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Some Peppiatt Family History

- Contributed by Donald J. Warren.

If you believe you are decended from the Peppiatt family, please click on the Feedback Form (above) and give us your information and we may be able to add it to this Peppiatt Family History. We have a lot more to add here.

My Mother, Florence Nell Warren nee Peppiatt, came from a family with a long history. Her father was Joe Peppiatt and her mother was Ella May Quimby. Prior to the 20th century family members communicated with each other by writing lots of letters. Often these letters were added to and forwarded by one recipient to the next in the form of a chain letter. Collections of these letters became a valuable source of family history. Unfortunately, writing letters has become a dying art with the availability of low cost long distance telephone service, E-mail communications and cell phone text messages! Because of rail roads, relatives also travelled back to visit family, especially to Michigan where they renewed friendships and met new members. My Mother told about hearing stories, enjoying fresh maple syrup and taking steamboat trips on the Great Lakes.

Early information is based on documentation collected by Aletha M. Collyer, formerly of 8260 Judd Road, Willis, Michigan 48191, in a collection of stories which she compiled from family correspondence and distributed to family members in 1973. Miss Collyer has since moved to Florida and ceased updating this information. Miss Collyer's status, or location of her heirs is unknown. Anyone with further information should use the Peppiatt Feedback Form to send it to us. Also, you can E-mail it to me, Donald Warren, at WILLOWWNDS@AOL.COM.

The name Peppiatt probably is French, but the early history begins in England in the 19th century. These were farming people, but the ladies in the family earned extra money by collecting straw from the harvested fields and making straw hats which were then sent to Paris and sold. The name is rather unique in that a US telephone search some years ago listed very few Peppiatt names, many of which were from our extended family.

It would be a shame if Miss Collyer's work were to be lost to history. I do not believe her two volume collection was ever submitted to the Library of Congress or formally copyrighted. I have only included such information as was common knowledge within our family, since under current law I believe her original work would still belong to her heirs for 100 years following her death, even if it was not formally copywrited. However, some of the letters she used as source material are already more than 100 years old and were even then exchanged by family members, so I do not believe these stories have copyright protection.

The Early Years - in England

THIS SECTION WILL BE ADDED LATER, depending on clearing up the copyright situation.

Migration to America


Ella May Peppiatt

My grandmother, Ella M. Peppiatt nee Quimby was from a branch of the family which originally came through the Town of Marlboro, New York, before moving on to Coldwater, Michigan. Grandmother Ella Quimby was born in Branch County, Michigan on April 3, 1856. She married Joe Peppiatt and moved to Ellsworth County, Kansas. They raised nine children. She died in 1949.

She was a fourth cousin of Harriet Quimby, the first licensed woman pilot and the first woman pilot to fly across the Englist Channel. On April 16, 1912, Harriet Quimby flew from Dover, England to Hardelot, France using a Bleriot monoplane but did not reach Paris, her intended destination (Kansas City Star, 4/16/1993). In 1914, she died in a plane crash after hitting an air pocket and loosing a heavy passenger because seat belts had not yet been added to airplanes! See more on Miss Quimby by searching the internet with Harriet Quimby's name!

My Aunt Alice Gregory nee Peppiatt thought we could find an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower. She found that a member of my Grandmother's family was a Wright who at least fought in the Revolutionary War. She was able to verify this information and it helped her gain membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). However, the DAR seems to be more interested in obtaining original documents than members, since their current online application forms make no provision for proving a relationship to another family member!

Life in Michagan

THIS SECTION WILL BE ADDED LATER, depending on clearing up the copyright situation.

Joseph Peppiatt, in Kansas

My Grandfather, Joseph Peppiatt was born of George Peppiatt and Elisa Kempster in Tring, England on October 12, 1857. Grandfather Joe is supposed to have visited the United States as a 10 year old boy. He later returned to Michigan where he met and married Ella Quimby. They were married on March 7, 1880. For some reason, he did not become a United States citizen until just before his death in 1931!

Joe Peppiatt went on to Kansas where he purchased railroad land 14 miles North-West of Ellsworth, Kansas. I believe Congress passed legislation giving railroads alternating nine mile square blocks of farm land on each side of their right of way to help pay for the laying of track across America!

The railroad would sell the farm land to immigrants who would go west and work the land. The railroad profited from the sale of the land, the cost of tickets for their travel, and the products they produced on the farm and shipped back East. I am sure the farmers profited from cheap land, reduced rail ticket prices, and from having a transportation facility for getting their products to market.

