Sarah Frances Gerking was born in October of 1861 in Missouri. At a very young age she and her family (John E.L. Gerking & Hester Wilkes Gerking) traveled to Marion County Oregon by wagon train. Sarah and her family settled in Howell Prairie near Silverton, Oregon. Sarah's mother, Hester, died in June of 1867 when she was only five. Sarah was the second oldest, her sister, Florence, six and her two brothers, Leroy and Quill, ages three and one. In 1872 Sarah's family moved to Umatilla County, Oregon and settled in Gerking Flats, where other family members had also settled. Despite growing up without a mother, she blossomed into a rare woman with an un-dieing pioneer spirit.
Some time about the age of 18 Sarah married a young man by the name of James Ezra Leaming. The first child produced by this marriage was a girl named Emma B. Leaming. It is believed that Emma B. died as an infant. Sarah and James's second child was a boy. They named him Ordia Rollin Leaming. Ordia was born in June of 1881 on the plains of Umatilla Oregon. Shortly after Ordia was born Sarah and James moved to Washington Territory. Over the next several years two more children were born to Sarah and James, Jennie Lois born in 1883 and Raymond Vere, date of birth unknown. After the birth of Raymond and before May of 1890, James Ezra Leaming died leaving Sarah a widow with three small children.
Sarah Married Amos J. Allen on the 26th of May 1890 in North Yakima, Washington Territory. They were wedded by Minister of the Gospel S.C. Head. Witnesses were J.G. Lawrence & Hattie Bowen. Sarah and Amos had no children. The marriage didn't last long and there is no record if Sarah and Amos divorced or if Amos died However, Sarah will re-marry soon.
On the 14th of Febuary (Valentines Day), 1892, Sarah F. Gerking Allen and Roswell Manford Beck were united in marriage in North Yakima by Justice of the Peace, S.C. Henton. The marriage was performed in the presence of Mrs S.C.H. Craw & R. Van Buskirk. This was Mr Beck's second marriage an Mrs's Beck's third marriage. Two children were born of this family. John Tillman, born 29 Aug 1896 and Maude Frances born 14 July 1898. This marriage was meant not to last. On 6 Nov 1987, Roswell Beck passed away. It appears that at the time of Roswell's death neither Sarah nor Roswell knew that in nine months Maude would be born. How sad that again Sarah is a widow and this time with four children and one on the way.
The years passed and in 1904 Sarah falls in love again and marries her fourth husband. On the 14th of Febuary (Valentines Day). 1904 Sarah F. Gerking Beck was joined in marriage to Homer "Moses" Gray. The wedding took place in North Yakima in front of I.N. Richardson, Magistrate. Witnesses were Guy Gray (Homer's son) & Gestie Eskinback. This was Sarah fourth marriage and Homers second. Sarah and Homer had no Children. But this marriage would also end in death.
On August 3rd, 1913, Sarah Frances Gerking Leaming Allen Beck Gray was called home to be with her Lord. Just 52 years old and mother to six children, five still living. The oldest 32 and the youngest 15. Sarah wasn't the only one to suffer the lost of a loved one. Jennie Lois, Sarah's oldest daughter died at the age of 37, on 23 Jun 1920, after giving Sarah three grand children, the youngest 11.
Copyright © 1999 Dante G. Hebert, all rights reserved.