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The Lavalette Family – Hillside Cemetery, Edwards Co., Kansas


There is a rather large contemporary headstone in Hillside Cemetery with three names on one side and one on the other. The three names are Nathaniel, Sr., Nathaniel, Jr. and Nattalee Lavalette. The single name is Ephraim K. Smart.


The story begins with Nathaniel Lavalette who was born on the 20th of August 1834 in Massachusetts. His occupation was a baker. He married Catherine “Kate” McDonald (b. 1844) in 1856. Their only child, John, was born two months later.

One of Nathaniel’s pastimes was fishing. On March 1, 1859, he was caught in an ice-storm and did not make it back to port. After his death, Catherine changed their sons’ name from John to Nathaniel, Jr.


Kate remarried in 1868 to Ephraim Knight “E.K.” Smart. He was born in Maine in 1848. Farming in the New England region was a challenge. Between the aged soil and rocky landscape, farming families were struggling to make a living. In 1873, the Smart family moved to Edwards County. E.K. and Kate were one of the first settlers to the area. The two did not have any children, but did adopt a daughter, Mary.


After a short, but “surprising illness,” E.K. died on May 27, 1898. He is buried at Hillside Cemetery. His name is the single name on the aforementioned headstone. Kate died the day before Christmas 1912.


After his father’s death, Nathaniel, Jr. moved with his mother, Kate, and stepfather, E.K. to Edwards County. In 1879, he married Carrie Smith. Nat was an experienced horseman and was called upon many times to “break” horses” On April 1, 1881, he suffered a severe kick in his head and died of the injuries. He was 22 years old and had left his wife and unborn child to mourn his loss.


Nat and Carrie’s daughter, Nattalee was born September 3, 1881. Tragedy struck the family again on July 9, 1883, when Nattalee died of cholera. Both father and daughter were buried in Old/First Kinsley Cemetery. When that cemetery was closed in 1886, their graves were moved to Hillside. When setting the new headstone, a decision was made to include the name and burial information of Nathaniel, Sr. He was father of Nathaniel, Jr. and grandfather of Nattalee.

Catherine “Kate” McDonald Lavalette Smart lived with her adopted daughter, Mary, and her husband in California. She died Christmas Eve 1912 and his buried next to her family at Hillside Cemetery, Edwards, Kansas.


Note: E.K. Smart’s obituary list his home “east of Kinsley on 8th Street, north side of the road, just east of the Coon Creek bridge.”


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