Thelma Donnally, a misfit in 1940 West Virginia

Thelma Donnally, age 18

Thelma Donnally, age 18

I love this picture of Thelma. Her smile looks so genuine and sweet. I hope Thelma’s story is happier than it appears. She was not quite a peer among the 1940 Jr. High class in Barboursville, West Virginia. Born in 1921, Thelma was several years older than her classmates. She wasn’t sporting the high maintenance curls that all the other girls wore to school that day, or the necklaces and pressed collars with dainty scarves. She looked like she just came in from the field – and maybe she did.

The only child of older parents, Thelma as born to Harry A. Donnally when he was 50 and wife Laura was 38. Harry was born in 1872 in Ohio and had a 6th grade education. When he did work he was a machinist helper at a steam RR shop. In 1940, close to when this picture would have been taken, he was out of work. Maybe Thelma had to leave school occasionally to make money to help her family. Laura, 12 years her husband’s junior, was born in 1884 in West Virginia.

I know little else, other than Harry Donnally died in 1944, Laura in 1963 and Thelma in 2003. To my knowledge Thelma never married. She is buried next to her mother in Hillcrest Cemetery in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. I would love to know more about Thelma and her family, but that’s not likely. Given she appeared to have no children or siblings, there is no one in the online tree world searching for her.

1940 Jr. High class of Barboursville, West Virginia

1940 Jr. High class of Barboursville, West Virginia

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