Tag Archives: Harriette Anderson Kaser

Family Politics–Mom and Dad, a Political Courtship

Since all eyes are on politics this year in the U. S., I began thinking about the political involvement of members of my family.  Political involvement runs deep in several of my ancestral lines, starting with the protesting Puritan William Bassett who left England through the tavern keeper Samuel Howe, an agitator for Revolution against the British, and into more modern political campaigners and office holders.

In honor of all those caring citizens and their involvement in politics, I will feature some stories each month leading up to the Presidential elections in November 2016. This first post allows me to share some precious artifacts.

Paul Kaser and Harriette Anderson Kaser in politics

Politics tea

Harriette Anderson (right) attending a tea for politician John Bricker’s wife. June 1936

My parents were such fervent Republicans, that I always smile when I think about the fact that when my father died in October, 1996, he had already cast his absentee ballot, voting for Robert Dole against Bill Clinton for President, and probably for every Republican on the ticket for local races. He got his two cents worth in to an election that happened after he died.

Mother, while usually loyal to the Republican party, followed the lead of her grandmother Hattie Stout who impatiently waited for the opportunity for women to vote. Mother  was prejudiced in favor of women candidates, regardless of party.  I’ll never forget when we discussed an upcoming election in Arizona when she was in her 90s and living in a nursing home.  I described the two candidates, assuming she would vote for the male Republican.  But instead she said, “I think we should support the woman, don’t you?”  Soon to be Governor Janet Napolitano was a Democrat.

But that was later.  I found clues about Harriette and Paul’s political involvement in stories they told, but also in newspaper articles and in the letters they exchanged during their lengthy courtship.

1930’s Republican Politics in Ohio

The first hint of political activism I discovered was a letter that had been printed by a duplicator (those old fashioned copy machines that used a purple gel surface, predating mimeograph). It was mailed from Killbuck, Ohio on April 11, 1935. It was in my father’s files, so obviously he was involved in some way in party politics in 1935. (He and mother had started dating in November of 1934.)

I was able to transcribe the words in this almost totally faded form letter. The letter talks about reorganizing the Holmes County Republican Club. “In order to have a part in the certain victory now in our grasp…” [My italics]

The “certain victory”  expressed unwarranted optimism about the 1936 Presidential election and the Republicans ability to defeat first term President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The Democratic Party had swept elections in 1930, 1932, and 1934, but the Republicans were confident that 1936 was their year.  President  Roosevelt, first elected in 1932, was a polarizing figure. Those who believed he was amassing too much power were blind to the loyalty he had engendered by those whose programs had helped them.

Note: If you’re a political junkie, and would like to know about the political situation in Ohio around that time, read the beginning of this web article.

Harriette and Paul plunged into the revitalization of the Republican party, “young Turks” intent on reform. According to stories they told, they spent a great deal of time visiting Democratic farmers in rural Holmes County and persuading them to switch to Republican. They were very successful, and Paul and Harriette became big fish in the little pond of county politics in 1935 and 1936.

Note: At the same time, Paul’s brother Keith Kaser was running as a Democrat for Holmes County Clerk. Keith won.

1936 Politics – Bricker

While Harriette was on one of her summer road trips with fellow teachers in the summer of 1936, Paul became aware of an opportunity to advance their contacts in the Republican party, and possibly even help him find a permanent government job.

Love letter about politics

A political/love letter from Paul Kaser letter to Harriette Anderson in summer of 1936.

The key part of this letter reads, “There is a banquet in honor of Bricker in Columbus the night of June 30th and on the afternoon of June 30th there is to be a tea for Mrs. Bricker.  The bigwigs ask me to give them the names of two women to be invited.  I gave your name and Sarah [Sarah Anderson, wife of Harriette’s brother Bill]. Only two are to be invited from this county and I want to be sure to be represented.”  He closes with a paragraph that sounds more like what you expect in a love letter.

In a later letter, he makes it even clearer that he wants to go to the dinner because of the opportunities it presents to make himself known.

Bricker was attorney General of Ohio when he decided to run for Governor in 1936.  He lost that election and ran again in 1938 when he was successful, and again in 1942 when he won a second term.

Although the tea took place soon after she returned from her road trip, Harriette did attend, as reported in the newspaper article at the top of the page.

More than 100 young Republican women from various parts of the state attended the tea Wednesday afternoon in the Mramor, given by the Young Republican League of Ohio in honor of Mrs. John W. Bricker, wife of the Republican candidate for governor and Mrs. Katherine Kennedy Brown, Dayton, Republican National committeewoman.  In the above picture Mrs. Bricker is shown greeting Miss Harriet (sic) Anderson, Millersburg (sic).

