The Obituary of Mary Frances Main
(The Oregon Observer, 6 March 1936, Vol. 55, No. 46, pg. 1)Miss Mary Frances Main, daughter of R. P. and Cordelia Dakin Main, was born July 27, 1839 at Oakland, Clinton County, Ohio, on the same farm as her mother. The farm is still owned by relatives.

She came in a prairie schooner to Bureau County, Illinois, where they remained two years. Then as an epidemic of ague was prevalent throughout that section, her father loaded the wife and four little girls in the one horse wagon and started to the Territory of Wisconsin. They reached the Township of Oregon on July 27, 1845, after having been on the road prospecting for three weeks. The eve of July 27, 1845, they reached the Rooney Tavern, every member of the family shaking with ague. There they received the utmost kindness, remaining there two months.

Newspaper articleDuring that time Mr. Main entered a half section of land north of what is now known as the Devine school house. A log cabin, 12 x16 feet, was built where the family and one boarder lived two years. Then a better home was built on the road now known as County Trunk A. A long hoped for school was never opened until Frances was 12 years of age. Later she attended a select school at Oregon.

Three of her teachers were students of Albion Academy. Later she taught her first term in the Tipple school, her only surviving pupil being a well known citizen of Oregon, Romaneous Tipple, who has often called on her. Since that time she taught 18 years in Wisconsin country schools and 27 years in Iowa and Dakota, including the winter of the great blizzard, when she with 14 pupils remained over night in the cold school house without food, while many other teachers and pupils perished in the storm trying to reach shelter.

In the year 1897 Miss Main came to Oregon to care for her mother who passed away in 1902. Since that time she has cared for many aged friends in their homes, always having a home to return to, to rest with a sister, Mrs. E. W. Comstock, or a nephew, Frank Comstock.

In 1913 she returned to the home on Janesville Street, where she kept house until 1930, when her eye sight failed to a great extent. Mr. and Mrs. John Walters, on account of failing health, retired from the hotel business and spent 13 very pleasant years in the home of Miss Main. The last few years she has been tenderly cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Underwood, one year at the F. M. Ames farm and past few years in Oregon.

During her long life of 96 years she has made and kept many warm friends in distant parts of the United States. Hers has been a life of service for others. Her love for her nephews and nieces and their children never failed. Her one great fault being a care for others, forgetful of self. Her sympathy always was with the unfortunate.

Miss Main was blessed with a wonderful memory, especially of historical events. August 16, 1931, at the home of her sister, Mrs. F. M. Ames, in honor of the celebration of the fifty-fifth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Ames, she recited two beautiful poems, “Rest Weary Pilgrims,” being one of them.

Her grandfather, Rial Main, was a private in the War of 1812. Her great grandfather, David Main, was a Revolutionary soldier, both living at North Stamington, [mis-spelling of Stonington?] Connecticut. Miss Main was a loyal member of the W. C. T. U., the Ladies Aid and Eastern Star. She was also a member of the Jolly Farmers Club at Brooklyn, where she received many kindnesses from the members.

Miss Main was baptized by the M. E. pastor at Oregon many years ago.

During her many years of teaching she never lost one day on account of illness. She knew all the trails and privations of pioneer life.

She was the oldest of eight children. She is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Anna Comstock of Long Beach, Cal., and Mrs. Alice Ames of Brooklyn, Wis., and numerous nephews and nieces and their children.

Her father, mother, three sisters, Louisa, Harriet and Martha, and two brothers, Dakin and Walter, preceded her in death.

She passed away at her home in Oregon, Feb. 27, 1936, at the age of 96 years and 7 months.

Beautiful flowers were contributed by friends, including a floral piece from Frank O’Brien, president of the Spencer, Iowa bank, a former pupil of Miss Main’s.

Six nephews, Paul Ames, Frank Cole, Frank Comstock, R. P. Ames, Percy Tusler, and Stanley Main acted as pall bearers.

Funeral services were conducted in the M. E. Church, Rev. L. R. Cooper, the pastor, officiating, assisted by the Eastern Star. Service of song was by Mrs. Wischhoff and Don McGill.

The many acts of kindness shown to Miss Main through life were deeply appreciated.

This obituary was dictated by Miss Main two years ago in the home of her sister, Mrs. F. M. Ames, at Brooklyn.

The following poem written by Mrs. Charles H. Wackman for Miss Main’s 96th. birthday was read at the church by Mrs. Wackman at the request of the relatives:


The 96th. milestone of her journey is in sight,
She stands as a pillar—a guiding star to right
The minds of us misguided mortals who cannot see the way
As she has done—to make the most of every new-born day.

When we are prone to falter in life’s turmoil and strife
Hers is the hand to point the way to victory and life;
When our hearts are heavy and the skies are gray
We smile again to hear, “I feel just fine today.”

How grateful should we be to find one uncomplaining soul
Whose thoughts are all for others as years on years unroll
Whose heart and mind are always full of kindness and cheer
For those who feel discouragement and life’s pitfalls fear.

To one she said within the very latest hour
“I haven’t an ache or pain, I’m happy as a big sunflower.
I’d like to live to be a hundred, I feel so young and gay.”
The world with always be the richer because she passed this way.

Card of Thanks
We wish to express our most sincere thanks to neighbors and friends who so kindly assisted us in so many ways at the time of death and funeral of Miss Frances Main. Your help was greatly appreciated.
Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Underwood