Friday, April 30, 2021

Chancey George Horton, Wichita, Kansas 1904

Chancey George Horton was born in 1903 in Valley Center, Kansas to parents George Arthur, a farmer, and Annie Laurie Horton. He was one of 6 children: Mary Constance, the oldest, was born in 1901, followed by Chancey in 1903, Julia Sibyl in 1905, Myrtle Helene in 1911, Lawrence Calvin in 1914, and finally Bill in 1919. They all grew up together on the family farm in Grant, Kansas.

Chancey lived a short but full life. The Valley Center Index, the local newspaper, reveals the many days he spent visiting friends and attending parties. He was athletic, participating in football, basketball, and other sports. He was a debater and an orator in school, a "representative in reading," and in his senior year, won the scholarship for the Valley Center High School class of 1922. Upon graduating high school, he entered Normal Training with the goal of becoming a teacher. 

His obituary notes that around 1922, Chancey attended a revival held by pastor and composer Rev. William M. Runyan and was converted. He joined the Methodist church and became the president of the Epworth League at Valley Center (a Methodist association for young adults), as well as a Sunday School teacher. After graduating from Normal Training, Chancey found work as a teacher near the town of Jetmore, where he met and became engaged to another teacher, Alta Hendrickson. He went on to teach in Park, Kansas until he grew ill in spring 1924. A note in the Valley Center Index from March of that year mentions that a Mrs. Hammers is teaching in his place as he recovers from an illness. Chancey passed away at home on April 21st, 1924, at the age of 20. 

Alta Hendrickson, his fiancee, never married but continued to teach and eventually became a county superintendent. 

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

Friday, April 16, 2021

Amanda Tonn and Carola Harning, Wisconsin, 1906


"My dear Carola,
Why haven’t I had a
line from you. I feel
slighted. How is that dude?
Agnes has been wanting to
write to you every day! She
is so busy with her music.
I presume you have heard
of Katherine’s illness. I do hope she will
recover. She is so sweet. I go to Lake
Pewaukee Wednesday P.M. Shall stay
till Oct. 1st. Isn’t this a B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l
likeness of Yours Sincerely, Manda Tonn"
-Sent September 3rd, 1906

Carola Harning, to whom this postcard is addressed, was born in Wisconsin in 1888 to parents Charles and Adaline. She was the second of three daughters, with older sister Oriel and younger sister Edith. Carola grew up in Menomonee, Wisconsin, where her father ran a farm. By 1910, 21-year-old Carola and 18-year-old Edith are both working on the farm with their father, while Oriel has married and left home. Edith eventually moved to Milwaukee, where she worked as a clerk in a bookstore. Carola stayed home with her parents. Neither she nor Edith ever married. After the deaths of their parents, Edith moved back in with Carola to help her manage the family farm, with help from their cousin, Harvey.
Carola Harning passed away in 1971 at age 83.

So who was Manda Tonn? Were they school friends?  Two other girls are mentioned in this postcard, Agnes and Katherine, which could help in finding Amanda. Here is my best guess:

I believe the Manda in this photo is Amanda Tonn, born in Wisconsin about 1885 to parents August and Julia Tonn. The Tonns had several children, which made research a little confusing. I know of 10, though there may have been more. By 1900, August and Julia were divorced, which can't have been an easy decision with so many children to care for. It seems that some of the younger children went to live with older, married siblings, which was the case of Agnes Tonn, who is living with her older sister, Helena, and her family in the 1900 Census. I might guess that this is the Agnes Amanda mentions who wanted to write to Carola but was busy with her music. Agnes and Carola were the same age, so it makes sense they would be friends.

In the 1905 Wisconsin State Census, Amanda is 20 and working as a servant in the home of Joseph and Martha Gabes. In 1906 she sends her friend Carola this postcard from Milwaukee, mentioning that she plans on visiting Lake Pewaukee, a popular vacation spot of the time that featured an amusement park and hotels. As someone who spent much of her life working, this must have been a special trip.

Amanda appears again in the 1910 Census, now living with her older brother Edward, a streetcar motorman, and his wife Emily. She is about 25 and has gotten a job as an office clerk. Just the year prior in 1909, her younger sister Agnes died of tuberculosis at the age of 21. After this,  Amanda appears only a few times more in Milwaukee city directories over the next few years, working as a cashier, clerk, and secretary among other things, before disappearing after 1921. 

It is possible that Manda married and changed her name, making her more difficult to find in records. I wonder if she and Carola remained friends throughout the years?

If you know who either of these girls may be, let us know in the comments!