Uncle Henry & Aunt Ethel

Henry and Ethel Fowler, Hattie's aunt and uncle

Henry and Ethel Fowler, Hattie’s aunt and uncle

More of the Hattie Belle Grace story: this photo is of her uncle Henry with whom Hattie lived in 1910, along with her Fowler grandparents. That’s really all we know about Hattie’s interaction with her uncle other than she kept this photo of them. So let’s explore Henry and his wife Ethel.

Henry(i) A. Fowler was born on December 7, 1870 in Washington, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. On his birth record his “ethnicity” is listed as Canadian, just as Hattie Grace’s was. He was the oldest child of Clinton and Ellen Fowler. Like many NH residents of the time, Clinton was a farmer.

Henry married late for his time. At the age of 32 he married Ethel Barton in 1913. Ethel was 10 years his junior at 22. Later census show her to be even younger. In 1920, Henry and Ethel lived in Henniker, Merrimack, New Hampshire with little Andrew, age 5. Like his father, Henry was a farmer. By 1930, he’d changed professions and was working as a trucking teamster. Andrew appeared to be their only son. In 1930 Andrew as 15 and Henry 59.

Three years later in 1933 Henry died in Henniker. He was 62 and his son only 18. I’m not sure how Ethel was 22 in 1913 and managed to be 43 in 1940. She shaved off the years somewhere. No record of her death has been found yet. Andrew appeared to live until 1994.

The Demise of Willie Hopkins, solved!

The Obituary of William Hopkins

The Obituary of William Hopkins

It was a mystery what happened to Hattie Belle Grace’s first husband William, but that’s been solved now! The generous woman who sent me the original photo also sent me this: Willie’s obituary.

Willie Hopkins, who died Feb. 21 at West Hopkinton, was brought to New Boston on the 30th of April and buried there. He was 45 years old when he died and was a long and painful sufferer. He is survived by a wife, daughter, mother, one sister and two brothers. At one time he made his home in Milford.

Definitely makes one wonder what exactly he died of at a young age that was so “long and painful.” Rest in Peace Willie.

One wild ride for Hattie Grace Hopkins Lashua Nantelle

Hattie Lashua of New Hampshire

Hattie Lashua of New Hampshire

Hattie Lashua is a name in my family tree that gives my constant grief when searching for information on her. Therefore, I was extremely disappointed when the “Hattie Lashua” identified in this photo turned out to be a totally different Hattie. My own disappointment aside, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to find out more.

The photo to the left is labeled Hattie Lashua, the young man is unidentified. A second photo was labeled Uncle Henry and Aunt Ethel Fowler. They were from New Hampshire. That was enough to find a treasure trove of information on Hattie and her aunt and uncle.

Here then is what I know about Hattie and her wild and crazy life!  (I’ll have more photos and posts from this same album soon). A timeline is the easiest way to follow her trail, so here goes…

December 26, 1899 – Hattie Belle Grace is born the day after Christmas to George K. Grace and Addie B. Fowler. Her birth records state she is “Canadian” ethnicity even though she was born in Wilmot, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

1900 – the Merrimack, New Hampshire federal census shows that Hattie (age 6 months) lived with mom and dad.

1910 – By 1910, Hattie (age 9) is living with her mother’s family: grandparents Clinton and Ellen Fowler and Uncle Henry. An 8 year old Etta M. Grace also lives with them, her sister. What happened to her parents (George and Addie)?? Likely they died, but I haven’t found the proof of that yet.

March 16, 1916 – At the age of 18 Hattie married 39 year old William B. Hopkins in Milford, New Hampshire.

1920 – Hattie and William with baby new Christabelle Hopkins (age 9 months) lived in Hopkinton, Merrimack, NH next door to her sister Etta, now married to Jesse Hoyt. William worked in the local paper mill.

About 1921 – William either died or the couple divorced. His fate is still unknown.

April 24, 1922 – Hattie Belle Hopkins (age 22) married the much older Edward Lashua (50) in Canaan, New Hampshire. This was Edward’s third marriage. His first wife passed away, he divorced his 2nd wife – who coincidentally was the sister of my husband’s great grandmother! That’s as far as I’m connected to this Hattie.

1924 – Sister Etta Grace Hoyt dies.

