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?