I don't have any unmarried aunts to speak of... I do have two distant "aunts" to whom I owe an enormous genealogical debt: Jetta Stewart Brunson and Electa Skeen Johnson - who were both childless, but married. So I had to dig a little deeper for this topic, and ended up over on my husband's line. His grandmother was from Madison County, Iowa. I dearly loved her, and continue to have a great affinity for her family history. I often think of the characters from "The Music Man" ("Would you like to give Iowa a try?"), when I study her family - their ages and migration patterns seem to perfectly fit several of our national commonplaces (and mid-20th century musicals). And WOW - after taking another look at her Wynkoop line, I will see your "maiden aunt" and raise her by two - PLUS a bachelor uncle! Read on...
The Wynkoop sisters in Madison County, Iowa, circa 1910. We don't know exactly who is who, but are certain that they are not standing in birth order. Their names, youngest to oldest, were: Blanche, Pearl, Grace, Louie, Virgie, Aileen, and Anna. I suspect that they are in this order, except that Anna and Louie have swapped places - this would put Anna in the middle and Louie on the far right. This could have been taken in 1913, after Blanche and Anna were married - which would explain their identical white dresses.
My children's fourth great-grandparents, Simeon and Mary Josephine Armstrong Wynkoop, had eleven children - eight girls (one died as an infant), and three boys. Of their seven adult daughters, three never married: Aileen (2nd child), Louie Ethel (7th child), and Olive Grace (8th child). Additionally, their eldest son/3rd child, William Garrett never married. He farmed the family's land, and apparently lived in his mother's household (along with sisters Aileen and Louie), his entire life.
Simeon, a veteran of the Civil War, died in 1899, when the youngest child was just eight years old. The family stayed close together. One year later, in the 1900 census, Mary J. Wynkoop's household contained all ten children, including the eldest, Anna Laura, aged 31. Anna was a dressmaker, and narrowly missed being counted with the other "maiden aunts." A 1913 marriage record indicates that she and her youngest sister, Zella Blanche, were married on the same day - February 26th. Anna, at the age of 45, was married to John C. Cook, and Blanche, at the age of 22, to Marion W. Wright.
I'm sure you are now very curious to learn more about our three unmarried sisters! I've been fortunate to have access to digital archives of the Earlham Echo - their local newspaper - and have learned so much about the Wynkoops and other local families by reading obituaries and other tidbits in this paper. Just as you might have expected for unmarried women in this time and place, two of the three sisters: Aileen and Grace - were both schoolteachers.
Aileen lived to the age of 83. From her obituary:
"Allie's life has been one of service. She spent more than fifty years teaching in public schools. From her girlhood days she has taught Sunday School classes... she loved teaching, whether day school or Sunday. She was always busy, either with reading or some type of hand work."
Grace lived to the age of 76. From her obituary:
"She attended the public schools of Madison county, graduating from the Earlham Academy in 1905. She attended Simpson College and Drake University where she received her degree. She taught school in Marne and Boone, then in the Des Moines Public Schools for 41 years... Her Sunday School and church work were an important part of her life... Her life was one of service. Everyone shared in her thoughtfulness, her family and her friends."
Finally, we have Louie. She died the day after her eightieth birthday, in 1961. Unfortunately, that year is not represented in the digital archives of the Earlham Echo. I did locate earlier news articles about celebrations of her birthday, in 1959, and 1960 - they were quite the family gatherings!
From her 79th birthday, in March 1960:
"Snowy Birthday Party for Louie Wynkoop:
I found Louie in census records from 1900-1930. (Curiously, I have not yet located Mary J. Wynkoop or her children, Aileen, William Garrett, or Louie in the 1940 census - still searching!) Louie was a student in 1900, and could read/write, but her occupation was "none" in 1910, 1920, and 1930. She was living with siblings in 1910 and 1920, and back in her mother's home by 1930 (with siblings). Other than that, she remains a mystery to me. I'm looking forward to learning more about Louie's story through future research.
