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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gay Nedd: Fourth Marriage and Later Life



For previous posts about Mrs. Nedd see "Who Was Mrs. Nedd?," "Mrs. Nedd's Second Marriage," and "Gaynelle Moritz Nedd Marries a Third Time."

We left Gaynelle in Houston, Texas, married to Paul B. Wagenseller to whom she had been married about 14 years. The last record of their being together was a 1932 Houston City Directory. When the marriage ended is unknown.

And then, somehow, Gay and her first husband, Earl J. Nedd, got together again. They remarried in Denver, Colorado on 17 January 1937.1 The next year, Paul Wagenseller took off for a trip to Europe.2

How romantic for the two young lovers to reunite after thirty years! you might think so, but no. Apparently, the second marriage between Earl and Gay didn’t fare any better than the first. By 1940, Gay Nedd, manager of the guesthouse where my aunt Neville stayed in 1939, was divorced.3 Earl Nedd was married to Helen and living in San Francisco again with his daughters, Shirley and Patricia, and two of Helen’s sons. Earl was manager of the meat packing company.4

Finding more details about Gaynelle after 1940 is difficult without going to the various places where she lived. She seems to have been an attractive and enterprising woman, not content to live with someone who didn’t suit her. She likely never married again, for the name Nedd is on her tombstone. When she lived on her own, she was self-sufficient and enterprising. The husbands she chose were men of some means who went on to lead financially successful lives. Evidence indicates that her son Louis and his family lived near her much of his life. Eventually, she returned to Houston, Texas, lived to the age of 84 and succumbed to lung disease on 20 February 1975. She was buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery. Her devoted son Louis supplied the information for her death certificate.5
Find A Grave photo by "Moon Child."
As for the later lives of Gaynelle’s husbands:

1. When Earl Joseph Nedd registered for the World War II draft in 1942, he lived in San Francisco and was employed by the South San Francisco Packing & Provision Company. He named his daughter, Mrs. R. G. Davey, as the person who would always know his whereabouts.6 Earl died at age 66 on 22 July 1952 in San Mateo County, California, and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.7
Earl J. Nedd's signature from his World War II draft registration.
2. Harry Boyd Brown lived for a time in Germantown, Pennsylvania. On his World War II draft registration, he named Miss Jeanne Brown of Pikesville, Maryland, as the person who would always know his whereabouts.8 Was she his daughter? After an illustrious career of twenty-two years with Philco, part of that time as National Advertising Manager,9 in demand as a speaker for advertising conventions, and writing for industry magazines, he retired in 1950. But he wasn’t finished working. He became president of the Kenya Gem Corporation 10 and copyrighted a couple of advertising slogans. He died at age 84 in Dade, Florida in 1968.11
Harry Boyd Brown's signature from World War I draft registration
Harry Boyd Brown's signature from magazine article cited in 9.

3. Eventually, Paul Brandom Wagenseller had his own law practice in Houston, Texas. On his World War II draft registration, he named his father as the person who would always know his whereabouts.12 At some point, he remarried. He died 2 May 1971 and was buried next his "beloved wife," Grace (nèe Tatters), at Forest Park East Cemetery, Webster, Harris County Texas. 13
Paul B. Wagenseller's signature from his WWII draft registration.
Wagenseller, Paul & Grace, Find A Grave photo by "Taterhands."
Online research can reveal much about our ancestors and anyone else who intrigues us. My effort to answer the question "Who was Mrs. Nedd?" was piqued by my aunt Neville Troutman's statement in a letter from Denver, Colorado to her sister Virginia in Winside, Nebraska that she liked Mrs. Nedd, her landlady and employer at a rooming house there. Aunt Neville didn't like just anyone and everyone. Something about Mrs. Nedd must have impressed her. I wanted to know more. Through records on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Newspapers.com, Hathi-Trust.org, Findagrave. com, and Google, I have learned much about the life of this intriguing woman and the people surrounding her. If she were my ancestor, I would go into more depth with research in the places where she lived, but this much has satisfied my curiosity.

