Week 9: #52 Ancestors – Females
By Eilene Lyon
I’ve written briefly about my great-grandmother, Mabel Pearl (Cutting) Halse, in relation to her husband and children. It’s a case of having a lot of photographs, but not really knowing her. Unlike her mother-in-law, Lucy Halse, Mabel didn’t get her name in the papers or history books. She was much too busy rearing eleven children and maintaining a large farm household.
Mabel was born in Winneshiek County, Iowa, on September 4, 1880 (she shares a birthday with The Putterer!), the first child of Arthur N. and Alice (Fawcett) Cutting. Her birthday also fell on the second anniversary of her parent’s marriage.1
She was just an infant when the Cuttings and Halses relocated to Dexter Township, Codington County, South Dakota. Mabel’s brother, Clifford, arrived in 1882, but it would be more than a decade before her two youngest brothers were born.
At age sixteen, on February 4, 1897, she married her second cousin, Ernest Guy Tresselyn Halse (known simply as Guy).2 Guy and Mabel had a 160-acre homestead on the north edge of the township, close to Day County. Their first son, Howard, was born on October 27, right on schedule, I’d say.3 The kids kept coming every couple years or so.
Mabel undoubtedly spent her days cooking, cleaning, and preserving food for her large brood and farmer husband. The oldest daughters eventually pitched in to help with the household chores, but it is not surprising that Mabel looks exhausted in family photos!
After many of their children relocated to Oregon and Washington, Mabel and Guy decided to move to Trout Lake, Washington, about 1943. Their first home was attached to a store, then they found a clapboard-sided house in the valley. Mabel was visiting her daughter, Hazel (Halse) Sturm, in Hermiston, Oregon, when she passed away suddenly on April 27, 1946, just ten months shy of her golden wedding anniversary.4 She was survived by Guy, all her children, and (eventually) 28 grandchildren.
I have found only one handwritten document by Mabel. She wrote the letter in June 1945, a couple days before the birth of my uncle, Nathan Halse.
“Dear Everett and Reatha—I am wondering what happened I didn’t hear from you. Think you must be in the Hospital Hope you are O.K. and the baby is O.K. It dont matter what sex it is so that it is O.K.”
She mentions “Doris and Buster” going to visit Reatha and Everett in Corvallis (Doris was Mabel’s youngest child). Then she waxes on about her son, Myron Halse, and his business selling friers (chickens). She said he had as many as 500 before selling off several hundred.5 That’s a lot of KFC! Ha.
Mabel’s mother, Alice, is also a shadow. Alice Adelia Fawcett was the fifth of seven children of John Painter Fawcett and Phebe Williams Painter. (Yes, these two were second cousins, also.) Like her daughter, Alice was born in Winneshiek County, Iowa, though her parents were from Ohio.
She spent her childhood in the Quaker-dominated town of Hesper. Her mother, Phebe, died when Alice was only eleven. Four years later, her father passed away.6 Most likely she lived with an older sibling’s family until she married Arthur Newman Cutting in 1878, when she was nineteeen. Like Mabel, Alice lived on a farm. For nearly twenty years, she and Arthur homesteaded in Dexter Township, where Arthur established a neighborhood school.
Arthur spent some time out west before marriage, and maybe that’s what got him interested in moving to Oregon. Alice and Arthur were the first of my ancestors to reach that state. They each purchased 80 acres in Washington County, in what is now part of Beaverton (their parcels were side-by-side). Their three sons, Clifford, Ward, and Howard, being minors at the time, moved with them. Alice was widowed when Arthur died in June 1912.7
Alice and Arthur participated in the local grange, and Alice continued her grange activities after his death. She sold Arthur’s 80 acres and 10 of hers to her son and daughter-in-law, Ward and Eleanor, in 1930 and 1931 (I don’t have a record for her remaining 70 acres).8 She moved to nearby Tigard and lived there until her death in 1942, less than four years before her daughter, Mabel.
Feature image: Four generations: Dolores Sturm, Hazel (Halse) Sturm, Mabel (Cutting) Halse, and Alice (Fawcett) Cutting, c. 1935. (Courtesy of W. Halse)
- U.S., Hinshaw Index to Selected Quaker Records, 1680-1940> Iowa> Winneshiek Monthly Meeting> Mabel P. Cutting image 331, https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2705/; Iowa, U.S., Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996> Alice Adelia Fawcett, https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/60284/. ↩
- Codington County (SD) Marriage Book C, p. 27. ↩
- U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918> South Dakota> Codington County> ALL> Draft Card H> Howard Adrian Halse image 88, https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6482/. ↩
- Oregon, U.S., Death Index, 1898-2008> H Mabel P. Halse image 3274, https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/5254/. ↩
- Letter from “Mother” [Mabel P. Halse], June 20, 1945, to “Dear Everett & Reatha [Halse],” private collection of S. Halse. ↩
- U.S., Hinshaw Index to Selected Quaker Records, 1680-1940> Iowa> Winneshiek Monthly Meeting> John Faucett and Phebe Faucett image 441, (see Note 1). ↩
- Oregon, U.S., Death Index, 1898-2008> C> Arthur N. Cutting image 2461, (See Note 4). ↩
- Washington County Deed Records, photocopies obtained from county register (no book numbers). ↩