For week 9 of 52 for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge, we celebrate Women’s History Month by recognizing female ancestors. I couldn’t pick just one for this topic. I’ve got some pretty cool female ancestors in my tree that deserve a shout-out!
Great-Great-Grandma Caroline (Döring) Frederick
Caroline was a certified badass. She had eleven children–three passed at a very young age. She crossed an ocean with two of them and was pregnant with the third at that time. Can you imagine that? She raised eight boys to be men–no small feat!
Great-Grandma Ella (Zillmer) Frederick
What I wouldn’t give to be able to spend an hour with Ella. I think about this picture I have of her smiling when others in the photo were stone-faced. From the stories I’ve heard from some of her children–my grandpa and grand-aunt–, she was a wonderful woman.
While she smiled in this photo, Ella had experienced heartbreak many times in her lifetime. She lost her mother at the age of fourteen and a brother when she was eighteen. She and my Great-Grandpa Arthur had seven children together, but their youngest boy, Harold, passed away a few months short of his seventh birthday.
Ella suffered physically, too. Family letters I possess talk about the health issues she was going through. Bedridden and suffering from the pains of nephritis–called Brights Disease back then. She died seeking treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1936.
Something I found awesome about this woman is that before she passed she had the opportunity to exercise her right to vote. Women had not gained suffrage until 1920 when the 19th amendment was ratified. The historical society in the area where they lived has some old records, and her name is on the polling list from 1928. How freaking amazing is that?! This actually brought tears to my eyes when I learned this.
Grandma Mildred (Hoeft) Frederick
Oh, Grandma Millie. I think about her and miss her every day. She was such a sweet woman. I’ll never forget the summers my brother, Adam, and I stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s place. She would make us potato pancakes for breakfast. We would sit in the dining room listening to polka music. She and Grandpa used to come to our house and Mom would give her perms in our kitchen. I could go on and on about the special memories I have of her. What I wouldn’t give to spend a day with Grandma Millie again so she could meet her great-grandsons. She was such a kind person.
Grandma Margaret (Heidt) Gubin
My Grandma Gubin is a family member that I wish our relationship could have been different. I think we had a lot more in common than we ever got to find out. She was an excellent cook and made delicious deserts. She had a green thumb–you should have seen her gardens! She was a published author with her cookbook, Country Cooking With A-Peel. What a very talented woman.
Great-Grandma Viola (Kaul) Hoeft
I was very, very young when Great-Grandma Viola passed away–about seven months into my tenure on earth. While she was in the hospital passing away, I was the only person she remembered by name during her last days among us, or so I am told. The stories I’ve been told about her make me think she was the life of the party in her day. She was also—how do I put this?–not one to shy away from sharing her intimate experiences. Haha!