Edith Elmira Gibbons

    •  DIED, April 20, 1965, Lowell, Mass. (Grave marker in Barnesville incorrectly says 1964) 


    She was one of six children, but only she and her sister Emma (Myron Johnson's mother) survived past childhood. The plague of scarlet fever that took her older brother's life at age ten left her deaf in one ear.  A professionally-trained secretary, she typed 55 words a minute on the old-style typewriters (and before ten-fingered typing was invented or perhaps even physically possible!) and took 125 words/minute in shorthand.  She received her training in St. Louis, where she also joined the Salvation Army in pursuit of her lifelong opposition to alcohol (and how my father would suffer under that bias, many years later!).  It was this same commitment that led to her eventual position as secretary for Charles Clark's first wife, Annie W. (Clark) Clark, the President of the Ohio WCTU., from whence she became the wife of Charles Clark's final years after Annie died.  She was condemned by the Somerset Monthly Meeting (2/24/1910)  for marrying him, and some years later (9/20/1923) was outright disowned for "disunity."

        In the meantime, of course, he had died, leaving this sorry little last-years family in a rather hapless state.  The children of his first marriage were all grown up and prospering in the world, and generally speaking the second marriage was ignored by them (as it was by Clark's funeral eulogist).  Edith, both distraught and distracted, cleared out of the house with few possessions, and with no claim on the estate.  She was too young to qualify for a war-widow's pension, although her daughters became wards of the Probate Court.  The money received there could only be spent on their direct needs, with receipts submitted for everything down to a pencil.  It was during this period that the girls lived for long stretches with their Gibbons grandparents. Eventually (ca. 1926?) Edith and her daughters moved to New Haven, CT--somewhere I have the story of what took her directly there, but can't find it at this moment; in any event, she became a night supervisor at a hospital there, actually living in the hospital while Jean and Elma were in college.
    Also earned money with needle-work, at which she was extremely skilled and quick. In old age lived with her daughters in somewhat uneven alternation, spending several years at a time in each place. Was deaf, at least from the 1950's on. Jean Varnum notes that, despite Quaker disapproval of music, "Mamma and her mother always sang and made the dulcimer that David now has."