30 March 2012

Fearless Females - March 30: Words of Wisdom

I'm a day late on this one, but I really was looking forward to this one. I've just been up so sick from strep throat. I'm better just in time to do one last post to honor my female.

There is one piece of advice that was given to me by my mother that was given to her by her mother. She looked at me just before I married my husband and said, "now I'm going to give you the same piece of advice as my mother gave me......." She went on to tell me that grandma had advised her to wait two years after she was married to have children. She said the grandma told her that they would need that time to grow and know each other before they brought children into the picture. Mom said it was the best advise that grandma ever gave her.

I agreed with her and really didn't give it too much pause as we did not plan to have children right away anyway. I was only 19 and I didn't want children then. I knew I would later. But no mater my feelings I saw it as the perfect to tell my to be husband about our conversation and about how I felt about children at that time. He also completely agreed as he was headed off to the ARMY and didn't want them right away either. We didn't have kids for two years, then two and a half.......By then my mother said she was begining to wonder if she should have given me that advice and if they were ever going to have grandchildren. We found out that we were going to have our first child the same month we celebrated our three year anniversary. My parents had just moved to ID from CA a month before. When we found out we decided to stay behind and wait until after the baby was born to move to ID as well. As a result my mother wasn't there when her first was born, but she sure knew how to get on a very quick flight and be there in time to see him just after he came home. It didn't mater too much, she was just glad to be a grandma finally.

I will certainly pass on the same advice, not only to my daughter, but my boys as well. I think its important that a newly web couple take the time to know each other, grown together, learn to live together and create a strong foundation for a wonderful marriage before they bring children into the picture. They owe their children that much. They will all be happier for it.

25 March 2012

Fearless Females: March 25 - With Her Children

When I think of an ancestor and how she was with her children, I can't help but think of my Grandma Woolsey.

Olivia Joyce Jenkins married Albert Lee Woolsey. From what I can tell it appears that she came from a family that may not have been rich, but lived comfortably. She then married and lived in poverty. I can only assume that she truly married for love, and I know she love my grandpa. They had ten children total, however two girls died as infants.

Life was not easy for the Woolsey family in OK. I had photos that I've lost on my computer. I'll have to get them from my dad again. The photos say it all. The children are barefoot, which they were a lot of the time because they couldn't afford shoes, but like many families in those days and in that situation, they would get shoes when school started and it was winter, but all summer long they were bare foot. Some photos depict a run down almost shack like home.

Life got a lot easier when they moved from OK to Oakdale, CA. They later moved to Modesto behind my mother's family. No mater how easy life got there was still one way that Grandma showed that her children came first. She wouldn't sit at the table and eat with the family. She would make sure that her husband and all the children ate first and had their fill, and she would eat whatever was left, even if it was scraps left on their plates. That's probably how she stayed so skinny...........hmmm maybe I should try that diet plan.

Grandma was also not the disciplinarian. It was always a joke even when I was a kid. She would walk around with a belt around her neck, as a threat, but we all knew that she would almost never ever use it. Grandpa however had no trouble using his belt.

There is one story where my dad, his brother, and a friend are bouncing on the bed. My grandpa warned them to stop jumping on the bed or he would whop them. They didn't, and he did, including the friend. You'd never hear of that happening today.

Grandma endured through the toughest times and shined in the best times. A Christian woman with a big loving heart.

24 March 2012

Fearless Females - March 24 Inherited Traits

This is Me on the floor in front, hubby on the right of me. My brother is in the back, and of course my parents between us.
What you can't see in this photo is where the curly hair comes from, but you can see that I get my red hair from my mother. My dad at this point has lost all of his, otherwise you'd be able to see the head full of curls he once had. His nick name as a child was "Cotton Top" because of his almost white blond hair that was full of kinky curls. We also know where he got those curls. It's in the picture below.
In this photo is my dad's father, the baby boy, Albert Woolsey. It is his mother Mary Joanne Williamson whom we get our kinky little curls from. She has her hair pulled back, but there is no doubt it is curly and fluffy.
Not only was my dad called Cotton Top, but he use to call me his little lion. When I was young I kept my hair braided, but when it was down it use to puff out and give me this big red main of hair.

20 March 2012

Fearless Females - March 20; My Brick Wall

I previously posted this as my Madness Monday post back in June 2009. Nothing has changed in the story as I've not had a chance to look into her life further. It's sad really that she seemed to just disappear from her family. I do know that I need to send off for Social Security records and death certificate. I will soon, but hear is May Eliabeth Rollette Roe's story as I know it today.

