Monday, December 16, 2013

Do you have an ancestor whose career tells the history of an industry?

Charles E. Barnhart (1913-2004) poses for a photo at the Neiman-Marcus store in Dallas, Texas, on October 4, 1958. Charles was married to Velma Moree Pierce (1913-1993), daughter of N.B. "Bonie" and Julia Moody Pierce.

Charles had apparently been in town for a football game. On the back of the photo the score was recorded as "SMU 6 vs ND 14." Charles worked football games as part of his job as a sound engineer with CBS radio.

Charles led an interesting career working for WBBM radio, the CBS station in Chicago. He began his career in the early days of commercial radio in 1931 and joined WBBM 10 years later. Below is an article about Charles written by Jay Grelen in The Mobile Press Register in February 1996.

Do you have an ancestor whose career tells the history of an industry?

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Pumps, Tires and Automobiles Kept Our Ancestors' Lives Rolling

I'm fascinated by how many of my ancestors were connected with gasoline service stations or other auto service businesses. The industry provided them good livings or got them started in life.

The above photo of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce's new gas station and convenience store in Mobile, Ala., was probably taken shortly after it opened in 1940. Bonie called his business The Reservoir Inn because it was located across the street from the historic Bienville Reservoir, actually not more than a raised pond used for water storage.

The store on the north side of Moffett Road near Forest Hill Drive sold Sinclair gasoline. The little sign on the right pump warns that Sinclair HC contains lead. The pump on the left must have pumped unleaded gas.

On the front of the Inn are signs for Opaline motor oil, a Sinclair product. Barely visible on the right side of the photo is a sign for Quaker State Motor Oil.

With the U.S. entry into World War II on Dec. 7, 1941, service stations such as this one would feel the effects of a shortage of rubber and gasoline. The federal government ordered nationwide gas rationing to begin on Dec. 1, 1942.

The Reservoir Inn survived the war and for many years afterward.

Do you have ancestors who were connected with the auto service industry?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Handsome Couple: Gladys and Wilson Burton

Above are Gladys Pierce and Wilson Burton.

According to Debbie Kelly, their great niece, Wilson was a photographer at the Blue Light Studio in Mobile. He later became the photographer for Hammel’s Department Store and remained there for years. The Mobile Press Register published a feature article about him on June 22, 2008. You can also view some of his photos on the newspaper's website. His camera’s were donated to the University of South Alabama.

Gladys is not one of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce's children, but is obviously related to his family because this photo was in their collection.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

A Lesson in Searching a Photo for Clues as to its Date

The above photo of the Poore family provides a lesson in how to find clues in a photo as to its date.

First the identifications. From left on the front row, Clarice Poore (1932-2013), Ezra A. Poore (1882-1963) and Billy R. Poore (1930-1966). Back row from left, Niola Geiger Poore (1889-1983), Bernice Poore (1912-1974), Ralph E. Poore (1918-1976) and Dick A. Poore (1922-1988).

Not pictured is Ezra's and Niola's oldest daughter Selma Poore (1910-2003). In 1931, she had married Richmond Chet Hosey and during World War II they lived in Mobile.

Now for the date clues. The first clue is the corporal stripes on Ralph's shirt sleeve. According to his military records, Ralph was promoted to corporal on April 3, 1942. So the photo had to have been taken after that date.

The second clue comes from the fact that Dick isn't wearing a uniform. According to his military records, Dick was inducted in to the Army on Oct. 19 and entered active service at Camp Shelby on Nov. 2.

So this photo had to have been taken between April 3 and Nov. 2 in 1942. Given the short-sleeve, light clothing on the children and the leaves on the tree in the background, the photo was probably taken in late spring or early summer. Since there were no written clues, that is pretty close dating just from the checking the contents of the photo against known facts.

According to the 1940 census, the Poore family was living on Bush Dairy Road in Jones County, Mississippi. Ezra, Ralph and Dick had all worked at Bush Dairy. So the probable location of the photo is at the Poore house on Bush Dairy Road.

Have you searched your undated photos for possible clues as to when they were taken?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Did your ancestor belong to a fraternal group?

