Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ella McCann Herald - Tells Her Story

This story was taken from The McCann Family Book 
compiled by Ella McCann Herald - 1985
Early Childhood
I was born on a farm about seven miles northwest of Lucas in Jackson Township, Lucas County, Iowa on April 19, 1916.  My parents were Thomas and Edith Roberts McCann.  My parents had rented a farm from Frank Pim and had moved to that farm on March 1, 1915 only two weeks after their marriage.  My father had completed a business course at the Chariton Business College and had graduated from Elliott's Business College in Burlington, Iowa.  He returned to Lucas County and worked for a time in one of the county offices in the court house.  His one love was farming - hence the partnership with Frank Pim.  Mr. Pim liked my parents very much and wanted them to stay on his farm.  He decided to build a new farm home, so during the winter of 1917 - 1918 while the new home was being built, my parents and I lived in the garage.  It was a very cold, snowy winter - not too pleasant for any of us especially my mother, who was pregnant.  The carpenters stayed with us during the week so cooking for extra men was an added responsibility for Mother.  On Saturday, May 18, 1918, a second girl, Enid, was born.  Daddy wanted to be nearer his family, so in the spring of 1919 we ended the partnership with Mr. Pim and purchased an unimproved 80 acres which joined my grandparents, the Lawrence McCann's on the east.  They built a new home, a barn and a few other necessary buildings.  At the end of one year my dad had an opportunity to sell this farm at a profit of $100 per acres.  They sold the 80 and bought 160 acres just one half mile to the west.  Some of our wonderful neighbors included the Jones', Harry Carson's, Ray Taylor's, Jim Fulton's, Uncle Lonnie's, Airy's, Newsome's and others.  We had a huge orchard on this farm - mostly apples and peaches.  In the fall we used a cider press and made gallons of cider.  The cider we did not drink or share with family and friends, we stored in huge, wooden barrels and by spring we had our own vinegar.  Mother canned hundreds of quarts of apples and peaches.  We had a well-stocked cave for our winter's supply of food.

My father worked with horses so to replenish our power supply we usually had two or three mares each spring with little colts.  One of our fun chores in the fall was going nutting.  We gathered walnuts, hickory nuts and hazel nuts for our mother to have when she made cakes, cookies or candies.  We usually milked seven to ten cows.  This gave us our own milk, cream and butter.  We separated the milk, sold the cream to a creamery and gave the skim milk to the hogs.  One unpleasant memory I have that happened on this farm was a powerful kick on my right leg by one of our mules, Jerry.  Jerry had been harnessed and was being led to water by one of the hired men.  His bridle had blinders on it and he did not see a small child as I raced up from behind to beat him to the well.  His well-aimed kick cut the muscles in my leg but did not break the skin.  I was very fortunate.

One month after my fifth birthday I remember much activity around the house.  Mother phoned Mrs. Alex Jones and asked her to come up right away.  Enid and I were shooed out the front door and told to go next door, to Harry Carson's.  When we returned home later in the day we were told Dr. Niblock had brought us a new baby sister, Audrey.  This was on Tuesday, May 17, 1921.  Inez Storie of Derby stayed with us a few weeks and helped care for Mother and the baby.

