C is for CAMPBELL Ancestors

log-cabin-maybe TN pixabay

(photo from Pixabay) A typical cabin of early settlers in Tennessee

Lucinda Jane Campbell married Solomon McGhee on January 26, 1832, in Washington County, Tennessee. This is the eastern end of the state, an area of mountains and valleys. It was first formed in 1777 by settlers from North Carolina and Virginia. Solomon and Lucinda are my 3rd great-grandparents.

Ancestry com - Tennessee Marriage Records 1780-2002 mcghee & campbell

The Campbell Line (unverified)

I need to sift through all the marriage records, early census, and mortality records to verify Lucinda’s parents. I have 32 DNA matches that make it likely that it is John or James Campbell and Catherine Phillips but there seem to be a number of different Campbells with those common first names. A further generation back with 36 DNA matches make her grandparents likely to be John Adams Campbell and Catherine Wilkes. I’d like to track the line to Ireland or Scotland.

The Alabama Years

By 1840, Lucinda and Solomon had moved their young family to Cherokee County, Alabama. The census shows 3 male children in the household below the age of 9. That same year, Solomon’s father, William McGhee died back in Tennessee. (It’s likely the family moved in 1835 or 1836 to Alabama based on the birth dates of their youngest children)

The family kept growing and the 1850 census for the 27th District of Cherokee County shows them with their sons William 17, James 16, John 14, David 9, Robert 7, and Lawson age 1. The first two were born in TN and the next four were born in Alabama. One wonders if there were some children between Robert and Lawson might have died. There’s a McGhee cemetery in Cherokee County with some small stones with names but no dates.

The Arkansas Years

By 1860, the family had moved to Petit Jean, Perry County, Arkansas. Solomon, age 51, is farming. Lucinda is 57 and there’s a domestic in the home, Harriet Robertson. Five of the sons are still at home (ages 25 to 11). Nearby, their oldest son, William and wife Matilda E. live with their 3 young children (Lucinda, Zela, and Solomon) and a domestic, Phebe A.E. Booker. Three-year-old Zela was born in Alabama and one-year-old Solomon was born in Arkansas so we can estimate their arrival in the state as around 1858 or 1859.

“Solomon moved with several McGhee families, Campbells, Kikers, Greens, Smiths, and Tanners into central Arkansas from Alabama in 1858. Most of the McGhee’s settled in Perry County, around Casa, Adona, Perry, and Opelo.” (source) Solomon’s widowed mother moved there along with her adult children.

In November of 1864, Lucinda Jane Campbell McGhee died. In the previous month, her son Robert Witt McGhee died on October 19, 1864. He was in Company C of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry. I’m presuming that he died at the Battle of Cedar Creek that was also called the Battle of Belle Grove which was fought October 19, 1864 near Strasburg, Virginia. “Confederate Lt. General Jubal Early launched a surprise attack against the encamped army of Union Major General Philip Sheridan.” Over 8,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died there.

Robert was buried at the National Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas. Solomon’s grave is in the McGhee Cemetery in Adona, Perry County, Arkansas. On the reverse of his stone is the name of his second wife, Jane, who died in August 17, 1898. Where Lucinda Jane is buried is unknown. I also checked the Casa Cemetery nearby and Solomon’s mother is buried there but none of the 60 McGhee gravestones were for Lucinda.

Here’s the line of descent:

Lucinda Jane Campbell 1801-1864
3rd great-grandmother
William Newton MCGHEE 1832-1902
Son of Lucinda Jane Campbell
Samuel Newton MCGHEE 1875-1922
Son of William Newton MCGHEE
Clarence Oliver MCGHEE 1895-1973
Son of Samuel Newton MCGHEE
Gail Lee MCGHEE 1924-2013
Daughter of Clarence Oliver MCGHEE

Women’s History Month – Diane Fischer


Many of the women in our family write and I’m glad we have this family blog to share our stories. Writing seems to be a way that we can deal with the hard times in life. My second cousin, Sondra Caposio, sent me a family story written by her mother about sixty years ago. It features Sondra’s older sister, Diane. At the very end is a poem that Sondra wrote about Diane.

barbara mcghee Fischer with Sondra and Diane

Barbara McGhee Fischer with Sondra on her lap, and Diane.

