Descendents of Henry George Grabenhorst
Descendents of Dorothea Auguste Elizabeth Grabenhorst Fisher Wolf

Lauretta Fisher

1-Lauretta Fisher, daughter of Jacob Ferdinand Fischer and Dorothea (Dorothea Auguste Elizabeth) Grabenhorst, was born on 1 Dec 1867 in Dayton, Webster, Iowa and died on 25 Dec 1945 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington at age 78. She was cremated and at her request her ashes were sent to her son Bernard to be buried in Memorial Vale Cemetery, Hysham, Treasure, Montana with her second husband, William Lawton.

Lauretta married William H Baker, son of Marquis Lafette Baker and Anna Maria Losee, on 29 Dec 1889 in Valley Springs, Minnehaha, South Dakota. William was born in Apr 1873 in Minnesota, died on 20 Dec 1956 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington at age 83 and was buried in Memorial Vale Cemetery Hysham, Treasure, Montana. They had six children: Iza, Bernice, Bernard William, Helen, Jay Otis, and Thelma. They were divorced between 1906 and 1910.

2-Iza Baker was born ion 27 June 1890 in Laverne, Rock, Minnesota, died on 14 Aug 1969 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington at age 79, and was buried in Odd Fellows Memorial Park and Mausoleum, Tumwater, Thurston, Washington. 

Iza married Jacob Olaf Frisch, son of Olaf B Frisch and Mary C McNomara, on 24 Sep 1910 in Lewis County, Washington. Jacob was born on 24 Aug 1882 in Lewis County, Washington, died on 9 Jan 1973 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington at age 90, and was buried in Odd Fellows Memorial Park and Mausoleum, Tumwater, Thurston, Washington. They had three children: Mary, Jacob Olaf (Jack) and Betty Helen.

2-Bernice Beryl Baker was born in Nov 1892 in Laverne, Rock, Minnesota, died on 19 Oct 1935 in Deer Lodge, Powell, Montana at age 42 from complications of TB while a resident of the Montana State Tuberculosis Sanitarium in nearby Galen, Montana and was buried in Odd Fellows Memorial Park and Mausoleum In Tumwater, Thurston, Washington. 

Bernice married Arthur S Barnes, son of Porter Eugene Barnes and Ophelia A Herr, on 23 Dec 1915 in Los Angeles County, California. Arthur was born in 1885 in Claibourne, Union, Ohio and died on 3 May 1932 in Los Angeles County, California at age 47. They were divorced on 11 April 1923 in Los Angeles County, California. They had no children.

2-Bernard William Baker was born on 7 Sep 1895 in Laverne, Rock, Minnesota, died on 21 Mar 1964 in Miles City, Custer, Montana at age 68 and was buried n Forsyth Cemetery, Forsyth, Rosebud, Montana. 

Bernard married Estella Dawson Broadbent, daughter of William Alva Broadbent and Cora Belle Lansing, on 22 Dec 1919 in Hysham, Treasure, Montana. Estella was born on 4 Jul 1897 in Dawson County, Montana, died on 24 May 1988 in Miles City, Custer, Montana at age 90 and was buried in Forsyth Cemetery, Forsyth, Rosebud, Montana. They had seven children: Bernice E, Clara Nadine, Beth, William Bernard, Betty Jane, Robert Wayne, and Edith Marylin.   

2-Helen Baker was born on 4 Oct 1897 in Laverne, Rock, Minnesota, died on 30 May 1939 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington at age 41 and was buried at Mountain View Memorial Park. 

Helen first married Carl Nommensen, son of Christian Nommensen and Christina Martinsen, on 27 March 1915 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington. Carl was born on 29 Mar 1889 in Washington and died on 10 Jan 1969 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington. They were divorced on 20 June 1916 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington. They had no children.

Helen next married William Sherry White, son of William Butler White and Susanne (Susie) Sherry, on 16 Sep 1919 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California. William was born on 1 Oct 1890 in Los Angeles County, California and died on 15 Apr 1966 in San Mateo, San Mateo, California at age 75 They had no children. The marriage ended in divorce date unknown.

Helen last married Jack Lawrence Sherry date unknown. Lawrence was born on 29 Nov 1896 in Ohio and died on 16 Dec 1966 in Los Angeles County, California at age 70. They had no children. They were divorced date unknown but before 1939 when Helen died.

