The Chicken Flock


I looked at the Sepia Saturday example photo (at the end of the post) of a woman feeding the swans. I knew our family photo albums contained nothing so elegant. What it reminded me of was my grandmother, Ruth McGhee, feeding the chickens.

ruth and chickens - maybe 1918

Is this the chicken house at the Vining home? If so, it could be 1917. If it was after Ruth married Clarence McGhee, the date could be anytime from 1918 to 1920.

The picture was probably taken in Tyro, Kansas. Here’s a photo of the Vining home there.

vining home tyro ks

I have in my mind that this is the Vining home. There are chickens and some small sheds. Seen from a different angle, but I think those are the same outbuildings from the first photo.

I’ve never figured out who the man is. Ruth’s father died not long after she was born. Perhaps it is Ruth’s older brother Albert Vining. Next mystery, who is the little girl sitting on the porch?

Here’s the inspiration photo for this Sepia Saturday challenge where you can see what other bloggers posted.

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