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Wedding Wednesday: Ella V. Daniel and George A. Roberts

Roberts-Daniel marriage announcement, after 16 Apr 1885. newspaper unknown but possibly one from Prairie City, Jasper County, Iowa.
Roberts-Daniel marriage announcement, after 16 Apr 1885. Newspaper unknown but possibly  from Prairie City, Jasper County, Iowa. (Click to enlarge.)

Ella Viola Daniel was just 18 when she married her 23 year-old friend and neighbor, George Anthony Roberts.

Great-granddaughter wearing the wedding dress of Ella V. Daniel.
The sixteen year-old great-granddaughter of Ella V. Daniel wearing her wedding dress, about 1970 in Edith Roberts Luck’s home. The dress was stored in the attic for over 50 years of hot Iowa summers and very cold Iowa winters. (Click to enlarge.)

Ella and George had four children together, with the first living only three months. Their children were John Robert Roberts (1888-1888), George A. Roberts, Jr. (1889-1965), Ethel Gay Roberts (1891-1969), and Edith Mae Roberts (1899-1982).

Their daughter Edith remembers them as a loving couple, and they had 36 years together before Ella died at age 55. George lived 17 years longer, and remarried, to Lucy L. (Cadwalader) Frank  (1875-1970).

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photos and ephemera.

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Madness Monday: Ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920

Edith Roberts, center front, with her sorority sisters at Iowa state University, circa 1920.
Edith Roberts, center front, with her sorority sisters at Iowa State University, circa 1920. (Click to enlarge.)

August 18, 1920, was actually not the day of madness- it was all those years before that date that were the madness. How could one half of the population of the United States of America not be allowed to vote? In a country based on freedom, women had no freedom to choose those who would make the laws nor use them to judge. Taxation without representation? It continued long after 1776 for every woman and every black person who was not allowed to vote, despite many of them having taxable income.

The 15th Amendment, passed in 1870, (theoretically) gave men of any “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” the right to vote. Women had worked to help gain suffrage for black men, hoping that it would be realized that women should also have the right to vote. That was not to be, especially because men and those with interest in taverns and the liquor industry thought that if women had the right to vote, alcoholic beverages would be banned. So black men were allowed to vote in 1870 (although discrimination made that difficult in some areas of the country). It took fifty more years of toil, suffering, discrimination, even torture (yes, in the USA!) for passage of the 19th Amendment ‘allowing’ women the right to vote.

I worked to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed back in the 1970s, but sadly, ratification fell short and women still do not have full protection under the law in this country. Back then, when I realized that Edith Roberts had been in college, studying biology in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified, I could not wait to hear her stories. She loved debate- had won a number of contest when young- and in her later years followed politics and international news, mostly through the PBS station in her hometown of Newton, Iowa. I naturally thought she would have been the same as a young woman (without the television, of course), especially since she was studying a ‘man’s’ subject, rather than womanly arts like teaching or music (which was her first major when she went off to college). Her father had been active politically in Jasper County, Iowa- she adored him, so I assumed she followed his political leanings and maybe they even discussed such issues at home. Iowa was such a progressive state- I could only imagine that in an Iowa college, they would have discussed and debated the issue of women’s suffrage. I wanted to know what it felt like to be a part of such a momentous event for women- had she joined protesters marching against President Wilson’s policies? Was she ever arrested due to her vocal call for women getting the right to vote? How did her college classmates react when women got the right to vote? What were her feelings the first time she exercised her hard-won suffrage? I could feel a connection between my conviction and what I imagined was hers, because she had always been a woman of her own mind, independent politically, financially, and mentally.

