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Maud Gray Hastings
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Birth: Mar. 7, 1873
Allegheny County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Jul. 11, 1933
Valley County
Nebraska, USA

Maud was wife of James G. Hastings of Ord, and mother of Jane (Mrs. James B.) Ollis and of Eleanor (Mrs. Will) Ollis. She and her husband Jim lived at 119 N 21st St in Ord.

Maud moved, with her parents and family, from Pittsburgh, PA to Mira Valley, 8 miles south of Ord, Nebraska in 1884. Jim Hastings, later to be her husband, and his brother Will made the same move at the same time, hired to help Maud's father build a home for his family in Mira Valley. It was a grand three-story home, built in 1884, later owned and occupied for many years (beginning in 1942) by Henry Lange. The home burned to the ground in the early-mid 1990s.

Maud and her sister Stella had a double wedding. The wedding took place in that home of the parents of the brides, in Mira Valley, south of Ord, Nebraska, at 8:30 PM, Thursday, June 15, 1893. Two ministers were involved. Stella and Lloyd were married by Lloyd's father, Rev. E. A. Russell of Ord; and Maud and Jim were married by their Mira Valley family minister, Rev. G. A. Ray.

After the marriages the Russells lived in Ord briefly, then moved to Greeley, NE. The Hastingses began their life together in Aspinwall, PA and later, in the Spring of 1908, moved back to Mira Valley, and later, in 1925, moved into the town of Ord. Maud's groom lived in Aspinwall...he'd been hired to build the Gray home in Mira Valley, but afterwards had gone back to Pittsburgh.

Stella died, childless, of heart difficulties not long after marriage. Maud and her sister Alice Bell were both ill some years later and it was thought Maud would die before her sister Alice, but Alice died in February and then Maud died in July of the same year. Alice's daughter Jane Bell tells of the sisters Maud Hastings, Helen White and Alice Bell gathering for a visit in the Bell house in Hastings, Nebraska in late 1932 or early 1933, thinking that this might be their last visit with Maud, since Maud was ill and not expected to live long, but that the family was surprised when Alice died first.

Maud was, in fact, quite ill. She had cancer in a breast and the breast was removed. Later cancer showed up in her cervex and she died of that cancer. Her physician was an Ord Osteopath.

In 1925 Maud and her husband Jim purchased and moved from Mira Valley into the house in Ord (at 119 N 21 St) that had been built and previous occupied by Maud's mother's brother Samuel Jennings Wilson Brown (who had owned and operated a hardware store on the north side of the town square in Ord). Maud and Jim were living there when she died. Her funeral service was in the living room of that house. Her body was lifted out of the casket and laid on her couch there in the living room -- for the 2:30 PM service. (In 1970 -- and still in 2013 -- that same couch is owned by Maud's grand daughter, Ruth L. (Ollis) Cook and is in her living room at 9816 Sprague St, Omaha, NE for 34 years, then moved with Ruth and J. Keith Cook to their new residence at 17334 Jackson Plaza, Omaha.)

On May 1, 1896, when Maud and her husband Jim (and 1st daugher Eleanor) were living in Aspinwall, PA, Maud wrote the following letter from Mira Valley near Ord, Nebraska to her husband back in Aspinwall. Maud and Eleanor were visiting the home of her parents during her father's terminal illness. Her father, William Moore Gray, Sr. died seven weeks after the letter was written.

The letter: "Mr. Jas. G. Hastings, Aspinwall, Allegheny Co., Penna. -- Home, May 1, 1896. My Very Dear Jim: Your very welcome letter written a week ago today was received on Wednesday. It was, as your letters all have been, so good and interesting. I am always glad to know what is going on at home. Your letters are so full of comfort too, Jim. So many scripture quotations and you know just where to use them. On Wednesday evening after I had read your letter to Papa, I asked if it made him more discouraged to have them read to him, but he said "Oh, no, not at all," and said he wished I would read him the quotations in your letters again some time. Said that a good while ago he had given himself unto the hands of the Lord; that even in health he had never had any dread of death, and that he felt he was now ready and perfectly willing to die if it is the Lord's will. Said that in the long hours in which he has lain awake at night he has in, thought, seen Christ many, many times in his ministry on earth and says he KNOWS that his Redeemer liveth. Oh, that all men did. He slept better last night than for several nights but they were very poor. Mr. Munn was down yesterday to take the acknowledgements of the south quarter deed. He was pretty tired yesterday evening, but a little easier today. Mamma & Willmore are ready to go to Ord so must stop for this time. Very lovingly, Maud."

