Flood of 1918

cummings house

The Roscoe, IL homesite of the Roy Cummings family, directly north of the bridge on the east side of Main Street, had a steep bank and several feet of level land next to the creek, which flooded to more than twice its normal size in February 1918.

This post is taken from information in the book, Roscoe by Dorothy Hunter with Doris Hunter Tropp, published in 2013 by Arcadia Publishing


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He listed Roy in the suicide note

“If and when I die, please ship my body to Roscoe, Ill. No autopsy. Correspond with Roy Cummings, Roscoe, a cousin. No funeral here. Money in the brief case can be used for immediate expenses. Thank you. Please embalm in Boulder, Colo. (Signed) Fred Lundy.”  There was $850.00.

There is no known record of Roy’s reaction of receiving news of his cousin’s death.

Much mystery surrounds the death of his cousin Fred. The article shown below from June 1947 describes the gruesome story of the death of his two friends, sisters, that were found shot in the head.  Emily Griffith, famed Denver educator, and her sister Florence were found dead in the mountain cabin built by Lundy.  Dinner had been set for three.  Not long before, Emily had been seen carrying groceries from a small store to the cabin.  Lundy was seen sitting on the porch.  Within 20 minutes, neighbors saw Lundy take his car and drive off.

Before reading more, remember everyone is “innocent until proven guilty”.  A 2013 article, yes 66 years later, concludes that there are other suspects that stood to benefit from the death of these sisters.

After a lack of activity the following day, neighbors investigated and found the bodies of the sisters.  Denver police broadcast a statewide pickup call for Lundy and asked Los Angeles, San Francisco and Salt Lake City police to spread the alert.

It wasn’t until nearly two months later, on August 16, 1947, a fisherman waded into South Boulder Creek and poked his fishing pole at a carcass he’d found wedged beneath a rock. He was standing on a boulder midstream, and at first he thought it was a dead animal—until he saw the legs. The body was so badly decomposed that the face was unrecognizable. Most of the person’s clothing had been ripped off by the water.

The loose-rock riverbank near Pinecliffe was soon crowded with Denver detectives, the Boulder County deputy coroner, and the local sheriff. It took nearly an hour to hoist the body from the water. The coroner could still make out a slight indentation on the male victim’s right thumb. That, and the partial dental plate on the lower jaw, would help identify Fred Wright Lundy.

Article from the Dixon Evening Telegraph

Article from the Dixon Evening Telegraph

An Angel Silenced:  Sixty-five years after her death, Emily Griffith’s legacy still influences Denver.

Lundy’s biography from:  Documentation of Historic Properties in the Gilpin Tunnel District, Gilpin County, Colorado

Born in Kansas in 1887, Fred Lundy spent most of his younger life in the city of Chicago. Sometime between 1900 and 1919 Fred Lundy relocated to Denver, Colorado and began working as a carpentry teacher at the famed Opportunity School founded by Emily Griffith. Soon an intimate relationship developed between Lundy and Ms. Griffith and the two thought to retire to Pinecliffe, where Lundy had been vacationing for years. Upon arriving Fred used his carpentry skills to build Emily along with her younger sister Florence a cabin at 174 Main Street in Pinecliffe in 1925. Fred Lundy too resided here while he constructed his own cabin at 4142 Coal Creek Canyon Road on property owned by E.P. Klein.

For some time after arriving Fred Lundy was known for curiously disappearing into the surrounding woods for several days at a time, and returning lighthearted and sociable. In 1935 it was discovered he had located the Miranda Placer deposit and was busily and secretly extracting gold from his find. He eventually amassed a small fortune, and by 1947 he had gathered approximately 8,000 dollars. He and Emily then decided they would leave on a trip for some time, leaving their cabins behind. Before they could depart however tragedy struck Fred Lundy and Emily Griffith.

Have you any old rubber? June 1942

June 19, 1942

My dear Norman,

Dad is busy getting some business papers ready for mailing so says for me to write for him too. The weather is delightful but we have had a great deal of cold rainy weather. The farmers have had a hard time getting crops in due to weather and wet ground. By the way, the wet ground has been just what those poppies want. They stand a foot high and just loaded with buds. Are they some choice kind as the common red ones?

All we hear now is “have you any old rubber?,” if so take it to your nearest gas station and he will give you one cent a pound. We don’t seem to have any. We cleaned the basement too thoroughly last fall to find much of that kind of stuff.

Hilda L., Betty and Densel and Jean took a trip to Mont(?) to visit Shirley and her Aunt (Hilda’s sister) she lives with. They were gone a little over a week.

Dad says tell you that he decided to get that old lawn mower out of the way, so we took it to that man in Love’s Park to have him look it over to see if it was worth fixing, so for a dollar and a half we have a new mower. Newt used it yesterday, says it works fine.

Had a letter from Genevieve in which she mentioned that you were having trouble with your feet. What about it? Tell us what is the matter. Don Fry isn’t home yet. Was pretty sick. Gordon is stil working there but may be called at any time.

Grandpa will spend Sunday with us. Grandma is going to a picnic-dinner down at Mr. Blaksley’s cottage and he won’t go. She wants me to go and I feel the way Grandpa does, no.

Dad and I never thought about air-mail when we sent money before, hope it won’t be necessary to send again. Hope you will get paid. Doesn’t seem right to go so long without a red cent.

Strawberries have been a wonderful crop around here. But are almost gone. We wondered if you had them. You never mention what kind of meals you get. But guess food must be good and wholesome. Perhaps not like home cooking.

Hope you like your new quarters.

