An Old Outbuilding

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1907 – 1910s.

Price:  $4.00    

Rural America….a glimpse back

This postcard’s pretty beat up but still, or probably partly because of that, I love it. I love the pattern in the wooden shingles on the face of the, what would one call this, big shed? (Guess that’s why outbuilding works so well 😉 ) Maybe it was used for storage, or was once a chicken coop, though no evidence of chickens at this time. If you click to enlarge, and look inside, you can see what looks like a patchwork quilt covering up something. I love the window that looks like it was thrown together (sorry to whoever built it) and the short boards underneath the one end to make it all somewhat level. (Was it built that way or shored up later after heavy rains?) And last but not least, the young woman, laughing, the little girl with her toy wheeled cart, and their dog (caught in the middle of a bark or a yawn.) It’s a happy photo, and a glimpse back a hundred years or so, of life on the farm.

Country Meets City

Undivided back, used postcard. Postmarked March 26, 1908 from Chesaning, Michigan. Publisher:  E. B. & E. Co.

Price:  $7.00

A slightly comical card of an illustrated older couple, maybe they live in the country or city outskirts, and have come to downtown Detroit. Within their outline is a photo (slightly distorted probably to fit in the frame, in a fun-house type of way 😉 check out the tower) of the old Federal Building and Post Office at the Northwestern corner of Shelby and W. Fort streets.

Addressed to:   “Mrs. Floyd Walworth, Fergus, Michigan”

Where is Fergus?

Fergus, Michigan is a “locale” located north of Chesaning, in St. Charles Township, Saginaw County, in the vicinity of Fergus and McKeighan roads (purple marker on map below). It was a station on the Michigan Central Railroad and had a post office that closed in 1933.

The sender writes:   “Josiah and Samantha are both recovering from their colds. Hope to be able to go sight seeing soon. This is not very warm weather but expect better some time. Are you well? Lovingly Aunt Minnie.”

Floyd and Myrtle

Without a doubt (we got thrown off track at first by another possibility) the recipient of this postcard was Myrtle G. Spencer, daughter of G. H. Spencer and Emma Burrows, who had married Floyd E. Walworth on August 1, 1907 in Corunna, Saginaw County, MI. Myrtle was about age 22 when she married Floyd, but was first married to John R. Wegert (June 18, 1902 in St. Charles, MI). Floyd was about age 29 at the time of marriage and both he and his bride were residents of Fergus, MI and native Michiganders. His parents were Matthew Walworth and Lucy Merrill. Floyd’s occupation was live stock shipper and Myrtle’s was music teacher.

Aunt Minnie, a mystery

The sender of this card, Aunt Minnie, was not yet found in records. She mentions family members Josiah and Samantha, names which we expected would jump out at us from old records, but no; a more time-consuming search would be needed as far as who’s who for Myrtle or Floyd’s possible aunts.

Publisher i.d.

Last but not least, according to Publishers’ Trademarks Identified by Walter E. Corson, the postcard publisher E. B. & E. Company was Ely, Boynton & Ely of Detroit.

Sources:  Austin, Dan. “Federal Building.” historicdetroit.org. (accessed September 15, 2018).

St. Charles Township, Michigan. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Charles_Township,_Michigan (accessed September 9, 2018).

Chesaning. Google Maps. google.com (accessed September 9, 2018).

“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQQ4-2ZB : 9 July 2018), John R. Wegert and Myrtle G. Spencer, 1902.

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 93; Film Description: 1907 Montcalm – 1907 Wayne.

Corson, Walter E. Publishers’ Trademarks Identified. Ed. James Lewis Lowe. Norwood, PA:  1993. (print).

Mrs. Frederick Mason

Silhouette dated 1935, artist-signed.

Price:  $7.00          Size including background:  About 2 and 2/3 x 3 and 1/4″

A beautiful little silhouette of a Mrs. Frederick Mason done in 1935. The signature of the “scissor artist” appears to be F. Castelhun, but we couldn’t find any reference to an artist by this name, or under the possible name of Castelton. Note the faint oval outline surrounding the figure, indicating that this elegant piece was once in a frame.

George A. Drew’s Jewelry Store Trade Card

Trade card, 1882 – 1883, Lewiston, Maine.

Price:  $12.00      Size:  2 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/2″

I was picturing someone searching the web for a photo or illustration of this jeweler’s store, thinking they’d found it, all excited, only to find this trade card (beautiful though it is and a wonderful find.) Hence, the long post title (which made me think of Bob Dylan’s lyric, “It’s your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat.” Goofy sometimes, the associations we come up with 🙂 ).

