dee_burris: (Default)
Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2011-01-11 11:36

One of the resilient women in the family tree...

She is on my maternal side of the family.

I never knew her, as she died in 1932 - two and a half decades before I was born.

Mildred Carlton Williams was the daughter of Jacob Williams and Catharine C Mueller. (It was Catharine's family about whom I wrote on a Mystery Monday recently.)

She was a middle child, if that's what you call the fourth of eight kids.

Born on 30 Jul 1856 in Franklin Co., KY, she was the oldest daughter. Maybe that's why she "handled" so many family issues, beginning with her mother's death in 1876 in Kentucky.

That happens to oldest daughters. From what I know of Minnie (that's what they called her), she met all of her considerable challenges, and soldiered on...


Minnie was a bride of just over one year when her mother, Catharine (Mueller) Williams, died.

She had married Josiah Hazen Shinn on 7 Jan 1875, and had just marked her first wedding anniversary at the time of her mother's death on 14 Jan 1876. She was a new mother herself, having given birth to her first child four months earlier.

One of the thoughts that crossed my mind was that Minnie might have traded her light colored clothing in favor of mourning. There is a photo of Minnie with her husband and son, Roy, that was taken after 23 Oct 1885.

Photobucket


In that photo, Minnie appears to be wearing mourning colors.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure of it. Grace Electra Shinn, Josiah and Minnie's firstborn, is not in the photo.

That's because Grace died on 23 Oct 1885, in Russellville, Pope Co., AR, of malarial fever. At that time of year, mosquito season should have been over in that part of the state. Had Grace had malaria since summer?

I just can't imagine having to watch my child die.
Josiah and Minnie only had two biological children of whom I am aware.

But they raised a whole bunch more.

When Minnie's mother died, the newlywed couple took four of Minnie's siblings into their home. They were responsible for five children, aged from birth to 14.

The 1880 census shows the family living in Bridgeport, Franklin Co., KY. The household now included Minnie and Josiah's newborn son, Joseph Roy Longworth Shinn. (By 1882, the whole clan had relocated to Pope Co., AR.)

The same census shows Minnie's father, Jacob Williams, living with his brother, Urban Valentine Williams, who was a phyisican in Bridgeport. In addition to providing for his brother, Dr. Williams' sister, Millie was living with them. (Millie Williams never married. She is buried in the family plot in Frankfort Cemetery in Kentucky.)

I wondered about Jacob. Why had his children gone to live with his oldest daughter when his wife died?

Jacob Williams was only 54 years old when he became a widower. He was a blacksmith in Franklin County who fought in the Civil War.

Maybe he was ill. Perhaps blacksmithing wasn't fetching the income it previously had.

Or maybe he just couldn't raise the children after Catharine died.


I guess you could say Minnie's husband, Josiah Hazen Shinn, was a minor local celebrity of sorts.

A Google search on him brings up all sorts of results.

From The History of the Shinn Family, written by Josiah and published in 1903, this sketch, which presumably would be a self-portait of sorts (pages 252-254):

Josiah Hazen Shinn, eldest child of Josiah Carlock and Elizabeth Frances (Gilpin) Shinn, was born at Russellville, Ark., 3/29/1849; learned to read at his father's knee in his third year; to Louisville, Ky., in 1854; entered school there in his sixth year, being placed in the third grade; to Cincinnati in 1859; passed through the intermediate and high school grades of the schools of that city; graduated at the Ohio Normal School in 1869; admitted to the bar at Cincinnati 1872, but never practiced; he was examined for admission by Stanley Matthews, afterwards Associate Justice of the U. S. at Washington; Judge Hoadley, T. D. Lincoln and Henry Snow; taught school for eighteen years in Ohio, Kentucky and Arkansas; married, 1/7/1875, at Bridgeport, Franklin County, Ky., Mildred Carlton, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Mueller) Williams.

