This Page is for my "Nanny Rie", She was born Marie Eleanor Mansfield. The subject of her birth was the center of a lot of controversy, as she was born out of wedlock in April of 1912. Until Just recently Our family never knew the true or whole story surrounding her birth.. It was all speculation and we had no idea it had made front page news in the San Francisco Examiner as well as the Chronicle. What all the articles didn't say about my Nanny Rie was that she had contracted polio at the age of 14 months when Mrs. Banta had brought her to Mrs. Porteous' to live. You can see the braces she wore in the one article with a picture of her at 4 years old.


My Grandmother was raised by Anna Porteous, her appointed foster mother. A man Named Mr. Starkey used to come and visit, bring presents and had paid for her support until she was 12 , when he died. A lady who called herself Marguerite Mansfield used to also come and visit my grandmother.. she called herself Aunt Marguerite.. And was my grandmothers confidant... When Marie was 16 Anna Porteous died, Aunt Marguerite then told her that " Mrs. Banta and Ralph Starkey are your parents, don't you ever let anyone else tell you different!" Seems she had caught them at a party. Being way too friendly in an upstairs room.
Baby Marie it to the right of Mr. Porteous

Those were all the clues I had to go on when I started this journey. My grandmother never had a birth certificate and had to find an elementary school teacher she had when living in Fairfax and attending school to vouch as to her birth so she could get a job and social security. She was told she had been born in Lemoore California, quite a ways from the San Francisco hotel room that she was actually born in. So many lies perpetuated by naivete . This story has been prven out through DNA that "Nel" Mansfield Hanbury Banta was my Grandmother's mother... !

Anna Porteous had protected Marie , she never had a clue as to what was and had gone on in her life. She entered the world extremely naive and completely unknowing of all of the dangers that were out in the real world. When Anna Porteous died her daughter Maude who was 10 years Marie's senior took over the rearing of her... that is when Marie's life took a terrible turn. Maude was very cruel, my grandmother was forced to wait on her hand and foot, do all the chores and on a whim Maude would take out after her with a Cat-n-Nine tails, for those of you who don't know what that is: a Cat-n-Nine tails is a whip with nine strips of leather attached to the shank. At the end of each strip of leather is a knot or a little ball of lead. Let me tell you it would more than smart to get whipped by that!  

The stories she told of Maude were surreal to me as a child I could not imagine someone being so mean.

 Maude Porteous

It finally came to a head one night after Marie had gotten her own apartment, she was 20. Maude came over for a visit unannounced. My grandmother had had a hard day at work and was enjoying her freedom. She had purchased a bottle of wine (my Nanny Rie never drank) and was sitting down to relax and have a glass of wine when Maude walked in. Maude flew into a rage, she grabbed the bottle of wine and broke it in the sink, turned and slapped Marie ranting all the while. I guess that was the straw that broke the camel's back, my grandmother snapped and pummeled Maude until she no longer moved, My grandmother had thought she had killed her. As you can see by the pictures below, My Nanny Rie grew to be a substantial woman.... she was far from frail. Maude spent two weeks in the hospital recovering and never talked to Marie again.

Marie's life took many twists and turns in the years to come. That will all be written later as my mom and sisters will have there own recollections of Marie, the best Mom and Grandmother any child could ever hope for... She has been my inspiration!

 Nanny Rie Loved to dress up and act goofy, Almost as much as we enjoyed sharing it with her.  She did have style!!  


I don't know what is in her hand in this picture. It looks like a knife!! Watch Out!!


This is Nanny Rie at 20 years old in 1932

part1 I part2 I part3 I Part 4 I Part5

a letter from Mrs. Banta to Little 1941

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