Postcard Advent Calendar, December 20: Christmas Greetings from Ralph

S.T. and Company, No. 841, Printed in Saxony

Bluebirds perch on a sprig of holly to send their Christmas greetings in this seventh card of my Minor Postcard Advent Calendar. Floating in the sky with our passerine friends are other symbols of the season–a golden horseshoe and sprigs of mistletoe and holly.  You could cover a lot of bases with this card, sending good tidings for  Christmas AND good luck for the New Year!  The publisher’s symbol appears on the back:  a winged ball containing the letters S.T. and Co.  In addition, it is noted that the card is No. 841 and printed in Saxony.

My grandfather, Donald Corbly Minor, received this card from his friend, Ralph of South Connellsville, Pennyslvania, December 20, 1910.  Young Ralph, in a confident cursive, wrote:

Hello Donal How are you what do you want Santa to bring you I want a gun but mama says I can not have it so I will haft to take what ever I get.  Your friend Ralph.

Poor Ralph.  The year before he wanted skates, but his mama was afraid to let him have those, too!

Postcard Advent Calendar, December 19: Here, Kitty, Kitty!

 

A Merry Xmas to all of my readers, on this the sixth day of the Minor Postcard Advent Calendar. Today’s card is a REAL PHOTOGRAPH, on bromide paper by the Rotographic Company, New York City, copyright 1906.  On the back, thirteen year old Helen Stephenson Minor wrote her four year old brother, Donald Corbley:

How are you and Billy getting along by this time?  Are you coming with Papa when he comes up after me?  Have you been sliding down the hill any this winter? I expect it runs pretty nice doesn’t it?  Bye Bye. ~Helen

Helen attended a boarding school, near the town of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, I believe.  In this note she asks Donald about his pony, Billy, and inquires into the farm’s sledding.  It must have been a white Christmas season for her to anticipate a nice run down the hill.

Like Helen, I LOVE this photocard! The tiny tree looks as if someone topped a cedar or hemlock and decorated it with hand-made paper chains and stars. The candles appear to have been painted on after the photograph was developed!  And I adore the kitten, all snug in its crocheted sweater.  “What ARE you,” she asks the toy horse.  This wheeled toy is represented in many of my cards and must have been a favorite gift of the era.  The basket hung on the tree holds another popular gift:  a trumpet-like instrument.  But take a look at that doll!  What a face! At first glance I thought this was a skeleton wrapped up in fancy attire.  I don’t know what to make of it.  Do you?

Surname Saturday: The Minor Postcard Advent Calendar, December 18: Sneaking Up On Santa!

Night Before Christmas Series No.15

This fifth day of my Postcard Advent Calendar, a project inspired by Minor Family treasures,  I am happy to share this Christmas greeting from seventeen year old Helen Stephenson Minor to her eight year old brother, Donald Corbly.

Dear Brother, How are you enjoying this fine weather?  I was out for a sled ride to-night.  There were nine girls went just had a dandy time.  I suppose I will be home to-morrow.  Well  I got through one examination all O.K. Got an “A” grade in English History.  Well Bye Bye.  ~Helen

Helen was attending a boarding school in a nearby town.  Judging from the postmark, Helen wrote from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, which makes me wonder if she was not attending Waynesburg College or an affiliated high school.  Helen mailed the card December 21, 1910 and would have arrived home in time to celebrate the night before Christmas with young Donald.

This card’s vignette is unusual in its story. A tow- headed young child pauses during his clandestine mission. “Do you see what I see,” he asks us.  The Christmas tree, adorned with beads, crystals, and balls, sheds its candlelight on the Christmas eve scene. Santa Claus is just around the corner and seems to be playing with the white flocked horse! What a racket Santa must be making as he runs the stead’s wheels across the wood floor! How tempting to our young peeper to just grab the drum and join the fun.  But we all know how this night ended–with a scurrying of slippered little feet, back to bed, back to sleep. The publishers information is in some code on the front of the card: a dot in a circle within another circle sits next to an N within a triangle.  Both can be found in the lower right corner of the card.  On the back are the words “Night Before Christmas Series No. 15.”  Any collectors with information?  Please leave a comment!!

