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BIOGRAPHIES

submitted by Nancy Germain

WALTER NELSON HALSEY

Notes:
Walter Halsey graduated from Lake Forest University in the spring of 1889.

Dr. Halsey was also a Presbyterian minister, having graduated from the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Omaha in 1902. While at the Seminary, he met Dr. Daniel E. Jenkins, a seminary professor. In 1908, the two men founded the University of Omaha, which became the Municiple University of Omaha in 1931 and the University of Neb. at Omaha in 1868. He was honored in 1942 at the Founders' day observance in Omaha. He was the dean for 10 years. His portrait was presented to the present dean by the president of the alumni association.

Walter and Anna McKee met under unusual circumstances. Anna went west to Taos, New Mexico, after the Pueblo Indians rose up and scalped New Mexico's Governor Bent. As a child, she had had polio, and had a shriveled leg and wore braces. She had decided to give herself to a life of service to others. Anna was on the frontier on behalf of the Women's Executive Committee of the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions in New York City. She headed to Taos to help convert the Indians from the Roman Catholic religion and had to be the principal of Rancho-Taos schools. She rode a train, ox cart and mule to get there. Not wanting to get off her mule to get a drink of water, she asked a gentleman if he would get her a drink. The young gentleman was Walter. The rest is history!

Walter proposed to Anna under a quarter moon and had a ring made with a quarter moon made from a garnet and four diamonds represented the stars.

Walter was also a poet, artist, and inventor. Elizabeth used to tell tales of them using mixes for cakes, long before Betty Crocker made them a household name. Of course, he did not get a patent. He invented a paper calculator and other items.

He also painted the roses on Elizabeth's Japanese-style robe.

The following clipping describes Walter and Anna's wedding.

"At 8 o'clock pm, Wednesday, November 27, 1889, at the residence of the bride's parents in this city, Professor W. N. Halsey of Ashton Illinois, and Miss Anna Marie McKee were united in marriage in the presence of a large company of friends. The ceremony was performed by Reverend J. M. Linn, assisted by Reverend W.B. McKee, the bride's father. A banquet followed the marriage and the happy pair left for a brief western tour. They will be "at home" at Ashton, Illinois, after December 4. The groom is principal of the Ashton schools, is a graduate of Lake Forest University, and a young man with bright prospects. The bride is a young lady well equipped to aid her husband in the battle of life and has during her residence in Genesso won a wide circle of warm friends, whose heartiest congratulations are extended to her. A fine array of handsome and costly presents attested that many friends desired to perpetuate memory of the pleasant occasion by something more than words. Among the guests from abroad were Mrs. C. S. Halsey and daughter Charlotte, mother and sister of the groom, from Chicago, Mrs. C. F. Postlehwaite, of Philadelphia, Mrs. Wharton and Mrs. John Norton and daughter, of Princeton, and Miss Nellie Norton of Kewanee-Genesso Republic. The bride was a former residence of Keithsburg, and her many friends here extend their heartiest congratulations."

Walter and Anna had six children: George Clinton, Mary McKee, Walter William, Charlotte Eleanor, Cornelia Helen, and Elizabeth Evertson.

Walter and Anna were married for over fifty years. At their golden wedding celebration, Walter described fifty years of marriage as, "filled with many golden hours."

Submitted by Nancy Germain, granddaughter of Walter Nelson Halsey.

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This page was last updated January 14, 2004.