A Heartbreaking Reminiscence

By Barbara McGhee Fischer

Exactly one year ago today—October 10, 1960—I saw in Doctor Berman’s private office with our oldest daughter Diane, three and a half years of age.  I was waiting the last few minutes after a long and seemingly endless weekend for the Doctor to tell me just what was wrong with Diane—she had been quite ill for several weeks, running a high fever periodically and in a great deal of pain in the leg joints and groin.

The Doctor had called Friday evening after getting the results of some blood work.  He said there was definitely something wrong with her blood count, but he wanted further tests made by the leading Hematologist in Sacramento.  Unfortunately, he was out of town for the weekend. Dr. Berman had already arranged for a bone marrow test on Monday and I was to take Diane in for that on Monday morning.  I really didn’t have any apprehensions about the test because I didn’t know how it was done. I soon learned it was a very painful procedure and the nurse who assisted the hematologist with the test came out of the room crying.  She said it was because it hurt to see Diane, a little deaf child, in such pain. Bob had not gone with me because we both felt they would not be able to have the results back the same day. The hematologist told me to go back to the Doctor’s office right away.

diane fischer, daughter of barbara mcghee fischer

Diane was sitting on my lap very contented—her fever was gone and the joint pain had not bothered her for two or three days.  Dr. Berman came into the room, his face drawn and he was finding it difficult to speak. It was quite apparent he would rather I’d phoned.  “Mama,” he said, “our little girl is very sick.” I knew that! Only two weeks before, she had been in the hospital, under the care of our family Doctor, with a possible case of meningitis, or polio—those tests had proved negative—and those blood tests indicated she was extremely anemic.  The Doctor had prescribed an iron supplement and antibiotics to lick the fever—but the fever and pain persisted—I had changed Doctors. What was the illness I asked—“Mama, our little girl has leukemia!”

“OH GOD”—my first thought crossed my mind—“I had wished this on her.”  In those panicking moments, it seemed that the past three and one-half years with our little Diane flashed before me.  We had learned in January 1959 that Diane was profoundly deaf—she had a 90-decibel loss in both ears. On some occasions, I had been very depressed when she didn’t progress as rapidly as I thought she should as I worked daily with her teaching her to lip-read and speak.  On occasion, during those depressing times, I must admit the thought that Diane would be better off dead rather than deaf had crossed my mind. What a terrible thing to think—of course, I never really meant it. Now she will die because leukemia is as yet incurable—it is cancer of the blood.

The moments that followed, I cannot recall except to say the Doctor sat in his chair feeling helpless, but trying desperately to say the right things and try to comfort me.  The next thing I knew was that Diana and I were driving downtown to the department store where Bob worked. I knew he must be told, but just what and how to say it hurt terribly.  I somehow found myself in the office of his boss, and I sank into the chair, holding Diane in my arms so tightly as if I were afraid she would slip away from me and be gone forever….

Bob was summoned and I somehow found the words to tell him our tragic news.  I cannot remember Bob’s reaction or his words, but I do know he was deeply shaken.

There was a bond between Diane and her Daddy that was very great.  Bob had wanted a boy, but when she was born he was very happy. She was the image of her father and her eyes had turned to the dark brown like his—her eyelashes were long and dark and her complexion was a beautiful bronze.  Her beauty was angelic. Diane was nearly two years old before we discovered her hearing loss. She was a very intelligent child—“She doesn’t have to speak,” we always said, “she can get her point across with gestures.”

diane fischer, daughter of barbara mcghee fisher 2

Bob has always adored Diane, but the fact that she was deaf seemed to strengthen this bond.  Sometimes I had felt he worshipped her too much.

Bob and I went back to Dr. Berman’s office on Tuesday to learn more about Diane’s condition.  We were over the initial shock now and could reason more rationally. Dr. Berman explained that leukemia is cancer of the blood, and at the present, incurable—at least the type she has—acute leukemia.  He said that with medication, Diane could live from six to twelve months—without medication; it would be just half that time.

As I sit here beside her bed, in the hospital, as she sleeps in restful peace (she is under sedation continually now to keep her from suffering) I have been thinking of the events and changes in our lives these past twelve months, for there have been many and they have been big changes.    In the first week after her illness had been diagnosed, Bob and I discussed its meaning to great lengths. We had always felt that her deafness was caused for some reason, not as a punishment, but for a greater reason, something we were not yet able to comprehend. Now, we felt we had a better understanding—Diane has been a gift from Heaven, she had been placed on this earth in our home for a specific purpose, among this purpose, to make us and all that know and love her understand that deafness is not a stigma, but a severe handicap that is difficult to overcome due to the lack of understanding form the so-called “normal” hearing people.

