“Home of The Soul.”

Through his last sickness of dysentery he was calm, peaceful and happy, talking much of the love of Jesus, and the power of his grace, and especially of what he had done for him. He delighted much in the Word of God, many passages of which he had treasured up in his memory, and now, in his sickness proved as fountains of water gushing forth to refresh his fainting sole.


William M. Aitken was born in Washington County, Pa., October 3, 1807, of pious parents, and was by them trained up according to the usages of the Presbyterian Church. He was educated at Jefferson College, Canonsburgh, Pa., having study medicine at Nobelstown, Pa., also attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia he commenced practice in Rural Valley, Armstrong County, Pa. in 1839, where, having acquired a large patronage, he remained for twenty-seven years.

William first love was a young woman 20 years his junior by the name of Lydia Jane  Totten.  Lydia Jane’s health was delicate but Doctor William Aitken’s fell in love with her and wanted to marry her anyway.

They were married 1948 in Rural Valley, Kittanning County Pennsylvania. William built Lydia a house  in Rural Valley for her that was entirely ground level so she would not have to climb many stairs. Now keep in mind back then they would build their homes with the living quarters on the first floor and the sleeping quarters on the second. But there is an exception to every rule so William chose to break that rule for the woman he loved so compassionately.

Dr. William Aitken Home in Rural Valley, PA[1]

Now this home is located at 817 Main Street in Rural Valley Street which has been the residence of several generations of Totten’s and Stewarts. The room which is now used as a living room has a separate entrance, and it served as Dr. Aitkens’ medical office.

Dr. Aitken and Lydia ere blessed with two sons John Lysander Aitken, born about 1848, and William Totten Meigs Aitken, born about 1851. Sadly Lydia passed away March 8, 1851 and is buried in the rural Valley Cemetery located in Rural Valley, Armstrong County , Pennsylvania along side her parents.

Lydia Jane Totten Aitkins

As time passed William overcame the death of his beloved wife Lydia. Then one Sunday while attending church a beautiful young woman caught his eye. He would soon learn she was the daughter of the church elder Richard Ewing Caruthers by the name of Rebecca born April 10, 1827 in Cowanshannock, Armstrong, Pennsylvania. William and Rebecca married in Rural Valley, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania on the 17 of October 1853.


William M. and Rebecca Caruthers Aitkien

In 1852 a daughter was born Jennie but died shortly after birth. Two years later another daughter born and died the same day her names was Lydia Isabella. Then in 1856 Hannah Ella Wood was born and lived to be 78 yrs old.  Homer was born in 1860 but tragedy would strike again when Emma Vashita was born in 1861  only living a year. Virginia Vashita was born in 1861 living until 1940. The last child Martha Elizabeth was born in 1864 living until 1941.

The three babies are buried in the Rural Valley Cemetery alongside Williams first wife Lydia.

Jennie Isabella Aitken

William then moved his family to Mt. Union, Ohio in 1866 selling the house he built for Lydia to his former father in law, Hamlet Totten Esq. Then in 1870 William and Rebecca moved their family to Williamsburg, Kansas.

Williamsburg Kansas

Williamsburg 1868

The next two photo’s  taken about 4 years ago.

old stone church in Williamsburg  KS

Old stone church

william and Rebecca's store.

The local historian informed our cousin that this is the store that William and Rebecca owned in Williamsburg Ks back in the 1870


The old stone church is one that William and Rebecca attended.

William passed away September 16, 1974 at the age of 66.

His obituary was written by his much loved brother in law the Rev. Richard Alexander Caruthers and is as follows….

(Obituary of William Aiken found in the bible of Mary Craig Totten in the home of Maxine E. Stewart, Rural Valley, Pa.)

