Mittie Alice B. Duffy was born at Fort Snelling, Hennepin, Minnesota on 19 February 1864. Ft. Snelling is located on a bluff at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, and is on the outskirts of Minneapolis. This painting shows the Fort in 1844. Mittie's father spent time there as a sergeant for the Union Army during the Civil War, which explains why she was born there.
Mittie was the first child of her parents, John S. Duffy and Alice Louise Madden. When she was four years old, her brother, Horace, joined the family. Her sister, Gertrude Susan, was born when she was six. When she was nine, her father was killed in a tragic accident while working for the railroad. He died in January, and in June of the same year, 1873, her mother married Thomas Gordon Brown. Thomas brought two sons to the new marriage. A year later, Mary was born. On the 1880 Minneapolis U. S. census, the family was listed as follows:
Thomas Brown, W, M, age 45, married, carpenter & builder, PA, PA, PA;
Alice, W, F, age 38, wife, keeping house, Ireland, Ireland, Ireland;
Duffy, Mittie, F, W, age 16, daughter, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Duffy,Horace, M, W, age 12, son, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Duffy, Gertie, F, W, age 9, daughter, at school, MN,PA, IRE;
Brown, John, M, W, age 12, son, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Brown, Thomas, M, W, age 10, son, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Brown, Mary, W, F, age 5, daughter, MN, PA, IRE.
Three years later, on 15 April 1883, Mittie married Charles L. Locke at Ellendale, Dickey, Dakota Territory. Ellendale is about 400 miles NW of Minneapolis, and on the North Dakota/South Dakota border. It was founded in 1882, so it was a very new town at the time. The Northern Pacific Railroad moved west from Minnesota to the Dakotas during the 1870's. It is likely that their time in Ellendale involved a train ride, which would have been quite an adventure for them. Their marriage certificate lists his name as Carl L. Locke of Ellendale; hers, Miss Mittie A. B. Duffy of Ellendale.
Whatever their reason for being in Dakota Territory, their children were all born in Minnesota. It may be that the economic difficulties of the Dakotas in the 1880's due to a decline in wheat prices, changed their plans and they returned to Minnesota. John Henry was born 6 January 1884 and Joel Shirley, on 4 November 1886; both at Minneapolis. Then they had a girl named Jessie Alice on 11 November 1888 who died on 9 December 1889 also at Minneapolis. A newspaper article of the time said,
"The youngest and only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Locke passed away on Monday evening, December 9, 1889, after a short illness. This being the first death in the family, it comes doubly hard and they have the sympathy of their many friends in this hour of trial. The link is severed and the chain is broken but God's will be done. Dec. 18th." (Corinna Cream)
On 10 January 1891, C. L. and Mittie had a third son, Marion Damon, born at Annandale, Wright, Minnesota. Wright County was the home of Mittie's sister, Gert, who had her first child there just four months before Mittie gave birth to Marion. Annandale is about sixty miles NW of Minneapolis and more rural in nature.
Tragedy struck the family on 27 September 1899, when Mittie died of pulmonary tuberculosis. She was just 36 years old. She died at home at 811 West 31st Street. In the Minneapolis Tribune on September 28, 1899, page 11, "LOCKE--In this city, September 27, 1899, Mrs. Charles L. Locke, aged 36 years. Funeral Friday at 2 p.m. from residence, 411 Thirty-first Street West." Her obituary said,
Alice B. Locke, wife of Charles L. Locke, residence 811 W 31st St, died Wednesday afternoon at 4:40, Sep 27th, after a four months' illness of tuberculosis. She was born 19 Feb 1864 at Fort Snelling and always resided in the city of Minneapolis. She was an active member of Plymouth Chapter No. 19 O. E. S. Funeral services will be held at the house on Friday, Sep 29th at 2:00 p.m." Another said, "Mrs. Charles L. Locke, residing at 811 31st St W, died last evening of tuberculosis, after an illness extending over a period of four months. Mrs. Locke was well known in Minneapolis, having been born at Fort Snelling, the daughter of Sgt. John S. Duffy, Co. G, and resided here all her life. She was a member of the Order Eastern Star and in Plymouth Chapter has held the office of Ruth two terms. She leaves a husband and three sons. The funeral will take place from the residence Friday afternoon at 2:00.
To those who extended sympathy, her husband wrote, "To my friends: God bless you always and in the hour of affliction give you loving, tender hearts and hands of ministration. -- C. L. Locke, 2 Oct 1899." Mittie was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Richfield.
Thanks to D. Vangsness for this photo.