My grandfather William Roy Caple was born on August 8th, 1885, somewhere near Dodge city, Kansas at his family’s homestead. His parents were Samuel Hugh Caple Senior and Margaret Melinda Ragsdale Caple. He joined five older siblings, including two half siblings, Minnie born in 1867, and Milo born in 1874. And full siblings, Samuel Jr. born in 1878, Ida born in 1880, and Joseph born in 1883.
Margaret was Samuel’s second wife. His first wife, Polly Sumpter died in 1876 in Monroe Iowa. Leaving Samuel with two young children to raise.
How he came to know and marry Margaret is unknown. The couple married on September 16, 1877, at her family home in Brookline, Missouri. They are living in Osborn County, Kansas in the 1880 census. Soon after newspaper snippets place them on a homestead four miles North of Dodge city, Kansas. His father appears to have been running a freighting business in addition to having homestead land.
Around 1887 the family headed west by covered wagon. My grandfather said his dad always thought the grass was greener elsewhere. From family records we know they lived a brief time in Weston, Oregon, and Cheney, and Spokane WA.
Around 1891 they moved to Puyallup, WA. When a world depression hit and blight severely damaged the local hop crops the family moved again in 1892 to Multnomah, Oregon where is father found work building a stone house.
A bit later they moved once again. Wintering in either Eastern Oregon or over the border in Idaho. My grandfather recalled how destitute the family was at that time and how they would not have survived that winter had they not been able to live on a farm they found. The owner had a jail sentence to serve and needed someone to take care of his property for the winter. They lived off the food found on his farm.
After staying there, they continued on their journey to Oklahoma where Samuels’ older brother William was homesteading.
I have chosen to begin my story as my grandfather’s family enters the state of Oklahoma.
You will find that I use the name Roy in my writing instead of my grandfather’s first name. Apparently when he was quite young his father and uncle had some kind of disagreement. From then on, he went by the name Roy, except on legal documents. For this reason he never wanted anyone named after him. He said every child deserved a name all their own.