Cora Floella McClanahan Schwartz

Goodsprings Historical Society

Cora McClanahan was born Nov. 12, 1894 in Douglas Co. Missouri. She and her twin Laura were the last children born to Phillip and Melinda Jane McClanahan. In 1916, the family moved to Goodsprings, NV. After getting off the train at Jean, the family traveled to Goodsprings in a buckboard pulled by donkeys. Cora went to work in the family laundry in Goodsprings. Mrs. George Fayle introduced her to Otto Schwartz at a local dance.

In 1917, Otto and Cora married and moved to the Copperside Mine camp where they set up housekeeping and Cora cooked for the miners. In 1918, they moved back into Goodsprings and purchased Quinn's Ice Cream Parlor which they ran as a restaurant and store. They purchased the larger Jensen Mercantile two years later and moved there, living on one side and operating the store on the other. The Schwartz Mercantile provided the town with groceries, fresh meat and produce, mining equipment, dry goods, clothing, coal, medicine, newspapers and magazines. Three daughters blessed their marriage: Jane(1919), Elizabeth(1920) and Mary Ellen(1926). In 1934, they liquidated the store's stock to Sheehan and Houssels but continued living in the building.

While Otto used his new free time to get back to mining ventures, Cora got more involved in community causes. She was the Nevada Power Company resident agent from 1958-1980. She was a chairman for the March of Dimes, a Civil Defense leader, a Red Cross volunteer and a registrar of voters. She created stockings for the annual school Christmas programs and organized fundraisers and social events at the Community Club House. She was a politically active Democrat and arranged political rallies for local and State candidates. She was a devout Christian and taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School all her life. One of her greatest joys was the completion of the Goodsprings Community Church in 1978.

The door to Cora's house was always open to family and friends. Aunt Rose Grissel, Miss Sarah Williams, her brothers Will and Sam McClanahan, her niece and nephew Trina and Walter Schwartz and many others all lived in the Schwartz home. Cora was an excellent cook and she loved having company for dinner. Holiday dinners with more than 20 guests were common in the Schwartz home. Cora was known as "Aunt Cory" to her friends, but she was "Gram" to her family: Mary Ellen, Jane Fleming(Edmund), Elizabeth Jorgensen(Richard), grandchildren Stephen Fleming, Mary Fleming Blake(Donn), and great grandchildren Brennan Fleming, Michael Fleming and Timothy Fleming.

Although her family tried to get her to move to Las Vegas, she refused to leave Goodsprings. In her 80s, she still stoked her coal and wood stove, baked rolls and pies, and walked to the Post Office to collect her mail.

In 1978, Nevada Governor Mike O'Callaghan and the Clark County Commission selected Cora as one of Nevada's three outstanding Senior citizens.

Cora died in 1980 and is buried in the Goodsprings Cemetery.

Family History by Mary Blake 2007

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