Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Pioneer Life

I haven't been particularly inspired lately. I think it is the allergies and general spring fever. I usually start thinking about my Tuesday post days ahead and decide on the photo and start thinking about what I want to write on Monday.

This week...nothing.

So I pulled out one of the archival boxes where I keep the family photos and started browsing through the faces. I found my first best friend, Patty, a school group including my grandmother, and one of my parents and sister long before I came along. Those will all be shared some day.

Today I have another picture of John and Mattie Keith. Mattie looks much younger and she seems to have a bit of a smile almost like she had a special thought come to mind just as the photo was taken. John looks the same; even the same angle. I wonder if this is their wedding photo.

I did a quick search for W. S. Edwards in Meade, Kansas and didn't find anything.

This is Clyde Keith, the son of Mattie and John, who was killed by a rattlesnake when about two years old. He looks like such a happy baby.
Can't you just imagine John sitting in that chair in the evening with his pipe or cigar? Perhaps a book or newspaper. There sure wasn't much too look at out the window or door from the background in this photo.This must be before they moved to town.

John and Mattie aren't direct ancestors but I have always been drawn to their pictures. I wonder if Mattie and I would have been friends. What kinds of things she liked to do. Did she keep a diary? Her daughter never mentioned one.

I'm still not feeling especially inspired but I'm thinking about Mattie and her life. Perhaps one day I'll write a story about her. What kind of stories would you write?


  1. Looking at that bleak landscape, it's no wonder people moved to towns. I can only imagine the loneliness of living out there.

  2. I was just thinking the same thing...the bleak landscape...the loneliness of the wives who first ventured to the shores of this country with their husbands, and those who journeyed across this country with their husbands, headed west. No ER's, not even a doctor, just their own wits...no pastor except for maybe one who rode through once a month...sometimes not even another woman for miles! We take an awful lot for granted in these times; those were brave ladies indeed, who left a wealth of stories..sure would love to hear them!Suzanne

  3. One of my relatives, I think it was my Uncle Herbert had a rocking chair exactly like that. He also had a covered porch that looked down the yard to the Puget Sound. I remember how bizarre I thought it was that he would bring that rocking chair our on the porch and sit looking out over the water. He would also take that same rocker and put it in the kitchen and sit there for a few weeks. As a child I thought a chair like that belonged in the front room. Lori from Art Camp for Women.


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