Thursday, December 31, 2015

Parallel Lives of Stelle and Daisy, Part 2

To recap, my paternal grandfather’s sisters, Stelle and Daisy Troutman’s lives ran a traditional path at first—marriage, children, and all that—but they asserted their independence in later years. Their lives paralleled each other’s in several ways. Though 15 years apart in age, they both married at age 21 to men with the same name, William Tell Worley, Stelle’s “Tell” being uncle to Daisy’s “Will.” Both families left Smyth County, Virginia, Stelle and Tell moving first to Missouri where their brother Clint and his wife Mary lived, then Daisy and Will following, but not until all had moved to Nebraska. Apparently, farming opportunities looked better there.
According to family lore, Clint and Mary and their three children and Stelle and Tell and their four children traveled by train from Howell County, Missouri to northeast Nebraska. Clint and Tell rode in the box cars with their horses and cattle. Clint’s daughter Neville rode on her cousin Dale’s lap. "It must have been almost like pioneer days," Neville wrote.[1] This move occurred between the birth of Clint and Mary’s third child Carl, born near West Plains, Missouri on 4 December 1912, and the birth of their fourth child Verne, born in Stanton County, Nebraska on 13 April 1914.
By 1920, Daisy and Will had also moved to Nebraska. They rented property, which Will farmed at Strahan township, Wayne County. By this time, they had five children: Marvin, 12; Leroy, 9; Charles, 7; Thelma, 3 years and 8 months; and William, 3 months.[2] Apparently, they had moved sometime between the birth of Charles, born in 1913 in Virginia and a baby girl, Edna, born in 1915 in Nebraska who died the same year, buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Wayne. A little grave, all alone.
Photo courtesy of Find A Grave contributor, Brad Kellogg.

 The photo below is one of my favorites. It shows my grandfather Clint and his two sisters, Stelle and Daisy and their children taken about 1915. In back stands Clint holding his son James, next to Stelle. Seated of the left is my grandmother Mary with Verne (my father) on her lap, Neville and Carl on each side. Behind Carl is Stelle's daughter Ethel, then Leona. Daisy is seated holding her son Charles, and next to her are sons Lee Roy and Marvin.
Clint and Mary Troutman with Stelle and Daisy Worley and children.

In 1920, Stelle, age 49, and Tell, age 65, owned a farm at South Branch Township, Pierce County, Nebraska. Dale, Leona, and Ethel were still living at home,[3]  but Carl, age 26 had married. He owned a shoemaking shop in Wayne where he lived with his wife Serena and their four children: Verdena, age 6; Pauline, age 4; Carl, age 2; and Captola, age two months.[4]
Clint and Mary were renting a farm at Brenna precinct, Wayne County. Their family had also expanded to five: Neville, age 9; James, 8; Carl, 7; Verne, 5; and Virginia, 3.[5] Stelle, Daisy, and Clint and their families lived within about a 50-mile radius of each other in northeast Nebraska.

Note the proximity of Wayne, Pierce, and Stanton Counties in northeast Nebraska. Click to enlarge map.

Then Stelle and Daisy both divorced their husbands—not at the same time. More later.

[1] Neville Lamson, Omaha, Nebraska, to Zola T. Noble, Anderson, Indiana, letter, 25 August 1989, information on her father's family; Troutman, Neville (Max Lamson) binder, privately held by Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2016.
1920 U. S. census, Strahan township., Wayne County, Nebraska, population schedule [ED] 224, p. 12-B, dwelling 113, family 113, William Worley, wife Daisy; digital image ( : accessed 11 December 2015); NARA mic. pub. T625, roll 1003.
[2] 1920 U. S. census, South Branch tnshp., Pierce Co., Ne., pop. sched., ED 224, p. 12-A, dwell. 84, fam. 85, William T. Worley, wife Estella; NARA mic. pub. T625, roll 995.
[3] 1920 U. S. census, Wayne, Wayne Co., Neb., pop. sched., ED 225, p. 15-A, dwell. 161, fam. 169, Carl Worley; NARA mic. pub. T625, roll 1003.
[4] 1920 U. S. census, Brenna precinct, Wayne Co., Neb., pop. sched., ED 218, p. 5-A, fam. 86, Clint Troutman; NARA mic. pub. T625, roll 1003.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Parallel Lives of Stelle and Daisy

My paternal grandfather’s sisters, Stelle and Daisy seem to have been strong, independent women. The more I learn about them, the more I wish I could have met them. Although they were not close in age, their lives took similar, somewhat unique paths for women of their day.

