Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - John Henry Percival

John "Henry: Percival
This is an obituary for my great grandfather John "Henry" Percival. Make sure you read through to the end to see my comments on the errors.

Obituary, From the "Richmond Conservator", July 4, 1929.


John Henry Percival, a former resident of this city, died at his home in Kansas City, 704 East 41st street, at 7:30 Tuesday night.
Mr. Percival had been ill for several weeks, and was operated on at the St. Joseph Hospital in that city about a week ago for cancer of the liver.

He had been removed to his home and suddenly became worse.

Mr. Percival was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Percival, early settlers from Kentucky, residing at Waverly, Mo., where he was born February 26, 1862. He was 67 years, four months and six days old at the time of his death.

His father died in that vicinity after which he and his mother moved to this city.

After several years residence here he went into the furniture business with the late A. M. Fowler. The firm was known as Fowler & Percival. A few years later, Mr. Fowler withdrew and he entered into partnership with Norman Holt, adding plumbing and heating to the business. They were located for years in the building now occupied by Fred Harrison. After retiring from business Mr. Percival became traveling salesman for a plumbing company and made his headquarters in this city, moving to Kansas City some years ago where he continued as salesman.

Mr. Percival was united in marriage to Miss Nellie Maitland, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Maitland, near Millville, by whom he is survived. He also leaves a son, John Percival, Detroit, Mich., and a daughter, Mrs. Mary French, of Casper Wyo., three step-sisters, Mrs. Bert Clark and Mrs. George Hudgens, North Main street, this city: Mrs. W. E. Roeschel, of Boonville, and a step-brother, Dr. W. Holt of Washington, D. C.

Funeral services will be held in this city, Friday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock at the Thurman Funeral home, conducted by Rev. Dr. Rogers, of Kansas City. The body is now at the Thurman Funeral home.

Burial will occur in Sunny Slope Cemetery.

Mr. Percival was one of the outstanding citizens of Richmond while a resident and in business here. He was widely known over the county and had many friends.

All in all it is a nice obituary, BUT there is a lot of misinformation in those paragraphs.

His father came from Kentucky - it is true, but he died during the Civil War outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. No mention is made of his brother Herbert. It's true that Herbert went back to Covington, Kentucky to live with relatives while he completed medical school. From there he eventually settled in North Dakota and then in California from whence he disappeared. It's great that the obituary lists his step-brothers and sisters, but since Henry was apprenticed out by the time his mother remarried and did not live with her, does it really count? And where is the mention of Henry's grandchildren. By this time he had four of them.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Funny. A couple of weeks ago I gathered information on the Percival-Maitlands when working on a KC history project. Nothing big, but when I saw Maitland I knew it was the same family. I live very close to his 41st St. residence. It could be that this land was originally part of the Troost and/or Prudhomme plantations.
    Is it possible his son was estranged?

  2. Oooh. Info on the Percivals & Maitlands??? Estrangement? Possibly. All the letters that my grandfather, John Stearns Percival saved from World War I were from his mother (Helen Maitland) and his fiance (Mary Bowman). Certainly John S Percival was living in Detroit, had two children by the time his father died and Mary Percival French also had two children. By family accounts "Henry" was closer to his daughter than his son and Helen Maitland Percival was closer to her son. One of the WWI letters sort of alludes to his. You can contact me at gen.witchATgmailDOTcom.

  3. Oops. He didn't save those letters, but those are the only ones he refers to. And the only letters that survive from World War I are the letters he sent to his mother and fiance.

  4. AND I just took a look at the World War II era letters written from my great grandmother to my uncle (her oldest grandson). By that time she was living at 802 E. 41st.