I am Betty Lou Whitney Steinmann, b. 10 Sept 1934, Salem, MA. Daughter of Luther James Whitney, b. 1879, Miles City, Montana d. 1956 Dade County, Fl., and (2nd wife) Mary Elizabeth Sweeney, b. 10 August 1907 Salem, MA, d. 1960 Lancaster, CA. My family were not record keepers and my parents were divorced when I was a small child. My half-sister, Palma Jane Whitney b. August 1912 Seattle, WA.d. 1979 Oregon, made herself known to me when I was twelve and, over the years, told me bits and pieces that she had heard about our mutual father from her mother, Viola Hamilton b. 1885 d. 1966 Oregon, who had wed Luther in 1909.
In September 1995, while passing through Miles City, Montana, I made inquiries at the local Vital Records Department and luckily, because most records had been lost in a fire in the early part of the century, I obtained a copy of my father's Certificate of Delayed Birth Registration issued in 1941 with details supported by various affidavits from family and school records. Thus, the odyssey began.
My paternal grandfather, also named Luther James Whitney b. 1841 Hancock County, Ill, d. 1903 Spokane, WA was something of a wild-west entrepeneur and is documented by Lorman Hoopes in "This Far West," and by S. Gordon in "Recollections of Old Milestown." Luther married Sarah Jane Palmer in Leavenworth, KS October 31, 1869 and her family line is well established. My paternal great-grandfather, Edson Whitney b. 1798 Vermont d. May 1865 is described by Pierce as "murdered by a Spaniard," but other geneaologists believe it was his brother Cooley who was murdered. Edson was a respected oficial of Hancock County Illinois as reported in "History of Hancock County Illinois" by Th. Gregg pub. 1880 but had probably made enemies during his long tenure as Sheriff of that County and because of his role in "the Mormon difficulties," so it is not out of the question that his demise was by murder. Edson was son of Luther b. 1777 Vermont, d. c. 1835 Illinois and Jerusha Burnham b. 1783 d. 1817 Missouri. Pierce's book continues the lineage eventually arriving back at John who was the original immigrant to the United States.