Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lydia or Bridget -- different names for the same incredible woman

The above woman is Lydia Bridget McPartland, or in other records, Bridget Lydia McPartland. Her sister-in-law was also Bridget McPartland, so in her later life she used Lydia informally. However, legal documents flip-flop between names, so neither Kay Wright or I can definitively say which name was first: Lydia or Bridget. Only one thing was for sure -- she hated both them!

That priceless nugget of information is one of many that I got from Kay when I was visiting her. Lydia was a small woman, much beloved, and known to her family in later years as "Little Grandma".

Lydia's husband, Patrick, died in 1884 when he was only 49. At the time, she still had 6 children under the age of 18, the youngest only 3. Despite this hardship, she was a shrewd businesswoman and ran a successful farm. While we have no evidence that she received any formal schooling, she put at least three of her children and one grandchild through Normal School (what would be considered today as a Teachers College). She smoked a corn cob pipe and lived to be 92 years old.

If you think she was a tough lady, you'd be right. There are stories of her in her old age, encountering rattlesnakes on her property, and without breaking stride, picking them up by the tail and whacking them against the foundation of the nearest farm building to dispatch them.

1 comment:

Ginny Hedges said...

Lydia/Bridget looks amazingly like my sister, Rhonda O'Keefe Davenport.I wish I could send you a picture to put side by side this one. I am looking for info. on my great-great grandfather Daniel O'Keefe. He was born in Ireland approx. 1838. He was in the Civil War and stationed in Leavenworth, KS. He had a son, Dennis, my great-grandfather and then his son,my grandfather Arthur had a son, Leo Edward O'Keefe, Sr., my father. Could there be a possible connection? Do you have any family that settled in Missouri or Kansas? Just wondered. Thank you. Ginny O'Keefe, Lawrence, KS