Saturday, September 19, 2015

(LUKE) Richard Osmer Luke... Or Should That Be Jones?

There is no question that Richard Osmer Luke was not fathered by his “father,” Henry Luke. Richard was born to the widow Harriet Ellen Luce Luke in 1870, more than three years after Henry died.

So who was his father?

As far as we know, Harriet never disclosed that information.

Some descendants believe that Harriet must have been raped. Others have said that one of Henry Luke’s brothers saw to the “comfort” of his widow. Others are aghast that we mention it at all, vociferously maintaining that Harriet took the secret to the grave and it’s our duty to respect that decision.

Whatever our thoughts or wishes might be, technology has made many of them irrelevant.

What my ancestor concealed my cheek cells have revealed…through the power of DNA testing.

I believe it likely that my great great grandfather was a man named Elisha Jones.

  Above: Elisha Jones. Below: Richard Osmer Luke.


Elisha was born in Ohio in 1813. In 1864 he moved to “Provo Valley,” better known as Heber, Utah—the home of my great great grandmother and the birthplace of her son.

I share significant amounts of DNA with 8 of Elisha’s known descendants. To put that in perspective, I don’t share significant amounts of DNA with ANY OTHER descendant groups of “non”-relatives. Which means, it is extremely likely that Elisha is my ancestor.

He fits neatly into the one hole in my family tree (Richard’s father)—right place, right time, fathered two legitimate children that same year—and does not fit logically anywhere else. My relationship to my only other Heber ancestors is supported by the “paper trail” and also by DNA.

As technology improves, there is a chance that this suspected relationship will be altered. I presume, however, that additional developments will only strengthen my assumption: my great grandfather was born a Luke, but he should have been a Jones.

*Interested in helping us learn more? Buy a DNA test from! The more descendants we test, the more answers we can find.

*Note: I recognize that the sensitive subjects in this post might be difficult for some of my readers. It is perhaps wise to mention here that all of Heber obviously knew that Richard was born to an ostensibly single woman. But she wasn’t shunned or disrespected. In fact, Richard said that all the shops in town closed on the day of her funeral. Elisha was entrusted with civic and religious responsibilities. They both seem to have been upstanding, respected citizens. We need not fret over what may or may not have happened—there are many possible scenarios, ranging from an affair to rape to a secret marriage. It is unlikely that we’ll ever know their motivations; there’s no sense guessing or fretting about an occurrence that’s 145 years old.

For more about Elisha, see 

Line of descent:
Richard Osmer Luke, 1870-1938
Russell Victor Luke, 1905-1996

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