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  • Writer's pictureRicki King

Mother of 18 (King family)

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

I am sharing this story to illustrate how you can give your family evidence disproving a story and some may not believe it. Once, I started tracing my family history I heard from aunts and uncles that grandma Rebecca (King) Humphrey was the youngest of 17 kids. Granted grandma never told me this story nor can I recall her ever saying she was the youngest.

When asked about her siblings she could not name all of them. In fact, the names she did provide was done over several weeks. Her niece Mrs. Helen Roach who was two years older than Rebecca was able to supply more names but again over several weeks. In the heading of the above story it states the “Mother of 18” disproving the family story of 17 kids. Why should we believe Mrs. King had 18 kids and not 17? Because, the reporter at the time would have had to talk to someone for this story. How do we know this? By looking at the details of the family’s life. The reporter states there were 18 children, 12 deceased and including Margaret there were “...two sisters, a young brother at home and two in Missouri are living.” The most likely way the reporter received the information was by talking to Mrs. King, a family member or a close friend.

Aside, note I have only been able to trace 13 of Mrs. King’s 18 children. Her last known child died in 2009.

“Death Hovers Over Child as Mother of 18 sits at Bedside,” Burlington (Iowa) Daily Hawk-eye, 20 January 1929; State Historical Society of Iowa-Iowa City, p. 2 col. 2.
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