The toys I remember as a little girl were a little red wagon and a sled which we shared.  The wagon was a much used, almost necessary, possession.  When hogs were butchered in the fall, they were split in two and hauled to the smoke house via the little red wagon.  Wood was hauled from the wood pile to the house, cobs were hauled from the barn to the cob box near the kitchen, corn and other feed was carried from the cribs to the chicken house and big sisters pulled little sisters around the farm for entertainment and to get everyone out of Mother's way for a while.  We always had a nice Christmas and always hung our stockings over the back of a chair.  I remember a little iron bank in the shape of an elephant and a special doll, which I still have.  Our stockings were filled with candy, nuts and some fruit.  Christmas was a happy, joyous time and we were very involved with family and friends in school and church activities. 
 School Days
 I started to the Goshen School in September 1921.  We lived only one fourth mile from the school so, of course, I walked along with the other boys and girls who lived in our direction.  Schoolmates I remember from my days at Goshen are the DeWitts;, five Roberts girls (no relation), Bill and Jeanette Fulton, Bernice, Fern and Hermoline Hawkins, three Carson boys, Frances Jones, Marion and Warren Mitchell, Louise Blue, Lawrence, Bernard, Richard and Betty McCann.  My first teacher was Ada Eaton.  Teachers who followed were Leota Roberts, Vera Herring, Georgia Horton Hitt, Gladys Viertz Sinclair, Moselle Throckmorton Blue and Mae Bingaman.  We each had our own lunch pail.  The school building was heated by a large pot-bellied stove which was near the center of the room.  On very cold mornings we hovered near the stove until the room began to get warm.  On these same days we kept our lunch boxes near the stove, too.  Our food would have frozen in the hall where we kept our coats and boots.  during my years at Goshen there was probably an average of 15 to 20 students.  During a typical school day the teacher did her best to hear every grade in every subject.  i well remember listening to the older ones recite.  A I became an upper classman, I often helped the little ones.

Once a year, usually in early fall, the teacher was expected to present a program with school talent.  Less than half of the schools had a piano or an organ so if a teacher wasn't musically inclined, it wasn't always easy to prepare an interesting variety program of an hour or longer.  During the evening there were other games or amusements - cake walks, guessing games and box suppers.  The box supper was very popular - each lady or young girl prepared a lunch for two and decorated an attractive box hoping her favorite boy friend would buy it and eat with her.  Someone in the crowd would auction the boxes and the bidding was often quite spirited.  The money cleared at these programs was used to buy supplies - perhaps a used piano, a water fountain, new flag or whatever might be needed.  Our parents bought our textbooks and other supplies at Fluke's Book Store (now Young's) in Chariton.  Books were very expensive and they would seldom take trade-ins.  The only books I remember specifically are the Rose Primer (there was a large red rose on the outside cover) and my third grade Language book.  The language book contained many poems which we memorized.

My best friend in rural school was Louise Blue.  Louise married one of my high school classmates, who has since died.  Louise lives in California now and is the mother of three married sons.

Our school yard contained one acre, as did most rural school yards.  During recess time and the lunch hour we often played "ante-over" - either throw the ball over the school building or the coal shed.  Another good game was "steal sticks".  I recall many accidents which involved two children as they met head-on while dashing around the corner of the building to steal sticks.  Ralph Woods and I met this way one day and I was out cold for several minutes.  I was 6 or 7 years old and he was in the eighth grade, probably 14 and a real big boy.  Winter months found us playing the fox-and-geese or if there was snow on the ground we brought our sleds to school and went coasting in the neighbor's field adjoining the schoolyard.

All my years as a student in rural schools were eight month terms.  I even taught a few eight month terms but do not remember when the school year was changed to nine months.

During our years in rural schools we always wore underwear with long legs and long sleeves.  Of course, we wore long cotton hose to cover the underwear.  Our dresses had long sleeves for the same reason.  I recall how we used to beg Mother to let us shed the miserably, scratchy underwear in the spring.  it seemed like hundred degree weather was almost here before she would give in.

Uncle Lonnie and Aunt Mae lived less than one mile east of us.  Their sons, Lawrence, Bernard and Richard were about the same ages as Enid, Audrey and me.  Aunt Mae was ill and in the hospital several times during the years we all lived on the Mormon Tail Road.  Uncle Lonnie and the boys always stayed with us while she was hospitalized.  We had two full-sized beds and a baby bed so we really doubled up.  On especially cold nights Mother heated the flat irons, wrapped them in towels and put them at our feet to help keep us warm in bed.  I remember sleeping with my dad and three or four others.  What a bed full; I also remember what a busy little boy Richard was.  He liked to clean the ashes out of the wood stove when my mother turned her back and went to the mail box.  He was such a cute little guy with the blackest, curliest hair you ever did see.  Mother used to say she just couldn't be cross with him - such a cutie and his mother so ill.