In September, 1936, Bricker was invited to the Holmes County Fair. The Holmes County Women’s Republican Club and the Republican Executive Committee sponsored a dinner for Bricker at the Fisher Restaurant in Millersburg, Ohio.  The newspaper article announcing the event says says “Reservations can be made with….Miss Harriette Anderson, Paul Kaser, or B. W. Lawson.”

Ticket for politics event

Holmes County ticket for Bricker Dinner September 1936

1936 Politics Alf Landon

Paul and Harriette, still courting, continued to fight for Republican candidates, including John Bricker and  the Presidential candidate, Alf Landon, a moderate. They thought Landon, a reasonable and intelligent man had a great chance because Republicans were so angry about what they saw as FDR’s power grabs.

Paul and Harriette’s reward for registering so many new Republicans was a ride on the Alf Landon campaign train across Ohio.

Landon Train for politics

Ticket for Paul Kaser to ride on the “Landon Special”, presidential campaign train.

An article in the Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune in 1936. Since it is Killbuck news, it does not list Paul Kaser, who at this time was living in Canton, Ohio, still looking for a career, but as the guest card shows, he was also on the train.

reward for politics

Paul and Harriette ride on Alf Landon train. October 1936.

That Landon rode a campaign train across Ohio is somewhat ironic because Landon was known as the “disappearing” or “invisible” candidate.  His devastating loss was blamed mostly on his failure to campaign.

The young couple must have been devastated when the votes came in.  That November Franklin Delano Roosevelt piled up the largest margin that any Presidential candidate has ever amassed.  Landon won only two states, Maine and Vermont, for a total of 8 electoral votes.  P.S.  He lost Ohio, too.

A Job and Marriage

Presumably the couple continued their political involvement in 1937 between elections. In early 1938 Paul finally landed a job with the U. S. Weather Bureau and relocated to New Philadelphia Ohio area. Ironically, his job was part of the federal work programs that had been instituted by the President he so disdained.

Paul Kaser

Leonard Corwin and Paul Kaser installing weather station

In June 1938 they were married and spent one night at the Neil House hotel in Columbus, near the State Capitol, a hangout for politicians.  I doubt politics was on their mind.

You can read the interesting history of the historic Neil House hotel, gone since 1980, in this Columbus Dispatch article and see a slide show including some of the famous politicians who visited.

At one point we had a receipt for their $4.00 room, but it is lost. That may not seem like an expensive room, but given Paul’s complaints just a year earlier in one of his letters to Harriette about paying the exhorbitant fee of $1.00 for a hotel room, I’m guessing they were splurging on a very fine room.

1938 Ohio Republican Convention

Then I find this pass for Paul Kaser for the Ohio State Convention in 1938.  You will note that it is for an “advisory delegate” pass, so the bearer of the pass was not a voting delegate.  I only have the one pass.  Although it does not have a name on it, it was in my father’s files.  Since it did not have a name, they might have shared it, each attending at different times. On the other hand, Harriette would have been three and a half months pregnant by mid September, 1938, probably too late for her to be traveling.

politics convention

Pass to attend Ohio state Repbulican convention in 1938.

1938 was a come-back year for Republicans in Congress, where they gained, but still did not hold a majority. Harriette and Paul could finally feel accomplishment when John Bricker won the Governorship and Republican Robert Taft was elected to the U. S. Senate.

My parents unique courtship lasted over three years, and most of that time, they were deeply involved in politics in all their spare time.  Harriette was teaching school and Paul was trying hard to find a job so he would be deemed worthy of marriage. Politics was not only an interest, but also an important tool for networking and cultivating the possibility of patronage employment.

From then on my father worked either for the federal government or the state government, although the jobs were not patronage related.  1938 was no doubt his last active involvement in politics other than never missing a vote, and, after his retirement, stuffing some envelopes in campaigns I was involved in.  He never lost interest however, railing against Democrats, and laughing about the “flower fund” in Ohio state offices that employees were expected to contribute to in his day.  The fund went to support whoever was the current governor, to be sure to protect their department.  That practice died out with Civil Service reforms and state ethics laws before my father retired from his Ohio job in 1969.

NOTES ON SOURCES

All photographs and souvenirs of political events, the love letter  and the unidentified newspaper article at the Bricker Tea are my own, passed down by my father and mother.

The snipped of a newspaper articles is a screen captures of an article from The Coshocton Tribune, found at ancestry.com.

The Coshocton Tribune, 8 September 1936: “Bricker Invited to Holmes County Fair.”

