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Wordless Wednesday: Views of the Skunk River near the Roberts Family Farm, Jasper County, Iowa

View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa.
View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa.(RPPC)
View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa- reverse.
View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa- reverse.
View of Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa. Real Photo Postcard (RPPC).
View of Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa. Real Photo Postcard (RPPC).
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. RPPC.
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. Vintage lithographic postcard  c1910, mailed 1917 in Colfax to Hancock, Iowa.
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. RPPC-reverse.
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. RPPC-reverse.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Purchased postcards in author’s collection.

 

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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.

“FANs”- Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher

Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher, and Their Dog
Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher, and Their Dog

 

“FAN” is an acronym for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors– people to look to when doing genealogy to help learn more about your primary subjects.

Annie Fletcher and Albert Hunniball were close Friends to my grandparents, Associates, as the two women attended the same church, and Neighbors too- they lived just a couple of houses around the corner from Edith and Alfred Luck. The Hunniballs were very British, as was Alfred- all three immigrated to the US between 1903-1912. As a child we would go visit Mrs. Hunniball- she was mostly blind and stayed at home, so enjoyed any bit of company. Mrs. Hunniball- I never knew her first or maiden name until just recently- was tall and slender to me as a child, and wore dresses reminiscent of the cotton shirtwaists of an earlier time. Her white hair was piled high on her head in a bun or a wrapped braid, and she had an air of elegant grace even though she was slightly stooped in her 80s. She taught us how to make tea the English way and would tell stories of working in the Queen of England’s castle when she was a young girl. It all seemed so romantic, as did her love for Albert- he passed away in 1965 so it would not have been very long that she had been widowed. She had a photograph of him on the wall that she looked at, and though she probably could not actually see the image in the photo, it was obvious that she could still see Albert with her heart as the young man she fell in love with 50 years before. As she touched his portrait she would smile a sweet smile of long, deep, true love.

I had never seen a picture of the two of them together, young, until recent years when I found some family of theirs online. I just love this photograph- so quintessentially British with the wicker chair and their dog, his paw on Albert’s knee. They never had children, so I wanted to share a bit of their story so their legacy can live on.

Eliza Ann Fletcher was born in Timworth, Suffolk, England on 18 Dec 1880 to Edward and Maria Fletcher. She was listed in the 1881 census in Culford with her parents, and then in 1891, at age 11, in Ampton, both in Suffolk, this time with her parents, four sisters and a brother. Although her father was an agricultural laborer, she and two siblings were listed as “Scholars” as they did attend school. By 1905, when she was 25, she was working in one of the palaces in England- when the “Royal Household Staff” listings became available, I was excited to search for her name to see how the story I remembered fit reality. I had to learn her maiden name first though!

Annie immigrated to the US in 1911 or 1912. She married Albert John Hunniball on 30 Mar 1912 in Newton, Jasper, Iowa.

Albert had been born 07 Apr 1877 in Thetford District, Norfolk, England to George W. and Anna Simmons Hunniball. Albert was listed as a “Plumber & Painter” in the 1891 England census when he was 23 and still living with his family. Albert decided to emigrate to the United States, and sailed on the ship Campania, from Liverpool, England, to New York City, USA, arriving March 26, 1911, at the age of 33. The ship’s manifest listed him as single, his occupation “Decorator,” and it stated he was going to Colfax, Iowa to settle.

Albert and Annie lived the rest of their lives in Newton, Iowa. He worked as a painter and paperhanger. He had a heart attack and died 15 Mar 1965 at age 87. Annie lived for almost six more years, dying at 90 years of age on 26 Jan 1971, in Newton, Iowa. They are buried together in Newton Union Cemetery, Sec. 01 Lot 106 Block 18.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) 1881 England- census for Eliza Ann Fletcher: Source Citation: Class: RG11; Piece: 1838; Folio: 41; Page: 19; GSU roll: 1341445. Source Information: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

2) Royal Household Staff 1526-1924 at findmypast.co.uk. Fee-based records accessed 2012.

3) Annie Fletcher Hunniball- Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26821263. Accessed 11/22/13.

4) 1881, 1891, 1901 England census for Albert John Hunniball, ancestry.com.

5) Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Source Citation: Year: 1911; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1646; Line: 28; Page Number: 102.

6) US Federal Censuses for Albert and Annie Hunniball for 1920, 1930, 1940, on ancestry.com.

7) 1925 Iowa State Census for Annie and Albert: Source Information: Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

8) Albert John Hunniball- Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26821111

 

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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.