We felt this was part of her purpose, but there must be more—this was not enough.  We decided that same week to donate Diane’s inner ear to the University of California in San Francisco, with the hope that a possible answer to nerve deafness might be found.  The arrangements were made with Dr. Francis A. Sooy of San Francisco, that at the time of Diane’s death he would come to Sacramento and perform the necessary operation.

We read the book, “Angel Unaware,” by Dale Evans Rogers, and it was that book that gave us the strength to carry on during this heartbreaking period in our lives.  I truly felt that Diane too, is an “Angel Unaware” and in only four and a half years, she has performed a mission for God that few people can accomplish in many years of living on earth.

We have prayed for guidance and strength and we have been blessed with more than most people are given.  Although we have not attended church regularly since we were married seven and a half years ago, we have grown to believe in God and placed our complete trust in Him more than perhaps others that attend church regularly.

At one time during this past year, I was told by an elderly Catholic woman that because we did not attend church, we should not pray, because God would not listen.  She said she would pray for us and we would be blessed because of her prayer. I had only met this woman on one occasion and she knew about only from her daughter-in-law.  We meant nothing to her mother-in-law, and I am sure her promise was soon forgotten, but we continued to pray and the strength Bob and I received has been unbelievable. So many people say they cannot understand how we can accept this.  What else can we do?  We would have been miserable if we had mourned this past year—instead, we have lived each day to its fullest, and our happiest memories will be during the period from October 1960 to April 1961.  This was the period the leukemia was controlled and Diane was in relatively little pain. She led a perfectly normal life—she was scolded when she did something wrong and she was loved always. Most of the time was spent in happy childhood play for Diane, but Bob and I lived in a beautiful dream of happiness that she was with us.  We were thankful for each day she was with us, for she could have been taken immediately.

Beginning the end of April, Diane became progressively weak and needed transfusions more often and once her arm was broken two days before I realized it.  At that time, she had been able to get around in a tiny wheelchair which we pushed in whatever direction she pointed us to—in the house, neighborhood and of course the hospital corridors.  The Doctor said he could not set the arm as her bones had become too brittle, so we just put two tongue depressors on both sides of her tiny arm and wrapped with gauze. It worked beautifully.

Now Diane is very weak and it is now a matter of days—possibly hours before her brief life on earth is ended.  She has seen so much in this short time—because of her hearing loss, her sense of sight has been phenomenal. Everything was beautiful to her—she took nothing for granted—everything was exciting for—she was so easy to please.  Now Diane is very weak, bedridden for two days now, she has been in the hospital for two weeks. This is the eighth time this year. Always before when she had been in a couple of days, she would ask to go “home.” She has not mentioned it this time—she is just too weak to think of home.  Of course, she does not understand death—she has never heard a spoken word. She can only relate objects to what she “sees” on my lips and those that “talk” with her. She has learned to read lips and she does associate the lip movement with the object referred to because we have shown her.  She cannot associate lip movements with something she has never seen—this is the blessing for she is not frightened—she cannot understand what death means to us. But we know she will be happy and free from pain, for in Heaven she will be whole again. She will hear and speak—God has helped us to understand this.

I feel that because of Diane, I have been given a purpose in life.  I have become very interested in helping the deaf and hard of hearing, and in my small way, I have and will continue to devote my life to helping other parents of hearing handicapped children.  God will help me to accomplish this.

NOTE:  Diane passed away six days after I wrote the above reminiscence—Monday, October 16, 1961.  Bob and I were together at her bedside in her final moments. She took a deep breath and she was gone.

Bob and I continued working for the hearing handicapped for sixteen years.  We are proud to have played a significant role in bringing a hearing diagnostic center to Sacramento and to establish newborn testing for hearing impairments at all local hospitals.

poem about diane Fischer by her sister sondra

I Remember When…

I was 1, she was 3

We would always play together

I remember when the two of us

Painted each others’ face with mud

We were a sight to see.

I was 2, she was 4

I was just learning a strong vocabulary

She was deaf, so I helped her to speak

I remember how, when I was small,

She would constantly carry me in her arms,

But then she couldn’t carry me anymore

She was sick and weak,

I was too young to understand,

But how I wanted to laugh and play with her again.