Now this is one that truly drives me crazy. My mother knew a few basic details, but the family didn't really talk about her.

Here is what I have found.

  • May Elizabeth Rollette was born 5 Apr 1899 in Missouri. I still don't know where in Missouri or exactly who her parents were. The date and place comes from her California Death Record 1940-1997.
  • May married Frank Roe. Based on the 1920 census they were married around 1919, most likely in Missouri.
  • Then they had the following children, all born in OK: Rachel and Hazel born about 1921, Von Joseph Roe born 10 Oct 1924 and died 3 Mar 1976 in Modesto, CA, Clarence Roe born 13 Oct 1926 and died in Alameda Co., CA 4 Apr 1974, (the information on these two come from their Social Security Death Index), and James Roe born about 1930. (the other birth dates are based on the 1930 Census)
  • She died 22 Dec 1949 in San Fransisco, CA. She died young. She was estranged from the family. We don't even know if she had any family with her as she was dying of a brain tumor. I've also noticed that so far no one in the family has a picture of her either.
Family tradition is that shortly after the 1930 census May went to take care of a sick sister. Now what we don't know is if they at that point had agreed to separate. What we do know is that with out May's return, Frank picked up the kids and left Oklahoma for California. From there Frank and his son lived the end of their lives in and around Turlock and Modesto, CA. Clarence known as Charlie I see ended up in Alameda County, CA. The rest I'm still not sure where they ended up. Frank remarried six more times, and from what I can see May never married again.

Possible Theories:

  • May possibly was the child of a David and Rose Rollette of Missouri. In her California Death Index it list her father's surname as Rollette and mother's maiden name as Clark. In 1920 I find Frank and May in St. Joseph City, Buchanan Co., MO in the home of John W Stephens at 519 Maple St. They are just boarders and are both working in a local box factory. (this can be found on sheet 9, enumeration district 109, supervisor's dist 4?, Dwelling 189, family 206). Living in the same county and city at 227 South 13th St is a Rosa Rollette with sons Ralph, James, Leonard, and daughter Pearl (sheet no 7, enumeration district 117 and supervisor's district 4, dwelling 195, family 157). This in it's self doesn't say much, but if I go back to the 1910 census I find a David Rollette and Rose with children and daughter, May! In 1910 they are in Platte Twnp, Clinton Co., MO (sheet no 5, enumeration dist 40, supervisor dist 3, dwelling 117, family 112).
  • May and Frank divorced, but the divorce records have not been found. Either that or she just left and there was no divorce, but there had to of been if he was able to remarry legally six more times.
  • I'm sure she was buried somewhere in San Fransisco, but I have yet to find her burial. Though if she were alone with no family and no estate it may be possible that she is buried in one of the many unclaimed persons cemeteries and that may be why I can't find her. I need to contact funeral homes next.
I have the source information listed above with the details but an overview of the records I have are:

  • 1910 Census of Platte Twnp, Clinton Co., MO in relation to the Rollette family
  • 1920 Census of St Joseph City, Buchanan Co, MO for both the Rollette family and Frank and May
  • 1930 Census of Port of St Louis Twnp, Oklahoma Co., Oklahoma of Frank and May with children.
  • California Death Index 1940-1997 for May Elizabeth Roe
  • Social Security Death Index for Frank and Clarence Roe
Also found is a record that as far as I know does not fit May. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 Record for Elizabeth Roe born 1899, State California, County or city Los Angeles, enlistment date 27 May 1944, branch Women's Army Corps...... Education 2 yrs of college, civil occupation aerial photographer, single without dependents. The last part really doesn't fit, unless she considered that her status because she had nothing to do with the children and as far as we know she never went to college or was a photographer. As far as my mom knows she never was in the army and she didn't use her middle name. She always went by May.

According to the family they never saw her again after she left Oklahoma. What was she running from or to? Was the brain tumor a long term thing that effected her judgement? Did Clarence become a part of her life in the end? Did he forgive her? From what I understand my grandfather never spoke of her. I'm sure he never forgave her. But is there more to the story and her reasons for leaving that we never knew? This is a mystery that I will forever look to solve. If anyone out there knew her or knew of her I would sure love to know more.

Future research will be of the San Fransisco funeral homes until I find a record there, a possible birth record in MO, a divorce record in OK or CA for May and Frank, and there will be more as I get deeper into this mystery.

Since I orignally made this post I did find out more about May's family, but I still have not been able to do more research on her. I'm hoping the 1940 census will be of some help when it comes out in April. I can't wait. She will be the first one I look for.

