Adelia and Roxy Cummings, Sisters

Written and Contributed by Alice Horner


" I have an interesting family bio for you Nancy. I'm going through boxes of letters and photographs and this one is of two Cummings sisters who were raised in Bureau County. They (and their other sister) spent their adult lives in Salt Lake City. Their brother Sidney Cummings lived all his life in Bureau County.  I am related to them of course. Their mother, Esther Garrett Cummings, was the sister of my great-greatgrandmother.

Alice Horner"


Adelia Louise Cummings, left and Roxy A. Cummings, right. This photograph was taken in Sheffield, Illinois. It is undated, but apparently it was taken around 1885.

The Cummings sisters were daughters of Fitz hue and Esther (Garrett) Cummings. Fitzhue was born May 8, 1818 in Gallatin County, Illinois, the son of Thornton and Sylvia (Williams) Cummings. (His name is spelled Fitchyou in some sources.) Fitzhue and his parents were among the earliest settlers of Gallatin County. In 1834, the family moved to French Grove, Concord Township, Bureau County, Illinois. Fitzhue married Esther Garrett on May 16, 1850 in Bureau County. She was the daughter of Horace and Abula (Meade) Garrett, and born November 22, 1828 in Marietta, Barlow Township, Washington County, Ohio. Fitzhue was a farmer and owned 515 acres in Section 20, Concord Township, Bureau County. Fitzhue Cummings died May 16, 1900 in Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois. His wife Esther died after then, but I’m not sure of the date. She appears not to have been alive by 1910. I don’t know where either is buried.

Adelia Louise Cummings, the sister on the left in the photo, was born about 1868 in Illinois (probably Bureau County) and died before December 25, 1942. She married Simeon Vaughn Trent on May 6, 1891 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born in Lambeth, a district of London, England and immigrated in 1885. He was a dealer in mining machinery. They had two children, Vaughn Trent (sometimes known as Simeon Vaughn Trent), who was born March 4, 1894 in Salt Lake City, and Mary S. Trent, who was born about 1906 in Utah. Adelia died November 16, 1907 in Salt Lake County and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City. (Findagrave.com shows her there as Louisa Trent.)

Adelia’s husband Simeon is also buried there; he died about October 10, 1939, probably in Los Angeles County, California. By 1930, when the US Federal Census was taken, he was living in Los Angeles, California with someone named Martha who was apparently a second wife. (The date of their marriage is inconclusive since the census taker wrote their ages at their first marriages, not at their current marriage.) She was only 48 and a cook in a restaurant. Adelia’s son Vaughn had been an automobile dealer since at least 1910. In about 1926, he had married someone named Dorothy and they were living in Salt Lake City. He died there in March 1973, probably near the end of March, since he was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery there on April 2, 1973.

Roxy A. Cummings, the sister on the right in the photo, was born in December 1871 in Sheffield, Bureau County. She attended Dixon Business College, Dixon, Lee County, Illinois in 1892, and also obtained a teaching certificate from Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois. Before her marriage, she taught school in Bureau County and Salt Lake City. She married Everard Bierer in 1905. He was the son of Everard and Elenora (Smouse) Bierer and born February 10, 1853 in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from high school in Hiawatha, Kansas, and studied law at the office of James Carr in St. Louis, but later graduated from law school in Washington, D. C. He then worked for the United States Pension Office’s legal department in Washington. In 1901, Everard Bierer joined the law firm of Whittemore, Bierer, and Cherrington in Salt Lake City.

Roxy A. (Cummings) Bierer and her husband had one child, Everard Cummings Bierer, who was born June 11, 1906 and died August 30, 1999 in North Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida. He graduated from Stanford University, Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California in 1928 with a law degree. By 1939 he worked as an airline pilot headquartered in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and continued to do so throughout World War II. (I don’t think he worked for the military.) On July 23, 1953 he married Barbara Ann Decker in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

Everard Bierer died November 3, 1922 in Kansas City, Missouri. My mother received this photograph from Roxy A. (Cummings) Bierer in the summer of 1944, which is the last time they saw each other. I did extensive research but have been unable to determine when Roxy died. The last letter I show my mother receiving from her was dated April 4, 1945; she was in a sanitarium but she was hoping to get out and travel to Miami! She wrote a good letter, so it may have been possible.

Fitzhue and Esther (Garrett) Cummings had two other children, both older than Adelia and Roxy: Sidney Cummings and Jennie Melissa Cummings.

Sidney Cummings was born about 1851 in Illinois (probably Bureau County) and died on April 12, 1921 in East Moline, Rock Island County, Illinois. He was a farmer in Concord Township. His wife was named Sarah, and she was born about 1859 in Illinois. She died January 1, 1940 in Sheffield, Bureau County. Before her marriage, she taught school in Stevens District, Bureau County. They had 4 children:

  • Fitchyou Cummings, born October 1878 in Illinois and died August 30, 1946 in Sheffield. In about 1907 he married someone named Lillie; she was born about 1886 in Illinois. Fitchyou was a truck farmer.

  • Irma M. Cummings, who was born in July 1881 in Illinois; she was a school teacher in 1900.

  • Bert C. Cummings, who was born in July 1882 in Illinois.

  • Preston Cummings, who was born August 30, 1884 in Illinois and died in January 1966 in San Anselmo, Marin County, California. He was a mechanical engineer for a harvesting company. His wife was named Frances and she was born about 1883 in Illinois.

The other child of Fitzhue and Esther (Garrett) Cummings was Jennie Melissa Cummings. She was born in August 1858, probably in Bureau County but attended school in Mt. Carroll, Carroll County, Illinois. She probably attended Frances Shimer Academy, which had excellent teachers, and Jennie Cummings had many cousins in the Mt. Carroll area. She became a school teacher. On August 20, 1884 she married Eddie Orland Lee in Sheffield, Bureau County. He was born September 16, 1855 in Hatley, Quebec, Canada; his parents were Josiah and Roxalana (Davis) Lee. He and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1865, settling in Salem Township, Carroll County. He attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois between 1873-1878, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in 1878. He’d taken a year off during this time period to teach school in order to secure funds to continue his education. He must have also studied law, for by 1883 he was the Prosecuting Attorney for Cheyenne County, Nebraska. He and Hiram E. Booth established the Book & Lee law firm in Utah, which may have been the oldest legal firm in the intermountain west.

Jennie Melissa (Cummings) and Eddie Orland Lee had no children. They had moved to Long Beach, California late in life; I don’t know if he worked there or if they moved there to retire. He died there on August 17, 1925. She died sometime between then and December 25, 1942. My mother received her sister Roxy’s 1942 Christmas letter, which referred to Jennie being dead, but it didn’t provide a death date.

Refer to my Rootsweb.com family tree, “The Downing, Bickelhaupt, And Preston Families of Carroll County, Illinois” for more information on this family.


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