Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part Three

After his family spent 15 months in Omaha, Nebraska (see Reminiscences of Uncle Bob, Part Two), Robert L. Daily reported in an interview when he was about 84 years-old that his family moved to Kansas because “Mother wanted to get back to the farm again, so Dad went lookin’ around again,” and Robert gives a date: “We moved down to Kansas in 1909.  So, that was, see, when I was comin’ nine years old.  We landed down in March, and ‘course, I was nine years old in May, see.”1  Robert also said that in that year his father’s brother William brought his oldest daughter Inez to live with Robert’s family when they were living in Kansas, and Robert said that Inez looked like her father.2

In the trunk that holds many Daily memorabilia, the portrait below can be found.  The photograph is labeled “Wm. J. Daily and C. M. Daily” and in the lower right corner of the image the words “Topeka, Kansas” are embossed below the photographer’s name.  It is most likely that this portrait was taken when William brought his daughter to Kansas.  William would have been about 47 years-old and Charles, 53 years-old.

Wm. J. Daily and C. M. Daily

One of Charles’ grandsons recalled what his mother Gladys and grandmother Maggie said about the farm: “I can remember my mother talking about a farm in Kansas which had lots of walnuts on it” and they cracked a lot of walnuts.3  Robert identified the location of the farm in his interview:

Uncle Bob:  … Kilmer, Kansas was where it was at, just a flag station.

Interviewer:  It wasn’t Topeka?

Uncle Bob:  Topeka was, was 8 miles from us.

Interviewer:  Oh, I see.

Uncle Bob:  It was our —

Interviewer:  Mom always said Topeka.

Uncle Bob:  No, that’s our post office.  … We were 8 miles out from Topeka at Kilmer, just a flag station.  And uh, we generally went to Meriden, that went the other direction, four miles to Meriden.  For, up to, uh —

Interviewer:  For shopping?

Uncle Bob:  Yeah.  ‘Course, we’d go to Topeka for circus or for, and the capitol, see.  I can remember going through the capitol in Topeka, Kansas, y’see.  Yeah, yeah.4


A section of a Shawnee County, Kansas, map showing Soldier Township5

A flag station is “a railroad station where trains stop only when a flag or other signal is displayed or when passengers are to be discharged.”6  Northeast of Topeka, Kilmer was a small station on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad which crossed the southeast corner of Soldier Township in Shawnee County.7  The Daily family may have ridden a train into Topeka to see a circus performance.  One of the circuses that was scheduled to perform in Topeka was the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  It came to Topeka on September 7, 1909, but the city newspaper reported that the circus couldn’t be set up because of the weather.8  Record-breaking rain (over eight inches) fell that day, flooding the site where the circus was to be set up.9 The following year, the Ringling Brothers Circus arrived on September 5.  In the Monday evening issue of the Topeka State Journal, which sold for 2 cents, the following article described the spectacle that the circus provided.

Cropped image from The Topeka State Journal, September 5, 1910

Ringlings’ “Big Top” today is the attraction in Topeka.  Sunday the interest was hardly less.  Thousands of persons watched the parade which came on time nothwithstanding the rain, with hardly less interest than did an almost equal number see the unloading and transfer of the circus from the Rock Island yards to the Kenwood tract near Fourth and Buchanan streets.

As the pageant was a chain of novel surprises likewise was the trail of wagons and the animals following the arrival.  The parade was nearly three miles long and the aforementioned surprises extended from the twenty-four horse band chariot in the lead to the tail end.  The rain fell all right and continued during the forenoon, making it difficult for the wagons to leave the grounds.

The show arrived here Sunday morning after some delay, in coming from St. Joseph.  About 9 o’clock the first wagon reached Kenwood.  Immediately the work of putting up the huge cook tent was started.  Stands began to spring up on adjacent property to the main entrance to the grounds between Buchanan and Lincoln streets on Fourth street.

Most of the paraphernalia was transferred in wagons, the majority of them being pulled by six horses each.  These were driven out Sixth avenue after having left the Rock Island yards.  Arriving at Buchanan street they again turned north to the Kenwood tract.  As soon as the wagons left the Buchanan street pavement going onto Fourth street difficulty was experienced.  The recent rains had made the unpaved street soft and the wagons mired to the hubs.  It was necessary to unload some of them before they could be moved.  Others were moved with 22, 24 and even 32 horses.

No sooner than the work of pitching the cook tent was started, crowds began to arrive from all directions.  From noon on there was a steady stream of humanity down Buchanan street from Sixth avenue to Kenwod.  A baby carriage brigade seemed to have been formed.  For two or three hours the day seemed to have been set apart for their display alone.  There was grandpa and papa and mamma and uncle and even forty-seventh cousin of each of them.  All had a baby.  In fact every woman who had a baby to loan was in great demand.  That condition seemed not to abate.

Crowd Gets a Ducking.

Pedestrians were not alone in their evidenced curiosity.  Car after car reached the tract, all of them packed.  Extras were put on and these, too, were filled to capacity.  Twenty or thirty spectators got wet when the circus employes stopped at Fifth and Buchanan streets to cool and water the elephants and the polar bears.  A hose was attached to the water plug and the operation started.  No sooner had the bears been given a bath than the hippopotamus arrived.  He had to have a bath, too.

Then was when the fun started.  An “accident” occurred.  Mr. Keeper intentionally or not allowed the water hose to get away from him.  He struggled with the rubber tube which under the pressure of water lunged and pulled and drenched a number of nearby onlookers.  Still he struggled manfully.  The hose got him down.  More persons were drenched.  Finally when the crowd had retired to a safe distance he gained control of it again.

Noticeable about the circus aggregation was that of all the employees none of them was given to loud talking or profanity in the time required to get the paraphernalia in its place.  Another noticeable thing was that the usual number of hardened men were conspicuously absent.  Most of the following was represented in young men appearing to be college students and others of that character.

Features of the Parade.

In the parade some of the remarkable features were teams of elephants, camels, zebras and llamas hitched to ornate tableau floats and driven like horses.  It has been supposed that the zebra could not be driven.  The Ringlings have proved otherwise.  In all nearly 700 horses were exhibited, the most of them Norman Percherons.  Many of them were white.

More than 1,200 men, women and children from Australian bushwackers to those advertised as the royalty of Asia and Europe took part.  Music was provided by six brass bands, a cathedral organ, a calliope, barbarian orchestras, fife and drum corps, church chimes, trumpeters and Oriental string and reed musicians.10


Besides the circus, Robert mentioned that he had visited the capitol of Kansas in Topeka.

This sepia colored photograph [below] shows the capitol in Topeka, Kansas. Located on twenty acres of land once owned by Cyrus K. Holliday, work began on October 17, 1855 when the cornerstone was laid for the east wing. Thirty-seven years later the statehouse, an example of French Renaissance architecture and Corinthian details, was completed at a total cost of $3,200,588.92.”11

Kansas State Capitol, Topeka, Kansas

On April 26, 1910 a census taker visited the Daily family at the farm they were renting in Soldier Township, Shawnee County, Kansas.  Charles is mistakenly recorded as being 56 years-old (he was 53), Maggie was 42 years-old.  Their five children were living with them:  Gladys, age 17; Oranna, 14; Robert, 9; Iona, 7 and Elizabeth, 5.12  In addition, there were also in the household Inez Daily, age 16 and Alpha Bailey, age 20.  Inez was the daughter of William Daily, noted above.  Alpha was Charles’ nephew, the son of his sister Cynthia, who had come to live with the Dailys in 1908.  All of the children, including Gladys and Inez, attended school for a period of time between September 1, 1909 and the end of April 1910.  Robert said that Inez went to school for a couple of years and then got married in Kansas.13  Charles and Maggie kept ownership of their house in Omaha and according to the 1910 U. S. census of Omaha, the house was being rented by a bartender named Samuel J. Barth.  In the Barth household were his wife Sophia and daughter Edith.14

The same census taker that visited the Daily family also visited a farmer named Lawson Bonnewitz, who owned a farm in Soldier Township.15  Maggie and Lawson were cousins.  Jacob Bonewitz (b. 1761) was their great-grandfather.  Two of Jacob’s sons were Joseph Bonewitz (b. 1790), who was Lawson’s grandfather, and John Adam Bonewitz (b. 1792), who was Maggie’s grandfather.  


One event in Kansas that Robert related was the baptism of two of his sisters:

Uncle Bob:  … When we lived in Kansas we was able to go to church more than any place else.  ‘Course, we, we had, uh, afternoon services, see.

Interviewer:  Oh, uh, circuit rider type.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, and o’ course, a minister came out from, I don’t know where.  Meriden or Topeka, one o’ the two.  And I guess he was a Baptist minister, see, ‘cuz Gladys and Oranna were both, uh, immersed in the river.

Interviewer:  Oh!  Uh huh.

Uncle Bob:  At that time, … ‘course, they were old enough to be baptized.  I think Baptists, when you get right down to it.

