Friday, August 11, 2017

1890s Autograph Album and Tintype of Jessie Wetsel of Bird City, Kansas

Autograph album that was given at Christmas in 1889 to Jessie Wetsel of Bird City, Kansas.  She noted that it was Christmas 1890, but since there are inscriptions from earlier in 1890, I believe she inscribed her name after the year had turned.

Tucked in the album is a tintype of children named:
  • Winnie
  • Elsie
  • Jessie
  • Herbert
I believe Elsie and Herbert were Jessie's siblings.  Elsie died at just over a year, so is presumably the baby in the older girl's lap.  Elsie's buried in the Bird City Cemetery.  Winnie may have been Jessie's cousin, who hailed from or inscribed a page at Grand Island, presumably Grand Island, Nebraska .


The album measures approximately 4-1/4" by 2-3/4" and contains the sentiments of 32 of Jessie's relatives, friends, schoolmates and teachers.  An alphabetical surname list and an alphabetical list of the inscribers, together with any personal information they offered, appear at the end of this list.

One benefit of autograph albums from the 1890s is that they show residences in the large gap between the 1880 and 1900 Censuses, as a result of the fire that destroyed most of the 1890 Census.

From brief online research, hopefully correct - corrections and additions requested:

Jessie Florine Wetsel, was born February 2, 1884 at Bushnell, Illinois, the daughter of James Granville Wetsel and Eleanor (Chadderdon) Wetsel.  The index for Jessie's Social Security application, which shows her married surname as Benintendi, gives her maiden name and father's surname as Wetzel; whether Jessie wrote Wetzel or it was misinterpreted by the indexer or whether the surname actually was Wetzel, I don't know.

Jessie's mother Eleanor had been previously married to William Henry Jennings and had a son James Louis Jennings with him.  William died in 1877.  Eleanor's 1882 marriage to James G. Wetsel, which produced Jessie, Herbert and Elsie, would end in divorce.  The Bird City News issue of September 27, 1888 notes that Eleanor brought suit against him for adultery.  

About 1890, Eleanor married Ephraim B. Carroll, who had children from a previous marriage.  One of these children, Fanny Carroll, inscribed a page in Jessie's album in July 1890.

Eleanor and Ephraim had at least two children of their own.  One of these, Kenneth Carroll, inscribed a page in Jessie's album on April 22, 1895 at Bird City, Kansas.

Two teachers inscribed pages in Jessie's album: Bessie Gibboney and Daisy S., who inscribed pages in 1890 and 1893 respectively.

If you have corrections to the information above or additional information on the Jennings, Wetsel or Carroll families or information on any of the inscribers listed below, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Surnames in the Album

? [7]GGibboney
CCarroll [2]MMcChesnie [2]
Cave [2]SSpencer
Druliner [2]Wisherd [2]

Inscribers in the Album
  • Maud; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas, on March 16, 1895
  • Name too faint to decipher; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas, on January 22, 1890
  • Rosa T?; inscribed February 28, 1893 at Bird City, Kansas; Jessie's schoolmate
  • Louisa; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas; Jessie's schoolmate
  • Name too faint to decipher; inscribed on August 12, 1890
  • Winnie, "your cousin"; inscribed at Grand Island on May 6, 189x [can't read last digit]
  • Daisy S.; your teacher; inscribed in 1893; very faint
  • Earl Barnhart of Bird City, Kansas
  • Ray Beverstock; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas in February 1890
  • Oakley Byrer; inscribed in 1890 at Bird City, Kansas
  • Fannie Carroll; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas, in July 1890.  Inscribed to "Dear Sister".  Presumably Jessie's stepsister Fannie Carroll, daughter of Ephraim B. Carroll, second husband of Jessie's mother Eleanor (Chatterdon) Wetsel Carroll
  • Kenneth C.; "your loving brother";  inscribed on April 22, 1895 at Bird City, Kansas; presumably Kenneth Carroll, Jessie's half brother
  • Cora Cave; inscribed on January 30, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas
  • Nannie Cave; inscribed on November 14, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas
  • Arthur Clark; inscribed on April 7, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas
  • J. W. Clarke; not sure of middle initial; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas on January 8, 1890 [not sure of last digit]
  • Sylvia DeGroff; inscribed on February 28, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas.  
  • Rosa Druliner; inscribed at Bromfield, Nebraska, on May 8, 1893.  Jessie's cousin.  Presumably Rosa Luella (Chadderdon) Druliner, wife of Walter Allen Druliner, who inscribed the left facing page.  Presumably related to Jessie's mother Eleanor (Chadderdon) Wetsel Carroll.
  • W. A. Druliner of Bromfield, Nebraska; inscribed on May 8, 1893,  Presumably Walter Allen Druliner, husband of Rosa Luella (Chadderdon), who inscribed the right facing page.
  • Jessie Fraker; middle initial either M or W; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas, on October 20,  1893 [not sure of last digit]
  • Bessie Gibboney; inscribed on November 10, 1890; Jessie's teacher
  • Flora Jewell; inscribed at Bird City, Kansas, on April 13, 1893
  • E. Lowe; bird sketch; possibly E. O. Lowe
  • Minnie Lutz; inscribed at McDonald, Kansas on September 16, 1891
  • Thompson Mc; inscribed February 19, 1894.  Presumably Thompson McChesnie of Bird City, Kansas.
  • Wesley McChesnie; inscribed on February 20, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas
  • Nannie Spencer; inscribed on April 19, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas
  • Nettie Stockley; inscribed on January 8, 189x [can't read last digit] at Bird City, Kansas
  • Ethel Stout
  • Jessie Wetsel, Christmas present 1890; album  owner.  She presumably inscribed this page in January 1890, reflecting on the recent Christmas of 1889, as there are inscriptions in the album from earlier in 1890.
  • Laura Wisherd; inscribed on February 19, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas; Jessie's schoolmate
  • Maggie Wisherd; inscribed on February 18, 1894 [not sure of the year]
  • Blanche Yost; inscribed November 9, 1890 at Bird City, Kansas

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