From Leather Cutter to Sears Inspector – The Colorful Life of Eugenia Boyd

Eugenia Boyd was born on June 20, 1906 in Austria-Hungary to Anton Herzog and Marie Beran and was one of nine children.  When Eugenia was very little, the family immigrated to America and made their way to Chicago, where they stayed for about a year before moving to a farm in Michigan.  Thus, Eugenia spent […]

October 10th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Proud to Have “Opened the Books”

Ruth Hughes was born on June 4, 1906 in Chicago to Virginia Ward and Raymond Oveson. She had three brothers: Walter, Raymond, Jr., and Albert, though both Raymond, Jr. and Albert died as infants.  Ruth attended two years at Cathedral High School and then quit to begin working at the telephone company.  She then moved […]

October 3rd, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

The Little Girl She Always Wanted

Opal Payne was born on October 18, 1913 in Chicago to Martin Vogt and Eileen O’Rourke.  Martin emigrated from Germany and worked as a stenographer in Chicago, while Eileen, who was of Irish descent, cared for their three children: Opal, Norman and Lee.

Opal went to John Marshall High School for a year and a half […]

September 26th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

It Was Her Job to Care for the “Waterhead Babies”

Rose Ackermann was born in Chicago on August 22, 1926 to Emil Ackermann and Hanna Raskop, both of whom emigrated from Germany.  Emil found work as a coal and ice man, but he also worked as a handyman on the side sometimes as well.  Hanna cared for their three children—Leo, Judith and Rose—and worked at […]

September 19th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

A Child Prodigy and the Life That Followed

Valentine Conrad was born on February 26, 1910 in Chicago to Wilma Sheppard and Frank Knauz.  Valentine’s early life was rather convoluted, as her mother was married three times.  Wilma’s first marriage apparently only lasted three months before she divorced her husband.  She then married another man by the name of Frank Knauz with whom […]

September 12th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

A Penchant for Choosing the Wrong Man

Irene Bailey was born on October 7, 1906 in Letts, Iowa to Andrew and Gertrude Roth.  Andrew farmed about 150 acres of land, and Gertie cared for their seven children: Roland, Molly, Bert, Kathleen, Irene, Sophie, and Emmet.  Irene was raised Methodist and was able to attend high school.  After she graduated, her dream was […]

September 5th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Blanche and Her Mother

Blanche Eustace was born on July 12, 1904 in Council Bluffs, Iowa to Richard Chambers and Edith Norbis.  Richard was born in upper New York State in a town called Watertown, and his family apparently came to America over 200 years ago from England.  Similarly, Edith’s family could also trace their origins to Plymouth, England.  […]

August 29th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Her First Job Was Teaching in a One-Room Schoolhouse

Margaret (Maggie) Devinson was born on January 10, 1902 in Sault St. Marie, Michigan.  Her parents were John Williams and Bridget Kennedy, both of whom were born in Canada.  John was of English descent, and Bridget was Irish (though Maggie never wanted anyone to know that, preferring to call herself English.)  John worked as a […]

August 22nd, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

William Jefferson Sanders – “A Hard-Working Man”

William Jefferson Sanders was born on January 16, 1921 in Tennessee to Lamar and Ivory Sanders.  William reports that he has many brothers and sisters and many half-siblings as well, but that he can’t remember exactly how many.  He attended two years of high school, and when he was twenty-one, he married his childhood sweetheart, […]

August 15th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|

Still Able to Sing

Winifred Hughes was born on June 1, 1905 to Italian immigrants and was one of eleven children.  Winnie attended grammar school until she was just nine years old when she came down with an unknown childhood illness that left her deaf.  She did not receive any schooling after that and taught herself to sometimes read […]

August 8th, 2019|Novel Notes of Local Lore|