Monday, January 16, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Eppard Postcard

Amanuensis Monday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.

Among my mother’s things that she had saved of her mother’s things that included some of HER mother’s things from HER mother is this postcard:

Benjamin Marion Eppard
23 Feb 1878 - 16 Oct 1960

On the back is a note to Mrs. G. H. Eppard, otherwise known as Segourney Eppard, my great-great grandmother.  I’m not sure why THIS card was saved all those years except for the photo because there is nothing remarkable in the note.  In fact, it was difficult to determine whose picture it is because the last 4 lines of the note have been scratched and marked through.  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

I decided to try erasing the black marks to see if I could read it.  Voila!  I uncovered enough to discover that the card and photo were from Segourney’s son Ben (my great-grandmother’s brother).  But, drats!  I was hoping to discover some family dirt – afterall, why else would someone mark out those words?  Nothing interesting.  Not one bit. 

Staunton VA
Aug 29 – 1914
Dear Father & Mother:
I am sending
photo postcard of myself.  I had
to have these taken in connection
with a contest we are having in my business.
I was home last week.  Found
them all well as usual.  Would
liked to have stopped to see you
and Pa but didn’t have time.  I
haven’t made any decision about moving
yet.  I told Gustie [I'm guessing at this word.  It appears to be a nickname for his wife, Augusta.] I was thinking of coming
[this next line is scratched through with some sharp object like a pin, but I have included words that are most readable]
------- you all for a while --- she
[the next 3 lines have been marked through with a black marker or pen.  I have erased what I can to reveal these lines:]
said you could never stand the children.
Said you were going to move to Shenandoah
this fall.  Would like to see you before long.

If there is any mystery, it’s the contest.  Ben and his family lived in Martinsburg, West Virginia, according to every census record 1900-1930.  He was a weaver for the wool mill.  What kind of contest would a wool mill conduct?  And why would they want a fancy photo of the participants? 

A couple tidbits I’ve gleaned from this postcard:

1.       Ben’s use of “Pa” indicates a warm relationship with his parents.

2.       It looks like maybe Ben was planning to take Segourney to Martinsburg to visit for awhile, but his wife Augusta thought it might not be a good idea.  Maybe Segourney didn’t enjoy young children.  Maybe it’s Augusta’s way of making a slight joke about their kids.  They had 7 by 1914.

3.       The suggestion that Segourney would be moving to Shenandoah makes me think she must not have been able to stay alone in her home in McGaheysville.  It appears she might be going to live with her daughter (my great-grandmother) Mary Sudie Rucker.  I have not yet found Segourney in the 1920 census;  she was not listed in the Rucker household.  However, Segourney’s 1926 application for a widow’s pension says she was living with her daughter. 


  1. Where was this picture? I never saw Benjamin Eppard.

    We need to go to McGaheysville and find where everyone in our family lived.

    1. I didn't know I saw him either. I assumed the post card was a picture of Leonard Lester Eppard since he was the businessman of the family. Then I erased the marks on the card and saw "Ben." The card was in the shoebox with Ray Rucker's pictures and Navy stuff.