Minnie Mae <I>Freeman</I> Penney


Minnie Mae Freeman Penney

Potter County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 1 Nov 1943 (aged 75)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 73179124 View Source

Nebraska teacher who acquired fame during a sudden, fierce blizzard on January 12, 1888, saved the lives of seventeen children by leading them from her schoolhouse to the nearest farm, a mile away.

Cremation. Illinois death certificate states Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, IL but only cremation confirmed by cemetery office.


Chicago Daily Tribune November 3, 1943:

17 IN 1888 STORM

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today in the chapel at 5501 North Ashland avenue for Mrs. Minnie Freeman Penney, 75 years old, who was a school teacher when she led 17 school children to safety thru the Nebraska blizzard of Jan. 12, 1888. Her image in wax was exhibited thruout the United States, and her exploit was one of the great news stories of the day.
In subsequent years Mrs. Penney was politically and socially active in Nebraska. She was the first woman member of the Republican national committee, first president of the Nebraska American Legion auxiliary, and a member of the committee of three that selected the new Nebraska state seal. She served on numerous committees under appointments from Governors Sam McKelvie and Charles W. Bryan.
Altho Mrs. Penney and her husband, Edgar B. Penney, president of the C. A. Mosso Chemical company, maintained legal residence in Fullerton, Neb., they had lived in Chicago for 20 years. Their home was at the Grandeur hotel, 1055 Granville avenue, where Mrs. Penney died Monday night. Besides her husband she is survived by two sons, Freeman S. of Wilmette, and Fred D. of Libertyville.


Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths:

Name Minnie Freeman Penney
Event Date 01 Nov 1943
Event Place Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Gender Female
Race White
Age 75
Birth Year (Estimated) 1868
Birth Date 25 Feb 1868
Birthplace Pennsylvania
Father's Name William E. Freeman
Father's Birthplace Pennsylvania
Mother's Name Sarah Cushine
Mother's Birthplace Pennsylvania
Occupation Housewife
Residence Place Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Spouse's Name Edgar B.
Burial Date 03 Nov 1943
Burial Place Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Cemetery Graceland


"BLUE BOOK OF NEBRASKA WOMEN;" by Winona Reeves (1916)

Mrs. Edgar Byron Penney
Minnie Mae Freeman Penney was born at Raymond's Corner, Pa. Feb. 25, 1868, the daughter of William Elder and Sarah Loviea Freemen. The family came to Nebraska in 1871 and were among the first settlers in Howard county, where they lived for many years. She received her education in the Nebraska Wesleyan University and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. She taught school for several years and was married on April 22, 1891, in Omaha to Edgar Byron Penny. Their home is in Fullerton. They have two children, Freeman Seth Penny, and Fredric Doyle Penney. Mrs Penny is a member of the Episcopal church, the D. A. R. and the O. E. S. She is president of the Fullerton Civic Improvement Club, which founded the public library and was instrumental in having Home Economics introduced in the public schools. She is state chairman of the Literature department N. F. W. C. and is a member of the Literature Committee of the General Federation. Mrs. Penny's name belongs among the list of heroines of the state because of having saved the lives of the seventeen children who made up her school at Myra Valley district on Jany. 12, 1888. The date is memorable in Nebraska because of the terrible blizzard which swept across the state, the worst storm in its history. Minnie Mae Freeman was then only a girl in her teens but she rose to the emergency with heroism and good judgment, which made her name famous everywhere at the time. The morning of January 12th was fair and unusually warm for the season of the year; toward noon the clouds gathered and at the close of the noon recess the storm broke with awful fury. The door of the schoolhouse was blown from its hinges and the snow blew into the room, making the fire in the stove a little value in keeping the children warm, had there been enough fuel to keep the fire. The shriek of the wind made it almost impossible for the teacher's voice to be heard, but she gathered the children about her and told them of how serious the situation was; the children in Nebraska in the early days knew for themselves what a blizzard meant. The young teacher realized that they would perish from cold before morning if they stayed in the school house; the nearest farm house was a mile away, and she concluded that the best chance for life was to try to reach the farm house. She cautioned the children to keep together and to stay with her saying, "We will live or die together."
Just how the journey was made, groping in the darkness of that blinding snow, driven by the fierce wind which swept across the prairie, no one was able to tell, until more dead than alive the children with their brave teacher, fell into the door of the Kellison farm house from the tip of a high snow drift before the door. The teacher has always said that, He who watches over His own, guided that little band.

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