FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH: Lost Branch of Family Found

by Don Rivara

Isaiah Cooper Matheny [1826-1906], son of Daniel and Mary Cooper Matheny, had a daughter, Mary Ellen, who was living with her parents near what is now Mos-cow, Idaho, when she met Joseph Mordeaux. She had two children from Mordeaux before he was killed when a grizzly bear attacked his horse. The horse reared up and fell on Joseph, killing him.

Soon afterward Mary and her young son, Allen Mordeaux, made a terrifying escape from the area during the Nez Perce Indian War. [Her daughter had died in infancy.] The young widow settled at Wawawai, Whit-man County, Washington Territory, with her parents. Not long afterward, she met Samuel Norris, married him, and moved to Southern California awhile. From there the family moved to Pueblo, Colorado. She and Norris had three more children: Clyde [1889], Floyd [1891] and Zoe [1893].

Several years ago Corry and Guy Mordeaux, descendants of Allen Mordeaux, found their way into the family association. Family researchers looked for des-cendants of the Norrises with little success. Now Corry has found his second cousin, Pennee Norris Mecham living in Bremerton, Washington. Pennee has been re-searching her Norrises for thirty years with little luck. Now she is a member of the Family Association and get-ting to know her many ancestors. She has been able to fill in the history of some of her branch.

Her grandfather, Floyd Norris [1891-1953], lived in Denver. He married Alice May Baker. They had four children: Floyd Shymer Norris, Jr.; Richard Eugene Norris; Robert Steele Norris [1921-1963][Penneeā€™s fa-ther]; and Hazel Clare Norris. During the Great Depres-sion, the family was very poor. Young Robert Steele Norris worked for the CCC at a camp in Colorado. In 1939 Floyd and Alice divorced. He later married a woman named Carrie and died in Ashland, Ohio, 12 No-vember 1953, age 62.

Robert Steele Norris married Vardean Carscaden. They divorced in 1962 after having two daughters, Pennee and Pam Norris. Robert committed suicide 31 December 1963 in Seattle, when Penee was eight years old.

Pennee is married to Michael Mechem, who is the City Engineer for Bremerton, and she has a home-cleaning business on Hood Canal. She also enjoys paint-ing. There are three grown children: Heidi Mechem, Karaleigh Mechem, and Tim Mecham, who is married to Nicole Tolman. So far there are no grandchildren.

Pennee can be reached at if you have any information to share with her. We hope to find other Norrises in time.

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