19 March 2012

Fearless Females - March 19 Surprising Fact

My mother was a Roe. Little did I know that this family was in fact living on an Indian Reservation in 1910. I discovered the family in the 1910 census records living in Otoe Township, Noble County, OK enumerated in the Indian Population. This is where I learned that my great great grandmother was half Chipaway Indian and French Canadian. The family was not complete at that time. There are still three other older siblings I have not found. But in the family unit was my great great grandfather Jerry Roe (47), Rachel (44), and three sons, Piere (12), my great grandfather Frank (9) and the baby Jaybird "Jay" (5).

My favorite photo of my Grandpa, Von Joseph "Rusty" Roe, on the left and his father, Frank Roe  on the right. It's Frank's mother who was Half Chipewa Indian.
I believe the family migrated from Canada to the Indian Reservations of Oklahoma. Piere was born in MN about 1896, followed by Frank born in MO and then last Jay was born in KS before they end up in OK by 1910. Frank would later marry a woman from MO, May Elizabeth Rollette and live with her family for a time in MO before moving back to OK. Then in about the early 40's he takes the children, leaves May, and moves to CA where he starts a new life. The Roe's faired well in the Industrial world. Jerry was a farmer, but the future generations all went for Industrial work and seemed to be better off then those of our other ancestors during that era.

After I had discovered this I asked my mom if she knew about the Native American in the family, and she didn't. I remember asking her, "well where did Grandpa get his red hair then?" She laughed and asked me where I had gotten that. Mind you most colored pictures I had seen of him were late in life with grey hair. I said, "well I always assumed that his hair was red because his nick name was Rusty." She just laughed and told me she had no idea where he had gotten that name. For all we knew it could have been from his days in WWII, but no matter where it came from it had nothing to do with his hair. He in fact had jet black hair and very olive tone skin. When we discussed that she realized it was very possible and she could see that he was probably 1/8 Indian.

16 March 2012

Fearless Females - March 16; Aner Sackett

One of my favorite female ancestors whom I wished I had the privilege to have known is Aner Sackett. This photo is of her and my GGGG Grandfather George Scott. One account that I discovered is that Louise La'Moure, one of my favorite western authors, wrote a series named "The Sacketts." Supposedly it was my Sacketts that he researched in order to help him write his books. If this is true or not I don't know, either way I still love the Sackett series and I'm still a descendant.
Aner had to be one tough lady. She moved so often with her husband. Having children in three different states is a good indication that they didn't stay put for long. She married George in Franklin Co., IN on 9 Oct 1847. Their first two children were born in IN; Emily Lutitia (my GGG Grandmother) on 1 Sept 1848 followed by Alexander in 1851. In 1850 the family is enumerated in Center, Marion Co., IN.
Off to Iowa. Somewhere between 1850 and 1854 the family moves to Iowa. The next child Mary is born in 1854 in IA. George is then enumberated in Iowa State Census in 1856 living in Lucas, Iowa. They must have liked it there enough to remain until 1865 at least, when John was born.
One more child is known to be born in 1871 in MO, though I have yet to find the family in the 1870 census. It's very possible they were on the move at the time of the census.
In 1880 they are living in Plum Creek, Pawnee, NE. Four states in less then 40 years. I don't doubt there were many stories to be told along that trail.
If I could have the chance to go to lunch with Aner I'm afraid we would have to make it a day long affair. I wouldn't care what we ate, only that I had plenty of time to sit and listen to her undoubtably amazing life stories.

15 March 2012

Fearless Females - March 15 a Tribute

Strong, Independent, Loving, Confident, Passionate, Excepting.

I find that out of all my ancestors, I am the most like my Grandma Roe. Mary Ellen Hayes Roe Garcia was not your normal Suzie Homemaker. She didn't cook nice dinners. She would be like the mom today who runs to fast food for dinner. She didn't have that privilege so her dinners were often from a can. If she burned food to a pan, it went out in the garage in a big sink to soak. If it didn't clean up easy, it went in the trash. Though I will admit the one trait I get from my other grandmother, the ability to pinch the pennies, keeps me from throwing away the pans, but I do hate to spend too much time scrubbing them, especially the bottom. Who ever said the bottom of the pan needed to shine, must not have had as many passions as I do. There are more important things in life then worrying about every little detail in a home. I use to be the kind that preferred quick meals and fast food because I didn't like to spend time in the kitchen either. I completely understand her reluctance to the kitchen, but out of a need and desire to feed my family health I do spend time on my meals, just not scrubbing the bottom of the pans!