Internet research on the politics and history of the period is linked in the article.

 

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead. This is one of my random posts generated by family artifacts and Heirlooms. 

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

You can discover more Heirlooms at Ancestors in Aprons, by entering “Heirloom” in the search box on the right.

Jazz Age Vintage Jewelry and Beyond

All heirlooms have stories, if we know how to find them.  I am listening to the stories of my mother’s vintage jewelry today.

Last week I shared pieces of jewelry that once belonged to my great-grandmother, Harriette Morgan Stout.  This week I am showing you some of my mother’s jewelry.  Harriette Anderson Kaser liked pretty things, and kept everything that had a special meaning to her, from a gift from a boyfriend to charm bracelets with her children and grandchildren’s names. Few of the pieces have any intrinsic value.  Jewelry did not have to be studded with precious gems for her to enjoy it.

Take for instance, this nostalgic piece, given to her by her boyfriend when she spent one year living in Columbus and attending Ohio State University.  They were both pre-med students, and he went on to become a doctor, but as I’ve explained before, she left college for teaching, and finished her degree gradually in stints at summer school. They drifted apart, but she never forgot him and that magical year.

Harriette Anderson

Harriette Anderson and Ray Jarvis at Ohio State, 1923

Harriette Anderson necklace 1923

Harriette Anderson (Kaser) pendant, gift from College boyfriend. 1923. Onyx in silver with diamond chip in center.

It would be many years before she started dating my father, and they married in 1938.  While I am not sure my memory is correct, I believe she wore this bracelet for their wedding at a friend’s home.  It always makes me think of the Great Gatsby, although it was a little bit later–30s instead of 20s. I have searched on the Internet, and have not been able to find any pice similar to this.  The metal (perhaps copper) was painted brown, and the paint has rubbed off.  I am not sure what material is used for the flowers, but they are attached to the bracelet with thin wires, and I can’t imagine that it could have been constructed by machine.

1930s bracelet

Harriette Anderson Kaser bracelet, circa 1938.

One time in the 1940s, my father brought back these tourist trade Indian bracelets for me and for my mother.  These are vintage jewelry because most people from the mid west or east did not have a clue that there was a difference between machine made and artist created Indian jewelry. Although most jewelry evokes good memories, these bracelets, which were mine, remind me of the ones my mother had that forever changed her life.

My mother and father took my one-year-old brother and six-year-old me to Millersburg, Ohio from Killbuck (a trip of about 12 miles) to visit my father’s brother, Keith Kaser. On the road home we had a terrible automobile accident. I will talk about that accident later, but mother was wearing her Indian bracelet the force of the accident drove it into her wrist, cutting ligaments and leaving her unable to fully close her hand for the rest of her life.  (Despite the injury, she played golf in later years!)

Unfortunately, I don’t remember who gave her this lovely pendant necklace with the carved front. Although the pictures date from the mid 1960s, the necklace could have been older. The story here certainly is her devotion to her three children.

As a teacher, she always depended on a wrist watch and for many years wore a rather plain gold Waltham watch. However, when the quartz watches came along in the late 60s, my father bought her this decorative gold Helbros watch. Since hardly anyone wears a watch any more, these are immediately recognizable as vintage jewelry. There was a time when women owned several wrist watches to go with various outfits. At the very least they would have a plain one for every day use and a fancy one, perhaps with precious stones, for evening wear. My sister and I were remarking on the fact that neither of us owns a good wrist watch. When she needs to keep track of time for a class she teaches, she uses a ten dollar watch from a shopping center kiosk. I have depended on my cell phone to tell me the time for many years, and my last three watches, before I stopped wearing them, were inexpensive Timex watches from the local drug store.

Harriette Anderson Kaser wristwatch.

Harriette Anderson Kaser, Helbros wristwatch with small diamonds. Silver stretch band. Christmas Gift from Paul Kaser. Circa 1970.

Just as interesting as the wristwatch in this case is the gift card that she kept with it. “The Duchess” was my father’s pet name for my mother from the time that they met. And even after they had been married for more than thirty years, he addressed this gift to “The Duchess.”

Not pictured are the diamond rings that she wore that she inherited from her grandmother, Hattie Stout.  Of course, she had much more costume jewelry–many sets of matching necklaces and earrings for a more dressed-up school atmosphere than we see today.  And once we moved to Arizona, and she and my father followed us, she accumulated some very nice authentic Indian jewelry.

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

You can discover more Heirlooms at Ancestors in Aprons, by entering “Heirloom” in the search box on the right.