2-Jay Otis Baker was born on 11 Aug 1902 in Laverne, Rock, Minnesota, died on 15 Sep 1947 in Riverton, Fremont, Wyoming at age 45 from complications of diabetes, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. 

Jay married Zula Virginia Warren, daughter of George C Warren and Lita Slapp, on 24 Oct 1929 in Miles City, Custer, Montana. Zulla was born on 12 Sep 1911 in Colorado, died on 23 Jun 1986 in Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana at age 74, and was buried in Boulder Cemetery, Boulder, Jefferson, Montana. They had one daughter: Lita Jacqueline. They were divorced on Dec 7 1932.

2-Thelma Gwendolyn Baker was born on 4 Jun 1906 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington, died on 6 Mar 1997 in Riverton, Fremont, Wyoming at age 90 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Thelma married Antone Rex Snyder, son of Ora B Snyder and Bertha Lewis. Antone was born on 24 Sep 1898 in Natrona County, Wyoming, died on 5 Dec 1967 in Riverton, Fremont, Wyoming, at age 69, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. They had three children: Richard, Gale, and Burdette.

Lauretta next married James William Lawton (William J) on 11 Jan 1911 in Olympia, Thurston, Washington. They left Washington in 1915 to homestead in Montana. William was born on 18 Apr 1861 in Page Brook, Chenango, New York, died on 10 Feb 1919 in Rosebud County, Montana at age 58, and was buried in Memorial Vale Cemetery Hysham, Treasure, Montana.

Lauretta last married (Grant) George Murphy, son of George Washington Murphy and Mary Ann Taylor, on 1 Aug 1925 in Buffalo, Johnson, Wyoming. George was born on 11 Feb 1877 in Wheatland, Hickory, Missouri, died on 10 Nov 1935 in Natrona County, Wyoming and was buried in Highland Cemetery.


The continuing  question in researching Lauretta's life seems to be where is Lauretta and who is she living with now. Except for a few years in Minnesota when her children were small she seems to have always been on the go looking for adventures and greener pastures. She traveled a lot back and forth from Wyoming and Montana to Washington and California and even to Illinois to visit her sisters there.

Lauretta Fisher was born on 1 Dec 1867 in Dayton, Webster, Iowa to Jacob Ferdinand Fischer and Dorothea Grabenhorst Fisher. She was the youngest child and third daughter of Jacob and Dorothea's children: her brother Henry was born in 1856, her sister Caroline in 1858, her sister Jennie born in 1860, her brother Frederick born in 1863 and her brother Max born in 1867. Lauretta's father died before she was born on October 15, 1867. Her mother continued to manage their farm located between Dayton and Pilot Mound until March 1871 when she married Barnhardt Wolf and moved her family to his farm west of Hooppole, Illinois in Henry County. Lauretta was not quite four years old at the time of the move. Dorothea and Barnhardt would go on to give Lauretta three more siblings: Ben born in 1872, Lovina born in 1874 and Maggie born in 1877.

Lauretta's brother, Henry Fisher, moved with his wife and family Rock County, Minnesota in the late 1880's to farm near Luverne. Lauretta moved with them and on 29 Dec 1889 she and William H Baker were married in Valley Springs, Minnehaha, South Dakota because Lauretta was pregnant. Her daughter, Iza, was born six months later. Lauretta must have wanted to hide that she was pregnant when she and William were married because she erased the original date on her copy of the marriage certificate and put in 29 December 1888 instead. William and Lauretta farmed in Rock County near Magnolia and went on to have five more children while they were in Minnesota: Bernice in 1892, Lettie in 1893, Bernard in 1895, Helen in 1897 and Jay in 1902. Lettie died as a baby in 1893. Around1904 or 1905 Lauretta and William moved to Shelton in Washington state on the western side of Puget Sound. Their daughter Thelma was born there in 1906. After Shelton they moved to Olympia and sometime between 1907 and 1910 they were divorced.

