Monday, February 3, 2014

52 Ancestors Weeks Challenge: Week 5 Mildred Vance Ellsworth: The Child

When Mildred Christell Vance was born on July 5, 1919, in Pittsburg, Texas, her father, Walter VANCE, was 29 and her mother, Annie Mary REYNOLDS, was 24. She married Edward Nicholas ELLSWORTH Jr. in September 1939 in Houston, Texas. She had four children by the time she was 26. She died on November 22, 2012, in Katy, Texas, at the age of 93.
For this story we will just cover her childhood years.

We have Mildred’s birth certificate.
"Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1935," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed Jul 10, 2010), Mildred Vance, 1919
She did not have a middle name given to her. She said she picked her middle name herself. Her daughter said she had thought a friend of Annie’s had suggested it.  I just know she was impish as she talked about having given herself the middle name. She had a mischievous streak.
The 1920 census gives us a record of her with her mother and father.
Year: 1920; Census Place: Justice Precinct 1, Camp, Texas; Roll: T625_1785; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 24; Image: 62
She told us that at about 2 years of age her parents were divorced and her mother took her to stay with her grandparents while Annie got a job and worked.  This ended up being for 7 years.
These pictures of Mildred, Walter, and her brothers must have been taken close to this time period. I have never seen a picture of Mildred or her brothers with Annie in their youth.
Mildred, Walter P Lane Vance, Dutch

top Archibald 'Button' Walter, Thurman
bottom Arnold 'Dutch' and Mildred
The 1930 census gives us a record of her with her grandparents. This is just before she goes back with her mother.
Year: 1930; Census Place: Precinct 1, Cass, Texas; Roll: 2306; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0006; Image: 130.0; FHL microfilm: 2342040.
Mildred, let me just call her mom, shared a few stories that gave insight into the time she was with her grandparents. Her cousins gave some insights when the Hero and I visited them to find out more information about her Reynolds side of the family.
Mom let me know that her grandmother Martha Wells Reynolds had a portrait of her mother Nancy Holland Wells, hanging on the wall of their house. She said she would never forget it because the eyes followed her everywhere.  When she asked her aunt, who had broken up her grandmother’s housekeeping where it was, she was told they did not know anything about it, maybe it was in the attic of the old house that they sold.  A treasure lost.
Back to Mom’s narrative, when living with her grandmother life was very structured and orderly.  According to her cousins, when she came to visit, their grandmother made mom wear white gloves, and keep her dress clean, she wasn’t allowed to run outside and play with them.  Maybe not with them, but I happen to have a couple of stories that show she got outside to run and play.
Once when she was about 4 or 5, she decided she didn’t want to do what her grandmother told her to do.  When her grandmother reached for her, she ran outside and kept out of her grandmother’s reach.  Later when she laid down for a nap, she woke up to find herself tied to the bed with her grandmother standing next to the bed with a switch. The dialog was something like “you won’t run off like that again.”  Mom wasn’t upset by it, in fact she found it somewhat amusing that her grandmother had out bested her.
Another time her brother Dutch was visiting. He had been picking on her… brothers do that… so she decided to “get him”. She said she snuck into his room, grabbed his shoes and ran out laughing telling him he couldn’t catch her.  Of course she knew he could, but not before his bare feet hit the patch of sand burrs she had headed for.  Yes, she was giggling at the age of 92 when telling me about this, describing how he hopped around trying to get the burrs out. (I am so glad we sat and visited about her youth a little).
They did not stay in Cass County all that time. She said that her grandfather was a doctor for the Railroad company in Wharton, Texas for a several years.  He got a small salary for doing physicals for them, and some of the local people would come by for colds, etc.  They were not wealthy and half the time people paid in food. I will share her stories of her grandmother as a person at a later time.
Leaving her grandparents was hard for her. Her cousins said that it was because her grandparents were older, in their 70 s, and were breaking up housekeeping to stay with their son.  Mom saw it as her mom showing up and taking her off with her to go to her father’s for awhile. This was when she went to the Wichita, Texas area.  When the Hero worked up there for a year, she would tell us, that she remembered the area well.  Silly us, we didn’t grab the opportunity for more stories.
It wasn’t until her early teens that she moved back with her mom, and that is another story.
She is a precious lady to me. She was not perfect. She didn’t pretend to be. She was real. Hope you enjoy her stories as much as I did. 

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