Interviewer:  I suppose that they —

Uncle Bob:  And they don’t believe, didn’t believe in baptizing before 12 years old, see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  An’ Oranna an’ Gladys were o’ that age.  I didn’t get in on it.  See, it was before I was 12 years-old.  Either ten or eleven is what I was.  I can remember it so well.  We, uh, like the, like the song goes, “Shall we gather at the river,” see.

Interviewer:  Um hmm, um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And that’s why we gathered at the river and the minister walked in, out in the pasture, down in the pasture of our neighbors.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  That’s where we had our meeting, went through there.  That’s where Gladys and Oranna —

Interviewer:  Was it Omaha then?  This would be the Missouri River? 

Uncle Bob:  No, no, this was just a creek [pronounced crick].

Interviewer:  Oh, okay.

Uncle Bob:  A creek that went through the pasture, down in Kansas.16


Robert may have been referring to a hymn written by Robert Lowry in 1864, entitled, “Shall We Gather at the River?”

  1. Shall we gather at the river,
    Where bright angel feet have trod,
    With its crystal tide forever
    Flowing by the throne of God?
  2. On the margin of the river,
    Washing up its silver spray,
    We will talk and worship ever,
    All the happy golden day.
  3. Ere we reach the shining river,
    Lay we every burden down;
    Grace our spirits will deliver,
    And provide a robe and crown.
  4. At the smiling of the river,
    Mirror of the Savior’s face,
    Saints, whom death will never sever,
    Lift their songs of saving grace.
  5. Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
    Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
    Soon our happy hearts will quiver
    With the melody of peace.

Refrain:
Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.
17


Joseph Esli Daily’s birth announcement which is stored in the trunk that holds Daily memorabilia

On February 8, 1911, Maggie gave birth to another son, Joseph Esli.  Sadly, the boy didn’t live to his first birthday.  Charles and Maggie buried Joseph in Evergreen Memorial Park in Omaha, where they had buried their first son, who had died in 1899.  Robert gives a few details about Joseph’s short life.

Interviewer:  But, the baby boy —

Uncle Bob:  Oh, Joseph?

Interviewer:  Joseph — was born and died in Topeka.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, yeah.  … Mother always came up to see Grandma, once a year, around Christmas time, see.  And ‘course, other years Iona an’ Elizabeth, your mother, would come up, too.  But when Joseph was born and a baby, she wanted the baby to, Grandma to see the baby, see.  Joseph.  And o‘ course, ah, that year was the time that I, Joseph and I came up with her.

Interviewer:  You mean up to Omaha.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, up to Omaha.  See, he was born in 1911.  Passed away in January 1912.

Interviewer:  Oh, okay.

Uncle Bob:  That was Joseph, he was just ‘leven months old.  … but we’d been up to Omaha, and got back, and then he’d got the croup.  And ah, he was a little weak anyway in the spine.  He never had set up, really.  He was happy.  He’d lay on the lounge and watch us kids play on the floors and that.  But when it come to this here getting the croup.  So, why, that’s when —

Interviewer:  Went into pneumonia, I suppose.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, suppose.  In those days, that’s what they called it.  Lungs filled up some, I guess.18


For years the details were somewhat of a mystery regarding when and how Charles and Maggie’s youngest daughter’s name came to be Elizabeth J. Best Viola Daily.  Since no one has been able to locate a birth record for Elizabeth, it is unclear whether she had that name at her birth or if she acquired the name later.  One of Elizabeth’s children thought that she had been given money to carry on the name of a woman named Elizabeth J. Best, another thought the woman’s name was J. Best and that property was involved.

Early in 2019 one of Elizabeth’s children was searching through old items that are kept in the trunk which has been previously mentioned and “… he came across some interesting info.  Mom stayed with someone in Indiana and went to school.  He came up with the name Stults and money being passed back and forth.  I suggested this may be the money Mom received for being named after Elizabeth J Best.  This morning I typed Elizabeth J Best in the internet search line and came up with Elizabeth J Stults Best.”19  The source of this name was the Find-a-Grave memorial page of Elizabeth J. Best (nee Stults) of Huntington County, Indiana.20  The webpage identifies the cemetery where she was buried, it is the same cemetery where one of Maggie’s brothers is buried,21 as well as her maternal grandparents Harman and Barbara Smith22,23 and her great-grandfather Jacob Flora (Barbara’s father).24

In August 2019, I found a document accessible on Ancestry.com that revealed some intriguing details.  It is the will of Elizabeth J. Best, dated October 26, 1910.  In the will, Elizabeth J. Best Daily of Omaha, Nebraska, is named as an heir.  Additionally, in March 2020, when listening to Robert’s interview, some more details came to light:

Uncle Bob:  … Elizabeth was heir to some money back East.

Interviewer:  I heard about that.

Uncle Bob:  See, uh, Elizabeth Best was her name. And, Grandma’s name was Josephine Smith, as they went to school together.

Interviewer:  Ohhh.

Uncle Bob:  But they didn’t have no, no middle names, see.  So, Grandma took the name of — Elizabeth’s initial, E.  She was Josephine E. Bonewitz, that’s her married [name].  And Best took, took, uhh —

Interviewer:  Josephine, took the J.

Uncle Bob:  Yeah, took the J.  And she was, that’s the reason, she got the name Elizabeth J. Best, see.

Interviewer:  Okaaay.

Uncle Bob:  See, that’s the way she picked that up.

Interviewer:  And this was a school friend of Josephine Smith?  Okay.

Uncle Bob:  Yes, that’s right, and she was very wealthy.  O’ course, as I mentioned, ever’thin’ ended up, why, she [Robert’s sister Elizabeth] lived with the woman at the time in 1912.  Elizabeth was born in 1905, 7 years old.

Interviewer:  Um hmm.

Uncle Bob:  And, o’ course, uh then, ahh, all the time she was goin’ to school afterwards – the Elizabeth Best, or Elizabeth J. Best, ahh, had a friend, I can’t say what his name was, the lawyer, the lawyer, friend lawyer.  And he was bound and determined that her word was law, see, ever’thin’ she said.  And Elizabeth’s other relatives tried to, tried to break the, uh —

Interviewer:  The will.

Uncle Bob:  — the will.  He stuck in there and o’ course all the while she was goin’ to school, up ‘til she was 18, why, anythin’ needed for school, that’d come off the, off her inheritance.

Interviewer:  Well, she had quite an inheritance, then!

Uncle Bob:  I don’t know what it was, I never knew what it was.  I just know that she uh, afterwards when she come home, why, ‘course that’s what really put Willis on his feet there, because ahh, when she inherited that money, why ‘o course, uh, they bought out, uh — I can’t say what his name was down there —

Interviewer:  He bought down in that Grover area.

Uncle Bob:  Down in Grover area, see.  An’ o’ course, she gave each of us fifty dollars.  I think somewhere roun’ twenty-five hundred dollars is what she got.  ‘Course, at that time, was pretty good money.25

Elizabeth Stults was born in Stark County, Ohio,26 the same county in which Josephine Smith was born.  Both of their families moved to Huntington County, Indiana.27,28  Robert explains that they were school mates.  When Elizabeth Stults got married, she added a middle initial “J” to her name, becoming Elizabeth J. Best.  And when Josephine Smith got married, she added the middle initial “E” to her name, becoming Josephine E. Bonewitz.

Best’s husband Joseph C. Best had passed away seven years before she wrote her will and their only two children had died in infancy.29  So, at the time of the writing of her will, Best had no direct heirs.  Her will names 11 people as heirs, including Josephine’s granddaughter, Elizabeth J. Best Daily.

The date that the will was probated was April 21, 1911.  Along the edges of the will there is an accounting of when funds were distributed to the heirs.  The first distribution was October 24, 1914 and the last was December 23, 1916.  Each time a distribution is noted for Elizabeth J. Best Daily, it is received by a person named M. B. Stults.  It appears that this was the guardian for young Elizabeth.  Perhaps this is the friend or lawyer to which Robert referred in the interview.  Robert’s explanation clears up some questions, including the name of the woman, and confirmation that there was money given, and he also provides information as to why property was attached to the mystery.

Last will and testament of Elizabeth J. Best,
a friend of Elizabeth Daily’s grandmother Josephine Bonewitz

On January 12, 1913, Maggie’s father, John Esli Bonewitz, passed away in Omaha.  About thirteen years earlier, when Charles and Maggie’s baby died two days after its birth, Charles had bought a lot in Evergreen Memorial Park (Section A, Block 26, Lot 3).  Their son Joseph Esli was buried in that lot on January 5, 1912, and Maggie’s father was buried there on January 14, 1913 alongside the two sons.

Interment record of the cemetery lot owned by C. M. Dailey
in Evergreen Memorial Park, Omaha, Nebraska

Presently, in the cemetery lot, there are no grave markers for the un-named baby nor for Joseph Esli.  The interment record states that Joseph Esli was buried in grave #7 and John Esli was buried in grave #4.  It doesn’t indicate the location of the un-named baby, but a very helpful employee of the cemetery diagramed the lot, and there is a high probability that the baby was buried in grave #8. 