Born in February 1870, one year—maybe to the day—after her parents were married, Laura Estelle was the first born of Daniel A. and America Troutman.[1] She was probably named for America’s oldest sister Laura E. (whose middle name remains undetermined), who was also the firstborn of her parents, Nicholas and Sarah Pratt.[2]

Daisy arrived about fifteen years later,[3] another girl, a few years after her parents had suffered the loss of two little daughters and a son. (The story of the loss of these babies is told here.) Stelle and Daisy were the only daughters to survive to adulthood.

Then they married men with the same name.

On 16 November 1891, Laura Estelle Troutman, age 21, married William Tell Worley, age 33.[4] Daisy was a little five-year-old admiring her older sister. In 1900, Tell Worley farmed land he owned, free of mortgage, in the Broadford precinct. Stelle’s mother-in-law, Eliza Worley lived with them, as did a twelve-year-old white servant girl named Mary Harris, probably hired to babysit so Stelle could get her other work done. Stelle and Tell had two living children: Carl, age 6, and Dale, age eleven months.[5] In the few short years of their marriage, they had already faced tragedy. Their baby boy, Harvey Lee, born 30 March 1896 had lived only one month and seven days.[6] They buried him in the Rich Valley Presbyterian Church Cemetery where Stelle’s young sisters and brother had been buried.

About 1906, Daisy Virginia Troutman, age 21, married William Tell “Will” Worley, a nephew of Stelle’s husband and his namesake, age 23. A tall, slender, blue-eyed, redhead,[7] Will was a son of Thomas E. Worley,[8] Tell’s oldest brother.

For the first eight years, or so, of their marriage, Daisy and Will stayed in Smyth County, Virginia. In 1910, they and their three-year-old son Marvin lived on a rented farm in the Broadford precinct.[9] So far, so good.

Eventually, both sisters and their families moved away from Virginia.

By 1910, Stelle and Tell had moved to Missouri, as had Stelle’s brother Clint. I’m not sure which of them left first. Stelle and Tell were living at Dry Creek township, Howell County, Missouri. In addition to Carl, who was now 16, and Dale age 10, they had two daughters, both born in Virginia: Leona, age 6, and Ethel, age 4. They had apparently lost another child, but details are unknown. At this time, they were living on a rented farm and Tell was working as a farm laborer.[10]

Some time about 1911-12, my grandfather Clint and his wife Mary, moved from Audrain County to Howell County, also. We have some wonderful family group photos taken in Missouri from around that time. If you look closely at the photo below, I think you can see my grandmother's baby bump. She would have been pregnant with her third child Carl at this time. Her hairdo is the best!

Besides people identified on back: Children standing, l to r.: Leona Worley, Dale Worley, Ethel Worley, unknown, unknown. Adults standing, l to r: unknown, unknown and baby, Clint & Mary Troutman, unknown, Tell, Stelle, and Carl Worley.

 This next photo fascinates me, especially the woman wearing gaucho pants. What daring for 1911-12! I would like to know who she is. Also I love seeing these photos of Grandma Mary as a young mother. Mary is the third adult from right, and Stelle is the fourth.
Besides those identified on back below: To far left, Tell Worley, Leona in front of Stelle and Ethel in front of Mary.

c. 1912. I think Tell is the man in the light colored hat next to Stella, but the back identifies him as the "2nd man." Maybe the two males on the left are considered boys, so that would make the man next to Stelle the 2nd "man." Could the boys be Dale and Carl Worley, who would have been about 12 and 18?
Handwriting on the back of this photo identifies Ethel as "3rd girl" from right, but she is the 2nd. She was the youngest of Stelle's daughter, and the 3rd girl is obviously not younger than the 1st one. Compare the 2nd girl, with her long hair, to the girl identified as Ethel in the other photos.

Then they all moved to Nebraska. More on that next time.

[1] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Broad Ford Precinct, p. 119 (stamped), enumeration district [ED] 84, sheet 10-A, dwelling 166, family 167, Tell Worley household; digital image ( : accessed 11 December 2015); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1728. Estelle’s birth is the only one of Daniel and America’s children that is not recorded in birth books at the Smyth County courthouse. This census states her birth as Feb. 1870.
[2] 1850 U. S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, district 60, p. 176 (stamped), dwelling 261, family 265, Nicholas Pratt family, see Laura; NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 976.

