Aunt Agnes a Love Story

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Art and Agnes

Art and Agnes

Aunt Agnes was one of my grandmother’s three aunts.  Agnes Reinhardt was born in 1891 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[1]  She was the youngest of seven children.[2]  She was only seven years older than her niece, my grandmother.[3]  Agnes grew up in Ottawa Illinois with her parents, brothers, and sisters.  Aunt Agnes is listed as living in Ottawa on the 1910[4] census and in a 1911 city directory,[5] after that I lose her for a few years.  In 1920 at age 28 she married Arthur Lightfoot in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.[6]  He lists his occupation on the marriage record as a Traveler.[7]  The first thing that came to my mind was, “What kind of occupation was a traveler?”  I thought maybe he was a gypsy (just kidding).  I think it was a term used back then for a traveling salesman.  Later census records list him as a salesman.[8]  I have no idea how they met or why they got married in Detroit.  His resident on the marriage record is listed as Indianapolis, Indiana and hers is Ottawa, Illinois.[9] On the 1930 and 1940 census records, they are living in Chicago, Illinois.[10] [11]  Also on his WWI and WWII draft cards he is living in Chicago.[12] [13]  At some point in time, they moved to Hartford, Connecticut.  Arthur was born and raised in Connecticut.[14] When I was a child, I knew that Aunt Agnes lived in Connecticut.  Aunt Agnes and Art came to visit us a couple of times from Connecticut.  Arthur died in 1957 in Connecticut,[15] and some time after his death, Agnes moved back to Chicago.

Aunt Agnes would come to visit us on some weekends and holidays.  In her old age, Aunt Agnes was flamboyant.  She wore a lot of makeup, her hair was bleached blond, and she wore a lot of jewelry.  The jewelry had big stones and was gaudy.  One time I was looking at a bracelet she had on with big stones.  She asked me if I liked it.  I didn’t want to insult her so I said, “yes.”  She took off the bracelet and handed it to me, and told me I could keep it.  I was around 13 years old at the time.  I thanked her, but knew I would never wear it.  I didn’t like it.  After she had gone home, my mother confiscated it, and put in her jewelry chest.  The bracelet was in my mother’s jewelry chest for years.  I don’t know what ever became of it.

Aunt Agnes would come out to our house by train or bus and sometimes we would drive her back to Chicago.  One time when we drove her back, when we got to Clark and Belmont near where she lived, she said, “Now I can relax, I am home.”  I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t relax at our house.  Our house was in the suburbs and it was nice, quiet, and safe compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.  I thought it would be easier to relax in the quiet and calm of the suburbs.  Until I started delving into her life, I thought she and her husband always lived in Connecticut after they were married.  I also had the impression that they were rich.  Not sure how I came to these conclusions.  So I was surprised to learn that she lived in Chicago, most of her married life. I doubt that he became rich as a salesman.

I think Aunt Agnes probably had the most normal life of the three sisters.  I gave this posting the title Aunt Agnes a love story because I truly believe that Aunt Agnes loved her husband and he loved her. She talked about Art all the time.  I hope they loved each other, they were married 37 years.  They had no children.  I have wondered if Aunt Agnes had a previous marriage, but haven’t been able to find any other marriage records for her.  I found no illegitimate children or any thing unusual.  I believe she led a very ordinary life and loved her husband.   She died in Chicago, IL in 1978 at 87 years old.[16]  She had a good long life, and I am glad I got to know her before she died.  As always, I wish I had asked her more questions about her life and family, but I wasn’t interested in Genealogy at that time.  So now I can only go on a few memories and documents.  I hope I did her justice today, since I had so little to go on.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] “Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[2] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978

[3] State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics and Records; Delayed Record of Birth, State file # 204857; Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Helen Dorothy Bowers, December 3, 1898.

[4] Year: 1910; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 5, La Salle, Illinois; Roll T624_301; Page: 11A’ Enumeration District: 0129; Image:  ; FHL microfilm:1374314.  Ancestry.com.  1910 United States Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2006.

[5] McCoy Ottawa City Directory 1911 – 1912 The McCoy Directory Company, Publishers and Compilers, 411 Brown Building, Rockford, Illinois. Agnes Reinhardt page 140.  Ancestry.com. U. S. City Directories, 1821 – 1989 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[6] Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[7] Ibid.

[8]Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[9]  “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[10] Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[11] “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[12] “United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917- 1918,” index and images.  FamilySearch(https://familysearch.orgpal:/MM9.1.1/K6DX-DDG) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1917-1918.

[13]“United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” index and images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V1KW-8GM) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1942.

[14] “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9QK-KZZ) Arthur A. Lightfoot in entry for Arthur Lightfoot, 1900.

[15] “Connecticut, Death Index, 1949 – 2001.” Index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VZPP-1XL) Arthur A Lightfoot, 1957.

[16] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978.

About Gail Grunst Genealogy

Gail has been researching her own family since 1979. Her research has taken her back to 1800 Belgium and 1800 England. Gail has worked in a library for the last 20 years and has answered genealogy questions for patrons and helped patrons with their research. In addition to her degree in Library Media Technology, Gail has a two degree in Basic American Genealogy Research from the National Genealogy Society. She has done volunteer work for various Genealogy Societies. Gail teaches several Classes in Genealogy for the Round Lake Area Library, and would be happy to conduct a class for your organization. If interested in a class or if you would like a one-on-one consultation, please contact Gail. Please enjoy Gail's family History Blog

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