Two months after Maggie’s father passed away, the Daily family moved back to Omaha again.  In the next blogpost, Uncle Bob will continue his reminiscences of the next two years while they resumed living there.


1 M. R. Wilson, transcription of Robert Lee Daily Interview by R. Thiele, recording (ca. 1984): 6.

2 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 13 & 16.

3 L. A. Bevers, personal communication with M. R. Wilson, August 10, 2010 and November 24, 2010.

4 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 22-23.

5 The Kenyon Company, Inc., Atlas and Plat Book of Shawnee County Kansas (Topeka, Kansas: Kansas Farmer and Mail & Breeze, 1921): 5, https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/224002/page/7.

6 “Flag station,” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/flag-station.

7 James L. King, ed., History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens (Chicago: Richmond & Arnold, 1905): 55, https://ia902604.us.archive.org/7/items/historyofshawnee00king/historyofshawnee00king.pdf.

8 “Big Show Goes By,” The Topeka State Journal, September 7, 1909, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1909-09-07/ed-1/seq-1/.

9 “Eight-Inch Rain,” The Topeka State Journal, September 7, 1909, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1909-09-07/ed-1/seq-1/.

10 “Big Show Is Here,” The Topeka State Journal, September 5, 1910, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1910-09-05/ed-1/seq-5/.

11 Capitol, Topeka, Kansas, postcard, ca. 1910, https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/215285.

12 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRJZ-GJ1?cc=1727033&wc=QZZQ-PF3%3A133640801%2C140502701%2C134349501%2C1589089094 : 24 June 2017), Kansas > Shawnee > Soldier > ED 140 > image 8 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

13 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 14-15.

14 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RVD-94BH?cc=1727033&wc=QZZW-D1C%3A133641701%2C133718401%2C136867001%2C1589089011 : 24 June 2017), Nebraska > Douglas > Omaha Ward 11 > ED 81 > image 15 of 30; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

15 “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RJZ-GRH?cc=1727033&wc=QZZQ-PF3%3A133640801%2C140502701%2C134349501%2C1589089094 : 24 June 2017), Kansas > Shawnee > Soldier > ED 140 > image 20 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

16 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 21-22.

17 Robert Lowry, “Shall We Gather at the River?,” 1864, Timeless Truths, https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Shall_We_Gather_at_the_River/.

18 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 6.

19 E. J. Jones, email communication with M. R. Wilson, February 2, 2019.

20 “Elizabeth J Stults Best,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63599577/elizabeth-j-best.

21 “Rosco Neff Bonewitz,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62071397/rosco-neff-bonewitz.

22 “Harman Smith,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62815250/harman-smith.

23 “Barbara Marguet Flora Smith,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62071353/barbara-marguet-smith.

24 “Jacob Flora,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62852349/jacob-flora.

25 Wilson, Robert Lee Daily Interview: 7-8.

26 “Joseph C. Best,” Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, Ind. (Chicago: B. F. Bowen, 1901): 587.

27 “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QMQ-QDH?cc=1401638&wc=95RX-2JQ%3A1031336301%2C1031975601%2C1031975602 : 9 April 2016), Indiana > Huntington > Huntington county > image 49 of 194; citing NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

28 “United States Census, 1860,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBY-65K?cc=1473181&wc=7QK5-RD2%3A1589426070%2C1589426540%2C1589423705 : 24 March 2017), Indiana > Huntington > Huntington > image 41 of 41; from “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

29 “Joseph C Best,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/61993911/joseph-c-best.

Four Weddings in Omaha

On October 14, 1882, a young man named Charles W. Savidge arrived in Omaha to begin serving as the pastor of First Methodist Church.1   Located at Seventeenth and Davenport, the congregation had been established in September 1855,2 a year and a half after the village of Omaha had been incorporated in Nebraska Territory.  When Rev. Savidge wrote his autobiography in 1914, he had served as a minister in Omaha for 31 years, having left the city for only one year to minister in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Regarding one of his accomplishments, Rev. Savidge stated, “I have now married nearly three thousand couples.  I have married all kinds of people, all colors, nearly all nationalities and all ages; some have been young, some old and others middle-aged.”3

Nearly six months after beginning his ministry in Omaha, Rev. Savidge performed the marriage ceremony of John C. Thompson and Emma V. Bonewitz.  The groom was the 22 year-old son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Thompson and was a newspaper editor, residing in Brownville, Nebraska, a city about 75 miles south of Omaha.  Thompson is mentioned in a history of Brownville:

“April, 1882, J. Thompson, a young man who learned the printer’s trade in the Advertiser office, purchased an office in Fullerton, Neb., and established a Republican paper in the old Advertiser office, on the north side of Main street, between First and Second. He has named his paper the Brownville Republican.”4

The bride was the 18 year-old daughter of John E. and Josie Bonewitz, whose family had moved to Omaha in 1880.  The wedding was performed on May 6, 1883, at Emma’s parents’ home and announced in one of the city newspapers, Omaha Daily Bee:

“At 4 p. m. Sunday, at the residence of the bride’s parents, No. 1623 Dodge street, Mr. John C. Thompson, editor of the Brownville Republican, was united in Marriage to Miss Emma V. Bonewitz, Rev. Savidge, of First M. E. church, officiating.  Only the relatives and intimate friends of the high contracting parties were present, but the affair was a most auspicious one, and the presents received were both costly and beautiful.  The happy couple left Sunday evening for their home in Brownville.”5


Rev. Savidge had performed his first wedding in 1879.  He has related that at the time he did not know what to do in that ceremony, so he asked a Presbyterian pastor who served in the same area and he was given some instructions.6  Thirty-five years later, Rev. Savidge wrote:

Some ministers have a very long and tedious marriage service, but my service is short and to the point.  There is not so much dependent on the length of the service and the minister as there is upon the contracting parties themselves.

“It is up to them whether they will be happy or miserable.  Here is a copy of my brief marriage ceremony:

“ ‘Will thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy state of matrimony?

“ ‘Wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife in health, and forsaking all others, cleave thee only unto her?’

“The bridegroom answers, ‘I will.’

“I then ask the bride the same questions concerning the groom.  She answers, ‘I will.’

“I then direct the bridegroom to place the ring on the third finger of his lady’s left hand and, holding the hand, to repeat after me these words:

“ ‘With this ring I thee wed, and with my worldly goods I thee endow; in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.’

“I then close that part of the service with these words: ‘For as much as this man and this woman have consented together in holy wedlock, have witnessed the same before God and this company, and signified the same by joining of hands, I pronounce that they are husband and wife together, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.’

“I then offer the following brief prayer: ‘And now may God, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost bless, preserve and keep you.  The Lord mercifully look upon you; so fill you with all benediction and grace that ye may so live together in this life that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting.’

“Sometimes I add this prayer: ‘Lord, bless this man and woman, now this husband and wife.  Bind them together Thyself and may they never be separated by any discord or difference or rent apart by the action of any divorce court, but may death alone break this bond.  In order that they may live long and prosper, we pray they may believe in Thee, the living God, as much as Daniel ever did.  That they may take the Bible as the inspired word of God and Man of their counsel, thus laying the foundation of happiness here and felicity forever.  For the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.’ ”7


A year after John and Emma’s wedding, Rev. Savidge performed the marriage ceremony of Emma’s 23 year-old sister, Carrie Bonewitz, who had arrived in Omaha with her family in 1880.  Carrie married 25 year-old Charles P. White, the son of S. M. and Anna White, on June 12, 1884.  At least six years prior to their marriage and before Carrie had moved to Omaha, White and Carrie’s brother Orlando were boarding at the same boarding house, Donovan House, in Omaha.8  White resided in Omaha for a few years between 1878 and 1884, but on his marriage license his residence is recorded as Tobias, Nebraska.  Tobias was a new railroad village that had been platted and incorporated in the early spring of 1884.9

One of the witnesses of this marriage was S. H. Buffett.  This was White’s employer, a grocer whose name, Sidney H. Buffett, can be found in the Omaha city directories starting at 1870.  Initially, White had worked as a teamster for Buffett,10 later he worked as a clerk.11  The other witness who signed the marriage license was William T. Lyons, who was probably White’s mother’s brother.

Marriage Record of Charles P. White and Carrie Bonewitz

In 1886, Rev. Savidge performed a third wedding for a member of the Bonewitz family.  This time, 27 year-old Harman (sometimes called by his middle name Finley) married a 25 year-old dressmaker, Cornelia B. Higley, on December 29.  When the 1880 U. S. census was taken, both the Bonewitz family and the Higley family resided in Fairfield, Iowa.12,13  Harman and his father and brother Orlando had gone to Omaha for work as early as 1878, but apparently, Harman didn’t permanently move to Omaha until 1880 when his entire family moved there.  In 1885, Cornelia was still living with her parents, Judson and Ruah Higley, in Fairfield when the Iowa state census was taken,14 but in 1887 Cornelia and her parent’s names appear in the Omaha city directory.  One of the signatures of the witnesses on Harman and Cornelia’s marriage license is possibly Cornelia’s father’s signature.  The other signature is very difficult to read, but may be the signature of Harman’s brother-in-law, Charles P. White.

