Saturday, April 07, 2018

Letters from Caroline Calista Post Atwater, Dora's paternal Grandmother, to the Sherwood Family

The photos above and below of William and Caroline (Post) Atwater, are from my cousin, who is a direct descendent from Dora and the Atwaters.
This four generation photo may well be one of the last photos that were taken of Caroline Calista Post Atwater.  This is of her, her daughter-in-law, Ella Jane Stevens Atwater Sherwood (center front), her grand-daughter Dora Atwater Sherwood Lindsey (right) and lastly Margaret Lindsey Mangum Leesom May (center back). 

1917-1209 – Caroline Calista Post Atwater to Ella Jane Atwater Stevens Sherwood
[Caroline Post Atwater was the mother of Elmer Atwater, first husband of Ella Jane Stevens Atwater.  At the time of this letter, it had been sixty years since her son was born and 37 years since her son had died when Dora was an infant.  When Dora was born Ella Jane, Elmer and Dora had lived with William and Caroline Atwater and Ella Jane and Dora continued to live with them for some time after his death.  They remained close throughout their lives, even after Ella Jane married Will Sherwood. William Atwater had passed away a few months earlier on April 8, 1917. Caroline's letters provide a lot of family information.]    
Bangor Dec 9, 1917
            Dear Ella and family, don’t think for one moment I have forgotten to write to you for I have not but you know how negligent we old people are.  How are you this severe wintery weather.  I am not feeling very good but am much better than I have been. I took a very hard cold and it left me with a very bad cough. Am troubled with bronchitis and it was pretty hard on me for a while but am better. It was almost like the Grippe so I expect I will have to keep pretty close at home this winter. Have not been out anywhere but once since I came home. Two months ago I was with you. Net seemed very glad to see me and I surely was glad to get here before cold weather. Am much obliged for sending the crochet hooks.  I have been quite busy (when I felt able) knitting rugs.  Have knitted one twenty two inches wide and forty long a quite a dark one.  Another one not quite done will be thirty inches wide and sixty six inches long.  They are both striped. The last one is much lighter than the other. Will have rags enough left for another one smaller.  Have made blocks enough for a silk quilt all ready to work the seams and tatted quite a bit. How did you spend Thanksgiving?  We all stayed at home. Aunt Beck and Uncle Philand [Rebecca Atwater, Caroline's sister-in-law and her husband Philander Byrns] came down Thanksgiving morning and stayed until Sunday. They are pretty well for old people and Leolie’s family were here to dinner. You never saw such a place for company. Four men, hog men and wives and three of them with a child too have been here since I came home and they have stayed from one night to one week. One man and wife stayed one week. He would be gone some days but back nights several times. Three or four men came and be here one night.  It makes lots of work.
            Mrs. Frank says I would not have it.  I would be boss in my own house and put a stop to it.  Net says it is part of the hog business. They had a hog sale the next week after I came home.  Sold $4,785 but it is a very expensive such work, his expenses are enormous. Will have another sale in the last of Jan of bred sows will make 3 or 4 thousand and then he sells lots at private sales.  He certainly is a prosperous man.
            Now I don’t write this for a blow but thought you would like to hear it. I had a letter from Will Skelton not long ago. Their boy is in the army. I don’t know whether he was drafted or enlisted. They take it very hard. Will said with close economy they might get along until spring. The worst is for feed for stock. Everything dried up out there and Will is not well and a very poor manager at best. Their daughter is married and lives near them. She helps them a great deal. I think by the way he wrote it is very cold tonight. Len has got the house heated to boiling but I have got a window open.
            Isn’t this war something fierce. I have had to quit reading war news it makes me so nervous. Mrs. Frank reads it all and talks it all the time. It seems as though all the devils in the infernal regions possess the old Keiser (I don’t know if I spelled that right but you know what I mean) for him to think of such dreadful things. Mrs. F and I both want to knit for the Red Cross but Net and Len say we have knit enough in our day and not try it but if I could I would be glad to.
            Dora sent me Margaret’s picture. It is very nice. I wrote to her some time ago but don’t know whether she received it. About three weeks ago six ladies, old neighbors of mine from Onalaska came up on the half past eight train and stayed all day.  We all had a splendid time.  It surely made me feel good.  They sent Net word so she was ready for dinner and supper.  Len bough a tractor to use on the farm this fall. It cost him $1030 with two plows.  Is something nice too he only has four horses now and wants to sell one team.
            Now don’t you think I have written enough nonsense and I think it must be about bed time.  My how the wind blows so goodnight. Love and best respect to you all.  Write before you forget it.                                                                                     Mother A
Note on back:
A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to One and All

