Almyra Brooks 1849-1927

Almyra Brooks, about 18 years of age.

Almyra (Myra) Brooks was born the 9th of June in 18491. Her family was most likely living in Albany, New York at the time, although we do not know that for sure as they do not show up in directories, or the census, in 1850. But they are listed in the directory in 1849 and 1852, at 162 and 152 Patroon St. respectively. She was the 6th child and the fourth girl born to her parents, so she was pretty much one of several middle children. Her mother’s ancestry is pretty much a mystery, as we know only the names of her mother’s parents, and that they were both born in New York, that is it. Her father’s ancestry is a lot of Dutch, with some English thrown in, on both his father’s and mother’s side.

Now, while Myra might have been born in Albany, she did most of her growing up in Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont. Which is where her parents moved sometime about 1854-’55, when the family last appeared in directory in Albany. She was about 7 years old.

Her father supported the family as a cigar manufacturer / tobacconist in Albany, and when they moved to Burlington, Vermont he continued at this occupation. I wonder if the children learned how to roll cigars to help out with the business. It is unclear if they had a shop in the bottom of the house and sold wares there, or if he just manufactured the cigars and then sold them to local grocers, cigar shops, or dry goods stores.

The image just below is the earliest image found for the property, (taken in 1933 when they were fixing the streets of Burlington). It appears from early maps that they lived earliest on the property on the right side of picture, then they moved to the left side by the 1870s or so.

Fixing the street their business/home is on in 1933. From the Burlington Archives.
Current view of house. Google Street View.

Almyra probably attended school, but for how long I just don’t know. I will guess that at a minimum she went until the 8th grade. Although it is possible that she went through high school.

Almyra was another ancestress who was a city girl. In fact it appears that for at least a few generations back her family were all city folk, who ran businesses or worked in trades. Her parents had some money and were, if not well to do, then at least comfortable. They lived in a decent house and owned several properties.

After she would have been done with school Almyra most likely helped her mother around the house, and possibly even helped her father make the cigars he sold to support his family.

Then one day in about 1872 she met a man by the name of Dillon Franklin Hatch. Dillon was going places, he had a nicely established moneyed background, not rich, but well to do. He was a sober man with strong values and good work ethic. All-in-all a pretty good catch.

Shortly after their marriage Almyra’s new husband and her brother-in-law, David Walker, started their own business, the Walker & Hatch Lumber Company. A business which kept the Hatch family in silks for at least 10 years. Until the day everything went “tits up”.

This major set-back did not keep her husband down for long though, he found a job running a furniture factory in Ohio. So the family packed up their household and moved west to make a new beginning for themselves. And it was here they stayed.

D. F. Hatch and family left town last week for their new home in Cleveland, O. Mr. Hatch is to be mill superintendent of the Sturtevant Lumber Company there.

‘Various Burlington Brevities’, Argus and Patriot, 6-29-1887, volume XXXVII, Issue 31, page 2, Montpelier Vermont.

By this time, 1887, Almyra and Dillon had had three children together. However, they had lost their eldest child Harry in 1883, when he was 9, to croup, an “inflammation of the larynx and trachea in children, associated with infection and causing breathing difficulties.” There is about a 9 year gap between the birth of their first child, Harry, and the second, Florence, who had been born a few month before Harry died. It’s possible that Almyra had a few miscarriages during that time, or, they just couldn’t get pregnant. Census records confirm that she had 4 children, only 3 of whom survived to adulthood.

Details of 1900 federal census Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio:
HATCH, Almira,  wife, white, female, born Jun 1849, age 51, married 27 years, had 4 children, 3 living, born NY, parents born NY, can read write, speak english

page 11A [83 written], 3rd Ward; ED 42[?]; SD 12[3?]1; series T623 roll 1264 p25; 1 June; lines 45-50; 235 Deadend[?] Decker[?]; 243/258

Their last child, Charlotte, would be born in Ohio in 1888.

When they first moved to Cleveland the family lived at 101 Sibley, in downtown area (see map below).

