invite to dinner: dear 3rd-greatgrandmama eleanor (lemon) noble or is it lemmon or lemmons, the pleasure of your company is requested…

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 4 prompt:  Invite to dinner.
Both hands up to the sides of my head, I’m frozen in indecision — just one?!  Invite just one guest to dinner?!  (Oh that it was possible to bring ancestors out of the frieze of time for answers to some questions; brick walls might not exist.)

Two ladies in Great-Grandma Alta Maria (Falls) Greger’s line come to mind most quickly as desired dinner guests:  my 4th great-grandmum Sarah (Showers) Falls and, my 3rd-great-grandmother Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble (February 21, 18111 Kentucky2, USA–March 31, 1895 Iowa; buried Winslow Cemetery, Jefferson Township, Poweshiek County, Iowa1,3).  They are both longstanding brick walls.  I haven’t a clue as to either’s respective fathers.

It’s Eleanor, I decide.  She’s getting the invitation.  I mentally draft my invite.

Alta Maria (Falls) Greger (Family photo.)

But to fill you in on how the line goes, let’s back up once more to Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble’s granddaughter and, my Great-Grandma, Alta Maria4 Falls (July5 106, 18645 Illinois5–October 13, 1934 Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri6; buried Anderson Cemetery, Anderson East, McDonald County, Missouri6).

Alta first apears in the household of parents “Jarry” & Mary Falls at age seven in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census of Jefferson, Poweshiek, Iowa, dwelling number 86, her forename mistranscribed as “Atta.”  Iowa marriage records tell us that Alta [again mistranscribed “Atta,” although very clearly “Alta” on the original record] M. Falls, father listed as “Geremiah” Falls, mother as Mary Noble, marries “Graurille S Gregor”7 [Granville Smith Greger] on September 28, 1892 in Benton County, Iowa.  This takes us up nicely to my 2nd-great grands Geremiah Falls & Mary Noble.

“Geremiah Falls,” or as he’s more commonly referenced, Jeremiah (Jerry) Falls, took “Mary Margaret Noble” as his second wife on September 14, 1851 in Mercer County, Illinois.8

Grave Marker of Mary Margaret (Noble) Falls (Contributed to by Pat Faulkner.)

We first see “[Mary] Margaret Noble” (February 2?, 18319 Indiana2–February 20, 1899 Polk County, Missouri; buried Greenwood Cemetery (Sec 5 Lot 23), Bolivar, Polk County, Missouri9) at age 19, in the household of [parents] Joseph & Ellen Noble in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census in “Township 14 N R 5 W, Mercer, Illinois,” family number 382.10

We last see Mary M. in the 1895 State Census of Belle Plaine, Benton County, Iowa, as widowed head-of-household “Mary Falls,” age 60, with her widowed mother Ellen Noble — 84 born Kentucky — the only other person in the household.11

And that takes us up to my dinner invitee, 3rd-great grandmum Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble.

Eleanor is visible in the 1850 through 1880 U.S. Federal Censuses in the household of husband Joseph Noble; seen in an (unreferenced here) 1885 Belle Plaine, Benton, Iowa State Census again with husband Joseph; is widowed in the January, 1895, household of eldest daughter Mary Margaret; and recorded buried at Winslow Cemetery, Poweshiek CountyIowa.3  But, somewhere in there, Eleanor or Ellen was born.  TO, whom?  What siblings if any, did she have?  Where were her parents from?

Dear Grandma Ellen!  It’s so good to meet you!

I hope you like chicken — I figured baked was a pretty safe choice, and, the Penzey’s Mural of Flavor seasoning I use, with, Himilayan pink salt have gone over so well with previous dinner guests.  If you’d prefer fish, though, I’ve salmon filets waiting in the fridge just in case.  Baked potatoes, salad, & rolls will round things out and, I’ve purchased wonderful mini tarts from Whole Foods Market for dessert.  Would you like some coffee or tea while we chat a bit?

I have to ask first, please, who were your parents and, what siblings did you have?

I cannot find a birth or baptism record naming your mother & father, nor a marriage record with same.  No other genealogy researchers out there — none I’ve seen anyway — has ventured a guess as to your parents and quite frankly this is just driving me nuts.  I’m lost for leads.  Please please:  tell me the answer(s) to this riddle, and then, all about your life growing up and, yours & Grampa Joseph’s together…

Grave Marker of Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble  (Contributed to by “The Locator.”)

