On This Day – March 27, 1927

John Norman Webber and Beatrice Irene Jensen were married March 27, 1927 in Tyler, Minnesota.

Webber, John Norman wedding 1927

Norman was the first child of Myron David Webber and Dorinda Rebecca Strange. He was my grandmother Abbie’s older brother and my great-uncle.

This quote from a Webber family newsletter sheds light on how Norman, who lived in Iowa met Irene, who lived in Minnesota:
Their first summer in Iowa City, Myron, Dorinda and 6 of their children lived in a tent in City Park – with no sleeping bags. It was a momentous summer – here in the park, Norman met Irene, who was in town visiting her cousin Phil Norman.

And here we have a picture of Irene, Norman, and a woman whom I would guess is Irene’s mother. The photo is identified with these words:
1926
In Tyler
Showing my ring
Irene
Webber, John Norman and Irene 1926 Tyler, MN Showing my ringIrene looks really happy, but she’s not giving us a good view of that ring!

Twenty-three guests signed the memory book at the wedding. There are no names from Uncle Norman’s family.

N-Guest List wedding Norman&Irene Webber363 (1)

Attendees of the wedding of Norman and Irene Webber

Cousins have been emailing back and forth the past few days helping me by sharing information and documents. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) Some had heard that there was a rush to the altar, but no one knows for sure. Whether or not this was a “shotgun wedding” – perhaps due to a false alarm – it was a marriage that lasted and all agree that their love for one another was genuine.

The photo on the left was taken on their 1st Anniversary. The photo on the right on their 22nd Anniversary in 1949.

1st-anniv-1928 (1) copy                22nd Anniversary

And here we have Norman and Irene opening gifts on their 25th anniversary at the home of Ersel Webber Addis and Laird Addis.
Webber, John Norman 25th wedding anniversaryUncle Norman was known to have rather unruly hair.

Norman and Irene lived in West Lucas Township, near Coralville in Johnson County, Iowa for many years. They appear there in both the 1930 and 1940 census. Norman and Irene lived a simple rural life as described in this undated story by Norman:
Webber, John Norman writings pg 1 This is our home, 1927_20170325_0001

"Goat Island"

“Goat Island” Click to enlarge

Uncle Norman may not have given a monetary value to his home, but the 1930 census taker valued it at $300. To give some context, other homes on that page were valued in the thousands. Uncle Norman earned his living as a plasterer and it was not full-time work.

I love Uncle Norman’s sense of humor and writing style. “After leaning lean-tos completely surround the house and lean-tos leaning lean-tos to the lean-tos, we are beginning to feel just a bit crowded again. Shall we repeat the cycle?”

Norman’s words: “We have learned to live with the two of us” seem to echo their sense of loss in having no children. But this story also makes clear that Norman and Irene felt great joy in having nieces and nephews come to visit and be a part of their lives. As cousin Yvonne wrote in an email, “We are their children.”

In later years, Norman and Irene lived with Norman’s parents in Iowa City. They also lived in a house on the property of Norman’s sister Abbie and her husband Charles (my grandparents). I wrote a little about their home and business in Charles’ and Abbie’s Place.

One more story for this wedding anniversary post. As a wedding gift, Uncle Norman gave one of his nephews and his bride a “kissing stool” because of their height difference. As you can see, Uncle Norman was well acquainted with this particular problem.
n-i-6 copy

 

Election Day 2016

I felt the need to wear some inspiration on this election day, so as I hurried out the door, I grabbed a few accessories. Perhaps I am a bit mismatched, but oh well.

img_3074-1

1. The peace symbol necklace was a gift from my great-grandmother, who was a devout Christian and a staunch Democrat. She loved us and she liked us. I wear it for all the matriarchs and mothers who have given me an inheritance of love and strength.
2. The earrings are a gift made by an ESL student from Mexico who is now an American citizen. I wear them for the immigrant community in Austin and in the United States, for refugees in peril, and for my immigrant ancestors.
3. The bead necklace was brought back from Iran by one of my students. I wear it for those who are marginalized, ostracized, or victimized because of nationality, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, language, custom, or disability.
4. My Wendy filibuster shoes. I wear them for all the women who stand when they are too tired to stand, don’t eat until others are fed, and who work tirelessly. I wore them when I filibustered cancer and I wear them today for all who need affordable and accessible health and reproductive care.
5. To complete my outfit, I’m wearing jeans because there is a lot of work to do for justice and mercy and because there is a lot of playing to do too.
6. I’m wearing my white shirt for the suffragettes and feminists who struggled before me and who continue the work today.