The front of the card shows an illustration of a young woman in bathing attire with hand shading brow and looking off into the distance, alongside the title of “Old Reliable.”  I’m thinking it must have been second nature to the artists that designed trade cards, but note the nice 3-D effect on this one with the insert of the girl, and overlapping that, the insert for the jeweler (associating himself with the term “Old Reliable”) and then the artistically arranged cutting of some type of flower draped over both (with shadows drawn in). The store’s address is given as  “No. 93 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, Me.”

Find the typo

The back advertises:  “George A. Drew, dealer in Watches, Diamons, Jewelry, Silver & Plated Ware, Spectacles & Eye-glasses. Sole Agent for Hand Engraved and Silver Plated ware, something new and beautiful, also Agent for Rock Crystal Spectacles, the best in the world. Fine Watch work a specialty, Watches Cleaned and Warranted for $1.00. 93 Lisbon St., Lewiston, ME.”

Reliable and reliably on Lisbon

George A. Drew was born in Maine, about 1836. On the 1870 Federal Census for Lewiston, he appears with his wife Alice and their children, Nellie and Fred. City directories for a twenty-year span, show five different addresses on Lisbon. Note the 1893 address below doesn’t match the one on the card.

1874 to 1880 at 83 Lisbon

1883 at 131 Lisbon

1885 to 1889 at 93 Lisbon

1891 at 75 Lisbon

1893-4 at 71 Lisbon

Sources:  Year: 1870; Census Place: Lewiston, Androscoggin, Maine; Roll: M593_536; Page: 182B; Family History Library Film: 552035. (Ancestry.com).

Greenough Jones & Co.’s Directory for Lewiston and Auburn, 1874-5, p. 170; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory for 1883, p. 226; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1885, p. 215; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1889, p. 269; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1891, p. 286; W. A. Greenough & Co.’s Lewiston and Auburn Directory, 1893-4, p. 301. (Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.)

Handsome Scot In Full Dress Attire

Old photo, white border. Circa 1920s.

Price:  $7.00        Size:  About 2 and 5/8 x 4 and 7/16″

I’m guessing this photo is from the 1920s, or maybe late 1910s, due to the look of the gentlemen in non-traditional wear. Where was the photo taken? That’s a mystery, though if we could focus in on the big sign above the fence that could be a colossal clue (even if it’s advertisement). And what was the occasion? Unknown, but maybe part of a Highland games festival. That’s a sporran (purse in Gaelic) that the man wears below the belt, essential since kilts have no pockets.

Source:  Sporran. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporran (accessed August 5, 2018).

Lizzie And Mizpah

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1902 – 1910.

Price:  $12.00

“With Love & affection to add to your collection.   Mizpah.   Lizzie.”

Addressed to:   “Miss Dora Dixon, 10 Glenfield St. Glasgow.”

Which young lady in the postcard photo is which, is unknown, but Dora Dixon, was found on the 1901 Scotland Census, listed at the above address, born in England, about 1882, living with her parents, William and Margaret Dixon, and siblings Mary, Elizabeth, John, William, Henry and Robert. Dora in 1901 was age 19 and working as a waitress.

An emotional bond

The given name Mizpah, sometimes spelled Mizpeh, is one we’d never hear before. The word means “watchtower” in Hebrew and denotes an emotional bond between two people who are apart. The ancient settlement of Mizpah is thought to have been in one of two locations, both just north of Jerusalem, though several other possibilities exist. There is also a Mizpah, Montana, New Jersey and Minnesota, as well as a whole category of jewelry which began in the early Victorian Era, and enjoyed a resurgence during WWI. See Michelle Graff’s article on the history of Mizpah jewelry. In the screen shot below you’ll see one or two pieces of Scottish origin, with the thistle, but many more can be found online.

Sources:  Parish: Glasgow St Mungo; ED: 64; Page: 20; Line: 4; Roll: CSSCT1901_276. (Ancestry.com).

Mizpah. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizpah_(emotional_bond). (accessed July 15, 2018.)

Mizpah in Benjamin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizpah_in_Benjamin. (accessed July 22, 2018).

Graff, Michelle. “The History Behind … Mizpah jewelry.” (https://www.nationaljeweler.com/independents/2059-the-history-behind-mizpah-jewelry). Accessed July 29, 2018.

