Tag Archives: Harriette Anderson

Harriette Anderson Kaser Remembers Scary Places

Last year I shared my mother’s story of the Dead Body, which is certainly one of the strangestHere’s another of mother’s scary memories.

The Haunted Shack and Scary Anderson House on Mile Hill

Old Anderson Farm

Old Anderson Farm, Photo courtesy of Herb Anderson

The family of my grandfather, Leonard Guy Anderson (aka Daddy Guy) owned a house just outside of Killbuck, Ohio on Mile Hill.

Guy’s uncle had planted extensive orchards on the property.  Mary Brink Anderson, Guy’s Mother, lived there when Guy married Vera Stout (my grandmother). She gave the farm to Guy and Vera and that is where they lived when my mother and her two brothers were pre-schoolers.

That house must have seemed like a mansion to the toddlers, Harriette Anderson (my mother) and her brother Bill. Baby Herb was too young to run around getting into mischief with his slightly older siblings.  But the big old house provided plenty of opportunity for scary adventures. And to add to the fun, there was a smaller house that the children were ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN to enter. So of course they did. And there was a shack with a mysterious and scary history. The buildings gave plenty of opportunity for imagination to run wild.  In her 90s, my mother remembered her childhood.

Harriette Anderson Kaser:  An artist lived at the end of the lot by the big Anderson orchard. [She was not sure of the name but thinks it might have been “Bus Close who married Wanda Orr.” See Note at end]

HAK: We weren’t allowed to go there and play. I think mother and dad really believed the scary ghost stories about that house. Mary Leckrone lived in a farm house nearby. We (Harriette and her brother Bill) went down and played with her. 

HAK: The fruit farm (the Anderson house on the hill) had a beautiful house. There were two farms up above Welcome—Anderson and Allison. They got deeds from the government. Maybe after the Whiskey Rebellion. [I have yet to check this out.]

This is the house where the Anderson and Stout family gathered for a family picture in 1909 when Harriette and Bill were about 3 and 4 years old.

Caroline Anderson Bird

Family portrait at Anderson Farm. Photo from 1909. Harriette and Bill sitting on their grandfather’s lap in right front. “Daddy Guy in white shirt and necktie in back row center and Vera in front of him holding baby Herbert.

HAK: Down the road ½ mile a little shack was supposed to have been a stop on the confederate soldier’s route. [She first said underground railroad and then changed to confederate soldiers.] We kids would stand outside and yell because we wanted the ghosts to come out. Then hearing noises.

[Note: There are persistent rumors that Southern soldiers marched through Holmes County, but no evidence that rebs ever made it that far north in Ohio.]

HAK: We were not allowed to go in the basement. An outside stairway went down. I remember a side door that went down to basement. Water in the basement made it more scary. (Note: Apparently the children didn’t follow orders about not going into the basement of the shack!)

The three children about seven years before this story.

Who would think these angelic children could be so ornery?

HAK: Mom and Dad (Vera and Guy Anderson) would tell us ghost stories about the place.

Guy Anderson had acquired a parrot somewhere, and its presence added to the unusual and scary atmosphere of the old house.

HAK: The parrot would follow us when we went there to play. (The parrot followed them into the forbidden territory.)  It  would say “Mama’s calling.”  She (Vera) was always scolding the parrot for following us.

Poor Vera. Nobody seemed to pay attention to her commands! Neither the children nor the parrot! But a horse had more sense than the kids and the parrot.

HAK: An old horse, “Old Jim” wouldn’t go near the old house (because of ghosts.)

[Note: she switches back and forth between shack and artist’s house, so it is not clear which is which.]

Mary Brink Anderson and others

Guy Anderson and Vera (holding Herbert). Guy’s mother Mary Brink Anderson. Back Jennie McDowell King. 1909

No wonder their mother was afraid to let them play in the haunted house’s basement. Daddy Guy, who was always a jokester, had Vera scared with his tricks, and besides he had the Celtic talent for story telling.

HAK: Daddy Guy was a great story teller—making up stories about these houses.

HAK: Dad (Guy Anderson, aka Daddy Guy) used to hide in the house and make noises to scare Bill and me away. Your Grandma Vera was very susceptible to ghost stories and Guy would scare her.The big farmhouse on the top of the hill had two stairways. A back stairway led from the kitchen to a back door. Dad would go up and pound on the floor to scare mother. The kids knew what he was doing and they would go with him.