Special foods I like to think about as I was growing up are cinnamon rolls, home made bread, soup beans and all kinds of soup.  What a thrill to come in the house from school and smell the home made bread and cinnamon rolls.  My mother was an exceptionally good cook and an immaculate housekeeperHer meals were attractive, varied and delectable.  She certainly had plenty of practice.  We always had at least one full-time hired man and during the busy summer season we usually had three to six extra.  Besides this we had city cousins who came several summers to spend four to six weeks on the farm.

My first chores at home were setting the table and making the beds.  Later I carried wood from the woodpile to the back porch so stoves could be kept burning around the clock.  I also filled the lamps (we had 3 or sometimes 4) with kerosene each evening so the lights would burn until bedtime.  During the summer we all picked wild raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries.  A few summers we picked strawberries and cherries at Fred McKinght's on the shares plan - we kept half, they kept half.  Ironing - now that was a hot job!  We had to keep the stove very hot so the flat irons would be very hot.  We ironed everything - as I have said before, my mother was very particular about all aspects of housekeeping and ironing was no exception.  We all did our share.  A few summers, when we were milking several cows, my father and the hired men went to the fields early and the milking chores were shifted to Enid, Audrey and me.  A chore disliked by all three of us was leading the horse to pull hay into the barn or up to the stack.  I did most of this in the hayfield but Audrey thought she had the assignment at the barn most often.  We had one hired man, a neighbor boy, who was very ornery about pulling the rope back before the horse and girl were ready.  We soon learned a few tricks - a favorite one was letting the horse walk or stand on the rope.  Daddy didn't think this was very funny, he said it slowed them down which I am sure it did.  When I became old enough to handle a team of horses (about 12) Daddy purchased a cultivator for me.  I felt very proud to be able to handle my own horses, Nig and Coalie, and cultivator while cultivating corn, one row at a time.

Washday at our home was often a day of annoying experiences.  A gasoline-powered engine furnished the power to operate the washing machine.  Our father had to crank the engine to start it.  If the engine stopped before the washing was completed, which it usually did - and several times, one of us was sent to find our dad and return him to the washhouse.  He was good to spend most of the wash day near that pesky engine.  In spite of all the trials and tribulations of that engine and of the many other exasperating incidents that people encounter from day to day, the roughest language I ever heard my father use was, "Well.. I'll be dod-durned".

I remember a day one summer when I was quite small and my mother was very cross with me.  I pored a bottle of red food coloring (just purchased from the Watkins man) in the water pans where our 25 to 30 ducklings came to drink.  I thought the little pink ducks were very pretty but Mother didn't agree with me.  I was spanked.  I managed to experience the usual catastrophes of small children.  When I was two, my cousin Lawrence, dropped a cave door shut.  My left hand was resting on the frame of the cave door and the end of my ring finger was nearly severed.  A few stitches and all was well.  One year later I landed on a tin can as I fell out of the car.  The cut completely severed the lobe of my left ear.  Mother carefully held the lobe in place while my dad drove the three miles to Derby.  Dr. Niblock soon had the severed lobe back in place.
Teen Years
In 1929, when I was 12 years old, we moved to a farm near Lucas where we had a lovely home - water in the kitchen, hardwood floors, a full basement with a furnace, and a beautiful lawn with many, many shade and evergreen trees.  (I never lived in a home with indoor plumbing or electricity until after Frank and I were married in 1939).  The saddest part of this move (for me) was the fact that even though we had moved less than ten miles we were in a different school district.  I would be a freshman at the Lucas High School in the fall and I didn't know a single person in the area.

