Family Recipe Friday: Braised Steak, Doughnuts, and who is Cousin Flora, anyway?

Connections Found in Historical Recipes

As you’re about to see, connections are forming the deeper we go into this cookbook.

I debated about how to present this entry. There’s no good stopping point for pages and pages, and this week I’m sharing an important clue about the owner of the cookbook. Couldn’t lose that in a too-long entry . . . so the answer is to chop this entry mid-recipe. Spoiler alert–I’m going to leave you hanging until next week on the Cannelon recipe!

The cookbook was published in 1909 and we’re exploring the recipes and the lives of the women who submitted them. (Want to know more? Read the intro here or the previous entry here.)

Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes!

Jump to . . .

Braised Steak | Beef Loaf
Meat Loaf | Cousin Flora’s Doughnuts

Mrs. C. H. Bryant | Mrs. C. O. Latham
Nettie J. Reger | Cousin Flora

Pages 23-24

WV WC 23 Meats and Poultry

WV WC 24 Braised Steak, Beef Loaf, Meat Loaf, Cannelon

Another Bookmark!

WV WC 24c Cousin Flora's Doughnuts

WV WC 24b list of names


And A Detail For Closer Examination

WV WC 24a Cousin Flora's Doughnuts


Meats and Poultry

There’s no want of meat, sir;
Portly and curious viands are prepared
To please all kinds of appetites.

Use as much steak as desired (1½ pounds serves two persons); cut into pieces one inch square, place onion in the bottom of baking dish, then a layer of meat; sprinkle with flour, salt, pepper and bits of butter; so continue until you have used all the meat. Place bay leaf on the top, cover with boiling water, cover closely and bake in a moderate over four hours. If the water evaporates rapidly add more, as it should have a gravy around it when done.
–Mrs. C. H. Bryant

Two pounds round steak, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 egg, ½ cup sweet milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 small onion; pepper to taste. Put beef through chopper; add crumbs, salt, onion, pepper, butter, then pour over milk and beaten egg; shape into loaf; put slices of bacon over top and bake three-fourths of an hour in hot oven.
–Mrs. C. O. Latham

Two pounds meat, ground, two eggs, two handsful of crackers, ground, a lump of better size of an egg, one onion, if desirable, salt and pepper; bake an hour. (Two slices of breakfast bacon put on top of loaf while baking adds to flavor.)
–Nettie J. Reger

One pound of round steak, chopped fine, yolk of 1 egg, 1 tablespoonful of melted butter, 1 tablespoonful of stale break crumbs, 1 tablespoonful of chopped–

1 tablespoon Butter
½ pt. Sugar
½ pt. Milk
2 eggs
2 or more heaping teaspoons b powder
Flour to roll

Mrs. Kelly

” Kessler.
” Lowry.
” Moore
” McCaughey
” McCaslin.
Miss McCann.
Mrs. Timberlake.
” S. A. Weller.
” Walters.

Who were they?

Mrs. C. H. Bryant: Beulah Nettie Herndon was born April 14, 1882 in Preston county WV to Rev. W. D. Herndon and Nancy Catherine Martin (1). She married Clarence H. Bryant at Upshur county WV on December 31, 1907 (2).

Clarence died Dec 8, 1933 (3). He left his estate to Beulah (as long as she remained his widow) and their children. Words to note: his request that his body “be decently buried  a manner corresponding with my standing in life,” and his emphasis that, “It is my desire and wish that, as the responsibilities of rearing and educating my said children will devolve upon my said wife after my death, she shall have the free right to use such part of my real estate and personal property in such manner as she shall deem, according to her best judgment, for the join interests of herself and children” (4).

Beulah’s will dated August 22, 1947 shows the clear influence of Clarence’s–she either similar estate planning counsel, or copied the verbiage she wanted straight from his will. She left her bonds, stocks and real estate to be divided equally between the four children: Hubert H. Bryant, Howard D. Bryant, James W. Bryant, and Matilda c. Bryant Baxa. Matilda also received Beulah’s diamond rings (5).

The will also mentions a husband: Ison T. White. She bequeathed him one dollar (5). (For reference purposes: according to, $1.00 in 1947 had the buying power of $10.84 in 2014 money. I’ll try not to read too much into that . . .) I couldn’t find their marriage record, but it would have had to have been after 1940 when he was enumerated with another wife, Carrie (Source.) No word on why the residue of Clarence’s estate wasn’t divvied up when she remarried.

Beulah died August 25, 1948 of cerebral apoplexy (stroke) and is buried at the Heavner Cemetery (1).

Mrs. C. O. Latham: Several weeks ago we investigated the grocers serving the Buckhannon community–and Charles O. Latham was one of them. (And an aside: this death record shows his parents were Geo. R Latham and Caroline Thayre, making him a sibling of Julia Latham.) Now we find his wife, Maude Strother Fisher (1, 2). She was born at Buckhannon WV to John Strother Fisher and Harrett Ann Arnold on January 29, 1866 (3). She married Charles Latham on August 12, 1890 (4), and she bore twin girls on October 26, 1891–though only one (Gertrude) survived (1, 2). Maude died on February 25, 1951 of coronary thrombosis (3).

Nettie J. Reger:  Another Reger! We’ve already met LeeAnn E. Reger (a.k.a. Mrs. J. W. Heavner) and Mary C/Marion Reger (mother of Anna Lee Hurst/Mrs. Wm. Post). Nettie Sue Jeffers (1) was born to Alexander B Jeffers and Alice Ann Farnsworth on January 28, 1873 (2) in Harrison WV (3). She married Edd/Edward John Reger (1, 3) at Buckhannon WV on Sept 20, 1893 (3), and she died on March 14, 1969 of acute coronary occlusion (2). Forgive me for not pressing for more details–at this rate, Regers may end up a separate spin-off project . . . !

Cousin Flora: Is there any way to learn who Cousin Flora is? Piecing together what we already know, I believe so. Remember, this cookbook was a Christmas gift from Cousin Nelson to Cousin Alice. I tried searching for Nelsons in Buckhannon, but simply couldn’t narrow it down. (I looked for Wilsons too, as far as that goes, just in case I was reading it wrong.) However, once I saw this recipe, I made a connection.

In 1910, Nelson and Flora Debarr lived in Buckhannon WV with their two sons, Luther and Ford (1). We have a match.

Her name was Flora May Lane (2). She married Nelson Debarr on March 21, 1889 at Buckhannon WV (3). Her parents were Samuel Lane (4) and Louisa Weatherholt (4, 5)–names which may prove important in learning Cousin Alice’s identity.

My gut feeling is that Alice is a blood-relative to Nelson and an in-law to Flora, based only on the fact that the cookbook was a gift from Nelson (not Flora or even Nelson and Flora). However, I won’t allow this assumption to bias my search for Cousin Alice.

Mrs. Kelly, et al: Mrs. Kelly’s name is barely visible on one side of Cousin Flora’s Doughnut recipe. The alphabetical list of names on the other side could be a Christmas card list or an invitation list. Without a locale for Cousin Alice and her friends (yet!) I can’t begin to search for them, but perhaps these names will become clues later on.

(Numbered sources are cited and linked in the index.)

See you next week

Whew! Lots here–but it’s fun to see the connections emerging. I hope you’ll continue following along.

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If you are researching one of the ladies credited here, email me! I’d love to hear your story!

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