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A Family Newsletter


22nd Edition                                                  Dec. 1996




            The 1996 Olympic games have come and gone. Even thought the morals of the world are such that we have to use drug tests to determine fairness in a race between human beings, and they are now so commercial one begins to wonder if there is any true competition left. Nonetheless, for those who competed, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Some gained fame and glory, others returned home disappointed. But it is the effort that makes a winner and in that regard they were all victorious.

            If any Hembree’s entered in the games, I do not know. But like most things, if you do a little research you’ll find that not to far distant there was a Hembree or a Hembree descendent who played and active part, and the Olympic games are no exception. For this issue I ask that you turn you calendar back to the time when women in shorts were shocking. In the year 1928, the newspapers were writing about a twenty-year-old schoolteacher, from Humboldt State Teachers College (Total enrollment 80 students). She was from the tiny village of Petrolia, Humboldt County in northwest California. They gave her the nickname of “CINDER-ELTA”.




            In Ferndale, Humboldt County, California on the 21 December 1907, Matilda (Mattie) Lavina HEMBREE Cartwright and her husband George Cartwright, became the parents of their fourth daughter, Elta Cartwright. Little did they know she would grow up to out run her five brothers and most others who raced against her. The Olympic trials for women were held in Newark, on the 4 July and Cinder-Elta entered three events. 100-meter dash, 50 yard dash and the broad jump. She won all three events and tied the world record for the 100-meter dash. The 100-meter dash was the first event to finish, thus she became the first woman named to the Olympic Track and Field Team, for the 1928 Olympic games.

          There were no all-weather tracks or metal starting blocks for sprinters in 1928. Tracks were made of cinders and you had to dig your own holes to start from. It was the Cinder track that led to the nickname of “Cinder-Elta”, a name she would use later in life when she operated her own stores in Ferndale and Eureka, California, known as “Cinder-Elta Imports”.

            Cinder-Elta was a member of the U.S. team that set sail for the site of the games, but became ill during the trip and had to be taken to a Doctor upon arrival in Amsterdam. She recovered enough o enter the games and ran second in a preliminary heat. In the semi-finals after two false starts the flu was taking its toll, as her legs just didn’t seem to work. She did not make it to the finals. She finished in 6th place, but as she watched the final races she enjoyed seeing Elizabeth Robinson win the gold medal, and the U.S. flag top the pole. She had defeated Elizabeth in the Newark trials. Given a royal welcome upon her return home to Eureka, she was afforded a parade through town, with five marching bands. But neither the smell of victory or the agony of defeat could change her. She was asked to go into the movies just for her legs, but her Mother said no to that, and she returned to Petrolia to resume her career as a primary school teacher.

            Three years following the death of her first husband, Cinder-Elta was touring Europe before going to the 1960 Olympic games in Rome when she met a man named Menard. He was a Rancher from Humboldt County, California. It was a long way to go to meet a man from her home county. They were married the following year.




            Recently, while rechecking some information on the descendents of William Hembree I began to feel like I had a case of the J’s.

            William’s son Johnson b. 1784 is found in some records as J.J. Hembree. Johnson’s son Johnathan J. b. 1806 is also found as J.J. Hembree, and his son Jefferson b. 1833 may have had a middle name, but I have not found one. But Jefferson married a gal named June, so they are found as J & J Hembree. No, that is not the end, J & J had a son Jefferson Jr., b. 1865, so again we have J.J. Hembree. This gives us four generations as follows                                  J.         J.

J.                  J.

J.   &   J.

J.                  J.

Sorry about that, but it fit in this space.


            A snow scene on my calendar reminds me winter is here, and a recent trip downtown strongly suggests that Christmas is fast approaching. Since the Holiday Season is upon us. Let me take this Opportunity to wish each of you

A Very Happy & Glorious Holiday Season.


            Since Christmas is a time for sharing, let me share something with you that I believe could be beneficial in your family research. At the last meeting of the local genealogy group, one of the women told of a program-involving Doll cut outs in the American Girl Magazine. No, I am not completely senile in suggesting you may be interested in Doll cut outs.

            While it was originally directed at young girls, it has an application for all ages, and could be an excellent way to get family members to write about their ancestors. Certain issues (I have a book store checking on back issues, etc) have doll cut outs, for male and female. They also publish period costumes for the cut outs, and there intended readers, young girls, cut out the doll, put the appropriate costume on it, and give it the name of a person, usually family, and then write what they have learned about that person in story form and submit it to the magazine as a contest entry. The winning entries are then published in a later edition. It not only is a good learning and writing experience for young girls, it also is a great way to introduce family ancestry to young people, and possibly create a real interest in genealogy. But it also goes far beyond that, as the stories they write and the costumes they are shown in , are excellent material for any of you who plan to become an author of your family tree. I see no reason we can’t learn from the young and do our own thing. Using the cutouts, costumed in time period or the persons occupation, then copied or scanned into your computer, and printed in a letter to a family member inquiring about the person should go along way in creating interest to the reader.






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