Dorothy Lucille Adkins Lewis Story


   Dorothy Lucille Adkins was born on March 3, 1911 to James (Jim) Henry Adkins and Mary Margaret Dawson Clover Adkins. Jim's first wife, Bessie, had died of tuberculosis on July 14, 1903.  Dorothy was the only child of Jim's marriage to Mary, and was therefore the youngest child. She had several older step-siblings from her father's first marriage. Dorothy's parents were married on July 9, 1908 in Chandler, Oklahoma, by the County Judge, Fred A. Wagoner.  Their first home was in Oklahoma about half a mile south of the log cabin which had been built by Jim's father with Jim's help - he made the shingles for the roof and put them on.  In the Spring of 1910 they moved to Mary’s family farm four miles north of Cambridge, Kansas where Dorothy was born.



Jim and Mary's first home

North of Cambridge







Dorothy, Bill Bolack, Frank Bolack George Adkins, Frankie Brunton, Fuller Watt






Jim,  Dorothy



    Dorothy had a personality right from the start. One of her first memories of her toddler years was of falling backwards off a stool.  She thought it should have had a back on it, and wanted to know why there was no back on it! When Dorothy was a youngster, a pipeline was being laid across their property to a City Service booster station north of the farm. She enjoyed playing around the fruit trees on the farm, especially when the pipeline workers would bring her "good" apples.

   The farm was good bottom land along Grouse Creek, but they had to cross the creek to get to town. When they traveled to town or to Shaw School, there were times they would ford the creek during high waters.  This really frightened Dorothy.  They would even have to ride the horses across when the waters would cover the floor of their buggy. If the water became extremely high, they could get supplies by going through the pastures to Burden, Kansas, west of Cambridge.

    Dorothy always wore nice clothes, her hair in braids, and button-top shoes when they went to town.  She hated having to put those shoes on; she would have to sit still while an older sibling or parent would nimbly button the tiny buttons with a special tool called a buttonhook. Plus, such shoes were probably too confining for such a spirited girl!  On one trip, the water was high on Grouse Creek, and crossing the creek on their way home was very wet and exhausting for everyone. When they did get home, all she wanted was help taking off her wet high-top shoes, but everyone else was too busy, so no one would help her right away. She had to wait in her wet boots until someone could help her get them unbuttoned with the buttonhook.

     Dorothy's Father bringing her sisters and friends home from Shaw School

   When Dorothy was a child, they used kerosene lights, and cooked and heated with wood. Their water came from a hand-dug well, and a horse and buggy was their transportation. Most of the food came from the land, plus some hunting and fishing.
    When Dorothy was seven years old, the family moved from the farm into Cambridge where she attended school. The first house they lived in was in the second block north of Highway 160 on Main Street. It was close to the Church of Christ and just a block north of the restaurant the family operated. When World War I ended, all the school children paraded down Main Street, going from the schoolhouse to the Jabara-Razook store in the northwest corner of the main intersection. There was free fruit out in front for everyone’s celebration. The store was owned by the same Jabara family that later lived in Burden as neighbors to Dorothy.

     Dorothy and her family then moved south of Highway 160 and managed the ‘old hotel’, as it was known in later years. She would feed the stray cats left-over food from the diner of the hotel, a habit she kept as long as she had a back step to feed them from. This is where she lived when she had her tonsils removed. When Dorothy's tonsils had been bothering her, the doctor came to her house and had her lay down on the kitchen table with her head hanging off the end of the table. He then reached in and removed her tonsils; no drugs, no painkiller. The doctor then proceeded to remove the tonsils of anyone else in the family whose tonsils had been bothering them. Later on, her half-sister Blanche married Claude Irvin there in the hotel after the war.


  Cambridge was a thriving community at this time. South of Highway 160 on Main Street’s east side was a bank, a hardware store, a theater (costing 10 cents to see a movie), a skating rink, a garage-repair shop, and the Old Hotel. On the west side was the restaurant that Dorothy's parents James and Mary owned, the barbershop that her uncle George Adkins owned, the post office, a hat shop, a lumber yard, Doctor Holland’s office, and the Jim Harris residence. These were all north of the railroad tracks and the city water well. Trains were available for long-distance traveling, but horses were the main form of transportation and local folks as well as travelers would use the water well area to refresh their horses.

    Cambridge was a thriving community at this time. South of Highway 160 on Main Street’s east side was a bank, hardware store, a theater (costing 10 cents to see a movie), the skating rink, a garage repair shop, and the Old Hotel. On the west side was the restaurant that James and Mary owned, the barbershop that George Adkins owned, Post Office, hat shop, lumber yard, Doctor Holland’s office and the Jim Harris residents. These were all north of the railroad track and the city water well. Trains were available for distant traveling but horses were the main form of transportation and local folks as well as travelers would use this water area to refresh their horses.

