Tuesday, April 29, 2014

52 Ancestors: #16 Lavanche Emarine Trees, A Very Unusual Name

Lavanche (H. S. Stephens Studio, Rushville, Ind.)
I have always thought that my great great-grandmother, Lavanche Emarine Trees, had a very unusual name.  I believe she was named after her aunt Lavanche, who only lived for four years.  The name Emarine came from her great-grandmother, who was probably of English descent.  The Trees surname was an anglicized form of Driess, a German name.

Lavanche was born March 26, 1870 in Manilla, Indiana. Her father was Cyrus Ebon Trees, a very wealthy businessman from Manilla.  Her mother, Annie Elizabeth Inlow, a native of Fleming County, Kentucky, died when Lavanche was only six years old.  A year later, her father married again.  Lavanche's new stepmother was a young woman named Lottie Macy; there were eleven years of age difference between them.  Lavanche's half siblings, Lee Mull and Mary Catherine, were born in 1881 and 1884.

On August 2, 1893, Lavanche married John D. Green in her hometown of Manilla.  The couple had three children: James Cyrus, Mary Catherine, and Maurice Thomas.

When John and Lavanche were newly married, her father offered to send John to medical school in Louisville, Kentucky.  He graduated in 1896 and started his practice in Rush County. Lavanche completed two years of college herself and was a practical nurse, according to the 1940 census. She often was a hostess to her husband's patients.  Lavanche liked to crochet, knit, and sew.  She made a crazy quilt in 1899, which is still in the family.  I also have a topaz bracelet that belonged to her.

Tragedy came to the household when John and Lavanche's daughter Mary died from the measles before the age of six.  The youngest son, Maurice, had severe asthma.  Lavanche travelled with him to a hot springs resort in the south in the hope of improving his health.  He was only 26 years old when he died of tuberculosis, leaving behind a young widow.

After her husband died in 1921, Lavanche moved to Oxford, Ohio, to work as a housekeeper for an elderly couple.  In 1941, her daughter-in-law died, so she came back to Indiana to help take care of her grandson (my grandpa).

My grandpa wrote these words about her:  "She was a grand lady, yet not afraid of hard work; and she was a good businesswoman.  I had a terrible time accepting the loss of my mother.  Grandma's faith, strength, and example of self-reliance gave me purpose.  I grew to appreciate her love and what she was doing for me."

Lavanche died on November 11, 1960 in Greensburg, Indiana at the age of 90.

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