A LETTER FROM JOHN KINNAMON TO REUBEN F. ROSS
Submitted by John Grace
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PREFACE This letter was written by John Kinnamon of Harlem, Mo. to Reuben F. Ross of Carter County, Kentucky. John was the the brother of Reuben's mother, Nancy Jane (Kinnamon) Ross. Descendants of John Kinnamon still reside in the Kansas City area. Kinnamon family chart John Kinnamon was born in Kentucky, possibly Louisville, on June 25, 1925. He died March 8, 1918. John Nelson Ross married Nancy Kinnamon in 1839 in Bath County, Ky., so the Kinnamons must have been in the area around that time. Somewhat mysteriously, Nancy's parents did not file a formal consent contract for her marriage to John Nelson Ross. All evidence seems to indicate that after her marriage in 1839, Nancy never saw her parents or her brother and sister again. Reuben Fletcher Ross, the son of John and Nancy Ross, was born March 1, 1843 in Carter County, Ky. He died December 30, 1935 and is buried with his wife and children at Ross Chapel Cemetery, near Olive Hill, Ky. Ross family chart The fact that John Kinnamon wrote this letter to Reuben implies that they met at some time in their lives, although there is no record of the Kinnamons in Carter County. John appears on the 1860 census living near Kansas City, Mo. There are photos of both Nancy and John Kinnamon in the Carter County Photo Gallery. Both Nancy and John Kinnamon's descendants were told that John and Nancy were Native American. This letter is now in the possession of Glenn and Opal Sparks of Olive Hill, Ky. It is in an old photo album that was passed down from Reuben to his son, Harlan Ross, and subsequently to Glenn and Opal after Harlan passed away in 1958. The letter was sent from Harlem, Mo. Harlem no longer exists, but was located near Kansas City, Mo. In the letter, "Geo" refers to Reuben's brother, George Ross. "your grandfather and Sarah" refers to John and Nancy's father, George W. Kinnamon. George was living with John Kinnamon on the 1860 census. George died in 1866 in Platte County, Mo. I believe that Sarah was John Kinnamon's first wife. This context would imply that Reuben Ross had not seen John Kinnamon during the 32 years since Sarah had passed away and John Kinnamon had re-married. On the other hand, it seems somewhat strange that John would refer to his first wife as "aunt Sarah", but he may have referred to her that way because that's how Reuben knew her. Harlem, Mo. Feb. 2, 1899 Dear Nephew, I received your kind letter. We are all getting along very well. I never expect to be well. My head is roaring and my eye sight is poor. I will be 74 years old the 25th of this coming June. Rubin tell me where Geo. and the children is. How long since your father and mother died. Your picture never came here. We would of been glad to have it but it never came here. Your grandfather and Sarah has been dead 32 years. The boys names are John, Geo., Chas and Emmet. The youngest is 21 years old. My wife name is Missouri Anna She is fifty-one years old. The three girls names are Elmira, Queen and Rose. The two youngest girls are dead, been dead over a year. Your Aunt Sarah's children are all dead but one and that is Fanny. There were four. If I live till spring I will have all the children pictures taken and send to you. Rubin I have the best set of children in the world. The boys are industrious and the girls are smart. Rubin how many of sister Nancy's children are alive. How many there was. How many are dead. Send me the name of all sister Nancy's children. Good by. I send my best wishes. From you Unck Uncle John Kinnamon, ans soon On a personal note, I am a descendant of John Nelson and Nancy (Kinnamon) Ross. Several years ago I was able to make contact with a descendant of John Kinnamon who lives in the Kansas City area. This descendant had heard of John's "Kentucky family", but knew nothing about John's sister Nancy's family. I was able to personally meet John Kinnamon's great grand daughter in 2000. I believe that that was the first time that the two branches of the Kinnamon family made face to face contact in over 160 years. We thought that was kind of neat ;>)