Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sepia Saturday: The Mysterious "Grandma" in Cleveland

On Sepia Saturday, I'm posting this colorful 1905 holiday postcard, another in the series sent to my husband's uncle (Wallis Walter Wood, 1905-1957) in Cleveland, Ohio, during the early 1900s. This card isn't just beautiful, it's informative and mysterious.

Informative because it provides yet another address for my hubby's grandparents, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) and Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). I believe 7203 Duluth Street in Cleveland was the site of a home built by James, one of many he constructed "on spec" and then sold, moving on to build another house nearby.

Mysterious because the front has the greeting From "Grandma" and yet Wallis had no living grandparents at that point. So who was Grandma?

One clue: This pretty postcard was dropped into a mailbox early on the morning of Christmas Eve, as the postmark shows. None of Wallis's aunts (by blood or marriage) lived in the area, so they couldn't have sent this.

Another clue: Wallis's name is spelled correctly. That means his Aunt Rachel "Nellie" Wood Kirby (1864-1954) didn't send it. She never spelled his name correctly, in a decade or more of mailing him cards for every holiday, and this isn't her handwriting.

So my guess is this Sepia Saturday postcard was from an old family friend living nearby, or a close friend from church, or a more distant (older) relative who doted on toddler Wallis.


  1. Very pretty card. I love that it just says city under the street address.

  2. Anna, I like that detail too. Even though Cleveland was the 7th largest US city in 1900, the postal service understood what "city" meant. Thanks for leaving me a comment!

  3. What a strange mystery. I think you might be right though about a doting neighbor or friend. It seems many communities have someone known by everyone as "Granny" or "Grandma."

  4. Wendy, it sure would make sense that "Grandma" would be someone in the community, maybe known through the church or close friendship with the family. This is one mystery I'll only be able to solve by comparing handwriting with other adults in that family. Some day...

  5. What a beautiful card and a lovely family memento!

  6. More pretty greeting postcards coming this month!