As I blurted out my many questions, probably not waiting for an answer between, she had a pensive look on her face, and one could see she was traveling back in time 50 years, back to when she was my age. Then there was a slight frown. And a pursing of her lips, the way she did when she was not happy. Her brows scrunched together, and she shook her head in disbelief and almost shame. “I hate to say this, but I don’t remember anything about women getting the right to vote. I was in a sorority, and went to dances and recitals and…” She was more interested in her social life than politics back then, she admitted. Rising from the green ‘divan’ in her 1920s Craftsman bungalow, she climbed the steep stairs to the attic. I followed to that place of family treasures, and she opened an old trunk, way in the back of the attic. Edith pulled out an old scrapbook filled with dance cards, programs, poems, and memorabilia of a joyous part of her life, that time away at college when young and anything was possible. No politics here. For a few moments, she was again a beautiful young woman with friends and pretty clothes and no responsibilities in life. “I was spoiled,” she said. “My father put up with so much from me, probably because I was the baby.” She admitted to not handling her money well and having to write her father to send more- I was shocked, as she had been such a frugal, hardworking woman all the time I had known her. She did talk about how scandalous it was for her to be studying biology, when they had to go catch their specimens for dissection and she was one of only a few women in the classes.

She did seem to regret not realizing those important issues and moments, like August 18, 1920, when women in all the United States were granted the right to vote. (Some states allowed women voting rights before then, but only a few, mostly western states.) Mostly, however, it seemed that she enjoyed the sweet reverie of being 20 years old and being in love with her world, something she had long forgotten.

 

Proposed Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of america. NARA.
Proposed Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. NARA.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photos and memories.

2) When I think about not going to vote because the choices are awful, it is cold and rainy, or the lines too long, I think about those who worked so hard to get all Americans the right to vote. And then I go exercise it.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Mystery Monday- The McMurrays in America

Henderson McMurray- Family Tree
Henderson McMurray- Family Tree (Click to enlarge)

One hot, muggy, August visit to Newton, Iowa, included the moment I found my passion for genealogy. It was in the late 1960s, and my grandmother drove me and my tag-along younger sister all over the county in her old, immaculate black Dodge to visit family and learn our family history. Distant cousins and elderly aunts pulled out shoeboxes, family bibles, etc., for us to see the obituaries, letters, and other treasures that had been passed down from generation to generation. The family we visited knew so much family history, but as a young teen,  I knew so little of how to record it well. I had read one very old genealogy how-to book found at our local library, but did not know about citing sources or provenance. However, I did see these items with my own young eyes, and my sister and I copied many pieces by hand, using notebook paper and a purple Flair pen- the latest cool writing instrument and one of the first felt-tip pens, I believe. I was enraptured with the stories the family told- I loved the “Little House on the Prairie” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, so this was heaven, to know my own family traveled in wagon trains across the prairie and ploughed the fertile soils of Iowa, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. There were no copies or scanners in Newton, Iowa at that time, so it was laborious to copy all, but I am so glad that I have these items, as some, like the following, might be gone forever, if we had not copied them.

Part of a letter from Aunt Ibe Raugh to Aunt Mary McMurray:

“… I am also enclosing in same package two old silver spoons and a breast pin that Huldah wanted us to have as there are four of us. Now I have seen them, I am sending them to you three girls.

They were brought from England by Mary Proctor when she came to the states with her father, General Proctor, at the close of the war. This was father’s mother. The pin had been a clasp to a neck chain but was fitted with a pin and had been used as such for about one hundred years. When Mary died she gave the pin to her daughter Sarah, Huldah’s mother, who took care of her during her last sickness.

The spoons were also handed down at the same time.

Huldah also states that James McMurray, father of William McMurray, father of Henderson McMurray, came to America in 1779.

Well girls, I have had these things for some time but I thought perhaps some of you would come out and I could give them to you all. Huldah did not know how old they really are but we know they were keepsakes one hundred years before the close of the War of England.”

We met a lot of relatives but at the time I couldn’t place them all into a family tree until I learned more about that. I am not sure which war was “the War of England” nor what the spoons or pin looked like; I believe all I saw was the letter or a copy of it.

I wish I had taken notes as our relatives spoke of their parents and grandparents- what wonderful stories they were! I was busy copying as they spoke, as many were very elderly and would be too tired if we stayed too long.