On January 11, 1911 Lauretta married a widower, William James Lawton, whose wife, Maria Matilda Hoppes, had died in 1907. Lauretta and William left Olympia in 1915 and moved to Montana to homestead on Horse Creek in Treasure County, Montana. Lauretta's two sons, Bernard and Jay, went with them.  By that time Lauretta's oldest daughter, Iza,  had married Jacob Frisch and was settled with three children in Olympia. Jacob had developed respiratory problems so they joined the move to Montana to see if a change of climate would be beneficial. Jacob hated the isolation so they moved back to Olympia    Nine year old Thelma moved back with them. Bernice had left for California to marry Arthur Barnes in 1915 and Helen joined her there a year later after her brief marriage and divorce from Carl Nommensen. Both Bernice and Helen had contracted TB as children and they needed to live in a warm, dry climate for their health.

William died in Montana on 10 Feb 1919 at age 58. That year the summer was very dry and the range was left without much grass. Winter came in early and cold with a lot of snow and many ranches went out of business. Lauretta's sons, Bernard and Jay, were struggling with the Horse Creek homestead but managed to hold on. Bernard had returned from the navy and became engaged to the schoolteacher, Estella Broadbent, who he would marry on on 19 Dec 1919.  Lauretta may have stayed on the homestead after William's death to keep house for Bernard and Jay but a December 5, 1919 article in The Geneseo Republic newspaper has her in Geneseo, Illinois for Thanksgiving with her brother Max and sister Jennie and their families. She has not been found in the 1920 census in either Montana, Washington or California or anywhere else for that matter. It may be that she was in transit and just missed the census that year. What is known is that she and Thelma and Jay ended up in Casper Wyoming in Natrona County in the early 1920's in the middle of the oil boom in the Salt Creek Oil Fields.

The Salt Creek Oil Field is the largest pool of oil that has been found in the Rocky Mountains and is one of the largest in the United States. The first well to strike oil was drilled in 1889 but at that time there were few uses for oil and nothing much happened until a gusher was struck in 1908.  By the 1920's the area had became a boom town drawing thousands of men, mostly veterans of World War 1 and some families including Lauretta's.  Everyone wanted to get in on the act and make some money including Thelma's future husband, Rex Snyder, and his father Ora Snyder.

Ora Snyder was a sheep rancher who homesteaded in Natrona County in the late 1890's. His son, Antone Rex Snyder, was born on the family ranch on 24 September
1898  In 1923 Ora took out patents on land on Castle Creek on the Salt Creek Oil Fields in Natrona County and founded the town of Snyder where the depot for the North and South Railroad serving the oil fields was to be built  At the time of his marriage to Thelma in 1923, Rex was selling the town lots for development including surface oil and mineral rights. Rex had been one of fifteen ex servicemen who had filed a successful lawsuit in 1919 for the right of their homestead patents to the surface mineral and oil rights after the federal government withdrew homestead patents from the oil companies in 1914 but left them with the right to lease the oil rights. The oil companies had fought to keep homestead rights to the land and the attendant mineral and oil surface rights but were denied and could only claim right to the oil under the surface.

Snyder was just one of the towns that arose overnight during the oil boom but except for Edgerton and Midwest they did not survive the ending of the boom and the great depression in the 1930's. It does not appear that founding the town of Snyder brought the Snyder family much financial success either.  In the 1925 Casper City Directory Rex and Thelma are living in Snyder and Rex is acting as a salesman for Ora's land company. However, in the 1928 Casper Directory they are still living in Snyder but are raising purebred poultry and chicks. By the1930 census Rex is working as a welder in a machine shop in Natrona and there is no mention of Snyder..

Lauretta married an oilman, Grant George Murphy, on 1 Aug 1925 in Buffalo, Johnson, Wyoming. Grant was ten years younger than Lauretta being born on 11 Feb 1877 in Missouri. Grant had oil interests in Colorado, Nevada- Colorado and Wyoming and he was constantly traveling from one location to the other which may have appealed to Lauretta and her love of travel. Nothing has been found for either Grant or Lauretta in the 1930 census so once again Lauretta may have been in transit from one place to another. In her brother Max's obituary in the Geneseo Republic dated 24 June 1931 she is listed as his sister Mrs. Loretta Murphy of Wyoming and in his obituary in the Davenport Daily Times dated July 21, 1931 she is listed as Loretta Murphy of Los Angeles. There is also a photo in the Photographs section above of Lauretta and Helen in Los Angeles labeled early 1930's. Grant died on October 10, 1935 in Casper, Natrona, Wyoming. His obituary makes no mention of Lauretta and states he was living alone in his apartment in Casper and that funeral arrangements were pending arrival of his brother, Bruce Murphy. It sounds like he and Lauretta had divorced by the time of his death. A brief notice in The Casper Star Tribune in April of 1935 states that "Mrs. Rex Snyder is enjoying a visit from her sister and mother, Mrs. L.B. Murphy" so Lauretta was obviously not with Grant then.