I always thought of my mother as fearless, and it is clear she got her training early as she and her brother defied the ghosts in the scary old farm houses.

Mother’s family did not stay in the house very long. By the time her brother Bill was old enough to start school, they had moved back into town.  I always thought my grandmother just was not cut out to be a farm wife. But thinking about her superstitious nature and the ghost stories and Daddy Guy’s tricks, the farm may have been just too scary.

Read another of Harriette’s Scary Memories here.

Note:  I have asked the helpful people on The Killbuck Gang Facebook page to help me figure out who the artist  was that mother refers to in this story. Turns out Bus Close and Wanda Orr were a more recent generation–the time just doesn’t match up.  But someone has suggested that Bus Close’s FATHER was an artist, and I’m trying to determine if that’s who mother was thinking of.

52 Ancestors #35 Teacher’s School Photos -Harriette Anderson (Kaser)

Harriette Anderson (Kaser) 1906-2003

The back to school theme at the 52 Ancestors challenge was an invitation for me to dig into some of my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser’s photos from the start of her long teaching career.  Since she taught for a span of 42 years with time out for babies, moves out of state, etc. She had a large collection of class pictures, year book photos, and other memorabilia.  The pictures here show the beginning of her career.

Earlier I showed readers another collection of back to school photos–students from my grandmother’s time up to some cousins in the 1940s. You can see those school photos here.

Harriette Anderson

Harriette Anderson, 16, H.S. graduation 1923

When my mother graduated from high school in 1923, she was only sixteen (two months away from her 17th birthday). Her family moved to Columbus, Ohio, and she started to attend Ohio State University in the pre-med program, wanting to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. But after two years at Ohio State, she was contacted by the Superintendent of Holmes County Schools, who was desperately searching for teachers for the coming year.

The Anderson family’s move to Columbus had partly been motivated by the belief that her two brothers and her father would be able to get better jobs in Columbus, but things had not worked out that way. The family needed money, and she needed to save money for her medical school education.

So in 1925 when Clark, Ohio was looking for a high school teacher to join Principal Lee Fair and one other teacher in the two-room high school, the Holmes County Superintendent Frank Close asked Miss Anderson to take the Boxwell Test which would give her a teaching certificate. [All you needed was a high school graduation, good character and to pass the test. Think those requirements were easy? Follow the link to test yourself on a sample Boxwell Test.] She thought it would be a good way to make some money to finance her medical education. Little did she know that after her first nine months at Clark, she would dedicate her life to teaching, her grandmother’s career instead of her grandfather’s.

Harriette Anderson teacher

Clark, Ohio High School, the 1925-26 students. The 19-year-old teacher is on the far right.

At Clark, Miss Anderson was assigned to teach English, science, math, home economics and Latin. Home economics was a challenge since the only equipment was a hot plate.

“What I knew about algebra and Latin you could put in a bird’s eye,” she said in later life, admitting that she was more frightened than the students on the first day of school. After all, she had several boys in her class that not only towered over her, but were several years older. In order to hide the fact that she was shaking, she asked a student to write on the blackboard.

One day she took the students on a walk to collect plants and animal life for biology class.  “The boys put a little water snake in the pocket of my sweater. They were waiting for me to reach in my pocket. When I got it out and petted it and put it down they were so disappointed.” (Growing up with two brothers had its advantages!)

After two years at Killbuck, she happily took a job teaching in Killbuck HIgh school, where coaching basketball was added to her accomplishments. Now 21, at the larger school she was the Senior Class Advisor (no doubt the staff member closest in age to the seniors.)  In this picture, the school superintendent, Donald Eggar is on the left of the first row, and mother is next. She told me how she appreciated his kind mentorship as she began her career.

Harriette Anderson, teacher

The very young-looking Senior class advisor (21) at Killbuck High School for the class of 1928, is seated second from left.

She coached girl’s basketball starting her first year at Killbuck in 1927. There was no county league when she started. She refused to take the job unless the school board agreed to trade in the bloomer suits the girls were wearing for real uniforms. One of her students writes that they won because she told them to think, “Victory! Victory! Victory!”