Congress also set up a system to help fund colleges in the Mid-West by granting the states land grants. My grandparents' children benefitted from this since they all had the oppertunity to attend college. All of the daughters of Joe and Ella Peppiatt did attend and graduate from college about the turn of the century! Joe and Ella had nine children before they stopped sleeping together. There were five girls and four boys:

Claude George, 1-17-1881, Bernice May, 2-15-1883, Florence Nell, 10-3-1885, Minnie Fern, 7-20-1889, Ethel Dell 8-14-1892, Ivan Thomas, 7-20-1895, Francis Joseph, 12-18-1898, Russell Donavan, 6-9-1901 and Alice Elizabeth, 8-13-1907. All of the children had to help with the farm work. Their oldest son did not like farm work and opted for the higher pay of working in the cement and steel mills back in Indiana. The remaining boys each were given or inherited farm land from their father. Grandfather Joe died of cancer on November 19, 1931. The girls each received a good inheritance when their mother died in 1949.

My Family

My Mother attended a one room school which included children in grades one through eight. When she graduated from the eighth grade she took a three month summer course in teaching at Fort Hayes State Teachers College, returning in the fall term to teach in another one room school in the next county. She traveled to her new school by horseback each day. During the summer when she was not teaching, she herded cattle, mowed and raked hay, milked cows and churned butter on the farm. She used to tell about reading books while sitting on horseback herding cattle. My mother also attended Fort Hays State Teachers College gaining a three year degree, after which she taught school some eleven years. Partly in Denver, Colorado, and later between Casper and Douglas Wyoming. While in Wyoming, she took advantage of the Homestead Act to acquire land. She had to build a cabin and fence in the homestead and live there for three years. She also bought land in Wyoming. She actually owned more acreage in Wyoming than her Father in Kansas. However, during the depression my family was forced to sell the land for 25 cents per acre because they could not afford to pay the taxes. They did keep the oil rights which were leased in later years for a good sum of money.

Mother also attended Kansas State College and obtained a four year college degree in Home Economics. While there she took basket ball and fencing, but never learned to swim! She also met and married my father who had returned from France and World War One. When my father completed his college degree in Mechanical Engineering he elected to work for the railway postal service because of higher pay than in his field. In those days, the mail was sorted on the train going between towns. He got to do a lot of traveling!

With Mother's money from teaching school, my parents bought four lots in Manhattan, Kansas and a building from Camp Funston, Fort Riley, to provide the lumber with which my Father built our home. My brother was born in Manhattan, Kansas. Then my Mother and Father went to Denver, and then to Wyoming to teach school.

The country side in Wyoming was very dangerous in those days. It was only a few years since the range wars had been fought between the sheep herders and the cattle men! Mother had to ride horse back to get to the school. To protect herself she always carried a gun. It was usually a german lugar pistol, but sometimes it was a 410 shotgun or 22 caliber rifle! My Father used a 42-80 rifle to hunt big game for food and also taught school.

Later,they traded one lot in Manhattan for a used 1912 White automobile. It was equivalent to a high priced luxury car today. It was a four door sedan convertable with big leather seats and could seat at least seven people, plus two more on folding seats. The White motor car company later switched to making only trucks, not autos. The body and engine was almost all made of aluminum. It was a large bore in-line six cylinder engine. It used three six volt batteries to start the engine, but also had a hand crank if the batteries were dead. The starter motor was an 18 volt compound motor-generator and served as both a starter and also a generator to charge the batteries. It was strong enough to actually move the car if it was in gear! The engine bolts were English style with left hand threads instead of right hand ones like the threads used in America. To remove them you turned them clock-wise instead of counter-clock-wise. I found out the hard way! The collector who bought the car at the auction of my Mother's property has one clock-wise bolt in an otherwise English specification engine.

My folks used to haul their belongings in a large attached trailer behind the White car. During the depression my dad removed the rear seat and converted the car into a dump truck. He thought he could get work with the truck. The wheels were 6x36 inch size. In those days the 36 was the outside measurement, not the rim size. Dad converted the rear wheels to truck tires. The truck idea was not a good one and he then went to work for the state hyway commission. After President Roosevelt became President, dad want to work for the Civilian Conservation Corp. (CCC) helping young people find work building public facilities. When World War II started, dad went to work in steel plants and munitions factories. After the War, he taught mechanical engineering foundry and shop practice at Kansas State College. He also worked as a metallurgist at a local farm elevator company, and in his own machine shop. He died in 1964.

This is a work in process.

To reduce the exposure to identify theft, the names of living relatives will not be included.