I weighed less than one hundred pounds when I started to high school.  There were about 20 in my class and I was soon acquainted and happy.  Daddy bought a horse for me and I rode the 3½ miles to and from school each day.  There was a pony barn within a block of the school so this was another little chore twice a day.  Eight of us kept our horses in this barn so when school was dismissed it was a wild race to get to the barn and head for home.  Often, when the weather was extremely cold.  I walked to school.  It took at least twenty minutes longer to get there but it was easier to keep warm while walking.  There were sixty to seventy students in the high school any of the four years I attended.  There were three teachers - the superintendent, the principal and one other.  During my first two years the superintendent, M.F. Wornstaff, was also the basketball coach.  My favorite subjects were Home economics, Algebra, Geometry, English and Drama.  I had the leading part in two class plays - one when I was a freshman and one when I was a senior.  One of my favorite teachers was Esther Niswender who taught Home Economics.  Many times during our lunch hour I'd walk downtown to the post office to pick up her mail.  She was dating a man from Villisca, Iowa and I felt like I was playing a part in their romance.  She married him soon after school was out and died in childbirth a couple of years later.  We didn't have any choice of courses.  I didn't realize until several years later how restricted students are who attend such small high schools.  My closest friends in high school were Annie Laurie Plows, Martha Rogers, Ruth Spencer and Athyl Pettinger.  Martha was a classmate and we were very close friends.  She graduated from Northwestern University, married Charles Olson and they live in Rochelle, Illinois.

Athyl was the youngest sister of my high school boyfriend, Lloyd Pettinger.  Lloyd, Frank Johnson, Annie Laurie and I often double dated.  We attended a few out of town ball games, went tobogganing and sledding in the winter, picnicking and an occasional movie in the summer.  We had birthday and holiday parties in our homes.  In early December of my senior year our school building burned to the ground.  The building had been built in the early 1900's and was constructed of wood with a stucco covering.  It housed all grades - kindergarten through twelfth.  Classrooms were found and it was soon "School as usual" in various churches and buildings around town.  All high school classes were held in the gymnasium.  I graduated from Lucas High School in May of 1933.  I had completed four very happy, care-free years.  I loved my teachers, made many friends and really treasure my memories.

 A major project that affected all of Lucas County and southern Iowa took place during the time I was in high school.  It was the paving of Highway #34.  All the other roads in the area were dirt roads.  My father was a devout Catholic and part of his religion was to see that he and his family attended church on Sunday.  During the year there were often times when the roads were drifted full of snow or were impassable because of mud.  The paving of #34 and the gravel on the other roads a few years later certainly improved the travel conditions of the rural people.
Becoming a Young Adult
Graduating from Lucas High School certainly didn't prepare me for any work.  I enrolled in Chariton Junior College taking a few college courses and some High School Normal Training courses.  At the end of the year I passed a battery of tests which qualified me as a teacher with a Normal Training Certificate.  In the fall of 1936 I began my first term of teaching - at Centennial School in Pleasant Township.  I know I learned more that year than any other term I ever taught.  The directors asked me to return to teach the next term but I wanted to get closer to home.  I didn't have an automobile - I couldn't have afforded it.  I nearly always got home one way or another on Friday evening and Lloyd brought me back to Whittlatches on Sunday evening.  I taught the next year at Hazel Dell (our home school) the next two years.  I received $50.00 a month for the first two terms I taught and $80.00 a month for the two terms at Palestine.  I paid $3.00 per week board and room all four years.

In the fall of 1938 a friend of mine, Clifford Funk, returned to Lucas County from Pennsylvania where he had been working.  Accompanying him was a friend of his with whom he had been working, Frank Herald of near Pittsburgh.  Frank and I dated during the winter and on March 26, 1939 we were married at the Little Brown Church at Nashua, Iowa.  Within ten days we were in route to Pennsylvania and our first apartment in Scottdale.  Frank was employed by Guthrie, Marsh Peterson and they were building the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  From Scottdale, we moved to Berlin and then to Huntington - following the phases of the turnpike.  After following construction for a year and a half, we moved to Detroit, Michigan where Frank was employed by U.S. Radiator.  The high humidity and the general climate in Detroit was not a healthy situation for us.  We loaded up our belongings and headed for Iowa. 
We Move To The Farm
In the spring of 1942 we moved to the Otto Brown farm near the Chariton Sale Barn.  We rented the 160 acre farm for $628.00 cash rent.  We acquired our livestock and machinery one thing at a time.  We purchased five Guernsey cows from Ed Fowler who had been operating a dairy.  Frank bought a used F20 tractor for $676, a wagon for $75 and a plow for $22.50.  He remembers buying a barrel of lubricating oil for $12.50 (25 cents per quart).  Some time later we bought more cows to add to our herd, also a nice team of gray mares and a small flock of sheep.  Getting started in farming was not easy.  I took a job teaching again and taught four years until Janice was born on July 30, 1946.

