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Henry Marsden Sharpless - Malinda Jane Hiett

Bloomington, Illinois is where Malinda Jane Hiett met Henry Sharpless, nine years her senior. He was back from the west where he had homesteaded and proved up on 60 acres of prairie land in Kansas.

"He took a shine to me a long time before I even knew he was around." she chuckled. "But, finally, I fell in love with him. I don't know why; it sure wasn't because he was pretty, because he was a lot older than the rest of the crowd; but there was something about him that was fine."

So one day in June, 1875, when the young people went to Chicago for a one-day railroad excursion, Malinda and Henry went along and were married while there. She chuckingly boasted that "We had a honeymoon in Chicago long enough for me to wet my hands in Lake Michigan."

The following September they moved to Independence, Kansas.

"I'll never forget the planks laid together lengthways that we used for a walk from the depot to the hotel." Malinda recalled.

In the years that followed, they lived in town during the winter and worked the claim in the summer. They teased her quite a bit about being a "Town girl" that first summer on the farm.

"I'd never been on a farm before." she said. "I'll never forget that Henry had a yoke of oxen he used to break the prairie with. I was scared to death of the beasts but I'd get so lonesome at the house all by myself that I'd walk along beside him as he plowed, and whip the oxen. The neighbors thought that was the funniest thing they'd seen.

When the Cherokee Strip was opened to settlers, Henry made the run on one of their old plow horses, staked a claim and built a house before he sent for her and the children.

"When we came, we rode the train as far as Tulsa and waited at the hotel, which was almost the only hotel in town, for Henry to come after us," she recalled, "I'd stand in our second-story window at the hotel and look out the window and all you could see was mud all up and down Main street and Indians in blankets slopping through the mud. Tulsa is a nice place now, though."

She remembered with pleasure and touch of pride that her husband built the first frame school house in Grant county, that the first time she ever voted was on a bond issue that resulted in their having a school--with a teacher.

They lived in Tulsa/Broken Arrow, Oklahoma in the teens and 20's. They were charter members of the Broken Arrow Presbyterian Church.

They observed their 60th wedding anniversary before Henry died July 1935. He was ill at the time of the 60th anniversary but ten years before, when they observed their golden wedding, he worked all day. just taking time to step over to the side of the filling station he was operating to have a kodak picture taken with Malinda.

Henry and Malinda had six children: Adaline May (Addie), Effie Grace, Ernest, Ray, Victor and Viola, all born in Kansas, (Chautaugua, Montgomery and Reno Counties).

Henry died 17 July 1935 in Independence, Kansas and is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery there.

Malinda went back to live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with her daughter Addie, after Henry's death. She was a tiny thing, five feet one inch tall and weighing not more than 75 pounds. She died July 1, 1947 in Broken Arrow and was buried beside Henry in the Mount Hope Cemetery, Independence, Kansas.

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by Lee Case
Last updated on Sunday, November 10, 2002