Friday, July 29, 2011

Joy-Riding with the Huffsmiths

This is not a picture of the Huffsmiths, but the card was sent to Cora Huffsmith of Dushore, Pennsylvania (current population 663).

The message reads:
Hello cousin am home now your father ask me if i saw you to Dushore so I toll him i did and that you took me to church.
Cousin Leslie
Ans Soon

You may or may not recall a previous postcard to Cora Huffsmith, where I mentioned that I had discovered that Cora was the eighth great granddaughter of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven.  I became curious because on the genealogy website where I found this information, everybody is traced to Van Kouwenhoven in one way or another. So, who was he?

Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven was born in Holland in about 1584. In about 1624 he immigrated to New Amsterdam, New York, now known as new York City. He purchased 3,600 acres from the Indians.

In 2007, the original deed to the land was auctioned off. This text is quoted from the Conover Genealogy site:

A document described as the oldest surviving land deed for Long Island land was auctioned Wednesday for $156,000 in Manhattan.The deed, signed by Dutch Colonial Gov. Wouter von Twiller at "Eylandt Manhatans" on June 6, 1636, confirms the purchase of 3,600 acres from the Lenape Indians. The land is known as Keskachauge, and constitutes a large portion of present day Brooklyn."It is without question one of the oldest Dutch documents in private hands," said Jeremy Markowitz, head of Americana sales at Bloomsbury Auctions, a Manhattan auction house where the sale took place.

The 13-by-18-inch document, written in ink in Dutch, confirms the purchase of the land in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn from the Indians by Wolfert Gerritsz van Couwenhoven and Andries Hudde.On the reverse side, there is a reaffirmation of the original transaction in 1658 and signature of another more famous governor, Peter Stuyvesant, who amended it to say the sole owner of the property was Kouwenhoven.  

Here's another amusing bit about Cora Huffsmith and the Van Couwenhovens: In all likelihood I am related to them. At least I'd be willing to make a small wager on it.  There are just too many common surnames, including Facklers and Meyers from Kansas. What's really amazing (and amusing) about genealogy in general is that if you are thorough enough, you find that you are related to just about everybody. So, the chances are not at all bad that you are also related to Cora and the Van Couwenhovens. Take a look at the surname list.  Taking some of the Sepia Saturday participant surnames, I found 36 Burnetts, 16 Mortensens, 96 Paynes, 403 Reeds, and 14 Brubakers. Alas, not a single Zimnoch or Scotney.  It's too bad, really, because if we were all related, we could have just adopted the Van Couwenhoven family crest as part of Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ayer's Sarsaparilla

Ayer's Sarsaparilla  claimed to cure all sorts of ailments and purify the blood. Sarsaparilla was made from a trailing vine called smilax regelii, which was also used to flavor root beer. If you look hard enough, you may still be able to find an old-fashioned root beer flavored with sarsaparilla. You can read all about the history of Ayer's Sarsaparilla at Cliff and Linda Hoyt's website, which includes great photos of old advertisements, bottles, and even a paper doll. These cards are from about 1880.

I looked up Nellie Hicks from Cincinnatus, New York and discovered that she is listed as the 8th great-great granddaughter of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven. Wait a minute, that sounds familiar. I have lots of cards sent to Cora Huffsmith, who was also the 8th great-great granddaughter of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven. I'll write a little more about him on an upcoming Huffsmith card.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Everything Smokers and Chewers Want

Why anyone would think this picture would help sell a product is beyond me. It is amusing though. This is an advertising or trade card circa 1880.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farm Life Around Bremen, IN

This is not your usual brightly-colored exaggeration card. I like that the name of the town is on the card though -and that it was sent to someone in Bremen, Indiana.

Here's a close-up of the picture.

And here's the back of the card, sent to Mrs. Ella Bass.