This next item is a letter written by Maud to her daughter Eleanor and family, living in Colorado. Maud was at her home in Ord, Nebraska. In it she describes the Armistice (end of WW One) celebration in Ord. The items in square brackets [ ] are my [J. Keith Cook] additions for questions or clarifications.

The letter: "Home, Nov. 12, 1918, 12:30 M [does M mean mid-day, morning or what?]. Dear Will, Eleanor & Catherine: Your good letter and Jane's came yesterday. Poor girl is having a serious time with that boil. I think and hope she won't have any more. Papa's all right; no more in sight. So much worse on a bony place than on a fleshy part. Glad you and Jane and all of us have been spared the "flu." [The infamous flu of 1918 swiftly killed thousands and thousands of people in the USA and thousands more throughout the world!] Think it is dying out here and in Ord, too. None here. Just heard Lou & Myrtle talking. They say Grace is fine this morning -- went down town to celebration yesterday afternoon in Sterling's Ford. Dr. thinks she's all right for this time. Seems as if indigestion may bring on convulsions -- had headache several days before she took sick and sick at stomach night before. That was quite a snow you had last week. Beautiful here too for several days and roads are drying fast.

"Suppose you had Real Peace Celebration yesterday or did last week's suffice? Helen called here about seven yesterday, telling us to listen to Ord bells and whistles that official message had come from Washington saying Peace had really been declared. We heard same thing from many over 'phone. Many people in town celebrated all day and evening, whistles blowing, bells ringing, band playing and big bonfires at each corner of square. [Ord's business area is built around a one-block town square.] Thought we'd go up in evening but Papa could not get the car to work, so gave it up. Mrs. P. [the Petty family were friends] asked us to go with them so Papa and I did. Grandma did not for it was cold standing around. We did not get near the crowd gathered around bandstand at S. W. corner of square.

"They had parade, many people and cars draped with bunting or flags, carrying torches or flags. Whistles blew, bells rang, guns were fired, band played. A sham battle in which Kaiser was captured, then hung on a pole near band stand, shot at and finally took fire and burned very slowly, characteristic of the real one. We were home about nine, re-read your letters while getting warm. Late getting up and Petersons said they were going to haul hogs (Papa was to help them yesterday but could not get car) so we had to hustle. He was to have gone out in interest of War Work, campaigning today so will do that later in week.

"Albert P. [Albert Peterson was a young boy from Mira Valley, later would be my sister Elaine Cook's father-in-law] has been very anxious to go to the Navy but hated to leave before husking was done. However, decided to go yesterday (to Omaha) and did even though Peace had been declared. They surely won't take him. County Clerk got a message from Gov. Neville yesterday afternoon telling him to send no more recruits and stop drilling. So it seems it must be genuine.

"Have you heard anything more from James? [James B. Ollis was in the US Army and ready to be shipped overseas, and would still be shipped for military ambulance duty in France, and would still marry Maud's daughter Jane.] Sadie [JBO's oldest sister] got letter Saturday, written Wed., Nov. 6, saying their overseas orders were being cancelled for twenty-four hours at a time. Latest word we know of, so if they are holding them to see if Peace was declared, he won't be likely to go across. On other hand he may have gone Thursday or Friday. Said he hoped to at least see New York, but were just waiting, not allowed to go anywhere.

"Lots of boys will be disappointed not to get over, but Oh, what rejoicing! Sadie has not been very well. Had Dr. Showes come out and give her a treatment yesterday and is quite a little better today. Her limb (varicose veins) making the trouble, I think. Has advertised for a girl. Very scarce and hard to get. You have been doing quite a lot of shopping by mail lately. Hope things will be satisfactory. Since you want it that way. Glad Miss Albus can come to you, also (Mary Farmer -- may be not by that time) but we were still hoping matters would so shape themselves that we'd have you home. Do be careful and not overdo. Yes, it must be pretty hard for Catherine to have to stay in when she loves so to be out in the 'bootiful snow.'

