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Anna Wells McMullen Strasser


Posted By: Mary F (email)
Date: 6/23/2010 at 10:59:35


A brilliant mind and a Christian faith are her greatest possessions. From the time she was a little girl braiding grass for her dolly’s hair, Mrs. Anna McMullen Strasser has never doubted this faith. And now at the age of 97, she remains alert to local, national, and international events with the zeal that amazes everyone who visits her and those with whom she lives.

Mrs. Strasser observed her birthday Tuesday at the Ada White nursing home where she has been for more than a year. Her son and family, Mr. and Mrs. G. E. McMullen and Tamara Nelson of Des Moines, and a son, Floyd McMullen of Sigourney, and the Rev. Mr. Rubey of Sigourney, and Mrs. Harold Jones and daughter, Mrs. Mary Wehr of Hayesville, visited her in the afternoon. She received a decorated birthday cake, roses, candy, and cards.

Mrs. Strasser was born Oct. 17, 1864, the daughter of Margaret Moberly and John Wells, at Berea, Kentucky. She had three brothers and one sister, all of whom are deceased. One sister was past 90 at the time of her death. The father was a cavalryman in the war at the time. Mrs. Strasser can remember a small creek near the country home, which she crossed many times, and she can remember things that happened when she was three years old. When she was about 9 or 10, her uncle brought her by train to live with an aunt in Iowa. The family had moved to Indiana in 1872, where she attended rural school. She also attended the Osage school. Because her family was poor, they felt she would have more opportunity with her aunt who had no children.

In 1883 she married George McMullen and they lived for a time on a farm near Sigourney. They were the parents of seven children, born around What Cheer: Minnie, now living in Madison, Wisc., Earl (deceased), Floyd of Sigourney, Margaret (deceased), George Ezra of Des Moines, Esther of Arizona, and John (deceased). They moved to What Cheer after their marriage where Mr. McMullen worked on the railroad as brakeman until Feb. 15, 1884, when he slipped on the ice and under the train when he got off to turn the brakes, and lost one foot and broke the other leg.

They then went back to farming, living in Iowa all her life except for four years in Missouri. Mr. McMullen died in 1912 of Brights disease. While on the farm she always raised poultry. Starting with 12 hens, she soon increased her flock to 200 and was able to buy furniture, a washing machine, and other necessities, besides always providing enough food for the family. “A woman can keep up a table with poultry. She doesn’t do right if she doesn’t raise them,” she says. She can also remember when she raised and picked more the 60 geese. She baked bread every other day. And every Sunday the family went by horses and wagon to the Indianapolis church.

After the death of Mr. McMullen she moved to What Cheer. In 1929 she married Mr. Strasser who died in 1936. They had known each other for years and his wife had died.

Mrs. Strasser had 10 grandchildren, three of whom are deceased. She walks with the aid of a walker, listens to her radio, watches TV occasionally, sees fairly well and is an interesting conversationalist. Except for neuritis, she feels fairly well most of the time. She is very conscious of her appearance, and does her hair in paper curlers, a trick she learned when she was young. She is an inspiration to young and old.

(Unknown newspaper article--October 1961)


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