*    *     *     *     *     *     *     *
1918-0305 – Caroline Post Atwater to Ella Jane Stevens Atwater Sherwood
Bangor, March 5, 1918
Dear One’s All,
            How are you this very unpleasant day.  It has been so foggy all day could hardly see across the road. It is just twenty four years today since we moved to Onalaska[1] and it rained all day after we got about three miles on our way.  I was very home sick then for a long time but with never such a sad, lonely feeling as I have these days.  I spend most of my time in my own room all alone and am very, very lonely.  I have not been out in the road since before Christmas and it seems very different from any thing I was ever used to.  I would not have any think I am complaining for I have a very nice home yet it is not home to me.  It seems as though I was in the way. A letter from Grace[2] today done me so much good.  Her two youngest boys were having croup Sunday pretty bad I guess.  The rest are well. 
            True’s folks were not very well, some of them. Mae’s husband has been sent home on account of tuberculosis of the lungs.  There is but little choice I think between that and going to France.  Len[3] has nearly 200 little pigs, fine ones too.  He had a big sale this winter – it brought him eight thousand, eight hundred and eighty two dollars.  One hog sold for one thousand and six hundred and fifty dollars and her last spring litter of pigs sold for over eleven hundred dollars, but of course it’s not all gain.  It is very expensive business.  Every day’s mail brings him inquiries about hogs.  He is away now and is away more than two thirds of the time.  Net says she don’t know what she would do if it was not for the Grandma’s.  Thinks she would go out to work.  I am glad to hear Dora thinks of visiting us Wis folks, will be so glad to see her once more and Susie I hope she may have her share of happiness in her married life.  Did I tell you Ansel had a son a few weeks old the little girl is about twenty months old.  I am having rheumatism pretty severe now.  This kind of weather is not very good for rheumatic people, but am pretty well otherwise.  Now write and let me now when Dora comes. [Follow link for later news; Dora did visit her on her way home from Susan and Herman's wedding.]
            Net[4]’s brother Eber is here visiting his mother.   She has been quite sick and is very childish and it makes her very angry to contradict.  One word she guesses she knows she has had and brought up seven children, she ought to know.  She sputters at Net because she don’t do everything just as she says.  I suppose you think you know more than I do but I don’t – she tells Net – but we don’t say much only try to make her think she is all right – surely if she has many spells like she had had this winter she won’t last very long.  Net’s birthday is the 16th of this month.  I am making her a corset-cover yoke crocheting it – am doing it on the sly.  Next week Lenore[5] is coming to stay all the week.  She has no sewing machine so is coming to sew and her mother will help her.  Says she has nothing to wear.  Her husband’s mother stays most of the time with them this winter so she can come often.  Ida’s baby does not do as well as she ought, don’t grow much, is a poor little thing, but is surely a good baby.  Net is sewing for Lilah, making over some of Lenore’s dresses for her.  I have silk blocks enough, made a quilt for Mae and blocks of outing flannel enough for a quilt for Millie but have to work them yet – but that will pass away the time.
            Is Susan going to stay at home or what and what will be her name.  If she stays there, there will be nothing to hinder you from coming out here when Dora comes.  I hope she don’t disappoint us.   Now my eyes are getting so tired, think I will have to quit.  Grace said they had lots of milk, were milking sixteen cows, mostly new milks and if I would come up I could have all the mush and milk I wanted.  Now don’t forget to write to me before long.  Haven’t I done pretty well answering so quick.  See you do as well. 
            I received three letters today, one from Oland Post wife.  Net received three and her mother two and Net says not much of a day for letters either.  They often receive eight to ten a day. Now goodnight and pleasant dreams to all.
            Yours with love
                        Mother A 
I have always for sixty years signed my name Mrs. W B Atwater[6]and it comes very hard to sign it any other way. 