Antique Jewelry: Out of Aprons–Into Bling

NOTE: Because I enlarged the photos to show detail, you can’t tell the actual size. I have added some description in the captions that I hope will help put them in perspective.

It would be misleading to leave the impression that my ancestors spent all their time in aprons. (Mostly the women, but as we’ve seen, Leonard Guy Anderson and my father, Paul Kaser wore aprons and Joseph Kaser wore a carpenter’s apron.)  But the women wore bling.

I have resolved this year to photograph the many heirlooms that I have inherited, and share them and their stories with you.  Today I will start with some pieces of antique jewelry that belonged to Hattie Morgan Stout, my great-grandmother. Her husband, “Doc” Stout adored her, and I have no doubt that many of these were gifts from him. Doc Stout is the connection to the Cochran ancestors I am writing about this month–his mother was Emeline Cochran.

My mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, the namesake of Hattie Morgan Stout, stored the antique jewelry in a collection of small boxes.  She gave them to me for safekeeping when she went into a nursing home, and I added notes as she told me the history of the pieces.

Cameos were big during Hattie’s lifetime. (1842-1928) and I have several antique jewelry pieces with cameos. These little earrings have a cameo surrounded by very small diamonds. My mother thought that there should be a pin or necklace that matched, but perhaps she was thinking of the pin/pendant that is just below them. Although the earrings’ cameo is not too impressive, the carving of the cameo in this antique jewelry pin is exquisite. The pin once had stones or beads around the edge, but they are all gone.  I believe it was small pearl-like beads because there are a few lying in the box where the cameo rests.

Antique jewelry - cameo earrings

Pair of cameo earrings, edged with small diamonds. Size: 1/2″ across; smaller than a dime. Owned by Hattie Stout

antique jewelry - cameo pin

Cameo pin-pendant belonging to Hattie Stout. Size: 1 ” wide by 1 1/2″ high.

Apparently, Hattie liked emeralds–or at least the color green. December is the month for green stones, but her birthday was in August, so that does not explain her love of green stones. The small heart-shaped pendant has a row of green stones (probably emeralds) and a row of diamonds. The earrings, which look older to me, although I’m no expert, are or very tarnished silver with a green stone in the center.

Antique jewelry - heart shaped pendant

Hattie Stout’s Diamond and Emerald heart pendant. Size: 1/2″ wide 5/8″ high.(dime sized)

antique jewelry - earrings

Hattie Stout earrings with green stone. Size of a dime.

The little matching pins below look very contemporary in design, with their gold work complementing the shape of the branch coral.  The Stouts traveled to Florida. I wonder if that might have been where they purchased these lovely pins. By the way, I did look at those marks on the gold, and it is not writing, but just a design of parallel lines.

coral pins -antique jewelry

Branch coral pins belonging to Hariett Morgan Stout. About the height of a penny and metal part 1/2″ wide.Coral 5/8″ long.

The provenance of this pretty necklace with varied colored stones is interesting.  My mother told me that it was originally her Grandfather Stout (“Doc” William Stout)’s watch chain, which his wife turned into a necklace and bracelet some time after he died in 1910. It occurs to me that this was quite a fancy watch chain for such a serious and moral-minded man as Doc Stout.  But how typical that Hattie would find a way to reuse it. Waste not!

Mother thought the jewelry was created about 1924, when she would have been 18 years old.  I remember her wearing the necklace. We don’t know what happened to the bracelet.

 

Antique jewelry-watchchain necklace

Hattie Stout had Doc Stout’s watch chain made into a necklace and bracelet. My Mother thought that was about 1924.  Size: Total length of chain without clasp: 14 1/1″

And then there is the piéce de rèsistance. I absolutely love this charming pin-pendant. It is a fine filagree of silver with a turquoise stone in the center and a small pearl below.  It belonged to Hariett Morgan Stout (Hattie), but my mother believed that it might have belonged to Hattie’s mother, Mary Morgan (my great-great grandmother). That would make it much older, as Mary lived from 1810 to 1890.

Soon we’ll take a look at how jewelry styles change as I share some pieces belonging to my mother in the twenties and thirties.

 

Antique jewelry silver pin

SIlver, turquoise and pearl pin belonging to Hattie Stout that may have been her mother’s.  Size:   For perspective, the center “hole” is the size of a quarter.

 

I want to thank Cathy Meder-Dempsey for suggestion I join the bloggers talking about heirlooms. The idea originated with Jeanne Bryan Insalco. This list is copied from Cathy’s site. The last two bloggers are additions from Jeanne’s site.

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

You can discover more Heirlooms at Ancestors in Aprons, by entering “Heirloom” in the search box on the right.