Opal is the reason I became interested in my family history. My daughter was working on a project and needed more information on her family tree. As my daughter and I began looking into our family we came across Opal and believed that there was a question as to what her middle name was. We could not believe that Opal Beatrice Ethel Pearl Hazel Rosie Dollie Dell Skipper was her whole name.
We did not find any source as to what her name actually was, so we kept searching. At this same time my dad and some of his siblings were going to visit some of the family cemetery’s in the area. I asked my dad to please take pictures of the headstones. The Monday after this weekend with his siblings I meet with him to get the photo’s and Opal’s headstone was one of the pictures taken. I repeatedly said to my dad “it’s her”, he asked who? I then said it was the girl with all the middle names. His next question surprised me. He said “do you know why she had all those middle names?” Was my dad about to tell me that she really had 7 middle names?
He then told me the story of Opal and all her names. Opal was the last child born to my 3rd great-grandparents George Newton Skipper and Sarah Catherine Bishop. George was born on 22 July 1857 in Effingham, Illinois and Sarah was born 12 August 1861 in Effingham, Illinios and married 10 March 1878 also in Effingham. George and Sarah came to Oklahoma and George staked a claim of land in the 1893 Cherokee Strip land-run.
George and Sarah had 13 children, Clara Bell Dorie born 1879, Nora Jane born 1881, Cora Mae born 1883, Charles Edgar born 1885, William F born 1887, Lennie Oscar born 1889, Mary Ann born 1891, Harry Ward born 1893, Billy born 1895, Daisy Florence Lumandy born 1897, Freddy Leotis born 1900, Jesse Llewellen born 1901 and Opal born 1904.
Out of the 13 children George and Sarah had 4 of them died as infants and one daughter died at the age of 13. Their first loss came from their daughter Cora Mae who died 15 October 1896. Then their son Lennie Oscar who was around 9 months old died on 24 March 1890. The next one to come was Billy at only a couple of weeks old and he died on 1 September 1895. Fiver years later their son Freddy Leotis also died at 4 months old on 3 Dec 1900 .
At the time of Opal’s birth they were living in Goodnight Oklahoma. George and Sarah had 8 living children. As I sat stunned and listened to every word my dad was telling me that it was true Opal had 8 names. George and Sarah let each of their 8 living children name this last daughter born to the family. So her name is Opal Beatrice Ethel Pearl Hazel Rosie Dollie Del Skipper.
Sadly about 9 months later Opal died. She was the 5th child of George and Sarah to die. I can not imagine what heartache it would be to lose 5 children in 8 years. I was lucky enough to find this photo of Opal as a baby. What a wonderful gift this was.
Opal and Freddie are buried right next to each other in the Olivet Cemetery in Perkins Oklahoma. Also buried in this cemetery was Alvin Ervin Skipper, who is the son of Opal and Freddie’s brother, Charles Edgar and his wife Kitty Fitzpatrick, who also died at 17 months old.
By the time Sarah passed away on 15 July 1954 in Tonkawa Oklahoma she had outlived all but 5 of her children. In her life time she lost 9 children.
I am always amazed at what my ancestors lived through. I cannot imagine how hard life was and am grateful to learn from and about my ancestors.