In 1937 newspapers across the country, including the New York Times, ran a story about a 63-year-old Iowa woman who had spent her entire life working a 250-acre farm near Bladensburg in Wapello County. By all accounts Nettie Timmonds was a hard-working woman. She cared for a 10-room farmhouse, churned butter, canned vegetables and baked cakes. During the summer months she raised 200 to 400 chickens. This was newsworthy not because Nettie was an unmarried woman, but because she endured multiple physical challenges—including blindness—most of her life.