Mr. Shinn moved to Arkansas in 1882; institute instructor for five years under W. E. Thompson; State Superintendent; President State Teachers' Association 1887; Chief Clerk in office of Secretary of State under Elias B. Moore and Ben. B. Chism 1885-1890; State Superintendent of Public Instruction 1890-1894; received the highest vote cast for any man on the state ticket; established the first State Normal Schools in Arkansas while in this office; organized the Southern Educational Association at Moorehead City, N. C., in 1891, and was elected its first President; re-elected at Chattanooga, Tenn, in 1892; Vice-President National Educational Association 1892; placed specially by the Legislature of Arkansas in charge of the Arkansas Educational Exhibit at the World's Columbian Exposition 1893; appointed Judge in the Liberal Arts Department of the World's Fair by the U. S. Commission 1893; to the Russian Empire in 1894-1895, where he was presented to Emperer Nicholas I, at the Anitchkoff Palace.

Writer for the Little Rock Gazette and Democrat; editor and publisher for ten years of the Arkansas Teacher and Southern School Journal"; established the first Chautauquas in Arkansas at Springdale, Mammoth Spring and Fort Smith in 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901; lecturer 1896 and 1897 in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri; President of Springdale College 1898-1901; was appointed to the Accounts Division, Indian Office, Department of Interior, Washington, D. C., 1901; to the Indian Warehouse, Chicago, Ill., 1902.

Mr. Shinn has published the following books and pamphlets: "The Public School and the College, 1891; "The South in Public Education," 1891; Vassar College, Pamphlet, 1891; "Illustrated Arkansas," 1892; "History of the American People," 1893; "History of Education in Arkansas," published by the U. S. Government, 1899; "Russia at the World's Fair," in English and Russian, 1894, This was republished by Russian governmental officials. "History of Arkansas," for schools, 1895; "Primary History of the United States," 1899; "History of the Russian Empire," for Libraries, in preparation. Registrar of the S. A. R. for Arkansas, 1892-3-4. Member of the American Institute, 1894; Honorary Member of the Pennsylvania and West Virginia Historical Societies, 1894; Member of the Imperial Russian Geographical and Historical Societies, 1894; Member of the Christian Church, a good speaker and a Democrat.

Minnie also got her due in the book, on page 254, at the end of the entry about Josiah. I was glad to see that, and it suggested to me that Josiah looked at her as a true partner.

Mildred Carlton Shinn, also a member of the Christian Church, was prominent in Church and social circles in Little Rock, and other parts of Arkansas; is a woman of strong convictions, and her influence has always been given to the suppression of liquor selling and other forms of vice; progressive in religious matters, she always favored advanced methods for the propagation of the Gospel at home and abroad; a member of the C. W. B. M. of her own church, and of the W. C. T. U. wherever she has resided; of the Society for the Rescue of Fallen Women at Little Rock; of the Co-Operative Club for the betterment of all classes, in which she took an active interest in Social Science and Economics. At the death of her mother, in 1876, she undertook to rear four of her brothers and sisters; Margaret Williams, now the wife of James W. Wells, Bentonville, Ark; Mattie Williams, for eight years clerk in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Little Rock, Ark., and still so employed; Jo Desha Williams, now a successful merchant at Russellville, Ark., and Julian Otis Williams, now and for ten years past a compositor on the Little Rock Gazette and Democrat, Little Rock, Ark.

Through all this labor she found time for every good work of the neighborhood and exerted a good influence over the moral and intellectual status of every place in which she lived. Her own house was always in order, and she always found time to aid every good work with her preserce, her means and her whole soul. Two busier people have rarely ever been united as happily as these, and their silver wedding, 1/7/1900, was a milestone in their lives which showed them the appreciation others had for them. Four hundred silver presents from all parts of the United States made the event one never to be forgotten.

I'd like to have known the woman described in Josiah's book. I wondered if her effort to suppress "liquor selling" ever took her to a saloon? There were plenty of watering holes and stills in Arkansas.

But I've never found an old news article suggesting that she teamed up with Carrie Nation, so maybe she found other ways to express her "stong convictions."

Guess I'll find out on the other side...

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