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Muckleston Family History Group

researching all references to the surnames Muckleston, Mucklestone, Muckelston and Mackleston please get in touch via the contact us page with any additional information or to correct any errors.

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A Muckleston Authoress
 

In Who’s Who in Canada 1922 there is a short biography on Edith Margaret Wherry Muckleston. She was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA, on 10th October 1876, the daughter of Dr John Wherry and Sarah Ellen Brandon, both of Peking, China. She was educated in New Jersey at the Trenton Model School and at High School in Westfield. Next she went to Wellesley College (1898-1900) attended the University of Paris (1904-1906) and graduated from the University of California in 1907.

 

She wrote a journal at the age of 15 while living in Beijing. The brief diary describes the life of a teenager in transition, with some mention of foreign notables (Sir Robert Hart) in China. The original manuscript is held by Oregon Library, Special Collections.

 

Edith’s name also crops up in a biography of Sam McClure a journalist and editor of “McClure’s Magazine” founded in 1893. Sam McClure is reputed to have had a number of affairs. In the spring of 1906 many staff left his magazine due to his immoral behaviour. His readership also had no time for his marital infidelity. There was a lot of uproar about an affair with one Florence Wilkinson but on July 25th 1904 Mrs McClure received a letter from Florence Wilkinson who had apparently discovered another lover in McClure’s life. In her jealousy she informed Mrs McClure of Edith Wherry an American writer, currently in Europe who the editor had known intimately. Sam McClure persuaded his wife that he had only met Miss Wherry but three times in Geneva and that all the suspicion about her was of Miss Wilkinson’s creation, a work of jealousy and spite. In mid-summer 1905 Hattie McClure received a manuscript from Edith Wherry disdainfully entitled “The shame of S S McClure illustrated by letters and original documents” which she suggested should be published in the magazine. Wherry’s explanation why she submitted such a manuscript for publication was that she was ridden with her own feelings of guilt, she declared “I have decided to live henceforth in truth and honor...but to carry out my intentions it is necessary that your wife know the truth and that the wall.... behind which we both have hid[den] should be swept away. Especially... [should] your wife know after your “conversion” you returned to me with the same order as before......”

 

After graduating Edith Wherry returned to the USA and became a teacher of French at Mills College, California between 1908 and 1909. She went to Quebec in August 1911 probably to marry Harold Straun Muckleston MD the son of Rev. Canon William Jeffreys Muckleston of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The marriage took place on 23rd August. Harold was the grandson of Samuel Muckleston, born in Shrewsbury Shropshire in 1815, whose ancestry can be traced back to 1345 and who had emigrated to Canada.

 

In 1911 she wrote “The Red Lantern” and in 1917 “The Wanderer on a Thousand Hills”. Both of these novels dealt with life in China, in which country she had lived in for many years. In 1919 a film of her novel “The Red Lantern” was made by Metro Pictures with Madame Nazimova in the leading role. The picture was regarded as one of the most important of that year and had a great success.

 

 

Alla Nazimova who starred in the movie was born 22nd May 1870 in Yalta, Crimea, Russia and died 13thJjuly 1945 in Los Angeles California. Born Adelaide Leventon she was the daughter of well to do Jewish parents. Because of anti-semitism she was sent to a Catholic school in Switzerland to be educated. On her return to Russia she took up acting and by 1903 she went to the US to open a Russian language school in New York. She was 37 when in 1916 she made her film debut in “War Brides”. She performed in many unique films in the silent era including “Camille” with Rudolph Valentino. “The Red Lantern” was her 6th film, it also starred Edward J Connelly, Frank Currier, Ukio Ao Yamo, Darrell Foss, Margaret McWade, Virginia Ross, Winter Hall, Amy Van Ness and Harry Man and was directed by Albert Capellani.