1 Arapahoe County, Colorado, “County Marriages and State Indexes, 1862-2006,” digital image FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 21 March 2017); entry for Earl J. Nedd and Gaynelle M. Wagenseller, 17 January 1937.
2 “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), citing Paul Wagensellar, arriving New York, from Southampton, England on the Champlain, 13 October 1938.
3 1940 U. S. census, Denver, Denver Co., Co., pop. sched., ED 16-21, sheet 10-A, no. 135, Gay Nedd household.
4 1940 U. S. census, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, population schedule, enumeration district 38-378, sheet 5-A, visit no. 4, Earl Nedd household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com ; accessed 27 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T-627, roll 312. 
5 “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), for Gaynelle M. Nedd, 29 February 1975. 
6 “U. S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” digital images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Earl Joseph Nedd, serial number 2552, Local Draft Board, San Francisco County, California. 
7San Mateo California Colma Cemetery Index, 1887-2001,” database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 March 2017), citing Earl J. Nedd, 1952. 
8 “U. S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” digital images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Harry Boyd Brown, serial number 2149, Local Draft Board, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 
9 Harry Boyd Brown, “Mystery Control Will Deliver the Radio Prospects of America to the Philco, Dealers,” Radio Today, July 1938, p. 8 (http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Radio-Today/30s/Radio-Today-1938-07.pdf : accessed 22 March 2017). 
10 Anne Haywood, “Your Career,” Shamokin (Pennsylvania) News-Dispatch, 16 Dec. 1958, p. 4, col. 2; Newpapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/10218755/h_b_brown_career/ : accessed 27 March 2017). Searching Newspapers.com for "Harry Boyd Brown" results in numerous article about him and his career in advertising.
11 Social Security Administration, “U. S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current,” database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com, accessed 24 March 2017), entry for Harry Boyd Brown, 1968, SSN --- -- -061. Also, for the advertising slogan copyright: Library of Congress, Catalog of Copyright Entries, Ser. 3, pt. 11B, v. 13-15, 1959-1961, Labels (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1891- ) 42; Hathi-Trust (http://www.hathi-trust.org : accessed 11 April 2017) search words: "'Harry Boyd Brown' copyright".
12 “U. S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” digital images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Paul Brandom Wagenseller, serial number 4463, Local Draft Board, Harris County, Texas. 
13 Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 March 2017), photograph, memorial # 131971537, Paul Wagenseller (1893-1971), Forest Park East Cemetery, Webster, Harris County, Texas; gravestone photographed by “Taterhands.”  


© 2017, Z. T. Noble
 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gaynelle Moritz Nedd Brown Marries a Third Time




The first two parts of Mrs. Nedd's story were posted previously. If you need to catch up with the story, go to "Who Was Mrs. Nedd?"  and "Mrs. Nedd's Second Marriage".
 
Brief overview: Gaynelle Moritz, age 16 (she claimed she was 19) married Earl Joseph Nedd, age 22, in Davenport, Iowa on 15 July 1907. She filed for divorce in Omaha in January 1909. In 1910, she and her two-year-old son, Louis, were living with her parents in Omaha. Earl Nedd lived in Centralia, Washington. Gaynelle remarried to businessman Harry Boyd Brown later that year. Their marriage had dissolved by 1913, but during this marriage, evidence suggests that Gaynelle may have developed her own business enterprise.

In 1918, Gay remarried. This time, she chose Paul Brandom Wagenseller, a Decatur, Illinois native son. Paul and Gaynelle ran off to Boston, Massachusetts, to get married1 (another destination wedding!). Paul’s parents were Blanch Brandom and Charles Newton Wagenseller,2 a former newspaper man and partner in Mueller Manufacturing in Decatur. In fact, Paul's uncle George Wagenseller owned The Decatur Herald.Perhaps that's the reason I found many articles including information about the Wagenseller family.

About three years younger than Gay,4 Paul was a musician in high school who had sung in the Glee Club and played a flute in the orchestra.5 After high school, he had gone to law school in Chicago and made visits home to see his father as noted several times in the society columns of The Decatur Herald.6 By 1916, Paul had joined the 1st Field Hospital Corps, I. N. G. serving in Texas. The Decatur Herald ran several articles on him and other hometown boys who joined the same unit.7 Light haired, gray-eyed Paul was still single when he registered for the World War I Draft in 1917.8 

Paul Wagenseller with Glee Club, 1910.
The next year Paul married Gay. With Gay living in Omaha and Paul in Chicago, how they met is a mystery. Perhaps, Gay's association with the Madame Josephine Boyd company took her to Chicago more often than simply the trip to marry Harry Boyd Brown.
By 1920, Paul, Gay, and eleven- year-old Louis had moved to Houston, Texas and were living with Gay’s parents and her brother Ralph. The elder Moritz was working for the railroad, Paul Wagenseller was an accountant, and Ralph Moritz was a salesman for a newspaper.9 Gay’s brother Carl Ray and his family had also moved to Houston, where Carl was the proprietor of a restaurant.10

