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Bertha Alice Shutes Dutton
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Birth: Nov. 3, 1876
Rock Island County
Illinois, USA
Death: Sep. 23, 1960
Marshall County
Iowa, USA

Bertha Alice Shutes was the eldest of three daughters of Zachary Taylor "Taylor" Shutes & Eldora Blanch "Dora" Davis. Her middle name was for her mother's sister Alice. Bertha attended Normal School at Eldora, Iowa, for one year to earn her teaching certificate, and taught school before her marriage. At age 20, against her mother's wishes, she married on December 9, 1896, at her parents' home to John Clinton "Jack" Dutton Jr. (1874-1961), second son of John Clinton Dutton & Mary Elizabeth Nott. Jack & Bertha had 6 children: Ethel Blanch, Greta May, Lucille Eleanor, Wendell Arthur, John Taylor, and George Davis Dutton. Bertha died at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Greta & Harold Good.

I was 16 when my grandmother Bertha died. Her widower Jack died six months later. I was their youngest grandson. I was a pallbearer for both. Their funerals were the only two days of school my parents ever let me miss, both firmly believing in the value of education. My father had been forced to quit school halfway through the 5th reader to help his father farm.

Bertha was especially close to her younger sister Stella---two years her junior. Stella was living with her parents in Tacoma, Washington, when she died at age 25 in 1904 of appendicitis. Bertha was living in Iowa with her husband Jack Dutton and their three young daughters: Ethel, Greta, and Lucille. The Dutton home had no telephone. When a black-bordered telegram was delivered to unsuspecting Bertha with the sad news, she took to her bed with grief.

Imagine Bertha's sorrow, when in 1931, her eldest son Wendell, 26, also died of peritonitis following an emergency appendectomy after a horse kicked him in the stomach and ruptured his appendix. Wendell left a pregnant widow Hattie and three young daughters: Mary, Vivien, and Neva. His posthumous son was named after him when it was born on April 9, 1932.

Sidebar: The answer to a Jeopardy question yesterday was Flibbertigibbet. Flibbertigibbet is a Middle English word referring to a flighty or whimsical person, usually a young woman.

That brought a 50-year-old memory from 1964, when I traveled from Iowa to the West Coast to be in a college classmate's wedding. While there, I visited relatives, including my late Grandmother Bertha's youngest sister, Minnie (Shutes) McPhaill (1880-1973). Aunt Minnie told me that Bertha wanted to attend teacher's college in the early 1890s, but her father Taylor Shutes said: What nonsense, you young flibbertigibbet! It'd be a waste of money.

But Bertha pestered her parents until they finally sent her to the nearby Teachers Normal School in Eldora, Iowa. She graduated, got her teacher's degree, and shook her rolled-up diploma in her father's face, saying: There! See what your young flibbertigibbet did!

It made a memorable impression on young Minnie, to see her sister defy their parents. Bertha then taught in country schools in Hardin County, Iowa, until she met and married Jack Dutton in 1896. That marriage was over her parents' objections, too. Bertha & Jack had six children---three girls, then three boys. The third daughter was my mother Lucille, born 1901.

The circa 1920 snapshot shows Bertha & her three daughters, from left: Lucille, Ethel, & Greta. Note the shorter hemlines on the younger generation, versus their mother's lower hemline. The flapper age had arrived! Showing a bit of leg was acceptable---as long as stockings covered the skin!

Bertha wrote this poem over a century ago:

When all earthy ties have been severed,
And we lay neath the sod and the dew,
We can rest with our Saviour's blessing
When he knows that our hearts have been true.

Then we'll meet at the last resurrection,
With our loved ones who've gone on before.
They will give us a glad joyous welcome
And greet us as in days of yore. 
Family links: 
  Zachary Taylor Shutes (1847 - 1935)
  Eldora Blanch Davis Shutes (1854 - 1942)
  John Clinton Dutton (1874 - 1961)
  Ethel Blanch Dutton Oswood (1898 - 1996)*
  Greta May Dutton Good (1900 - 1986)*
  Lucille Eleanor Dutton Coulter (1901 - 1976)*
  Wendell Arthur Dutton (1905 - 1931)*
  John Taylor Dutton (1907 - 1969)*
  George Davis Dutton (1909 - 1989)*
  Leonard Davis Shutes (1875 - 1936)*
  Bertha Alice Shutes Dutton (1876 - 1960)
  Estella May Shutes (1878 - 1904)*
  Minnie Gay Shutes McPhaill (1880 - 1973)*
  Arthur Rufus Shutes (1883 - 1965)*
*Calculated relationship
Albion Cemetery
Marshall County
Iowa, USA
Created by: steven coulter
Record added: Oct 03, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21930892
Bertha Alice <i>Shutes</i> Dutton
Added by: steven coulter
Bertha Alice <i>Shutes</i> Dutton
Added by: James Seidelman
Bertha Alice <i>Shutes</i> Dutton
Added by: Rickie Bickle
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- Carolee McGill-Barker
 Added: Sep. 9, 2016
Rest in Peace, Bertha Alice...
- James Seidelman
 Added: Jan. 7, 2015
My distant cousin. Rest in peace.
- c j
 Added: Jul. 24, 2011
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