Researching family history becomes more meaningful when you can see the faces that go with the names and dates. For Mother’s Day, I pulled together my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. Beyond that, I have just the names and information, but no photos.
I like seeing them all lined up like this. Looks like that high forehead and the nose came down through the generations. I must have gotten my nose and blonde hair from the Martin side, but I do have the forehead.
Here are their names and dates (left to right):
- Gail Lee McGhee Martin 1924-2013
- Ruth Vining McGhee 1897-1960
- Nancy Jane Babcock Vining 1851–1924
- Ellenor Nancy Jane Wright Babcock 1820–1882
These four women had 36 children and that doesn’t count the miscarriages or ones that died at birth. Nancy Jane remarried not long after her first husband died. In 1873 Kansas, a woman with children didn’t have the luxury of a long mourning period.
They were part of the migration westward in the U.S. as the family moved from Indiana to Illinois, then to Iowa, and finally to Kansas. Pregnancy and raising children must have been difficult in those times; feeding a large family while cooking over an open fire, washing unending diapers with water brought from a stream or well or cistern, and tending a sick child with no doctor nearby.
Many thanks to these women for persevering through hard times while caring for their children.