William M. Aitken was born in Washington County, Pa., October 3, 1807, of pious parents, and was by them trained up according to the usages of the Presbyterian Church. He was educated at Jefferson College, Canonsburgh, Pa., having study medicine at Nobelstown, Pa., also attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia he commenced practice in Rural Valley, Armstrong County, Pa. in 1839, where, having acquired a large patronage, he remained for twenty-seven years.
In 1866 he removed with his family to Mt. Union, Ohio and in 1870 to Williamsburg, Kansas. He was first married in 1846, to Lydia J., daughter of Hamlet Trotten Esq. of Rural Valley. She died in 1852, leaving two little boys. In 1853 he married Rebecca, daughter of Richard Caruthers, by whom he had six children, two of whom died in infancy. From early life he was taught to love the house of God, and the Sabbath School, both of which he cherished through life; but not until abought fifteen years ago did he make a profession of a saving knowledge of Christ, when he united with the M.E. Church at Rural Village, then under the pastoral care of Rev. I. M. Pierce. From that time until the close of his life he continued to be a consistent member of the Church, and then wherever his lot was cast, made it a point to attend upon all the means of grace. Through his last sickness (dysentery,) he was calm, peaceful and happy, talking much of the love of Jesus, and the power of his grace, and especially of what he had done for him. He delighted much in the Word of God, many passages of which he had treasured up in his memory, and now, in his sickness proved as fountains of water gushing forth to refresh his fainting sole. He often spoke of his home in heaven and frequently had his friends sing “Home of The Soul.” He said, “Tell my friends to meet me in heaven.” a few hours before he died, waking from sleep, he said, “the end drawing nigh; all is well.” To his friends and family said: “Watch! Watch! Watch!” Finally, after being fixed in bed, he said “All is bright ahead; let me rest now,” and immediately passed away.

By Rev. Richard Alexander Caruthers.


To be continued……



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I’ve been away for a while…reflecting on things going on in my life. Some good some not so good…

Well today as I read my newsfeed..checked my emails…answered voicemails..I heard it…a whisper…Slow down my dear….there’s no need to take on the world the world will take on it’s self.

I thought to myself how true this statement is. I am only one and you are so so many!

Today I’m going to take the time for me..I know that may sound selfish to you but if you only knew half of what I have endured these past two years you’d do the same.

I love my children with all my heart but there come a time when you just have to step back and let them experience the life lessons they have created..

I had and have set goals for myself but it seems I’ve let everyone else push them aside…

Time is of the essence you never know what or when you’re going to be called away so take time for yourself and just enjoy life.

Don’t sweat the small stuff because it’s just that… small. Live life like it’s your last day but make memories to pass on…..I try to make at least one memory a day…..just ask my grandson.

Today my memory is that of a sad one…my grandson is sitting on my sofa crying asking why they couldn’t fix what was wrong with his brain..he is ADDHA.

I leaned over him holding him in my arms reassuring him that Mamaw will try and fix it.

We spent the rest of our day just doing what grandma’s do with their grandchildren..keeping his little mind off of all his woe’s in his life.


Until tomorrow..peace be with you and your family.


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This wasn’t your typical farmers morning. We were outside playing and Dad had left early to feed the cattle. Making sure none of them had fallen in a gopher hole and broke its leg and such.

One of our many chores as children was to gather the eggs. Dad had taught Pam and I just how to swipe them right out from underneath those chicken,.. off I trollied towards the hen house basket in hand. As I passed  by the door I picked up ‘The Stick.’ Now for those of you who aren’t  familiar with gathering fresh chicken eggs let me walk you through just how this is done.

First you have to have a basket to put the eggs in. Then you have to find a big long stick. You walk into the hen house and you say ‘Good Morning Ladies I hope you slept well.’ You always want to be polite to the ones you’re about to take eggs  from.

You walk up to the nest..ever so slowly you take your stix and raise the tail feathers up on that ol hen. Why is that you ask? Well it’s because ol Mr. Bull Snake likes to crawl up under Mrs. Henny Penny at night and eat her eggs.  Just think about it….what in the world would you do if ya reached in up under that hens skirt just to grab a big ol handful of scales…makes me shiver! Once you gather all the eggs you take them back to the kitchen. This was my least favorite part. You lay those little critters down on a towel so notten to have them roll off’n the table. Then ya have to wash ’em.. yep..wash’ em.

This take now on a hour or two depending how many eggs you’ve fetched. Once you’ve wash’em all you have to candle’em to make sure there ain’t no babies in there. There’s nothing worse than crack’n an egg just to find out it has company if ya get my meaning. Then it’s back in the basket and into the ice box. After chores we would run a muck my brother and me. We were two peas in a pod. I didn’t much like dolls myself..more of a tomboy I was. Alway poking stuff with a stick to see if it would move. Dead or alive I was gonna look at..dissect it if you will. Bob and I would always run down to the creek chasing frogs..sit in the shade mooing at the cows..skippin rocks. Your typical boy stuff.