Section 40 is where their house was, 101 Sibley (later 74 Sibley), and the business Dillon was running is in section 26 (see red/purple dots on map).
Up close view of property on Sanborn map in 1886; the house and other buildings are along the far left edge of property, Sibley street is at the bottom of the map.
This photo of Almyra’s three children was taken about 1893, a date estimated by guessing the ages of the children — Kate about 10, Herbert about 8, and Charlotte about 5.

The photograph, just above, of Almyra’s children, was taken probably at the Sibley St. property in Cleveland, and probably in the 1890s. We know the family was living at 101/74 Sibley St. using directories. However, these Cleveland directories skip 1893-1895, so we can’t confirm that they were here at that time, and they are not in the directories from 1896 to 1900. (By 1900 the family was living in Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio.) My belief that the photograph was taken in Cleveland seems to matches the Sanborn map showing the property. The large bit of land to the left, the driveway to Sibley street in front of the house, the house is off to the right, out of view of the photo. (In other words, this photo appears to be taken looking down the property to Sibley Street.) This also is a lovely historical image of downtown residential areas in Cleveland at this time. Unfortunately the property is now part of a business and parking lot by the Freeway system.

Current satellite view of same part of Cleveland from Sanborn map in 1886, see dots for house and business locations. Looks like they tore down all of downtown Cleveland and rebuilt it from scratch.

Dillon and Almyra don’t appear to have ever purchased their own home, always renting instead. They moved around town a bit, but not excessively. Except for the short time they lived in Sandusky, Ohio, they were usually found around the Cleveland area.

Almyra raised her children and kept a home for her husband. She probably entertained socially due to her husbands position as a factory manager. They had money and were financially well off.

I know pretty much nothing else about my great grandmother. She hasn’t shown up in many newspaper articles. So far.

As Dillon was a follower of temperance, I would imagine that Almyra was probably of the same inclination, her sister having been a member of temperance groups in Vermont. Maybe they celebrated with a cold glass of lemonade when prohibition was passed in 1920. She most likely was a member of several ladies organizations or charities in town. The type of activities that occupied many a middle class ladies time. As of yet I do not know what those actives might have been.

The family was musically inclined. The photo below of the piano in the parlor shows Almyra playing. Dillon participated in several local musical entertainments back in Vermont, and was part of the Glee Club before he married Almyra. He possibly continued these same activities in Ohio, and might have encouraged his children to study music. Although, I don’t believe that their daughter Charlotte continued any interest in music after she married and left home (I am sure that someone will let me know if I am wrong). Her sister Florence, however, taught piano to make money.2

Almyra did go back to Vermont for visits as seen in this 1922 article (they got her ‘of’ wrong).

LOCAL NEWSCAMBRIDGE NEWS
Mrs. Schweig, Mrs. Sinclair and Mrs. Humphrey of Underhill and Mrs. D. F. Hatch of Boston[?] were guests of Mrs. Mary Wallace and Mrs. James Watson Friday and Saturday

News and citizen. (Morrisville, Vt. ;), 22 Nov. 1922, image 5; (Morrisville, Vt. 😉 1881-current. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn97067613/1922-11-22/ed-1/seq-5/>

She was also back in Vermont for her sister Charlotte’s funeral in 1906.

Burlington weekly free press. [volume], August 16, 1906, Page 5, Image 5

No doubt there were other trips back east when needed. And there was even a trip out West to Washington State, where Dillon also bought property. Maybe they were investing in lumber. After all Dillon was part of the building trade back home in Ohio.

While I might not know much about Almyra’s life specifically, I can imagine what living in Cleveland might have been like. It was a bustling growing city, full of interesting possibilities.

For example–Almyra probably shopped downtown at the Arcade, which was built in 1888:

This is a beautiful building. Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Cleveland made history in the year 1914 when they installed the first electric traffic lights to be put in anywhere in the world. Maybe Almyra went through these lights when she headed with family to the beach to enjoy a little relaxation.

Did Almyra drive? Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.
1905 A popular spot in Cleveland on the shores of Lake Michigan. Euclid Beach, public domain, Wikimedia Commons.
1909 panorama view of Cleveland, public domain, Wikimedia Commons.
1912 panorama view of Cleveland, public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

By 1910 all the children had left the nest. Now is was just Dillon and her. Although, neither of her two eldest actually went too far, they both stayed in the Cleveland area. Charlotte, the youngest, is the one who moved farther away.

