Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Ancestors -- Week 6: Matilda Pearl Davey

This is week 6 of the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge” by Amy Crow from No Story Too Small.

Matilda Pearl Davey was my husband’s grandmother. She was born 18 April 1880 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky to Frederick Henry Davey and Matilda Wollenweber. She was the only girl with three brothers: Fred J, William Edward, & Leon Thomas. In her childhood, she was called “Tillie” like her mother or “Daisy.”  I will refer to her as “Daisy” to keep her straight from her mother’s name.

The first record I have found of Daisy is the 1880 Federal US census in Clark County, Indiana.[1] Her parents were living with Matilda’s mother, Philopina Wollenweber and Matilda’s two sisters, Rickie and Julia. However, Daisy was recorded as “Mary R.” Perhaps Philopina’s German accent was difficult to understand.

When Daisy was five years old, her mother died on 1 November 1885 of malarial fever.[2] She left four young children under the age of 10. According to the obituary, her mother, Mrs. Wollenweber stayed with the family through the winter.

However, the children ended up being cared for by relatives. Daisy lived with her maternal grandmother and aunt for a while and then with her paternal aunt, Sue Wellman, her father’s sister, in Cincinnati. These both were short-lived and she lived in a children’s home for a while.[3]

It was not a happy childhood. Her father had a drinking problem and though was very talented with pattern-making, he couldn’t keep a job. Marie Davey Korn, one of Daisy’s cousins, wrote, 
“I often heard Father say that Fred was the best pattern maker at the Carthage Foundry and as long as he was sober would turn out splendid work in a remarkably short time.”[4]
I don’t know much about her life in the 1890’s but by 1900, she was living in Kansas City, Missouri, working as a maid at the Washington Hotel.[5]  She lived in a boarding house and that was how she met her future husband, Joseph Norman Gorrell. They married 19 December 1900 in Kansas City and had four children: three girls, Bertha, Ada May, and Claire, and one son, George.[6]

Joseph worked for several different telephone companies and they settled in the Joplin-Carthage-Webb City area in Jasper County, Missouri. Here where they lived until their deaths, newspaper articles account for Daisy’s activities. By now, she was referred to as “Tillie.”

She was very active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and several articles were found about their activities.
W.C.T.U. PROGRAM AT WEBB CITY ANNOUNCED[7]Webb City, Mo, Nov. 30.—A  program for a meeting of the W.C.T.U. to be held at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Elmer Meredith, 320 South Webb street, was announced this afternoon.
Mrs. J. N. Gorrell will be the leader.
The program follows:
     Devotional — Mrs. P.O. Silvara.
     Song, “America the Beautiful.”
     Talk, “The Story of the Crusade” – Mrs. O.J. Gosch
     Address, “And There Arose Another Generation” – The Rev. Z. M. Williams, pastor of the Central       Methodist church, South.
     Song, “America”
     Business session, Mrs. J.T. Steele presiding
All members have been requested to attend, and the public is invited.
 She was also involved with the Webb City Garden Club.[8]  A transcript of that article:
Mrs. Susie Sampson, assisted by Mrs. Edith Stumbo and Mrs. Gladys Gilliam, entertained the Webb City Garden Club at a luncheon Monday at Mrs. Sampson’s home, 416 South Pennsylvania avenue. Mrs. Matilda Gorrell spoke on “Herbs” and Mrs. Gilliam spoke on “Irises.” Mrs. Sampson read an article on “How and Where Pineapple is Grown.” Will Sampson talked on remedies for diseased plants, including African violets. Miss Grova Harrison, Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Ann Golden were guests. The next meeting will be held August 4 at the home of Mrs. Otis Fifield, 1425 West Daugherty street.
Tillie died 4 Feb 1958 at home in Webb City.[9] The obituary stated she had been ill for ten days and the death certificate confirmed this. The cause of death was chronic myocarditis which she had had for “two or more years.”[10]

She was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Webb City on 6 Feb 1958.  Our family visited the cemetery in 1999 and took a photo of her tombstone.

Mount Hope Cemetery, Webb City, Missouri - Joseph & Matilda Gorrell's headstones

[1] Indiana, Clark County, 1880 U.S. Census (Washington DC, National Archives and Records Administration, T9), digital images, ( : accessed 27 May 2012), Jeffersonville, ED 26, p 111B&C (stamped), Philapena Wollenweber household.
[2] “City News in General,” Jeffersonville Daily News, ( : accessed 5 Aug 2013), Mrs. Fred Davey obituary, p unk.
[3] “Recollections of George J. Gorrell on his mother’s life,” written 15 Oct 2000, Gorrell Family Collection; privately held by Lisa Suzanne Hork Gorrell, [address for private use], Martinez, CA 94553, 2013.
[4] “Letter written to Ada Thomason from Marie Korn,” 2 Aug 1937, copy in possession of author, Gorrell Family Collection; privately held by Lisa Suzanne Hork Gorrell, [address for private use], Martinez, CA 94553, 2013.
[5] Kansas City, Miissouri Directory, Hoye Directory co, digital image, ( : 9 Feb 2014), 1900, p 271, Matilda Davy.
[6] "Webb City Couple Will Observe 55th Wedding Anniversary," Joplin (Missouri) Globe, 17 Dec 1955 digital image, ( : accessed 3 Aug 2013).
 [7] “W.C.T.U. Program at Webb City Announced,” Joplin Globe, 1 Dec 1931, p 7, digital image, ( : accessed 5 Aug 2013).
[8] “Webb City Society,” Joplin Globe, 13 Jul 1947, p B3, digital image, ( : accessed 5 Aug 2013).
[9] “Mrs J.N. Gorrell of Webby City Passes,” Carthage (Missouri) Evening Press, 4 Feb 1958, digital image, ( : accessed 5 Aug 2013).
[10] “Missouri Death Certificates,” Missouri State Archives, digital Images, Missouri Digital Heritage, ( : accessed 5 Aug 2013), state file no. 1696, Tillie D. Gorrell, 1958.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lisa!
    I stumbled upon your blog while trying to research some family history. Marie Davey Korn was my Great Great Grandmother, and my ears (or eyes, rather) perked right up when I read that you had seen a letter written by her. I'd love to communicate further and learn more about her/The Korn Family should you have any knowledge to share. Thanks so much!


All comments on this blog will be previewed by the author to prevent spammers and unkind visitors to the site. The blog is open to other-than-just family members particularly those interested in family history and genealogy.

If you are family and want to be contacted, contact me at snrylisa @