Meanwhile, Gay's first husband, Earl Nedd and his second wife Mynie had added two children to their nest: Stewart, age 7, and Shirley, a baby. In San Francisco, Earl was a salesman for a meat packing plant.11

Gay’s marriage to Paul Wagenseller lasted longer than her first two marriages, for she and Paul were still together in Houston in 1930. Living in the same city at age 21, Gay’s son Louis, worked as a salesman for a retail grocery and was married to Margaret, a stenographer for an auto parts store. Paul and Gay were still together in the 1932 city directory for Houston, Texas. Paul was an accountant.12

Meanwhile, 1930 found Earl Nedd still in San Francisco, but tragedy had struck his family. His wife Mynie had died in November 1929.13 The census shows that two more children had been added to his nest: Jerome H., age 8, and Patricia M., a baby. Did Minnie die in childbirth? Earl was working in the “executive department” of a “produce company.”14

Apparently, Gay and Paul Wagenseller divorced sometime between 1932 (the city directory date) and 1937, the year Gay married for a fourth time. Next week.


1 “Massachusetts Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966 – 1970,” database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), citing Paul B. Wagenaeller and Merta G. Nedd (Mority), 1918.
2 “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 May 2014), Paul Wagenseller, 2 May 1971. This names his parents and includes his mother’s maiden name, Brandom.
3 “Mueller Exhibit Best Displayed,” The Decatur Herald, 1 July 1909, p. 18, col. 3; Newspprs.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9733677/charles_n_wagenseller/: accessed 22 March 2017). Also, “Wag Is Dean of Herald’s Staff,” The Decatur Herald, 5 October 1930, p. 46, col. 2: Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/
9733816/the_decatur_herald/: accessed 22 March 2017).
4 “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Paul B. Wagenseller, serial number 677, Local Draft Board, Decatur County, Illinois.
5 “High School Notes,” The Decatur Herald, 29 Nov. 1906, p. 3, col. 4; Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com/clip/9713353/p_wagenseller_flute/ : accessed 22 March 2017). Also, “High School Boys Glee Club,” photo, The Decatur Herald, 13 April 1910, p. 8, cols. 1-4; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9713851/
with_glee_club_p_wagenseller/: accessed 22 March 2017).
6 “Twenty-five Years Ago Today,” The Decatur Herald, 26 Dec. 1936, p. 6, col. 2; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9713602/law_school/ : accessed 22 March 2017).
7 “Paul Wagenseller Enlisted,” The Decatur Herald, 22 June 1916, p. 3, col. 2; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9713432/the_decatur_herald/ : accessed 22 March 2017). Also, “Paul Wagenseller Praises Treatment,” 24 May 1917, p. 3, col. 3; (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9713653/the_decatur_herald/).
8 “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” card for Paul B. Wagenseller, serial number 677, Local Draft Board, Decatur Co., Illinois.
9 1920 U. S. census, Houston, Harris County, Texas, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 90, p. 13-B, dwelling 242, family 282, William Moritz household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1814.
10 1920 U. S. census, Houston, Harris County, Texas, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 90, p. 4-A, dwelling 29, family 51, C. R. Martz [Moritz] household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1813.
11 1920 U. S. census, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 147, p. 1-A, dwelling 1, family 7, E. J. Nedd household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 136.
12 Houston Texas, City Directory, 1932, “U. S. City Directories, 1822-1925,” digital images Ancesty.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 March 2017), citing Paul B. Wagenseller (Gaynelle).
13 “Town Talk,” The Chehalis Bee-Nugget, 15 Nov. 1929, p. 7, col. 1; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9712653/minnie_nedd/ : accessed 22 March 2017).
14 1930 U. S. census, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 38-231, sheet 8-B, dwelling n/a, family n/a, Earl J. Nedd family; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 203. The names of this family and all the info on them have been crossed out on the census. Yet, it has all been transcribed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mrs. Nedd's Second Marriage



The first part of Mrs. Nedd's story was posted last week. If you haven't read it, go to "Who Was Mrs. Nedd?"

