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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Margaret Cliff Grove 1905-1990

My paternal grandmother, Margaret Cliff Grove, was born on April 29, 1905, in Durham, Ontario Canada.  Her father, John Alfred Cliff, held management positions with the Portland Cement Company which for a time had her and her mother and two sisters accompanying him to Independence, KS from 1909-1914 for his job with the Portland Cement Company in Independance.

In April, 1924 Sarah Jane D'Arcy, Margaret's mother died.  Five days after her death, Margaret turned 19. Her two older sisters Anna Theresa 24, and Mary Clarissa (May) 28 were both married and raising kids of their own under 3 years old.

Their father, John Alfred Cliff, a widower at 63 was grieving and incapable of dealing with his rebellious younger daughter Margaret.  He was living with his middle daughter Anna and her husband Joe Bissonnette.

Oldest sister May who was living with her husband, Carl Smith and two children, Mary 3, and John Joseph under one year old were in Parker, KS.  May and Carl offered to have Margaret come live with them.  May probably felt her youngest sister would be a big help with the kids and at the same time she and Carl could provide parenting that her father could not.  They also must have felt since Anna and Joe were providing for John it was their obligation to care for Margaret.

On December 3, 1924 Margaret left Canada crossing into the USA at Port Huron, MI.  She indicated in her documents she was bound for her sister's home in Parker, KS for an indefinite visit.  Her father was her nearest living relative and he was living at Stanley House, Muskoka Ontario.  She had $215 which would be equivalent to $2874 in 2012.

Margaret did not return to Canada for 23 years until 1947, for the funeral of her father.  She was accompanied by her sister May.  Her life had changed in those 23 years,  She married, had 3 children, one died at age 5. Her son served in the US Merchant Marines during WWII.  She had become a grandmother only a few months before her father's death and lost that three month old granddaughter just days before her father's death.  Her daughter was engaged to be married within the next year.  Margaret's children never met their maternal Canadian grandparents.

The following pictures were taken during the period prior to1924 in Ontario and Independence KS. These images were in the collections of both Margaret Cliff Grove and May Cliff Smith.
May Cliff standing rear, Anna seated right,
Margaret seated left about 1908











Margaret in nursing school uniform
 age 17
Margaret and Anna

From 1924 when she emigrated from Canada to the US she lived in Kansas, beginning in Parker and on to Wichita, Peck, and finally in 1990 when she died in Haysville.

She raised two children to adulthood, John Virgil Grove and Jeanette Estelle Grove.  Her youngest son, Neil Cliff Grove died at age five to a sudden illness that was never really explained.  The family story was he was healthy in the morning and by afternoon he was dead.

Margaret had a career most of her life in personnel management with Wichita department store Buck's and later as a Switchboard Operator for Sedgwick County Kansas Courthouse.

At the time of her death in 1990 she had four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

She and her husband of 42 years, John Edwin Grove are together  at Christian Hill Cemetery near Peck, Kansas.