I was 3, she would be 5

Now she was gone forever

I could never play with her again.

Oh, but how I remember…

by Sondra Fischer

Women’s History Month – Ruth McGhee


My mother wrote this story about her mother winning a writing contest in 1924.

Mother Was a Writer

by Gail Lee Martin

“I was born, 13 September 1924, in Greenwood County Kansas. My folks lived on Star Route, out in the beautiful Flint Hills, near Teterville. Daddy was an oil-field pumper for the Phillips 66 Petroleum Company.

vintage typewriter

A typewriter like Ruth McGhee might have used.

Six months before I was born my Mother, twenty-six-year-old Ruth McGhee, won second place in a writing contest for The Palmer Photoplay Corporation of Hollywood, California.

The contest was put on by the Wichita Beacon in connection with the Palace Theater in Wichita. Mother received fifteen dollars, her returned, typewritten manuscript with the promised critiques and a glowing letter of acceptance.

My sisters and I found out about this after our folks were gone, and it is still a mystery why Mother didn’t write more and in her isolated circumstances where did she find a typewriter?

Her hand-written drafts even show good grammar and are written on ledger style paper. We also found a novel and a short, short story. I don’t recall her ever talking about writing or the contest. When my younger sister was writing short stories for children, I remember Mother was her best supporter.

I was always writing stories in study hall at school, but I never shared my writings with Mother. I never thought anyone would want to read them. I threw them all away, now I wish I hadn’t. Do you Suppose, if I had shared with Mother, we could have been a writing team? It is hard to think of my gentle Mother, who wiped away my childish tears with the corner of her apron, as a writer of “When Dreams Come True.”

Ruth McGhee

Out in those hills Mother cared for a big garden and preserved a lot of the produce for winter meals. She always had lovely flower beds, in spite of the shortage of water. A few years ago I returned to the site of our home on the prairie, where we lived while she was writing for the contest. Just barren plains with abandoned oil wells scattered all around..

Mother had told us about their life there, in an unpainted, ‘shot-gun’, oil field house with no neighbors in sight. My oldest sister was three years old then so when did Mother find time to write? But I certainly can understand her title and hope I helped make her dreams come true with my writing.

teter lease house 1927 mcghee family

In the May 1992 issue of the Kanhistique magazine, my story, “My Mother Was a Writer in 1924” was published and I received fifteen dollars for my Mother’s Day story. Do my genes from my mother make me want to write? It doesn’t matter, I just love to write.”


2008-08-17 gail and ks photos 164

Women’s History Month – The Witch on Our Family Tree


Ancestor of the Week:  Rebecca Towne Nurse
Prompt of the Week: 52 Ancestors week 11– Luck

A family history researcher feels like they’ve hit the jackpot when they link to a well-known person. It’s a shock, after sleuthing for any crumb of information, to suddenly find an ancestor so well-documented. It’s not often that I am that lucky.

My lucky find of a historic ancestor was a Salem witch named Rebecca Nurse. I’m related to her through both my grandmother and my grandfather, but you have to go back 300 years to see where the two lines meet in Colonial Salem.

The Witch on Our Family Tree

rebecca nurse by howard pyle from wikipedia

Rebecca Nurse, an illustration by Howard Pyle (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Rebecca Nurse has been exhaustively researched as she’s one of the unfortunates in Salem who was hanged in the witchcraft hysteria in 1692. It turns out that I’m related to her through two different lines on my family tree. She left behind 11 children and 26 grandchildren so there are many descendants of Rebecca. I found a number of them when I joined a Facebook group for Descendants of Salem Witches.

This chart shows one way that I’m related to Rebecca Nurse and it is pretty round-about. But continue on and you will see that I’m also related to her more directly through my Vining line.

Chart of Descent from Geni

Geni Rebecca Nurse Towne 1621 1692 Town of Salem

You can read a good summary of her life on Wikipedia.

Here’s the more direct line to Rebecca (Town) Nurse through my McGhee/Vining/Babcock/Bixby line where she is my 8th great-grandmother. I have 37 DNA matches for her great-granddaughter, Thomasine Nurse, so the connection is pretty definite.

