My maternal great grandparents are Adolph and Nannie Voegtly from Allegheny, Pennsylvania. A decade ago, my father started researching his side of the family back to the 1400's, so I'm working my way back on my mother's side. Through Ancestry.com, have finally reached back to the early 1700's with this family. I know I sound like I'm getting a kickback from that website since I've plugged it so many times, but I assure you I'm not. Because that website been in existence for so long, many other people have already done extensive research and if you're lucky enough to be related to any of them, you can then build on what work they've already done. This is the case with my maternal grandmother's family, the Voegtlys, as well as my paternal grandparents, the Stangelands.
My great-grandmother Nannie was born in Pennsylvania in 1878 as Nancy Mitchell Hays. In 1897 Nannie married Adolph N. Voegtly. In 1900 she had her first child, my grandmother, Sarah Louise Voegtly. Three years later she had a son, John.
In 1892, at age 14, Nanny went door-to-door selling Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book and Household Physician. In the paperwork I just found, I discovered this contract, which allowed Miss Hays to be an agent to sell this book. It was the go-to book for information in that day and age, with advice from recipes to treating diseases.
It does makes one wonder whether it was normal for a 14-year old girl to be working at all. And how long did she do this work? I'd like to think that she met her future husband while pounding the pavement shilling these books.