Tag Archives: Samuel Hugh Caple

The Life and Times of William Roy Caple-A new life in in Puyallup, 1901

For a time, Roy’s family stayed in a boarding house. His father started his own delivery business. By September, they settled on a small ten-acre farm near Meeker Junction. Unlike the one room sod house they’d had in Oklahoma, this house had a covered porch, a proper parlor with a bay window, a dining room, kitchen, and four bedrooms on the upper floor. Roy shared a room with Joe while Lida and Richard had their own.

At 16, Roy felt he should find work instead of going to school. To his surprise, both his father and mother urged him to go continue his studies and graduate from the eighth grade.

“You love learning,” said his mother, “And for once we can afford to let you devote your time to studies.”

In the fall of 1901, Roy found himself back at Spinning school, where he’d gone as a first grader. After classes, he helped his dad with deliveries which made him feel better about not working full time.

In the summer, berry and hop picking gave him the money for his personal needs. His dad let him use an acre of his farmland to experiment with growing berries on his own.

In June, 2 years later, Roy sat on the stage of the school as the valedictorian of his graduating class.  His parents had bought him a new suit for the occasion. Nervous, he twisted his program as his classmate, Robert Dargan, finished his recitation of “My first Recital.” He felt clammy as the girls sang the song “Hey-ho Merry Jane.”

“And now,” said the Superintendent of the schools J. M. Layhue, “our valedictorian, Roy Caple, will give his speech titled, “Out of the Camp and into the Field.

Roy rose and walked to the podium. He gazed into the crowd and spotted his family in the front row.

He took a deep breath and began. “And so gathered here today…”

He remembered little of the rest of the speech, just being relieved when he finished and the audience applauded. He wasn’t much for the limelight, although being valedictorian had been an honor.

His teachers at Spinning urged him to go on to high school. But at eighteen, he felt it was time to join the workforce. He couldn’t depend on his parents forever. His Dad was getting old, he’d be sixty soon.

“I understand how you feel,” said his teacher, “but you have such a keen mind. Perhaps you can continue your studies with correspondence courses.”

“Now that’s worth looking into,” said Roy.

His dream to become of becoming an electrical engineer seemed impossible. Even if he took correspondence courses, he’d never find the time to complete both high school and college. He’d have to do the best he could to learn it on his own.

That summer, he kept busy picking berries and then hops. He enjoyed working with berries and expanded his own field. But it was seasonal and weather dependent. Did he really want to take the chance on such a business even if he found the money to buy the needed acreage?

He could continue to work for his dad and one day take over the transport business. Except he found it hard to work for his dad.

In September, he stood outside the neighborhood store as train on the other side of the road roared past loaded with logs when a neighborhood friend emerged from the store.

“Hey Ernie,” Roy called. “I haven’t seen you around in a while. What are you up to?”

“I started working as a logger,” said Ernie. “Just back here to visit the folks for a few days. What about you?”

“Looking for work, now that picking season is over.” His friend swept his hand up to the hills surrounding the valley. “There’s plenty of money to be made in up there. You’ve got the muscle and brawn a logger needs. I’m sure the place I work for could use you. Plus, it’s close enough to come home every weekend for your mother’s home cooking.”

“Guess I could try it,” said Roy.

Ernie folded his arms in front of himself. “First you got to get yourself some better work clothes.”

Roy looked at his overalls, shirt, and sturdy shoes. “What’s wrong with these?”

“You need some tin pants.” Ernie guffawed, “course they aren’t made of tin but a thick waterproof canvas.”

He pointed at Roy’s feet. “And a pair of good cork boots and pants that only come to their top. Otherwise, they hang up on the brush and cause injuries. Also, you’ll need thicker shirts to prevent bug bites and scratches and warm socks. It doesn’t pay to skimp on logging clothes unless you enjoy spending all your spare time mending.”

Roy heeded Ernie’s advice and invested some of his hard-earned berry picking money on good logging clothes. And on the first Monday in October he followed Ernie to a logging camp near Alderton to inquire about work.

When they arrived, Ernie pointed to an office in a railroad car. “I’ll introduce you.”

They stepped inside the office.

A man rose from a desk covered in paperwork. “Do you need something?”