When Almyra died the 20th of June in 1927 (just over a year after Dillon’s death), the only surviving member of her family was her eldest brother John Brooks, jr. He died about three years later at 92 years of age. They had a total of 7 grandchildren to indulge while they were around, two more were born after they had both died.

Hatch-Almira Brooks, wife of the late Dillon, mother of Herbert Hatch, Mrs. Florence Hart and Mrs. Charlotte Shaw, 1632 Elberon Avenue, on Monday, June 20. Remains at Charles Melbourne & Son’s 12737 Euclid avenue, where services will be held on Wednesday, June 22, at 3 p. m.

Almira Brooks Hatch entry  Id#: 0137853; database gathered by the staff of the Cleveland Public Library.

In the parlor picture above you can see a silver tea pot in the room beyond, that silver tea pot is now in my sister’s home. I love having this picture of items that have been passed down in our family, and seeing them being used by our ancestors.

(Related Hatch Article about her son Herbert.)

Sources:
1.  John Henry Brooks file, cert. no. SC955 486, pension file can no. 19689, bundle no. 20, (Washington: National Archives) ordered online so do not know what microfilm was searched. Dec 6, 2006. Pension file contained transcribed births from bible that had been given to Almira and John Brooks when they married, by John’s mother.

2.  1930 Federal Census; Census Place: East Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0585; FHL microfilm: 2341518

Gertrude Cain 1877-1962

Gertrude Cain. I don’t know, but for some reason in this picture she looks very Irish to me. (This image has been enhanced and colorized at MyHeritage.)

Gertrude Cain, daughter of John Cain and Carrie Rosa, was born the 9th of August 1877 in Oconto, Oconto County, Wisconsin1. She is my great grandmother.

Her ancestors were all Irish on her father’s side, and a mix of German, Dutch, Scottish, and English (with a royal gateway ancestor thrown in) on her mother’s side.

Gertrude grew up in a large Catholic family of 8 children in Oconto. Her mother had actually had 10 children, according to census2 records, but her eldest sister Elizabeth died when Gert was 13 years old3, and her mother had another child that never showed up in census records.

I can speculate on her upbringing, as I will for most of my ancestors, but certain things will most likely be true. This we do know, Gertrude’s father was a hard working Irish Catholic man who had partially been raised by his grandparents. I am doubtful that he had much of a hand in the bringing up of his own children, but then that would be in line with the times. Carrie, her mother, was definitely Catholic and it is possible she became Catholic because of her husband (Carrie’s parents were Methodist). Gertrude did not practice catholicism when she left home. In fact this gossip bit appeared in the local paper on 1901:

September 26, 1901 c3 — Mrs. V. H. Johns visited relatives and friends in Gillett this week [also donated $1 to German Lutheran church building committee]

Northern Wisconsin Advertiser, Wabeno, WI (Madison, WHS micro PH 73-1888)

Gertrude went to school until the 8th grade and then she was done, (this we know because of an entry in the 19404 census which asks what the highest grade was that they had completed.) As her mother had all those kids to raise and she was now the eldest, Gertrude most likely had quite a hand in helping out around the house, and keeping everything in order. Getting a higher education was not on her agenda, and it doesn’t appear that her parents encouraged her to pursue any further education either. The family did not live on a farm, her father worked for the lumber mill as a pile driver on the river. She grew up a ‘City’ girl in what they called “French Town” in Oconto. (Land and census records appear to place their abode at 301 Smith Avenue by 1888, earlier her parents lived a few blocks further down the road on Smith, where there is now a gas station.)

The house in early 1900s. On the porch are Gertrude’s parents and two of her brothers.
The house currently seen from Google Street View. You can see the porch is still there, but changed. I am sure the garage is a newer addition, and there is now a window in the basement.

Gertrude lived in this house until she was 20, at which time she had her own house to keep.

