Later she legally changed here name to Anna Mae because it sounded more distinguished. To her grandchildren and great grandchildren, she was known as Dana.
Mae's father Henry Burdge was an Englishman from Somerset, one in a long line of successful dairymen. His farm in Kansas was a far cry from his family's beautiful farm near Axbridge, but his hard work enabled him to take care of his family.
Although Mae and her sister Sarah Winifred ("Freddie") didn't realize it at the time, their mother's health was fragile and she struggled to keep up with raising her young girls and helping her husband on their farm. After the death of Mae's grandfather, William Henry, her grandmother moved in with Mae's family to help care for both her daughter and her grandchildren. Mary Ann Henry had few kind words for her son-in-law, whom she felt was working her poor daughter to death. She frequently took Mae's mother Emma to local doctors to look for a cure. She had already lost her son due to frail health and she didn't want to lose her daughter, too. Meanwhile, Mae's father, Henry Burdge, secretly fumed, believing that his wife simply didn't want to do the hard work required on a farm.
Emma Burdge bore Henry a son, Richard John, in 1882, but he died six months later in the spring of 1883. At this point, Emma's mother stepped in and tried to help her daughter. She believed Henry was a cruel husband and that her daughter would not survive the demanding life he was forcing her to live. One of Emma's doctors felt that she would have an easier time living in a northern climate, so Mary Ann made arrangements for her daughter and her granddaughters to travel to Montana. Henry was not happy about it, but finally agreed to the extended visit in the north.
What no one knew at the time was that Mae's grandmother Mary Ann has no intention of ever returning to Kansas with her daughter and grandchildren. When Mae and Freddie kissed their father goodbye at the train station in Chanute, they had no idea they would not see their father again, at least not for another 25 years.
Upon their arrival to Philipsburg, Montana, Mae's grandmother took a housecleaning job to support the four of them. She worked for a wealthy man named James Edward Durfee. He allowed her family to stay at his home as part of her compensation. While they were living there, he took a fancy to Mae's mother, Emma, and Emma felt the same way about him. She immediately sought to end her marriage to Henry as soon as possible.
Henry was furious at his wife's request, and accused her of infidelity during their divorce proceedings. The process dragged on longer than was typical, but Emma finally obtained her divorce on May 15, 1885.
Soon after that she married James Durfee who immediately accepted Mae and Freddie as his own daughters. The couple was happy, and Emma soon found herself pregnant with twins. Sadly, neither Emma nor her babies survived childbirth, all passing on September 21, 1887.
Mary Ann Henry took her granddaughters to Washington State where they lived for a year or so with her nephew Dr. John Wilson Mowell and his family.
It was while she was in Thurston, Washington, that Mae's grandmother Mary Ann became ill, and she knew she had to find a suitable family to take care of her granddaughters.
She heard of a wealthy couple in Oakland, California, who had adopted one child and took on several others in an effort to give them a good life. The couple was Francis Marion Smith and his wife Mary. Mary Ann wrote to Mrs. Smith and asked if the couple would consider caring for her granddaughters. A meeting was arranged, and the girls were soon placed in the couple's permanent care. Henry Burdge readily gave up the opportunity to get his children back; by then he had remarried and had a new family. Soon Frank and Mary Smith became Anna Mae and Sarah Winifred's permanent guardians. To read more about the Smiths, click on the links below.
Note: To their family and friends, the girls were known by their middle names, Mae and Winifred. Originally Mae's name was spelling Annie May, but the Smith's felt there may be negative stereotypes associated with spelling her name that way. They counseled her to change the spelling to Anna Mae. Sarah Winifred was often referred to as Freddie, as a child, but she used her full second name after the Smith's took guardianship of her and her sister.
There were two versions of the 1900 census for the family. One was taken at their Shelter Island, New York, residence where they were living during the summer of 1900. The other was information provided by one of their valued staff members, in their absence, for the family's Oakland, California, primary residence, Arbor Villa.
