Alzina Baker re: Nellie May Ferrin Hosted by RootsWeb, 
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Letter to Jerry Ferrin re: Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin

by Alzina Baker, 24 Oct 1988.

Surnames in this history: Allender, Baker, Bond, Chance, Ferrin, Fry, Huffaker, Livengood, Pendergraft, Roderick, Schiff, Thorpe & Wright.


Roderick & Alzina (Burditt) Baker, portrait from their gravestone in the Wilmore Cemetery, Comanche County, Kansas.  Photo by Bobbi Huck.

At left: Roderick & Alzina (Burditt) Baker, portrait from their gravestone in the Wilmore Cemetery, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by Bobbi Huck.

I, Alzina Burditt, married Roderick Baker on May 23, 1931, and moved to Wilmore, Kansas, on September 19, 1931. Wilmore had Baptist, Christian and Methodist churches at the time. Rod was a Methodist so I just transferred my membership from Coldwater. I expect Church circles had an influence on the social circles, so there were many community people I only knew slightly, Nellie Ferrin among them, as she worked in the Christian Church.

It was in the fall of 1938 that I began to get acquainted with Nellie Ferrin when we both became charter members of the Wilmore Study and Social Club. Nellie chaired the Program Committee planning meeting at the farm home one afternoon. Wynona Livengood and I, the rest of the committee, enjoyed a memorable afternoon getting to know each other doing the job, and having a lot of fun. Her (Nellie's) boys had made some delicious cookies and we had them with drink, must have been cider as that was their specialty - and no one could top that. Our lesson topics had some that were awfully "modern" for that time. That is, the People Problems involved were not new, but to discuss them in groups - even in a "Women Only" situation - was sure to shock some. This I realized more fully when the lesson was used at the club. That day, with Nellie's leadership, knowledge, frankness and humor, we enjoyed the whole thing. We went home happy to have met such a delightful person and an older one so open-minded and sure to be a good friend.

I expect that's the last time I ever thought of her as being older than myself and the other feelings just deepened with the years. Club lessons and other meetings can get dull, heated up at times, and need a spark of humor, or just the right remark, to brighten or pour oil on what might be troubled waters - and Nellie could be counted on to furnish it, just being herself. If something was funny, she laughed, as easily at herself as at anyone else. I remember a meeting in progress, the leader's voice droning about housekeeping with "There should be a place for everything, and everything should be kept in its place". Suddenly there were giggles in a corner where Nellie and Keo Chance were sitting. The lesson wasn't that funny till we were given this addition: Keo had come a bit early to pick up Nellie, who was still hunting for her lipstick. Searching in a drawer and not finding it, she just dumped the drawer's contents out on the bed and, Bingo, she found it. In the hurry, Nellie just left the drawer for later pickup. Keo had just whispered to Nellie, "Oh, that dresser drawer!", which made it funny for all. Without that fun time and many others too, I'd have blanks where I have lovely memories.

There were important times, too, when a touch of Nellie Ferrin not only nailed a memory in place, but impressed me in a way that has helped me shape my own thinking and living. Many people mention having had Nellie for a Sunday School teacher as a child or youth. After the Christian and Methodist churches joined in a Federation (1953), she taught an adult class which I enjoyed (attending) when I was not also teaching (a class of my own). In her class, all were encouraged to express their opinion and, though we might disagree at times, it was part of the learning, and accepting. I remember once she called me up to apologize for expressing some idea so strongly - saying, "For my ideas are no more right than anyone else's." We agreed that knowing we don't 'know it all' lets us be open to more learning. We all remember the wonderful talent she had for total recall of scripture and poetry which she had memorized years before. This too seemed to pop out in the appropriate place.

I do not know how many schools Nellie taught, nor how many years (she taught), but girls started early then, having only a term of summer 'Normal School' after finishing grade school. Clarice Fry says she was her first grade teacher at Ridge Summit School. She must have taught at the Booth School too, for she had as pupils Helen Pendergraft and Pauline Bond, and many others.