Well late that morning Bob and I was down by the creek. It was a good ways from the house but we could still see it. Mom always told us ‘You can only go as far as to still see the house and no farther’  In the far distance we catch a glimpse of our Dad. He was way out there with the tractor but  we could see he was a pulling something. All we could tell was it was big..real big!

The closer Dad got the better we could tell he’s drag’n something and he’s drag’n it our way!.This was always a good thing with Dad.. the treasure hunter… I looked at Bob and Bob looked at me..wide eyed  both of us just so excited. We yell at each other then off we go!

We ran back to that house as fast as our two little feet could carry us just to meet dad at the side of the barn, Wow….just wow is all we could say! Dad climbed down off that tractor grinning from ear to ear. Just a proud as a pig in slop! Dad had found an old covered wagon!


Dad hollers to Mom …. ‘Donna come and see what I found!’  Pam came a running out first Mother with Benita in tow. As she rounds the corner of the house her eyes widen her.. mouth drops open..’Oh Keith where did you find that!?’ Putting Benita on the ground she begins to walk around it looking it over inside and out. Dad tells her..’Well I was out there just checking on things and ran across it just sitting in the field. Thought the kids might want to play on it.’  Well Dad fiddled with it for a  bit getting the wheels all set straight. It was kinda wobbly…best jungle gym we ever had! We had such fun on that thing…..

My Brother and sister still talk about this day….just one of many!

Hope you all have a good weekend…


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As I sit watching the dust swirl across the driveway leading up to the house I see a truck pulling what looks like a trailer full of roofing supplies. As it pulls up towards the back of the house I notice the bed of the truck is just full of kids. Dad steps off the back porch to greet the landlord with a fingertip from his forehead ‘I see you brought the whole crew.’

The landlord whose name escapes me now had five boys. Ages ranged from five years old clear up to about twelve. As they jumped down out of the bed of that truck he motioned them to line up. I’m sitting there just watching and waiting to see what will happen next.

About that time my mother comes out of the house with a basket of wet laundry on her hip. She stops.. she looks. I stand up and by that time my brother and sisters have joined me. He stands in front of the smallest.. reaches into his back pocket pulling out a pouch of Red Man Chewing Tobacco. As he open the pouch the first son holds his hand out. Very precise the landlord places a wad of tobacco in each and every hand of those five boys. Now by this time my mother has stepped up making the remark…’And just what are you planning on having those boys spit in?’ without missing a beat he turned and replied…’Well Mrs’s they just spit over the side when they’s up there so if ya don’t want spat on I reckon you best stay inside till we’re done.’..the look on my mothers face was priceless not to mention my Dad having to turn his head so she wouldn’t see him laughing.

red man

Mother hurried to hang her clothes and very cautiously went back into the house. Us children sat on the corral fence in awe of what they were doing. Even the littlest of them. He was in charge of the nail bucket…up and down and up and down..spit.. climb up the ladder….spit.. climb down the ladder…..this went on for hours. The other boys were up top so it was even more intriguing…watching them tear off all the charred wood tossing it over the side into the trailer..then spit. Now that I think about it I think this is where I learned to spit. I’d hear one say to the other..’I bet I can hit that there bucket…SPLAT…oh it was on…my brother Bob and I picked up on that real quick..drawing a line on the ground with a stick…’I bet I can spit further than you!’ My mother was so miffed…I can still hear her fussing at my Dad..’Keith don’t let them do that..that’s just disgusting’  All he did was turn towards us..wink…and say ‘Mom says not to do that.’ Oh my Dad was a card. He grew up so very poor but was one of the most laid back kinda guys until you got on his wrong side then katy bar the door! I’ve seen him mad and it ain’t pretty.

Lunch time rolls around with the sun hot as hades sweat rolling down their back they climb down the ladder heading straight towards the water tank. Dad had set the cattle out that morning so they were no where to be seen. I remember this just like it was yesterday….the little one pumps the well handle a couple three times as to get it primed…the water from that well was always ice cold no matter how hot it was outside. He stuck his head under that water.. oh you could see him just melt….about that time the older boys sneak up on him grab him by the seat of his pants giving him a toss right in that cow tank, He came up spittin and an a sputtering like no other. Bob and I just sat there and laughed and laughed. Water going everywhere but they was havin fun cooling off.