Now back to that peace symbol – that is my deepest wish, intention and prayer for us today. May we seek peace, may we find peace, may we share peace.

A Day in Appanoose County

2016 Trip to Iowa Day 3

I was going along pretty well here, writing about my recent trip to Iowa. Then came the maddening, frustrating realization that I experienced a major technical failure on this particular day of my trip. It was my own un-techy fault. Unprepared. Ill equipped. Lacking knowledge. So I stopped writing mid-trip. Really, I am so bummed out about it. Nevertheless, it was a lovely day! Here goes …

2016-iowa-mystic-water-tower-copyWhen I was in Iowa four years ago, my Uncle Roy wanted to take me to Mystic, the town where he and my mom and their siblings were born and spent their early years. I ran out of time during that visit, so I made sure to reserve a day for a trip to Mystic this time.

Mystic, and the rest of Appanoose County, experienced a boom during the late 1800s and early 1900s because of coal mining in the area. Later, the mines ran out and many of the towns are now a mere shadow of what they once were. For today, we’ll just focus on the trip and I’ll hope to write more about Mystic and the lives of my family there another day.

map-of-appanoose-travelsThankfully, I had swapped out the two-door hatchback for a four-door sedan so that Uncle Roy, Aunt Joan and I could travel in relative comfort. I picked them up at their RV in Ottumwa Park and we were on our way mid morning. I was so thankful to have Uncle Roy as my navigator and tour guide.

The first stop on our trip was Elgin Cemetery in Mystic, where members of my Hoskins side of the family are buried. My great-grandmother’s stone was easy to find.

Sarah Elizabeth Hoskins nee Bryan

Sarah Elizabeth Hoskins nee Bryan

sarah-elizabeth-bryan-hoskinsSARAH
ELIZABETH
HOSKINS
JAN 27, 1864
JAN 7, 1939

Prepare to meet
me in Heaven

Sarah Elizabeth Hoskins, nee Bryan was my maternal grandfather’s mother.

Her daughters were buried nearby.

Edna Hoskins Martin and John

Edna Hoskins Martin and John

Ethel Hoskins Bland, Mark and Barbara

Ethel Hoskins Bland, Mark and Barbara

Morlan?

Morlan?

But where was her husband?

We looked and looked for Thomas Franklin Hoskins, but he was nowhere to be found. His death certificate confirms that he should be here, but we could not find even an indentation or tiny mark where an unmarked grave might be. Just to the left of Sarah Hoskins’ marker was a small metal marker. It is difficult to read, but I think the name is Morlan and other Morlans are nearby.

stickler-adaThere are a lot of Sticklers and Milburns buried in Elgin Cemetery – both family lines that married into my family tree, so I took pictures of their markers as well. There were a lot of old stones that were impossible, or nearly impossible, to read. Someone had taken black paint to preserve the names on the old Stickler markers. I know this is frowned upon, but I do understand the motivation. The names on those stones were not long for this world.

 

Taking pictures of grave markers always seems to be a challenge for me. Here is one of my photo fails. Like my big yellow bag?
wife-of-wm-e

I found this short video someone took at Elgin Cemetery. It doesn’t show the part of the cemetery where our family is buried, but gives a view of the landscape.

I’m just going to stop here and write about the rest of my day in Appanoose County in another post ’cause I’m still bummed about what happened next.

P.S. You can enlarge small photos by clicking on them.

To Do List:
Find the location of great-grandfather’s grave in Elgin Cemetery. Thomas Franklin Hoskins.

Related posts:
Flying Solo – Day 1 of this trip
Bonaparte Retreat – Day 2 of this trip
Puzzling Penmanship – includes pictures of Thomas F. Hoskins home and children
Sisters, But Not – Edna Hoskins