Marriage License of Harman Bonewitz and Cornelia Higley

In his autobiography, Rev. Savidge had some sage words regarding “The Marriage Fee”:

“The true minister of the Gospel does not charge a regular fee for his services at the marriage.  He depends upon the generosity of the bridegroom and his appreciation of his bride.

“The minister has many avenues for his surplus change and his income is generally limited.  Don’t forget the preacher, boys!

“It is very poor taste indeed for the bridegroom after the ceremony to ask the minister what his bill is or what the charges are.  This is often done, but it is not the thing to do; it throws a sort of coldness over the meeting.

“The bridegroom ought to have his offering for the minister in his vest pocket, or better still, in an envelope, and then quietly hand it to him.

“That sum ought not to fall below $5.00.  A ten-dollar bill looks better to me!

“The groom who remembers the minister liberally will not lose in the long run.  A man ought not to be married often during this earthly life and he can afford to be manly and generous at this time.

“This whole transaction from start to finish is a test of manhood.  Brother, walk up and stand the test!

“I have often married people where I received no fee at all, but it seemed to me a good deal like tying up cattle.

“The largest fee I ever received was $50.00, but I prayed eight hours for that fellow.  I said, ‘Lord, work him up and help him give me a good fee, for I need the “dough.” ’

“He gave me, sealed in an envelope, ten five-dollar bills.  I praised the Lord and used the money.  One of the smallest, meanest fees I ever got, was some shade trees for the church and the trees died.  I guess they got ashamed and quit.”15

After serving at First Methodist Church for six years, Rev. Savidge was assigned to Grand Island, Nebraska in 1888.  He only served there one year, because during that year Rev. Savidge felt a conviction that his work in Omaha was not done.  He has written: “God seemed to pull on me and put a message from Himself in my very soul, that He had plans for me in this city, and the past twenty-four years have proved that my convictions at that time were from God.”16  So Rev. Savidge requested to be assigned to Omaha again and to found his own church, which would be called the People’s Church.  He has explained how he started the new work in Omaha:

“I … hired Boyd’s Opera House on Fifteenth and Farnum Streets for twenty-five dollars every Sunday.

“… The congregation was made up of the unchurched masses.  Men and women who never went to any regular church went there.  Harlots, drunkards and gamblers came to see and to hear: Many of these were benefited.

“I started a Sunday School in the lower part of the city and we instructed children of all nationalities and colors.

“… When the hot weather came on, I was compelled to give up the opera house and transfer my services to the Newman M. E. Church.”17

In the fall of 1891, Rev. Savidge decided to discontinue his association with the Methodist Episcopal denomination.18  He determined to be an independent minister and once again established the People’s Church, purchasing the old United Presbyterian Church building located on 18th Street near California for $1,000.19


That same fall, Rev. Savidge performed a fourth marriage ceremony for the Bonewitz family.  In about 1886, the family had moved to West Side, a developing addition to Omaha.  At some point in the late 1880s, Josephine Bonewitz began running a boarding house in that area, and a man named Charles M. Daily became one of the boarders and became acquainted with Maggie Bonewitz, the youngest daughter of John and Josephine Bonewitz.20  The son of Joseph and Amanda Daily, Charles Daily had worked his way from Indiana, across Illinois and Iowa for about 15 years, and finally settled in Omaha.  His first known employer in Omaha was Charles P. White,21 who was operating a feed and coal business, and was the brother-in-law of Maggie.  Daily worked for several years for White and on November 18, 1891 when 35 year-old Daily married 24 year-old Maggie, White signed the marriage certificate as a witness.  The other witness was Maggie’s other brother-in-law John C. Thompson.

Signed Marriage License of Charles M. Daily and Maggie O. Bonewitz
Charles Monroe Daily and Maggie Oranna (Bonewitz) Daily on their wedding day, November 18, 1891

The dress that Maggie wore on her wedding day was passed down to one of her daughters and then to one of her grandsons.  About ninety years after Maggie wore the dress for her wedding photograph, one of her great granddaughters posed for a photograph wearing Maggie’s dress.  The dress is still brought out for display at the biennial reunions of the combined Daily and Bevers families.

Maggie Daily’s wedding dress, modeled by a great granddaughter

As time went by, Rev. Savidge began to be consulted by many families regarding marriageable prospects.  In his autobiography, he writes:

“I am a firm believer in marriage.  We can never beat the evils of the present day except the people enter the marriage relation and establish their own homes.  God says, ‘He setteth the solitary in families.’

“Marriage is the order of God, the foundation of society, the church and the state.  Many people among us who have their own homes do not know the intense desire of those who are not so situated.  Our cities are crowded with women, good women, who have no chance to meet agreeable gentlemen, and there are many good men on ranches, farms and in mining, and even in our crowded cities who have small opportunity to meet good women.

“In recent years, on account of my age and experience, many come to consult with me on this subject.  Mothers bring their daughters and beg me to use my influence to have them properly settled in life.  It might do the skeptical on this subject much good to read some of the letters I receive.  One lady said, ‘The desire for a home and love is with me constantly; it haunts my every waking hour.’

“In the Bible you may read a very beautiful story of how Isaac got his wife, in Genesis, twenty-fourth chapter.

“Abraham’s eldest and most trusted servant attended to this business with alacrity and devotion, and with the evident blessing of God.

“Other people can dip in a little to help others if they have the skill and ability.  I have a bureau of information on marriage in my downtown office, which in the past year has worked wonders.  I have a most competent secretary who takes the details off of me and I hope to assist many worthy people in the future.”22

One last quote from Rev. Charles W. Savidge: “It is a perfectly natural thing to marry.  Man never got up this scheme; it is a plan of God.  It is folly to try to beat it.”23

Resources:

  1. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God (Omaha, Nebraska: Beacon Press, 1914):38-39, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0038.htm.
  2. David Marquette, History of Nebraska Methodism: First Half-Century (1904): 56, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/hmec/pages/honm0052.htm.
  3. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 89, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0083.htm#ch25.
  4. John McCoy, transcriber, History of the State of Nebraska by William Cutler (Chicago: The Western Historical Company, 1882): https://www.kancoll.org/books/andreas_ne/nemaha/nemaha-p6.html#press.
  5. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Daily Bee, May 8, 1883):8, https://www.newspapers.com/image/466624152.
  6. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 89.
  7. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 89, 91.
  8. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1878-1879 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Publishing House and Book Bindery, 1878): 97 & 286.
  9. Helen Kottas, “Nebraska…Our Towns, Tobias — Saline County”: https://casde.unl.edu/history/counties/saline/tobias/.
  10. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1878-1879: 286.
  11. J. M. Wolfe, publisher, Wolfe’s Omaha City Directory 1881-1882 (Omaha, Nebraska: Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping House, 1881): 421.
  12. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9R3L?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 81 > image 60 of 64; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  13. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYYV-9RN5?cc=1417683&wc=XHBX-C68%3A1589394762%2C1589396075%2C1589395491%2C1589396695 : 24 December 2015), Iowa > Jefferson > Fairfield > ED 81 > image 19 of 64; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
  14. “Iowa State Census, 1885,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939Z-YGHT-J?cc=1803643&wc=M6L6-Q23%3A145017901%2C145048501 : 1 April 2016), Jefferson > Fairfield, Fairfield > image 67 of 152; State Historical Society, Des Moines.
  15. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 92-93, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0092.htm.
  16. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 51, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0045.htm.
  17. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 51-52.
  18. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 55.
  19. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 56, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/religion/MECHURCH/faith/pages/hfig0056.htm.
  20. E. J. B. V. Bevers, personal communication with M. R. Wilson, ca. 1976.
  21. Omaha City and South Omaha City Directory for 1889 (Omaha, Nebraska: J. M. Wolfe & Co., Publishers, 1889): 194.
  22. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 93-94.
  23. Charles W. Savidge, Have faith in God: 92.

What Became of the Huppler Orphans?

Immigrants John and Anna Huppeler1, with their six children, arrived at the Port of New York in April 1874.2  Two months later, at the Circuit Court of Monroe County, Wisconsin, a declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States was signed by John Huppler.3  Then nearly a year later, the name John Huppler appears on the Wisconsin state census.  As of June 1, 1875, he and his household were residing in Burns Township, La Crosse County.4  The census record indicates that there were four males and four females in the household, presumably these are John and his sons Christian, John and Friedrich and his wife Anna and daughters Rosetta, Anna Elizabeth5 and Lena.  This census of Burns Township also includes the household of John’s brother Jacob Hueppler, which had two males and three females.6  There is also a David Hueppler, which is probably another brother of John, having two males and two females in the household.7

Tragically, both John and Anna Huppler lose their lives within several months of being recorded on the 1875 Wisconsin census.  A century after their deaths, in a tribute to their daughter Anna Elizabeth’s 105th birthday, a statement is made: “When she was 6 her mother died and 6 mo. later, her father died. The 6 kids were placed with different families.”8  (According to other documentation of her age, Anna Elizabeth was actually eight years old when her parents died.)  The ages of the other children were: Christian, about 12; Rosetta, age 10; John, age 6 or 7; Friedrich, age 5 and Lena, age 3.

