Treasured clippings

Published 10:11 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sometimes things just seem to pile up, not only at my house but at the Edwardsburg Museum too.
Most of the workers have their own little piles that they are planning to sort some day. Well, recently the museum workers have been going through the piles and putting them into some kind of organization. For several years there has been a search for a simple computerized inventory program to account for all of the items that have been donated to the museum. Finding the right program to fit the small museum has been difficult.
Over the last 11 years several thousand items have been contributed to the museum. Much of it is pictures and paper. So it is easy to put them in a stack and plan to file them or sort them later.
In getting things ready for the holidays some of the piles have been discovered. Found in one such pile of items was a newspaper clipping of a picture of Mrs. O.V. Hicks being honored at a graduation for 75 years since she graduated from Edwardsburg High School. It was the Class of 1963 that honored her as one of the first graduates of the Class of 1888.
Mrs. Hicks was identified in the picture but like so many pictures in the museum, the initials of her husband and his last name identified her. Many women at the turn of the century were not known by their first names and in polite society adults were never referred to by their given name. So Mrs. Hicks was married to O.V. Hicks and she was simply known as Mrs. O.V. Hicks.
What were her first name and her maiden name? She was Bertha Thompson from the Class of 1888.
This past week an envelope of pictures and newspaper clippings was received at the museum from Ann Thompson who was Ann Wesley. She was sorting through her mother’s things and discovered an envelope of old newspaper clippings. Just as we might clip coupons today, years ago one of the favorite pastimes was clipping articles from the newspaper and putting them in scrapbooks or albums or putting them in envelopes and saving them. They weren’t necessarily relatives just people you knew or people you may have heard of.
Well, what a treasure trove of information this particular envelope contained. There are many obituaries of local people along with pictures of them. Many of them are from Milton Township, where Doris Wesley resided for many years. Bertha Thompson Hick’s obituary was among the items along with her picture.
Included were pictures of Doris Wesley’s aunt and uncle, Gertie and Clarence Smith, who at one time owned the hotel where the museum is now located.
Laura Snyder was also one of the five members of the class of 1888 and the museum has her high school diploma on display.
It is very difficult to track females because their name change and only by looking at such things as obituaries can you piece together families.
Most people would have thrown away this precious envelope because the people are not currently recognizable. The paper is yellowed and torn from the newspaper. The names mean nothing to you. But this is information that is very valuable when trying to fit family histories together.
When you begin to sort through piles of stuff, remember that those yellowed news clippings are of value to someone. Don’t throw them away.