What if almost everything your parents told you about their families wasn't true?  The stories they told you were just that, pieces of fiction woven together to create a better past than what really existed.  You might think that everyone's family closet has a skeleton or two.  Well, how about fifteen skeletons in the span of slightly more than 100 years?  I would say that you will probably need a lot more closets.

 

          "The Whiting Women" is a chronicle of the lives of fifteen women who chose to ignore the mores of society.  These women all had varying degrees of separation to Gladys Mable (Hunt) Whiting[1].  Gladys, by all accounts was a colorful character In Garland, ME where she lived on the Whiting family homestead.  A farm that she inherited from her ex-husband by default.  A place that holds many secrets.

 

          I do not claim to have found all the secrets, but enough to question everything else about this family.  With some ingenuity, serendipity and the dogged determination of a veteran researcher, I made new discoveries about them on an almost daily basis.  You can debate the accuracy of a person's memory of events, but cannot deny the verity of legal documents like birth, death and marriage certificates.

 

          Most people can't handle the truth.  They prefer to believe the fairy tales recited to them, familiar, like a child's nursery rhyme.  Genealogy is not for the squeamish or the faint-hearted.  What you find will sometimes be very different from what your mother told you. 

 

          In 2002, my husband was ceremoniously presented with a genealogy titled "The Descendants of Louisa Emily (Emmett) Sanders Tash[2]" authored by Ellison 'Durwood' Libby.  Durwood had done previous research detailing the Libby side of his family and just recently completed the task of documenting his maternal lineage. 

 

          This lineage somehow intersected with the convoluted parentage my of husband's family.  Durwood Libby did not highlight the "Emmett" or "Sanders" ancestral line, though he had written much about the descendants.  Curiously, the most extensive research for both the ancestors and descendants was for the "Tash" part of the genealogy.

 

          Louisa Emily (Emmett) Sanders was Durwood Libby's great-grandmother and she had married my husband's great-grandfather William Franklin 'Frank' Tash[3], so we were in the family, it seems.  It also seems that Durwood employed a few genealogical blinders of his own, preferring to believe his grandmother's story about Louisa's first husband Benjamin Franklin Sanders[4] dying in Nova Scotia about 1889. 

 

          Although he used recorded documents wherever possible, most of Durwood's information was derived from the personal accounts of the living descendants.  Sources he included were oral histories, photographs, diary excerpts and accounts gleaned from local libraries and businesses. But Durwood's compilation was far from complete. With the internet still in its infancy, Durwood's information is woefully out of date.  But he left clues for me to continue filling in the blanks.

 

          This seemingly innocent book landed like a bomb in the lap of my unsuspecting husband, who had been led to believe that he was an 'only' son, succinctly named for his father. The name of Tash is not even his.  It was just acquired along the way.  Well more about that later.

 

          After the explosion debris cleared and reality set in, the rest of the truth was about to be revealed in a MOAB holocaust.  In 2010, I began my own research to seek more information about my husband's heritage. This project was initiated with the singular intent of providing a genealogy for the "Whiting" side of the family.  The only side which was certain for my father-in-law who was supposedly descended from Native Americans and had been adopted as a young child by Raymond David Tash[5], second husband of his mother Vidella M. (Whiting)[6] Ryer.

 

          The family story claims that Vidella's mother, Gladys Mable Hunt was descended from the Narragansett Indians[7] in Canada.  Highly unlikely, because Narragansett is in Rhode Island and that has never been in Canada!  The story is merely a poorly crafted piece of fiction.

 

          The story teller may have eventually realized that the tribe of the  Narragansetts had intermarried with the black slave populations in Rhode Island and looked very African, so they changed the family ancestral tribe to Micmac[8].  These Native Americans do indeed reside in northeast Canada, but Gladys is not descended from them either. 

 

          Soon, the story about the Narragansett and Micmac tribes became a passing memory, then the Wampanoag[9] of Massachusetts were rumored to have been Gladys' tribe.  That story is no more real than any other told by the Whiting women to hide the truth.

 

          Gladys Mable Hunt was not descended from any Native Americans at all.  Gladys was merely the Caucasian product of promiscuous teenage parents, born only four months after their marriage. Gladys' parents divorced when she was 18 months old. 

 

          After the divorce, Gladys' 22 year old mother, Vidella M. Cook[10], married a 38 year old bachelor, Seth L. Whiting[11] in 1899.  This union would prove pivotal in the actual life of Gladys M. Hunt, because Seth was an uncle of George Elisco Whiting[12], Gladys Hunt's future husband.

