Bringing Up Babies

WHEN JOHN AND Eula Kendrick married in 1891, they moved to Montana and immediately started trying to have a family. In 1897, after several false alarms and at least one miscarriage, Eula was more than ready to give birth to her first child. Since most children at that time were not born in hospitals, she relied on a private nurse to take care of the delivery:

I went … into town … to await the arrival of the “stork” – long delayed in visiting us. Mr. Kendrick left me at the [Sheridan] Inn, where I spent a week or ten days, then went out to my nurse’s home. The little daughter arrived in due time.


That little daughter was Rosa-Maye Kendrick. She was named for her grandmother, Anna Maye Kendrick, and her aunt, Rosa Kendrick. Rosa had died several years earlier, so those who had known her, such as John Pritchett of Texas, were pleased that her name lived on in John's daughter:

I see you have named her for Miss Rosa. You could not have found a better name nor one with purer association. My best wishes are with and for the little girl, and when I say that I hope she will make as noble a woman as her aunt for whom she is named, I can say nothing further in that line.

Shortly after her birth, Rosa-Maye was taken to the OW Ranch in southern Montana, where she lived until she was eleven years old. Ranch life suited her and, like her mother before her, Rosa-Maye loved to ride horses:

She began riding in her parents’ arms when but three months old, progressing from this infantile method to first a pillow in front of the rider to sitting behind and holding tight round her mother or father’s waist. At three she was turned loose on her pony to ride as she pleased around the yard, or outside along with older people, and at four she was riding everywhere, going as far as 20 miles in three hours with her mother.


Three years after Rosa-Maye was born, the Kendricks welcomed their second child, a son. They and their friends were delighted, as indicated by more than one congratulatory letter. John's friend George Bissell summed it up nicely:

I want to extend my congratulations to you upon the advent of a genuine cowpuncher into your home and my compliments to Mrs. Kendrick and Manvel, whom I trust will prove a “chip off the old block.” It seems almost useless to wish you good luck as the fair goddess always smiles on you! And now you have a son and heir! I hope you will wear your honors gracefully and train him up a credit to his good mother.

"Manvel" quickly became "Manville." According to Manville's Baby Book, as completed by Eula Kendrick, the spelling of the name was changed at the insistence of Mister Hiram S. Manville: "First spelled the name Manvel Kendrick, the original family name of Mr. Manville for whom he was named, but he protested so we changed it to Manville. Mr. Hiram S. Manville was 70 years older than Manville."

John Kendrick respected Hiram Manville a great deal; in some ways, he looked upon the older man as a surrogate father. Even though he didn't approve of the original spelling, Hiram Manville was very pleased - and more than a little surprised - that John and Eula named their son after him. As Mr. Manville noted to Eula in 1900:

You did it! It was a complete surprise – “Manville Kendrick.” What a name as that to put onto a poor little Boy. Do you suppose he would, if he had been consulted in the matter, have been born if he had known he was to be afflicted with such a name? … You know it a pretty heavy name to carry. Well it’s a Boy, Thank the Lord, for that I say. Don’t you say so too? You want – I want – everybody wants another John Kendrick, if not in name, one by nature.


Unlike many male parents of the day, John Kendrick took a great deal of interest in his children and was not shy about expressing his feelings about them. His ranching business forced him to travel a great deal, and in his letters home - such as the following written in 1904 - he nearly always stated how much he missed Eula and his "little chicks":

As our train literally flew along at the foot of the Rockies last night there came into my mental vision a picture not of the vast stretches of green valley and mountain side but of a Little Mother and Two Sweet Babes in a far away home. The mother reading to the babes and ... I thought of what a happy house it was and how much the father and husband of this house gained in renewed courage from this house and how much clearer his vision became during the restful times spent there.

Youngsters to be Proud Of

The Changing Nature of Childhood

A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site

March 2008 - December 2008

 State Historic Site

Trail End

 Hiram S. Manville & Manville Kendrick (Manville Kendrick Collection, TESHS)

 Rosa-Maye & Manville Kendrick (AHC Kendrick Collection, TESHS)