Lucy Frances Waddle            -- Mini Bio

Lucy Frances Waddle

Lucy Frances Waddle, or “Fanny” as she was normally called, was born 14 April 1844 on Sugar Creek, in Peno township, Pike County, Missouri.  She was the second of eleven children born to George Richard Waddle and Mildred Cordelia Sisson.  The first six children in this family were all girls and must have been very close to one another as Fanny eventually named her daughters after two of these sisters.

The Waddles (sometimes spelled Waddell) had a large farm in Pike County, not too far from the Mississippi River.  Here they grew up in an idyllic kind of rural life.  Her grandparents had immigrated to this area from Virginia and had a southern point of view, but were still in favor of maintaining the “Union”.  Fanny was about sixteen when the American Civil War broke out, and Missouri saw some of the worst battles and the most divided loyalties among its citizens. 

The Waddle children attended a small one-room brick school house just about a mile up-stream on Sugar Creek along with their neighbors.  One of these was a boy named Reuben R. Geery who was about two years older than Fanny.   These two families had been close friends for years and a romance developed between her and Reuben early in their young lives.

Sadly, Fanny’s mother passed away in 1859 just three months after the birth of her eleventh child—Fanny was just fifteen years old.

During the War Reuben enlisted in the local militia but did not have to leave home, which allowed them to proceed with their wedding plans.  They were married on 25 Feb. 1864.

They were able to locate a piece of ground a few miles south of their families in Cuivre township and still in Pike County, MO.  Here their first four children were born between 1864-1871—including Cora Bell Geery (30 Mar. 1869) the future mother of Pearl Fitzpatrick and the grandmother of Donald McDonald.

In about 1875 (at the age of 31) Fanny and Reuben decided to leave their home and extended family in Missouri and move to Butte, Montana.  In the early 1860’s there were only about 800 white people living in Montana.  It was a home for a number of hostile Indian tribes, but gold was discovered there in 1862 which brought a flood of prospectors into the region so that by 1865 there were 18,000 residents.  

Fanny and Reuben soon found that it was easier to make a living farming a parcel of land that they settled in Browns  Gulch, about five miles NW of Butte, and also by freighting ore and supplies from Butte to the smelter in Anaconda, than to prospect for gold.  Nevertheless, they staked a claim on land near their farm and from time to time tried to find a little gold dust. 

Shortly after their arrival in Montana, Fanny gave birth to her fifth, and youngest, child giving this couple three boys and just two girls.  They were a religious family and raised their children to be modest and faithful Protestants.   As time went by, and their children moved away, Fanny and Reuben sold their farm and moved to Rocker—a small community about three miles west of Butte.

Fanny took pride in raising her children, but then watched as the first three found spouses and married.  The first to leave the nest was her third child—Cora Bell, who at the age of 18 met and married James J. Fitzpatrick, a young man who had recently moved to Browns Gulch from Ontario, Canada with his brother and sister.  In fact, Jim’s sister married the neighbor immediately to the south of the Geerys, and his brother bought the Geery farm.   Fanny’s two youngest boys never did marry but worked as cow hands in the surrounding communities. 

It would have been difficult for her to watch her first married child, Cora, along with her husband Jim, and Fanny’s first two grandchildren,  move from the area to resettle in the distant community of Columbia Falls, MT.  Here, in 1891 her third grandchild, and first granddaughter was born and named Pearl Belle Fitzpatrick.

In 1907 Fanny grieved as her daughter Cora passed away with cancer, leaving seven little children so far away.  Eleven years later, on 5 April 1918 she lost her husband who died at their home in Rocker.  After that, she moved in with her other remaining daughter, Sally Mildred Geery Travers, who owned a farm near Buxton, MT, and here she remained for the last thirteen years of her life.  Fanny passed away on 26 May 1931 in Buxton.  She was buried beside her husband in the Mountain View Cemetery in Butte, Montana. 

Lucy Frances “Fannie” Waddle

at age 16

Sugar Creek, Peno Township, Pike County, Missouri

Reuben R. Geery and Lucy Frances Waddle

Sugar Creek School house in Pike County, Missouri

The Waddle and Geery children attended here.

True Excellence


Lucy Frances Waddell

Sugar Creek School

Pike County, MO

March 28, 1860

(Age 16)

Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.  This is a maxim often quoted, and generally acknowledged but upon which few, unfortunately, act. – We too often slight our work or perform it in a careless, imperfect manner, pleading the excuse that it is of no importance, that it does not matter whether it is well done or not, that we have not time to be particular with it. – If this is so we ought to let it alone and devote our time to something that is of sufficient importance to pay for well doing.

No matter how well we may have done the same thing before, no matter how much more perfectly we already do it than our neighbors, if it is worth doing at all, we should never be satisfied until we have done it in the best possible manner.  Improvement should be our motto – improvement in everything we undertake.  We should discard the old maxim, “Let well enough alone”, for nothing is well enough or good enough so long as it can be made better. – That which is worth doing or worth having should never be let alone so long as it is susceptible of improvement.

I suppose that no one who hears these remarks will doubt the truth of the general principles I have laid down, however they may vary from them in action.  But as there is nothing to us so important, or so beyond value as our minds, their improvement above all things should receive our most assiduous care, and here, if in nothing else, we should ever remember that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well.—And if no one else acts upon this principle the young woman should.  There is a life of duty awaiting her, duties always arduous, often irksome.  Let her prepare herself to meet them.  Let her cultivate her intellectual and moral power in the highest possible manner that she may be able to fill the sphere that Nature has assigned her in life, in a manner more becoming her dignity and more congenial with her feelings than she is now qualified to do.  Let her, at least, remember that she has duties to perform to herself, and which, if she is true to herself, must and will be done in the highest possible manner.

I exceedingly desire to see our young women filled with a deep and earnest spirit of improvement, for it is no trifling matter and indicative of no common results, to have burning within the heart and animating the soul a restless desire, a sleepless yearning for eternal progress.

We are required to do everything for the glory of God but we cannot suppose that God will be glorified by our doing anything in an imperfect manner, short of the very best in our power.