Ernie turned to Roy. “This is my friend, Roy Caple. He’s looking for work. I can attest that he is a real hard worker. You won’t go wrong hiring him.”

The man looked Roy over. “Well, you’re dressed like a logger. And those broad shoulders look like they could handle the work. We always need more buckers. Do you know what they do?” 

 “I believe they’re the ones who cut the limbs off the felled trees.” 

“You’re hired,” said the man.

He thrust out his hand to shake. “I’m Mr. Smith, by the way.”

He assigned Roy to Ernie’s bunk house.

“I hope you aren’t expecting much,” said Ernie as they approached the bunkhouses.

Author’s notes:

Info on the house came from the 1910 census, and my aunts written memories of the house. I also have a photograph. The info of the graduation ceremony came from the program in my possession.

The store Roy stood in front of still stands some 100 years later on the corner of Pioneer and SE. 16th street. Just this past week I drove past it as a train on the other side of the road roared past my car.

The house pictured above burnt down in the late 1930’s when his parents no longer lived there.

Chapter Two: The Life And Times Of William Roy Caple – Getting the Claim -1894

     The winter holidays passed before Roy’s dad and Uncle Will saddled up their horses and rode to Guthrie, Oklahoma. There his dad filed an intent to homestead on 160 acres in township nineteen. [i] 

     After they left, his brother Sammy said, “We have to live on that land for the next five years before we can call it ours. And we have to have a house built by May.”

     Tired of sharing his relatives cramped quarters, May, seemed like a long time to wait.

      He asked his father upon his return, “How long before we can move there?”

     His father fingered the ends of his long mustache, “Well, it’s going to be a bit. It has to warm up enough for us to cut the sod. I reckon it will be March before we get it built. There’s plenty of work for us to do in the meantime. I’ll start on the corral tomorrow.” 

     When the weather warmed enough to cut the sod, it surprised Roy how fast his dad with some help from his uncle and cousins got it built.

     Roy’s Dad had brought the boys over to see it the day he and Milo hauled in the cast-iron stove. They installed it at one end of the 18’ x 24’ room. “There,” said his dad, something to keep us warm and cook on.”

     He handed him and Joe paintbrushes, “Your mother wants all the walls whitewashed before we move in. I reckon it’s a job you two can handle.”

    The next day his mother enlisted him and Joe to help her tack the white muslin sheets to the ceiling. After she pounded in the last tack she said, “there, that should help keep the dust and bugs out.” She nodded to the trunk his dad had set in the room that morning. “Roy, go open that up.”

    She reached in and pulled out red checkered curtains. “I made these for our house in Puyallup. They will work here just as good. While I hang these, you two get the rugs out.”

      He and Joe dragged out braided rugs and laid them on the dirt floor. Then his mother pulled out a gilt covered frame. It contained the likeness of both his mother and Father on some kind of certificate. “What is that?” asked Roy.

       “It’s our marriage certificate.” Her fingers traced the outline of the photos. “My, how young we both looked, I can’t believe that was almost 17 years ago.” She hung it on the wall with the pictures of Ida and Bertle. Looking at Ida made Roy miss his sister all over again.

     The boys helped their mother make shelves out of wooden fruit boxes to hold their dishes and cookware. She designated one shelf just for her China teapot and teacups. “There,” she said, “now we are ready to bring in the furniture.”

     The two boys brought in the table they’d dragged along the trail and two chairs. The rest of them would make do sitting on wooden boxes until they could get proper seats.

     In the corner along one wall they set the bedframe for their parent’s feather bed and the trundle his father had constructed for him, Richard, and Joe to sleep on. Sammy and Milo would sleep on palettes on the floor until they could build a bunkhouse.

     On March 20th, 1894, the family moved into the soddy. His father took out a new ledger, dipped his pen in an inkwell and wrote the date down. “We’ll need to this to prove our claim in five years.”

     While his mother was busy making the inside cozy and homey, he and Joe set to digging her a garden patch, while his dad, Sammy and Milo worked from dawn to dusk getting the fields plowed and planted with crops of corn and wheat.

      Since wood was scarce. Roy and Richard often searched for dried cow chips, which they burned along with corn cobs for fuel.

