R is for Ruth

My mother’s mother, Ruth Vining, was the last child of a large family. Her father died a month and a half after her birth in 1897. That left the 45-year-old widow, Nancy Jane Vining with an infant and nine other children to raise.

The older sons were working as farmers on rented land according to the 1900 census. That may have kept the wolf from the door. There was no aid to dependent children or social security in those days. It’s possible that those were hungry times for the family without their principle bread-winner. A later census shows Nancy working as a laundress.

Ruth grew up in Tyro, Kansas and eventually married the boy next door, Clarence McGhee, just before he left for France in World War I. Upon his return, they started their family.

Gail Martin's parents on their wedding day.

Gail Martin’s parents on their wedding day.

From little stories my mother told about her childhood, I suspect her mother, Ruth, was fairly rigid in bringing up her three daughters. Mom was more of a daddy’s girl and loved to follow her father around.

Gail with her mother, Ruth McGhee - Easter Sunday, I believe.

Gail with her mother, Ruth McGhee – Easter Sunday, I believe.

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