Mother had ventured out by this time taking a walk around the back and sides of the house. The look on her face you could tell she wasn’t happy. Head shaken back and forth words coming out of her mouth that you couldn’t hear.. probably a good thing we couldn’t … then ‘The look’ it was the one that made your blood run cold. Dad took his chance walking up to her knowing she was miffed. I could hear her scolding Dad about how the boys had just spit all over everything…her flowers the bushes not to mention us kids walking around in that. Taking notice of what Mom had pointed out he just turned to her in his droll kinda way..’For cryin out loud Don..short for Donna… it’s just a little tobacco spit nothin a little rain wont wash away.’

Round two….lunch eaten..tobacco passed out..up on the roof they went..shingles laid hammers pounding and spit  just a flyin! Oh what a day.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my stories thus far. I have so many more. Hope to see ya back here tomorrow.


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Silence in the night.

They say you’re just supposed to start writing on this thing so here goes….


As I sit here in the silences  the thoughts of my day begin to whirl around inside my head. One in particular seems to stand out. My heart is heavy with the thoughts of my Uncle Dick Caruthers.  I sat in his hospital room  thinking of how sad it is that I didn’t get to know him better. Looking at his tired face and the eyes that are so much like my Dad. Hearing him laugh and the nose…oh that Caruthers nose…the trademark of the family as Julie says… Tammy is showing him pictures of the old homestead he lived on as a child. We converse on how Uncle Wayne has changed in the past year. How his age hadn’t shown until now. How frail he looks along with Aunt Shirley. Uncle Dick was always a big man when he was young and could toss a car if he had to.. but now I begin to see just how frail he has gotten himself….he’s a trooper though. Surviving eight heart attacks and cancer on top of that.

Uncle Dick

I’m not close to him as most would think and that is and was not my choice but that’s a whole different story…He turns to me and says.’We’ve come a long way since that old farm haven’t we?’

The first memory I  have of him is at the age of five years old. We lived in Ness City Kansas on ‘The Farm’…him and my soon to be Aunt Frona with little Tammy came for a visit. I remember we all sat down for dinner when the rain came….then the thunder. Yep this was a full blown Kansas storm!

When family came to visit the women were in the kitchen the men would gather outside around the cars or work shed while the children played outside.  It’s funny how you remember things you’ve thought you forgot until you start writing it down.

You could smell the rain and  hear the thunder rolling around up in Gods country….the lighting flickering in the distance like fireworks in the sky. As night settled in the storm moved closer and closer to the house. The wind whipping the trees outside our dining room as the rain beat down on the window panes. One loud CRACK and there went the lights….screams of fear came from all of us children as we ran for cover! Then it happened….another CRACK and the house shook like the man himself had just reached down and said..I’ll take this one.’ We sat there in the dark waiting and listening…then the smell..it was a odd kinda smell.

Dad gets up and walks towards the dining room through the kitchen and as he opened the back door leading to the mud room there it was…..he turns and hollers at my mother to call the fire department. Mother gathers up children and out the front door we go. Aunt Frona right on her heels….as we are standing there watching the back of our house burn Aunt Frona realizes she doesn’t see our little cousin Tammy. There’s panic in the air as she starts back into the house to find her. Mother thought Frona had her and Frona thought Mother had her. As Aunt Frona hits the front door Uncle Dick comes around the corner of the house with Tammy in his arms…I’ll never forget the reaction of my Aunt Frona that night..tears of fear turning into tears of joy.

Well the fire department arrives.. as we say a day late and a dollar short.. to find that Dad and Uncle Dick had extinguished the fire. Yeah when you live in a rural area sometimes that happens. Fireman takes a look around pokes and prods to make sure there are no ‘Hot Spots’ shake my Dads hand turns and pats Uncle Dick on the shoulder and off to the next one.

The next morning as the sun came up the consensus by all involved was…’Struck by lighting’

I remember how all of us children were laying on the floor in the living room..Mom being just a arm length away thinking how bad can it be..are we gonna have to move..all the silly things children think of. Then I hear my Dad on the phone..’Yes sir hit it on the back but we gotter out pretty quick.’ A big sigh of relief came over me as I turn over and went back to sleep.

What happens next will have to wait until tomorrow….hope to see you here. There’s never a dull moment in the Caruthers family…trust me I’ve been doing the family history and you won’t believe some of the ‘stuff’ that went on back in the day.

Until tomorrow…


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