Amanda Isabelle “Mandy” Story

      Many Zimmermans always believed my great-grandfather Parker L. Zimmerman was married five times.  However, Parker was married three times to Victoria Harris, Mellie Bollinger and Lydia Margaret “Dollie” Story.  It was actually Parker’ sister-in-law Amanda Isabelle “Mandy” Story, who was married five times.

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Amanda Isabelle “Mandy” Steen and her fifth husband George Steen

     Mandy was born in Illinois on July 16, 1877 to George Washington Story and Malinda Davis although her death certificate names her father as James Story.  I believe George Washington Story is the correct name.

     When Mandy was 15-years-old, she marries James Andrew Loucks in Illinois.  James was either a divorced or widowed 29-year-old farmer with two daughters, Lulu and Clara.  James and Amanda were married on December 31, 1892.  Three months later, their oldest son Fred Raymond Loucks (1893 – 1985) was born.  In 1895, a second son named John Henry Loucks (1895 – 1938) was born.  John Henry was working on a train in St. Genevieve County, when he had a heart attack and died on May 11, 1938 at 42 years of age.

     Tragedy struck Mandy for the first time in 1896, when James A. Loucks died at 32 years of age.  In the late 19th and early 20th Century, losing a spouse could leave a family helpless as few social safety nets such as welfare and food stamps existed.  Whether out of necessity or a speedy love affair, Mandy married Phillip Fritz from St. Louis.  Fritz was 47-years-old, a full 28 years older than Mandy.

     Mandy’s second marriage was a short one as Phillip Fritz died in 1898.  Phillip and Mandy had one daughter Dina, who died prior to 1910.  Mandy had eleven children but only four lived to adulthood.  Mandy buried 8 of her children in her lifetime.

     Mandy moved back to her father’s house in Stoddard County.  Her mother Malinda had passed away and Mandy helped run the household.  On September 22, 1900, 23-year-old Mandy married for the third time to 41-year-old widower Andrew Jackson Delay.  Andrew had eight living children at the time.  He and Mandy had two more children, Roosevelt Delay (1901-1917) and Kelley Delay (1902-1904).  Roosevelt died of tuberculosis, the same disease which would kill his mother thirty years later.

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Parker Zimmerman holding Harry and Dollie Zimmerman holding Frank O. in Commerce, MO in 1913.

     If Mandy and her family lived in the era of modern medicine, she probably would not have lived through so much tragedy.  Unfortunately, high infant mortality and shorter life spans were often the byproduct of the hard life of a subsistence farmer at the turn of the century.  Andrew Jackson Delay died at 44 years of age on February 23, 1904.

     On November 20, 1905, Mandy married for the fourth time to Owen Lewis McKnight.  Owen was also a widower but only seven years older than Mandy.  Owen and Mandy had two children, Pearl Essie McKnight (1905 – 1978) and Owen Lewis McKnight II (1909 – 1918).  The younger Owen, who the family called Lewis, died of pneumonia.

     It appears Mandy’s fourth marriage ended in divorce and Owen McKnight died in Illinois during 1921.  Mandy was single again, when she met George Steen in 1910.

     George Steen was a 55-year-old laborer, who was living with Mandy’s sister “Dollie” and her new husband Parker Zimmerman.  George may have worked on Parker’s farm or at his general store.

     Mandy was only 33 years old but she had been widowed three times and buried several of her children.  However, something about George Steen attracted her and they married on November 23, 1910.  George and Mandy had a daughter Madge Steen born on October 9, 1912.

     Mandy would be married to George longer than any of her five husbands.  They remained married until June 2, 1929, when 74-year-old George Washington Steen passed away due to chronic intestinal illness after 18 years of marriage.

     51-year-old Mandy would survive her husband by 18 years, the same amount of years they were married.  Fifteen days after her 70th birthday on July 31, 1947, Amanda Isabelle “Mandy” Steen nee Story died from tuberculosis at State Hospital No. 4 in Farmington, Missouri.  Mandy had been at the hospital for 3 years and 5 months.  Her three surviving children Fred Loucks, Pearl McKnight and Madge Steen had their mother buried in Mandy’s hometown Chaffee, Missouri.

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