I appreciated the chance to learn more about the Wynkoop family this week, and particularly the unmarried sisters: Aileen, Louie and Grace. It is so easy to overlook the lives of people who have not produced descendants to remember them in family histories, but their lives were often rich and full of service to society. Aileen and Grace both had a great impact on the lives of hundreds of children through their work as teachers, and also played an important role with their many family members and surrounding community. In addition, it is easy to see from newspaper reports that Louie was also loved and celebrated by her family and neighbors. I'm happy to be able to share their stories here.
*Information gathered about the children of Simeon and Mary J. Armstrong Wynkoop from the Earlham Echo and sources specified below:
1. Anna Laura Wynkoop (b. 1868) (dressmaker) - married John C. Cook, 24 Feb. 1913
2. Aileen Wynkoop (b. 1870) (unmarried, schoolteacher)
3. William Garrett "Garry" Wynkoop (b. 1872) (unmarried, farmer)
4. Clyde Amendal Wynkoop (b. 1874) - married Orilla S. Feitz, 25 Feb. 1903
5. Virginia "Virgie" May Wynkoop (b. 1876) - married Hayse H. Hamilton, 16 Sep 1903
6. Zenis Alva Wynkoop (b. 1878) - married Minnie E. McComb
7. Louie Ethel Wynkoop (b. 1881) (unmarried)
8. Olive Grace Wynkoop (b. 1883) (unmarried, schoolteacher)
9. Cleo Pearl Wynkoop (b. 1886) - married C. Leroy Price
10. Infant daughter (born/died ca. 1889)
11. Zella Blanche Wynkoop (b. 1891) - married Marion W. Wright, 24 Feb. 1913
1. Photo of the Wynkoop Sisters, circa 1910, digital image, shared with the author by James Nugent.
2. "Mary J Wynkoop Died at Age of 92," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 23 October 1941, page 1, column 2; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
3. 1930 U.S. census, Madison County, Iowa, population schedule, Earlham, ED 13, sheet 4-A, dwelling 90, family 94, for Mary J Wynkoop, Aileen Wynkoop, William G Wynkoop, and Louie E Wynkoop; database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), microfilm publication T626, roll 666.
4. Madison County, Iowa, Probate Case Files, 1851-1918, Case 1398-1413 (1899), for Simeon Wynkoop, case 1413, filing date 2 August 1899, petition papers; database online, "Iowa, Wills and Probate Records, 1758-1997," Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 April 2018).
5. 1900 U.S. census, Madison County, Iowa, population schedule, Madison Township, enumeration district (ED) 29, sheet 13A (penned), dwelling 267, family 276, for Mary J Wynkoop (incorrectly indexed as "Wyncoop") family; database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), microfilm publication T623, roll 445.
6. "Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1940," volume 449 (Emmet-Muscatine), Madison County, Marriage Returns for Fiscal Year Ending 30 June 1913, page 61-1C57 (stamped), License 432 for Marion W Wright and Zella B Wynkoop, and License 533 for John C Cook and Anna L Wynkoop; database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing Iowa State Archives, Des Moines, Iowa.
7. "Obituary: Aileen Wynkoop," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 29 April 1954, page 1, column 3; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive, Advantage Preservation (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
8. "Obituary: Olive Grace Wynkoop," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 30 June 1960, page 1, column 5; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive, Advantage Preservation (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
9. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 8 April 2018), memorial page for Louie Wynkoop (16 Mar 1881–17 Mar 1961), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8122317, citing Fairview Cemetery, Madison County, Iowa; photo credit William Johnson.
10. "Snowy Birthday Party for Louie Wynkoop," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 24 March 1960, page 1, column 4; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
11. 1910 U.S. census, Tripp County, South Dakota, population schedule, White River, ED 113, sheet 1-B (penned), dwelling 24, family 24, for Louie Wynkoop; database with images, Ancestry
(www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing NARA, microfilm publication T624, roll 1487.
12. 1920 U.S. census, Polk County, Iowa, population schedule, Des Moines City Ward 2 (6th Precinct), ED 109, sheet 13A (penned), dwelling 286, family 289, for Louise Wynkoop (incorrectly indexed as "Wynekoop"); database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing NARA, microfilm publication T625, roll 508.
13. 1930 U.S. census, Madison Co., Iowa, Earlham, ED 13, sheet 4-A (penned), dwell. 90, fam. 94, Louie E Wynkoop.