William Lyman Thomas married Catherine “Kate” Compton Sutton on March 25, 1869. While I have none of his daughters birthdates in front of me, I know that Ella T. was the oldest, born, say about, 1870. Sarah W. was second born about 1872. Emma B. was third, born roughly in 1874. Catherine A. “Kittie” was born sometime very close to the beginning of July 1876, the centennial year of our country. Kittie’s birth also happens to have been very close to when Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer made his very serious last miscalculation at the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory. But this is about Emma.
We have more information about Emma than any of the other Thomas daughters. This is mainly due to some of Emma’s personal items having been preserved by her great-granddaughter. Among those items is a handwritten journal of Emma’s. In it she has recorded her day-to-day adventures from June of 1891 through April 1895. I have read quite a bit of it. Ordinarily reading a young woman’s journal is not something I’d do on a bet (This is a joke. Don’t overreact.).
What saves it is the distance in time from the present along with the fact that Emma wrote well. She records many anecdotes along with her description of a lifestyle here in our community very different from anything we’ve known. I’ll try and post some of her musings later. Or interested parties can contact me and I’ll send you my photographs of the pages in her journal.
I’m not sure how many posts I’ll make of these Emma artifacts but when I’m done you’ll hopefully know as much about her as I do.
Thanks again to the Thomas family descendants who have provided us all with such an interesting look at past life in our community.
From William Lyman Thomas’ History of St. Louis County, Bartold School 1888. This school, named for Bartold Valley (located today at the intersection of Hanley and Manchester) once stood directly across Manchester from Maplewood’s present city hall. There is an apartment complex on this site today. WLT, ever the promoter of his family and community, no doubt included this photo because two of his children are in it. Emma and Kittie. The text follows.
From History of St. Louis County. The Bruno family had a farm that included part of Maplewood roughly north of Lohmeyer and east of Big Bend Blvd. The Bruno family home still exists on (what else?) Bruno Ave just a door or so west of Oakview Terrace…I think. I actually got that wrong a few posts back. Alert readers will remember. Ella M. Smith was the teacher. Ella T. Smith was Emma’s older sister’s married name. Confused? It gets worse.
From WLT’s 1901 scrapbook. Emma signed at the top. I don’t know who Uncle Bob was. Kate signed calling herself Granny. Kittie signed below Kate. Frank Smith, I believe was eldest sister Ella’s husband. Note that Ella signed as Ella S… Her middle initial is listed differently in many records. Most puzzling is WLT called her Ella T. Smith in his own book.
From Emma’s journal. This excerpt is from 1891. Let me know if you can’t read this.
Ed Rannells is from the family that built Woodside. In 1908 he was one of the two judges who voted in favor of the incorporation of the City of Maplewood. Ed was born in 1854. He would have been much older than Emma. Notice she calls him Mr. Ed Rannells.
I really like this picture of Emma. It shows some of her spirit.
From the back of the previous photo. He looks like he may have been a beau. Keep in mind this photo is from May of 1898.
A close up.
I have no information about this relic. It may have had something to do with a job she had. She mentions in her journal working in a couple of offices in downtown St. Louis. Apparently I didn’t photograph the contents. An oversight.
Remember the photo from May of 1898? As this invitation makes clear if Mr. H.J. Sturgis from Neosho had any intentions as far as Emma was concerned, he didn’t move fast enough. Regarding Mr. Grumley…he’s about a mover!
The 1899 Mobile and Ohio Christmas card. These folks certainly pull out all the stops during the holidays. You have to wonder what the company party was like.
Inside the Christmas card. Grumley’s at the top of the Rate Department list. Nice catch, Emma.
To be continued.