Benjamin Leroy Love, who was known as Roy, was born on July 6, 1890 at the Lynch Dairy Farm near Pilot Knob, Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas to Daniel and Tressa Love, both former slaves. He was named after Benjamin Leroy "Bennie" Edgell, whose family lived next door to the Loves when Roy was born. The name was suggested by Bennie's mother, Virginia Edgell.
Sometime after Roy's birth, the Love family moved from Pilot Knob to West Spruce Street. As a child, Roy attended Sumner School, located at 1501 Fifth Avenue, and was taught by Blanche K. Bruce. By the age of nine, Roy taught himself how to play the piano and was performing in several bars and dance halls throughout Leavenworth and the Salt Creek Valley. During school, he also did yard work for Robert B. Yoakum, a prominent builder in Leavenworth. However, Roy considered his first real job working for the Good John Sash and Door Company where he worked ten hours a day and earned $1.50 a week. In total, Roy completed 10 years of schooling in Leavenworth.
In 1907, Roy moved with his family to the town of Kickapoo, Kansas to a home formerly owned by his aunt and uncle, Luke and Fillis Overman. Roy's first job in Kickapoo was working as a farm laborer for his neighbor Arthur St. Leger "Texas" Mosse, the head football coach at the University of Kansas. During football season when Mosse was away, Roy was responsible for plowing more than 90 acres, taking care of 500 Chester White hogs, milking 5 Holstein cows, and feeding 6 mules and two horses. Despite his heavy workload, Roy still found time to perform and play the piano and on July 22, 1915, he copyrighted the lyrics to a song entitled, "Come and See Me Sometime."
During the First World War, Roy enlisted in the United States Army and became a drill sergeant in the 365th Machine Gun Company at Camp Funston, Kansas. Later, Roy was transferred to the 349th Machine Gun Company, but never saw active duty abroad.
On August 10, 1932, Roy married a woman by the name of Daisy Watson (1895 - 1977), whom he described as "a beautiful singer and entertainer." On September 29, 1941, Roy copyrighted the lyrics to, "In My Garden With You." The infamous Leo and Hector Richard, known as Richard Brothers, wrote the musical score to this song.
In 1967, Daisy became very ill and Roy did everything he could to take care of her, which included reading medical literature, but she eventually lost both of her legs. When Daisy passed away on December 7, 1977, they had been married for 45 years. Roy planted a cedar tree in his front yard to commemorate her life.
In his old-age, Roy loved being among friends, reading the Bible, and was a renown storyteller. He died on December 4, 1994 in Kansas City, Kansas at the age of 104. His funeral was performed by the Davis Funeral Chapel in Leavenworth.
For more information on Roy, search on Google for "Benjamin 'Roy' Leroy Love" and you will find 3 YouTube videos.
Daisy Lane Watson Love
1895–1977 (m. 1932)