Nellie (Sherwood) Forrester

Nell G. (Sherwood) Forrester (1885 - 1960)

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Nell G. (Nellie) Forrester formerly Sherwood aka Murray, Duke
Born in Shelbyville, Kentuckymap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 24 Nov 1904 (to about 1912) in Jeffersonville, Clark Co., Indianamap
Wife of — married 21 May 1914 (to 26 Sep 1914) in Daviess, Kentuckymap
Wife of — married 9 Feb 1918 in Owensboro, Davies County, Kentuckymap
Descendants descendants
Died in Chicago, ILmap
Profile manager: Keith Baker private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 25 Jul 2019 | Created 25 Sep 2011
This page has been accessed 937 times.


We knew her as "Granny Nell", and she was quite good at painting in oils. She must have been among the first people to receive insulin therapy to control diabetes - she was insulin dependent during her entire adult life. What has also come to light in more recent years reveals a few of the personal tragedies this woman experienced during her lifetime.

Nell G. Sherwood was born in August 1885 in the city of Shelbyville, Kentucky. Throughout her life she often lied about her age by as much as 15 years and, seemingly, got away with it.

At the age of 19, Nell eloped with a barber by the name of Edward C. Murray (in 1904); the marriage took place in Indiana.

Murray/ Sherwood 1904 Marriage Documents

Within two years this young married couple suffered the tragedy of a stillborn child, (who was buried the same day of its birth/death next to its grandmother - Belle Jenkins Sherwood, in the Grove Hill Cemetery of Shelbyville, KY). This first marriage ended before 1912.

In May of 1914, Nell married Virgil P. Duke in Daviess County, Kentucky. The newlyweds lived in Owensboro, where Virgil was employed by the city's streetcar company. A mere 4 months later, Virgil was killed in a tragic streetcar accident. Nell was alone again.

When she married again in 1918, (to her third and final husband), she was 14 years older than John W. Forrester. In 1920 Federal Census for Louisville, she had shaved 9 years off her age and it was thus recorded. It makes me wonder how old he (Grandpa Jack) actually thought she was...

By 1930, Nell had moved with her husband and child to Chicago, Illinois, where they lived out the rest of their lives. While there, she worked at home as a dressmaker according to Census records.

She died in April of 1960 in Chicago, but was buried in the Valley of Rest Cemetery in LaGrange, Oldham County, Kentucky.

Forrester Headstone in Valley of Rest Cemetery


  • United States Census, 1900 Nellie Sherwood in household of George S Sherwood, ED 80 Magisterial District Shelbyville city Ward 1-6, Shelby, Kentucky, United States.
  • United States Census, 1910 Nellie S Murray in household of Edward C Murray, La Grange, Oldham, Kentucky, United States; citing sheet , family 114, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1374511. Nell and husband Edward Murray are living with her sister's family, the Blaydes on Main Street in LaGrange, Kentucky.
  • Kentucky, Marriages, 1785-1979 Virgil Or Virgle P. Duke and Nellie G. Sherwood- May 21, 1914. This was Nell's second marriage which ended in the sudden and tragic death of her new husband 4 months after their wedding.
  • United States Census, 1920 Nell Forrester in household of John W Forrester, Louisville Ward 12, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States; citing sheet 18B, family 403, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,582. In this Census Nell's age is recorded as 26 and her husband's as 25. Shes's actually 35 and he is 21.
  • United States Census, 1930 Nell Forrester in household of John Forrester, Chicago (Districts 1751-1976), Cook, Illinois. Nell now claims to be 38 years old (she's actually 45), and has her husband's age stated to be 35 (he's actually 31).
  • United States Census, 1940 Nell Forrester in household of John W Forrester, Ward 49, Chicago, Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3126B, sheet 2A, family 33, NARA digital publication T627, roll 1020.
  • "Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994," database, FamilySearch ( : 16 March 2018), George Sherwood in entry for Nell Forrester, 22 Apr 1960; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .
  • Entered by grandson Keith Baker from personal knowledge, vital records research, and interviews with grandson Craig Forrester and others, census and similar data. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Keith and others.

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Memories: 1

On 25 Sep 2011 Keith (Forrester) Baker wrote:

Grandma Nell was diabetic, and had "fly-away" hair with an odd black hue. Personally, I suspect shoe polish.

She often lied very convincingly about her age by deducting as many as 15 years, the average being about 8 years. She painted with oils, was the daughter of a sign artist. Nell was an insulin dependent diabetic and a dressmaker throughout her adult life. Her grandchildren had to be careful of needles when visiting Granny Nell.

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Nellie 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 Nellie:

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Images: 9
Nell Forrester with Grandson Darrell
Nell Forrester with Grandson Darrell

Nell Forrester Image 2
Nell Forrester Image 2

Main Street Shelbyville, Kentucky
Main Street Shelbyville, Kentucky

Hubert Blaydes & Edward Murray Families 1910
Hubert Blaydes & Edward Murray Families 1910

George Sherwood Family 1900
George Sherwood Family 1900

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Rejected matches › Nellie (Duke) Yates (abt.1886-)

Nellie is 20 degrees from Michael Cayley, 23 degrees from Rick Rescorla and 16 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.