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|
On 25 Sep 2011 Keith (Forrester) Baker wrote:
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.
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.