It is often the mens stories we tell we when do genealogy, but it is the women who followed them along on their journeys that interest me the most. Like little great great great cousin Agness Tolleth Jones who traveled at three years old across the icy Atlantic sea from Scotland to America with her parents James Tolleth and Charlott on the tide of immigration to become an early settler of the midwest with her parents They settled in Nebraska. Agness became a farmers wife and the mother of five children in the late 1800’s during the Indian wars while the West was still being won. Can you imagine? The story reminds me of every Cowboy and Indian movie I ever saw.
Charlott traveled the Oregon trail with her children after her divorce from their father James. They traveled through Oregon before finally setting down roots in Meridian Idaho where there is still a home bearing the name of one of my female ancestors Della; Tolleth House. Her husband built one of the Sears and Roebuck prepackaged homes and then gave it to her as a wedding present. They ran a mercantile taking advantage of the fact the trains had just made to their town. The house is still a store and its on the historical register today.
Great great great grandpa James second wife Martha Jones who I am descended from, had two children with James; Henry and Eliza. Martha was married three times and survived all her husbands. She lived most of her days with her daughter, my great great great cousin Eliza Fanning and had actually married a Fanning relative at one time. The Fanning household is where she died in 1907. Martha was James first wifes Charlott’s oldest daughters Agness’s best friend. A little family gossip there for you….
So how do I explain to the you and the women that follow me; my daughters, my nieces, my grandies someday how extraordinary these women that preceded us were? What they saw in their lifetimes and persevered through? The Depression, WWI, WWII, the death of sons and husbands in wars, childbirth, hunger, heat, cold, no modern conveniences. Trains were new to Cousin Della. Some of my cousins saw cars and airplane travel come to be all in one lifetime.
Its not just the history these women represent that impresses me, its their devotion to family, most of them lived with their children off and on throughout their lives, raising the next generation until they died. Our families are much more separated today, connected not by space but the thin thread of the internet. See how now I am asking you this question by blog post ? One I hope you find accurate, and the stories contained in it as fascinating to you as they were to me to untangle.
PS I found 4th cousins a hundred miles away from me here in Ogallala Nebraska. They are Cousin Annie Tolleth Dougherty nieces and nephews or grandchildren. Now I need to find the nerve to call them!