[1] Bangor appears to be about ten miles away from Onalaska.  It sounds like she has moved in with other family.
[2] Grace Atwater, wife of Harry Jewett.  Grace and Harry had eleven children. 
[3] Leonard Atwater, son of William and Caroline Atwater
[4] Linette Frank, wife of Leonard
[5] Daughter of Leonard and Linette; she was married but don’t yet know to whom.
[6] Her husband, William Bigelow Atwater had died eleven months before on 8 Apr 1917.  He died six months before what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

World War II Rationing on the Old Wisconsin Farm

Came across a whole booklet of WWII Rationing Coupons from
the family on the Wisconsin dairy farm in Kendall known as Spring Brook Farm.  I remember my parents talking about the rationing but never any details.  If anyone has any insights into the specific information seen below, please feel free to comment.  There were four individual sets of ration stamps/coupons but I have only scanned one example of each. There were also fuel and mileage coupons as well. I wonder how Americans would rise to the occasion if a similar life and death struggle were faced now with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.  Would American's today rise to the occasion and give up instant gratification? If things had turned out differently, then, we might well be having this conversation in German.
Apparently the local radio station sponsored the folders so that families could keep
things organized
Back cover with calendars and reminder to buy War Bonds.  I noticed that this folder has a Roman Numeral Five on it, but the actual rationing books only go through 4.  So perhaps when these were available there was yet no hope for the end of rationing.
I see the instructions here but do wonder how long it took people to adapt to using these. One issue, of course, is that those who were frugal were penalized (if you had sugar at hand then you got the same amount deducted from what you would otherwise have been able to buy. 
 Outside cover of book one 
Above and below are inside left and right of ration book.

Ration Book Two
They also had some sort of tokens above which were used to give change for foods bought with rationing coupons
Above are food specific kinds of rationing coupons
 It looks like the family sold back some meat and fats to the government - even tho they had to modify the sugar purchase certificate form.  Probably another illustration of making due!

Family applied for ration book 3
And received them
These kinds of ration stamps/coupons had an aircraft carrier, plane, tank and cannon.

These say mileage rationing but it must have been gallons of gasoline or other fuels since it would be hard to clock the miles.  Altho soon here in Washington State they'll be charging us for every mile driven.  It will happen soon - alas!

I don't know if this is the only "inventory report" they had done or if they had previously filled these out when they turned in recyclables. 

The 1924 Chev sedan registration for 1943 shows the frugal lifestyle of the farmer
Herman Weber's Selective Service card.  Since he was born in 1879, there wasn't a lot of danger of him being called up curing WWII.  He had not fought in WWI - like  his brother-in-law George Sherwood (see because he was the last young and strong man left to work the farm.  Even during WWI he had been in his 40's. 

Various other rationing stamps 

I'm not exactly sure what these are but am assuming thus far that they have something to do with automobile tabs and the fuel and mileage rationing.  These are all inside the ration booklet.  The one below say '43' and the one above '44.'  The 44 one is much more clear on this side even though I believe this is

Below is a sheet of paper that was included which showed them attempting to keep track of the amounts used.  It sounds as though sometimes they sent the rationing booklet along with someone else or sent the coupons/stamps to the merchants and then checked them over for accuracy at the return.  At this time Herman and Susan and their son Carl all lived on the farm.  Their other three children were scattered around the country.  

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bertha Shares Family News and Local Skeleton in the Closet

Ella Jane Stevens Atwater Sherwood, AKA Julia Eldora Welch
Ella Jane Sherwood, matriarch of our part of the Sherwood clan, was born to Mary Elizabeth Richardson and her husband Evi Welch on the 18th of June 1861and her birth name was Eldora Julia Welch.  Evi Welch died at 22 years of age (of consumption we believe) when Eldora was less than six months old on November 11, 1861.  In March of 1863 Mary Elizabeth married Martin Dexter.  Their first child, Eva Jane, was born in 1865 and lived six months.  Their second child was Ursula who was born in 1866 and their third child was Bertha in 1867. 
Bertha Dexter Tillotson, half-sister of Ella Jane
Their 4th child, Lizzie was born on Nov 11, 1868. Mary Elizabeth and Martin had one more son, Solomon King Dexter, who died as an infant in 1870.