Harriette Anderson, coach

Harriette Anderson (on the right) coach of Killbuck Women’s Basketball Team 1928

She was popular with the kids because she had a little Ford car with a rumble seat and all of them wanted to ride in her car.

Here are the Killbuck High School senior classes of 1930 and 1934, still including Superintendent Donald Eggar and teacher Harriette Anderson. I love those gorgeous white dresses, and marvel at how some of the very poor farm families in the area were able to come up with suits for the boys and beautiful dresses for the girls. My mother, who always loved beautiful clothes, wears a different dress in each of the year’s pictures.

Harriette Anderson teacher

Killlbuck High School Sr Class 1930-31 H.Anderson 5th from right middle row



School Days, Killbuck, 1934

Killbuck Graduating Class, 1934 Harriette Kaser Teacher, Donald Egger, Superintendent on top right.

Although I focus here on her very early career, Harriette Anderson Kaser had many more years of teaching. In addition to teaching at Killbuck, Harriette went back to Clark in 1936 for, I believe, two years (her letters indicate they did not pay on time) and in the 1950s taught at Killbuck, Glenmont and Millersburg, Ohio. In 1956 the family moved to HIlliard, Ohio outside Columbus and she taught there until her retirement in 1967. She always taught English, often Home Economics, and also taught whatever was needed, even substituting in music once although she admitted she could not carry a tune.

 In her nineties, she still got letters from former students, one addressing her as “Dear Coach.” One woman wrote to thank her for instilling a lifelong love of poetry.

Research Notes

Retirement System Service Credit Statement, dated 4-6-66 (Some years are missing here because she withdrew some of her credits early.)

  • She taught 1925/26 through 1929/30, 1932-33 through 1937/38
  • 1942-43
  • 1945-46
  • 1951-52, through 1965-66

Harriette Anderson Kaser application to teach made to Millersburg in 1954, she lists her education:

  • Ohio State University [starting in]1923—3 years: 107 credit hours (This was two full school years and several years of summer school)
  • Kent State 1933—1 year 85 credit hours
  • Bliss Business College, 1935 12 weeks
  • University of Chicago, 1931 8 credit hours

She lists her experience up until 1954 as

  • Killbuck High [beginning] 1927—177 months [total]
  • Clark High [beginning]1925—27 months [total]
  • Glenmont High [beginning]1953—9 months [total]

Identification of Students in  Photos

ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS WELCOME! Although my mother had identified many people, she forgot some names, and although she dated pictures, her dates turned out to be sometimes wrong.  With the help of people on a Killbuck Facebook group, I was able to straighten out some identifications and dates. Particular thanks to Bonnie Smail. I will add all the names here as I confirm them.

1925-1926 School photo Clark, Ohio, first year of teaching.

Harriette Anderson on far right. (No identification on students.)

1928 Killbuck H.S. Senior Class (Note: This would have been Harriette Kaser’s first year of teaching at Killbuck High School, after two years at Clark.)

Front row:

  • Donald Egger, Superintendent
  • Harriette Anderson, teacher
  • ______________, teacher
  • ______________, teacher?

Middle row:

  • Bessie Beller (Lowe)
  • Beulah Frazier (Arnold)
  • Marjora Garver (Rhode)
  • Florence Crosby (Patterson)
  • Garnet Bucklew (Zachman)
  • Ruth Teeling (Butler)
  • Ruth Uhl (Powell)
  • Lorna Carpenter (Neal)
  • Cleo Purdy (Andreas)
  • Pearl Mohler (Watts)
  • Helen Youngs

Back row:

  • Emmet Snow
  • Don Hunter
  • Earl Myers
  • Wilmer Patterson
  • Earl Russell

Note: the graduation list also has a Lester Hamontree, who does not appear to be in the picture.

1928 Holmes County Champions

  • Beulah Frazier (Arnold)
  • Ruth Chapman
  • Pearl Mohler (Watts)
  • Mary Rohskoph
  • Lorna Patterson (Myers)
  • Eleanor Burke
  • Ruth Uhl (Powell)
  • Garnet Bucklew (Zachman)
  • Harriette Anderson (Kaser), coach

1930 Killbuck H.S. Senior Class (Note: these are as she wrote them, except that I put parens around the women’s last names which she had added—presumably married names, and a couple of brackets with my own additions.)

