15 May 2011

Sentimental Sunday - An Amazing Mother Named Lura Smith

For me, Mother's Day was on May 15th this year since my husband was out of town. So, to celebrate my Mother's Day, I want to praise a very special person. Her name is Lura Maud Smith (1884-1934).


Lura was married to Harry Howard Long (1883-1937). The couple married in Columbus, Ohio on Jun 19, 1907. They were unable to have children and finally adopted their first child in 1916.

In May 1920, a baby girl was born in Columbus, Ohio to an unwed mother. The mother died of preeclampsia. This baby girl would become my grandmother.

Upon her mother's death, Baby Anderson became a ward of the State of Ohio Welfare Department. She had a caseworker, Ethel Huffman Ackerman, who wanted to place Baby Anderson in the home of Harry Long. The caseworker was a friend and classmate (at Ohio State) of Harry's sister Elizabeth Long.


As Elizabeth retells the story, Ethel received Baby Anderson's birth mother's history and felt that Harry and Lura were just the parents for this new baby. Louise was at the State receiving home and Ethel had not yet met the baby.

According Elizabeth, Ethel didn't think anyone would want the baby after seeing the baby for the first time. The baby had been through a rough delivery and absorbed some of the fluids from her mother's kidney failure. The baby's face was broken out and her whole body was very thin. She looked as if she had hemorrhoids. (Elizabeth remembers the baby girl had no buttocks and wondering if it would ever learn to sit!)

Ethel told Harry that he was under no obligation to take the baby. She also apologized for not having warned them of her condition. It is said that Harry responded, "if the ever was a baby that needed a home, I believe this one does." Lura agreed with her husband. The couple took Louise and nursed her to good health. The State of Ohio probably provided health services for a year until the adoption was complete.

Although the words were said my Harry, the nurturing mother Lura is in my book a saint. She could have refused to take the baby based on looks alone. Lura and Harry didn't. They gave that baby a chance at life. Now my grandmother is 90 years old, has three children, thirteen grand children, many great grandchildren, and at least one great-great grandchild! On this Mother's Day (which may be belated for some), I praise Lura Maud Smith. Without her decision to adopt such a sickly child, I might never have come to be.

Sentimental Sunday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

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