 1832 and died at the ripe old age of 93 years 8 months and 15 days.

When a young man he moved from Virginia to Westport, Missouri with his parents, where after five years his father died, leaving a family of three boys and eleven girls. In the fall of 1854 with his widowed mother and her large family, he moved to Kansas, then a territory, and settled on the farm which his mother preempted in Kaw Valley; the present home of his eldest son, James H., and where he spent the remaining days of his life.

He was married to Susannah C. McGee, August 20, 1858, and to this happy union were born seven children, Mrs. C. E. Engle of Lawrence, Mrs. Watson Sperry, deceased, Mrs. George Bowman of Kansas City, Kansas., Mrs. W. R. Hughes of Arapaho, Oklahoma, Mr. J. H . Corel of Kaw Valley, Dr. C. W. Corel of San Francisco and Mrs. J. R. Stanley of Kansas City, Kansas.

Mr. Corel passed through all the struggles of border war-fare in the vicinity of Lawrence in the early sixties and has the historic prestige of helping to build the first house, a log cabin, in t he City of Lawrence, which was preserved for many years as a landmark of pioneer days.

He was a sincere Christian man, a loving husband and father, and besides his family he leaves fourteen grandchildren, thirteen great grandchildren and hosts of relatives and friends to mourn his departure.

In well chosen words of love and sympathy, Dr. Edward Hislop of the Methodist Episcopal church of Lawrence conducted the funeral service.

Mrs. George Lowman and Mrs. V. K. Bruner sang most sweetly, “Nearer My God to Thee” and “Asleep in Jesus.”

He was laid to rest in the family lot in Oak Hill cemetery, six of his grandsons acting as pallbearers.

“Leaves have their time to fall, and flowers to wither at the north wind’s blast; but Thou has all seasons for thin own, O Death.!”