Sunday, November 13, 2016

John T. Hogue – Apache County Superintendent of Schools 1899-1906

So recently I received a call from the Apache County Schools office as they are looking for more information on the past County Schools Superintendents.  That’s ALL it took to get me off and running on a research project!!  We have some very interesting subjects here!  I chose to write about one of them in this blog post because he intrigued me, and also we are just past celebrating Veteran’s Day and he was a Civil War Veteran.  

John T. Hogue

Apache County Superintendent of Schools 1899-1906

Captain John Thomas Hogue 1835-1911
Photo Courtesy: Kelly Owens

John Thomas Hogue was born on March 8, 1835, in Xenia, Ohio.  He married Mary Elizabeth Marsh on May 26, 1858, in Ohio. They had five children in 12 years.   

He served in the Civil War in the “Grand Old Army of the Republic”.   His first enlistment was in the 6th Independent Company, Ohio Cavalry in 1861.  Later that year his enlistment was transferred to the 3rd New York Cavalry where he saw very strenuous and long continued service, principally in North Carolina and Virginia.  He was promoted to the position of Regimental Quartermaster in 1863 and was honorably discharged at Richmond, Virginia on 4 February 1866.

In the early 1880s they moved to St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona where they resided for almost 30 years.  Captain Hogue, at different times served the people of Apache County in various positions including: County Superintendent of Schools, Clerk of the District Court, Probate Judge, and territorial legislator.

He was county School Superintendent from 1899-1906.  In 1901 he presided over the County Teachers Institute held in St. Johns, during the month of December.  On one of the days he spoke on “Supervision, the relation of the different parties concerned or interested in public schools.”  The institute was attended by the following teachers: 

·         J.W. Brown
·         J.T. Brown
·         A.S. Gibbons
·         D.D. Collins
·         J.N. Bilyeu
·         Leila Kempe
·         Pearl Udall
·         Amelia Hunt (Garcia – later to become County School Superintendent)
·         W.S. Gibbons
·         Gracia Fernandez
·         C. Jensen
·         Charlotte Kempe
·         E.L. Crooper
·         Berth F. Fearon
·         Naomi Freemen
·         E.S. Perkins
·         Lavenia Berry
·         R.E. Ling

In 1906 upon his retirement/replacement as County Superintendent of Schools he was presented with a “Loving Cup” on 28 Dec 1906.  
St. Johns Herald & Apache News, 20 Dec 1906

 I had never heard of such a thing and therefore had to pursue additional research to find out about the “Loving Cup”.  I found this on Wikipedia:  “A loving cup is a shared drinking container traditionally used at weddings and banquets. It usually has two handles and is often made of silver. Loving cups are often given as trophies to winners of games or other competitions. They can be found in several European cultures, including the Celtic quaich and the French coupe de marriage.”  I also found articles in the St. Johns Herald about the formation of the “Loving Cup Club” in 1900, and in the next issue the following article talking about the history of the “Loving Cup”:
St. Johns Herald,  27 Jan 1900

In June of 1910 he was recognized in the St. Johns Herald and Apache Newspaper, in an article about Memorial Day Celebrations, as the “only living representative of the Grand Army in our town now.”

In the last year of his life, due to failing health, he returned east to be among friends at Washington.   He died on March 28, 1911, in DC, having lived a long life of 76 years.  He was a member of George H. Thomas Post G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) and by that Post was buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

John T. LeSueur and Geneva Casto

John T. LeSueur and Geneva Casto

by Geneva Greer and Anona C. Heap (Granddaughters)

(Don't have a "date written")

John [Taylor] and Geneva LeSueur arrived in St. Johns, Apache County, April 10, 1880.  They had lived in the Salt River Valley for one year, but because of the heat, they decided to return to Idaho, their former home.  On their way back they stopped in the little community of St. Johns to visit their sister, Mrs. John Davis.  Grandfather used to say, "We thought we would stop and wait for the wind to stop blowing, it never did so we stayed."

John was born in St. Helier, Jersey, on of the Channel Islands of Europe, in 1852.  He came to the United States with his parents and four sisters in 1855.  His only brother, William F., was born in Bountiful, Utah, November 12, 1856.

Geneva Casto was born in Ogden, Utah in 1857.  John T. and Geneva were married in 1875.

We have heard our grandmother tell of their first home in St. Johns made of cedar posts set vertical in the ground, cracks filled in with mud, dirt floor and roof.  Their bedstead made of small posts driven into the ground and tied into the wall and 'spring' made by weaving willows across.  Here, with John's widowed mother, Caroline, and two small boys, they lived until John could earn enough and have time to build a better house.

The only employment to be had anywhere around was hauling freight supplies from Albuquerque, New Mexico to the crews laying the railroad.  This was a long way from home so he would not see his family for months at a time.  John would leave the family with all the money he had with which to keep the wolf from the door.  He was always worried about his loved ones during his absence, and when he had enough wages to tide them over the immediate future, he went home.  As he neared his homestead he saw his wife and two sons waving their welcome.  As he neared his humble cabin the boys raced to meet him and carrying both to their mother, we can imagine that reunion.  Anxious to know if loved ones had suffered, for he had not left overly much wherewith to finance during his absence, he asked his wife how much money she had left from what he had left.  Without answering she took her scissors and cut open her bed tick and pulled out the package and handed it to him, it was just as he had left it, unopened, with the full $250.00 still in it.  John decided then that if he did not make a success financially it would not be the fault of his wife.  The future proved his conclusion to be correct, with a wife like he had he could not fail.  Grandmother Geneva had made hair switches and handwork for the wealthy Spanish ladies and had earned enough to keep them for the six months Grandfather had been away.

