Why Mary Minerva?

Lydia seated, Mary Minerva on her lap, Olive standing. Imagine keeping those white dresses clean, picture about 1912.

George Arthur Gibbs had married my great grandmother Lydia Ruth May Wise when she was 15, he was 22. The couple had 3 children in the next 3 years, and went homesteading at Gilpin, Alberta with the Gibbs family. Lydia was unhappy and the couple came back to the Flathead Valley, at Kalispell, Montana. The winter of 1906-07 was a tough one. It started snowing in November and blizzarded into April. Besides the deep snow there was bone chilling cold. Imagine living in a tiny shack with five people three of them small children.

A poem I penned for Lydia.

The land was painted winter White,

The lurking storming winter winds howled,

Coldness reigns and the snowfall and the darkness descends,

there is no caress from the sun, and her soul cried out,

“Go Home, or you will die here” as the Winter Madness descended draped like a mantle around her shoulders.

George Arthur took Lydia and the children home to Kalispell, Montana. But home was not as she remembered it. Her mother Angeline Penrod Wise had a marriage crisis of her own. James Alexander Wise had died at age 38, leaving Angeline a widow with four small children and a baby on the way. Lydia was 8. Angeline took in a boarder named Charles Condell “CC” Johnson to help with the farm work. Unbeknownst to Angeline, 46, Charles 71, was still married when they wed and had a daughter, Susie Ann, November 28, 1902. When Lydia came home her mother was going through a lengthy court case to get a divorce until finally her marriage was annulled. She changed Susie’s name back to Wise.

George Arthur Gibbs

George Arthur and Lydia Ruth May Gibbs must have had some fight; George walked away and Lydia filed for divorce asking for custody of the children then 11, 10 and 9. She worded her complaint with the words dissipation, profligacy and idleness while not providing the necessities of life. I must admit I had to look up the meanings of the words. Lydia more or less said he wasted expenditures of the family’s fortune, was extremely extravagant, and reckless. I can hear them fighting when she would quote the proverb to George: the devil tempts men but an idle man tempts the devil.

George Arthur couldn’t be found to serve the court papers on. Finally he was served over in Washington State. The divorce was uncontested and Lydia obtained her divorce and custody on October 28, 1910. George Arthur moved about going to B.C. finally coming back to his family at Broadview, Montana where his father Hiram Gibbs died the next year. His occupation here was listed as rancher.

George Arthur Gibbs Declared his Intention to become a US citizen, farmer, ruddy complexion, 5′ 11″, 180 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes. He was born June 13, 1875 at Port Hope, Michigan. He now resides at Broadview, Montana, immigrated from Flagstone, B.C. Canada on the Rexford and Fernie Branch of the Great North Railroad. My last foreign residence was Innisfree, Alberta (the homestead). He renounced King George V, of whom he was a naturalized subject, Arriving through the port of Gateway, October 25, 1909. He was not an anarchist, a believer in polygamy and in good faith he wanted to become a citizen of the USA and permanently reside therein. SO HELP ME GOD Signed George Arthur Gibbs November 30, 1912.

George Arthur married on November 2, 1914 at Stillwater, Montana to Rebecca Frances Snyder, the mother of a child from her first marriage, Eugene Kenneth Joedemann, and a new baby, Otis Vance Jones when the second husband died in 1913, made an instant family. They would add to this family a daughter, born in Columbus, Montana on May 17, 1916, Frances Lucille Gibbs.

Lydia May Ruth Wise Gibbs married George J. Blanchett on April 22, 1915 in Shelby, Montana, at the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were both divorced. The two had been working in the Glacier Park. He was 40, she was 32. They were divorced on September 22, 1917, at Flathead, Montana. She used the name Ruth.

