Monday, March 23, 2020

Ethel Webb, Brunswick, Maine 1880s-90s

Ethel Moulton Webb was born in Brunswick, Maine, on October 6th, 1877. Her father, Franklin, worked as a grocer, while her mother Elizabeth stayed home to care for Ethel and her little brothers, Harold and Frank. Also living with the Webbs was Ethel’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia.

An 1893 article from the Portland Daily Press noted Ethel’s “pleasing” piano performance at a teacher's convention held at her high school.
Ethel in the 1899 Smith College yearbook
She was also an exceptional student and the valedictorian of Brunswick High School’s class of 1895. It must have been no surprise when Ethel was accepted to Smith College, a women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts.
After graduating from Smith in 1899, Ethel returned home to Brunswick to live with her family. It was during this time that she met Ralph Bushnell Stone, a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Like Ethel, Ralph was intelligent and studious, especially excelling in math and science. After graduating from Bowdoin in 1902, he went on to receive his Master's degree from Harvard. He then returned to Brunswick to teach.
It was also during this time that Ethel tragically lost her youngest brother, Frank, to heart disease. He died in 1909 at only 26 years old.

Better times came in 1913 when Ethel and Ralph were married. Their first and only child, Franklin, was born in 1915. When Ralph was offered a job as a mathematics professor at Purdue University, the family packed up and headed to West Lafayette, Indiana. Just three years later, Ralph was appointed registrar of the university. Ethel stayed busy in West Lafayette, becoming a member of the Current Topics Club and the Purdue Women's Club, and hosting the other wives of Purdue faculty members at her home on Russell Street, close to campus. After Ethel's mother passed away in 1932, her father joined them in Indiana. He died there two years later after a period of illness.

Ralph served as Purdue's registrar until 1947 when he went back to teaching mathematics. He retired in 1952. In February 1959, Ralph fell ill. He passed away at the age of 76. Ethel passed two years later in 1961. She was 84.

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Friday, March 6, 2020

William N. Beeman, Jackson, Michigan 1890s-1900s

William Noah Beeman was born in Eaton County, Michigan in 1858. He was the only son of farmer Gilbert Beeman and his wife, Phoebe Wright, both of whom were originally from New York. William grew up in a house of girls. He had three older sisters, Caroline, Mary, and LaVancha, and one younger sister, Stella. In 1880, 21-year-old William was working with his father on their farm in Chester, Michigan. The very next year, William married Hattie Adele Sullivan of Jackson, Michigan.

Hattie was very socially active and seems to have been in every club in Jackson, including a
Chautauqua reading circle, the Home Culture Club, and the Jackson Camera Club. In fact, she won second place in their amateur photography competition in 1899, which makes me wonder if she took this photograph herself! I have a feeling that's William standing proudly in front of his wood and coal business with his dog at his feet. William operated the W.N. Beeman Wood and Coal company in Jackson from the 1890s into the 1900s. Then in 1909, William and Hattie crossed the border into Canada and settled in Calgary-East, Alberta. Here, William became a farmer.

Finally, after years of living in the North, the Beemans were ready for a warmer climate. They permanently moved to Los Angeles, California, where they lived out their later years together. Hattie passed away in 1931 at the age of 71. William lived to be 85. He died in 1943.

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