 

Postcard Advent Calendar, December 17: A Joyous Christmastide from Ivan Vannoy to Donald Minor

 

Printed in Germany

Dear Cousin, We arrived home safe and it has been winter ever since.  Old Santa is coming to our church Friday eve. and we are anxious to see him. Come out and see us and we will take a sleighride. ~Ivan Vannroy

On this fourth day of the Postcard Advent Calendar I share a Christmas “meow” from 1909.  The lightly embossed kittens send young Donald Minor wishes for a joyous Christmastide.  The publisher’s mark is right below the right kitty and reads “Painting only. Copyrighted by S. Garre, New York 1909.”  Small print on the back indicates that the Series #1064 postcard was printed in Germany.

The note’s salutation has led me on a goosechase to find the connection between Donald and Ivan.  The postmark is stamped Tama, Iowa, December 22, 11am, 1909.  And while some Pennsylvania Minors migrated west to Ohio, Illinois and Iowa in the mid-1800s, I don’t recall seeing the name Vannroy in any other family documents.  In fact,  I can’t find any Vannroy in my Iowa census stumping….My genealogical skills have failed me.  So far.

I love chasing the family geese.

UPDATE:

In researching other Advent cards, I went back to the web-based genealogy for the Thomas Minor family, from whom I am descended.  Within the surname list I found the word I was hunting: VANNOY.  When I plugged this spelling into Ancestry’s search engine I confirmed the Thomas Minor Society’s information.

*drum roll*

Francis Marion Minor had three children older than Donald’s father, Robert.  John P. was the eldest, then Alfred (whose son Carl also wrote to Donald), then there was Sarah Pricilla.  Sarah married Mark Herrington and had Beatrice Jane.  Beatrice Jane married John Vannoy and had little Ivan in 1906.  They are cited as living in Tama, Iowa in the 1910 census.

Story unfolds: Sarah’s daughter Beatrice marries and moves west to Iowa.  She travels home in 1909 with her family, including young Ivan, before winter sets in. The Christmas kittens are then sent in Ivan’s name, to the young cousin with whom he played during his Pennsylvania visit.

 

 

 

Amanuensis Monday: A Letter Home

Abia Minor Writes Home, 1872

Sulivan Moultrie Co Ills

June 25th 1872

Dear Father I Received your kind letter dated the 5th June in reply I will Say we are all as well as usual The last I heard from Jacksonville Harriet was improving. *(1)  I would have answered sooner But I was starting to Chicago with Some Sheep I Sold them for five cents they weghed 104 lbs Made me some money they cost me about 2 1/2 cts I have about 200 Sheep on hands my pastures is good about knee high Timothy When up I saw the Burt district *(2) and no one can discribe it nor can they discribe the improvements going on it look like anything But a City The Buildings going up are mutch better then the Old Ones We have a fine prospect for corn and oats wheat will be light grass is fine Stock is low cattle from 3 to 5 cents hogs 3 cts corn 38 cts If I could get a good lot of Sheep I would come to Pittsburg But they are hard to get what I mean by good ones are some that will weigh 120 oz upwards.  I would like to hear from you often You will find endorsed my note with Mother Millers name Dated Back to the time you got the interest from Tompkins *(3) with these lines I reamain yours as ever Abia Minor.

*(1) Harriet is Abia’s second wife.  Why she was a patient at Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane, Jacksonville, Illinois, is unknown.

*(2) Abia Minor, eldest son of John Pearson Minor and first wife Hannah McClelland, was a farmer taking his stock to Chicago.  On this trip he witnessed the recovery efforts that followed the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 started, as a the folksong would have it, by ol’ Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.  It raged from October 8 until extinguished by heavy rainfall on October 10.  Seventeen thousand buildings of Old Chicago were destroyed,  and 90,000 people were left homeless. Three hundred people lost their lives.

*(3)  John P Minor lent money to relatives and friends, charging up to 10% interest.  Each act was recorded with a note which detailed the loan and its terms.  This references one such transaction.