Rebecca Towne 1622-1692
8th great-grandmother
Benjamin Nurse (Nourse) 1666-1748
Son of Rebecca Towne
Benjamin Nurse 1694-1778
Son of Benjamin Nurse (Nourse)
Thomasine Nurse 1716-1765
5th great-grandmother
Ebenezer BIXBY (see Bisbee) 1744-1813
Son of Thomasine Nurse
Mary “Polly” Bysebe/Byxbe/Bixby 1799-1851
Daughter of Ebenezer BIXBY (see Bisbee)
Ezra B Babcock 1821-1886
Son of Mary “Polly” Bysebe/Byxbe/Bixby
Nancy Jane Babcock 1851-1924
Daughter of Ezra B Babcock
Ruth Vining 1897-1960
Daughter of Nancy Jane Babcock
Gail Lee MCGHEE 1924-2013
Daughter of Ruth Vining
While talking to members of our local genealogy club in Florida, I mentioned my discovery. Oddly enough, one fellow said he was descended from one of the judges who presided over the Salem trials. Another told me that he was descended from one of the first accusers in Salem. What a small world.
Rebecca Nurse is a central character in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible and it has been made into a movie also. There are quite a few books about the Salem witchcraft trials, so I’ll just feature a few of them here for those who want to explore this further.

Learn More

The Salem Witch Hunt: A Captivating Guide to the Hunt and Trials of People Accused of Witchcraft in Colonial MassachusettsThe Salem Witch Hunt: A Captivating Guide to the Hunt and Trials of People Accused of Witchcraft in Colonial MassachusettsThe Salem Witch Hunt: A Captivating Guide to the Hunt and Trials of People Accused of Witchcraft in Colonial MassachusettsThe Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under SiegeThe Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under SiegeThe Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under SiegeSix Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch TrialsSix Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch TrialsSix Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch TrialsRecords of the Salem Witch-HuntRecords of the Salem Witch-HuntRecords of the Salem Witch-HuntThe Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch TrialsThe Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch TrialsThe Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch TrialsThe CrucibleThe CrucibleThe Crucible


Amy Johnson Crow challenges genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” This is week 11 of the 2020 challenge.

A Long Line of Harlans


Ancestor of the Week: The Harlans
Prompt of the Week: 52 Ancestors Week 3 – Long Line

Through the creative use of photoshop editing, my cousin had a four-generation picture expanded to six generations. What a great idea!

6 generations - Melville, Lee, Norman holding Tim, Mike holding Caden

L to R – Melville, Lee, Norman (holding son, Timothy). Center – Mike and baby

My mother’s sister, Melba McGhee married Norman Harlan in 1941 and their first child was Timothy (the toddler in the black and white photo). That dates the older photo to 1943 or so. Norman’s father, Lee Harlan, would have been 52 years old in this photo. Norman’s grandfather, Melville (wearing suspenders) was 87. He lived until 1952.

As you can see from their clothing, they were a farming family as were most of my family lines. The most recent additions to the picture are Tim’s son (Mike) and Mike’s son (Caden). I couldn’t just leave it at that. My curiosity took me to Ancestry to find Melville’s parents and then I couldn’t stop until I reached 1740 with 4 more generations. Even then, I only stopped because my weekly blog post was overdue.

There were Quakers along the line and that helped with marriages and births and locations. There’s a book about the Harlan family line that can be read online. The Madison News of 1880 to 1900 yielded a wealth of clippings with intriguing bits of information.

Melville’s father, Alpheus, came to Lyon County, Kansas in 1875, then in 1881 moved to Greenwood County, ending up in 1896 near Madison. He had a mill and a brickyard in that town. Two of Alpheus’ sons went to Arizona to mine for gold. One son, Tilman Lincoln Harlan, died tragically after just a few years of marriage. As I ranged further back, I found more millers in the family.

3rd street of Madison, Kansas in 1908. Which of these brick buildings was constructed of Harlan bricks? Photo from the collection of WSU.

There’s a lot of history to be found, but I must stop. Hopefully, someone in the Harlan family is already researching family history or the next generation will collect and preserve it.


Harlan brick in Patterson-Cunkle BuildingHarlan brick in Patterson-Cunkle Building Fri, Dec 12, 1884 – 4 · The Madison News (Madison, Kansas) · Newspapers.com

Amy Johnson Crow challenges genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” This is week 3 of the 2020 challenge.

Bertha McGhee and Her Fellow College Students


At age 37, Bertha McGhee was attending college and living in Fisk Hall with other women students. This was in Kansas City, Missouri. On the census in 1940, it says Fisk Hall – Home & School For Deaconesses and Missionaries. The official name of the school that started in 1909 was Kansas City National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries.

