Vivian McDonald becomes a teacher 1923!

August 15, 2013

In this post, I am going to go back in time just a little before Vivian married Hilary McKanna in the summer of 1923.-1924.

Vivian was the older sister to Keith, Gordon, Miriam, Eddie and Jean.  She finished up her schooling before her marriage to Hilary, and became a teacher.

Once she married Hilary the law  or policy of firms and school boards did not allow her to teach.  It wasn’t till years later after these laws/policies were abandoned, that she went on to get her Bachelor of Arts Degree in education and resume her teaching profession.

From July 1, 1923 to June 30, 1924 she taught school in Sprague, Washington.  Sprague is a little southwest from Spokane in Lincoln County, Washington.  The highway I-90 passes by the town as you head east to Spokane.

Here is a picture of Hilary which was taken in Sprague in 1924:

Hilary McKanna - Sprague 1924

Hilary McKanna – Sprague 1924

Vivian was of small stature.  Her height was 4 feet 10 inches tall.  Yes, she was little, but she was strong, sweet, smart and loved her family.

She attended the Normal School in Cheney and here are pages from the Kinnikinick yearbook of 1923 the year she graduated.  The Alumni office at the Eastern Washington University (formerly the Normal school) has a great collection of these yearbooks.

Vivian is listed on this page as a graduate but unfortunately no photograph is included.

Graduates for 1923, Normal School, Cheney, WA

Graduates for 1923, Normal School, Cheney, WA

I am going to make a guess and present the portrait below as probably her school graduation from either Cheney High School or the Normal School?

Vivian's School Graduation photo about 1923?

Vivian’s School Graduation photo about 1923?

Vivian was a member of the Advanced Student Club as seen in the picture below. She is the one 2nd from the left first row.

Advanced Students - Vivian McDonald 1923

Advanced Students – Vivian McDonald 1923 – click to open up!

She is not in the picture for the Avon Club for 1923 but she is listed in the Members section.  Vivian always practiced her Catholic faith.

Avon Club 1923

Avon Club 1923

The dress with the large white-collar that Vivian’s is wearing in the Advanced Student photo above, leads me to believe that the photos below were taken sometime around 1923? Vivian is wearing that same dress in the photos below.

Unfortunately there are no names listed on the back of these photos.  They are a little fuzzy but I think they are wonderful.  Vivian is included in a group of girls and the reason for the gathering is not clear.

Vivian with Friends about 1923

Vivian with Friends about 1923 – Vivian is in the back row right end

Another photo of the same group about 1923

Another photo of the same group about 1923 – Vivian is in the front row right end

The next two pictures are very interesting.  It never occurred to me that my Aunt Vivian could shoot a rifle but here she is posing with one?  Her hair is the same and the dress may actually be the one in the portrait above.

Vivian in field with a rifle?

Vivian in field with a rifle in 1923?


McKanna and McDonald Wedding 1924

May 23, 2013

My father’s family didn’t have a lot of money, so this wedding of Vivian’s must have been a great affair for them.  I wish I could have been there but my father, Keith, was only 14 years old at the time.  It was going to be another 16+ years before he met my mother and 7 years till my birth.

Again, there is another article in the Cheney Free Press dated July 4, 1924 about the marriage.  Most of my family kept a low profile and so this is very amazing that this marriage was written up three times in the newspaper.  Apparently the event was also a local happening.

Vivian and Hilary's wedding 1924

Vivian and Hilary’s wedding 1924

Vivian’s is stated as the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.S. McDonald.  Grace, Vivian’s mother had died in 1911, so this is either a  tribute to her memory or a formality of the time.  Vivian was 9 years old at the time of her mother’s death.  She knew her mother quite well and probably felt her loss greatly.  R.S. had been a widower for a good 13 years by the time of his oldest child’s and daughter’s wedding.

The Wedding party and guests 1924

The Wedding party and guests 1924

The wedding guests and wedding party gather.  Left to right:  Justine ? (maybe the friend of Vivian’s?). R.S. McDonald (father of the bridge), Leola Vivian (bride) are next.  Behind Vivian peeking out is probably Rev. Lyon’s.   Brother Gordon is way in the back with a thick head of hair.  Next to Vivian on the right is Hilary McKanna (groom). Behind Hilary is an unknown girl. Nellie in the middle in the back.  She is Vivian’s, aunt and sister to R.S.  The man to the right of Hilary is unknown.  Miriam (bridesmaid and sister) is next. Eddie (sister) is to the left behind Miriam.  To Miriam’s right and behind her is another unknown girl and further to her right is an unknown woman.  Sister Jean has her hand on the back of the unknown woman. Missing is brother Keith who is probably taking the picture?  Everyone looks happy.

It is unclear to me if the wedding took place at the Catholic Church in Cheney or at the house you see in the following pictures. One of the articles states it was held at the home of the bride.  Vivian was religious so I lean toward the church.  There were about seven photographs with the date of 1924 written on them.  I see the similarities in the clothing of all that leads me to believe these are related photographs.

This photograph has the date of June 24, 1924 on it.  The wedding was on the 25th.  Maybe these two photos presented below show them getting ready to get the license the day before the main event?  Someone, in the background,  is trying to keep the dog under control.  My father, Keith, mentioned he had a dog when he was a kid that he name Tony.  I wonder if that is Tony?

Hilary, Vivian and R.S. pose June 24, 1924

Hilary, Vivian and R.S. pose June 24, 1924

In the photograph that follows, we find R.S. (father of the bride) and Gordon (brother of the bride) looking very handsome in their suits. This photo looks like they are getting ready for some event or heading to the church?

Gordon & R.S. Looking ready for the Wedding.

Gordon & R.S. Looking ready for the Wedding.

This may be the wedding party.

Guy, Vivian, Hilary and Miriam 1924

Guy, Vivian, Hilary and Miriam 1924

I do not know who Guy is.  It must have been written on the back of the photo.   He does not look like the man in the group photo above.

Another view of the party and he appears again.

Guy, Miriam, Vivian and Hilary 1924

Guy, Miriam, Vivian and Hilary 1924

Miriam sent Vivian’s photograph scrapbook to Mickey (Robert) McKanna years ago and when I visited with Mickey he was kind to loan it to me.  I made copies and scanned a great may of the photographs.  I did return the scrapbook to Mickey. Mickey is the son of Philip and Kathleen McKanna.  Philip is Hilary’s brother.  I will post more on the McKanna’s in future posts.

Note:  There is a very good blog that shares information about the McKanna family.  http://willisgene.wordpress.com/  I also have it listed in my right side panel of this blog under Families History Websites of Interest.


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