“Dear Fern: This is the picture of our home. Are you coming down to see me? I want you to be sure to come. I am going to look for you. As ever your friend, Wilma Taylor”
Divided back, real photo postcard addressed to Miss Fern Anderson, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from her friend Wilma Taylor. Postmarked August 28th, but the year is unreadable. Estimating this postcard is from the 1910s or early 20s. The postmark does indicate it was sent from Farmington, (Whitman County) Washington, which is on the Idaho border. The distance between the two cities is about sixty miles; Coeur d’Alene being situated northeast of Farmington. The photo is of a side view of the Taylor house; a wooden, farmhouse type structure with a picket fence that has a very nicely designed gate. We can see that the house has a lovely front porch, even though we can’t see the porch too well, because of the angle of the photo.
Friends, Wilma and Fern have been located in the U.S. Federal Census records. The 1900 census, taken in Farmington, shows: Holton G. Taylor, born Iowa, March 1858; his wife Hettie, born Iowa, January 1871; daughters Laura, born Washington, August 1890 and Wilma, born Washington, June 1892; sons Hollis, born Washington, September of 1894, and Willard, born Washington, June 1896. The father is listed as being in the milling business. Wilma is about seven years old on this census.
The 1910 U.S. Census, also taken in Farmington, shows the Taylor family, except for the eldest daughter Laura, who would be about 29 years old at this time. The father’s given name is recorded here as Houghton rather than Holton; the mother’s name is recorded as Margarette H., rather than Hettie, indicating that Hettie may have been her middle name, or a variation of her middle name, or possibly a nickname derived from Margarette. Houghton Taylor is listed as owner of a grist mill, which of course, coincides with the 1900 census info. Wilma is about 17 years old on this census.
The 1920 U. S. Census shows Houghton G. Taylor with wife Ester (Hettie), and new family member, son Gerald born Washington, about 1911. Houghton is still listed as owning his own mill. The street name given on this census is a bit difficult to read, but after looking at the prior page, and researching nearby streets, it would appear to be Chestnut. There is no house number given, so perhaps this would indicate that the area was still somewhat rural at this time, and that the house in the photo is possibly the same one that Houghton, Hettie and Gerald were living at here in 1920. Houghton is also listed as owning this residence on Chestnut. The prior census page to this one also shows “FM” for “Farm” in the house number category relating to Chestnut Street; this would seem to be further evidence that the photo here could be the Chestnut residence.
Further records (California Voter Registers) on Houghton Granger Taylor show that he was working as a miller in the Gridley area of Butte County, California in 1882 and 1884. Gridley is about 60 miles north of Sacramento.
Of course, the fact that Houghton had a long career as a miller, brings up the further search avenue for him regarding grist mills, old mills in Whitman County, Butte County, etc., however his name is not turning up in this type of search. Sadly, it appears that most of the old mills were destroyed over the years. The search did lead to locating a very intriguing-sounding book available from various online sellers entitled, Eastern Washington’s Vanished Grist Mills and the Men Who Ran Them, by Florence Sherfey. (Another one for the wish list: so many books, postcards, old photos, so little time – grin.)
Fern Anderson, Wilma’s friend, shows up on the 1910 census in Coeur d’Alene, age 16, born Washington, about 1894. Her parents are listed as Andrew H. Anderson, born Denmark, about 1864, and Jessie, born California, about 1874. The residence address is 807 Second Street. Fern’s father Andrew, is listed as a self-employed broker in the mining industry.
After finding the 1910 census, the 1900 was located; showing Andrew, Jessie and Fern living in Spokane, Washington. Andrew’s occupation is listed as Blacksmith.
Divided back, used, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked from Farmington, Washington on August 28, year unknown, circa 1910 – early 1920s.
Sources: Year: 1900; Census Place: Farmington, Whitman, Washington; Roll: 1753; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0100; FHL microfilm: 1241753. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
Year: 1910; Census Place: Precinct 43, Whitman, Washington; Roll: T624_1674; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0263; FHL microfilm: 1375687. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 – 2A; CSL Roll Number: 8; FHL Roll Number: 976454. Ancestry.com. California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Year: 1910; Census Place: Sherman, Kootenai, Idaho; Roll: T624_225; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0173; FHL microfilm: 1374238. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Year: 1900; Census Place: Spokane Ward 2, Spokane, Washington; Roll: 1751; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0063; FHL microfilm: 1241751. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.