John moved his family nearer to town and built a better home for them.  Their family continued to grow and soon he built a large two-storied home that still stands and is lived in.
Photo found on  At present, 2016, the home is STILL lived in
and has had much restoration work done to it.
His savings he very carefully invested in sheep with W. E. Platt and J. B. Patterson.  He purchased the Drug Store and with others, enlarged and incorporated it into the St. Johns Drug Company, now owned by the Andersons, sons of the original owner, Charles P. Anderson.

In 1883 the St. Johns Co-op Store was started and John and Willard Farr were employed to run it.  Later it was combined with the ZCMI.  He managed the store for fifteen years.  He learned his merchandising skill from his mother.  For three years he owned and helped operate the only county newspaper, the St. Johns Herald.

Recently, going through some old papers at the county courthouse, we found Grandfather LeSueur's signature as County Superintendent of Schools, so we thought we would check and see just how many office he held in early Apache County and we found:
  • Justice of the Peace
  • County Treasurer
  • Probate Judge
  • County School Superintendent
  • Member of the Territorial Legislature
  • Territorial Prison Commissioner
He remarked, "I accepted the nominations very reluctantly as I desired to give my attention to my personal interests and asked people to vote for my opponent but was elected by a great majority."

In 1900, John and Geneva suffered a great tragedy, their nineteen-year old son, Frank, and another young man, Gus Gibbons, were murdered by a band of outlaws while serving with a posse hunting for the outlaws.  Their bullet-ridden bodies were found twenty-five miles east of St. Johns.  The whole town mourned the loss of the two fine young men.  A marker marks the lonely spot and one can see how they were shot as they were going up the hill.  (See an earlier blog post of mine to read the full story of this ambush and murder.)

Grandfather LeSueur had many ups and down and suffered great losses and sorrows in his long, useful career.  To mention the five great sorrows of his life; the death of hist first born, a son; the death of his dear mother in 1898; the murder of his son Frank in an ambush' the death of his beloved wife, Geneva, in 1925, a bereavement from which he never recovered; the death of his son Leo, a lieutenant of the first world war, who died from pneumonia.

John T. LeSueur and Geneva Cast LeSueur can honestly be called "Early Pioneers of Apache County".  Ten of their twelve children were born in St. Johns and they spent twenty-five of their best years here.  In 1905 their church called them to move to Mesa and for Grandfather to become the President of the Stake in Mesa.  In his own words, "We had been living in St. Johns for twenty-five years and had become very attached to the place and the people.  We had many dear friends and as far as I know, no enemies.  We had a good residence and our children were growing up under a good environment with good schools and church.  I reluctantly accepted the call, I felt incompetent for such a high responsibility and did not want to move away from St. Johns were I was comfortably situated."

Grandfather was very active in the planning and building of the "Arizona Temple" in Mesa.  He lived to a grand old age of 92 years, mentally alert, physically strong and straight as a string until he died on November 29, 1945.


This story/history was found in a notebook titled, "Apache County Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. II, December 1977".

Here is a link to another history of the LeSueurs found on (not sure if you have to have an account and sign-in to read it?)

Mesa, Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Overson Postcard Collection

After a year-long hiatus from my blog, for personal reasons, I AM BACK!  

There is a treasure in the museum archives that I over-looked for quite some time.  One day I decided to take a closer look and found a veritable treasure in these antique postcards!  It is a two-fold treasure.  Number 1:  The artwork and value of the postcards themselves;  Number 2: The communications from a young Mormon missionary in the field to his older sister back home.

Overson family - photograph courtesy of SueAn Stradling-Collins
 Mary Sophia Overson was the second child born to Ove Christian Ovesen and Mary Kjerstina Christensen.  She was born in 1872 in Ephriam, Utah, but by the time her baby brother Lyman Marion Overson was born in 1887 the family had moved to St. Johns, Arizona.

In December of 1894 Sophia married William O. Gibbons in Springerville, Arizona, however William passed away  6 January 1906.  A family story has been told that he was killed trying to save a woman in a runaway stagecoach.

In March of 1908 Lyman left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Indiana area.  
St. Johns Herald & Apache News-March 26, 1908

St. Johns Herald & Apache News-August 13, 1908

 During 1908-1909 while he was serving his mission he corresponded often with his "big sister" back home.  Sophia kept the postcards that Lyman sent, and also other postcards from people he was teaching the gospel to.   (Those postcards were donated to the Apache County Historical Society Museum in St. Johns.)  Here are just a couple of the postcards.  I am in the process of scanning them; 120 so far.  I hope to add them as a collection to the historical database I am helping to create via the Apache County Library District:  the Apache County Digital History Alliance


Sophia remarried to James Omer Smith in December of 1912.

After his mission Lyman married Viola May Forrest in 1911.  They had a son, Wesley Ellsworth in 1912, and a daughter Bernice in 1916. (The only two children I found.) Sadly, Lyman was a victim of the Spanish Flu epidemic and passed away in 1918.

St. Johns Herald, December 26, 1918

Lyman's widow Viola ran for and was elected as the Apache County Recorder in 1920. The Oveson/Overson family left a great heritage and many Overson descendants still live in the St. Johns area.

St. Johns Herald - 25 November 1920

All newspaper article available online through the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program.