Today’s post is about my 2nd great grandmother, Cora Elliott Green. While I don’t know many of the gritty details of Cora’s life, it’s one that fascinates me by the potential and “what ifs” in the secrets that it holds. And in the back of my mind I already have story ideas brewing…
Cora Ann was the first born daughter of Robert and Alice Tuttle Elliott. She was born on 29 May 1870 in Morgan Township, Harrison County, Iowa, near present day Mondamin, Harrison, Iowa. While the family lived in Iowa, Cora would be followed by three more sisters: Edna May b. 1872; Viola Almira b. 1874; and Clara Myrtle b. 1882. The family crossed the Missouri River countless times as they moved between the small Western shore towns of Iowa and Nebraska, living mostly in Morgan Township, Iowa (near Alice’s family), Washington County, Nebraska, and Florence and Omaha located in Douglas County, Nebraska.
In the 1880 census, the Elliott’s lived north of downtown Omaha, on 16th and Cuming where Robert was a Saloon Keeper. As Omaha was very much a frontier town in those days, I can imagine it was a less than desirable location to bring up four girls under the age of ten. By 1885, the Elliott’s had returned to Washington County and remained there for the next few years.
On Valentine’s Day of 1888, when Cora was not yet eighteen, she married twenty-five year old Daniel Green in Washington County, Nebraska. By 1900, Cora and Daniel and their five children: Alice, b. 1889; Ida May, b. 1891; Jesse Louis, b. 1892; Gordon Robert, b. 1894; and Hazel Katherine, b. 1899, lived in the growing town of Florence, Douglas, Nebraska, located just north of Omaha on the Missouri River. Cora’s parents lived nearby, as well as aunts and uncles of Cora’s as well as her sisters and their families.
Cora and Daniel remained in the Florence area, and after the turn of the century, had four more children: Myrtle Rebecca, b. 1901; Ella, b. 1904; Walter, b. 1906; and Kenneth Arthur, b. 1908. While nine children leads me to believe that Daniel and Cora shared some kind of love, however their later years held much unhappiness.
Family stories say that in 1916, when Hazel was seventeen, she told her mother that she planned to wed a man named Ernest William Willert, Cora, enraged that her daughter would marry a German, ordered Cora’s sisters, Myrtle and Ella to hold her down, while Cora proceeded to beat Hazel with a branch from a rose bush, stripping the flesh from Hazel’s neck to her lower back. Hazel left home, wed Ernest and to my knowledge, never spoke to her mother again. Whether this event tore Cora and Daniel apart, I have not yet confirmed. But by the 1920 census, they had separated. Cora was living with eldest daughter Alice and her family, and Daniel lived with eldest son Jesse and his family.
In November of 1920, Daniel passed away at the age of 58. He was buried in a pauper’s field of Forest Lawn Cemetery near Florence. Cora would outlive him by another twelve years, passing away in February of 1932 following complications of surgery to remove an infected gall bladder. She too was buried in a pauper’s field of Forest Lawn, separated from Daniel in death as well. No stones mark either of their graves. Yet. One of my dreams is to remedy this on the multitude of family graves that remain unmarked. No one should spend eternity without something to show they lived, that they mattered.
Forest Lawn Cemetery holds many of Cora’s relatives as well. Her sisters and their husbands are buried nearby, however they all have memorials listing their names, date of births and death dates. Their parents, Robert and Alice are buried at the top of a hill in an older section surrounded by great towering tombstones and mausoleums and from their graves, one can see the burial sites of their daughters, Edna, Viola, Clara, and the patch of lawn where Daniel and Cora are spending their separated, eternal sleep.