Another post in a series in the challenge of posting about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks by Amy Johnson Crow
Winnie Pearl Walton was born on August 11, 1879 in Marshall Township, Clay County, Nebraska. She was the second of four children born to Merritt and Zenah (Strait) Walton, about whom I’ve posted before. Pearl (as she was known) died on November 1, 1982 at the age of 103. She was born in a sod house on the prairie in the “horse and buggy” days, flew in a jet airplane from her home state of Nebraska half way across the country to California and watched a man on television as he stepped onto the surface of the moon. Among all that she lived a full and interesting, albeit normal, life.
Pearl probably had a relatively uneventful early life. She attended school off and on and I believe she finished the eighth grade. At the age of 20, on November 10. 1899 she was issued a certificate which entitled her to attend any high school in the county under the provisions of “An Act to Provide Free Attendance at Public High Schools” approved by the State Legislature on April 1, 1899. I don’t think she ever attended high school since for the 1910 US Census she answered in the negative to a question which asked if she had attended school since September 1, 1900. The lack of a high school education didn’t seem to hurt her. My grandmother was always an avid reader, interested in current affairs and many other subjects. She had a very sharp mind and always seemed to know something about almost any subject and had an opinion on most things.
Pearl married Frederick August Gerhardt Goesch (Fritz) on October 29, 1903 at her parents’ farm in Marshall Township, Clay County, Nebraska. That day was also the 29th anniversary of Merritt’s and Zenah’s wedding. According to a newspaper clipping, after the wedding they spent several days in Fillmore County (visiting his family I believe). Then they went to Lake View Ranch in Clay County where Fritz had been living. How long they stayed there I don’t know but fairly soon they had a farm of their own.
Over the next eight years they had five children, two boys and three girls. Unlike their parents all five attended high school. But, like the parents the kids grew up on a farm, learning hard work and responsibility from an early age. The family farmed a half section (320 acres) and as Pearl stated in a newspaper interview “it took a lot of hard work and long hours to get it all done” She helped with the work, operating binders and cultivators with horses and mules, and when old enough the kids pitched in. In addition to helping. Pearl took care of all the housework and laundry for a family of seven and even had time to plant a large garden. The kids, of course, also helped with the garden and housework.
One of the things that Pearl and Fritz did, which seems out of the ordinary to me, was to take occasional trips to western Nebraska. I’m not sure why they did it, maybe to get away from five crazy kids! But my mom says they usually visited with relatives. I’m sure they brought back terrific stories and memories of their trips. And at least once they brought back a double-fist sized clear, amber colored rock (it looks like glass) that my mother still has. I’ve got to take it to a local college to see what it is. Well, at the time motels were very scarce, or nonexistent, and so they camped out. As you can see by the picture below, it was rather basic, no frills camping. My grandfather built a custom cook stove out of an old wash tub! Seems to work ok.
This is all I’m going to say about Pearl right now. I really think she deserves more coverage than I’ve given her here. So, I’ll do at least one more (maybe more) post about her but this will be the only time she’ll be featured in a 52 Ancestors post. The rest will be just regular posts.
Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Marshall, Clay, Nebraska; Roll: 745; Family History Film: 1254745; Page: 89B; Enumeration District: 087; Image: 0184. Source Information: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site.Original data: Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Marshall, Clay, Nebraska; Roll: T624_840; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0044; FHL microfilm: 1374853. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA
Source Information: Ancestry.com. Web: Nebraska, Find A Grave Index, 1854-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi: accessed 18 January 2013..
“Clay’s Oldest Resident to Celebrate”; The Nebraska Signal; 131 N 9th St; Geneva, NE; August 9, 1979.