Monday, October 8, 2012


Mary Rovilla Heidemann Lindsey
born 121 years ago today: 8 October 1891
died 14 June 1966
Rovilla, age 17
Photo taken in Elk City, Kansas, 1908

[I love her black pinafore & black ankle boots!]

My grandmother's copy of
Dr. D. Jayne's Medical Almanac
for the year of her birth, 1891.
If you look closely, you can see in her writing across the top:
"Calendar of M. Rovilla's Birth"

The page for October.
Can you see? On Thursday the 8th,
her mother has penciled in "Baby"

I have always loved my grandmother's beautiful, unusual name; and always thought that I would use it if I had a daughter. The story goes that her mother -- Anna Mary Miller Heidemann -- had an elderly, childless friend who confided in her that she knew no one else on earth who shared her name: Rovilla. Thus, my great - grandmother promised her friend that if she had a daughter, she would name her "Rovilla."

Mrs. Rovilla Swharthout
My Grandmother's Namesake

The pendant that the first Rovilla
passed on to my grandmother as a keepsake:

My favorite!
On the back, in Grandma's script:
"Rovilla in ball suit"

My Grandmother Mary Rovilla Heidemann Lindsey
and my mother, Mary Elisabeth Lindsey Carriker
See Mother's Day Post


  1. Comments from facebook:

    Jennifer: Wow. A baseball player back then,....most likely a woman before her time!

    KC: Jennifer, It is a radical photograph, isn't it?! I think it might have been that she was just wearing her brother's uniform for the photo. Still I kind of want to rewrite history & go along with your interpretation! Even if she wasn't an athlete, she clearly had the spirit! Right?

    Burnetta: I bet she was a slugger!

    Jan: I love this!

    Anna: Love the post on your blog.

    Herman: Intriguing . . . my father was born on 4 October 1890 . . .

    Donna: That is such a cool picture.

    Anthony: striking ... & rich with message

    Barbara: this is a wonderful photo and I loved the story on your blog. I'm so glad we reconnected after so many years!

    KC: Anna Mary & Sara Carriker might like to see.

    Tom: Cool!

    Drew: Very cool. Today is Hunter's birthday as well. I like to think your great grandmother was foretelling the birth of my favorite red head as well.

    Jodie: today is my hubby's bday too!

    Maggie: That is so sweet. I love things like this. I have recipes that my mother and grandma wrote on..priceless!

    Barbara Elliott How cool is that?!?!

    Rebecca: I want that medicine for the cure of Liver Complaint! So neat someone saved this!

    Jack: Priceless.

    Scott: Cool!!!

    Burnetta: How great that you have these records.

    Cheryl: very cool keepsake!

    Jack: That's wonderful!

    Paula: Isn't it strange and wonderful to imagine them young, and their lives? It makes me wonder if anyone will ever take my picture out and say... Probably not though, since I didn't have kids. Ah, well! My students are my legacy.

  2. My grandmother's name was Rovilla too! She was born in 1921 and died in 2002.

  3. Tracy, thank you so much for writing! My family has never known another Rovilla besides my grandmother & Mrs. Swharthout! I will be sure to tell my mom about your grandmother. My husband & I had the name "Rovilla" in mind if we had a daughter; but we had two sons, so the name has had to skip yet another generation! Maybe next time!

  4. Kudos to you for preserving some of the narrative of your family history. This was fascinating to read. Loved Rovilla in the ball suit! Your mother has that same spirit, too!

  5. My mothers name is Rovilla Lee Barbee Bennett! She was born Oct 16, 1941!! I love the name but she would not let me name my daughter so I had to go with Lee!!