Monday, March 14, 2016

Fearless Females - Day 14 - Ada Merritt Hobbs Matthews

Lisa Alzo, The Accidental Genealogist, started a blogging-prompt series in 2010 in honor of Women's History Month and our female ancestors. If you would like to participate also, you can find the prompts on her blog here.

News-makers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

Ada Merrit Hobbs Matthews

My paternal grandfather's mother, Ada Merritt Hobbs Matthews, appeared several times in the Pittston Gazette/Evening Gazette over the years between her marriage in 1876 to her death in 1919.

She was neither famous nor notorious but she was well known in the small town of Pittston, PA where her husband was the owner of two businesses and the director of the choir at the Methodist Episcopal church.

Although I cannot reproduce the articles here, having found them on, I can tell you that while Ada did not make the social column, per se, most of the articles pertained to social matters.

There was one appearance in the paper that surprised me, a notice that Ada and Arthur were being sued by the bank and that the sheriff would be auctioning of two parcels of their land. Then again, Arthur certainly had an entrepreneurial spirit. Perhaps he just wasn't as successful in real estate as his other businesses.

The rest of the notices were much more humdrum and every day, reflective of the times and the place. The Pittston and Evening Gazettes were like the Facebook of their day.  There were announcements of trips to visit family at Falls and Scranton, of Ada having the grip (which she once had while pregnant with my grandfather according to my calculations) and being taken to the hospital for an operation. There were also notices of upcoming meetings of the Ladies' Aid Society at Ada's home, descriptions of entertaining (feeding) the church choir after practice and the time she gave a banquet for the employees of Arthur's shoe factory.

Other than notices of births, marriages and deaths, Ada is the only female ancestor I have found in newspapers so far. It isn't earth-shattering news, she wasn't famous, notorious or wealthy, but these little articles are like gold to me because they help flesh-out an ancestor I never knew.

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