This postcard is a part of my Wildrick family photograph collection and each time I come across it, I’m always curious who Helen Beaty was and why my great-grandfather’s teacher sent or gave him this postcard. I might not be able to answer the “why”, but I decided to do a little digging into the “who”.
Helen Isabel, was born in Illinois in September 1889 to John and Ida Beaty.1 She was their third child, following the birth of brother Francis, b. September 1885 in Illinois; and sister Velma, b. July 1887 in Illinois.2
Helen would be followed by three more children: Archie, b. January 1894 in Nebraska; Paul, b. April 1896 in Nebraska3 and Lloyd, b. September 1908, d. March 1909.4
Comparatively, Freeman was born in April 1902 in Hendley, Furnas, Nebraska.5 He was third child born to George and Mattie (Freeman) Wildrick, following sister Rhoda, b. February 1899 in Kansas; and brother Charles, b. August 1900 in Kansas.6
By 1910, George Wildrick and his family had left Nebraska for Oklahoma.7 But Helen remained in the Hendley, Furnas, Nebraska area as a schoolteacher at the Catholic school.8 She lived with her parents and her younger brothers, Archie and Paul.9
Helen appears again in the 1920 census as a 29 year old woman, living with her parents and brothers Archie and Paul.10 She was listed as a teacher at the local high school.11
However, Helen disappears from the records after 1920. Did she marry? Move away? I’ve been unable to locate her anywhere. Her father passed away in 193412 and her mother in 1949.13 Both were buried in Hendley Cemetery.
Since the record trail for Helen ended, I returned to the postcard to try and date it. From my recent readings of “The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy” I learned that it was only after 1907 that postal regulations permitted correspondence on the back of the card.14
With that knowledge, I can date it to at least 1907. However, there is no stamp upon the back, nor is there an address listed for Freeman, leaving me to believe it was given to him prior to his family’s moving, which occurred in 1910.
It’s difficult to use Helen’s dress to date the photograph as so little of it is seen. However, it appears to be similar to styles of the late 19th century with the vertical piping and slimming sleeves.15 What is most noticeable to me, is her hairstyle. No short, curly fringe of the 1880-90s for this stylish gal!16 Her hair is styled similar to a Gibson Girl of the early 1900s.17
Whether it was mailed or delivered to him prior to his family’s move, Helen must’ve left a strong impression on young Freeman for him to have kept her photograph. Perhaps she even encouraged a love of history which has been passed through the generations.
I’ve been unable to locate much online about the history of either a Catholic school located in or near Hendley, or history of the public school beyond this site. Looks like I’ll have to plan a return trip to Hendley for more research.
1 Year: 1900; Census Place: Lynden, Furnas, Nebraska; Roll: 927; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0063; FHL microfilm: 1240927
4 N/a, Scott. “Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records.” Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records. May 12, 2012. Accessed August 23, 2016. http://www.findagrave.com/. Hendley cemetery information added by Bill Baumbach
5 Year: 1910; Census Place: Adair, Mayes, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1262; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0082; FHL microfilm: 1375275
8 Year: 1910; Census Place: Lynden, Furnas, Nebraska; Roll: T624_846; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0081; FHL microfilm: 1374859
10 Year: 1920; Census Place: Lynden, Furnas, Nebraska; Roll: T625_984; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 84; Image: 489
12 N/a, Scott. “Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records.” Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records. April 15, 2011. Accessed August 23, 2016. http://www.findagrave.com/. Hendley cemetery information added by Bill Baumbach
14 Szucs, Loretto Dennis., and Sandra Hargreaves. Luebking. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. Third ed. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.
15 Setnik, Linda. Victorian Fashions: For Women and Children ; Society’s Impact on Dress. Atglen: Schiffer Publ., 2012.
17“Gibson Girl.” Wikipedia. July 30, 2016. Accessed August 24, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Girl.