    Dorothy thought Dr. Holland was a very nice doctor because when she was sick he would give her Chocolate Quinine.  She remembers playing in the front of the hotel and getting very dirty.  Was it independence or practicality that caused her to expose her knees as she played there?  Either way, such behavior was scandalous, even in such a young girl.  And a young girl she was; she was only eleven when her nephew, Vernon Foster Brunton, died of the croup, but she remembers him very well as a cute, happy boy. The new hotel-boarding house was finished in 1923 with the help of the Hull boys and Dorothy soon had her schoolteacher over for dinner.

   Their hotel was completed shortly before the ‘old hotel’ burned to the ground. The newspaper was the best form of public communication and an article from the February 15, 1923 issue of The Burden Times read as follows;

The old Cambridge hotel that has stood its ground for many years was totally destroyed by fire early Saturday morning, together with almost the entire contents. According to reports the fire was discovered by some of the basketball boys from Dexter who were returning home from Grenola. The building was a mass of flames in a few minutes after the alarm was sounded. There being no chance to save the building or little of the contents, willing fire fighters set about to keep the buildings near from burning and by hard work succeeded, although it looked like a hopeless case at times, so it is said. Mr. C. D. McCord and family owned and operated the hotel; having purchased it about the time the oil boon struck the little town. The burning of this structure does not leave Cambridge without eating and rooming accommodations there are four restaurants and the J. H. Adkins rooming house, which was just recently finished and opened to the public. Everything is new throughout and would be a credit to any town.

    As a young teenager, Dorothy helped her Mother prepare food and take it to her grandparents, John and Sara Dawson and a brother, Ed Dawson. They all lived across Highway 160 on to the west of where Dorothy lived. This became Herbert and Estalee Brunton’s home. John preceded Sara in death by six years. Also, at age 12, Dorothy took her first trip to Colorado in a truck driven by William Edward Dawson with the back of the truck fixed like a covered wagon. This was the first of many trips she took to Colorado.

    U.S. Postage Mail was the means of personal communication, but it was slow. It seems when she was 15 or 16 Dorothy always waited on the mailman to receive letters from a boy she was dating back home while she was in Oklahoma. Dorothy spent time in Oklahoma with her sister Leone. She attended school there but soon returned to Cambridge to live with her Mother and sister Lillian, in the original house just to the south of the new hotel. Dorothy was a very good seamstress and made clothes not only for her family but also for people in the community.

     Dorothy's love of ice cream can be traced back to her childhood when ice cream socials were popular.  Families would gather to eat home-made ice cream and the adults would play cards while the children played.   When she got older and boys entered her social circle, a favorite outing was to load about 4 people into a little old tiny coupe and ride around and act silly.  (picture of her first boyfriend) When she was around 16(?), her girlfriend's brother came home on furlough from the navy.  He was cute and they had a lot of fun, but when he asked her to marry him, she was too young.  She says she didn't have many boyfriends; they didn't have lots of boyfriends like they do now.  The first thing that caught her attention about Emory was his nice car! 

     If you want to see Dorothy blush, ask her about the movie idol of her time, Roudolph Valentino.  If you want to see why the man that made her swoon in her youth can still get such a strong reaction, watch a few minutes of one of his movies.  They didn't have a rating system in place yet, and even if they did, his kisses alone would be 'R' rated now.

    On April 20, 1929, Dorothy married Emory Lewis at the ‘old’ Cowley County Court House in Winfield KS, by the Probate Judge J. W. White. Their attendants were Roland L. Lewis, a cousin of Emory’s, and Cleo A. Rising, a friend. Their first home was the house he was living in ‘on the lease’. Emory worked for Texaco. They soon rented a house in Wilmot but they had little furniture so they moved to another lease house. After their marriage, they made a point to spend every Sunday possible with Dorothy’s mother and family in Cambridge until Mary’s death.

    On February 28, 1930, Emory James was born in the northwest bedroom off the dining room of her family’s hotel home.  Dorothy went to the hotel to have family with her for the birth.  While in labor, she was encouraged to walk the long hallway by her 'birthing coaches' (her mother ? and her sister, Lillian).  The doctor came to your house back then.   Emory was sick (didn't breath right or something) and Lillian took care of him - she sat up and held him all night.