Just days before Eldora Julia turned six years old in June of 1867,  she was legally adopted by her Aunt and Uncle, David Eastman Stevens and Rosina Jane Richardson Stevens.  Rosina Jane and Mary Elizabeth were sisters, David and Jane were ten years married and were childless.  They were generally prosperous, but by no means rich.  The story is told that Eldora's stepfather, Martin Dexter, held her on his lap all night the last day she was with them so that she would always know that she was loved.  Her new legal name became Ella Jane Stevens.
Ella Jane grew up in Wisconsin and Minnesota and a short time in Iowa as well, but mostly Minnesota.  When she was 18 years old she married Elmer Atwater of Wisconsin and they had one daughter, Dora, and then Elmer passed away in a logging accident on a river in 1881.Dora was not quite 2 months old.  There must have been a sense of déjà vu in  Ella Jane's heart and mind as she and her daughter faced the future husband and fatherless just as she and her mother had done two decades before.  A few years laterElla Jane met Will Sherwood in Minnesota (he worked for her parents at one time) and they were married in 1887.  The two of them moved to Kendall, Wisconsin and rented the family farm from his parents.
Sometime after they all became adults, Ella and her two remaining half-siblings began corresponding and getting to know each other.  She, Bertha and Ursula corresponded but mostly it was Ella and Bertha. They corresponded irregularly, but always managed to talk about all the relatives and what was happening in the extended family.  Because Ella's adoption has been a "relative placement" all the family connections had remained the same on the maternal side and she often heard news about the Welch or Dexter lines.  Ella's and Bertha's mom Mary Elizabeth passed away July 10, 1879 at 38 years of age.

Mary Elizabeth Richardson Welch Dexter

Ella had a note among all her paperwork that said "My mother died at the age of 38 of heart failure during childbirth."   I have found no record of another child born or otherwise acknowledged at that time. Perhaps the child could not be born quickly enough and they were buried together or it could be a family error in the story.  . 

        Bertha wrote this letter to Ella Jane in 1918 when they both had sons (Bertha's Martin was four months older than George) heading for the conflict in Europe.  Bertha wrote a very newsy letter, mostly about family but some  pretty shocking community gossip! 

March 5 – 1918

Dear Sister Ella and all:-
            I got your letter after it had been over to Uncle Roberts[1]. I read it and sent it all back to him writing him a letter also.  Then he read it and wrote to me and sent your letters back to me.  What do you think of that?

Robert Fletcher Richardson II; husband of Rosetta Dexter
Richardson of whom the post-script at the end refers
             I was going to try to go over and help them, but Sylvester[2] had gone into a job with another man to cut, saw, slab and pile 100 cords of wood and the weather has been against them, so they didn’t get it done in time for me to go over.
Sylvester Luther Tillotson, husband of Bertha
We had all the help to board and I being alone, had quite a bit to do. I have had a very hard cold this [winter] which has not left me entirely yet.  Mary[3] also was having a bad time with her ears. She had three sores gather and break in her ear. Then she had a mastoid abscess back of her ear. All the same ear.  I took her to the doctor and he gave her chloroform and lanced it, taking out about one half tea cup of blood and puss.  We had to go back the next day and have it dressed.  She is all right now.  She hasn’t been to school this winter.  Leonard[4] had had a hard cold most all winter.  The older girls[5] are both in Meredith, N.H. They are all well.  Jessie has a pretty cute little girl we think. Sylvester is down with them now.  He will stay and work until he can work on the ground if he likes down there $18 a week, in the woods he can’t get that here.

The Tillotson Girls; L - Gladys, R - Jesse and Mary Elizabeth center in 1912

Well, I think Aunt Eva[6] would remember Lucinda Bixby[7] that lived just below grandpa’s place, it was her.  She was Lucinda Willey, married Frank Bixby after the civil war she left him and married Center Jackson. [They were married Dec 5, 1874 and he died May 30, 1907 of stomach cancer]  She stayed all winter with me and then she went to the village to live with an old man that she was as crazy to have as any young girl could be after a fellow.  She had about $2,000 she signed over to him.  After she did it and she found she had no money of her own, she and her sons found it out they went to see her, and; had a talk with her.  Well when the man that she gave her money to was getting ready to go to put it in the bank in his name she went into one of the neighbors a few minutes then went back and down across the garden and; into the river and was drowned.  It was some time before they found her as they didn’t see her go but they tracked her.  She must have known what she was doing because there wasn’t water above the waist, and hardly above her knees.  [She died June 6, 1917 and is buried at West Topsham Cemetery near Center Jackson.] Well she was a trial. 