On Saturday August 28 1897 Gertrude tied the knot in a romantic wedding on a train. The groom was a local man, and the youngest son of an Oconto and Gillett pioneer couple. His name was Victor Hugo John. Gert had just turned 20 that month, Victor was a mere 5 years older.

Vic and Gert made their first home in Wabeno, Wisconsin where Vic had a job as a station agent for the C&NWR railroad.5 Today the trip from Oconto to Wabeno takes about an hour and a half. In 1897 it would have taken a bit longer. But at least you could take the trip by train because in 1897 the C&NWR railroad had opened up their new tracks and Wabeno was a new and bustling…well…new town created by the logging business.

Screenshot of Oconto in bottom right corner of map to Wabeno in top left. This trip between the two towns was taken by train quite often by Gert and Vic.
Wabeno in 19056 The depot looks like it is in this picture, just past the water tower. But don’t bet me on it.

They actually lived in the Town of Cavour7 for the first couple of years that Vic worked at the depot, which is just north of Wabeno. By 19058 they were living in Wabeno, according to the state census. The town newspaper always seemed to indicate that they were of Wabeno, when ever they were mentioned in the news (Cavour is never mentioned).

As a newly established town there were not many people living in the area, so I can see why Gert was always going to visit her family in Oconto, or her in-laws in Gillett. According to newspaper gossip every other week was a trip to visit family. Something she did even more in the fall of 1898, as she was pregnant with her first child, my grandfather.

Here’s the local gossip on the matter:

September 29, 1898 c5 — Mrs. V. H. Johns is visiting her parents at Oconto.

October 6, 1898 c4 — Station Agent Johns looks lonesome since his wife went visiting.

October 20, 1898 c4 — Station Agent Johns went to Oconto Tuesday evening to see his wife who is visiting with her parents at that place, returning on the special the following morning.

November 3, 1898 c4 — Born—To Mr. and Mrs. Victor Johns, on Saturday last a 9 1/2 lb. Bouncing baby boy, mother and child getting along nicely. Vic feels himself to be the happiest man in town.

November 17, 1898 c4 — Mrs. V. H. Johns and little son arrived home yesterday after an extended visit with her parents at Oconto.

Northern Wisconsin Advertiser, Wabeno, WI (Madison, WHS micro PH 73-1888)

On October 29 1898 Gertrude safely delivered a baby boy9. They named him Clarence Fredrick John (Fredrick was in honor of Victor’s father). They eventually had a total of 3 boys, adding Lincoln William in 1901, and Victor Hugo, jr. in 1903.

Gertrude’s family: husband Vic, and three boys. It looks like each boy had his own dog. This was taken in Wabeno area most likely.

Over the next 8-10 years Gert occupied her time by visiting her family, or someone in the family visited with them. She joined the Ladies of the Macabees (an insurance organization for women created in 1892 by Bina West Miller).

March 27, 1902 c3 — Mrs. V. H. Johns was at Gillett the first of the week to join the Ladies of the Macabees[sp].

Northern Wisconsin Advertiser, Wabeno, WI (Madison, WHS micro PH 73-1888)

Helped out at the depot when Vic was too ill, kept the home and raised the boys.

The family continued in this vein until their first big adventure, which came for Gert, and the family, in May of 1908. It was a few weeks after Vic’s mother died that Gert packed up their family and all their belongings, for a big move out west to Wyoming.

It was a grand adventure — that was short lived. Less than a year later Gert was packing up their belongings again, as the family was heading back to Wisconsin, to stay. It was rumored by an older cousin that Gert was extremely homesick and wanted very much to come back to her family and friends.

While the first 11 or so years of their marriage the family had made their home in the area of Wabeno, and Victor supported the family as a railroad station agent, this changed when they got back to Wisconsin. Victor spent the next 4 or so years moving his wife and family around the state. Maybe it was a reflection of his own restlessness. According to the papers they were of: Clintonville in Jul of 1909, Odanah in Sep of 1909, Hackley in May of 1910, and Friendship in Jul of 1912.

Then another big change happened.