     Roy learned to put up with bugs, mice and snakes that burrowed through their walls and ceiling. Once while eating at his cousins Jennie’s house, she pointed to the ceiling. “Always look up before you eat. One time we had a snake fall on our dinner.”

    After that, Roy checked the ceiling before he sat at the table. He also learned to never stick his feet onto the floor in the morning without checking to make sure the area was snake free. Some of those snakes were poisonous.

     At first they had to haul their water from his uncle’s place. No matter how careful, the barrels always seemed close to dry. His father had to make several trips a week after it. Roy liked to ride along to help. His aunt was a superb cook, she always had something tasty he could eat, and he enjoyed talking to Jennie. For a girl, she was full of interesting stories.

    Bit by bit the family added on to the homestead, first a bunkhouse, then a hen house for his mother to raise laying hens. They obtained more cattle and horses. After 5 years they’d planted an orchard of 150 trees and two thousand shade trees, fenced 140 acres and cultivated sixty-five acres. [1] His brother Milo took up a claim adjoining his father’s and Sammy had plans of adding to the family’s’ holdings as soon as he turned twenty-one.

     Roy spent more time working on the ranch than going to school. He doubted he’d ever get enough school to graduate from the eighth grade. But that didn’t stop him from learning. Whenever they had a spare dime to spend, his parents bought him books to read and study on his own. He’d also learned to lasso a steer, dig postholes, mend fence, plant, and harvest crops, ride a horse and anyone, and build most anything one needed. Still, he cherished the moments he could read and study the most.



Author’s Notes:

The info for their homestead claim comes from the actual claim when it was proved.

At time homesteaders in this area were instructed to plant trees which is why they planted 2000 trees.  The scientific thought of the time was if trees were planted the rains would come. 

Samuel Hugh Caple

I remember the Christmas my Gandpa Roy Caple gave us a framed copy of this photo of his Dad. He said whenever he thought of his Dad this was the image that came up. I guess his Dad wore these buckskins a lot during my Grandpa’s growing up years. My Grandpa said his Dad knew they needed to be cleaned but was worried about them being ruined. Finally he agreed to let and Native woman who said she knew how to clean the leather have a go at it. I guess she was unsuccessful because my grandfather said when he finally got them back they were shrunken and unwearable. I am not sure when this photo was taken. Probably sometime between 1888 and 1899.

Whenever my Grandfather spoke of his Dad he always referred to him as Samuel Hugh not Samuel or Sam. I asked him why? He said he didn’t know why, but his Dad always insisted he was Samuel Hugh Caple not just Samuel. It was only when I began to research the family that I came to realize why? The name Samuel runs deep our family tree. He was one of many Samuel’s. Both his great grandfather and GG grandfather bore the name as well as an uncle who was only a few years older and cousins to numerous to count. Hugh belonged to just him except he did give the name Samuel Hugh Jr. to a son.


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I held the will for Samuel Caples in my hand and struggled to read the writing.  The will was recorded before a probate judge  on May 17, 1869.

The synopsis follows:

I give and bequeath to my wife in lieu of her dower 800 dollars. I device and bequeath to my son Jacob Caples, one dollar, my son Nimrod Caples, one dollar, my son Samuel Caples, 800 dollars, my son Andrew Caples, 800 dollars, my son Robert Caples, 800 dollars, to my daughter Rebecca married to David Grimes, 400 dollars, to my daughter Elizabeth married to Joseph Evans, 400 dollars, to my daughter Ruth married to Abraham Linnard, 400 dollars, to Keisa married to Henry Crabbs, 400 dollars, to Amy Church, James Church and Ann Church one dollar each, Emeline Caples, daughter of William Caples one dollar.

I was elated. I had found Jacob’s father. It wasn’t just that his name was listed as a son but also the mention of a son named Nimrod. Nimrod was the name my aunt had found while researching the family in  Monroe, Iowa. The same town where Jacob had lived. The name Rebecca Grimes was also listed which matched what Daisy Lee Grimes had said in her query in that old book in the used book store.

That Jacob and Nimrod had only received one dollar in inheritance suggest they might have had a falling out with their father, however I think it is more likely they had already received their share, perhaps in the sale of the land Jacob had handled for Samuel.

And there was another Samuel mentioned. No wonder my great-grandfather insisted on being called Samuel Hugh. He had an uncle and grandfather sharing his name.

