This 20th-Century Mom Had 22 Kids

Most would agree that motherhood is the toughest and most rewarding job on the earth, regardless of what number of children you find yourself elevating or what number of of them truly share your DNA. Whether or not you had one child or a complete bundle of them, we salute and rejoice you this Mom’s Day!

The MyHeritage Analysis staff did some digging and uncovered some fascinating particulars on one Twentieth-century mom who definitely had her arms full. Charlotte Story, from Bakersfield, California, gave beginning to 22 kids, together with 4 units of twins, between 1922 and 1946. 20 of them lived to maturity and survived her, and a couple of of them are nonetheless alive right this moment. The Analysis staff even managed to get in contact with one among Charlotte’s granddaughters and ask her about her recollections of her grandmother.

The family tree of Charlotte and Marion Story

The household tree of Charlotte and Marion Story

The Story household grew to become well-known within the 40s and 50s as the biggest household in the US, and was featured on many applications — together with Groucho Marx.

Right here’s what the Analysis staff found about them.

The story of the Story household

It began one very wet day in California within the early Twenties. Marion Delroy was on the deck of a ship, getting soaked to his pores and skin, and he observed a beautiful younger girl who had had the nice sense to deliver an umbrella. He requested if she can be keen to share. Charlotte “Lottie” LaCount mentioned sure, and the remaining is historical past: the 2 had been married in 1922. 

They wasted no time in beginning their household. Their eldest twin daughters, Jean and Jane, arrived later that 12 months. They had been each born within the automotive on the best way to the hospital!

Charlotte Story with her eldest daughters, Jean and Jane, as babies

Charlotte Story together with her eldest daughters, Jean and Jane, as infants

By the point the 1930 U.S. Census was taken and Charlotte and Marion appeared in a census as a pair for the primary time, they had been listed together with 8 kids:

The Story family in the 1930 U.S. Census, starting on line 80

The Story household within the 1930 U.S. Census, beginning on line 80

The report lists Marion, age 35, and Charlotte, age 27, with twins Jean and Jane (age 7), Jack (5), Jacqueline (4), June (3), Eileen (2), Clyde (1), and Robert, age 3 months. Sadly, Eileen’s twin sister, Arlene, handed away when she was just a few months previous, so she was not talked about on this census. One other sibling handed away at beginning, although that little one’s date of beginning is unknown. The household lived at 68 Lighthouse Street, Enviornment, Mendocino, California in 1930.

The census says that Marion painted indicators for a dwelling.

When the subsequent U.S. Federal Census discovered them 10 years later, the variety of kids within the household had greater than doubled! There have been now 17 of them, with twins Jimmie and Jeannette (9), Steve (7), Jerry (6), Terrytown (5), Charlotte (3), Scottie (2) and twins Sherrie and Gary (1) having joined the household. 

Right here is a photograph of the household from round that point, enhanced and colorized with MyHeritage photograph instruments:

The Story family, c. 1940

The Story household, c. 1940

In 1946, the Berkeley Gazette reported on the arrival of their twenty second and ultimate little one, Sandra.


In accordance with their 1950 interview on Groucho Marx, they lived in a 10-bedroom residence constructed on 2 acres of land, dwelling on a weekly grocery funds of $100 (roughly $1,200 in right this moment’s {dollars}). Charlotte mentioned she purchased groceries wholesale, and awakened at 5 A.M. to begin making ready breakfast for the youngsters to eat earlier than going to high school.

Charlotte and Marion bought to look at their household proceed to develop and thrive till Marion’s dying in 1967. Charlotte handed away 5 years later, in 1972, and her dying was reported throughout the nation, with newspapers describing her because the “mom of the biggest household in the US.” This clipping beneath is from the Lewiston Tribune, Idaho:

‘My grandmother taught them methods to be a mother’

The Analysis staff positioned a dwelling granddaughter of Charlotte’s: MyHeritage person Marleen Pratt, 52, of Bakersfield, California. Her mom was Charlotte’s Twentieth little one, Joanne Marie Story Paulk, whose beginning was introduced within the Greensburg Daily Tribune in Pennsylvania on December 10, 1941:

The article studies that Joanne Marie was born prematurely, however “thrived in an incubator on the Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield. She weighed 3 kilos, 14 ½ ounces at beginning.” The article additionally mentions that Charlotte was 38 on the time.

Marleen was sort sufficient to share some recollections of her legendary grandmother:

“My grandmother did a number of cooking,” she remembers. “She might put together 10 gallons of mashed potatoes and they might drink 5 gallons of milk, and three dozen eggs for breakfast.” She says that the youngsters helped out rather a lot, and that they grew a number of their very own fruit and veggies, milked their very own cow, and had been general fairly self-sufficient. Her personal mother solely had 3 kids, however she nonetheless cooked in giant quantities the best way her grandmother had: “It’s simply the best way all of them grew up,” she says. “I bear in mind my mother telling me that by the point they had been performed placing the breakfast dishes away, it was time for lunch!”

Mothers of youngsters who’re continuously combating could discover the thought of 20 children dwelling collectively to be their worst nightmare — however fortunately for the Tales, Marleen says that the youngsters all bought alongside: “They might all play musical devices, so they might placed on exhibits and entertain,” she says. “My mother performed the piano. They had been all musically gifted, and they might entertain one another and the neighbors’ children as effectively.”

What’s it like conserving monitor of a household tree with 21 uncles and aunts? “It’s so overwhelming,” says Marleen. “It’s rather a lot to search out out and determine. We heard a number of tales rising up. My oldest cousins nonetheless speak about Grandma and Grandpa. We, the cousins, are fairly shut, and the tales are very a lot alive.”

“My grandmother taught them methods to be a mother,” she says.

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