Grandma watched her beloved husband Von Joseph Roe suffer through bone cancer for nearly two year before she lost him. She was only 45. My Aunt was still at home a young teenager. My mother and her twin were young married mothers at the time.

She always had her passions. Especially gardening. She had beautiful gardens that we all loved. My mother and I inherited her green thumb. I can't wait until I get out to the farm so I can have my garden too. All of us women have learned to fill our lives with passion. It keeps us happy and we are never bored

At only 5' 2" or somewhere close to that height, she was a giant to me as a little girl. She was the kind of woman that could look at you and say "absolutely not, young lady," and you didn't ask why. She was also the kind of grandma that showed up with a big bag of candy and a huge hug to spoil her grandchildren. She loved us all, and we all miss her.

11 March 2012

Fearless Females: March 11 - She left us too young

I've told this story before. I was a sad one that had a huge impact on my husband's family.
The woman in the photo is my husband's great grandmother Flora Mae Manning. In the photo is her husband Ernest Gahmo Connor.
The fell in love and were married. Ernest was part Native American and Flora was not. This created a rift with her family and she became estranged from them. They lived near Ernest's parents in a little shack in Hominy, OK.
In that little shack Flora gave birth to a set of twins on 29 May 1929; a girl, Estelle Connor (my husband's grandmother) and a twin baby boy whom left us the same day. To hear grandma talk about them you can tell that they were deeply in love. They were always loving on each other. She had three more children after they moved to Amarillo, TX; Mattie, Lotti and Billie.
Flora had a heart of gold. I wished I had a chance to meet her. I'm sure she is where grandma found her heart of gold. Always giving and always loving. At one point they lived along a railroad track. Life was good then. Grandma remembers there being parties and a lot of get togethers with friends. They were happy. Flora must have felt blessed. Many times she would bring a plate of food out to men who were traveling on the railroad. If Ernest wasn't home she would keep them outside and not let them in the house, but she never turned anyone away from their door. When they got back on the railroad it was always with a full stomach.
In March 1940 she was pregnant again with their fifth child. She gave birth 11 Mar 1940. It was a difficult birth. They named the baby girl Geneva, though she also left them the same day. The real tragedy was a few days later. Flora never recovered from that birth, and on 15 Mar 1940 she joined her two baby's in heaven. She and Geneva were laid to rest beside each other at the Llano Cemetery in Amarillo, TX. I wrote about finally finding their graves in a previous post and how emotional it was for grandma when she discovered that they barely had a marker.
The loss of a child is a tragedy, but the loss of a mother can have staggering effects on the family she leaves behind. Grandma experienced this first hand. She was the oldest child, and basicly became the mother. At first Ernest needed help, so he went back home to be close to his mother who could help him with the raising of four children.
In those days, sadly, society thought it wasn't possible for a father to raise his children on his own. All four children were taken from him and placed into an orphanage, we believe in OK, for a while. He had to remarry in order to get his children back, so he did. This time it was not for love, it was out of desperation. It soon became clear to him that he couldn't stand the woman enough to be married to her. She was mean to all of them and he couldn't take it any more. He packed up the kids and took off one day while she was away. They ran to Arizona. Here's what isn't clear, either Ernest was like many men and had the inability to remember those important dates and ages of his children, or he did it on purpose as a way to hide his trail. But when they settled in Arizona he used incorrect dates for the children's birthdays when he registered them for school. To this day grandma had celebrated the date of her mother's death as her birthday, until I finally found her true birth certificates which had mistakes that made it impossible for the state of OK to find her actual birth certificate. None of us new what the significance of that date was until I began to do our research.
Ernest and the children lived from one farming tent community to another. Grandma says that she never knew what The Great Depression was because they were already living it. They continued to live it long after The Great Depression was over as well. She lived from one farm to another in a tent harvesting. She meet her first husband on one of those farms in CA. Eventually they found a way to get on their feet and live in a home.
Ernest did once again find love and married another woman whom they all loved as a second mother. Though they all found their way in life and got back on their feet, it is clear that Flora's death left a huge hole in all their lives.