We will be looking for the pictures you mentioned and I will pack and send ?????. I will ask Harry E. to save heavy corrugated paper.

Almost time to mail letters so will sign off.

Lovingly, Mother.

For more posts, click their names:  Elsie or Roy

1942-06-19 letter
1942-06-19 letter 2
1942-06-19 letter 3

1942-06-19 letter 4

1955 – The Roy Cummings Are Wed 50 Years

Thirty-eight relatives of the couple gathered for a family dinner at the home of their daughter Mrs. Wilbur Hopkins of Mount Morris, IL.

The man next to Elsie is Harry Bainbridge.  Mean was in the church basement.  The Hopkins lived in the parsonage next to the church.

Note: the announcement lists the wedding year as 1895 which conflicts with their marriage certificate that states 1905.   A 1905 wedding would put the 50th anniversary in 1955 which is most likely given the age of Joann Powell Gove in one of the pictures who was 11 years old at the time.

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Cummings/Steward Wedding newspaper clipping








The marriage of Miss Ida Elsie Steward, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Minard Steward, of 1220 School Street, to Roy B. Cummings of Roscoe, took place last evening at the home of the bride’s parents, in the presence of a large company of friends and relatives.  Invitations to the number of 100 had been issued for the wedding which had its solemnization at 6 o’clock.

The Rev. Frank D. Sheets performed the ceremony in the home being handsomely decorated with asparagus ferns and flowers.  In the parlors and throughout the house the green and white idea prevailed to the strains of Mendelssohn’s wedding march rendered on the piano by Mrs. E. Lowe, the bridal party took their place beneath a bell, done in ferns and holding a shower of rose petals.  Draped from the bell were fourteen white ribbons and at the end of each was a member of the Ab Bea club of which the bride and her sister, Miss Delphine, are members.  At the close of the ceremoney (sic) a tightening of the ribbons loosened the rose leaves which showered the bride.  Misses Bertha Cummings and Delphine Steward, sisters of the bridal couple, were the only attendants.  The parlor of the Steward home had been prettily arranged for the wedding, a bank of palms and Easter lilies being arranged in front of the window and before this stood during the ceremony.  Asparagus fern had been used in profusion in available places about the room.

The bride was attired in a gown of white silk Persian lawn and carried a shower boquet (sic) of bride roses.  Her attendants were attired in white and carried pink roses.

The dining room, where a coallation (sic) was served after the ceremony, was prettily arranged, the same color scheme of green and white being employed.

Mr. and Mrs. Cummings will go to housekeeping at once in the home they have prepared at Roscoe and after May 20 will be at home to friends. Mr. Cummings is with the American Insurance company in that place.  His bride of last evening has been a resident of Rockford for about a year, the family staying here from the farm in _____________.

Roy & Elsie Cummings – Early Married Days

The following biography is based on an interview with Lucille Cummings Hopkins by Mark Gove on March 19, 2000.  This was at a gathering after the burial of her sister Genevieve’s daughter Phyllis Powell.

“When my mother and dad (Elsie and Roy) were married, their first home was in several rooms of Grandma Lundy’s house on the south side of Roscoe.  I can still see it.  A pebbled ash house on the west side of the main street.   That’s where mother and dad started to live.   I think they lived there when Norman was born but Genevieve was born in Rockford.  When it was time for her to be born, Grandpa and Grandma Steward had gone somewhere for the winter whether it was west or south I don’t remember, Mother and Dad went down and lived in their part of the house on School St. and stayed there and Genevieve was born down there.  This is the house where Grandpa Steward lived after he retired from the farm and he did house painting.  When Genevieve was 8 weeks old, mom and dad bought the house that Grandpa and Grandma Cummings had been living in.  Grandpa and Grandma Cummings were building a new house.  I think dad paid $1,500 for it back then.  Both Lucille and her younger sister Marjorie were born in this house.  Marjorie did not live long.”

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Trips into Roscoe & an Accidental Meeting

The following story was told during an interview with Lucille Cummings Hopkins by Mark Gove on March 19, 2000.  It is about Lucille’s mother and her mother’s parents who were with her as well as her mother’s sister Dell.

“There wasn’t really a town there, in Owen Center.  There was a school and a church.  So when they needed a doctor, they went about 7 or 8 miles to Roscoe to the doctor.  At one time, I don’t know why, the family was on a trip over to Roscoe, to see the doctor and something happened to their rig actually it was more horses back in those days and they stopped at a farm on the way, right close to the Rock River and they stopped at this home.  And the Liffords lived in this home and they became acquainted that way.  I don’t know what help they needed but I know that from then on, that the Liffords became very good friends of theirs.  And when they went to Roscoe, they would always stop at Liffords to see how they were and all.

And mother and Dell became acquainted with the youngest Lifford daughter whose name was Emma.  And it was through Emma that my mother and father met in Roscoe, some time later.  I don’t know the specifics or the years in which this all happened, but mother got acquainted with Roscoe young people through Emma Lifford.  And the Liffords eventually retired and lived in this big house on the south end of Roscoe.  It was quite a beautiful big old house.

But mother and dad started dating and eventually, although mother had moved to Rockford by that time, Grandpa had retired, they were married and lived in Roscoe.  Emma was also married later and lived in Roscoe on a farm east of town.  She was always my “Aunt Emma” and her husband was my “Uncle Joe”.  They had 3 boys and mama had a boy and 2 girls.  We all kinda grew up together knowing each other.  Emma’s children were all younger than I was.  There was Lifford and Dudley and Herbert.  But they stayed friends all those many years after the accidental meeting at the old farmhouse.”