This is the most interesting image among the Pierce photos I own. For many years it was a puzzle to me. For some time the only thing I was fairly certain about was that the man on right was my grandfather Napoleon Bonaparte "Bonie" Pierce (1880-1964). I believe the other two men are Bonie's older brothers, Cornelius "Neal" Pierce (b. 1874) on the left and Charles Pierce (b. 1876) in the center.

What I couldn't figure out was what kind of uniform Bonie was wearing and why. At first I thought it was a military uniform. The coat has a dark stripe down center and the trousers have a light stripe down the pants legs. The military-style cap also has a light stripe piping. But there was no record that Bonie ever served in any military unit.

Then I thought Bonie might be wearing a police uniform. But the small farming community of Wilmer was not an incorporated town and had no police force.

To try to place the time of the photo I researched the photo itself, which is a tintype. A tintype is a photo made on a sheet of metal, which is not tin. This one is badly damaged from rust. The above image has been digitally restored.

Tintypes were popular for a long time, from about 1856 to around 1938, but they were especially popular in the 1890s. Bonie is probably around 20 making the date of the photo about 1900 or sometime after.

One thing to keep in mind is that tintype images come out laterally reversed (as you see yourself in a mirror).

I got the clue I needed to identify this picture while going through the Pierce family Bible. I had looked through the Bible before but this time I decided to go through it page by page. Tucked between two of the pages of the large Bible I found a receipt I hadn't seen before.

The Woodmen Circle receipt was written to Julia Pierce on June 1, 1922, for assessment number 5 of $1.02 and Grove dues of 10 cents. Julia paid the money to Post Oak Grove number 95. Olivia Lang, clerk, signed the receipt.

I could hardly believe what a great family history fact I had found. My grandmother was a member of the women's auxiliary Woodmen Circle and my grandfather was a member of the fraternal order Woodmen of the World and its drill team!

Woodmen drill team uniforms came in hundreds of styles. Each jurisdiction or lodge had its own style.

The one identifying mark of all uniforms is a "WOW" pin on the collar or shoulder. Sometimes the pin was simply a "WOW" other times it had crossed axes or a stump associated with it. This may be the symbol on Bonie's collar.

Drill team members were usually between the ages of 18 and 25. This would fit Bonie's age in the top photo.

The receipt from the Woodmen Circle, a women's auxiliary, to Julia shows that both she and Bonie were active in the Woodmen. The Woodmen Circle worked closely with the fraternal organization, providing insurance for women, and Woodmen members who wanted more than the $3,000 limit.

Circle members received the magazine Tidings. Many Woodmen camps and Circle groves held joint meetings. The groups met once a month. The Circle began selling insurance for children in 1922, which the Woodmen also did. The two organizations also provided programs for youth members.

Groves sponsored drill teams that competed at state and national conventions. These drill teams drew large crowds to watch their polished footwork. The teams carried off precision drills with shiny axes.

It was odd for me to think of my grandfather in a drill team, marching to and fro, and doing a manual of arms with a shiny axe, but the evidence was there.

Have you found photographic or artifact evidence that your ancestor belonged to a fraternal group? What story does the photo or artifact tell you about your ancestor?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Is this a photo of Julia Lavinia Moody?

This photo is believed to be of a young Julia Lavinia Moody (1886-1965) who married Napoleon Bonaparte "Bonie" Pierce (1880-1964) in 1902.

The backdrop appears to be the kind a traveling photographer would use. A photographer from Mobile probably spent a day or two in Wilmer, Alabama, to photograph those in the farming community who were unlikely to travel the 25 miles into the Port City.

Do you have any clues as to the date of the photo from the clothing and hair styles? Compare this photo with the others on this blog known to be of Julia (use the search feature). Could this be someone other than Julia?

Monday, September 23, 2013

How did open-range or stock laws affect your ancestors’ farming decisions?

Photo from An Overview and History of Pineywoods Cattle

Most people today associate the term “open range” with the great cattle ranches in the America west of the Mississippi River. But until the 20th century, Mississippi and other Southern states also had an open range, and it played an important part in how farmers, including my Poore family ancestors, ran their farms.
The voters of each county decided if it had an open range.

