Saturday’s Surname – Gotcher

Grandpa Leo Gotcher as a young man.

Gotcher is one of those really fun names to research.  It can be spelled and pronounced a myriad of different ways.  Also helpful is the fact that my grandpa Gotcher never really talked about his family history.  He didn’t leave very many stories about his childhood and I have only a couple of pictures.  It wasn’t until years after his death that I became more serious  about researching my paternal line.

With some help from my aunt, I did know his parents’ names and the fact that his mother died in Missouri. And since grandpa was born in 1917 I found him on both the 1920 census and 1930 census. From there I went back several more generations and connected with other Gotcher researchers.

Now I am in the process of trying to fill in some of the basic facts with story.  When I ordered my great grandpa’s death certificate I discovered that he died of a fractured skull in a car wreck.  I then found the obituary which described the accident where Charles Gotcher was a passenger in a car that hit a viaduct pier in 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska where they lived.  My grandpa would have been only seven years old when this happened. He was the fifth child out of six.  The first five were boys and the youngest was a girl.   In less than a year his mother had remarried and three more boys were born.  During this time they lived in York County, Nebraska.  Her second husband died in 1936.  After that she married again and moved to Missouri taking only the little girl and the three boys from her second marriage.

I had also heard that my grandpa was in the CCC – Civilian Conservation Corps.  So I ordered his records from the National Archives and found that he had added a year to his age in order to get in and that he had served with the CCC in Denton, Nebraska.  I believe after that he worked in York county as a farm hand for several years and it is during this time that he met my grandmother, a teacher who was 13 years older than he.  I will write more about them in another post.

Gotcher Family

After finding out about Charles, I then ordered his father’s death certificate and found, ironically, that he had died also of a fractured skull.  This time from a “st.ry. accident”.  (I think this means steel railway.)  His name was Daniel Gotcher.  He was divorced from Delilia Bozarth Gotcher and they both lived in Omaha.  Charles was the third of six children.  Daniel and Delilia both grew up and met  in Troy, Doniphan, Kansas but were married and lived for a time in Holt County, Missouri.  These are two places I intend to visit someday soon.

Daniel’s parents were Blackwell and Elizabeth Morrow Gotcher.  Blackwell was born in Tennessee, lived in Perry County, Illinois for much of his life, then moved to Doniphan County, Kansas where he died.  His first wife was Milinda with whom it seems he had nine children.  She seems to have died between 1848 and 1850.  He then married Elizabeth in 1851 and they had six children.  Daniel was next to the youngest.  Blackwell’s father was Thomas Gotcher whose parents were Henry and Rachel Larkin Gotcher.  From there I connect with other researchers work and it still gets kinda confusing for me.  I know at one point they were all in Virginia and then Tennessee and their land in one of them was named “Gotcher’s Grant”.   From here the sons of Henry and Rachel disperse and one branch ended up in Texas where an Indian Massacre made that branch locally famous around Austin.  There is a Gotcher Memorial there somewhere.

Right now, I am interested in finding and communicating with grandpa Leo’s older brothers families.  His oldest brother, Glen, moved to Washington.  Merle moved to Oregon and Paul and Donald stayed in Omaha.  The only girl, Eva, married a Witter and lived in California.

Leo's Class Picture - Omaha, Nebraska about 1923-24?


About Rosanna Ward

Rosanna is a devoted mother of four children, two of which are homeschool graduates. She currently homeschools her 11 and 6 year old sons. Rosanna is a homeschool graduate and a graduate of Oral Roberts University: She grew up in Tulsa and has been homeschooling here for the past eleven years. Rosanna has loved family history for as long as she can remember and love genealogy for the stories of her ancestors.
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3 Responses to Saturday’s Surname – Gotcher

  1. doniabird says:

    Do you think it funny that Grandpa has a Larkin in his line and Grandma’s sister, Olive, married a Larkin. I never knew this much about him. I can just hear him telling me to “be good, Sis” and see him in the kitchen early in the morning, talking to Grandma softly.

    • Rosanna Ward says:

      That actually happens quite often. I think I may have a Ward on my maternal line way back in the early 1700s. My favorite genealogy writer is Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. She had Smolenyak as a maiden name and married a Smolenyak and yet they aren’t related on that line – but they are 10th cousins on another line. I loved Grandpa’s calm demeanor and I wish so badly I could go back and spend more time with him. O, the folly of youth.

  2. Francis (Frank) Dillon says:

    Rosanna, In the middle picture on this page, front, far right is my Father, David Dillon. Front center is Dixie Dillon. I’m not sure, but in the very back & middle, that may be John Dillon. All children of Katie Conrad, Gotcher, Dillon. Katie was my Grandmother. I sent you a PM on FB. You can contact me via email. My name is Francis (Frank) Dillon.

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