Bottom Row:

  • Carl Hoxworth
  • Evelyn Smith (Tidball)
  • Rosabel Koons (Reno)
  • Edward J. Miller [teacher?]
  • Donald Egger (Superintendent)
  • Pauline Carpenter (Spears)
  • Leona Anderson
  • Paul Schuler Deceased (don’t know what year she wrote this.)

Middle Row:

  • Denver Middaugh
  • Mary Moore (Ackert?)
  • Garnet Froelich (Spurgeon)
  • Opal Purdy (Waltman)
  • Madeline Macky (Jackson)
  • Mabel Brumme
  • Harriette Anderson, teacher
  • Pauline Patterson
  • Cleo Teeling (Lowthers)
  • Ethel Ward
  • Robert Mullet

Back Row:

  • Ralph Anderson
  • Waldo Fites
  • John J. Purdy
  • Lloyd Crosby
  • Dwight Jackson
  • Harold Spurgeon
  • Leland Shrimplin
  • Edward Waltman
  • Jack [?] Purdy

1934 Killbuck H.S. Senior class (Note: HAK wrote names on front but not all are correct, and with help from Killbuck I added some women’s married names.)

Back Row:

  • Ted Muller
  • Micky McKee (Teacher, probably—not on class list)
  • Otto Lisle
  • Guy Miller Jr.
  • Dean Shrimplin
  • Dean Anderson
  • Staley Lanham
  • Harriette Anderson, teacher
  • Donald Egger, Superintendent

Bottom Row:

  • Dorothy Frazier (Klinger)
  • Zola Christopher (Kinsley)
  • Helen Low (Hoff)
  • Evelyn Beller (Kinsey)
  • Margaret McKelvey (Graham)
  • Virginia Buker (Uhl)
  • Bernice Black
  • Charmaine Allamong
  • Oneta Anderson (Way)

My Mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser, Arrested on a Road Trip

Well today was rather uneventful according to last evening. I don’t suppose you could possible have understood what I wrote but Dear for the first time in my life I was actually frightened. Tonight we are in a hotel and will continue thus.

Letter from Harriette Anderson to Paul Kaser June 19, 1936

Harriette Anderson
Harriette Anderson (or Kaser) at camp. undated

A suggested theme for a blog challenge was “road trip”.  That gave me an excuse to tell a story I’ve been itching to tell, pulled from my mother’s correspondence. This is not the first story I have told about Harriette Anderson (Kaser) and it will not be the last, because she kept letters and passed on the story of her life in oral history.

Family road trips are also not a new subject for Ancestors in Aprons.  For instance,

A road trip gone wrong in the early 20th century.

Along the Old LIncoln Highway in Guernsey County Ohio

Various Family road trips, including my first one

Trips to World Fairs

It is the trip to the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas in 1936 that provided mother with some real excitement–and I am not talking about the Fair.

First some background.

Harriette Anderson and Paul Kaser had their first date on November 9, 1934.  They started dating and corresponded when they were apart, beginning the following year.  Each summer, my mother and a couple of her school teacher friends would either go to Ohio State University in Columbus to take Education classes, or they would go on a road trip in one of my mother’s string of cars that she loved so much.

In June, 1936, on a trip that started on Wednesday, June 17, and ended ten days later, on Saturday, June  27, she and fellow teachers Sarah Leonard (Keyser) and Fern Patterson (Purdy) and unspecified other “girls” (one was named Alice)  took a roundabout route to the Dallas State Fair. Sarah Leonard was teaching first grade when I started school in Killbuck and Fern was teaching third grade. They seemed ancient then (probably not yet 40)  so it is fun to picture them as young single “girls” bending over road maps and plotting their summer getaway.

From Killbuck, Ohio, they went to Kentucky by way of Grant’s boyhood home and Lincoln’s birthplace to Mammoth Cave. Then they drove through Tennessee. Mother remarked in her letters to the man who would be my father on the beautiful mountains they had driven through (the Appalachians) and visiting Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga.