With Janice's arrival, I again gave up my teaching job.  It was very important to me that I care for her while she was small and developing her habits and personality traits.  Nothing seemed more worthwhile than to be with her and watch her grow and develop.  Frank and I were both thirty years old this summer and how we did enjoy our new baby.  Most of our outside activities centered around family oriented groups - relatives, Farm Bureau, friends and neighbors.  The Gene Abels', the Carl Jacksons' and Jerry Smiths' were special friends.  The men exchanged work and the ladies cooked for the group.  There were nine children in our group so we had lots of birthdays to celebrate and many other excuses for get-togethers.  Our good neighbors were the Earl Allens', Otto Browns', Joe Catreniches', Hilma Webb and sons, Will Evans', and Charlie Shanks'.  About this time the women in the area met to organize a club which they named the Three Mile Lane Club.  (This club continues to be active today and meets once a month at the members homes).

My parents divorced on March 20, 1945 and my father purchased a 471 acre farm in Lincoln Township about five miles northeast of Chariton, Iowa.  A couple of years later he purchased the 445 acre farm which joined him on the west from C.C. Pickerell.  In December of 1949 Frank, Janice and I moved to the Pickerell Farm and were in partnership with my father until his death on April 1, 1961.  Besides the farming operation, we had a herd of Hereford cattle and for a few years we had sheep.  Janice was a horse lover so Frank bought her first pony when she was very young.  Collie dogs were special to her, too, so from her first horse, Beauty, and her first collie, Peggy, we had a succession of riding horses and collie dogs until she completed college.
Earning a Living
Meanwhile, back to the schoolroom.  My main career, besides being a wife and mother has been in Education.  I had been approached by several school boards wanting me to teach their school.  the farm economy wasn't all that good, I loved teaching and we certainly could use the extra income.  I returned to the classroom and Janice started to school.  I was more than willing to teach until Janice completed her schooling.  Little did I realize that I had begun a career that would see me complete my college education and with retirement at the end of the 1980-1981 school term have taught forty one years in the Lucas County and Knoxville Community School systems.  I received a B.S. in Education from Drake University in 1958, the same year I started teaching in the Knoxville Schools.

Working conditions have made a tremendous change since my first teaching experience.  I had attended a one room rural school so I had an idea what to expect.  I was barely eighteen years old, there were twenty six students from 5 to 16 years old and in nine grades - Kindergarten through eighth grade.  Housekeeping and janitorial tasks added variety to the day.  Floors in the school buildings were usually rough wood so were difficult to keep clean.  I don't know how many tons of coal I carried that first winter but it was several - the winter was a severe one.  Carrying out the cinders and ashes was an added chore.  Water had to be carried from an adjoining farmhouse and two of the bigger boys volunteered for this.  Rural school libraries were very inadequate so I made a special effort to visit the county superintendent's office every week end to select a box of books for my students' supplemental reading.  Pay day was a trying ordeal.  Pleasant Township had nine school districts - with one director for each district - but only one secretary and one treasurer for the entire township.  Can you imagine getting to the secretary for the order, back to your own director to have it signed, then to the treasurer for the check?  Townships in our county are six miles square so for a teacher without a vehicle, what a challenge!  Clell Whitlatch was a dear, dear friend - several times he picked up my order and did the rounds for me.  I taught a few other places where they tried to see how difficult they could make it.  For that first year I received fifty dollars a month for eight months.  In contract the last year I taught, the teachers on my pay step received over twenty thousand dollars for 190 contracted days.  The teachers of today are certainly better trained.  They also have much more to work with in the line of equipment and materials.  There is professional guidance for special problems and there are special teachers for Art, Music, Library and Physical Education.  It bothers me a little to hear them complain about their playground duty once a week or to fuss about being delayed a few minutes after school to explain some "trivial" matter to an upset parent.

