Marion Filbert Kazzee and Mary Rebecca 'Becky' Hall
By Mike Landwehr
Alec and Sarah Hall were living on their Oregon County farm when Mary Rebecca ‘Becky’ Hall was born in July of 1876. For Becky’s 44-year-old father, her birth may not have been a very special event—he and his first wife had at least six children. But for her mother, Becky’s birth must have been very special. Sarah was just two months short of her 44th birthday, and Becky was her first child.
Though Becky was born in Oregon County, she was only four years old when her parents moved to a farm in Randolph County, Arkansas. The farm was located west of the Walnut Grove Cemetery, and northwest of Elm Store. Becky was raised on that farm. Becky’s mother died when Becky was 26 years old, and Becky was probably 28 when her father died. After her father’s death, his 280-acre farm near Elm Store, where Becky had lived since 1881, was divided between Becky and her two half-brothers, Amos Prater ‘Prate’ Hall, and Alexander Jefferson ‘Jeff’ Hall. Becky received 100 acres of the farm, Jeff another 100 acres, and Prate 80 acres.
The division of the Alec and Sarah Hall farm between their three heirs took place on December 19, 1904. The legal division of the property may have been precipitated by Becky’s plans for marriage. On December 31, 1904, only twelve days after the division of the Alec Hall farm, Becky and Marion Filbert Kazzee applied for a license to marry. On their application for a marriage license, Becky reported that she was a resident of Elm Store, and Marion reported that he was a resident of Maynard, a small Randolph County town about 16 miles east, and four miles south, of Elm Store. Becky and Marion were married in Randolph County on January 1, 1905, by Rev. John A. Yarbrough.
Marion Kazzee’s family migrated to Randolph County from Clay County, Illinois. Marion’s paternal grandparents, James Kazzee and Patricia Ann Ward, were married in Clay County in 1858. His maternal grandparents, James P. Taylor and Rebecca E. Spurlin, were also married in Clay County in 1858. Marion’s parents, Calvin Kazzee and Abigail Taylor, were married in Clay County in 1878. Marion, the first of at least five children born to Calvin and Abigail, was born near Iola, in Clay County, Illinois, on June 23, 1880.
The Kazzee family is reported to be of German heritage. The records of Clay County, Illinois, contain many variant spellings of the family’s name. Among them are Keesee, Casee, Kissl, Kissel, and Cazee.
Marion was about 16 years old when he moved from Illinois to Randolph County with his parents and siblings in 1896. Marion was 24 years old, and Becky was 28, when they were wed. Their first child, Riley Calvin Kazzee, was born to Marion and Becky on their first wedding anniversary. Their second child, Andrew Tilman Kazzee, was born at Elm Store in April of 1907. The Directory of Randolph County Arkansas, published by a Randolph County newspaper in 1910, reported that Marion owned 100 acres of hill and creek land in Elm Store Township, and that 35 acres of that land were in use. Marion’s 100-acre farm was undoubtedly the 100 acres that Becky inherited after her father’s death. The Randolph County directory also reported that Marion was a member of the Baptist Church.
A third son, Herbert Thomas Kazzee, was born in March of 1910. In May of 1910, Marion and Becky and their three sons appeared in the Randolph County census, living on the farm that they owned near Elm Store. A fourth son, Wilburn Lee Kazzee, was reportedly born at Pocahontas in October of 1913. If our information about his place of birth is accurate, Marion and Becky must have moved from their Elm Store farm to the Pocahontas area between 1910 and 1913.
Family tradition indicates that Mary Rebecca (Hall) Kazzee died from complications after a miscarriage. I suspect that Becky died about 1915 or 1916. She was buried in the Brockett Cemetery, about four miles north of Pocahontas. She was about 39 years old when she died, and was survived by her husband and their four young sons, as well as one half-brother. There is no marker on Becky’s grave.
After Becky’s death, Marion apparently sought the support of his family in raising his four sons. In January of 1920, Marion and his sons were listed in the census of Columbia Township, in Randolph County. Columbia Township was located north and east of Pocahontas, and included the village of Brockett. Marion and the four boys were living on a rented farm “next door” to the farm owned by Marion’s father and step-mother, Calvin and Rachel Kazzee. Marion’s father and step-mother were probably living on the farm that they would sell the next month, in February of 1920. That 80-acre farm, described as the East ½ of the Northwest ¼ of Section 9, in Township 20 North of Range 2 East, was located xxxxx.
After a few years as a widower, Marion married Anna Mae (Snowden) LaGrand. When they applied for their license to marry, both Marion and Anna indicated that they were residents of Biggers, located about eight miles east and five miles north of Pocahontas. The couple was married at Biggers on September 29, 1920. Anna was born in Illinois about 1890, and married William LaGrand in Randolph County in 1914. William and Anna LaGrand had three children, but William and the three children all died the same week during the influenza epidemic of 1918. After their marriage in 1920, Marion and Anna Kazzee had three children of their own: Velma, Zelma, and John Wesley Kazzee.
In 1927, Marion was appointed to serve as the Constable of Running Lake Township, near Pocahontas. In 1930, Marion and his family appeared in the census of Running Lake Township. Marion Philbert Kazzee died of tuberculosis at the family home near Pocahontas on April 14, 1940. Marion was 60 years old, and was buried beside Mary Rebecca (Hall) Kazzee in the Brockett Cemetery. While there was originally no stone marking his grave, a memorial stone has been erected in recent years.
Soon after Marion’s death, Anna married Harrison Teague. Harrison and Anna moved to the Neelyville area, in Butler County, Missouri, in 1943 or 1944. Anna died in 1953, and was buried in the Brockett Cemetery.