Road trip stop: Lookout Mtn
View from Lookout Mountain above Chattanooga, TN. Photo by Ken Badertscher

Then through Atlanta and on to Pensacola, Florida. Following the Gulf Coast, which she loved, they drove to New Orleans, where she was charmed by “the old city of New Orleans.” They ferried across the mile-wide Mississippi River and made it to their objective–the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas. Heading home they planned to go through Little Rock Arkansas or Oklahoma City to St. Louis.

Although mother was not usually an early riser, she was up and ready to go by five each morning to beat the heat on this southern road trip. She reports temperatures exceeding 100°. Remember there was no air conditioning in 1930s cars. They probably hung a canvas bag of water in front of the radiator to keep the motor from over heating. She did most of the driving, spelled by her friend Fern. They drove three or four hundred miles a day,  sometimes pausing to see sights along the way and stopped about eight in the evening. This was before the 1950s expansion of the highway system, before dependable chain motels, before quick dry clothes–not to mention GPS for navigation or tablets and laptops with Facebook to stay in touch with loved ones.

Although she was an English teacher, in these letters she rarely used periods at the end of sentences, or capitol letters at the beginning of new sentences as she wrote these letters, because she was so tired by the time she picked up her pen each night.

Road Trip stop
Ohio Pure Oil Station with lunch counter attached ca. 1930s, Photo from collection of Boston Library via WikiPedia

Apparently, Paul Kaser arranged with a friend to give her credit at Pure Oil filling stations along the way, which helped with expenses. They cooked their breakfast and dinner over a campfire. They stopped in towns along the way and filed up on a big lunch at a restaurant. The women stayed at tourist camps–tent camping or cabins–which cost as much as 75 cents or $1.00 a night. That is, until an incident that changed their minds about the safety of the casual tourist camp.

On the evening of June 18, they stopped at the Golden Eagle Tourist Camp in Murfreesboro Tennessee, about 100 miles from Chattanooga. That evening, Harriette wrote her usual letter to Paul, filling him in on the weather, the miles covered and sights seen (most of the day spent at the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, she says.) It is a short note, because she is tired.  But the next morning, she adds more. In her excitement she writes with even more lack of punctuation, and uncharacteristic spelling errors.

Here is her story transcribed with a few clarifications in brackets.

Well one beautiful morning and plenty of excitement. I wouldn’t write this except you might some way read it in the [news]papers. Don’t mention until I get home unless necessary.
Last evening we stopped at the Golden Eagle tourist camp two miles out of Murfreesboro a place recommended by a Pure Oil station, the girls with us went out with the boys in attendants. Of course a very foolish thing to do. Fern [Patterson (Purdy), Sarah [Leonard (Keyser)] and I worried sick about them. They finally returned home and just as we were about asleep at last someone called Alice she didn’t answer then they tried to get in. Several times. Believe me we were excited and called for help [.] instead of coming to help, the station [the Pure Oil station where the tourist camp was located] called the Deputy sheriff. He didn’t have his badge on and for some time the filling station people wouldn’t identify him, and I didn’t let him [in]. He arrested us and took us before the Justice of Peace and the Dam fools got us each for disturbing the peace and [unorderly] conduct. Can you image [imagine]. Here [is] the catch [–] $9.30 each. Of course the fellow [who caused the trouble] didn’t show up so what could we do. 46.50 for a couple Tenn. yells. Its funny now but rather expensive we are staying Hotels and Tourist homes from now on. Wont Bill [Anderson, her brother] laugh [?] tell him you can keep it between the two of you until we see you.

Letter from Harriette Anderson to Paul Kaser June 19, 1936

Then she added a postscript.

“I have been arrested and paid a fine now.”

Postscript of letter from Harriette Anderson to Paul Kaser June 19, 1936

A woman made of lesser stuff might have let such an incident–that frightened her for the first time in her life– convince her to be less of an adventurer, but Harriette kept relishing the open road. She and her girlfriends even stayed in tourist camps on later road trips. They even camped in Texas Tent City near the Dallas Centennial grounds.  Her last road trip with the “girls” was just two weeks before she and Paul Kaser were married two years later on June 9, 1938.

She was not the only one who would not change her ways because of a little thing like being arrested. Paul was not intimidated by marrying a certified law breaker. Although I do not have his letter reacting to her disturbing news, they did set a wedding date within a year and a half. And my father and mother continued to love road trips all their lives, a love they passed on to their children.