Brief overview: Gaynelle Moritz, age 16 (she claimed she was 19) married Earl Joseph Nedd, age 22, in Davenport, Iowa on 15 July 1907. She filed for divorce in Omaha in January 1909. In 1910, she and her two-year-old son, Louis, were living with her parents in Omaha. Earl Nedd lived in Centralia, Washington.

Two days after the census was taken, 21 April 1910, Earl, age 24, married Mynie Mae Hoard, age 19.1 By this time, Earl’s parents had also moved to the northwest, to Portland, Oregon. The elder Louis was general manager for an excavating company.2

Soon, Gay also remarried. She really was 19 this time. She chose a tall, slender man with blue eyes and brown hair, Harry Boyd Browne. Born in Michigan about 1884 and living in Douglas County Nebraska with his mother in 1910, Harry worked in the mail order beauty and women’s health products business.3 The company was called the Madame Josephine Boyd system of Chicago, which had an office in Omaha; Harry was one of the owners.4

Gay and Harry ran off to Chicago (another destination wedding) and tied the knot on 16 July 1910.5 In 1911, Harry’s company was sued for $5,000.00 by Mrs. Lillian Bell, “a beautiful divorcee,” for using her photograph in their advertising without her permission.6 Lillian was awarded $1.00 for her efforts.7

Gaynelle may have assisted Harry with his business during this time, for ads using her maiden name ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“LADIES CAN MAKE at least $5 daily at home evenings, no canvassing; experience unnecessary; nothing whatever to buy. Particulars free. Gaynelle Moritz, Omaha, Neb.”8

On the other hand, these ads may have represented Gay's own business, for she apparently obtained a copyright on a "system of fat reduction and general health."9
This second marriage lasted not much longer than the first one, but no record of a divorce has been found online, as yet. Certainly, it had ended by 25 August 1913 when Harry remarried in Oceana County, Michigan to Agnes Gabrielson.10

Meanwhile, Earl and Mynie Nedd had moved to San Francisco, California by 1917 when Earl registered for the World War I draft.12

Who was Gaynelle's third husband? Next week.


1 Lewis County, Washington, “Marriage Records, 1824-2014,” digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); entry for Earl J. Nedd and Mynie Mae Hoard, 21 April 1910.
21910 U. S. census, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 217, p. 16-B, dwelling 20, family 19, Louis W. Nedd household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1289.
3 1910 U. S. census, Dundee, Douglas County, Nebraska, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 98, p. 4-B, dwelling 102, family 105, Jane Browne household, see Harry B. Browne; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 845. For Harry’s physical description: “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Harry Boyd Brown, serial number 16, Local Draft Board, Cook County, Illinois.
4 “One Beauty Doctor a Man,” Omaha Daily Bee, 27 October 1911, p. 5, col. 5; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9728124/omaha_daily_bee/ : accessed 22 March 2017).
5 Cook County, Illinois, “Marriages Index, 1871-1920, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); entry for Gaynelle Nedd and Harry Boyd Browne, 16 July 1910.
6 “One Beauty Doctor a Man,” Omaha Daily Bee, 27 Oct. 1911, p. 5, col. 5.
7 “Lillian Bell Gets $1.00 Verdict,” Omaha Daily Bee, 2 Nov. 1911, p. 5, col. 4; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9728081/omaha_daily_bee/ : accessed 22 March 2017).
8 “Salesladies Wanted,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 Feb. 1912, p. 40, col. 4; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9730823/gaynelle_moritz_ad/ : accessed 22 March 2017). Also, “Personals,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 22 Oct. 1911, p. 38, col. 5; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9730862/gaynelle_col_5/ : accessed 22 March 2017).
9 Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1. [B] Group 2 Pamphlets, Etc. New Series. 1911:3; (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1911), 1123; digital image Hathi Trust (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924112597723;view=1up;seq=1157 : accessed 23 March 2017), Moritz, Gaynelle, co. Omaha, Neb.
10 Oceana County, Michigan, “Marriage Records, 1867-1962,” digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017); entry for Harry Brown and Agust [Agnes] Gabrielson, 25 August 1913.
11 “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” card for Earl Joseph Nedd, serial number 145, Local Exemption Board, San Francisco County, California. Names wife: Mynne Hoard Nedd.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Who was Mrs. Nedd?



Sometimes my curiosity lures me down rabbit holes, you might say. A name pops up in a letter: “Mrs. Nedd,” Aunt Neville’s employer and landlady in Denver. “I like the lady we work for,” Neville had written.1 Who was this lady? I had to find out.

