Cooper College Graduate

Mame Shannon

Shirley Houston wrote this summary of her aunt:

Mary Estelle Shannon was born in Winfield, Iowa, April 6, 1880. She was the second child of Emma Willcox Shannon and J.W. Shannon. When a third child, Ollie, was born in 1882, Emma died and her little girls went to live with Willcox family members. Mary Estelle became the ward of Mary Willcox, Emma¹s older spinster sister. In the fall of 1891, Aunt Mary, at the age of 47, married Elisha Russell and along with 11-year-old Mary Estelle (now called Mame or Mamie ) moved to Vernon County, Missouri. Bronaugh was their first home and Mame joined the Methodist Church there in 1892.

Sometime in the mid-1890's, Mame became a student at newly opened Cooper College in Moundville. During the Cooper College Years, Mary (Mame) participated in activities at the Moundville ME Church north. Both of these scans are from photos taken of a church program at that time. They are undated, but one can assume late 1890's.




She graduated from Cooper College in 1897 in the Commercial Course and in 1899 in the Scientific Course.

By 1905, the Cooper catalog listed her as a faculty member teaching Latin, English and American Literature, history, botany and geography. Apparently she was working here to earn money for another year in college because the Cooper catalog states: ³Many of our old students will be glad to know that Miss Mary Estelle Shannon, who is recognized as one of the best instructors in the State, after spending a year at Baker University, returns stronger and better prepared for the work, to fill her former position as first assistant.²

Mame did, indeed, return to Baker and graduated in 1909 at the age of 29 and immediately sailed for Burma where she began her missionary duties. She was a teacher at the Burmese Girls¹ High School in Rangoon. After 15 years in Burma, Mame returned to the U.S. and studied for her Masters degree at Boston University. Upon receiving this degree she was appointed Principal of Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow, India where she remained until her retirement in 1939. She died September 2, 1969.

Mame Shannon's graduation picture when she graduated from Baker University.

Shirley also wrote: "I know she was raised in the household of Elisha and Mary Russell. Mary was Mary Estelle's (or Mame's as she was called by family) aunt. I also know that the Russells are buried in Moundville (Welborn Cemetery). What I would like to know is any other information relating to Mary Estelle's early life in Bronaugh and Moundville. The earliest picture I have of her is as a graduate of Baker. Any picture of her as a child would be wonderful."

Welborn Cemetery records list Elisha E. Russell, August 7, 1843 - May 1, 1916 and Mary E. Russell, March 17, 1844 - July 13, 1903. (LNI)

Shirley also notes that obtaining a marriage license in Sept. 1897 were Claude M. Shannon and Mary Elizabeth McAdoo. Claude is Mamie's older brother. He and Mary Elizabeth had one son, Hubert and spent most of their married life in Omaha, Nebraska.

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This page is designed and maintained by Lyndon Irwin.