“images of mizpah jewelry” Google.com search, July 22, 2018.

Sidewinders

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box, circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $3.00

I couldn’t get the title of this post out of my head for possible names. Not to liken the two beautiful ladies to rattlesnakes (of all things!) And then not to say that rattlesnakes are not beautiful (though understandably not wishing to encounter one, except for maybe at a nice distance) but it’s their hairstyles:  the hair wound into a side bun for each, and a very elegant style it is. Both have a glittering hair clip as an accent. Guessing the two women might be sisters.

Down In The Holler

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, postmarked February 23, 1917, Dundee, New York.

Price:  $12.00

“Dear Brother, Wish you a happy Washing tub day also a happy birthday. I am down in the holler and am doomed to stay, by the looks at present. I suppose you have lots of snow there we have not. I am teaching today or rather am going to and as it is about time to go I will quit my scribling . Excuse pencil. Your little sister as shown on the other side. L.”

Addressed to:   “Mr. Stanley B. Todd, 127 Middlesex Roads, Rochester N. Y.”

Washing tub day, February 23rd (just kidding)

We could not find any reference to an official “washing tub day” therefor, just evidence of the sender’s sense of humor. She is Lucy J. Todd, the young woman on our right in the photo, and I’m thinking she’d be laughing if she saw me searching for this “official day” online. (Hope she is getting a chuckle out of it, wherever she is.)

Lucy J. Todd

Lucy was born in New York, about 1895. The 1920 Federal Census for Barrington, Yates County, NY, shows her occupation as teacher. She’s staying with her parents, Charles H. and Lucinda A. (Sheppard) Todd, along with Lucy’s brother, the recipient of the postcard, Stanley B. Todd. He’s about five years older than she; Stanley was born in New York, February 23, 1890.

Heirloom day

The girl in the photo, on our left, is unknown, maybe a student? The location the card was sent from, had been a mystery, until finding the following newspaper article, mentioning Lucy Todd, a teacher in Dundee (Yates County, NY). Ahhhh, it’s Dundee! Lucy is mentioned below as the owner of an old trunk that was covered in buffalo hide which was held on by over 500 brass tacks….

Sources:  Year: 1920; Census Place: Barrington, Yates, New York; Roll: T625_1281; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 189. (Ancestry.com).

“Many Rare Heirlooms Brought To Notice.” Star-Gazette (Elmira, NY). March 24, 1917. Saturday, p. 14. (Newspapers.com).

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 14 July 2018), memorial page for Stanley Benajah Todd (23 Feb 1890–6 Mar 1972), Find A Grave Memorial no. 121615568, citing Lakeview Cemetery, Penn Yan, Yates County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Kathleen Oster (contributor 47973435).

Lottie Bather On The Right

Old photo, cardboard mounting. Photographer unknown. Circa 1890s.

Price:  $6.00           Size of photo:  About 2 and 3/4 x 3 and 7/8″  Size including frame:  About 5 x 6 and 3/4″

Lottie Bather (on our right) and friend or relative:  The two ladies appear in uniforms; they are housemaids or perhaps nurses, and this photo was probably taken in the 1890s, note the wider sleeves (than the 1880 decade) and the Gibson Girl hairstyles. We searched census records for Lottie or Charlotte and even Lollie, as well as possible spelling variations for what appears to be Bather, but nothing definitive was found. But it’s a lovely photo, and you might have noticed the bottom right corner being raised just a tad. Yep, we looked underneath, ever so slightly, but no inkling of writing appears.

Detroit Woman By Marratt

Cabinet Card, circa 1880s. Photographer:  William Marratt. 131, 133 and 135 Woodward Ave, Detroit, Michigan.

Price:  $7.00

Here’s another Cabinet Card with no writing on the back, but at least we have the location and photographer or studio on this one. See our post on William Marratt. But the subject is a beautiful young lady, a Detroiter, we presume, posing with hands resting on the back of a wooden chair with brocade fabric (I’m guessing brocade). Note the wedding ring on her left hand. She bears a strong resemblance to a friend, which is neither here nor there, but it’s funny how closely someone can resemble someone else….The time frame is probably the 1880s due to the dress style, the type of sleeves (close-fitting) but this is a semi-educated guess from me, after consulting a lovely book from my shelf, Dressed for the Photographer, Ordinary Americans & Fashion, 1840 – 1900, by author Joan Severa, (a great reference, and I hope I’ve applied the correct interpretation for this photo.)