The 1940 census divulges a lot: Gay Nedd, age 49, was manager of a guesthouse in Denver, Colorado. Her daughter-in-law, Margaret Nedd, age 30, was her assistant, and her only child Louis Nedd, age 31, worked as a salesman for an auto retail supplier. Margaret and Louis had two sons: nine-year-old Louis H. and five-year-old William. Gay had an eighth grade education. Twenty-two guests lived in the house—two married couples, one divorced woman, and the rest singles—eleven men and eleven women. Divorced, Gay had married the first time at age 16 and had been married more than once.2 Who were her husbands? Five years earlier, Gay had been living in Huston, Texas. Why had she come to Denver?

Gay was born Merta Gaynelle Moritz in Superior, Nebraska, on 15 September 1890 to William H. Moritz, a “house carpenter,” and Minnie Belinda (née Ray) Moritz,3 who had migrated to Nebraska from Pennsylvania. Gaynelle had two brothers: Carl Ray, three years older, and Ralph H., seven years younger. In 1900, the family lived in Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska’s farthest southeastern county.4

Seven years later when Gay married, the family lived in Omaha. At age 16 (she claimed she was 19), Gay was married 15 July 1907 to Earl Joseph Nedd, age 22. Gay and Earl ran off across the state of Iowa to Davenport, to get married,5 a destination wedding, you might say. 
Marriage record, Davenport, Iowa, Earl's portion
Marriage record, Gaynelle's portion

Tall and slender with black hair and grey eyes,6 Earl was a “travelingman,” an only child born in Nebraska, to Louis Joseph Nedd and Mabel Margaret King.7 The elder Nedd was involved in the real estate business in Omaha.8

The marriage lasted less than two years. Gay filed for divorce in January 1909 claiming cruelty and desertion.9 In 1910, she and her two-year-old son, Louis Joseph Nedd, named for his paternal grandfather, were living with Gay’s parents. She was designated a widow,10 but Earl Nedd was alive and well and living in Centralia, Lewis County, Washington. His marital status was divorced, and he was working as a “commercial traveler” for a packinghouse.11
Gaynelle's life gets more intriguing as it goes. Next week, second husband.


1 Neville Troutman, Denver, Colorado, to Virginia Troutman, letter, 18 June 1939; tells about her work and activities in Denver; Family Letters CD, privately held by Z. T. Noble, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
2 1940 U. S. census, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, population schedule, enumeration district 16-21, sheet 10-A, visit no. 135, Gay Nedd household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com ; accessed 9 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T-627, roll n/a.
3 Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982, digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017) entry for Gaynelle M. Nedd, 20 Feb. 1975. Also, Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 March 2017), photograph, memorial # 82994747, Gaynell M. Moritz Nedd (1890 – 1975), Forest Park Cemetery, Houston, Harris County, Texas; gravestone photographed by “Moon Child.” 
4 1900 U. S. census, Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 139, sheet 8-B, dwelling 177, family 182, William Moritz household, see Merta G. Moritz; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 938.
5 Ibid.
6 “U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 March 2017), card for Earl Joseph Nedd, serial number 145, Local Exemption Board, San Francisco County, California.
7 Scott County, Iowa, “Iowa Marriage Records, 1880-1937,” digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); entry for Earl Joseph Nedd and Merta Gaynell Moritz, 15 July 1907. Also, Scott County, Iowa, “Iowa Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996, database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); entry for Earl Joseph Nedd and Merta Gaynell Moritz, 15 July 1907. This source gives Louis J. Nedd’s birth place as Granada, Mississippi, but numerous other sources cite Nebraska, including record of marriage to his second wife: “Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013,” digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); entry for Earl J. Nedd and Mynie May Hoard, 25 Apr. 1910.
8 “Messrs. Hall and Stout. . .,” Omaha Daily Bee, 27 September 1905, p. 5, col. 4; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9773885/louis_j_nedd_1/ : accessed 24 March 2017). Also, “Articles of Incorporation,” Omaha Daily Bee, 20 November 1887, p. 11, col. 7; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9773903/louis_j_nedd_2/ : accessed 24 March 2017). Several other articles citing Louis J. Nedd and his business in Omaha can also be found by searching his name on Newpapers,com.
9 “Cruelty and Nonsupport,” Omaha Daily Bee, 8 January 1909, p. 5; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/9712962/nedd_divorce/ : accessed 22 March 2017).
10 1910 U. S. census, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 56, p. 9-A, dwelling 148, family 174, William Morritz household, see Gay Nedd; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 844.
11 1910 U. S. census, Centralia, Lewis County, Washington, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 133, p. 3-B, dwelling 66, family 72, Joseph M. Jones household, see Earl J. Nedd, lodger; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1666.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Neville Goes to Denver