I was very fortunate during my teaching career to have had a super set of administrators.  In the rural schools they were Helen Pfrimmer, Cecil Stephens, Gladys Kiburz and Leonard Hasse, County Superintendents.  In the Knoxville Schools I taught under Floyd Davis, Carl Miles and  Dr. Ross Speece.  My principals at Knoxville were Jim Comer, Richard Greenlee, Raymond Ash, Roy Kunkel and Jim Brown - all dedicated, sincere, caring individuals.

Some of the main accomplishments of my working years are completing work for my college degree and getting extra hours to improve my knowledge in specific areas; helping Fran with some of our home and farm expenses; Frank and I both helping Janice with college costs so she would have extra time for study and wouldn't graduate with loans staring her in the face; building up a retirement fund in both Social Security and IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System); and last but not least a world of friends - both co-workers and students.  The last two years I taught I had the thrill of working with two former third grade students, Joel Tonda and Elaine Sandmeier, both Art instructors in the Knoxville School System.

Some very valuable things I learned from teaching are the importance of cooperation and the need for understanding.  Because of the many broken homes, the tight economic situation which often means both parents are employed or, even worse, maybe neither parent is employed, children of today are at a real disadvantage.  Drugs and TV are two other outside pressures.  I always tried to have time to listen to any child who needed a shoulder to cry on who just needed a hug at a particular time.  Children of today need much more of a teacher's time than when I began teaching.  Third graders enjoy sharing their experiences.  (I taught third grade for twenty-two years and found them to be delightful.)  From my own experience I would advise young people of today to train for a job - this does not have to be a college degree - but get some skills so that you will be able to support yourself if the need arises.  Today's ADC programs and Low Rent Housing Units seem to fill a need but it seems to reduce the incentive to pay your own way, especially for a young, healthy individual.
I suppose I first thought about retirement when I approached sixty years of age.  My Uncle Ray Roberts advised me that as long as I had good health and enjoyed my work I should keep teaching until I was 65.  The benefits from IPERS and Social Security were structured to a  retirement age of 65 and since I felt fine and enjoyed the youngsters I'm glad I retired when I did.

Getting up early over the years didn't bother me and I was fortunate that I had a very good friend teaching in the Knoxville system, too.  Arlene McKnight and I exchanged rides for eighteen of my twenty three years in Knoxville.  The one thing that did disturb me was the icy roads and we certainly do have them in Iowa.  If the weather was bad when I went to bed, I slept very little.  Frank says I'm a born worrier but the ice and blowing snow weren't very restful conditions to dream about.  There is a state law in Iowa that reads "If buses cannot get to rural homes to pick up children because of impassable roads or other acts of God, school will not be in session".  This was a blessing for the teachers who drove distances, too, because we weren't required to go at these times either.  Any lost days, caused by weather or unforeseen circumstances, were made up at the end of the calendar  year.

At the time of my father's death in 1961, Enid, Audrey and I were faced with the task of settling his estate.  Daddy's will gave Frank and me the option of buying the farm we lived on at the appraised value.  We were happy to be able to buy it.  Enid bought the Coles farm (which Daddy had purchased only the year before) and the farm where Daddy lived.  Audrey received her equal share in cash.  We continued to live on the farm until 1979.  Early in 1978 Frank was experiencing health problems and we both wondered if we should consider selling the farm.  The three of us talked it over and decided to list it with Robert Chappell, Realtor.  On January 5, 1979 Jim and Paula Coffey of Denver, Colorado made a down payment on the farm and we considered it sold.  They were to get possession April 1, 1979 so Frank was faced with the big job of getting ready for a closing out sale which was held on March 17.  Janice came home to be with us, we had a good day for the sale and things sold exceptionally well.  It was hard to see some of the machinery and livestock leave but we were glad when the day was over and glad that one of us hadn't had to do it alone.

