She had a need for speed…

This image is from a scanned newspaper image, so it is not the greatest.

When Abram Rosa came back from his time in prison after the Civil War, he came back to an empty home. His wife, Jennie, had left him, taking their two daughters with her. At this time we are not aware of an actual divorce having taken place between the two of them, but they both did marry to other people a few years later.

Abram’s second wife was a woman by the name of Harriet Emerson. They married in October of 1869. Over the 4oish years of their marriage they had two known children, both boys, Alby and John Nelson. So now my gg grandmother Carrie had two half brothers, both of whom she never met or knew about, as far as we know.

John Nelson did marry, at least 3 times, but never had children. His brother Alby married several times also, but he did manage to have two daughters with his first wife Dora Ritter, Erma and Loral. Erma never married. Loral married a gentleman by the name of Willis C. Servis in 1921 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They had one son Dean C. Servis before they divorced, Loral married again to Ethemer Emery in 1932 and together they had about 6 children.

So what does all this have to do with speed?

Loral, the actual subject of this post and pictured above, was not your usual grandmother type. Somewhere in her genes was a speed demon waiting to come out.

While trying to find out more about the Abram’s second family and his descendants, I found this awesome newspaper article:

Edwardsville Intelligencer August 2, 1958 page 6.

The caption that is with her picture above reads:

Equally at ease in matter pertaining to ministering professional care for the aged at the Madison County Nursing home in Edwardsville or when behind the wheel in stock-car racing is Mrs. Loral Emery a resident of East Alton who contends she is “completely sold” in piloting jalopies at the Alton Speedway in Godfrey.” The 57 year old grandmother of 11 was recently presented a trophy symbolic of being the eldest driver at the nearby oval.

I wonder if her interest in racing was influenced by her first husband, Willis, who was a garage mechanic? She definitely had cool written all over her.

Racing, like all sports where men are involved, was a vey sexist sport. In the 1940s, when racing clubs were first starting in the U.S., a woman’s role was as either ‘eye-candy’ or ‘sandwich and coffee provider’ for all the manly men doing the racing, or working in the pits. This continued into the 1950s, although now there were a few women starting to get their game on and competing in their own right. So when Loral was heading out to the track to satisfy her speed need, she was doing it at the time women were coming out of the woodwork and showing the men they had what it took to race, contrary to popular belief. (Although, there are still plenty of dumb bunnies out there today who are satisfied being nothing but eye candy.)

After this article was published in 1958, Loral went on to live another 25 years. She passed away in 1985:


Loral appears to have been a pretty interesting lady. (She was my half 1st cousin 3 times removed.)

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