The message reads:

Good Morning. just arose from my bed of slumber. katy  B. slept with me. Chas R. and Ray B. stayed all night. will go home today. The autatorium will have a cement floor. it will be a large building. the carpenters will begin next week. As Ever (illegible signature)

The card is postmarked Syracuse, but I'm pretty sure that was Syracuse, Indiana not Syracuse, New York. Syracuse is located near Oakwood Park, a religious camp and meeting ground,  which is where the auditorium was being built.  The original 1898 tabernacle burned down in May 1914 and was then rebuilt in August 1914.

Monday, July 25, 2011

French Postman

Here's the back of the card, sent to Louis Madeline, who was a soldier stationed in Saint-Mihiel, in the Meuse department of Lorraine, France during World War I. There's no date on the card, so it's impossible to know if he was there during the Battle of Saint Mihiel, led by U.S. General, John Pershing. I also wonder if this Louis Madeline is the French architect who was born in 1892 and died in 1962.

The message reads:

Dear Cousin,
I wish you well and happy and above all that it passes quickly.
Your cousin
Emile (Guy?)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Recreation in Oregon

Sepia Saturday's theme this week has to do with launching men into space. This is as close as I could get. This photo was taken sometime between 1904 and 1918.  Ballston was never a big town. In 1915, it had a population of 104.  At that time, it also had a school, a post office, and two churches. It is now considered a ghost town. The original 1855 Ballston school building is still standing though. These ruffians were probably students there

Here's the back of the card. it looks like the sender was preparing to post it off to someone at the U.S. School of Music in New York.

If you want to get an idea of how the town looked, here are some old Ballston photos from the Ben Maxwell Collection at the Salem Public Library.

Businesses in Ballston in Polk County, Oregon, 1959
Oldest surviving school building in Polk County, Oregon, 1964
Old vacant store in Ballston in Polk County, Oregon, 1964
The former railroad station at Ballston in Polk County, Oregon

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Farmer's Puzzle

Williams, Clark & Co., manufacturers of high-grade bone fertilizers, is proud to present you with this puzzle.  This trade card is from about 1880. Please submit your answer in the comments below.

According to an article in the New York Times on May 23, 1899, Williams, Clark & Co. was one of twenty-three major fertilizer companies that consolidated to become American Agricultural Chemical Co.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giant Strawberries

Bring out the giant shortcake and the giant bowl of whipping cream!

Here's the back of the card, which Mike sent to Mrs. Oscar Bentson in Florence, Montana.

The message reads:
Dear Pat -
Your postal was O.K. looks good to see the st cars. How do these berrys look to you? Ma and I have just arrived from Portland, we were down to the carnival. Had dandy time - Took in everything Will write later + tell more about our trip.

Based on the June postmark, it's likely that Mike was in Portland for the Annual Rose Festival. The Rose Festival was a fairly new event at the time, but it is now an important tradition in Portland.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tiny Photos

This is the back of the card, which is much more interesting than the front. If I pried the photos off I could find out who the card was addressed to, but that would ruin the card. I suspect it was sent to someone in the Woodin family though. I have a number of other cards and photos from them.

Here's the back-I mean the front-of the card.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hunt's Remedy Cures Dropsy

Here's a trade card from the late 1870s to early 1880s.

You can read all about William E. Clarke, Proprietor and Hunt's Remedy here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Trek in the Himalayas

These cards belong to Pamela Gerard, who has a wonderful blog on mail art and sent me these to post.  The story of these postcards also involves the story of how I got to know Pamela.  We did not meet in the Himalayas. Here are the postcards -story to follow.

According to Wikipedia,  the Pindari Glacier trail provides for a 90 km (56 mile) round-trip trek that most people find comfortable to complete in five days. Notice William Archer's fancy initials there on the left. I wonder which one of these fellows is Archer.  I assume that Archer was the author of India and the Future, published by Knopf in 1918. I am also guessing that William George Archer (1907-1979), expert on Indian art, was his son. 

Here are the backs of the cards, sent by Archer from Calcutta, 15 Park Street, top flat, and the Calcutta YMCA, by W. Archer.

