Nurse John

Myrtle (Hamm) John’s nursing graduation picture 1927. Medford, Wisconsin.

I was doing some more newspaper research recently, (have I ever mentioned that I love newspaper research), and I found a couple of interesting ads in the Gillett Times newspaper:

Thursday, February 2, 1933
Want Ads
REGISTERED GRADUATE NURSE
Eight years experience.
Very reasonable rates.
Mrs. C. F. John, R.N.

Then another, slightly different, ad a few months later:

Thursday, April 27, 1933
Want Ads
Mrs. C. F. John, R.N. For Professional Services,$3.
Day or night.

At this time Clarence and Myrtle had no children, (their first wasn’t to be born until 1934), so no doubt Myrtle was bored to death sitting at home with nothing to do, except wait for Clarence to get home from work. Heck, I got bored just writing that sentence!

Of course, I have no idea if she got any work that way. I’m hoping something came up for her sake. But then, by November of that year she was pregnant, and waiting to welcome their first bundle of joy, who was born mid-summer of the next year. Her focus was now raising kids.

She got back into nursing after Clarence died in the 1950s. After all she was alone now and had to support herself. No more ads though.

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Yes, They Definitely Were

For years I had been looking for evidence that my great grandparents Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson had actually married, and my grandmother was in fact not illegitimate, which was thought that that might be why her Hamm grand-parents had raised her.

And then, miraculously, I found their divorce case mentioned in a newspaper, while searching for something else entirely, of course. Yay!! And then, I found their marriage record at the register of deeds office. Yay!! And just this month I found the actual church record for their marriage. Again, a total accident. Yay!

Apparently, some Swedish Lutheran Church records were recently added to the Ancestry.com databases, and while doing Amundson searches in Minnesota, I ran across the church record for Fred and Carrie in this most unlikely record series. I guess that’s why it doesn’t hurt to keep sticking the same names in the search box every few months, because something unexpected can turn up. This find certainly put me in a good mood.

Carlton County, marriage record.
Church record, Fred and Carrie are near the bottom.

I guess this means that it is official, my grandmother Myrtle was totally legit!

Love at first sight?

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Clarence John and Myrtle Hamm, newlyweds.

My father remembers being told, when he was younger, that his parents had met when Clarence was injured in a train accident and Myrtle was taking care of him at a hospital in Marshfield where she was working as a nurse.

He didn’t have any more details than that. So for the past 15+ years I have waited patiently to find the newspaper article that would mention this accident and give me more details. Thankfully, the Oconto County Historical Society is currently making great efforts to digitize the Oconto County newspapers, and I have found some great articles in the past. A recent check of their progress gave me the answer I have been seeking:

train
The Gillett Times, v27n50, Gillett, Wisconsin, Thursday, August 4, 1927, page 1.

The article certainly confirms that Clarence was in a train accident, and he was sent to the Marshfield hospital, where Mrytle would have been working at the time, (she had graduated from nursing school in May of that same year.)

It is believed that Clarence received a pretty hefty settlement from the railroad and this is probably the money he used to start his own business. A bowling alley.

bowlingalley
The Gillett Times, v28n15, Gillett, Wisconsin, Thursday, November 29, 1928, page 1.

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Here is a matchbook saved by the family from the bowling alley.

It is said that because Clarence’s venture started not long before the crash of 1929 and folks no longer had extra money to spend on luxury outings, such as bowling, the business didn’t last very long. But, I have no proof of that yet. I guess I will have to dig a little deeper.

In 1931, a little over 3 years after they met, Clarence and Myrtle ran away to Illinois and were married at the court house. Was it love at first sight? Only they know, and they aren’t talking.

U-rah-rah!…

Here is a totally cool find for my grandmother Myrtle Hamm in the 1923 ‘Pow Wow,’ the Medford High School yearbook (Medford, Taylor County, Wisconsin). She would have been about 16-17 years old that school year, and a junior. According to the entries found, in this particular yearbook, she was in the Athletic Association and the Commercial Club.

She looks so adorable. In this first image she is second from the bottom far left, her name is written by her image ‘Myrtle’. These yearbooks are wonderful for folks who don’t have pictures of their ancestors otherwise. The image quality is not the greatest, but I bet I could get a better image from an original book in Medford. All these images were found at ancestry.com, where they are amassing quite a collection of yearbooks in their database.

yearbook_hammmyrtle_1923
Now I think I know where I get my narrow shoulders from!

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I think I see her in this image. Can you find her?

yearbook_hammmyrtle_1923p38