Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ida May Brown Kendall, my Mystery Woman (52 Ancestors #10)

This is another article for the series in which I'm participating, "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Ida May Brown Kendall
My great-grandmother Ida May Brown was born on 9 Jul 1869 in Missouri.  Her parents were Thomas Brown and Jane Clark.   She had two siblings: Joseph D. and Hannah E.  She married Henry Martin Kendall on 26 Jul 1886 in Council Grove, Morris, Kansas.  They moved to Los Nietos [now Whittier], Los Angeles, California in 1890.  They relocated one more time in 1905 to Irwindale in the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, California.

Six children were born to Henry and Ida:  Charles P., Celia M., Henry W., Joseph L., Ethel M.,[my grandmother] and Thomas A.  Two children predeceased their parents:  Celia in childbirth and Henry during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Ida was a mother and ranch wife.  She tended to the children, animals and the house while Henry ran the orange orchard - Valencia and Washington Navels.   Henry was also a blacksmith by trade which ensured a steady income.  She was a member of the Baptist church, enjoyed entertaining family at the ranch and visiting their homes on occasion.  Grandma Ethel’s most amusing quote about her mother was that she was “better with the farm animals than with kids”.  But that’s a story for another time.

Ida died on 16 May 1955 near the ranch where she lived for so many decades.

This short bio has lots of information in it but is short of hard evidence, such as:

Birth - I think she was born in Missouri because her father said in his Civil War pension record they were in Missouri during this time. The pension record also said her birth date was 1870 (one mention) and 1869 (two mentions) in two separate documents dated 1898.  I have little hope of finding a birth record.

Why Missouri?  The Browns and Clarks were always in southwestern Ohio according to the records I have found.  After multiple searches of the 1870 Worth County, Missouri census, an encouraging lead surfaced.  I found some Clarks from Adams County, Ohio, where Jane was born.   More research to follow.

Girlhood days – Ida’s parents were divorced in 1873 but it’s not clear that she was raised by her father.  Her sister Hannah was adopted by their mother’s brother Mahlon Clark.  Joseph remained with his father and second wife Rebecca Edwards Brown.  Who raised Ida? More mysteries.

Why Kansas?  How did Ida come to be in Kansas and connect with Henry?  Maybe another Clark descendant lived there.  Where’s my research plan...

My quest for answers will continue but if there's a cousin out there that could shed some light on these questions, I'd sure be appreciative. Pretty please?


  1. Denise, good luck with your search for answers. I have Brown connections but I see no common link here. It can be a difficult surname to research because it is so very common.

    1. Colleen, thanks for checking out my Browns. Too bad there's not a connection. Good luck with your Brown search also.


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