Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ancient faces: Jessie and Ida

Or subtitle this, how about them hats? This is a favorite photograph of my grandmother, Jessie Frances (Brown) Miller (left) and her niece, Ida Belle (Brown) Rogers, all dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-meeting best.

Jessie, who was born 19 January 1875 in Columbia, Marion County, Iowa, died on the 7th of January, 1945, before I was born --- and not knowing her is a regret. Her father, Joseph Brown, was 65 when she was born and so this is one of those families where time plays tricks and nieces and nephews end up older than their uncles and aunts. Jessie's mother, my great-grandmother, was Chloe (Boswell) Prentiss/Brown, Joseph Brown's third wife.

Ida Belle, born 15 April 1874 at Cincinnati in Appanoose County, Iowa, was a daughter of Jessie's half-brother, Archibald Steele Brown Jr., who was more than 30 years older, and is wife, Rebecca Brown (yes, she was a Brown, too, although of an unrelated family). Archie, a Civil War veteran, died when Ida was two and so she was raised by her mother and step-father, John Alden Corder, a major mover and shaker at that time in Appanoose County and by all accounts a kindly step-parent.

Although they lived some distance apart, Jessie and Ida were the best of friends --- a relationship that continued until Ida's death.

Ida married James Gallett Rogers on 22 July 1894 in Appanoose County and they settled down on a farm near Moulton. Eleven years later, on 3 July 1905, Jessie married my grandfather, William Ambrose Miller, and settled down on the farm in English Township, Lucas County, where the rest of her life was spent.

Not long after Jessie and Will were married, Ida and her family relocated to a homestead near Midland in Haakon County, South Dakota. Ida did not like South Dakota, not at all --- and expressed that sentiment frequently in correspondence with Grandmother Jessie. She agreed to live there, however, but made Jim promise that if she died there he'd return her body to Iowa for burial.

Sadly, Ida died too soon in South Dakota, on the 8th of March, 1919, just before her 45th birthday --- and the promise was kept. Both Ida and Jim are buried in the cemetery just west of Moulton.

But of course when this photo was taken, probably during the early 1890s, all of this was in the future and it was a happy time captured in this photograph for us to look at now and smile about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

frank, this photo of Jessie and Ida remains one of my favorites. thanx for sharing it. I show it to friends and we marvel at their strength. The outfit with the fur and feathers tells us of the times and trials of our ancestors. We come from good stock. We never did figure out where the name Jessie came from. Your Jessie and my Gramma Jessie Douglas Boswell
Hello to you drop a line when you get a minute cousin maureen