My Great Grandmother’s 100-Year-Old Cookbook Taught Me About Community

4 min readJun 2, 2022
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Recently I came across my great-grandmother’s handwritten cookbook.

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It has been one of my prized possessions my entire life.

Many of the handwritten recipes are attributed to family members and friends. Her community.

It is a fun and unique look back at America at the turn of the century. Then I looked further into the box of papers and found something unusual. She mentioned Tollerton several times.

I didn’t get their connection until I dug a little deeper on And what I found out surprised me.

My great grandfather Almon Rose was a Justice of the Peace and lawyer. He had two daughters and a wife, Mehitabel that he doted on.

One day, he noticed his wife was not feeling well. TB was going around and she was prone to lung infections. Almon made sure his 32-year-old wife got to rest, even with two young children to take care of.

But as time went on, Mehitabel was not getting better. There were no vaccines at the time, to prevent TB. She passed away, leaving five-year-old Ethel and four-year-old Edna.

Almon was not able to handle two young children by himself. His neighbors, the Tollertons next door were good family friends. They agreed to take in Edna, the younger daughter. Ethel stayed with her father Almon.

Author photo, Lida Tollerton and Delta Filkins, 1912

This is what the community did back then. My great aunt was not put in the foster care system. Annie, the daughter of the Tollertons, became like a big sister to Ethel.

The two families continued being friends and helping each other. Then in 1910, Almon was not feeling well. Maybe he had the flu or pneumonia but we’ll never know. Two weeks later after getting sick, he was dead at age 47.


New England born- now living in the Midwest. Blogger, author, influencer, history addict and genealogist in training