1900 United States Federal Census, Oakland, California
Name: Mae Burdge
Home in 1900: Oakland Ward 7, Alameda, California
Ward of City: 7
Street: East 24th and 7th Avenue
House Number: 1010
Sheet Number: 11
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 221
Family Number: 226
Relation to Head of House: Ward
Marital status: Single
Can Read: Yes
Can Write: Yes
Can Speak English: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Frank M Smith 54
Mary R Smith
Frances M Smith
Mary J Thompson
Lun Way 38
1900 United States Federal Census, Shelter Island, New York
Name Frank M Smith
Birth Date Feb 1846
Home in 1900 Shelter Island, Suffolk, New York
House Number 1
Sheet Number 9B
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation 182
Family Number 186
Relation to Head of House Head
Marital Status Married
Spouse's Name Mary R Smith
Marriage Year 1876
Years Married 24
Father's Birthplace New York
Mother's Birthplace New York
Months Not Employed 0
Can Read Yes
Can Write Yes
Can Speak English Yes
House Owned or Rented O
Farm or House F
Household Members Name Age
Frank M Smith
Mary R Smith
Frances M Smith
May J Thompson [sic] should be Mary J. Thompson
Grace C Sperry
Evalyn Ellis [sic] should be Evelyn
Sama B Gordon
A Maye Buidgs [sic] should be Anna Mae Burdge
Sarah W Budgs [sic] should be Sarah Winifred Burdge
Anna Mae Burdge married Bernard Pacheco Miller on 04 April 1904 at a lavish wedding hosted by Frank and Mary Smith at their Arbor Villa estate.
Record Type: Index to Marriage Licenses and Certificates
The following article was written about Anna Mae Burdge's wedding to Bernard Pacheco Miller:
"OAKLAND, April 4.— Always beautiful. Arbor Villa took on added charms under, the decorator's magic touch to-day and when Miss Anna Mae Burdge became the bride of Bernard Miller this evening It was within a veritable temple of beauty, glowing with the fragrant wealth of spring. This was the first wedding that has been solemnized in the home. of Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Smith, and nothing that good taste could suggest was left undone by these generous guardians to make the happy occasion a memorable one in every respect. The ceremony took place in the large, octagon-shaped reception hall. Before the wide door leading into the conservatory, and directly opposite the broad stairway, two bronifi (sic) Corinthian pillars, surmounted by rose-filled vases, formed the gate to a square, within which the happy couple stood while repeating the vows that made tnem man and wife. From each pillar a railing of- Easter lilies extended to the stairs, making this a path through which the bridal party proceeded to the altar.
" Suspended from the gallery that overhangs the hall were four baskets filled with long-stemmed American Beauty roases. The conservatory was illuminated with pale green lights and formed a fairy-like background for the picture presented by the bride and her attendants.
"The "Lohengrin" wedding march was played by Miss Virginia de Fremery on the large pipe organ In the gallery. The Rev. J. K. McLean officiated. Promptly at 9 o'clock the bridal party descended the stairs, the ushers leading the way. The first bridesmaid, Miss Marion Smith, followed, and at her train were the eight blooming bridesmaids, each in white chiffon and carrying pink carnations tied with wide pink satin ribbons. Next came Miss Winifred Burdge, maid of honor, in pink chiffon, her beruffled skirt and l&O bodice adorned with clusters of chiffon roses and a tiny wreath of roses In her hair.
"Escorted by Mr. Smith, at last came the bride, her dark, brilliant beauty enhanced by the softly drooping tulle veil and the ivory sheen of her bridal gown of sheen meseaIlne (sic), the gown was trimmed with an elaborate garniture (sic) of point lace — the flounces on the skirt, the deep yoke and berthe belns (sic) of the lace, caught in cobweb folds with clusters of orange blossoms. Full, angel sleeves of chiffon fell from the elbow. A shower of-lillies-of-the-valley completed a very charming costume.
"The bridesmaids were: Grace Sperry, Evelyn Ellis, Florence Nightengale, Marion Goodfellow, May Coogan, May Baker and Carolyn Oliver. The bridesmaids gowns were each fashioned much the same, fluffy in effect, with chiffon roses catching the draperies here and there, and each wore a wreath of tiny green leaves In her hair.
"Mr. Miller was attended by Clay Gooding and the ushers were Will Gorriu, (sic), Ralph Jones, Harold Havens, Arthur Goodfellow, Hartley Pearl, Traylor Bell, Stanley Moore, Joseph King and Roland Oliver.
"The ceremony was witnessed by about one hundred and fifty guests, the more intimate friends of the young couple, but later several hundred guests were present at the reception and supper. The large oval table, where the bridal party was served, was placed in the reception hall, that the bride might be within view of all. Ralph Jones presided as toastmaster and prepared the way for many a graceful speech and merry feast.
"Mr. and Mrs. Miller will spend several weeks in the south and on their return Mr. Miller will take his bride to his home on Boulevard Terrace.
