Third Annual Cemetery Walk

September 18, 2019

Tom Bufford and Lynda Lahodny as E. G. and El Lena Henley

Mike Betcher as William "Doc" Byron

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KATE ESREY FOLLETT

Kate was young and pretty, the daughter of a true Lemoore pioneer, the wife of an educated and prominent young man, and the mother of four children.  

Her father, Jonathan Esrey, was one of the very first settlers to arrive in the Lemoore area in 1856.  Kate grew up next door to her uncles, Dan Rhoads and Justin Esrey along the banks of the Kings River. 

Kate was young and pretty, the daughter of a true Lemoore pioneer, the wife of an educated and prominent young man, and the mother of four children.  

Her father, Jonathan Esrey, was one of the very first settlers to arrive in the Lemoore area in 1856.  Kate grew up next door to her uncles, Dan Rhoads and Justin Esrey along the banks of the Kings River. 

Kate’s father-in-law,  Granville Follett  arrived in “Lake Country” just two years before the railroad created the town of Lemoore.      Granville Follett’ and his friends, Moore, Fox, and Sweetland all arrived around the same time and  together, they  played a major role in Lemoore’s growth and   development.

Kate’s father-in-law,  Granville Follett  arrived in “Lake Country” just two years before the railroad created the town of Lemoore.      Granville Follett’ and his friends, Moore, Fox, and Sweetland all arrived around the same time and  together, they  played a major role in Lemoore’s growth and   development. 

THEODORE & MARY GILCREASE

Belle’s parents, Francis and Mary Apperson, arrived in California in 1859.   They came to “Lake Country” in 1870.   Theodore migrated to San Luis Obispo from Missouri .  Theodore met Belle in  the Cholame Valley.      Theodore and Belle  married and settled on his parents’ Lake Country property, which then became the Gilcrease Ranch.  Their descendants still live on the ranch.          

E.G. AND ELENA HENLEY

E.G. left Illinois for California  (the land of opportunity) immediately  upon graduating from High School in 1904.  His older brother, Vern , had already settled in the Lemoore area, so that’s where E.G. headed.  Meanwhile, El Lena Bartlett’s parents migrated to Lemoore from Tennessee. El Lena’s mother, Annie Bartlett,  had relatives in the Lemoore area.      

E.G. and El Lena Henley met and began “courting” in 1904 and were married in the Lemoore Presbyterian Church in 1908.  The Henley’s were  a very enterprising couple and truly left an imprint  on the Lemoore area.

HENRY RHOADS

Henry Rhoads was only 12 years old when he and his family left their home in Missouri.  He turned 13 while crossing over the Sierra’s  with a host of relatives named “Rhoads” and “Esrey” as part of a wagon train captained by George Donner.  Luckily the Rhoads and Esrey families opted out of taking Hastings Cut-off with the ill-fated Donner party ;  but  instead , they veered off and crossed the Sierra’s further north ahead of the first snowstorm. 

In 1857, Henry, at 23 , married Jane Goode, who was born in England and just 15 years old at the time of their marriage.   Henry and Jane built their home on the south side of what was to become Lacey Blvd., just south of Daniel Rhoad’s home (now a California Historical Landmark known as the “Rhoad’s Adobe.”

Henry and Jane had seven children, six daughters,  and one son named  “Henry.”  Henry gave up cattle ranching and devoted his pursuits to farming.  

FRANK LINCOLN POWELL

Frank’s father first came to California during the gold rush days, but finding little success, he returned to his eastern home to marry his sweetheart.  They returned to California together in the late 1850’s.  Little Frank, was born in Sacramento in 1867.  He was proudly named after his father and “Lincoln” after “the great Republican president.”  The family came to the Lake Region in 1877 and farmed a short time near Armona before taking up property north of the new town of Lemoore.  Frank envisioned a career in the Postal Service, starting with the Tulare Postal Department and later transferring to Lemoore in August, 1890.  He ended up spending 44 years in the Postal Service and serving as Lemoore’s Post Master. 

WILLIAM P. BYRON “DOC BILL”

William Byron was the son of Henry and Rosina Byron, who arrived in “Lake Country” eight years before the railroad created the town of Lemoore.  Bill received his medical degree from the California Medical College, San Francisco.  In 1906 he opened an office in Lemoore, and in 1909 his brother joined him in the practice.   Doc Bill was a true “horse and buggy doctor” until he purchased his first automobile in 1906.   

Bill married Belle A. Washburn of Hanford, and they resided in their home on Heinlen for many years.   After 50 years of medical practice, the well liked and community-minded physician delivered his last baby in 1951.