Victor quit his job as a station agent completely and went into banking. Maybe this is what he wanted all along, and he had been working his way to it. His first bank brought the family back to Wabeno in 1913, it was the Leona State Bank, where he was the cashier. And over the years he helped establish several banks across the state.

In 1916 they were living in Crandon while he worked for the Citizens State Bank of Crandon.

In 1919, just to be contrary, he ran for Sheriff, and won. What a boon for Gert, now she got to prepare meals for all the prisoners, along with take care of her own dwelling and family.

Here you can see them in the 1920 census with Gert and her family along with two prisoners, (they lived in the jailhouse building).

Vic served two terms as Sheriff of Forest County, after which he continued establishing and working in banks. On to Laona in 1922-1925. Gillett by 1926-1933. Wabeno by 1933-1947. These dates that I am using are very approximate, because I am using newspaper gossip to try and estimate their moves. It looks like it was sometime after 1947 that Vic and Gert finally settled down to retire. The place they picked was Gillett, Vic’s hometown. They were both now in their 60s.

Gert’s retirement years were spent attending Order of the Eastern Star meetings, playing bridge, visiting friends and relatives, and celebrating.

50th Wedding — Mr. and Mrs. Vic John of Oconto, formerly of Crandon and Wabeno, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Crandon last Thursday. They were married Aug., 28, 1897, in a railway coach, south of Wabeno, just within Oconto county, as there was no justice of the peace in Wabeno at the time. The nearest justice was in Oconto county.10

This is their 57th wedding anniversary celebration. 1944.

Gert had become a grandmother in 1921. Her eldest son Clarence had run off to Illinois to marry Ester Edwards, (so it is possible he has gotten her pregnant). They had a girl whom they named Gertrude Marie. This marriage didn’t last though, but Ester and her daughter stayed around the White Lake area and visited with Gert and Vic on occasion. (We know this because of newspaper gossip, boy that stuff comes in handy.)

Spending time with one of their grand- or great grandchildren.

Her other two sons never had any children, although Lincoln did marry in 1930 out in Wyoming. Clarence married for his second wife Myrtle Caroline Hamm, my grandmother. Together they had 3 children that lived to adulthood. So Gert had a total of 4 grandchildren to enjoy in her later years.

The stories I have heard about Gertrude were that she was very petite and full of fun. She liked to dress up for Halloween and go trick-or-treating with the kids, having a great time fooling the neighbors, as an adult. She enjoyed hunting and fishing, as did her husband and their friends. And while she might have had an adventurous spirit, she preferred to be around family to feel comfortable indulging in it.

A 2nd cousin told me that his cousins didn’t like having meals at her house because she told them if they didn’t finish, it would be there for the next one. Now I know where my dad got that little bit of wisdom.

Gertrude passed away in 1962 at the age of 84, six years after her husband.

Final Rites for Mrs. John Today

     Mrs. Gertrude John, former Ocontoan, died suddenly Saturday evening at Baraboo.

     Mrs. John was born in Oconto, the daughter of the late John and Carrie Cain. She was united in marriage to Victor John in 1887, in Carter, WI. He passed away in 1956. Mrs. John lived in Gillett the past nine years. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Gillett, and its Past Matron’s club; a past matron of the Grandon chapter, a member of the Gillett Methodist church and the women’s Society of Christian Service of the Methodist church.

    Survivors include two sons, L. W. John, Fresno and Victor John Jr. Saratoga, both of California; three brothers, Milton Cain, Oconto; William, Portland, Oregon; Harry, Milwaukee; a sister, Mrs. Frank (Mildred) Rouseau of Milwaukee; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A son Clarence died in 1954.

     Final rites will be held this afternoon at 2 o’clock in the Gillett Methodist Church. The Rev. C. V. Dawson will officiate, with burial in Wanderer’s Rest cemetery. The Order of the Eastern Star, Gillett, will conduct services at the church. The Kuehl funeral home is in charge of arrangements.

Both Gert and Vic are buried in the Wanderer’s Rest Cemetery in Gillett, Wisconsin, along with the rest of the John family. Her parents are buried in Oconto’s Catholic cemetery.

——————–
Sources:
1. Gertrude Cain, certificate of birth record page 37, Oconto County Register
of Deeds, Oconto, Wisconsin.