"Tell her we wish she could be here and play with our kittens. One yellow with a little white -- other white with some yellow -- more than half grown but playful and cute as can be. Just got our stove polished yesterday and would have been glad to do yours too. Thought about it. Want to clean attics today (briefly) and go all over house in same way soon -- before it's cold again. Before Jane comes home. My right thumb I suppose got jagged and I did not notice it till later. Put turpentine on it but it got hard and hand and arm ached a good deal. I poulticed it at night for about half time and opened it enough to make it bleed a a couple of weeks or more ago. Last Sat. morning I got Papa to open it again and we squeezed out some blood, soaked it with turpentine and poulticed; rubbed my hand and arm thoroughly with C-Balsam so it is getting all right. Thumb itself not so very sore or I would have paid better attention to it. Had a little cold in lungs about same time -- painted well with idoine front and back, cured and also made me itchy. But I'm all-right now. Hogs did not have cholera. Corrals so muddy though Papa is glad to be rid of that many.

"Must get to work now. A letter from Aunt Lizzie said they had a letter from Wm. Also his mate's mother. Had some fever after Will left him and they had to stop even egg + toast -- just liquid diet. May not be home till after Thanksgiving. Love to all. Mamma."

This next item is the full text of the local (Ord) newspaper article regarding the death of Maud. Items in square brackets [ ] are my additions for correction and clarification (JKC). The article: "MUCH-LOVED ORD MOTHER PASSES AWAY TUESDAY "Mrs. James G. Hastings Dies At Family Home; Funeral To Be Held Today. [The family home was at 119 N 21st St. in Ord.] "Maud Petty Gray was born March 7, 1873 at Pittsburgh, Pa., coming to Nebraska with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Moore Gray in 1884.

"She lived with her parents on the farm in Mira Valley until June 15, 1893 when she was married to James G. Hastings and returned to Pittsburgh [actually it was to Aspinwall, a suburb of Pittsburgh] where they made their home for a number of years.

"In the spring of 1908 Mr. and Mrs. Hastings with their two daughters returned to Nebraska, taking up their residence on the old Gray farm in Mira Valley [in a small home they built for themselves about 1/4 miles north of her parents' larger home]. This was their home until seven years ago when they moved to Ord. Mrs. Hastings was taken to her heavenly home on the afternoon of July 11, 1933.

"She leaves to mourn her going her husband, two daughters, Mrs. Wm. M. Ollis and Mrs. James B. Ollis, both of Ord, one daughter, Alice B. having died in infancy; one sister, Mrs. Scott L. White of Kimball; two brothers, Robert R. Gray of Lincoln and Wilmore Gray of Kimball; six grandchildren and many other relatives and friends.

"She has been a Christian since early childhood and her faith was a sustaining strength throughout her life to which she gave witness clear to the end.

"Funeral services will be held at the home in Ord at 2:30 today, Thursday, July 13, with her pastor, Rev. Real in charge of the services at the house and a private burial will be had later in the day."

Right after Maud died her husband Jim wrote this poem: Oh life thou art sweet, Even though full of pain, We love: yea cling to thee, Struggle, labor, sorrow, Disappointment; Oh life. We would not give Thee up; we love thee, But thou hast thy day, The message: the Call is here. We bow oh death to thee. July 1933 JGH

This next item is a letter from Maud (Gray) Hastings in Ord, 16 Sep 1918, 9 AM. To her daughter Jane at 2003 Warren Ave, University Place, NE (in college) (Parentheticals are explanations and clarifications added by J. Keith Cook in 2002.) "Our Dear Jane: We wonder how you are this beautiful morning. Quite cool here but no frost. Wondered yesterday if you had a lonesome day since Ethel was going to Omaha too. Maybe Miss James was there and you would have her to go to church and S.S. with or maybe some of the Boyd's. Well, how did you get along shopping alone and did you get your picture taken. Have been afraid your hair would have looked better if it had been washed after putting that ointment on it. Sorry I didn't think of that Sat. morning. If the proofs look that way better try again.

