I found this collection of items at a thrift shop in Parksville, BC earlier this year, and was told they arrived at the shop together, from the same donor. I knew it would be a challenge to figure out how all of the pieces fit together, if they fit together. But if I couldn't figure it out, then perhaps I could receive some assistance from some of my readers who I just know would love a good jigsaw challenge like this one.
Here's what I have:
1) Postcard photograph of young woman and man, labelled "Sister & Brother. Sister is Dead."
When we look at the reverse of the post we see that it is a Solio postcard, never sent through the mail. Solio postcards were made from 1903 through to the 1920s. We can narrow that time frame that the postcard was produced to after 1907 since the postcard back has a centre line dividing into the back into two: one side for the address, the other for correspondence.
2) A letter dated "Aug the 30 1881" No addresses provided, no envelope. The greeting reads, "Dear sister and Brother," and is signed off, "Mary King." The letter describes the fact that Mary is leaving Mrs. Parr in search of work. She tells her sister and brother that she doesn't have a new place yet but they can write her at Olney and she will have them forward their letter to her. She asks that they give Minnie a kiss for her.
3) A report card, written on "First National Bank, Olney, Ill" stationery, dated April 15, 1896.
"Miss Bahr: Please find your grades...[listing of grades and subjects]. Yours truly, RN Stotler."
4) Obituaries cut from newspaper. Two obits for Dr. J. C. Shafer, one dated Dec. 30, 1930. One obituary for Dr. E. L. Palmer, dated March 23, 1926, along with a photo from the newspaper.
So, you probably can tell, this is going to be a long analysis of clues. We'll start with items #2 & #3 in Part One of this blog post.
Robert N. Stotler was a cashier at the First Bank of Olney as well as the Superintendent of Schools in Richland County, IL1. Miss Bahr was obviously a student.
The only viable match I have been able to find for Miss Bahr is Minnie Bahr, born in either December 1873 or 1877 in Noble, Richland County, Illinois2 3 . She was the daughter of Fredric Bahr and Tiberia King. The only problem I have with Minnie, is that if the report card was hers, and she was born in 1873, that would make her 23 years old at the time of the report. Far too old, I think, to be finishing her second year of high school, her highest grade attended4. If she was born in 1877, as many of the censuses report, then it is a possibility, although I think it may still be a stretch. The original date on the report card was preprinted 188_. When the report card was written, the digits 96 were written over the final 8 and the blank space. I am fairly sure it reads 1896. These details could be firmed up by locating Minnie's birth record and trying to find student records for Noble School. Perhaps an archive in Richland County would have these.
What do you think? Is this Minnie, "Miss Bahr?" Her mother's maiden name fits in nicely with the accompanying letter signed "Mary King." Of course, these items may not even be connected, except perhaps, geographically. How they made their way to Parksville, BC is unknown, but perhaps we can eventually figure that out as well. I will look into Tiberia King and possible King connections in Part Two.
1 F. A. Battey & Company. Counties of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland, Illinois: Historical and Biographical. Chicago: F. A. Battey & Company, 1884; p.783, digital images, Google Books (http://www/Google.com/books : accessed 30 June 2013).↩
2 "United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MXKC-22J : accessed 30 Jun 2013), Minnie Bahr in entry for Fredric Bahr, 1880.↩
3 "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MSH4-N9R : accessed 30 Jun 2013), Minnie Bahr in entry for Fred Bahr, 1900.↩
4 "United States Census, 1940," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KWZW-68C : accessed 05 Jul 2013), Minnie Bahr, 1940.↩