Petrona Thompson is my great grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born in Mansfield, Massachusetts on this day, January 27, in 1900. She would be 119 today. Her parents are Safford and Emma Thompson. They had 10 children in all. Sadly, Emma passed away when the youngest twin boys were only 7 in 1913. Emma was only 47. The cause of her death is unknown. As if that wasn’t hard enough for the family, Safford passed away a few short years later when the boys were only 15 in 1921. Safford’s cause of death is also unknown.
In the 1920 census, we find Petrona in Berger, Idaho. I believed she moved to Idaho to be closer to her older sister, Grace. By this time she had a started work in teaching.
In 1922, She married my Great Grandfather, Jasper W Green. They are found living in Twin Falls, Idaho. She was 23 yrs old. They had a son, Jack Douglas Green born on October 9, 1923. It’s around this time that the Great Depression hit of the 1930’s. Petrona divorced Jasper Green in 1940. I have to wonder if she waited until their only son had finished school before doing that. Or maybe he did?
On June 10, 1941, She married George Wilcox. Interesting. It’s at this time that she also graduates from Lewiston Normal Teacher’s College. She taught in Canada from 1959-1965.
Her son tragically died in 1949 from a fire accident. He was burned badly. Petrona and George made their home in Oregon after she retired. She lived to be 90 years old.
I only got to meet Petrona once in my life but that one time left a huge impression. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. I was amazed to meet this woman who claimed to be my mother’s grandmother. That’s old, I thought. I remember thinking it was so great to meet a teacher in our family. I also remember her sharing stories and talking alot. Sadly, I can’t remember a single story. I was young. And oddly she was the first woman in my life that always wear dresses. For some reason that stuck with me. So while she stayed with my family for a while, I wore dresses too. That’s me in the back with the red turtle neck. When Petrona passed my mother received all of her family information. When I started working on genealogy I was finally allowed to see it. She had an amazing collection of photos and stories. I am so blessed to say she is my Great Grandma.
- 1920 United States Census
- 1930 United States Census
- 1940 United States Census
- Idaho Marriages 1842-1996
- Oregon Death Index 1903 -98
- Personal family photo, Nancy McShane.