     In the early 30’s, the family bought a radio from F. G. Jarbara that required a 1000 hour-battery pack. When Texaco had a cutback because of the depression, Emory was let go and he moved Dorothy and son to Cambridge. They lived in Blanche’s house which is on the South West corner of the same block the Hotel is in.  Donald Gene was born in the front bedroom on November 8, 1931. They then moved to the "barn house" which was on the alley a half block East of   Blanche’s house.    They had to cook with wood and haul water at Blanche’s house. Sons Emory James and Donald played together in the "barn house". And as young children often do, one shut the other’s finger in a metal cabinet, and he has the scar to prove it to this day.

    Texaco recalled Emory and the family of four moved to an oil field lease house. Shortly after this move, Virginia Ann was born on January 17, 1934.  Dorothy went to her grandmother’s house in Cambridge and gave birth in the south bedroom (which should have been a living room) .

    The house the family had moved into had natural gas for heating and cooking and they went out under the tree to cool off in the summer. Also, in the summer, the iceman would come by once a week and check your card in the window to let him know if you wanted 25, 50, 75 or 100 pounds of ice. When City Service Oil Company closed their plant next to Texaco. Emory bought one of their lease houses for $400.00.

    Dorothy became very ill at this time and was ailing for several months. Emory James always said that this was the first time he prayed, and he prayed for his Mother, for he was afraid she was going to die. She recovered and on August 9, 1937 Marvin Dean was born in the lease house.

    The family was on their way to Cambridge on December 7, 1941 and had stopped for gas at Floatman’s in Burden when they heard about Pearl Harbor.

    Emory’s father, Samuel James Lewis owned a farm just south of the lease. In 1942 they moved their lease house to the farm and took care of Sam until his death on March 27, 1943. They first heated this house with wood, but Emory soon put in a butane tank just a little east of the house. They placed the tank in a collapsed cellar that was easy to dig out. The first tank of butane was .01 ¾ cents and the last fill was .05 ¼. Shortly after they got the butane they got a Servel  refrigerator next came a Maytag washing machine, gasoline engine. The farm had a phone, and two longs and one short was the ring. It was a party line, so anyone could pick up their phone and listen no matter what the ring was. Six longs was the ‘all call’ from the central office in Wilmot. Oh yes! And keep the calls short, others will want to use the line.

    A salesman by the name of Browney came by (We had a dog named Browney that met all strangers with a lot of barking and Dorothy always yelled at Browney to get.) and sold Emory and Dorothy a Maytag washing machine that ran on gasoline, with a kick starter and sometimes it was easier washing by hand than starting the engine.

    In 1944 they sold the farm and moved to Burden. The house they bought was on the south end of town just past the railroad tracks and a half block west. Their neighbors to the southeast were the Jabara family from Cambridge. The house had electricity , inside water, and an inside bathroom. Marilyn Sue was born in the front bedroom of this house on April 26, 1945.

     Dorothy was a courageous pioneer - she did what she thought was best rather than what was proper.  She worked outside the home sewing draperies long before that was acceptable.  Gossips would talk about how she 'wore the pants in the family'.  An immaculate housekeeper by nature, she had the perspective to allow her house to be appropriately messy while she was raising her children.    While  in her 70's she was told she didn't seem to ever 'age' and she giggled and shielded her mouth with her hand and whispered, 'Sometimes I forget that I'm not still 16 years old.'

   In the early 50’s the family bought their first TV.  The Burden house was the family home until Emory was transferred to Texas because the Atlanta Texaco Plant closed and the employees were moved to other plants. They were in Texas until his retirement in 1963 and then returned to Kansas and moved a new home to the west part of their land. Dorothy moved back into the original home in 1973 after Emory’s death before moving to a new apartment building in Winfield where she lived until she moved back to Burden to live with her son Emory.


newspaper Nov. 28 2017

   Dorothy Lucile Lewis, 106, of Burden, passed away Saturday afternoon, Nov. 25, 2017, at her home.  Funeral services are at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the First Baptist Church in Burden. Burial will follow at Cambridge Cemetery.  A memorial has been established in Dorothy’s name for the First Baptist Church of Burden. Contributions can be made through Miles Funeral Service.
Online condolences can be made at Born March 3, 1911, on a farm four miles north of Cambridge, Dorothy was the daughter of James Henry and Mary Margaret (Dawson) Clover-Adkins. She was raised and educated in Cambridge. She and Emory Lewis married on April 20, 1929, in Winfield. The first six years of their marriage they lived in northeast Cowley County, then moved to the family farm three miles east of Wilmot. In 1944, they moved to a home in Burden. In addition to being a housewife, Dorothy was known as a wonderful seamstress, making clothes and dolls for many residents in the Cambridge and Burden area.  Emory was transferred with Texaco in 1958, and the couple moved to Perryton, Texas. While in Perryton, Dorothy worked for Bertha Draperies, making commercial drapes for many businesses and residents. In 1966, they returned to Burden. Mr. Lewis preceded her in death in 1973.   Dorothy was an active member of First Baptist Church in Burden, where she volunteered in many areas, including Bible school. She enjoyed working puzzles and crafts, sewing, cooking and making Raggedy Ann dolls.
In addition to her parents, husband and five siblings, Dorothy was preceded in death by a son, Marvin Dean Lewis; a son-in-law, Berton Plain; and a great-granddaughter, Jennifer Rae Damon.   Her family includes her children, Emory James Lewis, of Burden, Donald Gene Lewis and wife, Jane, of Wichita, Virginia Ann Lewis Atkins, of Burden, and Marilyn Sue Lewis Plain, of Wichita; her daughter-in-law, Eva Lewis, of Sunset, Texas; 15 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren.


