Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

Estella Jane Widger, my great-grandmother


Caton, Steuben, New York (credit


Born on 29 October 1874, Estella is my great-grandmother, the mother of my Gram, was the second of three children born to Alpheus and Rosanna Buker Widger.  Her older brother, John Alvin was born on 13 August 1872, and her younger sister, Evaleen, joined the family on 5 May 1880.

From the website, Town of Cato, New York ( we learn that Caton is a small town in southern New York state right on the border with Pennsylvania. The first permanent settlers arrived in the area in 1819, and in 1840 the town was officially named Caton and included 219 farms.  From 1861-1865, 175 men from this little community fought in the Civil War, more than any other small town in New York State.  In 1870, just a few years before Estella was born, Caton had three resident physicians.  Perhaps one of those attended her birth!

I know very little about Estella or her family, but I have discovered a few pictures of her.  Perhaps you’ll see a family resemblance.


Estella as a young woman before she married

Version 2

about 1892-1894 — 18-20 years old

Fortunately I have a postcard Stella wrote to her sister, Eva, in 1919 after Madalene returned from a visit there.



Postmarked July 21, 1919-5 p.m.-Flint, Michigan

Dear Sister,  Madalene got home all right she had such a good time.  We have got to move the place (?) is sold and I am glad of it.  Sam and Elsie Hansen just called on their way home.  They both look good.  Thy are going to California to stay a year.  I was sick when Madalene came home but am all right.  Glenn & Ray are still in the country.  Alvin stays with Eva makes my family seem small.  Write soon.  Stella 115 River St

It’s fun to see the kind of correspondence that family members shared in the absence of a home telephone, and it’s amazing to me to have her handwriting, 98 years later.


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