Jasper County was among the state’s counties with an open range. Mississippi’s open-range law allowed animals to roam freely on unfenced land. The law required farmers to fence their crops if they wanted to protect them from any damage caused by someone else’s foraging animals.

In 1880, 41 of Mississippi’s 74 counties had open ranges like Jasper County. In the other 33 counties, the law required stockholders to keep their stock fenced. These are called stock-law counties. The stock law required the fencing of horses, mules, oxen, cattle, sheep and hogs, which were especially destructive of crops.

But in an open range county, if a row-crop farmer did not put up a fence, then he could not recover damages from the stockholder if the animals got into the farmer’s fields to munch on the crops.

Fences cost a good deal of time and money to keep up. By one estimate, out of every 10 working hours, a farmer spent one hour repairing fences. As for money, my Jasper County ancestor William B. Poore spent $12 building and repairing fences in 1879, according to the 1880 agricultural census.

In many ways Jasper County’s open range directed farmers’ choices more than the fertility of the soil. The open range amounted to weakly enforced property rights. The law allowed stockholders, whether they owned land or not, to benefit from using other people’s property freely to pasture and feed animals throughout the year. They turned the resources of the forests into farm income with hardly any cost.

Because of the costs to grow, protect and harvest a crop, the Poore family and others had little incentive to invest in improving their land. Nor did most other farmers in Jasper County. In the 1870s, 77 percent of all farmland remained unimproved.

In contrast, those who owned land and those who didn’t both had good financial reasons to keep larger herds than if they had to provide all the forage themselves.

The Poore family, too, focused more on raising livestock on the open range than on raising crops.

Did your ancestors live in an open-range county? How did that affect their farming decisions?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Know of an activity, perhaps long-forgotten now, that your ancestors used to make extra cash?

The Jasper County Review reported in 1904 that the community “had an old time log-rolling at W. B. Poore’s” on February 26, a Friday. By the time William and Emily Poore hosted this social gathering in the Moss community, the frontier necessity of log-rolling had long past.

Log-rolling had been a settler tradition that took place in late winter or early spring. A landowner such as William and his sons usually had spent the winter felling trees to clear new land. They sometimes chopped or sawed the felled trees into 10-foot lengths that made them easier to carry and stack.

Or, as was more usual, William and his sons may have only notched the timber every 10 feet. By starting a fire at each notch they could let the fire do all the hard work of cutting the timber into shorter lengths. The men and boys tended the fires morning and evening.

At log rolling time neighbor men and their sons came with handspikes to help gather the heavy logs into a pile. The handspikes were made from strong limbs or small tree trunks about 3-inches thick in the middle and trimmed smaller and smoother at the ends.

The men pried up the logs and slipped the spikes underneath. Men on each side of the log grabbed an end of the handspike in order to lift and carry the log.

Log-rolling was always an occasion for men to show off their strength, swap stories and play practical jokes. Sometimes a man would poke one end of his stick in cow dung before slipping it underneath the log to the unwary man waiting on the other side. Thus originated the saying, “I got the dirty end of the stick.”

When the logs were stacked high, the men set the pile on fire.

The wood ashes from such fires were once an important product on the frontier. The fire converted hardwood trees into mounds of ashes rich in potassium salts. From the ashes the settlers could make lye. In turn, they used lye to make soap. 

The settlers also could boil down the ashes to produce valuable potash. Or they sold their ashes to a storekeeper who ran an ashery. Until the late 19th century, the country was dotted with asheries that further processed the potash into pearl ash. Besides soap, potash and pearl ash were used to bleach textiles, make glass and in fertilizers.

By selling potash, settlers had a way to getting badly needed cash for their farming operations.

Do you know of an activity, perhaps like potash production, long-forgotten now, that your ancestors used to make extra cash?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Confederate veteran's tombstone

This is the tombstone of William Billy Poore, 1848-1913. Interestingly the middle name is not a nickname, but part of his given names. William enlisted in the 16th Mississippi Infantry in April 1863 when he was 15 years old, thus the reason for the Confederate flag on his grave. The 16th Mississippi served in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.

William, his wife and many of his children and other relatives are buried in the Union Seminary Baptist Church Cemetery in Jasper County, Mississippi. One of the reasons they are all buried together is that they also were members of Union Seminary Baptist Church.