So, what became of these six children?  There is some family lore and a few documents that lead us to some possibilities of where the children were placed.  One family historian, a descendant of Lena, obtained from a descendant of Christian a copy of a document dated March 4, 1876, signed by two Supervisors of the town of Burns in La Crosse County, Wisconsin.  The document bound Christian as an indentured servant to William Sawyer of Burns until Christian reached the age of 21 years-old.  A portion of the document reads as follows:

“… Whereas Christian Huppler now 13 years of age, a minor son of John Huppler and his wife Anna, late of said Burns, both deceased, is a resident of said town of Burns and destitute of means of support and has become a charge whom said town for support ….  The Supervisors of the town of Burns have and by these presents do put and bind this said Christian Huppler unto the said William Sawyer as a servant for and until he shall have attained the full age of 21 years which will be on 22 Aug 1884 during which time the said servant shall serve his master faithfully, honestly and industriously….  The said William Sawyer hereby covenants, promises and agrees to and with said Board of Supervisors that he will furnish and provide said Christian Huppler with suitable and sufficient clothing, board and food and proper care, medical attendance in case of sickness and cause him within the said term to be instructed to read and write and in the general rules of mathematics and use him with proper care and extend to him suitable treatment and at the end of said terms he will give to said Christian Huppler the sum of $100.  And for the time performance of all and singular this covenants and agreements aforesaid, the said parties bind themselves each unto the other firmly by these presents.  In witness whereof the parties have set their hands and seals 4 Mar 1876.”9

William Sawyer was a farmer who had been living in La Crosse County since at least 1860 (his name is on the 1860 U. S. Census of the town of Bangor).10  According to the 1870 U. S. Census for Burns, William Sawyer’s household included his wife and three children, as well as another child, two farm laborers and a domestic servant.11  Christian himself can be found on the 1880 U. S. Census as part of the William Sawyer household, which was still residing in Burns.12  This census record identifies 16 year-old Christian’s relationship to the head of the household as “servant” and his occupation as “farm hand.”  Christian also attended school within the census year and he could read and write.  The birth place listed for Christian and his parents is “Switland” (this is assumed to be Switzerland).

1880 U. S. Census record of the William Sawyer household, which includes “Criss Huppler.”

According to the widow of one of Christian Huppler’s sons, the Huppler girls were raised by families with the name of McIntyre, Campbell and Christians, and she said that young John Huppler was raised by his uncle Jacob Huppler.13   She also said that “one boy died young of malaria after moving south.”  As yet I have not been able to locate the placements of Rosetta nor Friedrich Huppler, but I have collected some information about Anna Elizabeth, John and Lena.

Sorting out who Anna Elizabeth was raised by and when she left Wisconsin has been difficult to determine.  According to the above-mentioned article written when Anna Elizabeth turned 105-years-old, as an orphaned child “she lived and worked with the Alex McIntyre family” and the article also states that “two of her … brothers came to South Dakota and when she was 16 she joined them.”14  Alternatively, the text of the funeral folder of Anna Elizabeth seems to contradict the article, stating, “In 1880 she came to South Dakota with the William MacIntyre family.”15  William McIntyre was an early settler and businessman in Codington County, South Dakota (one source states that his arrival in Dakota Territory was in 1877, not 1880).16

“William and Adelaide [his wife] came to the tree claim he had staked two miles west of what is now Watertown.  They were accompanied by a large contingent of settlers including two of his brothers.  …They were very active in the early years of the city.  He served as mayor and was appointed to the group authorized to organize Codington County.”17

Anna Elizabeth might not have actually moved to South Dakota at the same time as William McIntyre.  In the 1880 U. S. Census of Sparta, Wisconsin, there is a record of a 13 year-old girl by the name of Annie in the household of Ester McIntyre who was married (not widowed), but her husband wasn’t in the household at the time the census was taken.18  The relationship of Annie to the head of the household (Ester) is recorded as “adopted.”  According to a posting about Esther McIntyre on the Find-a-Grave website, Esther’s husband was Alexander McIntyre and they had adopted Annie.19  Perhaps this is Anna Elizabeth Huppler.  Another posting on this website indicates that Alexander McIntyre moved to Watertown, South Dakota in 1886.20  If Anna Elizabeth did go to South Dakota when she was sixteen (which was 1883), then she may have left from the Alex McIntyre home, three years before he moved to South Dakota.

1880 U. S. Census record of the Ester McIntyre household, which includes adopted 13-year-old “Annie.”

Possible confirmation of the statement that young John Huppler was raised by his uncle Jacob comes from a census record that actually leaves us with some uncertainty due to spelling inconsistencies.  There is an 1880 U. S. Census record of a man named Jacob Hipler, living in Burns, Wisconsin21, the same town where Jacob Huppler was living when the Wisconsin state census was taken in 1875.  The Jacob of this 1880 census record is from Switzerland, as well as the two children in the household.  One of the children is named John, but the other is listed as Laura.  Yet both of the children are in the age range of John and Lena Huppler.  In the census record, their relationships to the head of the household are: son and daughter.

1880 U. S. Census record of Jacob Hipler household, which includes John and Laura.
(I propose that this is actually Jacob Huppler with his nephew John and niece Lena Huppler.)

After eight and a half years, the indenture of Christian Huppler was completed on August 23, 1884 when he turned 21 years-old.  Two years later he made his way to Codington County, South Dakota and began farming.22  Apparently, Christian’s relationship with his master William Sawyer was a good one, and after settling in South Dakota, Christian wrote to William.  This fact is known due to the existence of a letter written by William’s daughter Lena Sawyer to Christian.  Lena Sawyer’s letter states that she was writing a week after William Sawyer received a letter from Christian.  In her letter dated September 15, 1889, she calls herself his friend, she tells him of her impressions of South Dakota and informs him of the doings of the members of her family.  According to the wife of a family historian who is a descendant of Lena, the text of the letter reads:

“Father received your letter last week.  We are glad to know that you keep well and like Dakota.  I think it is just the place for young men and women too if they have plenty of courage.  I have often thought that I would like to own a piece of land in Dakota but could not well take a homestead. What kind did you get and are there any claims near yours.  I want land for speculation, not for a home for I could not stand Dakota winters.  I think some of taking a trip to Huron this fall to visit the cousins there.  Susie and Johnnie have moved to Mankato, MN.  Mother went East the middle of July.  She returned last week and brought a niece with her from NY.  Frank went to CA the first of July.  He thinks of spending a year in a law school at San Francisco then will settle in Stockton.  Said he would not be back for 10 years.  Allie has been home a month.  She is going to teach in the Graded School at Long Prairie next year.  Helen is at home. She is very anxious to learn short-hand and type-writing.  Edgar has moved to LaCrosse and working at carpentry.  Your friend, Lena”23

The 1915 South Dakota state census record of Lena Bevers indicates that she had been living in South Dakota for 29 years, which would mean that she moved to South Dakota in 1886, when she was 14-years-old.24  This is the same year that Lena’s cousin Kate Huppler Dellman moved to South Dakota with her husband J. H. Dellman.25  Kate was the second daughter of Jacob Huppler.  If it is true that three-year-old orphaned Lena was taken in by Jacob Huppler, then Kate would have been sixteen-years-old at the time.  Around five years later, in December 1880, Kate married Julius Dellman.26  Then, in the same year that Christian Huppler moved to Codington County, the Dellmans moved to Watertown, South Dakota.  Perhaps young Lena Huppler had joined the Dellmans during their move to South Dakota.

According to family lore learned by one of Christian Huppler’s descendants, Christian was instrumental in bringing all of his siblings to South Dakota.27  Briefly, the following information is known about the residences of Christian and his siblings as young adults.