The S on the end of Caple didn’t bother me. I’d learned in the 1800’s people weren’t as concerned about how things were spelled. Even within the land documents Jacob had sold his name appeared with and without the S in the same document.  Samuel Hugh’s pension files had him listed both as Caple and Caples.

Now it was time for me to see if this Ohio, Samuel Caple was connected to the revolutionary war Samuel Caple, from Maryland. Time to start looking at the early census records in  Maryland and connect to those who had more information about the Maryland Caple family via the internet.


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Jacob Caple, born about 1816, Carroll County, Maryland

Synopsis:  Through family stories and my Great Grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple’s Civil War pension records, I had discovered Samuel H. Caple was born in 1845 in Knox County, Ohio. His parents were Jacob Caple and Sarah Garey.  Jacob had been born in Maryland but married in Knox county, Ohio in 1841. Around 1857 Jacob had moved his family to Monroe, Jasper county, Iowa. Land documents there, led me to believe, he was connected to Samuel Caple of Richland County, Ohio. Census records in Ohio revealed that a Samuel Caple had lived there and had also been born in Maryland. He was the right age to be Jacob’s father.  Now I needed a will or other document to prove a connection



Shortly after mailing my request for a will for Samuel Caple of Ohio, my husband and I visited a used bookstore. As I gazed at a shelf of fiction, my husband rounded the corner.

“I found something for you to look at.” he said.

He handed me a thick book of  genealogical queries. He pointed to an entry –  “CAPLE, SAMUEL.”  A Daisy Lee Grimes was looking for more information about her great-grandfather, Samuel Caple, born in Maryland and who had lived in Ohio. I was fairly certain this was the same Samuel Caple I was looking for.  I would have called her right then and there except the book was from the 1940’s, it was unlikely that now in the 1990’s, Daisy was still alive.

The following week I perused the shelf containing family genealogies at my local library. I knew there was no way I was going to find a Caple genealogy, still I looked. My eyes scanned the titles for surnames beginning with C – “History And Genealogy Of The Caples Family And Allied Families Of Maryland.” Surprised, I pulled the book off the shelf.  Could this be my family, Jacob was from Maryland.

I opened the thin, hand bound book. It had been written in the 1960’s. The Caple’s in this book were from the earliest days of colonial Maryland. I still had a lot of work to do before I could discover if we connected to this family. But how had this hand typed copy from Maryland ended up in a Tacoma, WA library?

The following week I went to the Seattle National Regional Archives to work on another branch of my family tree. I was re-winding a microfilm when the archives announced it would be closed in 30 minutes. I gathered my things and went to slip the film back into its place in a file cabinet. Bent over, I glanced sideways, the words – CAPLE, SAMUEL – jumped out at me.  It was the first entry for a drawer full of Revolutionary War pension files.  Why was I suddenly finding the name Caple everywhere?

Never mind the archive was about to close, I had to see what was on it. I hastily threaded the microfilm onto the machine. I scrolled forward, the file was long. Quickly I skimmed, the old, difficult to read, cursive writing. Fortunately the pages deemed to be the best source of genealogical facts had been placed at the beginning of the file. This Samuel Caple had been born in Maryland. He hadn’t mentioned children by name but did say he had sons. And since he was born in 1752, he could easily be Samuel Caple of Ohio’s father. But it was too soon to jump to such conclusions.  I left hoping someday I would have reason to return and inspect this film in detail, in the meantime I had to prove or disprove Jacob was the son of Samuel Caple in Ohio. Only then could I begin to look for a link for someone in Maryland. Now more than ever I was anxious to find Jacob’s father.

On a rainy day a few weeks later, I pulled a thin envelope postmarked Ohio out of my mailbox. It looked much too thin to contain the information I wanted. With shaking hands I ripped the envelope open and pulled out the  will for Samuel Caple of Richland County, Ohio.  I began to read the difficult to decipher writing ; fingers crossed it would contain Jacob’s name.

A Visit With My Aunt Or Who Was This Samuel?

After pouring through my great grandfather Samuel Hugh’s pension file I hungered to know more.  Samuel hadn’t lived in Caple, Oklahoma until he was over the age of 45.  Clearly my Caple family hadn’t begun there.  But where were they from and when did they first come to this country?  (Note: later I would learn Caple was a post office station named for the first post master William Caple Samuel’s brother William.)