 

          Gladys' mother, Vidella M. Cook was the oldest child born to Viola Elizabeth Cook[13], when she was just sixteen and unmarried in Harmony, ME.  Though Frederick Walter Tripp[14] is listed on records as Vidella's father, he was never married to her mother to Viola E. Cook.

 

          Gladys' mother, Vidella M. (Cook) Whiting, age 23, committed suicide in February 1901 in Wellington, ME, less than two months after the birth of her second child, Seth Odell Whiting[15] in December 1900. 

 

          Gladys' father, Perly Hunt[16], age 24 married Isabella Stewart, a woman twice his age, after divorcing Vidella (Cook) Hunt. This marriage occurred about two months after Vidella (Cook) Hunt Whiting's death.

 

          It is unlikely that Gladys' father, Perly and new wife Isabella Hunt[17] were willing to care for a four year old girl.  Isabella's children were about the same age as her husband and no living longer at home.   

 

          Gladys Hunt's maternal grandmother, Viola E. (Cook) Smart, was already pregnant with the child of her new husband William H. Smart[18] and still  preoccupied with her illegitimate six year old daughter, Lona B. Cook.  Viola Elizabeth Smart was not liable to welcome another burden named Gladys Mable Hunt into her home. 

 

          Gladys Hunt's paternal grandparents, Daniel Wentworth Hunt [19] and Dora V. (Wells) Hunt[20] were in the process of divorcing and could not or would not help Gladys.  Dora V. (Wells) Hunt soon left for New Hampshire and lived there until her death.  Daniel W. Hunt moved from Kingsbury Plantation, ME to Skowhegan, ME and married his housekeeper, Annie N. Jacobs[21], moving to Farmington, ME afterwards.

 

          Gladys M. Hunt would now become Seth L. Whiting's family responsibility.  Gladys and her newborn half-brother Seth may have been living with George W. Whiting [22] and his wife, Thurza Jane (Inman)[23] in Garland.  George and Thurza had two children, George E. and Ephraim, who were similar in age to Gladys and Seth.  George and Thurza even named one of their daughters Gladys M. Whiting in 1906.

 

          Gladys M. Hunt and George E. Whiting were raised as cousins, but evidently they were the 'kissing' kind, because their daughter Vidella M. Whiting was born about five months after their wedding.  First cousin marriage was not common, even in rural Maine, but this family seems to have defied the odds and produced three.  One in modern times.

 

          Gladys M. (Hunt) Whiting would continue with the legacy left by her grandmother Viola Cook, by having two illegitimate children born to her after the separation from her husband George E. Whiting in the early 1930's .  One child, a son, Chester Judkins Kimball Whiting[24] would die soon after his birth in Connecticut in 1935 and the other, a daughter Charlene Hester Whiting[25], would be abandoned there before 1940.

 

          Gladys (Hunt) Whiting's older daughters Vidella M. Whiting and Mildred Evelyn Whiting[26] would be prone to the same disposition as their mother.  Vidella was married four times and Mildred first became pregnant in high school with the child of a married man.  Mildred's daughter, Elaine would also become pregnant as a teenager in school.

 

          The immigrant ancestors of the Whiting family were ministers[27], but it seems that the morals of their descendants eroded over the generations to produce a long list of women with no scruples at all. 

In the years chronicled here, the Whiting women have broken all ten commandments, some of them, numerous times.

 

          It appears that they fashioned themselves as their own gods and created an image of lies, which they religiously recited to their progeny.  God's name was no doubt taken in vain countless times and soon, remembering the Sabbath day was forgotten completely. 

 

          Parents were dishonored, murder was committed, adultery was all too common, theft abounded, dishonesty prevailed, bearing false witness was their creed and coveting everything that is your neighbors' was more the rule, than the exception with this family. 

 

          My close examination of their lives and exposure of the five generations of lies may seem a bit harsh, but you are still free to draw your own conclusions from the facts presented here.  This is a detailed chronological history derived from readily obtainable sources such as Census reports, Cemetery records, Registry of Deeds Land recordings and legally notarized documents.  This book is not a story, it's the truth. 

 

          If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. But if you lie, it becomes a part of your future.  Here's to the future, Whiting Women!

