NEWARK, O., Feb. 8 - Mrs. Beman Gates Dawes, widow of the founder of the Pure Oil Co., died today in her home at the Dawes Arboretum six miles south of here. She was 86. She was a sister-in-law of Charles G. Dawes, vice president under Calvin Coolidge.
Mrs. Dawes devoted most of her later years to developing the 400-acre arboretum, which she and her husband founded "for the pleasure of the public and the education of youth."
A native of Lincoln, Neb., she was a friend of William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic presidential nominee, in her youth. Bryan's first law desk was in Mrs. Dawes' father's office.
When Mrs. Dawes was 19 she received the U.S. Treasury Life Saving Medal, one of the highest civilian awards for heroism. She had saved two girls caught in the Blue River near Crete, Neb.
She was one of four women who have received the medal.
Her husband was a U.S. congressman from Marietta in 1896.
Mrs. Dawes is survived by four of her five children, Beman Gates Dawes Jr., of Cincinnati, Carlos Burr Dawes of Columbus, E. Cutler Dawes of Newark, and Henry Dawes of Hartford, Conn.; 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, February 9, 1958
The back story
Bertie Burr Dawes isn't exactly one of those relatives I would have gone looking for. We're really not even related at all. Through the magic behind the scenes at Ancestry.com, I see that she is the aunt of the wife of the husband of my first cousin, twice removed. She doesn't even qualify as shirt-tail kin. But I found her story and her family interesting.
Recently, I received a message from another Ancestry user who noticed we shared some of the same family members in Nebraska. My correspondent is new to genealogy and not sure of the direction to proceed. I said I would dig around a bit to see what I could come up with on her line.
Digging in to that family got me hooked. I will admit that Focus is not one of my best research qualities. That journalism blood continues to flow through my veins and I still tend to go after a good story line rather than remain focused on my direct lineage.
My research on Saturday afternoon took me in some fascinating directions that I never would have imagined. I was looking into the Burr family - barely related at all. One of the Burr women was the second wife of the man who had been married to one of my kin (he was a widower after his first wife committed suicide). I'd already gathered that these people traveled in the well-to-do social circles of Lincoln, Nebraska in the 1920s and before. A plethora of society page articles from newspapers describe their galas, parties, weddings and overseas travel.
I already had Bertie's father in my Ancestry tree: Carlos Calvin Burr. I did some searching on him and it didn't take long for me to learn that he had been the 12th Mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska between 1885 - 1887. Then I discovered that the man he beat in the election was John Fitzgerald, the brother-in-law of my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly. Only a few hundred votes separated the two candidates.
I discovered marriage and cemetery records on various members of the family by using the wonderful database of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society. Then I discovered many of the family members are buried at Wyuka Cemetery here in Lincoln. Shouldn't every cemetery have a searchable database of all interments? I added some memorials to FindAGrave when I found confirmation of the burial locations. My next outing to Wyuka will include photographing at least a dozen tombstones.
V.P. under Silent Cal
I continued reading various news articles and information I found on the web about Bertie Burr. She married a man named Beman G. Dawes. The Dawes name has historical significance in Nebraska. Beman Dawes' brother was Charles G. Dawes who practiced law here in Lincoln. The Dawes Plan for World War I won him the Nobel Peace Prize and he served as our nation's 30th vice president under Calvin Coolidge. Bertie's husband, Beman, served two terms in Congress and became head of a large oil company. Always looking ofr a political connection, I discovered from Ancestry that the former vice president is the