Now it gets interesting…

1929 – A baby boy, Frank Nantelle, the son of Hattie Grace and Ralph Nantelle died shortly after birth. Hmmm? Is this our Hattie? Yes, but we only know this if we continue the time line…

1930 – A Hattie Nantelle with daughter Addie Nantelle and son Edward Nantelle live in Alexandria, Granfton, NH where Hattie works as a housekeeper. She’s listed as married but no husband is in the household. Not to forget about little Christabelle Hopkins. She is unfortunately living at age 11 in the Laconia State School in Laconia, NH. A home for the feeble minded, which some very non-pleasant stuff has been written on :(  But why isn’t Hattie with Edward? He lived with his brother in 1930 and is listed as divorced. Where did “Nantelle” come from? Read on.

January 1933 – Edward Lashua died.

May 30, 1933 – Hattie Belle Grace (now 34) married Ralph Edward Nantelle (29) in Hinniker, New Hampshire. So, it appears she finally got to marry the man she was having children with. An odd situation all around, but we discover even more in 1940.

1940 – Ralph and Hattie are living in Ashford, Windham, Connecticut with John C. and Addie E. Lashua aged 16 and 15 respectively. These were the children of Edward. They are listed as Ralph’s step-children despite the fact that Hattie was using the last name Nantelle for Addie and herself in 1930. Where John was in 1930 is unknown. Hattie and Ralph also have children of their own: Edward Ralph (13) and Rose E. (7). That makes 6 children with 3 husbands in all for Hattie that we know of, including baby Frank who died early. Christobel (as her name was sometimes spelled) was still in Laconia State School too.  The next question, where was Ralph Nantelle in 1930 when he and Hattie were obviously involved?

1957 – A newspaper article in Kentucky is the next clue. Edward Ralph Nantelle, son of Mrs. Hattie Nantelle died in Kentucky. He was a veteran and had most recently served in Korea. He left a wife and two small sons behind. Interestingly no Mr. Nantelle was mentioned in the article. Was Hattie divorced again?

1972 – a Ralph Nantelle born 12/3/1904 died in April of 1972. He was living in New Hampshire, although from Connecticut. Is this Hattie’s husband? Hard to know for sure. If so, they hadn’t lived together for some time.

1980 – Hattie Belle Nantelle died in Connecticut in March. She is said to be the Widow of Ralph. She is buried in West Stafford Cemetery.

Lots of questions remain, but a very interesting trail none the less. Hopefully family members can fill in the gaps. Despite the last name of Lashua on the back of the photo, it seems that it was not a name Hattie had for very long!

Ruth Smith, a little more than a simple farmer’s daughter

Ruth Smith, 1908 Seneca High School

Ruth Smith, 1908 Seneca High School

Kansas was a good place to be a farmer, at least for the Smith family. Ruth (pictured here in the 1908 freshman class photo of Seneca High School) was the daughter of William Smith and Mary Amos. My assessment of a “good place” comes from the fact that I’ve never seen a farmer with such a consistent supply of servants – usually that’s what the kids were for! Here’s a little background.

William, originally from New Hampshire, married Mary Amos (from Ohio) in 1885 in Nemaha, Kansas – same county as Seneca. They had 4 children – not nearly enough to run a farm on. Frank the oldest was born in 1887, Amos in 1888, Ruth in 1893, and Agnes in 1895. Every census year, with the exception of 1910, a servant lived with the Smith family. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1895, 16 year old Lena Haug from Germany
  • 1900, Barney Burdick, also from Germany
  • 1905, 20 year old Josephine Bockman of German
  • 1910, none – I think Mary was getting tired of the pretty young ones ;)
  • 1920, 75 year old black man named Bob Mason (Mary did the hiring that year)
  • 1925, 16 year old Rosa was listed as the housekeeper

Quite a list for a simple farmer! But back to Ruth. Ruth Amos Smith lived at home through 1915. Before 1920 she married Clinton W. Kanaga and they had one child at the time of that census in Kansas city, Issouri. By 1930 they had 2 more children and lived in Witchita, Kansas. Clinton was in advertising for the music retail industry apparently. 1940 saw the Kanaga family back in Kansas City. It also mentions on this census that Ruth had 4 years of college – another sign that her father was a successful farmer.

According to the SSDI, Ruth died in May of 1988 and Clinton in 1977. While I didn’t find an obituary for either of them, there is a lengthy obituary for their son, Clinton Jr. who passed away in 2006. What an active and colorful life he led, I wonder if he got that from his mom?