Recreating family history one piece at a time.

My Great-Great Grandmother on my father’s side,  Katherine Philomenia Guehtle Morris,  found herself a widow at age 27.   She had three small children and was pregnant at the time.    Her youngest would be born over a month  after the death of her husband.

Katie’s early life is still sketchy and full of lots of holes yet in my research.  Though her own mother passed away when she was just five.  The period after the loss of her husband has left lots of clues about what happened to the family.  This would impact all her children for all their lives, one of these being my Nanny (Great-Grandmother for the rest of you).

Her oldest Eddie would go to live a prosperous Iowa cattle farmer, Cyrus Tow,  at the young age of eight.   There was a convoluted sort of family relationship there, but I doubt the young lad knew much about the family since they lived several counties away.   He was allowed to go to school but at age of 13 was listed as a farm hand so I am not sure it was family relationship as much as cheap labor.  When he was in his late teens he would go to live with his mother.

The next was my Nanny, Viola.   At the age of 3  she would go to live with the Hoskins, a local childless couple.  Bertha and Del were not related and I am not sure how they were chosen.  Of all the children Viola  appeared to have landed in  the most stable home any of the Morris  children would find.  Viola was never formally adopted by the Hoskins.   They took in a second child, a nephew, Ralph,  as well, so it was a complete family with a mom, dad, son and daughter.     Viola was the only one of Katie’s  children to graduate from high school.   Ralph considered Viola a sister, and he and his family would visit her even years later when she lived in California and Ralph was still in Iowa and visa versa.  Ralph’s children talked about Aunt Viola with great affection. Bertha and Del would visit Viola after she moved away from Iowa.  I think that these were really strong ties for Viola.    Until I started research I always thought Great Grandma Bertha Hoskins was a genetic grandmother.   Unfortunately that area of Iowa suffered a devastating flood and many of those historical records were lost, so some details will never be known.

Dora,  who was less than one when her father died was adopted by a family from Iowa who moved to California.   I am not sure what happened but her biological mother would have her again when she was nine.

Pearl, who came after her father’s death, would be kept by her mother the whole time.

Katie, as Katherine was known, moved to Kansas where she married a second time to Mr. Driskill.  It appears that during this marriage she called all her chicks back to her.   All the children, but Viola, suddenly no longer appeared with the families that they had lived with for the past eight years, instead they were in Oklahoma.    Even Dora, who was adopted and living in California ended back with her mother and her second husband in Oklahoma.   Viola never was subject to this upheaval.  I wonder if the Hoskins prevent this.    Husband number two would pass away only eight years later.

One year later Katie would marry a third time to  Mr. Kime.  This appears to be another period of great unrest for the children living with Katie.  Pearl and Dora would marry  two months after their mother did on the same day.  What made these young women marry so promptly after their mother did?  They were only 15 and 16 years old.   Their older siblings were busy with their own lives so it appears that they were not options for these young women.   Ed was away serving in the Army during World War I.   Viola had graduated from high school in Iowa, and was married with her own household during this time.

Katie and George Kime would be married for 25 years until his death in 1944.


Comments on: "Trials of a Young Widow and Her Children" (1)

  1. This is just fascinating, Diana! I am toying with a story line right now about a young widow left on the frontier of Indian Territory to fend for herself and her little ones. I want it to be connected somehow to my own life even though it is fiction. This may be just the link I’ve been looking for! I will let you know if it pans out and how I decide to develop it. I’m trying to write several such stories for a collection of them, have 3 written & another plotted out. Now I can start working on this one! Thanks for sharing.

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