1 ” ‘Iowa, Cemetery Records, 1662-1999’ {database on-line}.  Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.  Original data:  Works Project Administration. Graves Registration Project.  Washington, D.C.:  n.p., n.d.;” “Grave Stone Records of Poweshiek, Iowa; Page Number: 536,” at , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
2 U.S. Federal Censuses of 1850:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Township 14 N R 5 W, Mercer, Illinois,” family number 382; 1860:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Township 14 N 5 W, Mercer, Illinois,” family number 1651, dwelling number 1651; 1870:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Jefferson, Poweshiek, Iowa,” dwelling number 62; 1880:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Belle Plaine, Benton, Iowa,” dwelling number 537.  All four give Ellen’s (1850, 1870) / Eleaner’s (1870) / Eleanor’s (1880) birthplace as Kentucky.  Census of 1850 notes daughter “Margaret” as born Indiana.
3, “Eleanor ‘Ellen’ Lemmons Noble,” memorial ID 61418799, at , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
4 Anecdotal family knowledge.
5 U.S. Federal Census of 1900:  “Granvil S Greger” household, “Field, Jefferson, Illinois,” sheet number 12, “number of dwelling in order of visitation” 238, family number 239.  (As of Jan. 31, 2018, at at, .)
6, “Alta M Falls Greger,” memorial ID 31743986, at , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
7 “Iowa Department of Public Health; Des Moines, Iowa; Series Title: Iowa Marriage Records, 1880–1922,” at as “Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1940,” at , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
8 “Illinois State Marriage Records. Online index. Illinois State Public Record Offices,” via’s, “Illinois, Marriage Index, 1860-1920” at , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
9, “Mary Margaret Noble Falls,” memorial ID 45374884, at ,  accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
10 U.S. Federal Census, 1850, “Joseph Noble” household., at , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
11 ” ‘Iowa State Census, 1895,’ database with images, FamilySearch ( : 30 June 2016), Mary Falls, Benton, Iowa, United States; citing p. 55, 1895, State Historical Society, Des Moines; FHL microfilm 1,021,711;” at, accessed Jan. 31, 2018.



longevity — elsa (fern) walden

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 3 prompt:  Longevity.
Can longevity mean more than simply the years an individual lives?  I think so.  I see lives remembered long after individuals are gone, as, a sort of longevity, too.

Elsa (Fern) Walden4

I think longevity when my 3rd cousin once removed, Elsa (Fern) Walden, comes to mind — born on a Wednesday afternoon at “the Plummer place” around 5:30 p.m.1 May 24, 1922 Grand River Township, Livingston County, Missouri, USA2; died November 5, 2004 at Carle Foundation Hospital3, Urbana, Champaign County, Illinois, from a head injury due to a fall2) — Elsa was the daughter of one of my Greger-side kin, Bessie Opal Gray (November 11, 1887 Sidney, Champaign County, Illinois–October 17, 1975 Champaign, Champaign County, Illinois), & Elbert Earl Walden (February 2, 1885 Hale, Livingston County, Missouri–February 13, 1927 Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri).

Cousin Elsa first came to my attention when our mutual cousin and my fellow Greger-line genealogy researcher Larry G. Greger (1944-2007; rest in peace Larry, thank you &, I love you), son of Chester H. (Chet) Greger (1902–1975) & Juanita Fancher (1912–1988), sent me a copy of Elsa’s flat-out wonderful The Waldens on Old Grand River, 1910-1927.  I could not believe the wealth of family data in her book.  Right on page two I read:

