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.