Family Story Friday – The Tragic Life of Aunt Dollie

This blog post is one in the series, Family Story Friday. I hope it inspires you to begin saving family stories one-at-a-time. After all, if you don’t save the stories, who will?

Dollie Faulkenberry West and Bessie Faulkenberry Hendrickson

Family Story – My Aunt Dollie’s Tragic Life

Dollie Jessie Irene Faulkenberry (left in photo) was born May 15, 1897, in Lone Jack, Jackson County, Missouri. She passed away on April 10, 1971, and is buried in the Lone Jack Cemetery. Aunt Dollie was one of seven children born to Francis Faulkenberry and Sarah Josephine Dimmitt Faulkenberry. She was seven years younger than my grandmother, Bessie (right in photo).

Aunt Dollie married William West on February 11, 1915, in Lone Jack. Her husband (Uncle Willie) was killed in a hunting accident on April 28 or 29, 1932. Apparently he had been out hunting and was found early in the morning by a search party, lying beside a wire fence. His death was ruled an accident. This was the first of many tragedies in Aunt Dollie’s life and probably the saddest family story I know.

Aunt Dollie and Uncle Willie had seven children. According to the obituary, at the time of his death all seven of the children had the measles and “the death of the father at this time will probably leave the family in destitute circumstances”.  Yes, it did.

I remember my aunt telling me that grandma (Dollie’s sister) used to take bags of groceries down to Lone Jack so the family would have food on the table.

Dollie and William West tombstone Lone Jack Missouri

More Tragedies

Aunt Dollie’s son, Warren, joined the Marines in 1944 and was killed during the fighting on Okinawa. Another son, Donald, was killed when his car went out of control. Her son, Norman, died when only an infant. Another son, Elmer Lee, died after suffering an “accidental gunshot wound”. However, Aunt Dollie did not live to see Elmer Lee’s death, having passed away two years earlier.

Oddly – and my sister shares the same memory – although Aunt Dollie had a life of tragedies, my most vivid memory of her is her smile and her laughter. I can still hear it now.

What family story can you save today?


I receive several requests a day for assistance with genealogy research. If you would like to receive research pricing information please contact me using the Contact link at the top of the page. I look forward to working with you.

Don't forget to pick up your free Cheatsheet for Saving Family Stories

Save Your Family Stories - 10 Easy Steps

*by downloading this free PDF you're confirming that you also wish to receive my free genealogy newsletter



  1. So it sounds like, of your Aunt Dollie and Uncle Willie’s 7 children, at least 4 were sons. I hope the rest of them lived long and healthy lives. God love them all!

    1. Hi Gail,

      First, thanks for liking the family stories. I hope you’re saving yours as well. It really does leave a wonderful legacy.

      Sadly, Aunt Dollie’s kids didn’t have such happy lives; all were fairly tragic except for her twin daughters.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.