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William Earl and Orpha Drucilla (Gurwell) Wallace;

     2. Loretta L "unk"

William_Earl_Wallace.jpgLeft: William Earl Wallace, date unknown.

Below: Orpha Wallace with newborn Lois and 2 year old Ruth, ca. 1915.

William Earl Wallace was born in Ellison Township, Warren County, Illinois 5 Oct 1889.  The family moved to Kirkwood in the 1890's, where William would attend school through the 10th grade.  Around the age of 18, he set out on his own and moved to Fairfield, Iowa where he would meet his wife, Orpha Drucilla Gurwell.  Orpha was born 30 Oct 1888 in Montgomery County, Missouri near the town of Wellsville.  When only 4 years old, her mother died after giving birth to her brother, Russell.  It is unknown where the children lived after the death of their mother.  Russell died as an infant in Dec 1893, while it is presumed that both Orpha and her sister Clela lived with relatives in the Wellsville area.  It was common practice at the time for a widowed father to leave his children in the care of a sister or other female relative, particularly when the children were females, of a young age, or both.  Neither Orpha or Clela have been found in the 1900 census.  By 1910, Clela was adopted by James and Lavina Whitehead and continued to live in Missouri.  Orpha_Drucilla_Gurwell,_Lois_Helen,_and_Ruth_Evelyn_Wallace.jpgOrpha, on the other hand, in 1905 went to live with her great-aunt Hannah Snyder, the sister of her grandfather, John Filson, in Fairfield, Iowa.  She would attend school in Fairfield, through the 11th grade and attended the Presbyterian Church with her aunt.  Orpha appears twice in the 1910 census; once with her aunt, living at 422 West Briggs Avenue in Fairfield, and and again with her husband at 300 East Adams Street in the same town.  Coincidently, the first appearance in the census was taken on her wedding day 21 Apr 1910, and the second only 7 days later.  At that time, William was working as a barber in town.  At some point, later in 1910 or 1911, Orpha was employed as a clerk in "The Fair" department store, located on East Burlington Street.  Their first child, William Earl Wallace, Jr., was born 12 Oct 1911, but only lived to the age of 4 months, dying 29 Feb 1912.  Their other children, Ruth and Lois, were born in 1913 and 1914, respectively.  Around 1915, Orpha contracted Tuberculosis and fell ill.  In 1916, she was admitted into the Oakdale Sanatarium, in Iowa City.  William and their two daughters also moved to Iowa City at this time, and lived at 217 East Court Street.  In his World War I draft registration, William continued to list his occupation as a barber.  He also, at this time, was a Private in an Iowa National Guard Infantry unit, but asked for exemption from the draft due to his wife's health and young age of his daughters.  It was thought at the time, that thin air was helpful in the treatment of TB, so after thirteen months at Oakdale, Orpha moved to Albequerque, New Mexico for health purposes, while William and the children, for the time being, stayed in Iowa.  William would move to Sterling, Colorado with the children in late 1917 or early 1918; Orpha joining them soon after.  Her final bout with her disease lasted approximatel 6 weeks, when she finally succumed 26 Feb 1918.  Orpha was brought back to Fairfield, where she was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. 

It is unclear if William returned to Fairfield after Orpha's death.  Ruth and Lois did return, however, and eventually were sent to live with William's sister Bertha in Warren County, Illinois.  At some point prior to 5 Jan 1920, William would remarry to a woman named Lorretta.  The couple lived at 4217 South 23rd Street in Omaha, Nebraska, along with Loretta's 11 year old son Gerald.  William continued to work as a barber in Omaha through the 1930s.  In the 1930 census, they lived at 1907 Van Camp Avenue.  Loretta worked as a saleswoman in a department store.  William had very little contact with his daughters following the death of Orpha, only coming back to visit sporadically.  His second marriage was strained as well, eventually leading to a split with his second wife.  William would die in Omaha, on 1 Sep 1939, and was brought back for burial in Center Grove Cemetery in Kirkwood, Illinois.


WILLIAM EARL WALLACE

Birth: 05 Oct 1889 in Ellison, Warren, Illinois          Death: 01 Sep 1939 in Omaha, Nebraska

Burial: Center Grove Cemetery, Kirkwood, Warren, Illinois

Father: JOHN L WALLACE

Mother: SARAH ELLEN WILCOX

Wife:

ORPHA DRUCILLA GURWELL

Birth: 30 Oct 1888 in Wellsville, Montgomery, Missouri          Death: 26 Feb 1918 in Sterling, Logan, Colorado

Burial: Evergreen Cemetery, Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa

Marriage: 21 Apr 1910 in Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa

Father: JONAS ALEXANDER GURWELL

Mother: HENRIETTA FILSON

Children:

1. WILLIAM EARL WALLACE

Birth: 12 Oct 1911 in Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa          Death: 29 Feb 1912 in Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa

Burial: Center Grove Cemetery, Kirkwood, Warren, Illinois

2. RUTH EVELYN WALLACE

Birth: 10 Apr 1913 in Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa          Death: 11 Aug 1999 in Roseville, Warren, Illinois

Burial: 14 Aug 1999 in Warren County Memorial Park, Warren, Illinois

Marriage: 15 Dec 1936 in Tompkins, Warren, Illinois to LLOYD LEO HINES

3. LOIS HELEN WALLACE

Birth: 19 Sep 1914 in Fairfield, Jefferson, Iowa         

Marriage: 01 Jan 1936 in Tompkins, Warren, Illinois to ERNEST TALMADGE ESTES

Wife:

LORETTA L ???

Birth: Abt. 1892 in Iowa

Marriage: Bet. 1918-1920 

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