I am a member of Ancestry.com and that allows me to contact other people who share family trees with me. When I discovered that the picture hanging in my grandfather's house was a picture of Effie Barnhouse, I tried to contact people who would be related to her in hopes of finding a distant cousin. I found someone that was related to the Barnhouse family and he put me in contact with his cousin who he thought was a descendant of Effie's. Can you imagine how exciting it was to get an e-mail like that? I can't even describe the feeling of elation!
Well, you would never believe it but this person is a DAUGHTER of Harve and Effie. She is over 90 years old and told me her dad went by Harve (don't pronounce the "e"). It was like Christmas morning for me. My e-mail friend, David, went to her home and showed her my first post and read her what I wrote about her parents. She cried and got shivers. Even though her eyesight is going bad she said that those were her parents just like she remembered them. It was so sweet to be able to make copies of the portraits and send them to her. She had never seen those pictures before.
Since then I have been able to visit with her and pick her brain on things that happened seventy years ago. Let me tell you, she as sharp as a tack, by golly! It has been so fun hearing about her life and her children. David and their family call her "Tootsie!" I just love that nickname. It seems to fit her perfectly. She told me that it came from a comic strip when she was little. There was a little girl who looked just like her so her dad started calling her "Toots." This family is full of nicknames!
Tootsie told me that her father is buried in Thurman, Iowa, the same cemetery as Nancy McQuinn, his second wife. She told me that she had a grave marker made for him and was able to get the dates from his death certificate.
No more question mark.
Tootsie also told me about how they lived in McPaul, Iowa and had a some cattle there. She said that they moved to Percival, Iowa sometime before her father passed away in 1929. She went to school in both McPaul and Percival. She was also able to share with me her memories of the night her dad died. She was about nine years old at the time, but says that it was something she would never forget.
Effie was the mother of six children with Harve. Tootsie is the fourth child of those six children. She is the only one still living! Effie was left a widow with six children in 1929. This time period was not ideal for bad luck to come your way. Effie moved the family across the border to Nebraska and she started doing housework to earn money for the family.
Tootsie told me how she cared for her mother, Effie, who struggled with diabetes and lost both legs before she died. Effie died in 1959 which also happens to be the same year Estella, her stepdaughter and my great great grandmother passed away. It is unclear if they ever met each other because Stella stayed in Idaho. But Stella is the owner of the portraits that have been passed down to my grandfather. Effie was quite a bit younger than Stella, about 16 years. Stella was born in 1883 and Effie was born in 1899, the year that Stella had my great grandfather, Elmer Montgomery. I asked how Effie and Harve met. She told me that he taught school. I also learned that he played the fiddle which was really touching because my own children have taken to fiddling! Tootsie remembered that she always felt loved by her father and he was always real good to her and her siblings.
Here is another photo of Harve in his younger years. I am hoping to confirm with Tootsie if she recognizes this photo! It may be a photo that they have hanging around the house. Notice the assorted pins. Maybe I can have the photo detective take a look at this one and give me her expert advice! Another interesting tidbit that Tootsie recalls is that her father had a pension. So that would mean he may have been involved in the Civil War. I will have to follow up on that lead and see what I can find out.