Myrtie (or Myrtle) Pearl Pennoyer was born on November 22, 1878, and immediately given up for adoption. She was adopted by George and Lydia G. Pennoyer and raised in Cortland. This little girl would live a long and productive life which touched both people who knew her and people who did not.

Myrtie (or Myrtle) Pearl Pennoyer

George and Pearl had but one daughter, a little girl named Laura who would sadly die at 18 months. They raised a foster son and took in another child for a time. They opened their home to fresh air children over the years as well. Pearl was a member of the Twentieth Century Club, the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union), Cortland County Historical Society, the YWCA, the King’s Daughters, and the First Congregational Church. She was active at the Children’s Home and worked there often. Pearl established a scholarship through the YWCA in memory of her daughter Laura, and there is a Pearl Jenman scholarship through the Twentieth Century Club. (I was unable to determine if these scholarships are still actively given based on the material in our files.)

George Jenman died in 1953, leaving Pearl a widow for the next 27 years. She kept herself busy in the years following George’s death. Pearl was a talented crafter, and she excelled at needlework which she shared with friends. She was generous with her homemade creations such as crocheted bedspreads and hand-embroidered aprons. She made hundreds of pillows for the Red Cross to give to disaster victims. Pearl kept a large flower and vegetable garden, and she shared the fruits of her labor with shut-ins and those less fortunate. She believed that hard work helped her reach her 100th birthday.
It seems that Pearl Jenman was an exemplary model for a kind and active community member, and it is fitting that a street be named for her charity and hard work. The home at 196 Tompkins Street has a beautiful peony garden with many metal sculptures of birds, so it’s nice to know that Pearl’s graceful spirit lives on where she spent so many hours of her life in gentle service to her fellow community members.
Does anyone remember Pearl Jenman? Perhaps you have a treasured handmade object she made that you can share a photo of. It would be a treat to see that her handiwork lives on. ~Tabitha

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