This is a multi-post series about the Blessing Sisters. Anna Eliza Blessing Winney is my 3rd great grandmother. You can see all of the posts in the series here: Blessing Sister Stories
Nebraska’s Drought and Depression
A few years later, Anna’s life is once more upended. “Nebraska in the early 1890s suffered from protracted drought, and farm prices fell to new lows. Conditions were so unfavorable that immigration, which had more than doubled the state’s population in the 1880s, almost ceased. Financial conditions grew worse and the entire state was almost in the grip of actual famine. Some became so discouraged that they sold or gave up their property and left the state. ”(54)
It’s no wonder that Anna’s son, Leonard, and his family left Nebraska some time in 1893 and headed to their final destination – California!
Anna most likely went with them. The farm was gone in Wisconsin, and she didn’t have any way of taking care of herself or Maud, her youngest child, who was only 16 years old and still at home. This scenario fits with the 8 Aug 1907 obituary for Anna’s son, William Henry, noting that his mother resides in California.
When some of the Winney’s left for California, Caroline and her family moved back to Grant County. In 1900 they are living in Beetown, Wisconsin, where they’re continuing to farm.(55) In December, 1913, Caroline passes away in Beetown at 55 years old .(56)
Alice stayed in Nebraska, and taught school for a number of years, according to her obituary. She married in Albion, Nebraska in 1895, where she passed away at 79 years old in February, 1945. (57)
Of the children that didn’t join Anna in Nebraska, the rest either stayed in Grant County, Wisconsin, or made their way to other states. William Henry, the oldest had already married and started a family by 1870, eleven years before his father passed away. He and his wife, Mary, moved to Iowa where he lived in a few towns over a ten year period. He then spent around eight years in South Dakota, and lived his last few years in Rushville, Nebraska, where he died at 60 years old on August 4, 1907. (58)
Ann Eliza Winney Scott is the only one of Anna’s children to have never moved out of Wisconsin. She passed away in March 1922 at the age of 73. (59)
Martha was married and living in Patch Grove, Grant, Wisconsin in 1870.(60) She eventually moved with her husband, Levi to farm in Kansas. The last record I have for her is the 1885 Kansas Census where she’s living with her family in Highland, Clay, Kansas.(61)
Luther and Abraham Winney are the only children of Anna that I couldn’t find out more information. Both are apparently still alive in May 1909 when Anna’s obituary says that Luther and Abe reside in California.(62)
Arthur made his way from Iowa to Missouri, and finally settled in Oregon, where he died in 1926.(63)
Grant, the second youngest, would have been 18 years old in 1893, and it appears that he didn’t travel with the family to California. Perhaps that’s when he moved to Kansas. The first solo record I have for him is the 1910 Kansas State Census that shows he was there as early as 1906, when his son was born. He stayed in Kansas, and passed away in April, 1950 at the age of 74.(65)
When Anna died in 1909 she was living in California, but was visiting family in Wisconsin. Nancy Brown Marsh sent Michael Winney this memory from a written account by her mother, Florence (Scott) Brown:
“Mother can remember the day that her Great-Grandmother Ann Blessing Winney, died. Grandma Winney had been living in California but had come back and spent the winter with Annie and Marshall Scott. Leonard’s kids just loved to have her come stay with them because she told such interesting stories. She had been in San Francisco during the earthquake, and told them all about it. That was the first time she would see good use for motor-cars, as the ambulances were able to get the injured to the hospital so much faster than the horse drawn vehicles could have. At any rate, Grandma Winney had spent the afternoon babysitting while Leonard and Jeanne had to go various places. The boys offered to hitch up a team and drive her home, but she wanted to walk. She started off across the field, and just as she was about to cross the fence, she went down. They felt bad as she had not taken a ride but then she always said she wanted to die outside. Her father had died while climbing a mountain.”(66)
I’ve added the text of Anna Eliza Blessing Winney’s obituary as a separate post.
Photos courtesy of Mike Winney, great grandson of Anna Eliza Blessing Winney.
Fully cited sources can be found on the Blessing Sisters Story Cited Sources page. Below are the footnotes for Part 6 of the series. I’ve continued the numbering from Part 5 to make it easier to follow.
54. (“Drought And Depression In 1890s Nebraska” 2019)
55. 1900 US Census, entry for Anton Vogt Household 1900)
56. (Find A Grave memorial page for Caroline Winney Vogt)
57. (Find A Grave memorial page for Mary Alice Winney Spangler)
58. (Find A Grave memorial page for William H. Winney)
59. (Find A Grave memorial page for Annie Winney Scott)
60. (1870 US Census, entry for Levi Stewart household 1870)
61. (1885 Kansas State Census, entry for Levi Stewart Household 1885)
62. (“Anna Blessing Winney Obituary,” Michael A. Winney 2007, pg 45)
63. (Find A Grave memorial page for Arthur Clinton Winney)
64. (1910 Kansas State Census, entry for Grant Winney Household 1910)
65. (Find A Grave memorial page for Grant U. Winney)
66. (Michael A. Winney 2007, pp 45 – 46)