Now, more on Pamela, the owner of these fabulous cards: Pamela lives in San Francisco and has a fondness for Chinese and other Asian restaurants. I asked her for some San Francisco restaurant recommendations, and she mailed me menus and commentary. Then, somehow, we started exchanging music CDs. And then recently, I received an email from my friend Susi in Germany who had read something about Pamela and thought I might be interested:

This all made me think of you!‏

Check out "Wait a minute, Mr. Postman":

Pamela was becoming famous in Germany. Who knew! Of course I replied that I already knew Pamela, and I asked my friend how she had learned about her.
My German friend responded:
I follow "Vor Mir Die Welt" and read her post mentioning Pamela. 
Meike (VMDW and a journalist) won €500,000 on the German version of Who wants to be a Millionaire and is traveling the world (12 months, 12 cities). I got onto her, because another journalist (bro. of a friend in Munich) is traveling through Germany on foot from South to North and stayed with us one night. He told me about his friend Meike...
It just goes to show you that there are a lot of connections made through the blog world.

Speaking of that, you can make all sorts of good connections with the past and present over at Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oregon Pear and Peach Orchard

Soon I will run out of giant fruit and vegetable cards to post on this blog. Some people may consider this a blessing. But the message on the backs of these cards have often been very entertaining too. Here's one of pears and peaches in Oregon. It seems strange to group those two together, since they ripen at different times of the year...not to mention that Oregon is hardly prime peach-growing territory. Well, never mind all that. We do grow great pears here.

 And here's the back of the card.

The virtually punctuation-free message on the card sent to Rebecca Bales is not that exciting. It reads:

Dear Sis
I received your card was glad to hear from you will try to write a letter for that country soon though am pretty busy to write hope every thing  is O.K.  up there every thing  is O.K. here so write As Ever

So, here's what's interesting (to me, anyway) about this card: it was sent to Dorena, Oregon, a logging and gold-mining town that doesn't exist anymore. For reasons unknown to me, the name of the town was created by combining the first names of Dora Burnette and Rena Martin. The town already had a school and a post office back in the 1890s. In the 1940s, the Corps. of Engineers began constructing a dam on the nearby Row River. According to Wikipedia,  the entire town was flooded and approximately 100 households were moved five miles upriver. It's still called Dorena, but it's not the same place. The lake created by the dam is called Dorena Lake.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dutch Stereotype

Back in about 1910, cards that provided a humorous stereotypical view of Dutch (and sometimes Germans) were very popular. As far as I can tell, the humor was well intended. These cards were all sent to  Cora Huffsmith  of Dushore, Pennsylvania.  According to Conover Genealogy,  Cora Huffsmith, born in Pennsylvania in 1891, was the 8th great-granddaughter of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven, a baker from Utrecht, Netherlands.  Friends and family must have sent her these cards because of her Dutch heritage.

Here are ze backs of de cards in ze same order:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peery's Dead Shot Vermifuge

This is a trade card advertising Wright's various preparations, including McMunn's Elixir of Opium and Peery's Dead Shot Vermifuge. And then there's Crossman's Specific Mixture, which sounds particularly vague.

On the front of the card, for your amusement, is a puzzle. Try this before and after applying the Roman Eye Balsam to see if there's a difference.

Webster's Cut Rate Drug Store was located on Court Street in Binghamton, New York. Here's a card showing Court Street about 25 years after the trade card was printed.

The signs are hard to make out, so it's difficult to know exactly where Webster's would have been on this card.
Here's the back of the card, sent to Miss Margaret Sipe from Miss Clara Abbott in 1908.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flowers as a Symbol of Friendship - or not

How lovely to present some delicate pansies as a gesture of friendship.

But I'm not sure how a friend would take it if I offered her one of these flowers out of my garden. This is Dranunculus Vulgaris, also known as a Voodoo Lily  (incorrectly, I think) and Dragon Arum - and, yes, it is as huge as it looks.  The bloom is several feet long.

These things grow on the side of my house, where, despite all of my efforts, they are tremendously happy. Let me just clarify that I did not plant these. They came with the house. The previous owner died, and while I can't blame it on these flowers, if she had been teetering on the edge they may just have pushed her over.

