Ozarks History Journal

Month: March 2023

The Huff Sisters of Cedar County

Cedar County Republican, 21 May 1903

In the category of famous Missouri photographers you’ve probably never heard of, meet the Huff Sisters. On April 11, 1892, sisters Linnie and Nettie Huff opened their photography studio in the John E. Hartley building on the Stockton public square. They remained there in the photography business for over 50 years.

The Huff family was in Stockton by 1868 when Nettie was born. Her older sister, Linnie (Mary), was born in Indiana in 1861. Their parents, Ferdinand and Maria, were farmers. They had seven children, Nettie being the youngest.

Nettie was involved in civic affairs throughout her life. She was elected superintendent of the Junior Epworth League, a Methodist young adult association, in 1902. She was also a member of the Dorcas Society and was a Sunday school teacher.

Nettie made a trip to Kansas City hospital in 1913 to “remove a cancer.” The type of cancer was unspecified and Nettie was still ill in 1914. She was well enough by 1915 to return to Kansas City, this time to attend a photographer’s convention.

The sister were lifelong learners and attended an Eastman School for Instruction for Photography in 1923. In 1928, the Southwest Missouri Club of the Master Photo Finishers of America held their fall meeting in Eldorado Springs. Nettie and Linnie, or course, attended.

Cedar County Republican, 23 April 1942

After more than 60 years in business, the Huff sisters retired. Linnie died at their home, 309 East Street, in Stockton. She was 96 years old. Her obituary said the “sisters had been photographers in Stockton for 53 years, and had been in business there for more than 60 years.”

Nettie died in a nursing home in El Dorado Springfield in 1968. She was 100 years old.

Forgotten Women of Missouri – Dr. Fannie Williams

Galena, Kansas, Weekly Republican, October 10, 1885.

Dr. Fannie Williams is elusive. Though she was well known in the Joplin area during the 1870s and 1880s, little is known about her.

Fannie may have been born and raised in Kansas. (In 1885, her father and brother both lived in Kansas.)

She attended medical school at the University of Iowa and graduated in 1876.

By 1877, she was living in Joplin and treating patients. Although it was uncommon for female doctors to treat male patients, Fannie treated men, women, and children.

She was known occasionally as Mrs. Dr. Fannie E. Williams.  In the 1880 Joplin census record, she was listed as a widow. Unfortunately, I have yet to determine her husbands name or find her marriage record.

In 1885, she was living and working in Carthage. “Her fame as a skillful surgeon and successful practitioner [enabled] her to establish herself in the new home in a short time.” She apparently had recently moved from Joplin to Carthage. Despite being a female in this era, she seemed to have little or no problem in being accepted as a qualified, competent doctor and was thus able to have a successful practice.

By 1886, Fannie was the superintendent of the Department of Health for the Carthage WCTU and regularly gave scientific lectures. At this time, the WCTU had a scientific education department, mainly focused on health, particularly the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol.

She still had ties to Kansas and even spoke in Garland as a state lecturer for the WCTU. She was invited to give a lecture there on July 3rd, 1886.

In 1886, the Missouri WCTU convention was held in Carthage and of course, Fannie was one of the speakers. She lectured the ladies on wearing too tight clothing, apparently a pet peeve of hers.

Throughout the month of June, 1887, Fannie spent her time in an Ozark court room with Cora Lee. She was with her throughout her trial for the murder of Sarah Graham. (For more about the murder, click here.) Fannie and Cora likely met through the WCTU.

In December 1887, Fannie left the Ozarks and moved to Riverside, California, apparently for her health. She continued to practice medicine and work with the WCTU, lecturing about health.

Riverside (California) Daily Press, January 18, 1888

Fannie was sick for much of the year in 1889. In October, the Riverside Daily Press reported that her health was much improved and she hoped to return to work soon. Unfortunately, her condition worsened and she died in early November.

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