10 March 2012

Fearless Females: March 10 - Religion

Religion is a sore subject for me. Don't get me wrong. I still believe in God and that there is something great then all of us. I still believe in living my life in a way that is wholesome. However because of the church I grew up in as a child you will likely never see me step foot back in a church again. These photos are of me while me family was in the church. The religion was Old Fashion Pentecostal. I was a church in Modesto, CA. Today, as far as I'm concerned, I believe it was a cult.I remember how strong my mother was. When I was young I can remember I want to go to college and be a school teacher. Now I wonder what I was thinking. It's a challenge just to help my own children with their homework without loosing my patients. But back then that was my dream. My mother believed that every girl had as much right to dream and fulfil that dreams as any man did. Unfortunately the church did not feel that way. The place in the world for a women was as a wife and mother at home. My mother did stand up to them and told them that her daughter would go to college if she wanted to in so many words. She basically let them know she disagreed with the idea. She also knew that I was at a disadvantage for marriage. Most of the boys were much older and already had their eyes on someone, or were much younger than I was. No matter what she wanted me to be able to make my life my own and not under the control of another. It wasn't longer after she stood up to them about me being able to go to college that she quit the church. We followed a year later. To this day my life is my own. No one controls me or tells me what to do, how to dress, where to live or any other aspect of my life.

I've also applied the same to my children, to a degree. I'm still a parent. I still control how they dress, behave, where they go and such. I still raise them right and don't let them make bad decision, but I don't control things in their life like religion. My oldest does go to church. That is his choice. The other two will have the same choice when they are older.

The photos are of me and my brother.
Life wasn't all bad though. In our religion we were not allowed to have a TV, so we became a stronger family as a result. We did things together more than most families of my time. We would get in the car and go for drives. Discover old sites that had long been forgotten. It is because of the religion that I grew to love history which I still have a passion for today. I wasn't allowed to read fiction, so I only read biographies of real peoples lives. To me it was as great of entertainment as any other. And I will give it credit for making us a very strong family.

06 March 2012

Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to celebrate Women's History Month

March 6 - Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor.

I have a few items that are special to me that I have inherited from my grandmother's. My two most treasured items are from my mother's mother, Mary Ellen Hayes Roe.

The first most treasured item are her pearls. My grandmother was very ill, battling cancer, when I went to my high school senior and junior proms. James and I had been together a few months when we went to our Junior Prom. That year I wore a peach colored satin dress with bare shoulders. My grandmother saw that and knew that I needed to wear her pearls with it. She lent them to me, and when I went to return them after the prom, she told me to keep them. She said "honey your momma bought me those ear rings and I've had that necklace for years. I want you to have them." Little did any of us know how sick she was at that time. She was gone just over a year later. She was still with us when we went to our Senior prom, but I didn't wear the necklace that year. It was more important to have the right jewelry with the right dress back then. If I had known that she would have left us a month later I would have found another dress to go with those pearls. I did however wear her pearls a few days after we lost her to my high school graduation and also to her funeral. I still have them safely locked away in a box. The clasp broke some years back on me and I need to get it fixed.

The next treasure of her are a set of pigs. After James and I married that following November we went to visit my step grandfather, Paul. As we were getting ready to leave that day he told me to hold on, he had something that he thought my grandmother would have wanted me to have. He brought me a set of ceramic pigs. They are a dark pink. They are a creamer and sugar set. The head comes off the sugar one and the cream pours out of the mouth of the other one. Even my family knows that if you drop my pigs you die (well not really, but they will hear about it).

Last is a treasure that has seen it's better days. This one is from my dad's mother. When I got married my father handed me a small 10 Commandments plate that use to hang on their walls. He told me that it was his mother's and to take good care of it. I promised I would and carefully packed it in newspaper before putting it into a box that fit just right and then placing it into a bigger box. We got all my things to my new home the day before we married. I went home that night and didn't return to our apartment until we were married. I was old fashioned. We never lived together. I stayed with my parents until the day we married. A new bride of one day and my heart was broken by my dear husband. He was trying to be helpful when he was unpacking my boxes and not knowing what was in the little white box, he dropped it on the floor. I heard it and screamed. I knew it couldn't have survived. We opened it to see all the little pieces and I was in tears. It stayed in that box and I never threw it away. It's still in the box today. My dear husband though, knowing how much it meant to me, set one day and pains stakingly glued the whole thing back together. There is one tiny missing piece, but it's together. Maybe someday I will find a way to smooth out the cracks, but either way I will always keep it. My dad's mother was the religious one who always had her bible and really believed and lived by it. That's why the 10 Commandments plate reminds me of her so much.

Last year I wrote this post. Since then I've inherited a very treasured family heriloom. It's an old antique desk that once belonged to my great great Aunt Perky and Uncle Herb. It's a beautiful desk, and I will always treasure it. In the photo of the women is my mother on the right, next to her is Aunt Perky (Delia) and beside her is my grandmother Mary Ellen (Hayes) Roe. Grandma inherited the desk from Aunt Perky after Uncle Herb died, then Aunt Mary (pictured on the left) got the desk and then she gave it to Mom.