"The wedding of these popular young people has been eagerly anticipated by the smart set for several months and seldom has a bride been followed by so many good wishes or so happily launched on the matrimonial sea. Her popularity was attested by the many exquisite gifts showered upon her. Mrs. Smith's souvenir took the form of a chest of solid silver complete to the smallest detail.
"Mr. Miller is a prosperous attorney of this city and a well-known club man whose histrionic talent has made him always a desirable social acquisition."
Home in 1940: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Map of Home in 1940: View Map
House Number: 11345
Inferred Residence in 1935: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Residence in 1935: Same Place
Sheet Number: 61A
Number of Household in Order of Visitation: 26
Occupation: Part Estate Appraiser
House Owned or Rented: Owned
Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 3500
Attended School or College: No
Highest Grade Completed: College, 5th or subsequent year
Class of Worker: Working on own account
Weeks Worked in 1939: 52
Income Other Sources: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Bernard P Miller 66
Mae B Miller 60
Frank and Mary Smith became the guardians of Mae and her sister Winifred prior to the death of their grandmother. A copy of Frank's bio from Find A Grave is posted below.
Although one would think that Frank and Mary had everything, and as wealthy entrepeuneurs they certainly had more than most people, they were never able to have children. They eventually adopted a child, Marian, whom many people believed was the illegitimate daughter of Frank and a famous actress or opera singer, although there was never any proof of such a liasion or child.
Frank and Mary worried that the girl would grow up lonely, living by herself in the family's mansion called Arbor Villa, in Oakland, California. Shortly after that, the couple began to take guardianship of young girls or female teens who lost their parents and had no one else to care for them. Two of these young girls were Anna Mae Burdge and her sister Sarah Winifred Burdge. Although Mae and Winifred's biological father was still living, he hadn't seen them since his wife and mother-in-law left him in Kansas years earlier and took his daughters with them. He had since remarried and started a new family, so he felt that if the Smiths wanted to adopt or take guardianship of his oldest children, he would let them.
There were at least six girls who lived with the Smiths, including the adopted Marian. I can only remember five of their names off the top of my head; I'll find out the missing name and update these notes later.
Frances Marion Smith [the Smith's only adopted daughter]
Anna Mae Burdge [ward]
Sarah Winifred Burdge [ward]
Florence Nightengale [ward]
Grace Sperry [Frank's niece]
Evelyn Ellis [Mary's assistant, Frank's second wife]
They became very close and referred to themselves as the "solid six." Smith built each of them their own "cottage" on the grounds of Arbor Villa, where they lived both during their growing up years and for a few years after they married. All lived lives they never dreamed possible, instantly elevated to local socialites, particularly when they started to date. They took numerous trips to the family estate to Shelter Island, New York, where the Smiths owned a "vacation" home. There were also extended trips to Europe.
When Mae fell in love with young San Francisco lawyer Bernard Miller, the Smiths were skeptical that it was true love. Miller, too, had a somewhat elevated upbringing as the son and grandson of two of the first bankers in California, but his life was no where near as charmed as that of the Burdge sisters.
Frank and Mary made a deal with Mae: She would go on an extended, two-year trip to Europe, traveling around different countries and learning about the world. And maybe meeting someone they felt would be more suitable for her as a husband. If after she returned home she was still in love with Bernie, they would embrace the couple's intentions and give her the wedding of her dreams. Mae was a good "daughter" and would never have married someone the Smith's didn't approve of. She agreed to their offer, but also made a promise to herself that she would somehow convince them that Bernie was the right man for her.
It is clear from the way she described her European stay to her children and grandchildren that she had the time of her life. Not so much a wild, sow-your-oats kind of trip, but a fascinating trip where she learned much about the culture and customs of other countries, enjoyed extended stays with family friends at the seashore, dined with dignitaries, and once even received a wave from Queen Victoria who was traveling past her in a royal coach while she was walking down a country road in France.
After Mae returned home, however, her heart still belonged to Bernie, and the couple was soon engaged. The Smiths gave her a lavish wedding and a beautiful start to her new life as a married woman. For a time the couple lived in her cottage, known as Mae's Cottage, and that was where her first three children were born.
