As it turns out, Aunt Etta actually had two nieces by the first name of Edith. In choosing which Halloween postcard to run for this blog, at first glance I assumed this card was from Niece Edith, daughter of Aunt Etta’s brother William James, but upon closer look discovered that was not the case. Instead, I opened up for myself a whole can of worms–a new mystery to be solved. In future blogs, I will explore the children of William and Mabel James (including their daughter Edith) in greater detail, but for this blog will focus on the family ties of this postcard sender Edith and her husband. For greater background on Aunt Etta, please visit my previous blog Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.
The postcard in my featured image was sent to Aunt Etta, in Franklin, Mass. and was signed by Edith. It appears the postmark is from October 13, 1909 from Providence, RI. This particular Edith lists her marriage name and address on the card as Mrs. Percy Eames, 55 Wollaston Street, Auburn (a section in Cranston), RI. This street runs between Pontiac Avenue and Reservoir Road, in Cranston.
These clues were what I had to work with in order to correctly identify this Edith. So, after a fair amount of online records research and an in-person trip to the Rhode Island State Archives, in Providence, this blog will share the results of that research.
As it turns out, this niece Edith, is related on the side of Aunt Etta’s husband. According to birth records registered in the Town of Smithfield, RI, William Thomas Hooper was born on March 2, 1860, in Lonsdale. His parents were Ephraim and Isabella Hooper of Lonsdale. His father was listed as being a farmer, with his birthplace as Prince Edward Island. His mother’s birthplace was listed as England. William T. Hooper married Henrietta J. James (Aunt Etta) on July 10, 1878. The photo shown below, from 1913, is of William Hooper on the left and John Nickerson on the right who I believe to be the husband of another niece to Aunt Etta–we will look at his connection more in the future.
The Edith sending the postcard was the sixth child of William’s brother Washington Hooper and his wife Martha.
The following are children of Washington and Martha Hooper: Joseph Albert Hooper, born on June 6, 1874; Florence Gertrude Hooper, born on August 1, 1876 and died as an infant on July 12, 1877, in RI; Marietta Hooper, born on June 10, 1878; Henry Leslie Hooper born on December 7, 1880; Sarah Elizabeth Hooper born October 3, 1883; Edith Harriet Hooper, born on November 16, 1887; Mabel, born 1891.
There may be other siblings of Aunt Etta’s husband William that I have not yet discovered but for the purposes of research for this blog the only one that I can verify is Isaac S. Hooper, who died at age 7 on March 2, 1858 in RI, who was also a son of Ephraim and Isabella Hooper.
According to the 1900 Census record, Washington and Martha Hooper are listed as living in Cranston, RI. It shows Washington as being born in Canada in January of 1848 and immigrating to the US in 1865. His parents were listed as born in England. Martha Hooper, in this 1900 Census record, was listed as born in June of 1847 in Rhode Island. The children living in the home listed in this Census were: Henry, Sarah E., Harriet E. (Edith), and Mabel.
A death record for Martha Augustus Hooper shows her death as July 27, 1900, in Cranston, RI and that she was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Smith. She is buried in Pawtucket.
According her birth record, Edith Harriet Hooper was born on November 16, 1887, at 831 (R) North Main Street, Providence, Rhode Island. The birth record lists her father Washington’s occupation as a Laborer and that he was born at Prince Edward Island and that her mother Martha was born in Pawtucket, RI. I found a possible death record for Edith in 1976 which would have made her 89 years old at the time.
According to Providence Marriage records, it lists Percy F. Eames married to Harriet E. (Edith) Hooper on May 20, 1906. Percy and Edith had a daughter Dorothy Edith Eames, born January 28, 1907 and died February 10, 1907.
Percy Franklin Eames was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on Halloween, October 31, 1886 and died on August 29, 1955. He was a son of Charles M. and Fannie L. Eames. According to an Application for Headstone record, he is buried in Grace Church Cemetery, in Providence, with a Christian flat granite marker. There is record of a Dorothy E. Eames buried in the same cemetery, which I would think is his daughter (listed above).
According to the 1910 Census, in Providence, Percy and Harriett (Edith) are listed as having Washington Hooper (Edith’s father) living with them and that Washington was born in Canada.
According to the World War I Draft Registration (shown above) for Percy, in 1916, his address was listed as 77 Greenwich Street, in Providence, RI. By trade, he was an Automatic Toolsetter at W.J. Feeley, located at 169 South Angell Street. He had blue eyes
and light hair. He had a valve leakage of the heart. At that time, he was supporting his wife and father in-law. The date of his service registration was June 5, 1917; however, the Enlistment date was October 2, 1917. He was attached to the 76th Division at Camp Devins, Mass., in the National Army–unassigned. He received an Honorable Discharge on October 11, 1917.
I found a record for Percy in the World War II Old Man’s Draft (shown above) which was meant for men born on or after April 28, 1877 up to February 16, 1897. According to this record the address at that time (1941) for Percy was listed as Phila and Oak Avenue, in the town of National Park, Gloucester County, New Jersey. His wife was listed as Harriet E. (Edith) Eames. His employer was listed as W. J. Strandwitz, Jefferson and Master Streets, in Camden, NJ.
According to the 1930 (and 1940) Census record they were already living in that same location in New Jersey and was listed as owning the home at a $3500 value. That Census record listed Percy’s father as being born in Mass. and his mother as being born in North Carolina. That Census record listed the father of Harriet E. (Edith) as being born
in Nova Scotia and her mother being born in Rhode Island.
My featured Halloween postcard was designed by artist Ellen H. Clapsaddle. It was copyrighted by S. Garretour and printed in Germany.
The following highlights about the artist were taken from the online source Wikipedia.
Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle was born on January 8, 1865 in South Columbia, New York. She died on January 7, 1934. Her parents were Dennis L. and Harriet (Beckwith) Clapsaddle. Ellen’s great grandfather, Major Dennis Clapsaddle fought in the American Revoluntary War.
Ellen Clapsaddle was an American Illustrator who specialized in designing single-faced cards that could be kept as souvenirs or mailed as postcards. Over the course of her career she created over 3000 designs in this field.
There will probably be many more of her postcards featured here in future blogs.
My title is also the moral of this story, by taking the second look at the sender of this postcard to Aunt Etta and spending the little bit of extra time to match up Edith to the right parents I was able to come up with a lot of new information and correctly identify her–rather than jumping to my initial conclusions. As in many families, mine commonly used the same first names for several generations or among cousin generations and so forth; thus, it is important to make an effort to sort out who is who….sometimes easier said than done.
Until next time….