"Thought too it was not wise to carry so much money in your pocket book. Will enclose this musliri envelope that I have used and maybe I'll make one of humors and send in the trunk. Sadie may go to Lincoln Thursday or Friday; if so will send the trunk with her. Likely sooner if she decides differently. They are thrashing this morning-- OPB's this afternoon with another machine.

"Papa will help them. Expects to go to Ord this morning to get Mr. Mead to plow. (Ethel and Sadie are Ethel Ollis and Sadie Ollis, sisters of James B. Ollis, who later would become Jane's husband. OPB is Oliver P. Bell, married to Maud's sister Alice.) Got along nicely Saturday but sandy road between Grand Island and St. Paul very poor twisty and sandy C much like road east of N. Platte, so we could not make very good time. Had stopped about noon to eat dinner and were in Grand Island about 3/4 hour. Went round by Petty's before coming home. Evert & car were gone but Myrtle and children stayed of course. Evert was here waiting for them just about eight. Got quite cool and windy after we left St. Paul.

"Quite cloudy and rained some here yesterday morning. Usual word at Sabbath school. Boys got along very well and I believe made a very good impression. As we got nearer home Sat. asked many questions about the farm, stock, their bedroom and so on, and busied themselves seeing things till dark. As twas raining yesterday morning they could not be out much and they were restless to look around. Wanted overalls so they could work. Papa told them he'd hunt them some this morning. They were talking about it last night when getting ready to go to bed and I said something about overalls to play in. Leo said 'Not to play but to work'.

"Papa cut off some of his old ones after breakfast and they've been helping him cut and carry corn-fodder to cows and various jobs. Have been happy as larks all this time C not a bit timid about sleeping upstairs alone. Talk about "our farm" and have said several times "You won't take us back to the home, will you?" We decided "Mr. & Mrs. Hastings" sounded pretty stiff and told them they could call us Uncle Jim & Aunt Maud. They said they liked it better. Lots of love Mamma."

(JKC notes: 1. The above letter was written on a Monday. 2. Jim and Maud had adopted two boys but it didn't work out so the boys were returned to their orphanage. 3. Maud was age 45 years when she wrote this letter. 4. Jane was very close to 21 years at the time. 5. Paved roads to Grand Island did not come until 1940s.)

Catherine were living and farming in Colorado at the time. Maud and her sister Stella had a double wedding. Maud is visiting her parents near Ord, Nebraska and writes to her husband Jim who is at their home in Aspinwall, PA. Maud's father was very ill, and nearing death. Jim was at their home in Aspinwall, PA. Maud was at her parents home in Mira Valley, south of Ord, and west of North Loup, Nebraska. Her father was very ill and nearing death. Notes in margins are by J. Keith Cook in 1995, meant to clarify. Maud adds "Elinor sends love and kisses to Papa. Lovingly, Maud." but that was written upside down at the top of page 5. Maud died of cancer seven months after she wrote this letter.
Family links: 
  William Moore Gray (1847 - 1896)
  Mary Louisa Brown Gray (1843 - 1920)
  James Given Hastings (1862 - 1958)*
  Eleanor Louise Hastings Ollis (1894 - 1977)*
  Jane Gray Hastings Ollis (1897 - 1983)*
  Alice Belle Hastings (1899 - 1899)*
  Estella Mary Gray Russell (1871 - 1894)*
  Maud Gray Hastings (1873 - 1933)
  Robert Reynolds Gray (1876 - 1938)*
  Alice Brown Gray Bell (1879 - 1933)*
  William Moore Gray (1881 - 1963)*
  Helen Hill Gray White (1885 - 1963)*
*Calculated relationship
Ord Cemetery
Valley County
Nebraska, USA
Plot: Div B, Lot 30
Created by: Nebord
Record added: Aug 01, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 5029434
Maud <i>Gray</i> Hastings
Added by: Nebord
Maud <i>Gray</i> Hastings
Added by: Nebord
Maud <i>Gray</i> Hastings
Added by: Nebord
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 Added: Mar. 13, 2003

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