 


[1] Gladys M. Hunt b Jan 22, 1897 d Feb 24, 1991; dau of Perly Hunt 1877- & Vidella Cook 1877-1901

[2] Louisa E. Emmett b Aug 9, 1863 d Nov 30, 1918; dau of David S. Emmett 1834-1911+ & Mary Ann Dyer 1838-1911

[3] William F. Tash b May 9, 1853 d May 27, 1914; son of William A. Tash 1803-1884 & Elizabeth Berry 1814-1887

[4] Benjamin F. Sanders b Oct 27, 1859 d Aug 19, 1935; son of Henry Sanders & Margery Hurlbert of Yarmouth, NS

[5] Raymond D. Tash b May 1, 1900 d Aug 19, 1980; son of William F. Tash 1853-1914 & Louisa E. Emett 1863-1918

[6] Vidella Marian Whiting b Jun 9, 1917 d Jan 31, 2007; dau of George Whiting 1895-1965 & Gladys Hunt 1897-1991

[7] The Narragansett, aboriginal people of Rhode Island & Connecticut, closely allied and culturally similar to Niantics

[8] Algonquin-speaking tribe of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island  and Newfoundland

[9] Tribes having members with African ancestry include the Wampanoag, Pequot, Narragansett & Shinnecock

[10] Vidella M. Cook b Oct 15, 1877 d Feb 11, 1901; dau of Viola Cook 1861-1944  & Fred Tripp 1858-1907

[11] Seth L. Whiting b Jul 1861 d 1930+ ; son of Ephraim Whiting 1839-1910 & Francina A. Spearin 1836-1883

[12] George E. Whiting b Apr 13, 1895 d Aug 1965; son of George W. Whiting 1866-1942 & Thurza J. Inman 1875-1958

[13] Viola E. Cook b Feb 17, 1861 d Mar 21, 1944; dau of Samuel Cook 1830-1880+ & Susannah Hunt 1830-1870+

[14] Frederick W. Tripp b Jul 6, 1858 d Sep 3, 1907; son of Robert H. Tripp 1825-1890 & Diana R. Emery 1827-1889

[15] Seth O. Whiting b Dec 19,1900 d Oct 3, 1968; son of Seth L. Whiting 1861-1930+ & Vidella Cook 1877-1901

[16] Perly R. Hunt b 1877 d 1901+ ; son of Daniel W. Hunt 1850-1924+ & Dora V. Wells 1848-1917

[17] Mary Isabelle (Sedgley) Steward b Dec 16, 1853-1901+; dau of Robert Sedgley -1885 & Sarah Leavitt 1833-1891

[18] William H. Smart b Oct 1, 1846 d Sep 9, 1927; son of Eliphalet Smart 1803-1873 & Susan Robbins 1804-1881

[19] Daniel W. Hunt b May 1850 d 1930+; son of Samuel Hunt 1811-1899 & Lydia Wentworth 1825-1915

[20] Dora V. Wells b May 18, 1848 d Apr 10, 1917; dau of Perley W. Wells

[21] Annie N. Jacobs b Dec 1853 or Jun 1855 d 1940+; dau of Jacobs

[22] George W. Whiting n Oct 1866 d 1942; son of Ephraim Whiting 1839-1910 & Francina A. Spearin 1836-1883

[23] Thurza J. Inman b Jul 1873 d 1958; dau of Ira Thompson Inman 1834- 1899 & Martha Ann Young 1839-1926

[24] Chester J. K. Whiting b May 22, 1935 d Jun 6, 1935; son of Gladys M. (Hunt) Whiting 1897-1991 & Unknown

[25] Charlene Hester Whiting b Jan 24, 1934 ; dau of Gladys M. (Hunt) Whiting 1897-1991 & Unknown

[26] Mildred Whiting b Jun 5, 1927 d Feb 4, 1972 ; dau of George Whiting 1895-1965 & Gladys Hunt 1897-1991

[27] Rev Samuel Whiting 1597-1679; Rev Samuel Whiting 1633-1713; Rev John Whiting 1664-1697

Views: 62

Comment by Deborah Nelson on November 13, 2017 at 7:36pm
Interesting! I remember Gladys Whiting who raised dogs down in the 'notch'. My father used to hunt on her land, and trap beaver in the 1960's. Does anyone have a photo of Mrs. Whiting? Somewhere I do have a photo of her house, it had a gambrel roof as I recall. Sometime in the 1970's, a fellow by the name of Ted Wright built a camp, actually where he lived, south of her house. She was definetly a character. Harry Nelson, Newport, ME harrydeb@roadrunner.com

Comment

You need to be a member of Maine Genealogy Network to add comments!

Join Maine Genealogy Network

Ancestry.com

Fold3.com

Search Fold3 Records

© 2017   Created by Chris Dunham.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service