I made arrangements to meet with my Aunt Iva. After the usual hugs and greetings she walked me into the dining room where a big cardboard box sat. Inside were an accumulation of old photos and papers my grandfather had saved.  She had never seen Samuel Hugh’s pension papers so we began with those.

She was not surprised that her Grandfather had been living in Monroe, Iowa during the Civil War. In fact she’d traveled to Monroe and Oklahoma.  Unfortunately, she’d found little to add to the story we already knew.  No graves has been found matching Samuel’s family.  However she had found graves for   wives and children of a Nimrod Caple. While we ruminated, on how hard it must have been to lose so many loved ones, we wondered who he was?  Were we related and if so, how?

At the court house she found deeds for Nimrod plus some for a Samuel Caple with Jacob Caple having  power of attorney to sell the property. We assumed the Samuel was his son Samuel Hugh Caple.  At the end of my visit she lent me the deeds to make copies.2015-05-12 19.17.42

That evening I  sat at  my kitchen table and re-examined the documents. The first deed was for property sold in 1863, the others were for 1867.  Both my aunt and I had assumed Jacob was selling land for his son while he was serving in the Iowa infantry in the civil war. But Samuel was only 18. Would someone so young have property to sell?  And why didn’t he take care of it himself in 1867? Then I noticed something else. The deeds said Samuel lived in in Richland county, Ohio not Jasper county, Iowa. And the wife was named Francis not Polly. And besides Samuel hadn’t married until 1868. The place, names and dates didn’t add up, this Samuel had to be someone else, but who and how were we connected to him?

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Treasure Chest Tuesday

2015-04-11 22.13.29Samuel Hugh Caple -1845- 1920

Was this the outfit my great grandfather wore back when he was freighting with Buffalo Bill Cody in Kansas?

According to my grandfather, after his dad wore these buckskins for years, he decided they should be cleaned. He hired a Native American woman  who said she was experienced in cleaning leather.  They were returned shrunken and ruined.

Finding Caple Oklahoma Or How I Got Bit By The Genealogy Bug

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I pulled the thick packet out of the mailbox – return address National Archives, Washington  D.C.  The Civil War military and pension records for my  great  grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had arrived. I crossed my fingers  and opened it hoping the information my Dad wanted was within.

Growing up both my Dad and I had listened to stories about how his grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had survived being a prisoner in the notorious southerns Civil War prison – Andersonville.  My Dad had even spent a day spent a day touring the former prison site.  There he learned if he could show documentation of Samuel’s being a prisoner his name would be added to the the list  of survivors.

Unfortunately the papers from the National Archives did not have the record he desired but it did contain other valuable family information.

Other than the civil war stories I never heard tales about my Caple ancestors, except one.  My grandfather said the family had once been plantation owners somewhere in the south and had moved north because they didn’t believe in slavery. He didn’t know which state nor had any idea what country they may have come from from originally.  Someone said the name sounded German so he thought maybe they had come from Germany.

Among the many papers in the packet were affidavits from several people who said they had known Samuel while living in Caple, Oklahoma.

I recalled my grandfather mentioning he had lived in Oklahoma for a time while a boy.  But he had also said his father was a wanderer and they never lived anywhere long. So where exactly was Caple, Oklahoma?  How come I had never heard of it?  If my great grandfather had lived there, once upon a time, was this the southern state  the family had come from? Wy was it called Caple?  Outside of my family I had never even met another Caple.

  I set out to find the answer. I told myself I’d just find out where Caple was and how it got it’s name. I had no intention of doing more.

The archive’s papers showed Caple as being in Beaver county, Oklahoma.  I looked for it in a current atlas.  It wasn’t there but an 1899 Atlas, I had purchased at a yard sale, did  have a Caple,  Oklahoma.  It was in the southern portion off Beaver county (now Texas county), south of Hardesty, near the Texas border.

But I still didn’t know why it was named Caple?  And what had happened to it?

Today a search on the internet would give me the answer but in 1993 other avenues had to be pursued. I needed to learn how to trace my family history and thus began my affliction with the genealogy bug.