A new home was the next order of business but Frank had a field of corn on the chosen site.  We kept fifteen acres at the very southwest corner of the farm, where the Good (also known as Franklin) School had once stood.  The corn was harvested and Alvin Halferty and his carpenters built our home.  Work had begun in early October and progressed according to schedule.  We moved in on March 30, 1979 - the kitchen cupboards were incomplete, carpeting was not down and the heat was not connected.  By May 1 this was all completed and masons were laying the brick for the outside walls..

Retirement has brought involvement in many interests.  I've worked diligently on Family Genealogy since 1961.  While researching my mother's family, the Roberts', I discovered I was eligible for DAR membership through the Revolutionary War services of my great-great-great grandfather, Ruben Roberts.  I have been a DAR member since 1979 and am currently Regent of Old Thirteen Chapter DAR in Chariton.

I helped organize the Lucas County Genealogical Society, served as president two years and am treasurer this year.  We have published three books - History of Lucas County Iowa - 1978, Cemeteries of Lucas County - 1980 and Marriages of Lucas County Iowa - 1983 and I have helped with all of them.

I have been a volunteer at the Lucas County Memorial Hospital for several years.  At the present time I am president of the Lucas COunty Hospital Auxiliary, I feel especially helpful when I volunteer as surgical hostess.

I'm also active in Daughters of Veterans of the Civil War through a great-grandfather, John L. Roberts.  I have served as our tent's president and am chaplain of the State Department Daughters of Union Veterans of them Civil War.
My favorite pastime, besides genealogy, is handwork.  Samplers, needlepoint, afghans, quilts, tatting and knitting keep my fingers busy.  I've shared my handwork with Janice, sisters, nieces and friends as well as entering it in area fairs.  I'm a member of a Friendship Quilting club and we meet twice a month to quilt for members.  In my spare time, I have pieced ten quilts since retirement.  Frank has many hobbies and has kept busy with gardening, fencing, lawn work and general farm activities.  We both have reasonably good health and enjoy retirement, but I must admit it hasn't been as serene and quiet as I had thought it might be.

As I complete my brief story to close this genealogy of the McCann Family, I have one eye on the road, which passes, in front of our home.  A construction crew has been very busy the past two months building the road up top grade and changing it in various ways preparatory to paving a nine-mile stretch in 1987.  It has been a frustrating time for us and is causing Frank an endless amount of work and worry in tearing out fences and building new ones.  Hopefully, when the new pavement is complete and all our roads and lawns are once again in an orderly state, we can calmly look back and say it was all worth while.

I have been working on this record for over fifteen years.  no one who has not done genealogical research can understand the hours, miles and dollars invested to gain one small piece of information; neither can he understand the joy at finding that information.  In my years of record keeping and research, I have become especially cognizant of the fact that no family history is static.  Marriages, divorces and births will continue to occur.  I hope that you will enter them in your own copy and that you will report them to me.  I would also appreciate  corrections in data, hoping such corrections will be made in a spirit of understanding the potential for error in such a work.

There are some gaps in the record as in a few instances I have not heard from the descendants.  neither was I able to make any contact with relatives in Ireland - I kept hoping to find the name of Edward and Lawrence's father.  The material included is as accurate as I can make it; forgive its errors.  Thank you to those who helped with so many details to make it as complete as possible.

There is no way I can list all contributors of data, but I do want to thank my aunt, Julia McCann Macken, who has been a great help not only for her recollections and her family data but with encouragement along the way.  I must give special recognition to my husband, Frank, who has given time to drive me to various courthouses and cemeteries in search of hidden records or decaying tombstones.  Also to daughter, Janice, for a super abundance of encouragement, supportive love and the loan of her electric typewriter to speed me along the way.  To all of my cousins, you have been great:  Without your stories, pictures and cooperation, the book of The McCann Family would not have been.  I appreciate all your efforts and hope you enjoy the book as much as I have enjoyed compiling it.


Melissa said...

Mosselle Throckmorton Blue was your teacher back in the early 1920's and she is my husbands grandmother and is 101 years old and is doing well. She is an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing. Melissa Blue

Lynne said...

Melissa, Thank you for the information regarding Mosselle Throckmorton Blue. I posted it to our Century People Blog with some other information I found about her. You can check it out at