You can read more about William and his Civil War exploits and that of his two older brothers in Poore Boys In Gray or on the companion blog.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Old toys can do more than just take us down memory lane

Many of us enjoy looking at antique toys or toys like those we grew up with that on their way to becoming antiques. Old toys can do more than just take us down memory lane.

Toys can tell us about the values our families held or how much money they had to spend. They may say something about what the child hoped to be when he or she grew up.

Take a look at the photo taken in the front yard of the Pierce family farm in Wilmer, Alabama.

Behind the steering wheel of the toy Indy racer is Raymond Lamont Pierce (1923-1981). The girl standing to the right is his big sister Beatrice Valara Pierce (1921-1993). The name of the other child is not known, but is believed to be a cousin, William Gustaver "Gus" Cayton (1921-2011).

Raymond grew up to work in the auto body business and later became an auto supplies distributor. His sister Bea ran a service station for a time. Cousin Gus had a career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Clearly the Pierce family could afford the luxury of store-bought toys and the children had time to play. Farm life, like any other life, may have had its drudgery, but there was also time for fun and play.

What do toys say about the children in your family? Did a fireman ancestor play with toy firetrucks as a child? Did a future engineer play with Erector construction sets?

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What clues do you see in this unidentified class photo?

The only thing that is know about this photo is that pictures students at Wilmer School in the farming community of Wilmer, Alabama.

Judging by the clothing and hairstyles, this photo may have been taken during the 1920s or early 1930s.

Does anyone recognize a face here? Is there anything else in this photo that provides a clue as to when it was taken or who is in it?
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Look beyond a photo's image for clues about your family

We are usually trying to interpret the content of the photos of our ancestors. We try to determine the time period from clothes and hair styles Costumes may tell us something about fraternal groups or other organizations they belonged to.

But sometimes just the existence of photos can tell us a story, too.

Hazel Lee Pierce (1905-1985, standing) and Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977), daughters of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce and Julia L. Moody, pose in their finest dresses for this studio photo .

The photo was taken at the Novelty Studio (Boyles Branch), 205 Dauphin St., Mobile, Alabama.

Bonie and Julia seem to have regularly traveled the 25 miles from their farm in Wilmer to downtown Mobile to have their children professionally photographed. They left studio photos of all of their children.

This practice would seem to show that the rural couple had the money and the desire to spend it on little luxuries such as a trip into town and a session in a photo studio.

Do the types of photos your ancestors left behind tell you anything about them and their lives?

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Wild Boar Story

When researching your family's history, don't overlook interviewing your ancestors' neighbors. Sometimes they can tell you great stories. The one below comes from a Pierce family neighbor, Mallory Brannan, who was a child at the time of the event.

N.B. "Bonie" Pierce marketed his Wilmer, Alabama, farm's produce in Mobile, a trip of about 25 miles over some roads that were unpaved at the time. He could sell his goods to the many grocers along Dauphin Street or hawk them himself, as he sometimes did at the City Market beneath the old City Hall on Royal Street.

Wild game from around Wilmer also proved popular with Mobile grocery merchants. Bonie shot rabbits at night, gutted them and then sold them to the stores on Dauphin Street. The stores would hang the rabbits from lines for customers to select.

Bonie Pierce
Bonie also caught gopher turtles and put them in cages. When he was ready to take a load of turtles to Mobile, he tied the cages to the running board of his green Model-T Ford. Occasionally, the Pierce family ate one of the turtles, which Julia, Bonie's wife, cooked up with dumplings, making a dish similar to chicken and dumplings.

But one of Bonie’s efforts to profit from the game around Wilmer went awry. Wild boars lived in a swampy area near Wilmer and were getting into Bonie’s cornfields.

So Bonie got some men from Cuss Fork, about 1.5 miles north of Wilmer, with hunting dogs to come and hunt the boar. After the men killed the boar, Bonie pulled the 400- to 500-pound carcass out of the swamp with a mule and ground sled.

He determined to sell the boar meat in Mobile but he didn’t have a container—like that used to boil the hair off hogs at slaughter time—large enough to hold the boar. Pouring boiling water over the carcass proved successful.