Noon, 18 June 1939, Denver, Colorado

Neville, c. early 1930s.
Neville sat at a small table in her basement apartment writing a letter to her sister Virginia Troutman back home in Winside, Nebraska. She had been describing the drudgery of her work. There must be something good she could say. She paused and looked at her surroundings. The two basement rooms where she lived were adequate for her and her friend Jean. The bed was just the right firmness, not too hard, not too soft. Windows let in light and air from the street. She breathed the cool evening air wafting in from an open window. So nice! Oh, the stifling heat of Nebraska summer nights! She was glad to be away from that.1 But the windows were situated too high for her to see out. She hated that she was so short, the shortest one in the family. Pap always said she took after his mother that way.


Bored with their small town teaching jobs in Meadow Grove, Nebraska, Neville and Jean had taken off for Denver hoping for a change. Maybe they could get teaching jobs in Colorado, but so far nothing. To support themselves over the summer, they hired on as maids in a rooming house in downtown Denver.2

Neville had no complaints about her employer: “I like the lady we work for. She’s from Texas. Came here two years ago & started this boarding house [at 906 Grant Street]. It’s in one of the best parts of Denver. There are two swell hotels in the same block. They are the highest buildings here except for Daniels and Fishers Tower.”3 Neville's employer, Gay Nedd, a divore, had come to Denver with her son Louis, his wife Margaret and their two young sons. Margaret assisted her with the work. Louis had found a job as a salesman for an auto supplier.4 Today, Louis and Margaret and the boys had gone to the mountains for the day.5 Exploring Denver and driving to the mountains relieved Neville and Jean of the tedium of their work.

Oh, the work was such a bore! Neville hated it. First they had to get up at 6:30 a.m., too early! She and Jean helped Mrs. Nedd prepare and serve breakfast for twenty boarders. And, oh, those boarders! All “old maids & baches,” they thought they were “pumkins” [sic]. Neville had had enough of them. She had tried to talk Jean into going home, but her friend wanted to stay. 6

Going home meant teaching at Meadow Grove again, so maybe staying here was best for now. Virginia had written her about an open teaching position at Bloomfield, Nebraska, but she had called too late. If only she had called the day before, but she had been suffering from a terrible headache and couldn’t talk on the phone.  She considered going back to college: “I’d rather borrow money and go back to school than go back to M. G.” She wondered if her brother Verne would be coming home from Virginia: “If [he does,] let me know ‘cause I’m quitting this and coming home. How do you suppose he would like to come out after me? You could come along and we could drive up in the mountains.”7 Wouldn't that be fun! 

Neville’s financial situation was stable: “I sent and got my check,” she wrote. “I still have $100 dollars in Traveler’s checks. I bought me 3 uniforms @$1.50, a pair of sport oxfords $2.98, white with crepe rubber soles, 1 white apron .39 & a pair of black & white pumps. $3.98. I got stung on the pumps. I can’t wear them. I’m taking them back tomorrow.” The pumps made her right foot “awful sore” and hurt her “big toe & instep.”8

She signed her letter and added one more sentence: “P.S. Don’t say anything much about me coming home . . . but you never know I might walk in one of these days.”9

Neville did walk in before summer was over. She kept her teaching position at Meadow Grove for at least two more years. But she continued to explore her options.
 Sept. 1939: James, Virginia, Mary, Neville; back: Carl, Clint, Verne.

Neville with her grades 3-4 students, Meadow Grove 1940-41.
Neville, seated 2nd from left, with Meadow Grove teachers.

1 Neville Troutman, Denver, Colorado, to Virginia Troutman, letter, 18 June 1939; tells about her work and activities in Denver; Family Letters CD, copy privately held by Z. T. Noble, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 1940 U. S. census, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, population schedule, enumeration district 16-21, sheet 10-A, visit no. 135, Gay Nedd household; digital image Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com ; accessed 9 March 2017); NARA microfilm publication T-627, roll n/a.
5 Neville Troutman, Denver, Colorado, to Virginia Troutman, letter, 18 June 1939.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.