Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saints & Sinners Sunday - Elnora 'Nora' Hussong

Saints and Sinners. What do I mean by that? Well, I use the word 'Saint' as described by the Merriam Webster dictionary: "one eminent for piety or virtue, or an illustrious predecessor." And 'Sinner'? Well, the dictionary doesn't give much of a definition, just "one that sins." But the synonyms given are much more descriptive, "reprobate, scamp." So, I'd say the odds are better that an ancestor is more likely to be a combination of the two, since no one is ALL saint or sinner. But I'd have to say, that in the research I've done thus far, Nora is more saint than sinner.

Elnora Hussong, or Nora as she was known to her family, was born May Day [May 1st], 1888, in Galena, Cherokee County, Kansas, the sixth child to George W. Hussong and Elizabeth A. Gilbert. George and Elizabeth probably married in Illinois, and then moved to Kansas early in their marriage where they had ten children. George made a living in the zinc mines, as did many others of his day; and although by the 1910 census he owned the home they lived in, we can still assume that life was difficult for them. Nora told one of her grandchildren, that when she was small, she was hired out to another family as a servant, and left with them when her family moved away.

Nora was listed as living with her parents in Galena, Kansas in the 1895 Kansas Census and in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. My husband and I only know the very basics of this family story, and if the census records are to be believed, I'm not sure how her story fits in with them. But whatever the case, Nora's story told of an unhappy childhood, and in 1904, at the age of 16, she lied about her age and married George Thomas Roark. Within 5 years, they'd had two children, Roy and Mable. And then in February, 1914, her young husband died. The cause of death was Pulmonary Tuberculosis, worsened by working in the mines.

In 1919 her son, Roy, died from influenza and pneumonia, and by 1920, Nora had married William 'Bill' Franklin Asbell, and delivered her third child, Bill Jr. Bill Sr. was not known to be a 'gentle' man, and it's generally understood that Nora was a long suffering wife. Records show that they lived in Coffeyville, Kansas and Neosho, Missouri; and when her daughter Mable divorced her husband, their child, Charles Deller, joined her in Neosho.

Nora outlived two husbands, raised three of her own children and a grandchild, and lived a long, full life. She died in Dallas, Texas, March 26, 1965 at the age of 76, while visiting with her daughter, and was buried by her second husband, Bill Sr., at Wichita Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas.

Update 10/6/2010:  Original picture was incorrectly assumed to be Nora; and replaced with correct picture. 

Top Photo:  Portrait of Elnora Hussong. Personal photo in collection of D. Bell, Forney, Texas.
Bottom Photo: Great-grandma Nora with M. Deller. Personal photo in collection of D. Deller, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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