Once the carcass had been prepared, Bonie took it into Mobile to sell. "But it had such a strong scent, nobody would buy it," Mallory Brannan recalled many years later. "Old boars have a strong smell."

Bonie was forced to bring the boar back home, but Julia also refused to cook it. "After going to all that trouble Bonie had to leave the carcass to rot," Brannan said.

Have you had success interviewing your ancestors' neighbors?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Did you have an ancestor who was a postmaster or postmistress?

Image courtesy of the Erik Overbey Collection,
University of South Alabama Archives

This 1905 street scene shows the Wilmer, Ala., post office building on the far right and an unidentified building on the far left. 

Free home mail delivery began in cities in 1863, but the U.S. Post Office didn’t begin Rural Free Delivery (RFD) directly to farm families until 1896. Before then, farmers had to pick up their mail at sometimes distant post offices or pay private express companies to deliver it.

But a trip to the Wilmer post office no doubt gave Napoleon B. and Julia M. Pierce and their neighbors and friends in the Mobile County farming community a chance to share pleasantries, news and gossip of the community.

Many rural communities built their identities around their post offices. Today, those post offices are closing, victims of inefficiency and the same communications revolution that is leading to the elimination of newspapers, magazines and phone booths.

Did you have an ancestor who was a postmaster or postmistress? Did he or she leave stories about people who came into the post office and the life of the community?

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How did your famer ancestor power his operations? It matters.

The child standing by the wagon is believed to be Raymond Lamont Pierce (1923-1981). The adults on the wagon have not been identified. The children and their families were part of the farming community of Wilmer, Alabama, in the 1930s.

The small wheels on the front of the wagon allowed it to turn in a smaller circle than if it had large wheels to match those in the back.

A farmer faced a critical decision in the choice of horses or mules to power his farm operations and do such things as pull a wagon. The choice involved more than simple taste for one animal over the other or even price, although costs were always important.

Horses worked well for some types of crops and ways of farming, while mules worked well for others. Farmers found that the mule’s narrower stance and smaller hooves made it a better choice than a horse for closely spaced row crops such as cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, and others. A mule could plow a straight furrow after being pointed in the right direction, whereas a horse needed constant attention to be kept on a straight course.

If agricultural records show that your farmer ancestor shifted to using more mules than horses, then it may mean that he switched to growing more closely spaced row crops, especially cotton or tobacco.

Do you know if your farmer ancestor used horses or mules? Why did he make that choice? Do you have evidence that he changed from one animal to other at some point? How is that reflected in the corps he grew?

Photo Source: Lucille Pierce Hogancamp

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moody Women

No these women are not having a temperamental moment. They are the wife and daughters of George Washington Moody (1855-1908).

Minnie Stringellow Moody (1868-1932) is pictured here with four of her six daughters. From left are Lillie (1893-1982), mother Minnie, Eula Mae (1897-?), Julia Lavinia (1886-1965), Bernice (birth and death dates unknown).

The other children not in the photo are Melissa V. Moody (1889-?), Robert M. Moody 1891-?), Viola Moody (dates unknown), and Joe Moody (dates unknown).

What observations can you make about the differences in the hairstyles and dress fashions of these five women? They all lived in a rural western Mobile County, Alabama, farming community. Do they look as you would expect farm women and wives to look?

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Problem of Lewis Monroe Pierce:1832-1902

The above photo is believed to be of Lewis Monroe Pierce and Sarah Stringfellow.

Lewis Monroe Pierce (b. April 15, 1832, d. March 1, 1902) creates a problem for Pierce family researchers. We're not sure who his father is. Many researchers list him as the son of John Pierce.

The problem is that there are two men with the same name, the other being Louis Monroe Pierce (b. Feb. 6, 1835, d. May 25, 1927). In the 1850 census for Mobile County, Louis is living in the house of John Pierce and Lewis is living next door. But all these Pierces are probably all related.

Lewis had two wives, Sarah Stringfellow (b. abt. 1831) and Elizabeth Turner (b. May 1837).

The closely spaced buttons on the woman’s bodice suggest the photo was taken between 1870 and 1900. The center parting of her hair with it tied back was practically the only way women wore their hair before 1870 and style remained common well into the 20th century.

