|Trudy Cochran Coltrane (1915-2000)|
Trudy, as my grandmother preferred to be called, was a native of western Pennsylvania, transplanted to Kernersville, North Carolina when she was a school aged girl. She was the second youngest of four surviving children of Dr. Ira Lee Cochran and his wife, Luella Coral Farmer, all born five years apart.
In 1929, Trudy's father, Dr. Cochran, a school teacher who had gone back to school and become a dentist earlier in life, died of a stroke at fifty-six years old. Trudy was fourteen years old. Dr. Cochran left each of his children $1000, a sum equivalent to about $14,000 in 2017.
Trudy appears to have used her inheritance well. She graduated from Guilford College and taught school in Greensboro Greensboro public schools for decades, touching the lives of hundreds of students over the course of her career.
Luella Farmer Cochran, Trudy's mother, was born September 15, 1878, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the third child and eldest daughter of Frank Anson Farmer and Martha Jane Bankert, of North Huntingdon Township. After Ira died in 1929, Luella and her children carried on by "truck farming"- selling produce and flowers.
In later years, Luella lived with her children, at one time living with Vernon and Trudy, and other times with her daughter Aline or her son, Lee. Luella Farmer Cochran left behind a collection of watercolor paintings made by her hand. She died just before my first birthday, on July 1, 1967, almost ninety years old.
Luella's father, Frank Farmer, was a mercantilist and a farmer. Unlike most of my other ancestors who farmed for a living, Frank Farmer was an industrialist, a capitalist. He owned a farm and people worked for him. In later life he became treasurer and was among the founders of the Jersey Flakes Food Company.
"The Jersey Cereal Food Co. was organized there in 1903 with $200,000 capital for the manufacture and distribution of a breakfast cereal called "Jersey Flake." A three-story brick building was erected about a mile south of Irwin near Hahntown at what became known as Cereal, Pa., production began the following year. Before the cereal plant was built, the area was farmland and was known as Lindencross.
Luella was in her forties, and had been married to Dr. Cochran for many years by the time her father died in the early summer of 1921. A few years after that, she and Ira migrated south, to Kernersville, North Carolina.
Ira's father, Robert John Cochran, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 27, 1846, and enlisted in the Confederate army during the Civil War. How he ended up married to Mary Evangeline Fleming, Ira's mother, and living out his days in Pennsylvania is the subject of much speculation.
Luella was born into relative wealth, in the home of Frank and Martha Jane Farmer, and her marriage to Dr. Cochran kept her in relative comfort well into her forties, when the family, consisting of Ira, Luella, Ira's sister and her husband (McCorkle), and all four Cochran children, Ira Lee, Jr, Trudy, Jean, and Aline, who was a young adult with a small family of her own, migrated south.