James L. Umberger – Larned Cemetery, Larned, Pawnee County, Kansas
In May 1861, James Umberger enlisted in Co. C, 45th VA Infantry Confederate States of America. He served until General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.
James Lockard Yost Umberger was born in Wythe County, Virginia, on June 24, 1840. He was one of seven known children born to Simon and Melina Umberger.
While living there, James married Matilda Ann Steffey (b. 1843) on June 24, 1840. A total of nine children were born to the couple; unfortunately, two died as infants.
Like many Civil War veterans, James wanted to escape the war's destruction of the landscape. So, after the birth of their fourth child in 1871, the Umberger family headed west. Two years later, they settled in Missouri, where the remainder of the children were born.
James, Matilda, and their seven children arrived in Pawnee County on December 2, 1887. The family homesteaded south of Larned in Pleasant Valley Township. Besides farming, James worked as a blacksmith to provide for his family.
Matilda had been feeling ill for many years and finally had an operation to remove a large tumor. Unfortunately, she passed away on June 4, 1897. Three years later, James married Mrs. M.B. Whittlesy. James died on July 8, 1901. They share the same stone in Larned Cemetery.
The rest of the story: At age thirty-four, "Howe" contracted typhoid and died in 1902. He left a wife and a five-year-old daughter.
Tragedy struck the family on December 28, 1908, when the oldest son, Stephen Lafayette, committed suicide. He was distraught over his wife's illness and possible death; the situation was too overwhelming for him.
Two of their sons, John and Andrew, became ministers. They both studied in Louisville, Kentucky, and were ordained at the same time. Their travels included stops in Kentucky, Missouri, the World Fair in Chicago, and closer to home in Kansas.
Andrew fell ill with influenza in 1919 and never regained his strength. He passed away in 1922 and joined his parents in Larned Cemetery. John moved to Washington, where he died in 1948.