This is a real brick wall in my Pierce family research. Any suggestions about how to break through?

Photo Source: Original print in the possession of Virgie Holland, Lucedale, Mississippi.
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Did you have an ancestor who was also a great photographer?

This photograph is one of my favorites and is interesting because it is a photo of someone taking a photo. It also pulls in your attention, as though you could step into it and back into time.

Probably taken during the early 1920s, the photo shows the three women very fashionably dressed with the short hairstyle popular at the time.

The woman wearing the hat is Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977), the oldest child of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce and Julia L. Moody. The names of the other two women are not known. Also the location isn't known, but is clearly beside a large body of water, perhaps Mobile Bay.

Photography had become a popular and affordable hobby for many people. And even amateurs could shoot great photos.

Did you have an ancestor who was also a great photographer?
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Any entrepreneurs in your family tree?

This photo shows N.B. "Bonie" Pierce's new venture, the Reservoir Inn, at an early stage of construction around 1940. The inn at 4900 Moffett Road was actually an early convenience store that sold snacks and gasoline.

For these pumps, the attendant had to first hand crank the desired amount of gas in the glass measures on top of the pump and then let gravity feed it down the hose and into the car's tank.

Bonie is standing at left. The boy next to him is Bonie's grandson Charlie Pierce, son of W.T. Pierce. On the right is Bonie's son Ralph B. Pierce.

The Reservoir Inn was Bonie's second business venture. In the early 1930s, he opened a small store in the farming community of Wilmer, which his son Ralph helped run.

Do you have any entrepreneurs in your family tree? Did they start a family business? Did it succeed?

Photo courtesy of Lucille Pierce Hogancamp.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Do you have a quilter among your ancestors?

Beatrice V. Pierce (1921-1993) sewed the quilt in the above photo. She made this and other quilts during her teen years while living in the Pierce Level area of Wilmer.

Quilters highly favored this traditional fan quilt block because it allowed them to play with color and pattern.
Beatrice V. Pierce

Quilts are an American folk art and designs vary by place and time. They can tell a story about the people who made them. Quilts can be found in history and art museums.

These webpages can give you more information about the history of quilts: 
Do you have a quilter among your ancestors?

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

1926 honeymoon road trip ends in booming Akron

Don Vickers stands in front of a car that may have been the one that he and Hazel Pierce took their honeymoon road trip. The car is from the mid-1920s, but it is difficult to tell the make, model and year from this photo. If you know what kind of car it is, please leave a comment.

NOTE: This post is the sixth and final in a series of excerpts from the road trip diary Hazel Pierce kept on her honeymoon with husband Don Vickers in 1926. Along with the excerpts are some observations and comments from this blogger.

After leaving Mammoth Cave in Kentucky "...we saw many beautiful apple orchards. We passed one large army camp which was Camp Knox. We passed through Louisville, Kentucky, which is a very large town. We crossed the Ohio River and it is beautiful. We saw a cement plant and a flour mill. 

"We spent the night [in] Edingburgh, Ind., with an old lady. We were only a short piece from Indianapolis. Friday we left Indiana and went into Ohio. 

"That day we had our first tire trouble. Had two flats, but it only took a short time to fix them. That night we stayed at the West Jefferson. 

"Saturday after taking a good many detours we arrived in Akron about four o’clock. We enjoyed our honeymoon trip very much, just had the time of our lives."

Don and Hazel ended their honeymoon in Akron, where they would live and Don would work for
Downton Akron, Ohio, in the 1920s.
 Courtesy Northeastern Pennsylvania Photo Collection
General Tire and Rubber Company.

When the couple arrived, Akron had just completed an economic boom that made it the fastest growing city in the United States. General Tire, Goodrich, Firestone and Goodyear built headquarters in the city. Other industries made everything from fishing tackle to farming equipment. Between 1910-1920, the population increased 202%. Almost a third of the population were immigrants.

The Vickers eventually left Akron for the Alabama farming community of Faunsdale. There they owned and managed a 600-acre farm specializing in cattle. The move from the bustling big city to a quiet farm ran counter to the population shift taking place in America. You can't help but wonder about the motivations that led to the Vickers' decision to return to a rural lifestyle.