It must have been about 1960 - 1962 that Nellie joined several of us who went to the Coldwater Swimming pool in an all-women class. She learned to enjoy the water and to float, and was game to try different strokes. I guess just the generally "Too Busy-ness" stopped us, for we all enjoyed that activity.

I was superintendent of the Primary and Junior department of the church from about 1935 - till too long! But it was one of the happiest times, and furnished many incidents that are great as memories.

All Christmas programs are high times, exciting, thrilling, and fun as well as lots of work organizing, and the cause of lots of butterflies in the stomach of all the adult workers, as well as the mothers, till it is all over. We always had parts for every child who could utter a sound, to the sixth graders. One year among the small ones was Jerry Ferrin. Each had a four line verse to say, as they stood together. I do not remember how the lines went over but the others were ready to quit the stage and you started running about on the stage. When your mother went for you and you escaped, I tried to help head you off so the show could go on. You were pretty speedy, so it took a bit. Later we heard Nellie say, "Jerry's little Act just stole the show!". I have to admit it was outstanding - and memorable. How else would I remember that night? Ha.

I found this in Rod Baker's mother's Family History Book:

Daniel Boone Roderick, b. May 18, 1839 ; m. Louisa Mary Thorpe b. Feb 28, 1844 d. Sept 10, 1889. They had eight children, including:

1. Kate Baker, mother of Rod Baker (Rod is still living in Wilmore.)

2. India R. Huffaker, mother of Mary Schiff, (Mrs. Emmet Schiff, who lives in Sharon, Ks.)

D.B. Roderick's second wife was Laura Maggie Allender, b. August 14, 1861; m. March 6, 1893; d. June 26, 1912.

The only child of D.B. and Laura Maggie Roderick, Ura Ramona Roderick, was born August 2, 1895 and married Grant Wright. They moved to Phoenix, Az, and their children (Ronald, Max and Margaret) still live there.

Loose notes included with Alzina's typed letter:

1. Rod thinks this mother, Catherine "Kate" Baker, knew Mrs. Barnett, Nellie's mother (Anna Aurelia Allender Barnett) before Kate came to Coldwater and married L.E. Baker. If so, it might have been at Sharon, Kansas. It seems, too, that Kate Roderick Baker's father married some kind of Mrs. Barnett -your great grandmother. I'll try to get names, etc.

2. Rod seems so sure that his mother, Catherine Elizabeth Roderick - who married Llewellyn Edward "Lew" Baker in 1908 - had known Nellie's mother, Mrs. Annie Barnett, before either of them came to Wilmore. So I started looking in the Roderick Family Genealogy Book. With it and some facts we remember -we found this which may help you to find more information, if you still need it.

3. I've known that Mary Schiff was some relation to Nellie Ferrin, but never really paid attention. Also that Ura Wright was a half-sister to Kate and Aunt India. Rod says that Ura's mother was a sister to Nellie's mother. If so, this explains that they probably knew each other for years - likely all had a background at Sharon, Kansas.

4. I have never been really interested in people's ages, even my own, until I look at a picture or in a mirror and, seeing that old woman, with shock realize that it is me. I knew, of course, that Nellie was a bit older than I - unless she was married awfully young, for she had three fair-sized kids when I was married. Anyway, one day after Ernie's death she stopped to see me. She was on her way to renew her driving license, and took it out and showed it to me. I noted with her that its date indicated time for renewal. Later someone asked me how old Nellie was. It really had not registered in my mind. So for the first time when looking for facts for you, and checking her life span from the funeral folder - I realized the difference in our chronological ages. There never seemed to be any differences in our feelings and responses to life.

Related histories:
The Allender Ancestors & Relatives of Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin

The Barnett Ancestors & Relatives of Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin

Memories of Lew Baker: the Baker & Powell Families

The Roderick Family in Sharon & Wilmore, Ks

The Powell trek to Comanche County, Ks

Roderick Henry Baker

Mary (Huffaker) Schiff

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