Now Ella isn’t it hard to think of our boys going across the water to be a target for the German's. Martin[8] enlisted the 5th of June. Was at Ft. Ethan Allen[9] until the 26th of Sept.  From there to Westfield, Mass a little while and the next I heard was to be moved. I got a letter about a month after that he was in England, then got some letters from France.  He hadn’t gone into battle last I heard, which was written Jan. 21. I had one of his letters printed so will send you the letter.  This has been a hard blow for me. You having your only son go must be and; mean a lot to you. I saw Martin several times after he enlisted. He said that he would rather be “led than drove.”  I write and have written to him about every week, sometimes oftener. And the girls every week so I have quite a bit writing to do.  It has been a very cold, hard winter here.

            Will close hoping to hear from you again, remember me to Aunt Eva.  Would like to hear from her. I can remember her. I will just write a few more words as I want to say that I got a letter from Uncle Robert saying that he was getting along fine. I don’t think he ought to live there alone this cold winter with no one in sight, although he seems so smart for one as old as he is.  Don’t Aunt Eva ever think she will come east?  I can remember her when she lived with Alfred Thomas. Guess I shouldn’t know her now. Would like to see you all. I am not feeling very well this spring or soon to be spring.  Susie must be a lady now.  How old is she?  I shall be 51 the 15 of March.  Old enough to be good.                                         Love and best wishes to all.


[Post Script]
Rosetta Dexter Richardson
            Aunt Rosetta[10] was nothing but skin and bones.  She asked me, when I was over to see her after she took her bed, if I thought she had anything to build upon[11].  She said that she had lived her time and hoped Uncle Robert would have as good care as he had given her.  How thoughtful.  I think she was a beautiful woman all through her life.

[1] Robert Fletcher Richardson II; born 18 Sept 1832 and died 17Jan 1922. He was recently widowed of Rosetta Dexter (Richardson) referenced at end of letter.  Robert was brother of Bertha’s mother and Rosetta was sister of Bertha’s father.
[2] Sylvester Luther Tillotson, born 4 July 1868 and died 3 May 1954.   Writer Bertha’s husband.
[3] Mary Elizabeth Tillotson (Avery then Bean), youngest daughter of Sylvester and Bertha Tillotson.  She was born 11 April 1908 and passed away Sept 25, 1991. Almost ten years old at this time.
[4] Leonard Tillotson was fourth child and second son of Sylvester and Bertha. Born 15 Nov 1898 and died 10 Nov 1955.
[5] Jessie Naomi Tillotson (Weeks), born 2 June 1892 and died 7 April 1959  and sister  Gladys Eva Tillotson Kimball, born 26 April 1894 and died December 1986_.
[6] Youngest maternal Aunt of Bertha.  Eva was youngest sister of Bertha’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Richardson Dexter.  Aunt Eva was born Evalina Irene Richardson and was first married to Alfred Thomas.  He was apparently prone to domestic violence and they divorced.   She later married a widower George Thompson who was a veteran of the Civil War and was always known to family after that as Nellie Thompson.  She was born in Vermont on 26 June 1847 and died in Kendall, Wisconsin in 8 December 1926.
[7] The 1870 Federal census taken at Topsham, VT,  shows Franklin Bixby, 34, with wife Lucinda, 30, and sons Ira, John and Walter, 13,12, and 10 in dwelling number 81. Bertha’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Richardson (formerly Welch) Dexter and her husband Martin Dexter were dwelling number 80.  Parker and Betsy Dexter, parents of Martin Dexter (and Rosetta Dexter Richardson, mentioned later) were dwelling 82. Joel and Sarah Bixby were dwelling number 83 and appear to be of the age to be parents of Franklin Bixby, so they all lived close together.  Carter Jackson was a household member in dwelling 81with Franklin and Lucinda Bixby and appeared to have a partnership in the value of the property.  Both were listed as being farmers and one had value of $1200 and the other $1400. 
[8] Martin Luther Tillotson, 3rd child and first son born to Bertha and Sylvester on 2 Aug 1986 and died on 20 Dec 1973 in Waits River, VT
[10] Rosetta Dexter Richardson, late wife of Uncle Robert Fletcher Richardson II had just passed away the month before.
[11] She was contemplating her life in light of the verse in 1 Cor 3:11-15 --   "For other foundation can no man lay, than what is laid, which is Jesus Christ: And if any one build on this foundation, gold, silver, costly stones;
wood, hay, stubble, Every one's work shall be made manifest;
 for the day shall declare it: for it is revealed by fire; yea the fire shall try every one's work, of what sort it is.
 If any one's work which he hath built thereon shall remain, he shall receive a reward.
 If any one's work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss, but himself shall be saved, yet so as through the fire."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Ida Sherman Vandervort Radloff Breaks a Leg at 95