[3] Records conflict as to Daisy’s birth date. (1) Smyth County Register of Births, Book I, p. 12, shows the birth of an unnamed female to D. A. and America Troutman on 27 June 1886. (2) U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, states her birth date as 22 January 1886. (3) California, Death Index, 1940-1997, states her birth date as 22 January 1885. (4) Her tombstone photo on Find A Grave shows 1885. (5) The 1900 U. S. census of Smyth Co. Va. states her birth date as Jan. 1884.

[4] Smyth County, Virginia, Register of Marriage, Book 1, p. 83, Wm. T. Worley and Laura E. Troutman, 16 November 1891; County Clerk’s Office, Marion. Tell was actually 36, not 33, as stated in the record.
[5] 1900 U. S. census, Smyth Co., Va., pop. sch., Broad Ford Precinct, p. 119 (stamped), ED 84, sheet 10-A, dwell. 166, fam. 167, Tell Worley household.
[6] "Virginia Deaths and Burials, 1853–1912," Harrie Lee Worley, database ( : accessed 11 December 2015).
[7] “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images (http://www., accessed 14 December 2015), card for William Tell Worley, serial number 1098, Local Draft Board, Wayne County, Nebraska.
[8] Virginia Birth Records, 1864-2014, digital image ( : accessed 14 December 2015); entry for William Tell Worley, 20 January 1884.
[9] 1910 U. S. census, Broadford, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 88, p. 10-B, dwelling 180, family 181, William T. Worley family; digital image ( : accessed 11 December 2015); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649. This census states that Will and Daisy have been married 3 years.
[10] 1910 U. S. census, Dry Creek, Howell County, Missouri, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 78, p. 10-A, dwelling 205, family 207, W. T. Worley family; digital image ( : accessed 10 December 2015); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 784.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More Treasures: Photos of Amanda Orr and Daughters

Grandma Mary's sister, Amanda, is the only one of her sisters that I can remember--and we didn't see her often. We called her Aunt Mandy. I wasn't particularly impressed with her. She was big and plain and I don't remember that she ever paid any attention to me. But that didn't matter. That's the way it was. My grandparents and aunts and uncles didn't gush over us, nor play with us, nor try to entertain us--except on the 4th of July when the uncles set off fireworks for us. At our family gatherings, the women had work to do getting the meal on the table; the men had macho things to talk about as they sat and smoked in the living room before and after dinner, which the noon meal was called. The evening meal was supper.

We children had cousins to play with. We didn't expect attention from the adults. There were too many of us--nineteen grandchildren. I was number eleven, the sixth girl--not a particularly auspicious position. We children ate at a separate table until we became teenagers. Then we could eat at the adults' table.

Aunt Mandy was just another one of the adults. Actually, she was not a part of any of our family gatherings, that I recall. We saw her at other times when she was visiting Grandma. The photo below shows her with her nephew, John Waggoner, the first born of Emery Waggoner, her brother. John came to live in Hartington, Nebraska, where Amanda lived, and was buried there. The young woman in the photo is one of Amanda's daughters, either Reba or Geneva according to a note on the back of the photo. (Thanks again to Lee Nelsen for these photos.)
John Waggoner, Amanda Orr, Reba or Geneva Orr. 

I love studying photos to see what I can learn, so I put my limited sleuthing skills to work on this photo and the next to see if I could figure out which daughter is shown in the first photo.

My conclusion: it's Geneva. I'll tell you why.
Reba Orr and her husband, Donald Torppa.

Notice the tree in the background of both photos, the identical curve of the branches to the right, and other landscape features. This make me think the photos were taken at the same outing. If that's the case and Reba is positively identified in the second photo, then the woman in the first photo is Geneva. They're wearing different outfits, the woman in the first photo appears to more slender than Reba in the second photo, and their hair is parted on opposite sides. The shadow of the photographer shows a woman wearing a skirt. Did the same woman take both photos? Or did Geneva and Reba take turns behind the camera? One could argue that the faces look much the same. If the photos are not the same woman, the two sisters looked a lot alike.

After all that, I must confess my bias in this study. I wanted this to be Geneva because I have no photos of her other than the grainy ones from the news stories of her murder (see link below).  I still think my evidence is valid that it's Geneva.

Next, here is another photo of Reba again with her husband, Donald Torppa. Reba and Donald eventually moved to Spokane, Washington, where they lived in 1960 and were both employed as teachers in the public schools.[1]
Reba and Donald Torppa, 1945.

For my original post on Amanda, click here.
For the first of the stories on Geneva's murder, click here.
[1] U. S. City Directories, 1822-1925, Spokane, Washington, City Directory, 1960; digital image ( : accessed 8 Dec. 2015); citing Donald Torppa and Reba Torppa.