This week we bring you a brief look at the life of Ellen M Locke. Like many women of her era, little is known about her directly, but we can surmise many details from looking at her family records, specifically census documents. Here is what they tell us:
Ellen Marshall Locke was born to Parents John M Locke and Bettie Compton on July 31, 1854, in Jefferson County, West Virginia (probably close to Charles Town). She was the oldest of three siblings. By the time she was 5 years old, her family had moved to Clarke County, Virginia where her father worked as a clerk.
She and her family lived in Clarke County during the Civil War, and her father, John Milton Locke, Served as Brevet Second Lieutenant in the 1st Regiment Virginia Cavalry. By the end of the war he had advanced to Captain.
After the war, the family relocated to Harrisonburg, Va, where John served as a Hotel Proprietor.
Little is known about Ellen's early life (or of her later life), but we do know she married John Sinnard Richey in Clarke County on October 24, 1877. Ellen's family was back in Berryville at that time, and the newlyweds lived with her parents for a time. Their first child, Francis Olin Richey, was born there. Ellen's father and husband may have been merchants together during this time - they are both listed as "merchant" on the 1880 census.
The 1890 census was destroyed, so we do not have information for that period.
Ellen and her new family moved to Middle River, Augusta, Va, by 1900. There her husband John appears to have been running his own general store. A Salesman, Robin N Jobe, was living with them. He most likely worked for the family business.
John Richey seems to have been trying his hand at several different occupations throughout his life - by 1910 the family is living in Buchanan, Missouri, where he's working as a real estate collector. His daughter Nancy is employed as a stenographer. Ellen remains unemployed, and is most likely kept busy raising her eight surviving children, the last having been born in 1897.
By 1920 the family had moved again, and this time Ellen and John were living with their oldest son, Frank (Francis) who worked as a patent attorney in Lorain, Ohio. John is working as a public notary. The family is listed as having an English servant, Emily Noland. She had been naturalized in the US in 1917/1919 (dates are conflicting).
1930 is the last decade of Ellen's life - she outlived her husband by just over a decade. She was living with her son Frank in Lakewood, Ohio. He was still working as a patent lawyer, and Ellen was most likely caring for her grandchildren. There are three African-American servants working in the house: Julia A and Mike Jennings, and Amylee Gullet.
Throughout her life, Ellen lived in 4 states, had 9 children, lived through the Civil War, WW1, and a portion of the Great Depression.
Melanie is the current archivist for the Clarke County Historical Association, in Berryville, Virginia. She is a graduate from Shepherd University, where she earned a degree in History.