Julia Farley Loving
Born in Lovington, Virginia, Julia Farley Loving made her way to St. Paul, Minnesota as a teenager. When she was approached by Patty Flandrau Selmes (see biography) to accompany her and her new husband, Tilden Selmes, to their ranch near Mandan, Dakota Territory (North Dakota today) to keep house, Julia agreed and went west to homestead with the Selmes family. This was the beginning of a relationship that spanned the lives of the two women and gave Loving the opportunity to acquire a good education and travel to Europe and the White House.
In 1885, Patty found that she was pregnant and wanted to spend her confinement in Boone County. Writing to Julia Dinsmore, she expressed her need for Loving: “I am afraid Julia is afraid of the loneliness of Boone though I know she will come with me. The very thought of losing her unnerves me, I wish you would write her a note and ask her to stick to me. She knows my ways and is such a comfort.” Loving did accompany the Selmes family when they returned to North Dakota and now had the added responsibility of taking care of the infant, Isabella.
After the terrible blizzard of 1887-1888, the Selmes family gave up on the ranch and made St. Paul their home. Julia Loving continued to work and live with the family, having developed close bonds with them. Tilden Selmes died in 1895 at Julia Dinsmore’s home with his family and Julia Loving around him. The two Julia’s developed a close relationship that involved writing each other letters and sending each other small tokens of appreciation each Christmas. According to the family’s oral history, Julia Dinsmore sent Loving’s brother, William, to the New England Conservatory of Music, an experience that made it possible for him to be appointed Chief Musician of the Philippine Constabulary band.
Tilden’s death altered the small family considerably. Isabella and Julia Loving went to live with Patty’s father and step-mother, Charles and Rebecca Flandrau, in St. Paul where the young girl went to school. In the summer, Julia, Isabella and Patty were reunited at the Dinsmore home. It was during these years that Loving learned to speak French quite fluently. When Isabella turned sixteen, her Aunt Sally invited her, Patty, and Julia to stay in New York City where there were better schools for young ladies. In 1905, Loving accompanied Isabella and some of her friends to the White House, where there was a party for the young ladies. When asked later what most impressed her about that visit, Loving said that it was entering the house through the front door.
Julia Loving continued to work for the Selmes, Ferguson, and Cutcheon family, traveling to New Mexico and California, keeping house and watching over the two young Ferguson children, Martha and Bobby. She died in Los Angeles in 1950 and her body was flown back to Kentucky to be buried on the Dinsmore farm near Patty and Tilden Selmes. When Martha Ferguson Breasted, Isabella’s daughter, died in 1994, she had her body cremated and had her ashes placed in Julia Farley Loving’s grave.