Ed & Effie’s Wedding 1910

Recently, my wife Jane came across my Grandma Effie’s diary, which she wrote during the Great Depression. She was amazed by how optimistic and hopeful Effie was, even during some of the darkest of times. Her comments gave me an idea – this optimism and hope needs to be shared, as our country and as Americans we are becoming increasingly worried about the future.  The quickest and easiest way to share my Grandma Effie is starting this blog. I am new to this blogging thing, so please be patient. I have had other people read her diary and think I need to publish these writings. If you like what you read, please share your thoughts with me.

So, let me give you some background information on Grandma Effie. Susan Effie Cornelious (Effie is what she went by) family moved to Kewanee, Illinois in 1906. She met Ed Martin (not sure when) and they wed July 20, 1910. Kewanee was a bustling blue collar town, with companies such as the Kewanee Boiler Corporation, Walworth Company, Kewanee Machinery and Conveyor Company, and Kewanee Manufacturing Company. The Great Depression hit Kewanee hard, like many towns, and had a hard time recovering after that.

Effie was a homemaker, but also an excellent seamstress which helped earned some income during these hard times. Ed worked at the Boiler Shop. They had four children:  Mariella,  Charles (also referred to as Chas or Chick),  James (referred to as Jimmie) – my Dad, and Teddy. At the start of her diary, she was 45 years old and Ed was 47 years old. The children’s ages:  Mariella 20 years old,  Chick 19 years old,  Jimmie 8 years old, and Teddy was 3 years old. Often Effie noted that Chick paid $ 2.00 – this was for rent to help the family. Chick was a very good auto mechanic. In fact, he had his own gas station, Martin and Mitton Service Station,  in Kewanee.  A lady by the name Julia is mentioned often, and she was Effie’s sister.

Enjoy my Grandma’s story. I am so glad she let me be the keeper of her diary. It is time I shared it with everyone.

Mike Martin

Update:  As of March 16, 2012, these diaries have been copyrighted and will soon be put into book form. Will keep you posted of the availability.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Diane Morris
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 21:03:42

    Hi, Mike.
    Jane just emailed me and mentioned your grandma’s diary about the Great Depression. What a charming entry! To think a family of 6 lived on $230 odd dollars a year. I don’t know how they did it. Your idea seems like a good one, so I encourage you to keep posting. I would like to read more of your grandma’s life and wish one of my grannies had written a diary that passed down to me. Best wishes, diane


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