An American Family History

Twyla Mae Smith White

Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

Red Oak is the county seat of Montgomery County, Iowa.

Maryon and Donald
Maryon and Donald White on their grandfather, Josiah Smith's, front porch in Wyoming

Donald on Flash

Twyla Mae Smith White was born December 31, 1904 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa. Her parents were Josiah Smith and Eliza Fox.

As the youngest, she was "cherished and sheltered by her brothers and sisters." Twyla's daughter, Maryon White, compiled a book of family memories and stories called The Wind in the Willow which includes Twyla's life history.

Twyla's class in Red Oak, Iowa. 
She is in front with white stockings.

She attended elementary school in Red Oak, Iowa and later moved with her family to Wright, Minnesota and then back to Red Oak.  She was sent to Wyoming when Bryan and Jack went into the service in World War I.

She married William (Bill) Henry White. Bill was born on December 30, 1899 in Remington, Indiana. His parents were Henry Kysor White and Anna English Mohr.

They eloped to Fremont, Nebraska in about 1923. They had three children. Maryon Kathleen White was born April 25, 1924, Donald William White was born November 5, 1925, and Marjorie Ann White was born and died June 6, 1943.

At the time of the 1930 census they were living in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa. The household consisted of William H. White who was born in 1901 in Indiana. He was a photo enlarger, Twyla W. (sic) who was born in 1904, Marye K. (sic) born in 1925 and Donald W. born in 1926. Twyla's brother Jack Smith was also living in the household. He was born in 1902 and was working selling auto supplies.

The family led a gypsy life until they finally settled in Spokane, Washington in 1947.

White Family in 1939

Twyla's son, Donald, volunteered to be a paratrooper in World War II and was shot by a sniper during the Allied invasion of Germany from Norway on April 30, 1945. 

Her daughter, Maryon, graduated from college in 1949 and became a typing teacher

Twyla was widowed when Bill died in December 22, 1966. After that Maryon and Twyla lived together until Twyla had to go into a nursing home in 1981. In 1985, Maryon joined her in the Riverview Retirement home. Twyla died February 23, 1990 after a series of minor strokes.

The Chicago Portrait Company (1893-1940) was headquarted in Chicago, but traveling salesmen operated throughout the country. They sold portraits for two or three dollars, but really made their money by delivering them in fancy burled wood frames with curved glass at an additional cost. The frames were not solid wood at all, but painted plaster. The Chicago Portrait Company made a fortune off rural families who had little access to "big city" studios.

Chicago Portrait Crew
Children of Josiah Smith, Jr.
and Eliza Fox
  • Mary Grace Smith White Hanley
  • John Elmer Smith
  • Bertha Edna Smith Kimsey
  • Harry William Smith
  • Ethel Edith Smith Taylor
  • Bryan Sewell Smith
  • Augusta Lena Smith Larson
  • Andrew Jack Smith
  • Twyla May Smith White
  • Donald Driving the Wagon

    White Family in 1944

    Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

    In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.



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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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