Maud Winney Owen lived a full and interesting life

How I’m related

Maud is my great-great aunt on my mom’s mom’s side. Maud is the youngest sister of Leonard James Winney.

Maud’s Story

These stories are taken from “Ancestry of the Winney Siblings” compiled by Michael A. Winney in October 2007, grandnephew of Maud Winney Owen, using family records, stories, and genealogical records.

Leonard James Winney and his sister Maud Marie Winney Owen_Anaheim 1925_cropped

Leonard James Winney and his sister Maud Marie Winney Owen_Anaheim 1925

Maud Marie Winney was the youngest of William James Winney and Anna Eliza (Blessing) Winney’s fourteen children.

Why did Maud shave 5 years off her age?

In the 1880 U. S. Census of Glen Haven, Grant County, Wisconsin, Maud is listed as being three years old, accounting for a birth year of 1877. Also, in the 1885 Nebraska State Census she is listed as eight years, confirming the 1877 birth date.

However, upon her death in 14 May 1959 in Orange County, Calif, the official CA Certificate of Death indicates a birth date of 02 April 1884. Yet, her father died 20 June 1881!

A possible explanation for this discrepancy may be found in this story. While a child in the 1940s, Mike Winney recalls his father, Arthur Lou Winney, Maud’s nephew, would joke about Maud being older than she claimed.

Mike never gave this much notice until he started researching the Winney family and discovered that Maud’s husband, Owen Robert Owen, whom she married between 1910 and 1915, was born in 1882 making him five years younger than her. Perhaps Maud just didn’t want her new husband to know she was five years older than he so she “fudged” her birth date!

Maud’s early life

Little is known about Maud’s early life. We do know that after her father died in 1881 in Wisconsin. Within a year, the family farm was foreclosed on and her mother moved to Stuart Township, Nebraska taking children Abraham, age 15, Grant, age 12, and Maud, age 8, to live with her daughter Caroline and son-on-law Anton Vogt.

Alaska to B.C. and Voyages Overseas

Maud told my grandma, Patricia Winney, that she went to Alaska as a young woman (Mike was researching this but I don’t know if he found anything else out). He also found information that suggests she resided on Vancouver Island, B.C.

In his book about the Winney Siblings, Mike Winney wrote:

“By 1906 Maud lived in San Francisco (the home of Owen Robert Owen). Her mother is said to describe being in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake and was likely there visiting Maud. Maud’s oldest brother William Henry died in 1907 and his obituary lists a sister Maude Kennedy of San Francisco.

Two years later in 1909 her mother Anna Eliza died and her obituary lists Maud’s last name as Winney. Possibly, the marriage to Kennedy ended between 1907 and 1909 when she resumed using her maiden name.”

Maud was a spirited and independent minded woman who enjoyed her life to the fullest. She had dyed red hair in the days when “proper” women rarely did so. She and her husband, Bob, always drove a late model Buick. Sometimes, while touring in their large Buick Sedan, Maud would sit in the rear with a car blanket covering her legs while Bob chauffeured.

She and Bob were well travelled and had taken more than one voyage overseas. They enjoyed dressing for all occasions and on one voyage won the prize for the best dressed couple at the Captain’s Ball celebrating crossing the International Date Line.

Maud also enjoyed swimming in Newport Bay and would often take niece Patricia (my grandma) with her. She also enjoyed playing cards and although not Catholic she regularly played with a local church card group.”

Orange groves and WWII German POWs

However, Aunt Maud and Uncle Bob’s life was not simply about leisure activities. Since at least the late 1910s, they owned and cultivated an orange grove on Vista Road in East Anaheim. This required year-round work involving plowing, weeding, irrigating and harvesting the fruit.

Mike Winney remembers a family visit to Maud during WWII:

“German POWs were used to pick the ripe oranges and Maud would take them treats. She thought nothing of this as it was just an example of her generous and independent spirit.

Maud owned and rode a horse well into her older years. Owning and maintaining orange groves was also the means of livelihood for other Winneys in the family.

When Aunt Maud and Bob retired in the 1950’s they moved to a home in Newport where she could still have her horse.”

Maud died on 14 May 1959 in Orange County, California.

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