KC - NTS 1940 Bertha McGhee (2)

Bertha McGhee is the one with her hand on the shoulder of the lady in the flowered dress. (cropped from the larger photo below)

KC - NTS 1940 Bertha McGhee

1940 – National Training School for Christian Workers in Kansas City.

Besides students, the Dean of Women, the registrar, some teachers, a secretary, a deaconess, a dietitian and an assistant dietitian, a housekeeper, an office assistant, and a librarian shared the housing. Bertha was the oldest student and Esther Beaman was the youngest at 20 in Fisk Hall.

Household Members at Fisk Hall:

Name Age
Cloyd V Gustafson 43
Dagny B Gustafson 44
Ruth E Decker 41
B Eureath White 29
Dale Clarissa Kuler 42
Mary F Smith 57
Martha M Hanson 50
Grace Hutchinson 63
Aletta M Garreston 66
Louise E Dutcher 31
Ellen E Smith 43
Elizabeth Hartman 51
Grace A Vause 39
Minnie Pike 61
Pearle W Tibbetts 52
Mary Blasckko 51
Bertha Cowles 56
Hazel May Gilmore 39
Anna C Altmanna 59
Anna R Barman 47
Nettie M Judd 67
Marion C Cannady 32
Eletha M Rogers 29
Laura E Byers 24
Ruth Gish 32
Esther Beaman 20
Eunice Stockton 32
Bertha McGhee 37
Reva I McNabb 31

NTS graduation bertha 1940NTS graduation program bertha

Bertha’s Earlier College Experience

Bertha McGhee

The back of the photo says “arriving in Baldwin, 1st time” She worked for her room at Miss Bennet’s place.

This photo was prior to her college experience in Kansas City. It would be from when she first started at Baker University in the 1920s. I’m guessing that Bertha is the young woman with the pole behind her. She graduated in 1929 with a BS degree.

After getting her degree, she went to work in Farmington, New Mexico at the Methodist school for Indian children. She left there for health reasons.

After completing her missionary training at NTS in Kansas City, Bertha went to Seward, Alaska to work at the Jesse Lee Home.

This post was inspired by this Sepia Saturday photo. You can see what other bloggers created in response to this image at Sepia Saturday.

Sepia Saturday Prompt Image 502 : 11 January 2020

1930 Farmington, NM Outing


I don’t have photos of any film stars in my family collection, but I do have ladies with cars. So for this Sepia Saturday challenge, I’ll share my great-aunt Bertha McGhee’s pictures. It also serves for the 52 Ancestor’s Challenge: Adventure.

Sepia Saturday Header 494 (2 Nov 2019) Filmstar With Car

These are from her time in New Mexico when she was working at the Navajo Indian School. Apparently, the staff at the school had some time off and went on excursions together.  That’s Bertha standing by the car.

Bertha by car in NM

I’ve made contact with two people who also had great-aunts working at this school. They’ve been able to identify their relatives in a few photos that I have. Sure would be great to hear from others who might recognize some of these teachers and school employees. The year might be 1929 or 1930.

I don’t know whose car this was or who owned the dog. Some possible names of the people are ones I’ve collected from the 1930 census for the staff names at the Navajo Indian Mission of Farmington, NM. The people below could be Mabel Huffman, Bessie Ullery, Clara Lenz, Emily Guigon, Nellie Hawthorn, Mary A. Leckliter or Eli Forman. There were two sisters in their twenties living at the school (Lois and Edith Hadley).

Bertha & dog on car in sandTop-4

These photos seem like they are from the same adventurous excursion. They are exploring on unpaved roads, quite sandy in places, in areas with scrubby growth. They take some photos on a rocky hillside and in an arroyo. I’m glad they didn’t get stranded out there in the sand.


Top-3_edited-1young woman in New Mexico 1930Bertha on right?bertha and teachers on hillside (2)

The woman in the dark hat is identified by her great-nephew as Bessie Ullery. At first, I thought the other woman with the scarf might be Mabel Hoffman, but her great-nephew says it isn’t her.

The man may not necessarily be an employee at the school. Possibly the young women hired a local driver for the outing or he might be a friend. I keep hoping that someone will recognize the rock formations as a destination near Farmington, New Mexico.


Read more about the Navajo Mission School and the people. To see what other bloggers are writing about for Sepia Saturday, just click that link.