In the 1940 census, Lauretta is living next to Rex and Thelma fourteen miles west of  Riverton in Fremont County, Wyoming. It appears they are either right beside or on the Jim Deardorff Ranch which is interesting because that is where Lauretta's son, Jay Otis, was working when he died in 1947.

In the last few years of her life Lauretta was suffering with ill health and took turns living with her remaining children. At the time of her death on December 25, 1945, she was living in Olympia, Washington with Iza. She was cremated and requested Iza to send her ashes to Bernard to be buried in Memorial Vale Cemetery with her second husband, William Lawton. It is not known if her ashes were officially buried in the cemetery or if Bernard just unofficially scattered or buried them by William Lawson. Somehow it seems fitting that even at the last, Lauretta's actual whereabouts remain a mystery.



Lauretta Fisher
circa 1887

Lauretta, Rex Snyder, Thelma Snyder, Bernard Baker
Thelma and Bernard's children 1925



Lauretta, Bernice, Helen, Betty and Iza

Helen and Lauretta
Los Angeles 1930

Lauretta and Grandson
Bobby Baker 1944

A special thanks to Denise Batey for sharing her photographs

Documents and Articles


Morning Olympian
Sept 23, 1915


Morning Olympian
Jan 16, 1931

In honor of Mrs. Lauretta Lawton,
correspondent of Olympia Homestead
No. 356  Brotherhood of American
Yeomen, who is soon to leave the
city, a farewell session was held by
the lodge Tuesday evening. Mr. and
Mrs. Lawton  are going to Montana
to make their future home, they
having taken up a homestead there.



Lauretta Murphy          

Grant G Murphy

Morning Olympian
December 26, 1945


Morning Olympian
December 26, 1945


Morning Olympian
December 27, 1945

  Casper Star Tribune
November 13, 1935

Land Records

Treasure County, Montana
Homestead Records
Lauretta Lawton
Lauretta Murphy



Census Records

1895 census (Minnesota State census)
WH Baker age 22 born in Minnesota farmer
Laretta Baker age 27 born in Iowa
Iza age 5 born in Minnesota
Bernice age 1 year 6 months born in Minnesota
Magnolia, Rock, Minnesota
Roll:V290_93, Page 2
1900 census  
William H Baker age 27 born aug 1873 in Minnesota
Lauretta E Baker age 30
Iza L Baker age 9
Bernard Baker age 4
Bernice Baker age 7
Helen Baker age 2
Ida Thompson age 16
Annie C Aanenson age 17
Luverne, Rock, Minnesota; Roll: 787; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0256; FHL microfilm: 1240787
1910 census  
Lauretta Baker age 42 widowed (note: actually divorced not widowed)
Iza L Baker age 20
Bernice R Baker age 17
Bernard W Baker age14
Helen M Baker age 12
Jay O Baker age 8
Thelma G Baker age 4
Olympia Ward 5, Thurston, Washington; Roll: T624_1672; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0307; FHL microfilm: 1375685
1920 census not found
1930 census not found
1940 census  
Lorretta Murphy widow age 72 born in Iowa
Fremont, Wyoming; Roll: T627_4570; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 7-12

Vital Records

Marriage Records


Lauretta Fisher and William H Baker
Marriage Certificate
Note: Lauretta changed the year on the certificate to hide the
fact that she was pregnant at the time of their marriage


Lauretta Baker and William James Lawton
Marriage Records


Lauretta Lawton and Grant George Murphy
Marriage Record


Death Records  

Lauretta Murphy Death Certificate


  Name: Lauretta E Murphy
Gender: Female
Age: 78
Birth Year: About 1867
Death Date: 25 Dec 1945
Death Place: Olympia, Washington
Certificate Number: 234


James William (William J) Lawton
Memorial Vale Cemetery
Hysham, Treasure, Montana.


Lauretta was cremated and requested Iza to send her ashes to Bernard to be buried in Memorial Vale Cemetery with her second husband, William Lawton.
It is not known if her ashes were officially buried in the cemetery or if Bernard unofficially scattered or buried them by William.



Title Page

For questions or comments contact:

Stephany Smith