Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grandma Brooks.....revisited

July, 1913
As a footnote to my last weeks Sepia Saturday,  I really had little time to describe very much about the wedding photo.  It is actually one of those oval photos that has been pressed into a curved glass and placed in an oval frame.  I squared it up to help make the appearance to be more acceptable. The problem with the oval photo is that it is hard to have their faces in focus from that kind of picture. They are distorted because of the contour shape.

This is the back view of the whole photo. You can almost see the concave shape of this photo.

This is the front view of it. I have carefully taken it out of the frame as the curved convex glass is very rare and it gave off too much reflection.  The original photo was a black and white with very delicate hand painting on the faces and gold paint on bracelet and the locket hanging from her neck.

My Grandmother Mable Zella Wheeler Brown Brooks was a very hard working woman who would never complain about anything.  She was in the hospital with colon cancer, and her bed needed to be readjusted.  It was an old fashioned one that nurses had to hand crank to adjust it at the foot of the bed.  She would get out of bed and crank her own bed to where she wanted it rather than ask for help.

I remember seeing her sitting at her treadle sewing machine making aprons.  I remember her making fruit cake and placing the batter into wax paper lined coffee cans for baking. I remember the joy she had when I painted her house for free as a college kid, and she bought some bright yellow paint for the kitchen and it made her the happiest person alive.   I would stay with her in the winter while my parents vacationed and I was still in high school.  In them middle of winter, she would shut her fuel oil heater off for the entire night and sleep under an electric blanket as she didn't have a lot of money for fuel.

The dress she is wearing at the age of 16 is still in existence.  I actually have the whole wedding outfit except for the gold locket.  My mother gave it to her oldest granddaughter.  The bracelet is gold and I have it also but it is in disrepair. 
I know this is not your family tree type blog today, but it is a sideline blog of the curiosity of this photo.  I don't know where they had taken the picture, but I suspect it was in Winterset, Iowa. The town near all the Madison County covered bridges.  It was the home area for both of them at the time and they did stay in the area after they married for quite a few years.

Not intending to confuse anyone, but I have created a separate blog for Sepia Saturday.  I may go back and bring all the other Saturday postings to this site but for now this will be it's first.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grandpa and Grandma.....

Leroy Martin Brown married Mabel Zella Wheeler in July. 1913.  They had three children, Marvin, Kenneth and Zella Marie Brown, my mother.

My Grandfather Leroy Brown was born in Illinois.  I don't know the first name of his father as he died when Leroy was three years old.  I know nothing about that side of the family other than the Great Grandfather Brown of mine who died,  was married to a Rosella Mason. They had one other son besides Leroy. I have some documents to still figure out with this set of people and  I think I do have the info, I just need to get it straightened out so I can understand it. It  was all in my mother's things. 
And no, this is not the person Jim Croce wrote about in his song "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown." I will someday know the day Leroy was born as he is buried in the Macksburg, Iowa in the Moon Cemetery with my Grandmother.  Leroy died in 1937.

My Grandmother, Mabel Zella Wheeler Brown was born in 1897.  She was a sister to six brothers.  I have a scant few pictures of her brothers, Weaver, Lee, Elga, Colis, Elva and one more unknown to me. I did know three of her brothers and their wives. 

She was sixteen when she became married.  They lived very poor lives moving from place to place. My mother said that she was at a different country school every year until she went into high school. In some ways I think maybe the rent was due and they had to move on.  My Grandmother was the one that they called when babies were born.  Mom said they would call on her and she would be gone sometime more than two weeks.  She never got paid for it and it made things tough at home. 

Her husband, my grandfather died in 1937 of TB, they would have been married 24 years.  I don't know a lot about him but my brothers and I had a feeling that he was not a very successful man. From some of the stories, I know that he was a grave digger, but there must have other things that he worked at in his life.  Some of his casual pictures makes me wonder if he was a gruff guy, or just plain need glasses.

I have a couple of cousins that do look like him and I believe his one son probably resembled him.  Leroy is on the far right side of the group of fishermen.

Here is where the story gets more complicated. My great grandmother as I mentioned at the top was Rosella Mason Brown.  She is the oldest woman in the picture in the front row. When her husband died, my great grandfather Brown, she then remarried to a man with the last name of Driver.  She had five more children in that marriage.

In the picture above he, Mr. Driver, has already died as she is the only elder person in the photo.  Under the second x from the left stands my grandma, Mabel Zella Brown Brooks.  She remarried in 1943, the tall guy on the far right, Oscar Brooks. He was a widower with two children.

The guy leaning on the left is my mom's brother Kenneth, the guy with an x on the right in the back is her other brother Marvin, and in front of him is my Mom Zella.  
 So all those people in the picture are half cousins to my mom or their kids, all from my great grandma Driver.  I haven't a clue who they all are.

My Grandmother Brown Brooks became a widower again in 1963.  She cared for her second husband for twenty years out on a farm. He shared the farm with his one son.  He had a stroke the last few years and she cared for him at home instead of putting him in a nursing home.  After he died, she was left nothing from the farm as she was a step mom and the inheritance laws didn't defend wives back then.  She got a thousand dollars from the family, bought herself a six hundred dollar house in Murray, Iowa.  She died then in 1972 from cancer. 

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fashion Show......sort of

A few of you thought my mom in an earlier blog looked like Donna Reed.  Donna was actually a movie star from Iowa that eventually had a television show. The above picture does make me think some of you are right, but I knew the woman and she was no Donna Reed. 

In the photo, my mom Zella Brown is probably 19 years old. All of the ones around her are her first cousins.  She is holding a baby that is a child of her Uncle Elga Wheeler. Standing around her are the children of her Uncle Lee Wheeler.  Lee Junior is on the left, who today lives in area of the Madison County Bridges, Lorimor and Winterset, Iowa,  as a retired farmer. The girl on the left is Eva Wheeler White, who lives in Torington, Wyoming.  The tall girl was Leila Wheeler Witt who passed away from cancer 15 years ago.
The year is probably 1938 and I wanted you to note the fashions of the day in Iowa.  I want you to take special note of my mom's socks and shoes.  She had a thing about not matching patterns most of her life.

I cropped this photo from a larger group photo. That will be a blog for the future, once I do a little more research.  Again note the stripped dress is matched to the socks. The guy behind her is one of mom's brothers, Marvin Brown.  I have lots of pictures the other brother, Kenneth wearing different hats, and here mom is wearing a sporty thing for a family reunioun.

This last picture is posted for the fashion statements of the day. I believe that the tall girl in back is Leila again and her sister in front of her,  Eva.  It seems a year later than top photo.  If I am correct on the woman on the right, it is their mother, mom's Aunt Esther Wheeler. Mom is wearing a rather large fur collar coat while the others are more conservatively cut. 

The girl in the front is wearing the stockings, the kind that my mom said she always hated to wear.  The woman's hat on the right is quite fancy and the thing sticking up is a pole or tree trunk that is broken off and it is not a feather on the hat. Mom was always into fancy shoes.  

This whole process of getting things together for these sepia Saturday posts has me busy digging and finding photos.  I have a lot of piles that need to be organized. Some people will never be identified while some will be discovered.  The top picture had the names put on them at a much later time than when it was taken but that has helped me to identify them in other pictures. It has helped me to set goals to gather the few of each grandparent or great grandparent that I have and get them ready for you.

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