‘Aunt Ibe’ (sometimes called “Iba”) is Hepzibah Jeanetta McMurray (1865-1954) who married Samuel S. Raugh (b. 1860) and they lived in Orange, California in 1906 and also in Exeter California. ‘Aunt Mary’ is Mary McMurray (1856 – 1956) who never married and lived in Newton, Jasper Co., Iowa in 1906 and probably most of her adult life; she lived to be over 100 years old. They are just two of the thirteen children of Henderson McMurray and Mary Ann Horn.

‘Huldah’ is a cousin to the McMurray girls, as she was the daughter of Sarah McMurray _____, (married name unknown) who was Henderson McMurray’s sister. (Both were children of James McMurray & Mary Proctor.) There was another sister, who became “Mrs. C.C. Meyers of Waverly, Iowa” who is mentioned in Henderson McMurray’s 1906 obit- this is probably Minnie, born about 1820, as there is a “FC” and “Minnie Meyers” listed in the 1905 Iowa State Census in Waverly. The letter was probably written after 1940 and before 1954, as one of the 5 sisters who lived to adulthood died in 1940, and Ibe died in 1954, so there were just the “four of us” still living during that time span.

 

What mysteries do I hope to solve about this letter? I would like to know who Sarah McMurray married, and thus what Huldah’s maiden name was, plus who Huldah married. I only have one census- 1850- for William McMurray and his wife Mary Proctor McMurray. I have been unable to find any information about “General Proctor” or James McMurray- there are SO many McMurrays in Pennsylvania during that time period and it is challenging to separate them to know which is our ancestor.

 

I would also love to know what the pin and spoons look like- I do hope that someone in the family still has them and knows the story that goes along with them. They are a wonderful legacy.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Hand copied section of letter owned by author.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Sentimental Sunday- Murrell Family Bible, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Murrell Family Bible
Edith Roberts Luck, c1970
Edith Roberts Luck, c1970

I was never close to my grandmother when a child- she adored my sister and brother, but thought that my youngest brother and I were spoiled and she did fuss at us quite a lot. She loved talking about her family history, though, so even as a young girl, I realized that was one way to have good experiences with her. (I really was interested, too; thankfully we became close in her later years.) I can remember climbing the steep steps to the hot attic- the door is seen just to the left in this photo- with its old smell and intriguing items from the past. The house was a small 1920s bungalow, by then 40 years old, with beautiful Arts & Crafts wide woodwork and a breakfast nook. We always visited in August- there was no air conditioning until later years, and Iowa does have hot summers! (Very cold winters too- a wonder all that paper survived so well.) But Grandma’s house will always be a special place in my heart.

The Murrell Bible was stored in a big trunk, along with many pictures, newspapers, and other family treasures. I still get sentimental, and ‘shed a briny tear’ (something she said she always did as we drove away), thinking about being with Grandma as she opened the trunk. She would become a young girl again, off within her memories, talking about her days growing up on the farm and the family she loved so much. She had a wonderful childhood, rich with the mundane things of life, but all were cherished, every day.

Grandma would tell us, “You come from strong pioneer stock- you can do anything you set your mind to.” Her words still drive me when I can no longer keep going, and I know she is helping me to take that next step.

The smells, the movements, the look on my grandmother’s face as she relived her younger years and loved her family anew, and the time with her as she shared our family history come back to me in such a powerful way. Every time I open an old family bible, turn the pages of an old newspaper, and hold the old photos that were a part of her legacy, she is with me. Thank you, dearest Grandma Edie, for sharing our heritage, and loving family so much. And thank you for making such sweet memories while you were sharing them.

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Murrell Family Bible, possibly c1845.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Mystery Monday- Roberts Family- School Picture

Class photo found in with George Roberts' and Ella V. Daniel's photos and papers.
Class photo found in with George Roberts’ and Ella V. Daniel’s photos and papers.

 

This photo was found in with pictures and papers of the George Anthony Roberts and Ella Viola Daniel family who lived in Prairie City, Jasper County, Iowa. We don’t know who any of the people are in the photo, but the boy who is the third from left in the front row may possibly be their son, George Anthony Roberts, (Jr.) born 1889 in Iowa. That child also looks similar to George Sr., who was born in 1861 in Illinois. Would be very interested in learning more about this photograph and the people in it.

 

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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.