2. 1900 Federal Census Oconto City, Oconto County, Wisconsin: Clara C.,  wife, white, female, Apr., 1858, 42, Married 26yrs., 10 children, 8 living, born: Mich, father: Mich, mother: Mich., read, write, speak english.

3. Oconto County Reporter, March 4, 1892 — Lizzie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Cain, died Thursday, Feb. 25, 1892, aged about 15 years.

The deceased had some time previous to her death eaten prune stones which lodged in her intestines and necessitated a surgical operation, which, however, proved unavailing, and after more than a week of suffering death ensued.  Her burial took place Saturday from St Peter’s Roman Catholic church.

4. 1940 census, Crandon City, Forest County, Wisconsin details — Sheet No. 23 B, SD 8, ED 21-8, May 1, 1940 lines 73-74, household no. 60, rent, don’t live on a farm: John Gertrude, wife, female, white, 62, married, did not attend school or college, highest grade completed 8, born Wisconsin, 1935 lived in rural area in Forest County, Wisconsin.

5. Northern Wisconsin Advertiser, Wabeno, WI (Madison WHS micro PH 73-1888)NOTE: Victor John is listed as station agent of the C &N.W.R. and postmaster in the earliest issue on the microfilm 9-22-1898.

6. Image found at: http://friendsofwabeno.org/history%20summary.html

7. 1900 Census, Town of Cavour, Forest County, Wisconsin details — Sheet No. 5B, 19th June., Enum. dist. #39, Lines 68-70, dwelling 85, family 88

8. 1905 Wisconsin State Census, Town of Wabeno, Forest County, Wisconsin details: — sheet no. 2, page 96 lines 72-76, family number 15.

9. Clarence Fredrick John, Certificate of Birth, Vol. 4, page 48, Register of Deeds, Oconto, Oconto County, Wisconsin.

10. Forest Republican, Crandon, WI —Crandon Public library digital images; Thursday, Sep 4, 1947 p1c4

Rachel Ann Hays 1888-1986

Rachel Hays as a young woman.

I am keeping my promise to tell about all the women in my tree by working my way back in time, starting with my great grandmothers. It has been a while since Charlotte Hatch, but here is my second one.

She was known by family and friends as ‘Dick’. What can one say about Dick. Most of what I know about her has either been told to me by her granddaughter, gleaned from looking through all the old family pictures, researched, or heard in one poorly recorded interview from about 1982. The person that I recollect was what you would call a ‘character’. She very short statured, loved cocktails, and wore awesome eyeglasses when she was older.

This is her life, as well as I have been able to piece it together.

Rachel started her life journey September 19, 18881. She was the second child, and second daughter, of Osborn and Eliza (Stackpole) Hays, and had been named in honor of her grandmother, Rachel (George) Hays. Osborn and Eliza would eventually have 10 children together, but from what I recollect hearing, Rachel was always her father’s favorite.

‘Dick’, as she became nicknamed by the family, grew up in Grant Township, Wetzel County, West Virginia. In fact her family lived there their whole lives, farming, and making a living off the land. She was a tomboy, and always had a preference for boys to keep company with. I guess she didn’t have much use for girls. The hills and landscape that she grew up in probably made for great exploration and tomboyish proclivities.

This is the typical landscape in Wetzel County where she grew up.

As was typical of children during the time she was growing up, she only went through the 8th grade2 in school*. Which means she was about 14 when she was done with learnin’. As the Hays family had settled in the Pine Grove area of Wetzel County, it would seem likely that Dick attended the Pine Grove School (although we don’t know that for sure). It was known in its early years as Free School.

Of course over time, as is wont, she got older. Then along comes William Atkinson Shepard, a newly minted teacher who recently arrived in Wetzel County, having received his teaching certificate from a Normal School, (although at this time we don’t know which one). Family rumor has it that this is how Dick and he met. It is not likely that they met because he was her teacher, because he would have been about 16 years old or younger in order for that to happen, which is doubtful. So it is possible that they met when she went to pick up some of her younger siblings from school. Maybe the locals took turns having the new teacher to dinner to get to know him, or they met at church or a local festivity. We might not know the exact how of it, but she definitely took a shine to him.

