EDWARD AMANDUS ALVIS (William Henry Harrison, James Woodford, Shadrach, Ashley, David, George), born Brighton, Macoupin Co IL, 21 Sep 1861; married Dickinson Co KS, 12 Oct 1882, ANNA MARGARET EYSTER; died South Fork, Howell Co MO, 8 Sep 1934. Anna was the daughter of George and Margaret (Ramp) Eyster; born Chambersburg, Franklin Co PA, 26 October 1860; died Blaine Co OK, 10 November 1920; buried at the Bethany Church Cemetery at Thomas OK, next to her grandson Earl Alvis. Edward is buried in South Fork, Howell Co MO.
After the death of his father, Edward Amandus Alvis was bound out, but the people he worked for were cruel to him and he ran away. He walked from Alton IL to Rockville, Parke Co IN where his brother William was living with their Aunt Mary (Alvis) Ferguson. In Rockville the two brothers worked for their uncle Solon Ferguson at his sawmill. There is still a Ferguson Lumberyard in Rockville today.
Later Edward went to Abilene KS where another aunt, Hannah (Brooks) Wilson, lived. Family legend says he saved a neighbor, George Eyster, from a swindle and, when asked what reward he wanted, asked to marry George’s daughter, Anna Margaret.
The Ed Alvis family was among the first members of the Brethren in Christ congregation to come to Oklahoma. They built a two-story house, where Alice, William and George were born. An early photo of the family outside this house demonstrates Ed’s love of donkeys and jennies. At one time he was said to have 60 of them.
Four times Ed was involved in legal problems. Art Alvis remembered hearing about the events of 1905, when a neighbor named McCannon reportedly had a habit of cutting the fence between his property and the Alvis farm and putting his cattle into the Alvis land to pasture them. Finally, Ed was fed up, put the cattle into a pen and sent his sons for the neighbor. But the neighbor filed charges. With lawyer’s expenses and the banker who held the mortgage on his farm being a close friend of the neighbor, Alvis lost his farm. Two documents located at the Custer Co OK Courthouse confirm that charges were filed in June and Ed and Annie were forced to sell their farm in November. Later owners moved the house from the original home farm to Thomas where it is still occupied.
From this nice house, the Alvis family moved to a dugout on Deer Creek, also near Thomas in Custer Co OK. They were victims of a swindle in 1908 involving a man named Buchanan, but I do not know the details. Then, Ed bought two farms near Geary in Blaine County. For a time the older children lived in Geary with their father, while the younger ones stayed with their mother on Deer Creek. Bill and Alice were kept out of school to herd the cattle. The entire family completed the move about 1911. The Geary farm caused problems in that same year, since it was apparently bought without a clear title. A man named F. King, according to county records, was unsuccessful in what seems to have been an effort at getting money from an Indian couple.
During World War I, Alvis was the victim of prejudice either because of his pacifist views or because the Eysters and also the Alvises were considered Germans. Neighbors came to Ed’s house trying to force him to buy Liberty bonds. They succeeded in having him and his son William arrested for attempted murder. As soon as a qualified judge looked into the case, the charges were dropped. This violence certainly caused unnecessary suffering to our family.
Anna died in 1920. From then on, Edward lived with one or another of his children. About 1928, son-in-law Bud Peck killed a man and spent time in jail. Later he threatened his wife Bessie and their children. Aunt Cora Alvis, back from missionary work in South Africa, bought a farm near South Fork MO, so Bessie could get away from her husband. Ed went to live with Bessie and her small children, and later Bill and his family followed them. From that time on, part of the family was in Oklahoma and part in Missouri. In spite of these precautions, Bud Peck found them there and kidnapped his son Alvin, who later died young either of diabetes or a fall.
Art Alvis also remembered his grandfather spending hours and hours reading a book entitled History of the World. At least two of Ed’s grandchildren recalled him claiming to be a first cousin of Abraham Lincoln (who was 51 years older); our genealogical searches have pretty much disproved that.
It was a coincidence that the family found a connection in West Plains MO. An area resident, Miss Mary Atwell, introduced herself to the newcomers saying she had a niece in Oklahoma named Mary Alvis. Miss Atwell’s niece was my grandmother, married to Edward Amandus Alvis’s youngest son, George Alvis, who stayed behind in Oklahoma.
In 1934 Ed, at the age of 72, began to cut his wisdom teeth. No one paid much attention to the old man’s complaints. But this led to a blood infection complicated by diabetes, and so he died.