~ 1906 ~
Charlie [Charles Elmer, my 1st cousin three times removed] and Nanny [Nancy Jane (Sutton)] Greger had sold their property on the Douglas and Champaign County line in 1906, taken their two children, [Mary Ethel] Ethel and Chester [Larry G.’s father], and moved to Missouri where Charlie’s Uncle Jerome Greger [Jerome Walter (1841–1914), brother of my 2nd great-grandfather Emanuel H.] had settled.
Charlie wrote to Grandma Gray [Metta Jewell (Leeds) Purcell Greger Gray], his stepmother, and to his sister, Suda ‘Sude’ (Greger) Gray [Suda Alice], encouraging them to follow.  The Gray and Greger families had been friends in Clermont County, Ohio, as early as 1850.  The various sons and daughters had followed each other in covered wagons across the grasslands of Indiana and Illinois, with one or two continuing into Missouri.
Sude wanted to be near her brother, so Grandma Gray sold the farm south of Sidney, Illinois, and Frank [Francis Marion Cyrus (1864–1927)] and Sude Gray disposed of their farm north of Sidney and prepared to continue the westward migration, this time by rail.”1

The entire book details events in the lives of these collateral kin of mine, from flooding so bad that animals & furniture are described floating by, to an infant daughter accidentally suffocated by sleeping in her parents’ bed between them.

SEGUE:  The Greger & Gray families were so close that they made for some meticulously careful genealogy sleuthing.  As Larry G. once put it in an email to me aimed at helping sort out the convolutions, “Now comes the confusing part with Greataunt Suda Greger, when she married Francis Marion Cyrus Gray.  When Metta [Leeds] married Davis Gray the father of Francis M. C. Gray who married Suda, Metta was Suda’s great cousin then became her stepmother and Suda married her stepbrother and became stepmother to Francis’ children who were Emanuel H. & Eliza Ellen Greger’s [<- my 2nd great-grandparents] great-grandchildren…  This is enough to drive you crazy, but that’s how it is or was.”  And down the rabbit hole I went, coming out the other side elucidated.  END SEGUE

“Bye Bye Birdie” original playbill, 19606

The more I read Elsa Walden’s wonderfully detailed family history of the Waldens on Grand River, the more interested I became in her.  Googling, I learned that her colorful career had included a 1960 stint as Assistant Stage Manager and then Stage Manager for a Broadway stage production of “Bye Bye Birdie” featuring Dick Van Dyke.5  “The production was a Tony Award winning success in the 1960–61 season,” reads an (undated) UnderTheDuvetProductions blog post titled,”Broadway Flashback 1960: Tony Award Winning Bye Bye Birdie Starring Chita Rivera & Dick Van Dyke, Music by Charles Strouse; by Lisa Pacino.”6

In an earlier, 1957 Broadway production called “The Tunnel of Love,” Elsa was both understudy for another performer and, Assistant Stage Manager.5

Apparently as much of an Elsa Fern Walden fan as myself, and, then some, our mutual kin Anabeth Dollins has compiled extensive bio on Elsa.  Dollins lists resume content for Elsa including items as varied as stenographer, legal correspondence clerk, & secretary to, actress &, writer of “three full-length plays for stage and two film scripts, plus shorter works.”4

Elsa (Fern) Walden4

Making her live long in my mind and those of other Greger-family genealogy researchers whose lines it covers, though, will always be Elsa’s The Waldens on Old Grand River, 1910-1927.

On April 9, 1998, the Villa Grove News included this: “Thanks for the generosity of another donor the Camargo Township District Library has improved its offerings to the public.  Elsa Walden of Urbana, Illinois, a former resident of Villa Grove and a graduate of Villa Grove High School, donated the money to purchase a reader printer for the Genealogy Department.”  That same year, Elsa Walden attained DAR membership.4

Rest in peace, cousin Elsa, and, thanks for the genealogy research help!

Elsa’s grave marker7 at Villa Grove Cemetery, Villa Grove, Douglas County, Illinois:

1 The Waldens on Old Grand River, 1910-1927, Elsa F. Walden, 1992.
2 Anabeth Dollins’ Penn State University personal page, “Genealogy,” at , accessed Jan. 21, 2018.
3 Champaign [IL] News-Gazette online, at , accessed Nov., 2004.
4 “Elsa Walden — her life : May 24, 1922 – November 5, 2004,” Anabeth Dollins, at , accessed Jan. 21, 2018.
5 “Elsa Walden Broadway and Theatre Credits,” at , accessed Jan., 2018.
6 “Under The Duvet Productions” WordPress blog post, at , accessed Jan. 21, 2018.
7 Photo of grave marker submitted to by “Tori;” see memorial (no. 86560004) at ; accessed Jan. 21, 2018.