A quote from Dick’s son William:

My father, William, had received “higher education” beyond the customary 8th grade and attended normal school which prepared him to become a teacher. He taught in several places, and I think his last was in Jacksonburg, where he taught several of my aunts and uncles (Hays). He met and married Rachel Ann here.

–William A. Shepard, Dick’s son

They were married by the Rev. Reid of the M. E. Church in New Martinsville, Wetzel County, on March 9, 1907.

Their marriage license.3

Their first child, Herman Osborn Shepard, was born November 28, 1907 (pretty much 9 months later). That was fast work.

The birth was a hard one for Dick, as Herman was quite a large infant when he was born and Rachel was a small woman. Her injuries were such that Herman was raised by Dick’s parents in his early years, so that Rachel could recover her health. The doctor’s also told the couple that she shouldn’t have any more children, as the next one could kill her. This news must have put much stress on their early years of marriage. Decent birth control was not readily available to folks then like it is now.

Her husband was working in the steel mill in the town of Parkersburg by 1910, and possibly sooner. I imagine a school teacher’s wages were not all that great to raise a growing family on, so he decided to try for better wages. However, by 1912 they had moved to Ohio and were living in Columbus, where William started working as a clerk for the US Post Office with the rail road. He continued in this line of work until he retired in the 1950s as a supervisor. This job, no doubt, helped the family get through the depression with less damage than those around them.

Rachel was a typical woman of her time. She stayed at home, raised her child and kept the home. For other income they bought properties and made money renting the lots, or homes. It didn’t make them rich, but they were able to buy a home in Florida to retire in, and land in Canada to make their summer vacation spot. (A spot that is mentioned many times in family letters.)

1919 might have been an especially tense and worrying year for Dick and Dad, because Dick found out she was pregnant again. She was due in late December to early January. And on January 4, 1920 she delivered a healthy baby boy, William Atkinson Shepard, jr. Dick did okay too. There was no long hospital stay to recover from the delivery, so she was able to give junior her undivided attention, and she had her 13 year old son to help. This would be the last child that they would have though, possibly the second pregnancy caused problems we are unaware of–and Dick didn’t share that part of her life with her children, or grandchildren.

I believe this is Dick and Herman with the family dog.

The Shepard family moved over the years in and around Ohio. In 1920 they were in Pickaway County, in 1930 it was Franklin County, in 1940 Delaware County. But no matter where they moved, Dad was always working for the US Postal Service for the railroad, in fact he told his sons that when they were older to get jobs working for the government, because they were the most steady and secure. One of them heeded his advice.

Dad, William, jr., Dick, Herman.

Over the years they visited with family and friends (Dick was remembered by others as a very gracious and hospitable person), built their own cottage, from scratch, on Thessalon Lake in Canada, (and went there often to fish and barbecue), then they retired to a cute little house in Safety Harbor. The cottage in Canada they sold in the 1960s, and Dick gave the money from the sale to her sons.

She was quite a pill, was Dick. I, no doubt, don’t even know a single percent of the shenanigans she could get up to. The only story I vaguely remember hearing happened shortly after her eldest Herman, started dating his future wife, Ruth Kring. Apparently Dick, (no doubt with malevolent glee), decided that Ruth needed taking down a peg or two, because she somehow made sure that they conveniently ran into an old girlfriend of Herman’s. I guess that’s how she kept herself busy while Dad was at work.

When Dick and Dad moved to Florida to officially retire, Dick kept busy with the Woman’s Civil Club and her Order of the Eastern Star Safety Harbor Chapter (No. 173).

MOVIES AT WOMAN’S CIVIL CLUB HALL NOV. 7TH
       On Monday, November 7, at 8 P. M., a program of free movies at the Woman’s Civic Club Hall will present the Rich Plan __ Frozen Foods. Attendance will give the Commercial Award credits. Light refreshments will be served gratis. Movies of the Cape Coral Development, near Ft. Myers will also be shown by Mr. Jerry Flynn…
        The new members received at the meeting of October 14 are: Mrs. William Shepard…Members please add these names to your Blue Books. Several former members expect to attend the Club meetings this year.

