Who Was Nellie Farabee Kevekordes Maish?
And how is she connected to Hendricks County?
Nellie Kevkordes was born to Bernice Farabee Kevekordes and Theodore Kevekordes on December 28, 1900 in Evansville, IN. One week after Nellie's birth, Bernice died. Theodore was overwhelmed with already raising one small child alone; his then two-year old daughter, Margaret. Nellie was sent to live with her maternal grandparents, Dr. Clark Eli Farabee and his wife Cora. They raised Nellie, in addition to raising another granddaughter, June, whose mother and father had both died from unrelated illnesses. The girls grew up like sisters.
Dr. Farabee graduated from DePauw University in in 1881 and went on to Indiana Medical College. He had a medical practice in Danville, Indiana for 21 years. He was also the Hendricks County Health Officer for 8 years. He was a member of the Plainfield, Indiana I.O.O.F. for 55 years. Shortly after adopting Nellie, Dr. Farabee moved his practice to Indianapolis, Indiana and treated patients until 1934, two years before his death.
Nellie attended school in Indianapolis and she and June took a shorthand course together. Nellie was a stenographer for a short while before marrying Walter Maish, a man 10 years older. Walter owned two restaurants in Indianapolis - The Tedoc Cafe and The Elite Cafe. Nellie helped in both.
Nellie and Walter never had children, but were great lovers of animals. At one time, they had 5 cats, 2 dogs, a duck, a hen, a parakeet, a possum, and a turtle.
Nellie cared for her relatives dearly. She would often visit her institutionalized uncle, she visited and corresponded with a cousin in a county home, and she kept track of everyone's addresses and sent cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. She purchased graved plots for family members who could not afford them. She wrote poetry about how much she missed her "mama" (what she called Cora Farabee) after her death in 1937. She was a talented poet, writing reflective pieces, and sometimes whimsical pieces.
Nellie died in 1998 at the age of 97. In her will, she directed that some furniture items and many of her personal effects be donated to the museum.