As it turned out, the Smith's concern about Bernie was somewhat warranted. Although Bernie was a lawyer and had a financial background because of his father and grandfather's occupations, he was a bit of a dreamer and a joker and not the best with money. He had many occupations, none of which included practicing law, at least not for long. He operated the Alameda fairgrounds, sold real estate, bought and ran a bakery in Kansas City, was the investor in a silver mine in Mexico, and bought and ran a movie studio in Hollywood. The family was in the precarious position of either having enough money or scrambling for money. There were several times during his life when Bernie's adult sons were forced to counsel him about being more judicious with how he spent his money. When he died near the end of World War II, there were no investments for his wife to draw from; there was no nest egg and no life insurance money. Mae stayed with her children, moving from family to family, staying with each for extended periods of time for probably 15 to 20 years. For some of her children, it was a burden they found difficult to deal with.
In the late 1950s or early 1960s, Mae went to live at Kingsley Manor, a nursing and retirement home in Los Angeles, along with her biological sister Winifred and her Smith sister Marian. The three women remained extremely close for the entirety of their lives. The blessing of being taken in by the Smith family had created a bond so close between the girls that nothing would ever divide them.
Listed below is a short bio from Francis Marion Smith's WikiTree page that tells how he made his fortune.
Borax King Francis Marion Smith
Birth: Feb. 2, 1846, Richmond, Walworth County, Wisconsin, USA
Death: Aug. 27, 1931, Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
"Western Businessman. Born in Richmond, Wisconsin, at the age of 21 he went west to seek wealth and became known as the "Borax King". In 1872, he discovered a rich supply of ulexite at Teel's Marsh, Nevada. He staked a claim, started a company with his brother Julius and established a works at the edge of the marsh to convert the ulexite into borax. By 1877, the Smith Brothers shipped their product in a 30-ton load using two large wagons with a third wagon for food and water drawn by a 24-mule team over a 160-mile stretch of desert from Teel's Marsh to and Wadsworth, Nevada. He bought out his brother Julius in 1884, gained control of all major borax production in western Nevada and established the Pacific Coast Borax Company with the '20 Mule Team Borax' trade mark. Settling in Oakland, California, he built America's first reinforced concrete building, which was a borax refinery on an island in San Francisco Bay. Smith Mountain in Death Valley, California, is named after him."
1880 United States Federal Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Colfax, Wilson, Kansas; Roll: 399; Family History Film: 1254399; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 178; Image: 0525: Author: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., Provo, UT, USA; Publisher Date: 2010. See: https://ancstry.me/2VNgT6a.
1892 Washington State and Territorial Censuses, 1857-1892, Anna Mae Burdge, born in Kansas about 1879, Ancestry.com; Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations In., Provo, UT, USA; 2006. See: https://ancstry.me/2GAnUhC.
1900 United States Federal Census, Mae Burdge, unknown birth place, living in Oakland, California, Year: 1900; Census Place: Oakland Ward 7, Alameda, California; Page: 11; Enumeration District: 0385; FHL microfilm: 1240082. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. See: https://ancstry.me/2JXbna6.
1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Shelter Island, Suffolk, New York; Roll: 1166; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0776; FHL microfilm: 1241166. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls. See: http://ancstry.me/2hvqGYc.
California Marriage Index, Anna Mae Burdge married Bernard P. Miller on 04 April 1904 in Alameda County, California. California, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1850-1941, by Ancestry.com; Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Provo, UT, USA; 2014. See: https://ancstry.me/2ZnniUc.
↑The San Francisco Call newspaper, April 05 1904, Burdge-Miller wedding. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, 1836-1922, (6,717,966 records). These U.S. historical newspapers originate from the Chronicling America project — a production by the National Digital Newspaper Program in partnership with the Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize historic American newspapers.
"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MV24-JN3 : accessed 29 July 2019), Margaret Anderson in household of Bernard P Miller, Oakland Ward 7, Alameda, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 138, sheet 5B, family 103, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 71; FHL microfilm 1,374,084.
1920 United States Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Oakland, Alameda, California; Roll: T625_90; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 116; Image: 750; by Ancestry.com; Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., Provo, UT, USA; 2010. See: http://ancstry.me/2u0qiWY.
1930 United States Federal Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: 157; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0614; Image: 1031.0; FHL microfilm: 2339892; by Ancestry.com; Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., Provo, UT, USA; 2002. See http://ancstry.me/2skc46p.
1940 United States Federal Census, Detail, Year: 1940; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T627_407; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 60-221H; by Ancestry.com; Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Provo, UT, USA; 2012. See: http://ancstry.me/2tnpb5S.
Personal family papers in the files of descendant Julie Miller Mangano, Round Rock, Texas.
Anna Mae Burdge's wedding album which is in the possession of Julie Miller Mangano, great granddaughter, Round Rock, Texas.
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Mae by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Mae: