Ma Yenneh Traub Keller, one of the oldest citizens of Fuamah District, Lower Bong County, died on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at her home in Barnersville Estate, Monrovia.
She was 105.
Ma Yenneh was the youngest sister of the late Reverend Ezra D. Keller, first president of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, Senator Byron Z. Traub, and his siblings, Yie Kifwe Traub, Nae Kpannah Traub, younger brother Frank Traub and Ma Yenneh Traub Keller, were all born in Totoquelle, Lofa County in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Beginning in early 19th century, these Keller and Traub siblings, all of the Gbandi ethnic group, walked along the St. Paul River and crossed into Haindii, Lower Bong County and settled among the Kpelle people, who inhabited the Lower Bong area.
At that time, it was part of the Central Province, until 1964, when Lower and Upper Bong became Bong County, one of the four new counties that President William V.S. Tubman created as the crowning achievement of his National Unification Policy.
Ma Yenneh did not come to Lower Bong along with the first group of her siblings.
Beautiful, ebony, medium height and strong, she remained in Totoquelle, married and gave birth to 10 children, but all of them successively died! Then she gave birth to her eldest offspring, Siaffa Kpatawu.
Immediately upon learning of the birth of Siaffa, the Traubs in Haindii sent their sister Nae Kpannah to Totoquelle, Lofa County, and by night, she brought her sister Yenneh and her infant son to Haindii, where she remained almost the rest of her life.
In Haindii, Yenneh married Mr. Zenneh Keller and five children were born to this union. Her husband Zenneh and two of the children predeceased her.
The surviving children are elder brother Siaffa, younger brother Kona, Sarah Raines and Mrs. Dumalo Dennis.
Ma Yenneh, until her passing last Sunday April 28, 2019, maintained almost total recall and spoke fluent Gbandi and Kpelle.
A few years ago, the Daily Observer sent a reporter, Lofa-born Edwin Fayia, to interview Ma Yenneh. Fayia returned with a great story and announced that he had interviewed her in both Kpelle and mostly Gbandi. Fayia, whose mother is Gbandi and father Kissi, speaks both Gbandi and Kissi fluently.
Ma Yenneh’s youngest daughter Dumalo, who was raised by Kenneth and Mae Gene Best, and Dumalo’s husband Jefferson Dennis, also of Lower Bong, have lived and worked in the United States since 2001. Dumalo has worked in the healthcare field since her arrival in the USA. Jeff has also qualified as a social worker.
The funeral will take place in Haindii on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the Trinity Lutheran Church at 10:30 a.m.
Interment will follow at the Traub family cemetery in Kwenta, near Haindii.
Ma Yenneh is survived by her daughters, Ms. Sarah Raines and Mrs. Dumalo Traub Dennis (Jefferson); sons Siaffa Kpatawu and Kona Traub; and scores of grand and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and many other relatives in Liberia, Uganda and the USA.