newspaper Nov. 30 2017

   Services were held for Dorothy L. Lewis at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, at First Baptist Church in Burden. Mike Marker officiated.  Burial was in Cambridge Cemetery.   Honorary casket bearers were Raymond and Marjorie Fox, Pat Lundy, Marvin and Lula Mae McMinn, Melvin Ruggles, Lowell Smith and Joe Walker. Casket bearers were Jade Alquest, Steve Atkins, Brett Lewis, Leonard Plain, L.K. Plain and Austin Waite.   Congregational hymn was “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” Accompanist was Chance Alquest. Special music selections were “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” and “Amazing Grace,” performed by Briley Lewis and Rebecca Kuntz; “Peace in the Valley,” a piano solo by Briley Lewis; and “Doxology,” recorded by Austin Waite and Chance Alquest.  Memorials are to the First Baptist Church of Burden.
Miles Funeral Service of Winfield was in charge of arrangements.

 Generations at Burden

(8) Conner Atkins born 9-02-2010.  (7) Dustin Atkins graduated at Burden 1999; Dustin is a life long resident of Burden his father (6) Steven Atkins is a long time resident of Burden and graduated at Burden. Dustin's grandmother (5) Virginia Lewis Atkins is a long time resident of Burden and graduated at Burden. Dustin's great grandfather (4) Emory Lewis was a long time resident of Burden and died there 10 May 1973. Dustin's great great grandmother (3) Lulu Burden Mayse was born at Burden 25 December 1879. On 29 September 1879 papers for the incorporation of Burden were filed. It is said Lulu Burden Mayse was the first woman born in Burden. Lulu's father (2) John E. Mayse and mother (2) Susan Bailey Mayse and Lulu's grand parents (1) Carey Mayse, (1) Rebecca Colyer Mayse and (1) Elizabeth Hudson Bailey all lived in the area before Burden was incorporated. We do know (1) Elizabeth Hudson Bailey was first owner of land in sections 1 and 12 of Sheridan Twp. She paid the U.S Govt. $100.00 for the land and sold the land 18 February 1887 for $1400.00. The only thing left where there home was is the hand dug well. At least eight of her children, all married, made the land run to Oklahoma; Emma Wood, George Hudson Bailey, David M. Bailey, Eliza Hutcherson, Jacob Bailey, Margaret McCalib, Ancil T. Bailey and Jobe C. Bailey. (2) Susan Bailey Mayse was her only child that lived at Burden after the land run.


Additional Notes to be edited into text at some point.

    Dorothy did not know Effie because she had died before Dorothy was born. Dorothy knew Warren and had met his descendants Graham Lee Walter in OKC where he is a Priest, and Vickey Graham Dewell who is a RN at Arkansas City KS. Dorothy did not know Howard or any of his family until the 2000 Adkins Reunion in Guthrie OK. Nora also died before she was born but she knew John Thomas Adkins and three of his children, Alice, Bud and Leona. James Henry Adkins lived in Holly CO for a while as well as John Thomas. Dorothy and her family would take summer vacations to CO to visit and would get to see other members on occasion. Dorothy knew Nannie, her son Raymond, granddaughter Bonnie and great grandson Butch. Tolbert came to Cambridge for George Lee’s funeral but the train did not arrive until after the service and Dorothy went to the cemetery with him. When in OK Dorothy rode to town with Tolbert’s daughter Lovey but did not know Glads, she also visited with Andrew some. Dorothy knew George Lee and his family the best because her father and George married sisters, daughters of John Milton Dawson, and they all lived in the Cambridge area. Jerry Adkins made several trips to Cambridge to visit and Dorothy visited with him in OK and played with his son Jack. She only knew Jack’s children, Ronnie and Georgia when they were young. Dorothy knew Josie, Della and Ola and their children and visited with them as often as possible.