Freeman

Mattie Ann Freeman

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This past Christmas, I received an envelope of photographs from my aunt. Included was a photograph of my 2nd great-grandparents, George and Mattie Ann (Freeman) Wildrick on their wedding day. Mattie was the mother of my great-grandfather, Freeman Wildrick, and she’s ultimately what made me so interested in learning more about my Freeman ancestors. To have named her son Freeman made me curious to learn more. Obviously, she had much pride in her surname to have given it to her son.

Mattie Ann was born 4 November 1870 to William and Rhoda (Edwards) Freeman. At the time of her birth they lived in Conway, Taylor County, Iowa together with William’s parents, Micajah and Margaret (Christy) Freeman. She was the first daughter born to William and Rhoda, following her two elder brothers: William Elmer, b. 1868; Oliver Morton, b. 1869. After Mattie were born: Oscar Lossen, b. 1874; and Walter, b. 1878. And three sisters followed: Mary, Lyda and Cora.

The early 1880s were hard years for the family. In 1881, Mattie’s grandmother, Margaret Freeman passed away on June 15th at the age of 57. Seven weeks later, on July 30th, Mattie’s mother passed away. Rhoda was only 36.

I’m curious to learn more of their deaths. For both women to pass in such a short amount of time, leads me to believe that the family was most likely ill with one form of disease or another.

A year later on 6 July 1882, Mattie’s grandfather, Micajah Freeman passed away at the age of 67. Together with his wife Margaret, and Mattie’s mother Rhoda, they lie in a family plot sharing one tombstone.

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But the family did not stay in Taylor County for long. On 1 January 1885, Mattie’s father, William, took a second wife, Losia Belle Jamison. They soon moved away from Iowa and headed south toward Missouri. It was there that Mattie’s stepmother gave birth to three more children: Claude Melvin, b. 1887; Bertha, b. 1890; and Losia.

Unlike many of her peers, Mattie did not marry until she was about 27. She taught school for a number of years, as well as was believed to have homesteaded a plot of land with help from her brothers. She met her husband George Wildrick, who was living in Clinton, Missouri just before the turn of the century and they were wed in 1897. They moved from Missouri to Kansas and while they lived there, Mattie gave birth to a baby girl they named Rhoda in 1899 and a son named Charles Oscar in 1900.

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George and Mattie Wildrick (image from ancestry)

George’s parents, John Wesley and Minnie Wildrick also left Missouri and went west, settling in Furnas County, Nebraska. George and Mattie followed. And in 1902, Mattie gave birth to second son that she gave her surname to: Freeman. He was followed by another daughter named Velma in 1907.

Whether it was the draw of cheap land or wanderlust, George moved his family from Nebraska to Oklahoma in December of 1910. But tragedy soon struck the family once more.

Mattie fell ill, believed to have had pneumonia. On 8 January 1911, Mattie passed away at the age of 40. She was buried in Big Cabin, Oklahoma.

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But she has one of the prettiest tombstones I’ve seen to date.

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8 thoughts on “Mattie Ann Freeman”

  1. Brianna, we must be related. My father was Andrew McMullin, son of Rhoda Wildrick McMullin and Janes Roy McMullin. My grandmother, Rhoda is buried in Big Cabin, OK nextvto her mother, Mattie Freeman Wildrick

    1. Elmer Freeman b. 1868 is my great-great grandfather through his son Eugene William Sr., and his son Eugene William Jr. who is my grandfather. I never met my grandfather Eugene Jr. he passed away before I was born. But he raised my father and as far as we know Eugene Jr. only met his grandfather Elmer once the year before Elmer passed away around 1968 at the age of 100 in Wyoming. My father still remembers him taking the trip. The story goes that Elmer and Eugene Sr. didn’t quite get along and Eugene Sr. never contacted him again after about 1910 when they parted in Bisbee Arizona. Eugene Sr. passed away in the early 1960’s I believe, and Eugene Jr. decided to visit Elmer to find out about where our family comes from. Unfortunately all that was remembered or at least learned was that we had family in Indiana around the time of the civil war. We have a newspaper clipping somewhere with and article about Elmer; apparently he rode a bicycle from California (or some place) to Wyoming later in life, I will have to find it. If you have any information about Elmer or William H I would love to hear it or anybody for that matter. Thank you for the information on Mattie it is more than anybody in my family has known for more than a hundred years!

      1. Hi there! Thanks for reaching out to me. Unfortunately, I don’t know very much about Elmer Freeman, or William Harrison. But I believe another of Elmer’s descendants contacted me through email. I’d be happy to contact them and put you two in touch. I do have a few photographs of Mattie and her siblings and I believe Elmer is included in the photo. I also have a few letters that were written by Micajah Sr (Elmer’s great-grandfather) who writes of their journey from North Carolina to Indiana and also of a visit he made to visit his father William who was a Revolutionary War veteran. I’ll work on writing some new Freeman posts to share.

    2. I apologize for not responding to you sooner, but thank you for reaching out to me! I always love meeting new relatives and this site has been the perfect platform to do so. A handful of years ago, I made contact with one of Rhoda’s descendants, I believe a grandchild, who shared with me these amazing transcripts of an interview that was done with Rhoda about her early childhood and their move from Nebraska to Oklahoma. I’d be happy to share it with you if you haven’t seen it already!

      1. Hello and thanks a million for all the information you have provided! I have read Micajah’s letters, and the illness that his father is suffering from sounds awfully familiar to a cancer that males in my family are still very prone to developing. It is probably nothing more than anecdotal evidence but it leads me to believe even more that I may be heading in the right direction with making a connection to the line of Micajah.
        It’s quite all right to not know much about William Elmer; but I would absolutely love to see the picture of all the siblings together. There is a picture of William Elmer Freeman and his wife Nellie (McCall) Freeman—at least the one who I’m sure I am related to—on findagrave.com. This W. E. (b. 1868 – d. 1968) looks a lot like my great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father, my uncles and brothers. As well, I have a picture of W. E. when he is about 80 or 90 years old; I am quite certain it is the same person. I also traced W. E. through the census as living in Corsicana Texas around 1910, and in my picture of him, he has a metal emblem on his hat that when magnified reads Corsicana Coalery with something I can’t make out above it.
        So I would love to see your picture to verify if your W. E. is mine and I can send you mine too if you want. Also, I think the person who contacted you on the comment section of one of your other posts might be my second or third cousin. I found their father’s and grandfather’s census records and was astonished. I think the person who was adopted was born about 50 miles at most away from where my family was living. I don’t know if my great-grandfather Eugene William Sr. knew if Roy existed; he never contacted his father again after his late teens it seems. But I would love to hear from them if they are interested.

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