Maxine Wymore’s Childhood

Myrna Maxine Wymore was born at 10 p.m. on August 27, 1914, at Byron, Thayer County, Nebraska.  She was the third child, second living, of Andrew Burr (called A.B. or Burr) and Ina Clara (Hayes) Wymore.  Her father’s occupation was listed as farmer on her birth certificate.  However, he soon quit farming to be a traveling salesman.   I never met him as he died in 1950, but in talking with the family, he was called “Burr or A.B.”  The signatures I have seen were always “A B Wymore.”

Maxine never used the name Myrna, but she sometimes listed it as her middle name.  Her older sister, Irma, was born in 1912 at Byron and her younger brother, Arthur Clark Wymore (called Clark) was born at Hastings in 1918.  The Wymore family moved often.  In June 1917 when A. B. registered for the World War I draft they were living in McCook and he was selling Singer sewing machines in “western Nebraska.”

The Wymore family was living in a rented house at 315 Kerr Avenue, Hastings in January 1920 when the census was taken.   A. B. was working as a traveling agent according to the city directory, and the census gave his occupation as “agent for a cream business. “

In September 1920, when Maxine was six-years-old, her father purchased the house at 310 East 10th Street in Juniata for $500. The Juniata column in the Adams County Democrat had this to say: “Mr. Wymore, traveling supt. for an Omaha creamery company, has purchased the Vreeland property on the east side and after sundry repairs will move in and become a fixture of the town it is hoped.”

310 East 9th Street in Juniata.  The white circle on the car door is the Singer Sewing Machine Company logo.
310 East 9th Street in Juniata. The white circle on the car door is the Singer Sewing Machine Company logo.
Maxine Wymore, Irma Wymore, Raymona Conover, Adella Conover, Henrietta Conover, and Clark Wymore in front. About 1921 in Juniata.

The Adams County Democrat reported in November 1921 “Mrs. Wymore, who has been ill for so long, was taken to the Nebraska Sanitarium last week for treatment.”  The Nebraska Sanitarium, located on East Ninth Street in Hastings, was a homeopathic hospital run by the Seventh Day Adventists.  I haven’t found any written diagnosis or description of Ina’s illness.  However, many years ago when members of her generation were still living, they insinuated it was depression caused by A.B.’s continual absences from home.

However, poor Ina had another reason to be depressed.  A. B. had moved his brazen girlfriend and her three girls into their home in Juniata on the pretext she was doing the housework.   Aunt Mary Wymore Bates (who called her brother Burr) told me that Burr and family drove down to Jewell County, Kansas to visit his parents.  When they went to leave Nellie took the front seat alongside Burr and Ina was in the back.  Burr’s mother, Amanda (McNabb) Wymore told her son to get his wife in the front seat where she belonged.    Burr was not happy with his mother.

This is the story I was told by a Hayes family member about the incident that led to A. B. committing Ina to Ingleside (Hastings State Hospital).  Ina was gone from home and when she returned she found A. B. and Nellie in bed together.  In a rage, she grabbed a kitchen knife and chased him around the table.  After that he had her committed.  Her parents tried to take her to their home, but couldn’t get her released.

Maxine clipped from a class photo taken about 1923.
Maxine clipped from a class photo taken about 1923.

How all this drama affected the Wymore children, I do not know.  Maxine, who was old enough to remember, never spoke of it, and I, thinking it was too personal, never asked.  She did mention her Grandmother Hayes taking her to visit her mother at Ingleside.  She also mentioned that she and her siblings often spent summer months at her Grandparents Harmon and Ruth (Kimball) Hayes’ farm in Republic County, Kansas.

Exactly when or where A. B. met Nellie Morgan Conover I don’t know.  Her husband, Ray A. Conover had died in January 1919 at Sutherland, Nebraska.  However, it didn’t take her long to appear in Juniata where she had no relatives.  In her March 1922 application for a Mother’s Pension, she stated she “came to the county March 22, 1920.”  She also claimed that she owned a five-room house in Juniata with a $200 mortgage.  She said she got $15 a week from A. B. Wymore for caring for his three children.   The county granted her $25 per month welfare.  In November 1924 Nellie Conover sold the house in Juniata for $575.  The Democrat reported:  “ A. B. Wymore has sold his home in Juniata to George Reynolds and will move his household goods to Nelson where he has rented a home. They expect to go Friday this week.”

