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I recently received a photo album from my sister, Lois Howard.  The album once belonged to my Aunt, Edna Pierce, and her husband Uncle Hardy Pierce.  The album highlights their life together, from an early age of Aunt Edna very young age in Cairo, IL and ending in Los Angeles, CA during the middle 60's.  Also, presented in the album are her three (3) children from her first marriage to Lee Cook, and her mother, whom is also my Grandmother, Mary Jane (Purchase) Bennett or rather as the family called her, "Gran Gran".

Aunt Edna was born 8/22/1904 and died in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 94, 8/24/1998.

Before presenting the photo album, I have put together a short history of Mary Jane (Gran Gran) Bennett, and Aunt Edna.  Unfortunately, I have very little information to share about Uncle Hardy Pierce.


If you are interested, you may want to review the family history of both the "Purchase Family", and the Elis Family" to get the full history of my Paternal Grandmother, Mary Jane, - whom family called "Gran Gran".

Gran Gran was born 10/25/1864 in Galconda, IL.  She married my Grandfather George Richard Purchase.  They had four (4) children together, the youngest of which was my father James William Purchase.  George Richard Purchase died in October 1901, a year and half after my father, James, was born. 

In or around 1903 "Gran Gran" met John Bennett of Paducah, KY.  They decided to get married, but had to move to Illinois to do so, since Kentucky, at the time, did not permit marriage between the races.  John Bennett was Black. 

John Bennett and "Gran Gran" married in 1903 in Cairo, IL where they resided for many years together.  Of this marriage, one child was born, - Edna Bennett.  Aunt Edna was born in 1904.

Aunt Edna married Lee Cook of Future City, IL in 1919.  They had three (3) children together, - Dorothy, William, and Charles.  Subsequently, she divorced Lee Cook.  There were no children from her later marriages.

"Gran Gran" died 4/29/1949 and Aunt Edna passed on 8/24/1998.


From the photo album I attempted to determine where Aunt Edna resided over the years with her marriage to Hardy Pierce.  While in Cairo, IL Uncle Hardy taught "Shop" classes at Sumner High School.  He also coached various High School sports as illustrated by the photos in the album.  There are several photos of Uncle Hardy with his teams at Sumner H.S. 

It appears that sometime in the late 40's they moved to Mexico, MO.  Uncle Hardy taught school at the Garfield High School, and he also coached sports of which there are several photos.

I could not determine an exact date when they moved out to California.  However, I was told they did so because of Uncle Hardy's health.  And from the photos, it appears to have been in the late 50's or early 60's.

Also, in the album, we find many photos of "Gran Gran".  In 1948 Gran Gran moved to Mexico, MO to reside with Aunt Edna and Uncle Hardy.  She died a year later.





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