  • “Christian’s name is one of 22 settlers who signed a petition filed April 16, 1889 asking that the area be organized into a civil township known as Phipps Township.”28
  • It is not yet known which family took in Rosetta Huppler when her parents died, nor when and how she made her way to South Dakota.  But she was living in Phipps Township, Codington County, South Dakota when she married Gottlieb Christian in 1900.29
  • Anna Elizabeth “had her own homestead near the McIntyre home which was north of Watertown and just west of Rauville.”30  Also, she and her husband Dougal Campbell were living in Phipps Township in 1900.31
  • As a young man John Huppler must have lived in South Dakota for a short time.  He was there in 1892 when his sister Lena married Herbert Bevers.  John and his sister Anna Elizabeth were witnesses who signed Lena and Herbert’s marriage certificate.32  John must have returned to Wisconsin about 1893 because he was married there about 1894.
  • Little is known about Friedrich.  As yet, no record has been found of his living in South Dakota.  Some family historians give him a death date of about the year 1900.  Perhaps he died in the south of malaria, as one story reports about one of the Huppler boys.33
  • According to Lena’s marriage license dated November 1892, she was a resident of Watertown, Codington County, South Dakota at that time.34

Notes:

  1. The Huppler name is spelled in a variety of ways on different documents.  When a document is referenced, the name is spelled as it is written in the document.
  2. “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK97-V815 : 11 March 2018), John Huppeler, 1874; citing Immigration, New York City, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 175,744.
  3. “Declaration of John Huppler,” (Circuit Court, Monroe County, Wisconsin: June 12, 1874).
  4. Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin; Census Year: 1875; Roll: 3 (https://ancestry.com. Wisconsin, State Censuses, 1855-1905 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007).
  5. Both names (Anna Elizabeth) are used throughout this article because some resources refer to her as Anna and some refer to her as Elizabeth, Liz or Lizzie.
  6. Wisconsin Historical Society; Census Year: 1875.
  7. Wisconsin Historical Society; Census Year: 1875.
  8. Jenkins Methodist Home News, v. 6 no. 3, “105th Birthday” (Watertown, South Dakota: Jenkins Methodist Home, August 1972), 1.
  9. M. A. Bevers, email communication to M. Wilson, April 20, 2020.
  10. “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW9S-VXG : 18 March 2020), William Sawyer, 1860.
  11. “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MN9L-331 : 19 March 2020), William Sawyer, 1870.
  12. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MN4R-LFZ : 17 September 2017), William P Sowyer, Burns, La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States; citing enumeration district ED 44, sheet 335A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,255,432.
  13. M. A. Bevers, notes of an interview with Geraldine Huppler, widow of Jim Huppler, July 1991 (posted to Johannes Hüpperle in “Bevers-Daily-McFerran-Nelson Families” family tree on Ancestry.com, n.d.).
  14. Jenkins Methodist Home News, “105th Birthday.”
  15. Shaw-Messer Funeral Home, “Anna E. Campbell, 1867-1972” (Watertown, South Dakota: Shaw-Messer Funeral Home, January 3, 1973).
  16. “William McIntyre Family,” In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979, by Codington County History Book Committee (Watertown, South Dakota: Watertown Public Opinion Print, 1979): 264.
  17. “William McIntyre Family,” In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979: 264.
  18. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNHW-FTG : 23 August 2017), Ester Mcintyre, Sparta, Monroe, Wisconsin, United States; citing enumeration district ED 29, sheet 93A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,255,439.
  19. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 28 March 2020), memorial page for Esther E Husted McIntyre (27 May 1837–8 Jul 1912), Find a Grave Memorial no. 88550806, citing Leon Cemetery, Sparta, Monroe County, Wisconsin, USA; Maintained by Susan Hunt Williams (contributor 47664730).
  20. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 28 March 2020), memorial page for Alexander “Alex” McIntyre (18 Jun 1838–18 Nov 1907), Find a Grave Memorial no. 88523698, citing Leon Cemetery, Sparta, Monroe County, Wisconsin, USA; Maintained by Susan Hunt Williams (contributor 47664730).
  21. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MN4R-RN5 : 17 September 2017), Jacob Kipher, Burns, La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States; citing enumeration district ED 44, sheet 341B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,255,432.
  22. “Christian Huppler Family,” In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979, by Codington County History Book Committee (Watertown, South Dakota: Watertown Public Opinion Print, 1979): 208.
  23. M. A. Bevers, email communication to M. Wilson, April 20, 2020.
  24. “South Dakota State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMHW-WHC : 29 July 2017), Lena Bevers; citing State Historical Society, Pierre; FHL microfilm 2,283,122.
  25. “J. H. Dellman Family,” In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979, by Codington County History Book Committee (Watertown, South Dakota: Watertown Public Opinion Print, 1979): 156.
  26. “J. H. Dellman Family,” In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979: 156.
  27. M. L. Winzenburg, email communication with K. Bevers, Apr. 19, 2017.
  28. “Christian Huppler Family,” In The First 100 Years of Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979: 208.
  29. M. A. Bevers, notes of the marriage record of Rosa Huppler and Gotlip (sp?) Christian (posted to Rosetta Huppler in “Bevers-Daily-McFerran-Nelson Families” family tree on Ancestry.com, n.d.).
  30. Jenkins Methodist Home News, “105th Birthday.”
  31. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMRS-CZZ : accessed 15 April 2020), Anna E Campbell in household of Degald Campbell, Fuller, Richland & Phipps Townships, Codington, South Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 102, sheet 7B, family 131, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,548.
  32. “Marriage License of Herbert J. Beavers and Lena Huppler” (Circuit Court, Codington County, South Dakota: November 23, 1892).
  33. M. A. Bevers, notes of an interview with Geraldine Huppler.
  34. “Marriage License of Herbert J. Beavers and Lena Huppler.”

Day Twenty-Seven: Raymondville, Texas

November 8, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Sat. – Nov. 8.

Started out and got in Raymondville about 10 o’clock A. M. and went into our new home.

We crossed 4 toll bridges and was ferried across the Canadian river. – Lena Bevers

On the twenty-seventh day after leaving Watertown, South Dakota, Lena Bevers recorded that her family arrived in Raymondville, Texas about 10:00 AM. Her daughter Florence wrote in her travel log that they had driven 50 miles that morning.1 They were still traveling about 15 miles per hour.

Raymondville was only 15 years old when Herbert and Lena arrived there.  It was a small town.  By 1914 the population was only 350, but there were “four general stores, a bank, a newspaper, a hotel, a cotton gin, and a lumber company. Agriculture, primarily the raising of sorghum, cotton, citrus fruits, vegetables, and corn, drove the town’s growth in its early years.”2  Today, my mother and I didn’t find any dated historical buildings of the early 1900s.

Raymondville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 8, 2019)
Courtyard in downtown Raymondville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 8, 2019)
A mural in the courtyard in downtown Raymondville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 8, 2019)
A mural in downtown Raymondville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 8, 2019)

On January 5th, 1920 a U. S. census taker visited the Bevers family.  At that time, Raymondville was in Cameron County, then in 1921 Willacy and Cameron Counties were reorganized.  Raymondville became the county seat for Willacy County.  According to the census record, Herbert was a farmer and he and his family were living on a rented farm.3  Herbert was 50 years old and Lena was 48.  The six children that rode with them in the car are listed on the census record, as well as their son Willis who had accompanied the livestock on the train.  Today, my mother and I spent a couple hours at the Cameron County Archives Office in Brownsville, Texas.  We uncovered enough information that we believe will lead us to the area where Herbert Bevers was farming and we will go there tomorrow.

Willacy County Courthouse completed in 1923, Raymondville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 8, 2019)

Notes:

  1. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 5.
  2. Handbook of Texas Online, Stanley Addington, “RAYMONDVILLE, TX,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hfr02.
  3. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RX1-KXK?cc=1488411&wc=QZJT-MQX%3A1037034201%2C1036604401%2C1037078301%2C1589332571 : 14 September 2019), Texas > Cameron > Justice Precinct 8 > ED 38 > image 3 of 25; citing NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Day Twenty-Six: Alice to Raymondville, Texas

November 7, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Fri. Nov. 7.

Left San Diego and drove for miles through timber.  Stayed all night on the praire in the car. – Lena Bevers

November 7, 1919 was a very similar day for the Bevers family as the day before.  They continued their drive south through timber.  For my mother and I, the landscape today was also similar to yesterday’s: fields and pastures with patches of woods, especially at the edges of the fields and along the highway.

A grove at a roadside park could be similar to the type of timber that the Bevers family traveled through. (Photograph by MRW November 7, 2019)

From Alice, Texas there are two routes that we could take to get to Raymondville.  U. S. Highway 281 runs south from Alice to Linn, then Highway 186 goes east to Raymondville. An alternative route would be driving to Kingsville, then take U. S. Highway 77 south to Raymondville.  On a 1924 Rand McNally map there are roads at the location of U. S. Hwy 281 and Highway 186.1  There is also a road to Kingsville, but about 15 miles south of Kingsville the road doesn’t extend to Raymondville.  Therefore, the highways we drove today were U. S. Highway 281 and Highway 186.

At Falfurrias, we decided to visit the Heritage Museum.  One picture on the display wall seems to represent what Herbert was doing in Texas.

A photograph of a real estate office in Falfurrias, Texas in 1920, hanging in the Falfurrias Heritage Museum. (Photograph by MRW November 7, 2019)

In Florence Bevers’ travel log, in the entry for November 8, 1919, she states that they had 50 miles to drive to get to Raymondville.2  Based on this statement, I propose that the Bevers and McElhanys spent the night in the vicinity of Encino or Rachal, Texas.  The place where my mother and I stopped for a picnic lunch at a roadside park is close to the point where Lena wrote that they spent the night on the prairie in their cars.

A beautiful roadside park in the center median of U. S. Highway 291, south of Falfurrias, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 7, 2019)

Instead of staying on the prairie, my mother and I continued south to Raymondville.  After 26 days of traveling, I drove into Raymondville at 1:50 PM.  Our first stop was at the Register of Deeds for Willacy County, where we searched the deed indexes to locate a transaction by Herbert purchasing property in the Raymondville area.  We were not successful in finding Herbert’s deed, nor did we find one for McElhany.  But we did find the deed of Frederick Kammrath, who in 1919 was Florence’s future father-in-law.  After our research at the Register of Deeds, we checked into our motel about 4:00 PM.

