Recollections of Iva Mae (Ward) Miles
15 September 1996
My recollections of my great grandmother Mahala Ann (Van Grundy) Strawn are mostly from her family pictures and what my parents told me, as I was only about two years old when she died.
I know she always had her bible in her hands when her pictures were taken. The bible was always on the little table beside her chair. She also smoked a corn-cob pipe which was not unusual in those days area. She was fair skinned, had long hair done up, wore long dresses to the floor, with a shawl over her shoulders. She was a very gentle person and loved her family. I prize a little red glass mug that has her name on it, and a few pictures. She is in the picture I have of six of my grandmothers and great grandmothers all living at the same time when I was little.
Mahala's parents were Cornelius Van Gundy and Annie Clayton. She had two sisters, Naomi and Malinda, and four brothers, George W., John Clayton, James Polk and Francis M. Mahala was born 19 Nov 1833 in Montgomery Co, Indiana. Some census records say Illinois. She died in Crocker, Polk (Co), Iowa on 22 Feb 1915. She married William R. Strawn first on 20 Oct 1869, but he was not divorced from Mary Guisinger. He later went back and obtained a divorce from Mary and then married Mahala a second time on 1 April 1877 in Vandalia, Jasper (Co), Iowa.
Starting 10/11/1897 Mahala drew a widow's pension on William's military service in Co A, 31st Ind Inf.