This very faded photo came to me from the United States. Perhaps it stood on someone’s mantlepiece for decades and was kissed by sunlight every day. And perhaps because it’s so faded, noone would even look at it at an antique store. But because of the names, handwritten on it, it is a treasure for me and oh so worth saving! I added some magic of AI before the faces fade completely. So who were these darling children?
“Robbie and Gracie Conners, taken August ’94. Lucy Slayton Conner’s children”
These darling siblings were the oldest children born to Chipman B. Conners and Lucy Maria née Slayton, who lived in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
Grace Elizabeth Conners was born on December 23rd, 1890. It is always an extra treat to find other photos of the strangers in my found photos on the internet. So I was super excited to find a photo of her at about 16 years of age in the 1909 Chippewa Falls High School yearbook (on the left) and another photo on FamilySearch.org from the 1920s:
Thanks to her obituary we get quite a bit of insight into her busy life. She was very active in the Minneapolis civic life. She was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority, Faculty Woman’s Club, Minneapolis. Woman’s Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mayflower Society, the Dunwoody Board, Jones Harrison Home, and B.F. Nelson Co. Grace also worked at the University of Minnesota as the director of Women’s Residences for 20 years.
And all this while tending to her 3 sons with husband Earl Paul Nelson, whom she married on July 20th, 1916. Earl had been born in 1894 and was the grandson of the Minnesota pioneer lumberman Benjamin Franklin Nelson. I don’t know exactly how Grace met her Minneapolis-born future husband. Perhaps the lumber connection of the families of the groom and bride brought the couple together. Or more likely that they met while both studying at the Minnesota University. Here’s a photo of Earl in the 1916 Minnesota University yearbook I found on Ancestry:
The Chippewa Herald-Telegram from the day of the wedding reported about the ceremony held at the bride’s parents house:
“The bride entered on the arm of her father and proceeded to an improvised altar of sweet peas, palms and smilax which was formed in the large bow window ; of the living room where Reverend – Owen read the marriage service. The best man was a brother of the groom, Mr. Eugene Nelson, of Walker. Miss Adelaide Connors was maid of honor. The music during the ceremony and -the , wedding -march were played by Misses ‘ Jessie ‘Miller and Amanda Caesar. After the ceremony, supper was served to thirty six guests, the relatives of the bride and groom and most intimate friends. The bride’s table was exquisitely decorated with a tall gilt basket with a high handle wrapped with asparagus fern and tied with a pink tulle bow. It was filled with sweet peas and tiny rose buds The other tables had smaller baskets with similar flowers. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson will make an extended wedding trip on the Great Lakes and will be at home after September 1st at Walker Minn. “
In the midst of WWI and Earl’s service, Grace and Earl became parents to Benjamin Franklin Robert Nelson (1917–1992) and Paul Earl Nelson (1918–1993). In 1921, they had another son Kenneth Edwin Nelson (1921–1992).
Grace’s husband Earl passed away in 1937 and Grace outlived her husband by 44 years! She died in 1981 at the age of almost 91 years! She has been buried at the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis next to her husband. At the time of her death, she lived at 2901 Knox Ave. S. in Minneapolis. I believe this was her residence:
The little boy in the phtoograph was Grace’s brother Robert Nelson Conners, born on January 9th, 1892, in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. In the1911 he is listed in the addressbook of Chippewa Falls as a compassman.
Robert served in WWI. In 1920, he was living in Camp Funston, Riley, Kansas. In 1926, he married Dorothy Elizabeth née Tveit in Hennepin, Minnesota. Dorothy was his wife’s American name. She was a daughter of Norwegian immigrants and her original Norwegian name was Dagny. In 1930, the couple was living in Minneapolis and Robert was working as a sales manager at Bay Factory. Some time after 1935, the couple had moved to Evaston, Illinois. This is where the couple was living in 1942, when Robert was drafted for WWII. His job title was again sales manager. By 1948, he had been promoted to the position of Vice President. Unfortunately I don’t know with which company. Neither the Census of 1930 nor the Census of 1940 list any children for the couple.
Robert passed away in July 1979 in Hennepin County, Minnesota. And like his sister Grace, has been buried at the Lakewood Cemetery in Minnesota.
Now a few words about Gracie and Robbie’s parents and siblings. The children’s father Chipman B. Conners was born in about 1856 in New Brunwick in Canada to parents Thomas Conners and Elizabeth née Nelson. I don’t know exactly how and when he ended up in Wisconsin. He married the children’s mother Lucy Maria née Slayton on May 13th, 1890, in Eau Claire in Wisconsin. In 1911, he was a lumber dealer in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
The children’s mother Lucy had been born on January 8th, 1865 in Elmore, Vermont, into the dynasty of the Slayton family. There is a very extensive family history paper about the Slaytons that you can read about: here.
The siblings born after Grace and Robbie were Adelaide Barbara Robson née Conners (1894-1970), and Dorothy M. Conners (1899-1977).
The children’s father Chipman Conners passed away in November 1922 and their mother Lucy in 1952. Mother Lucy was living with her oldest daughter Grace in Minneapolis after losing her husband Chipment. Both Chipman and Lucy were buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
Robert apparently did not have any chidlren. But Grace’s obituary mentions that she had several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I hope they are out there and missing this photo of their ancestor!