Notes:

Day Twenty-Five: Sinton to Alice, Texas

November 6, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Thurs. Nov. 6.

Left Skidmore and drove through Tynan, Mathis, George West, Cleggs P.O. and stayed all night in San Diego.  Drove through timber all the way. – Lena Bevers

Having had to return to Skidmore on the previous day, on November 6, 1919 Herbert Bevers and Mr. McElhany had to find a way to cross the Nueces River.  First, they head southwest toward Mathis, traveling through Tynan on the way.  Apparently, there was no way to cross there either, so they drove northwest to the town of George West, where they were able to cross the river and begin driving in a southerly direction again.

Since my mother and I stayed in Sinton for the night instead of Skidmore, we needed to return to Skidmore on U. S. Highway 181.  When we turned out of the driveway of our motel, we assumed the highway we were getting on was the highway that would take us to Skidmore.  It wasn’t until 10 miles later that we realized we were not on U. S. Highway 181, so we turned around and found the intersection where we could head in the right direction.  At Skidmore we took Route 359 to Tynan and Mathis, then followed a service road beside Interstate Highway 37, which at one point was closed, so we drove on the interstate for part of the way.

Tynan was a very small town in the midst of crop fields and windmills.  We didn’t find any historical buildings.  Mathis is also a small town and we found a few old buildings, but it didn’t appear that they were in use.  We continued on Interstate Highway 37 until we came to U. S. Highway 59, which took us to the town of George West. This town was only seven years old when the Bevers family drove through it. George West became the county seat of Live Oak County in 1919.  Although it is a small town, it was the largest one we visited today.

Tynan was surrounded by windmills (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)
Mathis only had a few old buildings; the date of these buildings is unknown. (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)
Live Oak County Courthouse, George West, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)
Geronimo, a favorite longhorn of its owner George West, preserved and encased in glass in 1927, Town of George West, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)

To get to Clegg, we took U. S. Highway 59 southwest to a farm road that the navigation program on my mother’s phone directed us to take.  Then we traveled east among shrubs and short trees.  At the point were the navigator said that we had arrived at Clegg, there were only a couple ranch houses and some farm buildings.

The landscape was not what we envisioned it would be like based on Lena Bever’s statement that they “drove through timber all the way.”  Much of the land that we drove through today had been cleared of trees for crop fields and pastures.  There were sections of trees, but the trees were not as tall or as old as we expected them to be.

An unimproved road near Clegg, Texas, is more similar to the road Herbert Bevers and Mr. McElhany drove in 1919 than most of the roads that we have driven in 2019. (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)
An example of the “timber” we saw in Live Oak County, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)

From Clegg, the navigation program directed us to U. S. Highway 281 and Highway 44 in order to get to San Diego, which is the county seat of Duval County.  The courthouse in San Diego was only three years old when the two-car caravan drove through the town.  “Duval County’s first courthouse was built shortly after county organization in the late 1870s.  It burned down on August 11, 1914. It was replaced by the current Classical Revival style red brick courthouse which was built in 1916.”1

The Bevers family stayed overnight in San Diego, Texas.  We didn’t find a motel there so we drove to Alice for the night, arriving there about 2:45 PM.

Duval County Courthouse, San Diego, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)
This 1909 Building is now the Duval County Public Library. (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)
San Diego, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 6, 2019)

Notes:

  1. Terry Jeanson, “Photographer’s note,” Duval County Courthouse, http://www.texasescapes.com/SouthTexasTowns/SanDiegoTexas/Duval-County-Courthouse-San-Diego-Texas.htm

Day Twenty-Four: Floresville to Sinton, Texas

November 5, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Wed. Nov. 5.

Left Floresville and drove through Poth, Falls City, Karnes City, Peltus, Normanna, Beeville, Skidmore, Papalote, and Sinton.  We had to go back to Skidmore as we could not get across the river at Sinton.  Stayed all night in Skidmore. – Lena Bevers

On November 5, 1919 Herbert Bevers and Mr. McElhany drove the most miles on that day than on any other day of the 27-day trip.  They drove about 112 miles, driving through four counties: Wilson, Karnes, Bee and San Patricio.  They also drove through four county seats: Floresville, Karnes City, Beeville and Sinton.  Between these county seats were very small communities, some of which are no longer in existence.  According to an article written in 1922 in The Parsons Daily Sun, the towns that Lena listed in her travel log were on a branch of the King of Trails Highway.1

My mother and I started our tour at 11:00 AM in Floresville, Texas.  We had ten stops on our itinerary for the day.  All of the towns were along U. S. Highway 181.  Of the ten places, we were able to find something to photograph in seven of them.  Pettus, Skidmore and Papalote did not have anything historical.

Wilson County Courthouse, Floresville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
(Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
This tree beside the historic jail in Floresville looks like it could have been standing there when Herbert Bevers drove through the town with his family. Note that the left trunk/branch is supported by a white concrete post near the shed. (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
The red corner building is dated 1915, Poth, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
Falls City National Bank has added wings to the original bank building. (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
Karnes County Courthouse was completed in 1895, Karnes City, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
This building is dated 1909, Karnes City, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
We could not find any historic buildings in Normanna, but the above are the government buildings of the town: the post office on the left, the fire station in the middle with fire trucks on the right. (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)

Medio Creek Bridge, a through truss bridge, is about one mile west of Normanna.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places.  “The bridge arrived in kit form and was assembled by the Austin Brothers Bridge Company.”2 It was “built in 1897 by the New Jersey Iron and Steel Company, this bridge has served as one of the major crossings on the road from Beeville to San Antonio. … The bridge remained in service for vehicular traffic until 1987.’”3

Medio Creek Bridge is probably a bridge the Bevers family used, near Normanna, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
The roadside park where we had our picnic lunch, along U. S. Highway 181 north of Beeville. (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)

When the Bevers family arrived in Beeville, the streets were not paved.  They were paved in 1921.4  “Beeville’s 1912 Courthouse has most of the accessories you look for in a courthouse – A clock, dome, statue of the Goddess of Justice and large Corinthian columns.”5

Bee County Courthouse, Beeville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
The center building is dated 1892, Beeville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
On the corner of courthouse square, Beeville, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
A 1912 postcard: Looking East, Sinton Street, Sinton, Texas (Courtesy of TXGenWeb Project6)
The 1928 San Patricio County Courthouse, Sinton, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)
This corner building is dated 1909, Sinton, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 5, 2019)

When the two automobiles arrived in Sinton, Lena wrote in her travel log that they could not get across the river, and her daughter Florence wrote that “it was in the Gulf storm territory so every thing was torn up.”7  On September 14, 1919 there had been a devastating hurricane.

“San Patricio County as a whole sustained considerable damage during the 1919 storm.  Practically all windmills in the county were either blown to the ground or dismantled.  Power and communication lines were severely damaged.  Many buildings were either damaged or destroyed.  The county received 14 inches of rain in 12 hours and flooding was extensive.  The greatest damage sustained in the county was that of the complete destruction of all of the cotton crop that had not yet been picked.”8

Possibly Herbert and Mr. McElhany were planning to travel alongside the railways which ran along the Gulf Coast through Kingsville and south to Brownsville and the Mexican border.  This route would have taken them through the town of Odem.  The hurricane of 1919 washed out the S. A. U. and G. railroad west of Odem.9  Due to the inability to continue south from Sinton, the travelers returned to Skidmore and Florence wrote that they stayed all night in their cars.10

When my mother and I were looking online for a motel in Skidmore, we weren’t able to find one.  Therefore, we decided to make our reservation in Sinton instead.  We arrived in Sinton about 2:45 PM and went to a public library to look for information about the hurricane of 1919.  Then we made it to the motel about 4:00 PM.

Notes:

  1. “Parsons National Headquarters, King of Trails Highway Ass’n,” The Parsons Daily Sun, February 18, 1922: 4, http://bikeallencounty.org/news/king-trails-highway/.
  2. Texas Escapes, Medio Creek Bridge, http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasBridges/Bee-County-Normanna-Texas-Medio-Creek-Bridge.htm.
  3. Texas Historic Landmark, Medio Creek Bridge (1987), http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasBridges/Bee-County-Normanna-Texas-Medio-Creek-Bridge.htm.
  4. Grace Bauer, “Beeville, Texas”, Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/heb04.
  5. Texas Escapes, Bee County Courthouse, http://www.texasescapes.com/SouthTexasTowns/BeevilleTx/Bee-County-Courthouse-Beeville-Texas.htm.
  6. Looking east, Sinton Street, Sinton, Texas (1912), http://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/Sinton/SintonStScene1912.jpg.
  7. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas [Transcription of Our Trip to Texas by Florence Bevers, 1919] (unpublished, n. d.): 5.
  8. Keith Guthrie, The History of San Patricio County (Austin, Texas: Nortex Press, 1986): 276.
  9. David Roth, Texas Hurricane History, https://www.weather.gov/media/lch/events/txhurricanehistory.pdf.
  10. B. Winkelmann, Our Trip to Texas, 5.