I was saddened to think my second great grandfather just walked away from his two girls! Then I found a picture and an obituary that shed some light on the matter. Another young freighter in the Glacier Park, by the name of Gordon Reid Waddell eloped with Ruth’s daughter, Olive Vivian Gibbs just 4 months after her mother had married. Olive was 16 and lied on her marriage certificate about her age. Gordon was 24 and had a homestead east of Coutts, Alberta.

Isn’t this lovely old picture: my grandparents Gordon and Olive, my Aunt Dorothy Waddell was born June 19, 1916 making her about 1 year old in the picture, and Mary Gibbs would be Mary Minerva Gibbs

This picture was clue #1. Mary Minerva was with her sister Olive Gibbs Waddell in 1917 at the homestead at Coutts. Their father, George and wife Rebecca moved back to the Hiram and Mary Elizabeth Gibbs homestead at Viking in 1917. I think George Arthur must have kept in touch with his children because he found them here. AND he took Mary Minerva to live with them to Viking. Ruth’s marriage to Mr. Blanchette wasn’t going well by this time.

Clue #2 is a sad one. It is Mary Minerva’s obituary. It reads: Marie Minerva Gibbs birth 1901 death 22 Sept. 1919 aged 18 at Youngstown, Hanna Census, Alberta, burial Youngstown Cemetery. On her findagrave.com site is the following obtained from Cemetery Register, and Youngstown Memories Across the Years 1909-1983.

The Plaindealer Sept 25, 1919 FATALITY IN SOUTH COUNTRY

A sad occurrence took place, Miss Marie Gibbs, daughter of Mrs. Himple came to her death by self imposed gun shot wound. Deceased was 18 years of age and had been resident of Viking, Alberta from March 1918 until April of this year, when she came to live with her mother. The funeral was held in the Cemetery at Youngstown, Sept 24, 1919. Rev J.R. Geeson conducted the service. Mother buried beside her in 1923.

There it is, clue #2, Mary Minerva had been living at Viking with her father. He hadn’t abandoned her.

Lydia May Ruth Wise, Gibbs, Blanchette was married to Raymond Fay Himple, her 3rd husband. He had homesteaded at Youngstown the NE 15-26-9 W4 in 1913 and had just proved up on it January 1917. I am really surprised she came back to homestead and wonder how they met. It’s 275 miles from Youngstown to Glacier Park. They wed in 1919 and Mary Minerva was living with them at the time of her death.

Lydia Ruth Wise Himple findagrave.com reads Birth Aug 1883 Iowa, USA Death May 23, 1923 aged 39. Calgary, Alberta

Obituary: The death occurred at Calgary on Wednesday night, May 23, of Mrs. Ray Hmple, formerly of Cando district. Mrs. Himple had been undergoing operations for tumors at the Holy Cross hospital, (stomach cancer). The remains were shipped here for interment, the funeral taking place in the Youngstown cemetery May 26, 1923. Rev Eli Good, officiating. The deceased being laid to rest beside the body of her daughter, Miss Marry Gibbs, who died some three years ago. In addition to her husband, one daughter living at Coutts mourns her loss. Obituary printed in The Plaindealer published Youngstown, Alberta June 1, 1923.

The daughter would be grandmother, Olive Vivian Gibbs Waddell. I found a border crossing at Coutts when Ray Himble and step daughter Olive crossed the border going to the Shelby State Fair. I am thinking he came to return Ruth and Mary’s personal belongings to her only remaining family.

George Arthur Gibbs, Olive’s father remained in her life. Below is a five generation picture of the him with daughter Olive, granddaughter Grace, great granddaughter Lottie, and great great grandson Michael. Picture about 1961.

This blog doesn’t leave me any answers to the title, Why Mary Manervia? Why? Her name though I can explain. Mary after her grandmother Mary Elizabeth Smith Gibbs who had a sister named Manervia Ann “Minerva” Smith born in 1847 in Mornington Perth, Upper Canada. Many of the names the family used were in honor of the Smith relatives. Lendley, George, James and Charles were also Mary Elizabeth’s brothers and she honored each of them naming her children after them.

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