 

From left: Alla Nazimova; Edith Wherry, author of the Red Lantern, and director Albert Capellani

 

Alla Nazimova and director Albert Capellani flank Edith Wherry,

 

Edith’s husband Harold had taken part in the First World War as a medical doctor. They had made a home in Montreal but shortly before the film was made they moved to California where he set up in private practice. They had three daughters Madeline Margaret Muckleston (1912) who died on the day she was born, Eleanor Ferres Muckleston (1914-1922) who died as a child and Margaret Christian Muckleston (1917-1997) who married Edward Price a Geography Professor in 1942. They gave Edith and Harold 5 grandchildren.

 

Her son in law Edward Price of Eugene, Oregon, USA, wrote the following article in 1995 on Edith Wherry Muckleston:

 

Although born in Pennsylvania USA she grew up in China where her father was a missionary. She wrote three novels, The Red Lantern, Wanderer on a Thousand Hills, and The Jade Mountain published between 1911 and 1920 dealing with life in China and having East-West overtones. The first one was made into a silent picture with the famous actress, Alla Nazimova in the lead. A fourth novel, The Lamp Still Burns, was published in the 1950's; it had the form of a medieval morality play in a more modern setting.

 

She married Harold Straun Muckleston (1878 - 1965) in 1911. He was a medical doctor in the army during World War 1. Less than a month after the end of the war, they moved for reasons of Edith's health, with their daughters, Eleanor Ferres (1914-1922) and Margaret Christian, from Montreal to Southern California. Margaret's uncle Alan Muckleston died in the 1930's as she inherited some money from him at that time.

 

Margaret was born December 29th 1917, she and I were married August 23, 1942 (an anniversary of her parents wedding), at Claremont California. Our children and grand children are shown on the attached family tree. Margaret would have written this article herself but unfortunately with a tentative diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, her outlook is quite discouraging.

 

Margaret Muckleston Price

(1917-1997)

Ed wrote to say that Margaret had passed away on the 29th of December her 80th birthday.

 

It was thanks to Keith Muckleston in Oregon that I first heard from Ed Price. In the first issue of the quarterly newsletter “Muckleston Miscellany” I had enquired about a Edith Margaret Muckleston who was the writer of a number of books. I had found an entry for her in Who's Who. Keith who had previously met the Price family and sent them a copy of the magazine in 1994 and Ed wrote back to me requesting to join our group.

 

Sadly by this time Margaret was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Ed had never known much about Margaret’s family connections in England and it was with great pleasure that I was able to send them her ancestry for 18 generations back to 1345. 

 

Margaret’s great grandfather, Samuel Muckleston had emigrated to Canada in 1830 but was wealthy enough to send his son William Jeffreys Muckleston, to England to be educated at Oxford University, when he returned to Canada he became Curate of Ottawa. We later found that William had corresponded with one of Keith’s ancestors when they found they had the same surname. William’s son Harold became a physician and married the Edith Margaret Wherry I was looking for in the first issue of Muckleston Miscellany.

 

Although North America is a very large place and Mucklestons are very rare breed indeed, Ed relates a number of surprising coincidences!

 

In 1937, Margaret Muckleston of Hollywood, California, a counsellor, and Carol Muckleston of Seattle, Washington a camper met at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island in Puget Sound, Washington. Neither had ever encountered another Muckleston other than her immediate kin.

           

Margaret and her husband Ed Price, moved to Oregon in 1963. Two or three years later, Ed, a professor of Geography at the University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon) met Keith Muckleston, Carol’s brother and a professor of Geography at Oregon State University (Corvallis Oregon).

 

Matthew Price, grandson of Ed and Margaret attended a college in Portland Oregon, although his home was in Chicago. He stayed in Portland and in 1996 took a position teaching Physics in a High School in Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland. In November 1997, he went to a meeting of Science teachers of the two High Schools of Lake Oswego, there he met Kerry Muckleston daughter of Keith.

           

All three encounters reported occurred by chance without any arrangement or previous knowledge of the other on the part of anyone concerned. Keith and Carol are Margaret’s 12th cousins once removed. Matthew and Kerry are 13th cousins once removed.