Friday, May 3, 2019

Maude Harkless, Green Ridge, Missouri 1900's

Maude Lee Helsley was born in Ionia, Missouri on Feb. 6, 1885 to parents William and Mary Catherine Helsley. Maude was the oldest child and had six siblings: twins Blanch and Nellie, Henry, Abbie, Perry, and Frank Guy. In 1904, when she was 19, Maude married Count Harkless. Like Maude, Count came from a family of farmers and eventually became a farmer himself.

In March 1905, Maude's mother passed away at age 41. In this photograph, Maude wears a memorial pin which I believe is a small photo of her mother. It's sad that she experienced such a loss at only 20 years old, especially so soon after her marriage. Her father remarried soon after. From the marriage Maude gained two step-siblings and later, three half-siblings.

Maude and Count spent their marriage in Green Ridge, Missouri. They never had children, but Maude stayed busy. She was a member of her local chapter of the Royal Neighbors of America, a fraternal beneficiary society that provided women with life insurance and was an early supporter of women's suffrage. Her sister Abbie, who would later live on the farm with them, was also a member of the society. In 1915, Count announced in the Windsor Review that he had decided to quit farming and was selling off all of his livestock and equipment in a large sale. According to the notice, dinner would be served by the R.N.A ladies of Green Ridge. For whatever reason, Count was not entirely successful in giving up farming. In both the 1920 and 1930 censuses, his occupation is still listed as "farmer." By 1930, both Maude's sister and their father had joined them on the farm. The family was very social and frequently hosted guests at their home. Maude kept a garden and would send a large bouquet of roses to the office of the local paper, the Sedalia Democrat, every year.

In 1943, Maude and Abbie recieved news that their half-brother Billie had been captured while fighting overseas and was being held prisoner by the Japanese. He had initially been reported missing the previous year, so I can imagine this news was a relief as much as it was terrifying. Luckily, Billie returned safely home after the war. Sadly, Count passed away the following year at the age of 62. He was buried in Green Ridge, where he had lived his entire life. Maude continued to serve her community through the Royal Neighbors of America until she passed away in 1969 at the age of 84.

If you know who this woman may be, let us know in the comments!