Friday, August 23, 2019

Bob Birch, Lone Wolf, Oklahoma 1908

"Well Ag I will
send you the
finest picture
you ear saw
this is a cold
day looks like snow
Bob Burch"

Robert "Bob" Burch was born in Yellville, Arkansas in 1890 to Frances Marion Burch and Alice Lee Hurst. Bob was one of twelve children. He had two older siblings, Callie and Hardin, and nine younger siblings, Francis, Amanda, Nancy, Bryan, Ruth, Nellie, John, William, and Clifton.

Sometime after 1900, the family moved to Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. There, Bob and his brothers worked on the family farm with their father. On December 8th, 1908 Bob sent this postcard to a Mrs. Agnes Newton, who he affectionately refers to as "Ag." Agnes was Bob's aunt, his mother's youngest sister, who lived a few counties away in Eufaula. She was only seven years older than him and may have been more like a sister to him.

Bob, along with his brothers, went on to serve in the first World War. After the war, Bob and his brother Francis took over the family farm. Their father had died in 1916, followed by their mother three years later, and their older brother was married and starting a family of his own. By their late 20's, Bob and Francis were not only running a farm, they were also caring for their seven younger siblings. I can imagine their house was a crowded place- also living with them was their sister, Amanda, and her two young daughters, Greta and Mabel.

Bob never married and continued to work on the farm with his brothers for many years, long after their other siblings had moved away. He passed away in Retrop, Oklahoma in 1956 at the age of 66.

If you know who this may be, let us know in the comments!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Dr. Percy Alexander Riddler, Missouri 1900's

This man is identified as "Dr. P.A. Riddler."

Percy Alexander Riddler was born September 19th, 1876 in Jefferson City, Missouri. His father, John G. Riddler, was a surgeon for the Union army during the civil war. After the war, he married Percy's mother, Sophia Sharp, and became a druggist. Together they had 6 children: Edith Bell, Mabel, Myrtle, Percy Alexander, Bonnie Kate, and Garth Arthur.

Percy arrived during a tragic period for his family, at around the time they lost two of his sisters. 5-year-old Mabel died in 1872 and was followed by 8-year-old Myrtle in 1877. Then, in 1887, the same year their father was elected mayor of Jefferson City, the 4 surviving Riddler children lost their mother. Percy was only 10. John Riddler placed his children in the care of their grandmother, Wilhelmina Sharp, who took over raising them.

As a young man, Percy decided to pursue medicine just as his father had. He attended St. Paul's College in Concordia, Missouri for 2 years before transferring to University Medical College in Kansas City. A newspaper article would later describe Percy as having a "quiet and serious personality," and claimed that he "impresses one with the seriousness of his individuality." In Percy's senior yearbook, he is described simply: "Likes the ladies. Guardian angel of Pi Beta Phi pledges. Can cuss if necessary."

After graduating, Percy moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas. In the 1910 census he is living as a boarder with a family and is practicing out of an office at 411 Garrison Ave. Also living in Fort Smith was 21-year-old Ethel Wier Kelleam. She was a very social young woman and appeared often in the society column of the paper. She attended many picnics, parties, and outings like the one captured in these photos. In November 1912 Percy and Ethel were married in a "quiet wedding" at the home of Rev. P.G. Preston.

Upon returning from their honeymoon, the couple moved in with Ethel's mother. By 1920, Mrs. Kelleam's residence had become a crowded place. Along with her 16 year old daughter, Dorothy, was Ethel, Percy, and their 2-year-old son, John. Also living in the house were two boarders, a tailor named Duke Sills and his wife, Edith.  In 1919 Percy was elected chairman of the Fort Smith Board of Health and later was reelected. Though he relocated his office within the city a few times, Percy never left Fort Smith. He died there in 1933, leaving behind his wife and 16-year-old son, John, who would go on to become a surgeon.

If you know who this man (or any of these partygoers) may be, let us know in the comments!