Grandma Ida around 1950 with her first great grandchild
Whenever I think of Great Grandma Ida, I reflect on the fact that she was very well loved and liked by family when she was in her 90's, but not so much when she was in her 20s and 30's.  My grandmother, Kathryn, youngest of three, was born in November of 1902, less than four months before her mother, Mary McCauley Vandervort, passed away of typhoid fever, contracted from a bad water source. The typhoid fever is documented, the water source cause, a family history/legend. A month after Kathryn turned two years old, Charles Lorenzo Vandervort married Ida Sherman. Another bit of family history/legend is that a grandson of hers noted that Charles could have married Ida or her sister but he "chose the wrong one." Apparently Ida fit the traditional stereotype of a step-mother, not so much in favoring her own children (of which she had none) but of not being very warm and fuzzy or otherwise nurturing. She was, according to my mother, her granddaughter, quite a Tartar!  She outlived her first husband, Charles Vandervort, who died in 1941 and later married John Radloff in May of 1950.

We join Ida's story here --
May 19, 1976
 Dear Bernadine and family,
            I hate to be the bearer of bad news but seems (Aunt Ida) your grandmother fell and broke her leg above the knee. As soon as the swelling goes down the doctor will set it and put a cast on it.  She had quite a cold too. I just called the hospital and was told Aunt Ida was OK. The doctor is waiting for the swelling to go down just as I said above. We had hoped this wouldn’t happen.  Shirley will be able to tell you about the wedding reception they attended on Sat. evening.  Aunt Ida said she just couldn’t miss that but she was so tired that she told a friend not to call her in the morning as she intended to sleep after Shirley left.  (Inadvertently I didn’t get to meet Shirley or you when you were here. Both of you were here such a short time). Willowdean and Harold called from Florida about 11 o’clock and about 11:15 on her return to bed she got dizzy and went down on the floor.  She managed to pull the bed clothes off the bed to cover her and in so doing the receiver on the telephone got pulled off so no one to get to her on the phone. Mrs. Carow tried calling about 4, got the busy signal so assumed she might be talking to me.  After many calls she called the operator and was told something was wrong with the phone. Frank Sherman, a grad-nephew happened to be visiting in Ironwood came over and had to break into the house as Aunt Ida keeps all the doors hooked then locked with a key. She even had the living room door locked between the bedroom and living room. Frank finally got in.  They called the doctor and ambulance so [she] is as comfortable as possible at Grand View Hospital, Room 204, Ironwood, Mich 49938.
            I have a problem in having transportation. I do drive a car and there is no public transportation between Ironwood and Bessemer where I live.  It’s about six miles between these two cities. Don’t know whether Aunt Ida ever spoke of me. I am not really a niece but got used to calling her Aunt when I was small. My mother was Aunt Ida’s 1st cousin.  I remember your mother very well. She taught me in the Presbyterian summer vacation Bible school many years ago.  Also remember your grandfather.  I lived in Hurley, Wis as a child. I taught the deaf in Gooding, Idaho for 6 years and spent one Christmas in Salem, Oregon with Marjorie Naylor.  We have lost all touch with her.  Do you ever see her?
            I have meant to write to you before but just never got around to it.  Since Aunt Ida has a problem with her sight it is hard for her to write and I know she misses her correspondence.  Is this your telephone number 503-761-7598 Would you please let the others in your family know about the accident.  I have tried to write to several people that I thought should know about the accident.
            I’m afraid Aunt Ida will be laid up for some time and don’t know what will happen.  She does not want to go to a nursing home.  We are not mentioning this to her now.
                                                                                                Glenna Sealy Baird
Mrs. William S. Baird
407 E Mary Street
Bessemer, Michigan 49911

