Sunday, March 16, 2014

52 Ancestors:  Cora Bickerstaff

Cora Bickerstaff was born on February 28, 1911.  She was the youngest of 9 children born to Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff.

She was an aunt before she was born.  Her oldest brother, William, married in 1909 and he and his wife, Lucy (VanKirk), had their first daughter, Emma, on April 15, 1910.  (And their second daughter, Helen, was born on July 16, 1911, just 4½ months after Cora was born.)   Do you imagine there might have been some competition as those girls grew?  Might Cora have tried to insist that her older nieces call her "Aunt Cora?"  Perhaps, but I'll probably never know.

In fact, Cora was "Aunt Cory" to me, a great-aunt:  she was my maternal grandmother's sister.

In 1920, Cora was 9, living at home on Warren-Canfield Road, Austintown Township, Mineral Ridge, Mahoning County, Ohio, with three older brothers ages 14, 18, and 23.  Poor her.  I'm sure she was teased.

Cora graduated from Mineral Ridge High School in 1930.  She was, of course, still living at home (on Cherry Street) at the time of the census.

In the 1940 she was 29, single, and living at home with her parents and brother on Morris Street in Mineral Ridge, Trumbull County, Ohio.  She was working as a packer at a glass factory and earned $800.00/year.  I think I remember my mom saying that she worked at the General Electric Glass Plant in Niles, Ohio, where they made light bulbs.

Cora never married.  My mother once said that Aunt Cory wanted to go to nurse's training as my mother had and regretted not being able to go.  Her mother, Mary (Thompson), died in September, 1940, her father, Edward Jesse, in December, 1945.  After their deaths she and her brother Daniel lived together in a little house at the end of our street.

Aunt Cory was a pleasant lady.  I remember that she always had a little dog -- maybe named Trixie, but I don't remember the breed -- that I enjoyed playing with.

Aunt Cory died on February 26, 1999, just two days shy of her 88th birthday.  Interestingly enough, Cora's older sister, Mary (known to us as Mame), died just 8 days later on March 6 at the age of 99.   They were the last living children of Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff.

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This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's call to her readers to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks




  1. That finger wave and pearls in the formal portrait are great -- really stylish. So, did Cora have a boyfriend? Her story reminds me of my Aunt Lil who was embarrassed that she never married. But in looking at her old photos, I see she had a boyfriend for a long time. I always wonder what happened that they didn't marry.

    1. I never heard that Cora had a boyfriend. Mineral Ridge was a very small town. There were only 16 in her high school graduating class and 11 were boys. Poor your aunt. I wonder if you'd ever be able to find any information about that relationship with her boyfriend. WWI or WWII? Accident? Do you have a name?


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