On March 19, 1925, the Hastings Democrat reported: “Word has been received of the death of Mrs. A. B. Wymore at her home north of Edgar.  Mrs. Wymore had been at the hospital at Ingleside for some time and when the doctor told them she could not last but a few days, she expressed her desire to be taken home and so her daughter Erma and Mrs. Conover accompanied her in the ambulance.  She only lived two or three days after getting home.”

This is what the Hayes family told me about Ina’s death.  Ina wanted to see her children, so she was taken to their home.  Her family wasn’t told she was there or that her health was precarious.  Three days later, on March 12, 1925, she died suddenly.  Ina was buried in the Washington Cemetery in Republic County, Kansas.  After the shock of Ina’s death and burial, some of the Hayes family were suspicious about her sudden death and approached the county attorney about having her disinterred and examined for poison.  They were told it was too late.  Fifty years later, some Hayes relatives were still convinced Nellie had poisoned Ina.

Maxine was ten years old when her mother died.  She never mentioned the death or funeral to me.  When I tried to ask her about her early life, she said “I don’t remember, that was a long time ago.”

August 11, 1927, the Hastings Democrat mentioned the marriage of Burr and Nellie.  “Mrs. Nellie Conover and Mr. Burr Wymore were married at Scottsville, August 1st and are taking a short trip but have not yet decided where they will make their home.  Mr. and Mrs. Wymore lived here a few years ago.”   At this time I do not know where they lived between Ina’s death in 1925 and 1928 when I found them in the Kansas City, Missouri city directory.  They were living at 2028 Kansas Ave. and A. B. was listed as a salesman.

The Juniata correspondent to the Hastings Democrat reported on August 23, 1928 “A. B. Wymore and family of Kansas City are moving into the Ray Magner house.”  That house is at 111 East 7th Street.

The Wymore family lived at 111 East 7th Street in Juniata from August 1928 until August 1930.  The house is still standing, but greatly altered.
The Wymore family lived at 111 East 7th Street in Juniata from August 1928 until August 1930. The house is still standing but greatly altered.

Andrew Burr Wymore Jr. called “Junior” was born September 13, 1929 in Juniata.  Maxine was fifteen, and the youngest child in the family, Clark, was eleven.  With five older sisters, Junior was fussed over and dressed like “Little Lord Fauntleroy.”

In July 1930 Andrew B. Wymore purchased the house at 609 Blue River Ave in Juniata for an undisclosed amount.  Maxine always called it “the big house.”  She lived there during her high school years.  Her 16th birthday party was reported in the Kenesaw Progress.  “Mrs. A. B. Wymore and daughters entertained 20 young folks in honor of Miss Maxine’s 16th birthday Wednesday evening.  Decorations were in blue & white.  A box was decorated with crepe paper and long streamers each one leading to some gift.  After games, a delicious lunch was served.”

Wymore family home at 611 Blue River Avenue in Juniata.  The car was a 1931 Chevy convertable.
Wymore family home at 609 Blue River Avenue in Juniata. The car was a 1931 Chevy convertible. This house is still standing.

Throughout the ’30s and ’40’s the Juniata columns of both the Hastings Democrat and the Kenesaw Progress were full of the doings of the Wymore family of five girls and two boys.  Maxine was fun-loving and popular.  She played basketball and was in the glee club.  She dated Gaylord Weseman seriously during  ’31, ’32, and ’33; and the story is that his heart was broken when she married Bud Renschler.  The gossip columns never mentioned Bud and Maxine dating.  Maxine graduated from Juniata High School in May 1934.

Juniata High School's 1933 girls basketball team. Maxine is on the left in the middle row.
Juniata High School’s 1933 girls basketball team. Maxine is on the left in the middle row.

 

Maxine's 1934 high school graduation photograph.
Maxine’s 1934 high school graduation photograph.
Bud marriage017
Bud and Maxine’s wedding day. They did not have a formal wedding photograph.

Bud Renschler was working in Iowa for A. B. Wymore selling chicken remedies.  In late July, A. B. and Nellie took Maxine to Harlan, Iowa where on July 28, 1934, she married Marion Eugene “Bud” Renschler in the Methodist parsonage.  Maxine was 19 years and 11 months old and Bud was 19 years and 4 months old.