I discovered Carrie M. Mather on one of my subject forays into my family tree. I was trying to find all the World War I service men and women, and so I was taking a hard look at anyone who was born between 1880 and 1900. As I plugged names into Fold3 and Ancestry, I was careful to just look at military service. I was able to document quite a few male veterans but I was shocked at the number of female veterans I had. Carrie is descended from a Mount family line firmly entrenched in New Jersey. And yet her story compels me.
Carrie Morton Mather was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on 26 October 1886 to Frank N. (1855-1921) and Sarah Elizabeth Applegate (1855-1944) Mather. Frank and Lizzie Mather had two daughters, Caroline and Ida (1882-1949). Carrie attended the New Jersey State Normal school, graduating in 1907. In the 1910 Census she living with her parents and is employed as a teacher.
In December of 1917, she boarded the Espagne at the port of New York to sail to France to assist with YMCA Canteen work.
In 1919 I find her listed as a sophomore (non matriculate due to lack of course credit) at Pomoma College in California. Later she is listed in a University of California register as graduating early on 17 Dec 1920 from University of California, Berkeley with a BA.
The California Alumni Monthly for 1922 reports that she is with the Girls’ Baptist Mission Dormitory in Iloilo, Philippines. And the Annual of the Northern Baptist Convention for that same year reports that she received her appointment.
She appears to have left the Philippines on 9 January 1924, stopping in Houghon China and Japan before returning to the US. That same year she marries Lawrence E. Blackman, a Canadian music teacher. The actual record escapes me but a newspaper article in October mentions her recent marriage. Lawrence and Carrie are living in Peoria, Illinois in the 1930 Census, where he is employed as a music teacher. In 1944 the couple moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. where they become directors of the Dupont Community house.
After that I loose track of her, except that she appears to have been living in Silver Creek, NY when she died in January 1969. It is possible that she settled there as I believe Ida Mather and her husband Harry Burton Skidmore lived in the area.
I would love to know more about her experiences abroad. What made her give up a comfortable teaching position and strike out for a war zone? And then return, shake off the dust and head in the opposite direction to the Philippines? If it weren’t for her passport applications, I might never have found this clue.