Oh, but they're so uh lovely! Yes, and like other plants, they need to be pollinated. But unlike most other plants, these are pollinated by flies not bees.  And in order to attract flies, it helps if you smell bad. In fact, if you can manage to smell like week-old roadkill, then you can greatly increase your chances of successful pollination. And that is exactly what these flowers smell like. It is not a faint smell either, it is an evil cloud that wafts and drifts.

This plant has another odd quality, which is that the smell only lasts for one day. After that you can cut them and put them in a vase in your house with no trace of odor. Often I cut them down before that, so that the mailman doesn't contact the police about rotting corpses. This year we endured the smell so that my neighbor could cut them down and give them to a friend - as a symbol of friendship I suppose.

Oh, if you're still here, this is the back of the lovely pansy card.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Manhattan Beach Railway

Wouldn't it be nice to head out to the Manhattan Beach Hotel for a nice cool dip in the Atlantic? According to this website on Coney Island's history, the hotel, designed by J. Pickering Putnam,  was opened in 1877. Austin Corbin, who founded the resort and built the hotel, also built the railroad to bring people out from Manhattan.  Today's post is a train schedule, not a postcard. Note the hot-air balloon between 'Manhattan' and 'Beach'.

The train would take you out to Manhattan Beach in less than an hour for the price of 25 cents. Here's the route map.

According to Bob Anderson, this schedule was printed just a few years after the hotel opened. Here's what he has to say:

I think the timetable is from 1879. There are a couple of clues: Only the Third Ave. El (opened 1878) and not the Second Ave. El (1880) is shown on Manhattan Island on the map. The timetable says the line is now doubled-tracked over its entire length, which was completed after the 1878 season. And the Kings County Central branch, which ran in 1878 only, is not shown.  By the way, at this time the entire MB Ry. was a narrow gauged line (3’). It was not converted to standard gauge (4’ 8.5”) until 1882.

Bob Anderson runs the Long Island Rail Road History website, where you can find just about anything you would want to know about the New York and Manhattan Beach Railway.  According to Anderson, the Manhattan Beach Hotel was razed in 1907.

If you disembark at the Sepia Saturday stop  this weekend, you can see all sort of other interesting photos, some of which may relate to trains.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Special at the Brighouse Cemetery

I bought this postcard along with some other Yorkshire postcards that I posted previously.  I almost didn't buy this one, but somehow the No Dogs Admitted sign convinced me.  I'm not suggesting there's any logic to that; it's just the way it happened.

I looked for some more images of the cemetery and found some nice ones at Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion. I also came upon a site that claimed to be the blog of Brighouse Cemetery and had this to say:

Welcome to the blog of Brighouse Cemetery
Hello! Brighouse Cemetery is in business in Brighouse, ENG, and is interested in doing business with you. Contact Brighouse Cemetery to request a deal, get a coupon or to do business.

I am not sure what kind of deals they might offer...half off? Maybe an Early Bird special? Group discount? Whatever the case, don't delay - I'm sure it's a limited-time offer.

Here's the back of the card.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another One-Room Schoolhouse

As with yesterday's card, this is likely another Oregon school - I just don't know where.
All we know is that the teacher's name was Hanna E. Swartz, that this was her first school, and that the picture was taken in 1909.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One-Room Schoolhouse

I don't know much about this one-room schoolhouse, except that it was in a town in Oregon that starts with the letter B.
Any thoughts?

Cassie, a teacher at this school, sent the card to Hilda Olsen in Monmouth, Oregon:
Dear Hilda  4/1/09
I have intended to write a letter to you every day but haven't had a chance. Will grab the first opportunity. Have only 10 more days of school and you know what a job it is to prepare a class for exams. This is where I shine and part of my little flock. (The absent part consists of two.) write to me soon can't you? Tue. without a letter from you isn't Tue. at all.

Ten more days of school would have meant that instruction stopped on April 11th! It seems early, but it's also possible that those children were needed on the farm during the busy spring months.


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