Of the hundreds of photographs I have for our ancestors, both living and dead, this photograph is my favorite. It shows three of the strongest women pioneers in our family. Although many of our ancestors fought and struggled with the daily chores of living and the tragedies associated with pioneering life I believe this photograph captures the strength of our family.
The child in this picture is my grandfather Bernard Floyd Hancock 1903-1980. Interesting tidbit about this image – little boys wore “dresses” or “gowns” because at this early age they were unable to cope with the difficulty of toilet training. Remember, zippers had not yet been invented. “Breeching” was that time between about two years old to six years old when the right of passage to breeches or britches (pants) was attained.
Seated at the center of the photo is Lois Emerette Goodell 1842 – 1924. Lois married William Franklin Totten in 1861 in Lockport, Niagara County, New York. Lois was born in Ohio in 1842 but her mother Elmina Brigham Goodell died in 1843 so Lois was raised by Goodell family members in Lockport, New York. William and Lois or as I think of her Emerette, had 11 children, 8 survived to adulthood. Mary Phoebe “Birdie” 1863-1938; Milton Goodell 1865-1930; Elmina Rosalie “Minnie” 1867-1948; Hattie Elvira 1871-1953; Edith Estella 1873-1945; Everett 1875-1876; alice Winifred “Winnie” 1877-1968; Celia 1879-1879; Clarence William 1881-1948; Edna Luella 1882-1883; Carl Albert 1883-1948.
The first two children were born in Iowa, the other 9 children were born in Kansas. Just imagine the thought of moving from New York to Iowa at 19 years old, having two children with no family nearby and within 4 years packing up and moving from Iowa to Kansas and over the next 16 years adding 9 more children, with 3 dying, while establishing a farm to support and sustain the family. Interestingly, the census for 1880 shows one of the laborers on this farm was a young man named John Champion Brace.
Standing to the right in this photo is Mary Phoebe “Birdie” Totten 1863-1938. Birdie as she was called married John Champion Brace in 1883 in Haddam, Washington County, Kansas. They had 9 children, Lulu Pearl 1884-1950; William Earl 1887-1962; Bessie 1889-1897; John Kessler 1891-1897; Hazel 1893-1897; Elwin 1896-1962; Lois Beatrice 1899-1983; Baby Boy 1902-1902; Althea Lois 1905-1948.
In 1897 while John worked in a nearby town typhoid strikes this family and Birdie was left to endure alone the tragedy of the death of three of their children. The fourth child died in 1902 and I do not know the cause of his death. In 1904 the family left Kansas and moved to Elbert, Colorado. Another tragedy for this family was the 1948 murder of Althea Lois Brace in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Standing to the left in this photo is Lulu Pearl Brace 1884-1950. In 1902 while living in Narka, Kansas, 18 year old Lulu Pearl Brace married 27 year old Nathan Brink Hancock and in 1903 Bernard Floyd Hancock was born in Narka, Kansas. Apparently someone’s parents were not too happy about this and “Brink” as he was called moved to Fairbury, Nebraska. He was living in Lincoln, Nebraska, had remarried and had two sons when he died in 1947.
In 1904 the Brace family including Lulu Pearl Hancock and baby Bernard move to Elbert, Colorado. In 1909 Lulu filed for divorce and in 1910 she married John Thomas Baber and they lived in Eastonville, Colorado and later in Peyton, Colorado. John Baber and Lulu had 8 children, Henry Kessler; Frank Hazard; Elizabeth “Bessie” Pearl; Lois Beatrice; Floyd Leo; Leon Calvin; Zona Edith and Cedric Keith.
Although Bernard never new his father he did try to find him but to my knowledge was not successful. According to a Hancock cousin I talked with, Brink Hancock also tried to find Lulu but was unsuccessful. In life, Bernard was always very close to John Baber.
Next time in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #3 Longevity