And from another relative a few days later --
May 27, 1976

Dear Folks: 

Just a line to let you know that Aunt Ida is in the hospital with a broken leg.  She fell about fifteen minutes after Shirley left.  She was going back to bed for awhile as was early six o’clock when Shirley left.  She is doing pretty good.  They took x-rays the other day and the break is starting to knit.  The break is about half way between her knee and hip.  She [has] a cast on from her hip to her foot.  She has a cough but doctor is treating her for that.  Her right ear has an abscess so she can not hear to good. Otherwise she is fine.  If you want to write her
Mrs. John Radloff,
Room 202,
Grand View Hospital
Ironwood, Michigan 49938

She looks for mail every day.  I have been busy around the place. We are finally getting the electric line in here.  I got to get this in the mail box before the mail man comes.  Hope you are all well as I am fine.
                                                            Yours Truly,
                                                                        Verner Johnson
Verner Johnson
Springstead Rt
Park Falls, Wis 54552

There is something to be said for being a strong and formidable woman when facing adversity. Ida Radloff lived another five years after breaking her leg at the youthful age of 95. Another family legend is that when told she would never walk again her response was "you and whose army" and the next thing they knew she was up and around with a walker. She was apparently also told she would not be able to move back into her house and live independently and again her response was "You and whose army" and soon she was settled back into her home and had acquired personal assistance for a certain number of hours per week. That could all be legend but I do remember visiting her at her home after she had broken her leg. I had not considered the significance of it before this very time, but while visiting she gave us each a small cactus from her windowsill. I had mine for several decades before it got lost in the shuffle of a move or something. But amazingly, I inherited the cactus my parents received from her and it is still on my windowsill now 40 years later. Over her ten decades, Ida apparently mellowed out and all my recollections of her are positive. They were short visits so I may never have seen a demonstration of her whole character. I am also sure that life and losses, reflections on what was really important and if nothing else, just the momentum of passing time eroded the prickles that had marked her youth. When she passed away in 1981 it was said that her last words were greeting Charlie and she was gone. 

 Grandma Ida's cactus that has been in the family for at least four decades
Charles Vandervort is center man in this photo.  To the left is his second wife, Ida Sherman Vandervort and to her left is young Kathryn Tangen
*     *     *    *    *     *     *
Obituary information for any extended family that like data!
Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan
Saturday 5 February 1972 page 6
Mrs. J. Radloff, 91 Is Honored
Mrs. John Radloff, 137 W. Ridge St., celebrated her 91st birthday anniversary Thursday, Feb. 3. The former Ida Sherman was born Feb. 3, 1881 in Emerald, Wis. When she was 9 years old the family moved to Ironwood. Five years later they moved to Powell, Wis. She was married to Charles Vandervort in 1904 and then to John Radloff in May, 1950. The lived in Milwaukee until September 1963 when she returned to make her home here.
Mrs. Radloff does her own housekeeping and makes her own bread. She used to enjoy handwork and crocheting. Now she's content to watch her television programs. Her only family here consists of a cousin, Mrs. William Baird, Bessemer. Hostesses for the afternoon social were Mrs. Baird and Mrs. Lucien Perron.  --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ironwood Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan
Friday, Sept. 25, 1981 page 6 Obituaries
Ida M. Radloff, 100, 137 W. Ridge St., Ironwood, died at her home Thursday. She was born in Emerald, Wis., on Feb. 3, 1881. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Sherman, she married Charles Vandervort on Dec. 4, 1904, at Gladstone, Mich. He died March 17, 1940. She married John Radloff May 3, 1950, at Green Bay, Wis. He died March 28, 1963.
Surviving are two stepsons, Harold and Milton Radloff, Venice, Fla., 14 grandchildren, many great grandchildren and numerous great, great grandchildren. Preceding her in death were four brothers, Herbert, John, Frank and Elmer Sherman, and a sister, Mrs. Mayme Peterson. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Engstrom Funeral Home with the Rev. George Hunt officiating. Burial will be in the Hurley Cemetery. The Engstrom Funeral Home will be open for visitation at 9 a.m. Saturday until the time of the funeral. Pallbearers are Fred Tezak, James Kolinsky (name crossed out by someone), Wilmer Carow, Paul Winters, Ronald Winters, Jr., Wm Baird (Wm. Baird added in pen).