Gilkison Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri

It’s early ancestry is not known. We first meet our perennial friend in the 1850's in Wayne Township, Jefferson County, Ohio in the loving care of Absalom and Mary Jane (Taylor) Gilkison married 05 Nov. 1850 in Jefferson County Ohio. For some three decades our Asparagus Sprengeri led a peaceful and happy life in beautiful Jefferson County, Ohio. Then on April 1, 1878, it was transplanted with the rest of the Gilkison belongings and thrown aboard a train bound for the wilderness of Kansas. Kansas! Indians! Cowboys! The wild, wild west. What was wrong with these people? Leaving beautiful Jefferson County, Ohio for of all places’ Kansas! For three horrible days, no water, no sun, no loving care, just the constant clickety clack, clickety clack of steel against steel. What was one to expect? At best a climate it may or may not flourish in at worst being scalped for its beautiful flowing bows by some savage Indian.

On April 3, 1878, Absalom and Mary Jane Gilkison and our feathered leaf friend arrived to homestead in Empire Township, Ellsworth Kansas. They join Absalom’s brother Joseph Gilkison who had left Jefferson County the year before. Little is known of its life in Ellsworth on the banks of the beautiful Smoky Hill River. For the next half century it propagated and grew as did the Gilkison family. Emma Lulu Gilkison married Paul Reaume on 18 Apr. 1888. Mabel Reaume, born 24 March 1892 married Ralph Freeman, a local cattleman, on 25 Oct. 1918. It is Ralph and Mabel who in March of 1924 with their baby daughter Kathleen born April 11, 1920, once more uproot our feathery friend and move to Ashland, Clark County, Kansas. Once again our Asparagus fern settles into a loving home and is able to grow and prosper as does the Freemen family in beautiful western Kansas, not far from Dodge City. (Those dam Cowboys again)

WW II takes Kay across country to Washington, D.C. and after the war to Kansas City Mo. There she meets Willie Van Lerberg and marries him on June 04, 1946. Setting into motion in the early 1980's the next adventure of our perennial friend from Ashland to Shawnee, Johnson County, Kansas. It is here under the care of Willie Van Lerberg that it reaches its golden age and blossoms into its full glory. Willie, a local merchant, and part time gardner is also Market Master of the local Farmer’s Market. A shrewd business man he see a market for our perennial friend and cultivates and propagate our Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri for sale and gifts for his family and friends. Comforting many with its beauty and warmth for years to come in Johnson and surrounding counties and beyond. We now meet the final players in this journey, Jack and Patt (Van Lerberg) Ricketts who are given such a gift and take our fern on it’s first airplane trip to paradise, Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County, California.

That is the trip of our perennial friend from Jefferson County Ohio in the 1850's to Los Angeles County California in October of 2006. The GILKISON FERN, a traveler on our family’s journey through time and America.