Blessing Sisters Story Part 2

Blessing Sisters Story Part 2

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

Note: As of November 26, 2019, I was given access to 6 original letters from Abraham Blessing to his family in Ohio, I will be updating this post to reflect the new information about their move to Missouri.

Restless Virginians

The Ohio-bound Blessings weren’t the only Virginians to feel the urge to move. Starting in mid-1825, when James Monroe’s presidency ended, Virginians were surprised by an unfamiliar status. “Four of the first five presidents were Virginians who guided the nation through its first three decades. But now, the political stature of Virginia declined on the national stage when no successors of ability emerged to replace the Founding Fathers.

The state had lost power in Congress because of population shifts. ‘What has become of our political rank and eminence in the Union?’ worried Benjamin Watkins Leigh. ‘Virginia has declined and is declining.’ (10) Continue reading

Blessing Sisters Story Part 1

Blessing Sisters Story Part 1

This is the first post in the Blessing Sisters story. Anna Eliza Blessing Winney is my direct ancestor. I’ve previously written posts about her son, Leonard James Winney and his wife, Elizabeth Wellman Winney.

Note: As of November 26, 2019, I was given access to 1 original letter from Lewis Blessing in Virginia to his son John in Ohio; and 6 original letters from Abraham Blessing to his family in Ohio from Missouri and Wisconsin. I will be updating this post to reflect the new information.

The Blessing family in Virginia

We don’t know why Abraham Blessing ended up in Wisconsin Territory around 1830 with his young daughters, Elizabeth Jane and Anna Eliza, in tow. Perhaps this third son, born into a prosperous German immigrant family in 1794, took the best of the opportunities available to him at the time. Continue reading

Elizabeth Wellman Winney’s Journey from Orphan to Matriarch Part 3


1919 Winney

The Winney family at the Winney Ranch in Anaheim, CA, 1919. Back row L – R: Lou, Elizabeth, Leonard, Abe Front Row L – R: Annie, Mae, Alice, Marie, and Rena.

Elizabeth’s Story

Part 1 of Elizabeth Jane Wellman Winney’s story took Lizzie from the 1860 Census living with her mom, Mary, and sister, Josephine, to 1870 where she’s a 14 year old orphan living with her grandmother, Stephania DeViche Heuertz Gaus, and her family in Bloomington, WI.

In Part 2 of Lizzie’s journey we saw her and Leonard James Winney move from Wisconsin to Iowa around 1883 to have a baby and eventually get married.

Now we move into the next chapter of life for Lizzie, Leonard, and their growing family. Continue reading

Elizabeth Wellman Winney’s Journey from Orphan to Matriarch Part 2

Elizabeth’s Story

Elizabeth Wellman and Leonard James Winney family

Elizabeth & Leonard Winney Family

We left off in Part 1 of Elizabeth Jane Wellman Winney’s story in 1870 with Lizzie being 14 years old and living in Bloomington, WI with her grandmother, Stephania DeViche Heuertz Gaus; her step-grandfather; her aunt, Angeline Heuertz; and half-sister Katie Lorenz (Update 1/16/19: my original post said they were cousins. I later found family information that Katie is her half-sister and not her cousin).

Talk about a blended family! I don’t know how old she was when she first started living with them, but I wonder how Lizzie felt to be in this house with this hodgepodge collection of loosely related people. Continue reading

Elizabeth Wellman Winney’s Journey from Orphan to Matriarch Part 1

Elizabeth Wellman Winney’s Journey from Orphan to Matriarch Part 1

Elizabeth’s Story

Elizabeth Wellman Winney_1919_200px

Elizabeth Wellman Winney, Anaheim Ranch, 1919

Elizabeth Jane Wellman Winney is one of my family mysteries. She’s actually somehow entwined with another mystery, Kathryn M. Lorenz.

Elizabeth, or Lizzie as she was known, was born on June 3, 1867 in Clayton County, IA. After months of searching I still I haven’t found any records of who her parents were, with one small exception – the 1870 Census.

According to that Census, taken on June 1, 1870, Lizzie is 3 years old and living in Guttenberg, Iowa with her 2 year old sister, Josephine Wellman, and her mother Mary Wellman. Mary is 28 years old and is listed as being born in Luxembourg.

Lizzie’s father isn’t living with them, and the 1870 Census doesn’t ask if someone is married or not, so I don’t know if Mary is till married to him, his first name, or what’s become of him. Continue reading

Hazel Jolly Sharp sets her own terms

Hazel Jolly Sharp sets her own terms

How I’m related

Dorothy Hazel “Hazel” Jolly is the youngest sister of my dad’s mom, Myrtle Mae Jolly Hemenway. Their parents were William Coleman “Coley” Jolly and Martha Jane “Mattie” Brantley.

Hazel’s Story

Hazel Sharp

Hazel Jolly Sharp, May 2002

Hazel, born on March 14, 1914 in Eldorado, TX, was the youngest child. Her siblings were: William Melvin “Brother”; Allie Bell “Sister”; Erma; Coleman Clinton “Clint”; Clara Sue; Bill Arp “Arp”; Thelma Alta; Tony Drew “Jack”; Grady G.; Myrtle Mae; and Mattie Eloise “Lois”.

Like her sisters, she didn’t let the norms of the day or restrictions placed on women limit her. She traveled around the US and Canada. One of her achievements that she commented on often was visiting all 50 states.

Always moving forward

In one of the letters that Hazel wrote to me she said “I don’t think anyone can ever learn too much. When I was younger I was always taking some sort of a course.” Continue reading

Mabel Wallberg Winney was determined and devoted

A Quiet Strength

Many of the women in my family history that I’ve written about had outwardly visible strength. They voiced their opinions, they raised families in harsh and sparse conditions while settling the west, and they forged ahead when widowhood left them destitute.

Getting to know my great grandmother, Mabel Wallberg Winney, through her own words in diaries and letters, as well as letters her sister, Louise Wallberg Truxaw, wrote, I came to know that Mabel’s strength, while less visible, was no less intense.

Mabel’s Story

Mabel Winney #1Mabel Eleanor Wallberg was born on July 24, 1899 in Wenatchee, Douglas County, Washington to Edmund Ulrich and Elinore “Ella” Elizabeth (nee Owens) Wallberg.

Her older siblings were Ivor Owens and Castilla Louise (who went by Louise). She also had a younger sister, Edna Bernice.

In February 1912, when Mabel was 12 years old, her mother passed away in Seattle, WA. Mabel’s dad, brother and youngest sister moved back to San Juan Island, WA where they had a ranch.

In late 1911, Mabel’s older sister, Louise moved to Los Angeles to work in a hospital there. Around 1918, Mable moved down to live with her, where she worked at the front desk for Dr. Truxaw, Louise’s husband. Continue reading