1960-10-28 Friday, Safety Harbor Herald, Safety Harbor, Florida, p1

WOMAN’S CIVIC CLUB NEWS
        …Mrs. Brown presented each newcomer with a corsage…Mrs. Rachel Shepherd

1961-02-03 Friday, Safety Harbor Herald, Safety Harbor, Florida, p1

SAFETY HARBOR CHAPTER 173, ORDER OF EASTERN STAR, INSTALLS
          Mrs. William A. Shepard was installed as Worthy Matron of Safety Harbor Chapter 173, Order of the Eastern Star…in ceremonies recently held at the Masonic Temple here…
        Mrs. Shepard stood under an arbor made of fresh red roses while Thomas Peasley, Past Grand Patron of the State of Maine, sang, “How Great Thou Art.”
      Mr. and Mrs. Herman Sheppard, son and daughter-in-law of Mrs. Shepard, came from Worthington, Ohio, to be present for the ceremony and Shepard presented his mother the gavel she will use throughout her term of office.

1963-02-08 Friday, Safety Harbor Herald, Safety Harbor, Florida, p1

O.E.S. RUMMAGE SALE MAY 4TH
The O.E.S. will hold a rummage sale Saturday, May 4, in the lot next to Clark’s 5&10 store. Anyone having clothing or other items they don’t use bring them to Mrs. Rachel Shepard, 305 7th Ave. N., or the day of the sale.

1963-04-19 Friday, Safety Harbor Herald, Safety Harbor, Florida, p1

Ashley Chapter 147 members heard comments by Mrs. Bess Evans, past matron, on her attendance at a meeting of a Florida chapter of Order of the Eastern Star. Mrs. Evens’ sits, Mrs. Rachel Shepard, is active in that Florida chapter, Safety Harbor No. 173.

1975-04-16 Marion Star, Marion, Ohio, p26

I don’t know what Dad did, when he retired. Maybe he walked to the ocean and fished everyday. He was the quiet type, at least when we were around, so one never knew what he got up to.

Dad and Dick showing of their catch of the day. Probably in Canada.
At the cottage on Thessalon Lake.

Dick lost her husband on April 19, 1973. They had been married for just over 66 years. (Unfortunately, our family was overseas and unable to attend the funeral.) She was a widow for 13 years before she died April 27, 1986. I heard tell that she spent many a Friday evening at the local bar flirting with all the old widowers after Dad died. As I mentioned before, she did enjoy cocktails.

Dick at home in Safety Harbor, Florida 1970s-1980s. Must be 5:00pm!

I have an audio recording (be sure to download it) that I have had digitized of Dick talking to her niece Evelyn Conning (1980sish). It is about 30 minutes long, and is of very poor quality. The interviewer definitely wasn’t a professional, and there were no questions asked that I would have asked. But it beats having nothing. Too bad we don’t have one of Dad, apparently he told great stories.

I am very glad that I was able to meet my great grandmother, and I was at an age that I can remember her these many years later, even if only vaguely. I definitely remember her voice, and hearing it on the audio recording helps to bring back those fond memories of my visits to their house in Safety Harbor, Florida. (You can read my post on their house here.)

*Here is a great web page that gives an excellent synopsis of rural schools in the latter part of the 1800s: http://www.heritageall.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Americas-One-Room-Schools-of-the-1890s.pdf.
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SOURCES:
1. Rachel Hays birth entry, 19 Sep 1888, General index and register of births, Wetzel County, West Virginia, page 74a. Parents O. Hays and Eliza Hays.
2. 1940 US Federal Census, Genoa Township, Delaware County, Ohio details;
SD 17, ED 21-17, Sheet 3A, Enumerated April 4, 1940; household 48, home owned [by parents], not a farm, lines 33-34
. What is the highest grade finished is one of the questions on census.
3. W. A. Shepard and Rachel Hays marriage, 1907; Marriage Record, book no. 13, page 180; West Virginia, Wetzel County, Clerk of the County Commission.