Day Twenty-Three: New Braunfels to Floresville, Texas

November 4, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Tues. Nov. [4].

Left New Braunfels and drove through Solons, Comal, Selma, Fratt and San Antonio.  Ate dinner there and stayed about 3 hours, while Mr. McElhany fixed the car and we waited for a telegram from Harding.  Left there and drove through Elmendorf, Saspanaco, Calaveras, and stayed all night in Floresville.  Had fairly good roads. – Lena Bevers

This morning my mother and I began the day by driving to Gruene, which is not far from New Braunfels.  We had not gone there yesterday because we passed by too late in the evening.  Gruene is a small community, but has a very attractive historic area.

Gruene, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)
Gruene, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)
Gruene, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)
Comal County Courthouse, New Braunfels, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)
New Braunfels, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)
A mural on an historic building in New Braunfels, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)

Through Solms and Comal we drove on a road that was at one time the Camino Real or King’s Highway, and we located an historical marker that was placed on the highway in 1918.  A plaque at Comal gave additional information about the road, calling it the Post Road.  Perhaps Lena and Herbert and their family were driving on this road.  Shortly after leaving Comal, we had to get on Interstate 35 to continue our drive.  Selma and Fratt are suburbs of San Antonio. 

“Kings Highway, Camino Real, Old San Antonio Road, Marked by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the State of Texas, A. D. 1918” (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)
Comal, Texas is nearly a ghost town. (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)

Lena wrote in her travel log that Mr. McElhany had to have his car fixed in San Antonio and they also had to wait for a telegram.  Although it is not known whether the two automobiles drove into the center of San Antonio when they were passing through, my mother and I decided to visit The Alamo before proceeding south.  In the article below about San Antonio, The Alamo is cited as the heart of the city in 1920.1 

(From The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920)
The Alamo, built 1718, San Antonio, Texas (Courtesy of TXGenWeb Project3)
The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)

Between San Antonio and Floresville, there were three small towns.  None of them had historic areas that we could identify.

This 1923 church was the oldest building we saw in Saspamco, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)
This building was the only one in Calaveras, Texas that looked like it could be a hundred years old. (Photograph by MRW November 4, 2019)

Notes:

  1. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1920): 690, 692-3, https://ia601208.us.archive.org/26/items/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7.pdf.
  2. Bird’s-eye view showing the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas (ca. 1920), http://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/SanAntonio/Alamo.jpg.
  3. The Alamo, built 1718, San Antonio, Texas, http://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/SanAntonio/SanAntonioAlamo50.jpg

Day Twenty-Two: Taylor to New Braunfels, Texas

November 3, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Mon. Nov. 3.

Started out early and drove to Taylor and had breakfast.  We drove through Hutto and Round Rock.  We stopped to have Mr. McElhany’s car fixed, the wheels were out of line, so the rest of us went out to the River and washed out some clothes, and ate dinner out there.  Left about 1 o’clock and drove through Austin, Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, Gruene, and stayed all nite in New Braunfels.  Had fine roads. – Lena Bevers

The traveling party had stayed the night in their cars, so on November 3, 1919 they departed early and had breakfast in Taylor, then headed to Hutto and Round Rock.  Mr. McElhany’s wheels needed to be aligned.  While that was being done, the rest of the party went to the river and washed their clothes, and they ate their dinner by the river.  North of the town of Round Rock is a stream called Brushy Creek.  Presently, there is a lovely park along Brushy Creek, named Round Rock Memorial Park.  After seeing the two short blocks of historical buildings in Hutto, my mother and I had a late picnic lunch in the Round Rock park along with many families who were enjoying a warm (but not hot), clear and dry fall day.

Hutto, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)
Hutto, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)

“The famous ‘Hutto hippo’ showed up later, in 1915. Local legend has it that a circus train stopped in Hutto to deliver mail, and take on water, as well as care for the animals. During the stop, a hippopotamus escaped its keeper and headed for the muddy waters of Cottonwood Creek. The train depot agent was forced to telegraph local communities to let them know to ‘STOP TRAINS. HIPPO LOOSE IN HUTTO’ ….”1

Round Rock, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)
The Bevers family washed their clothes in the waters of Brushy Creek, Round Rock, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)
This is how we washed and dried our clothes while we were visiting at my daughter’s house on the previous day. (Photograph by EAW November 3, 2019)
Interstate 35 crosses over Brushy Creek, Round Rock, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)
From The Official Automobile Blue Book 19202

Based on the map of Austin above, which shows the route entering Austin from Taylor on Guadalupe Street, and the location of the bridge that crossed the Colorado River, it is very likely that Herbert Bevers and Mr. McElhany drove past the Texas State Capital.  This is the route my mother and I took to pass through Austin.  We crossed the Colorado River at the same point that is shown on the map above, but I haven’t researched enough to say whether the bridge is the same one that spanned the river one hundred years ago.

Congress Avenue, looking North from 8th Street, Austin, Texas (Courtesy of TXGenWeb Project)3
Congress Avenue, looking North from 8th Street, Austin, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)
Texas State Capital, Austin, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)
Bridge over Colorado River, Austin, Texas, 1921 (Courtesy of TXGenWeb Project)4

By the time we were out of the suburbs of Austin, the sun was low in the sky.  Traveling on the city streets was slow.  Also, daylight savings time had ended the night before, and we had not taken into account that it would get dark an hour earlier.  We took a few pictures in Buda, south of Austin, and then decided that we needed to head to the motel, instead of going to the historical districts of Kyle, San Marcos and Gruene.  For much of the way to New Braunfels we drove on the frontage road of Interstate 35.  Some of the time it was faster driving on the frontage road, because there was too much traffic on Interstate 35 and the vehicles were driving slowly.  When we arrived at our motel at 6:30 PM, it had been dark for at least half an hour.

The building on the left is marked 1898 and the one on the right is marked 1901, Buda, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)
Buda, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 3, 2019)

Even though the caravan had a delay in Round Rock until 1:00 PM, they covered a lot of miles on this day.  From Taylor to New Braunfels, it was about 75 miles. Lena notes that they “had fine roads.”  The introduction to Route 779 in the 1920 Blue Book explains why the roads were so “fine” in this area.  There was Tarvia on the roads from Austin to Buda (15 miles).5  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines tarvia as “a viscid surfacing and binding material for roads that is made from coal tar – formerly a U.S. registered trademark.”6

Notes:

  1. Community Impact Newspaper, About Hutto, https://www.huttotx.gov/visitors/about_hutto/index.php.
  2. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1920): 654, https://ia601208.us.archive.org/26/items/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7.pdf.
  3. Congress Avenue, looking north from 8th Street, Austin, Texas, http://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/Austin/AustinCongressAve8.jpg.
  4. Bridge over Colorado River, Austin, Texas (1921), http://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/Austin/AustinColoradoRiverBridge1921.jpg
  5. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7: 655.
  6. Tarvia, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Tarvia.

Day Twenty-One: Taylor, Texas

November 2, 2019

Retracing Lena Huppler Bevers’ Travel Log

Sun. – Nov. 2.

Left Bartlett and went a round-about way to Granger and from there a round-about way to Taylor.  Ate a lunch on the road for dinner.  Got stuck twice quite bad.  Had supper at a farm house and stayed all night in our car. – Lena Bevers

On November 2, 1919 the roads were in no better condition than they were the day before.  Again Herbert Bevers’ car got stuck in the mud, very severely.  Lena recorded that they took round-about ways to Granger and to Taylor, Texas.  According to The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, the distance between Bartlett and Taylor using Route 778 was about 18 miles.1  This was the shortest number of miles that they traveled in one day.  When they drove through Granger, they had brick paved streets to drive on.  It was unusual for a small town to have paved roads at that time.

The Bevers family ended their day at a farm house near Taylor.  There they had their supper and then stayed in their car for the night.  Since we arrived in Taylor yesterday, my mother and I took a long side trip to visit two of my daughters in Houston, Texas.  We’ll stay overnight and return to the route at Taylor tomorrow.

The 1912 brick paved street in front of Granger National Bank (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
Saturday Afternoon, Second and Main Streets, Taylor, Texas (Courtesy of TXGenWeb Project2)
An 1893 building in Taylor, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
Taylor, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
On a sidewalk in Taylor, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)
The original City National Bank is on the right, the modern City National Bank is on the left, Taylor, Texas (Photograph by MRW November 1, 2019)

Notes:

  1. Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, The Official Automobile Blue Book 1920, vol. 7 (New York: Automobile Blue Book Publishing Company, 1920): 653, https://ia601208.us.archive.org/26/items/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7/case_gv1024_a92_1920_v_7.pdf.
  2. Saturday afternoon, Second and Main Streets, Taylor, Texas (1916), https://sites.rootsweb.com/~txpstcrd/Towns/Taylor/TaylorMainSt1916.jpg.