Memories of My School Days

school daysThese would be Mom’s (Harriet Duncan’s) school days.  From the book she kept:  “Memories of My School Days.”

It covers 1927, 1928, and 1929 – the early years from her time at the Normal School and then from DeKalb High School.

There are autographs from friends and from teachers.  The teachers at the Normal School were trainees and quite young.

Here are some autographs from teachers and from her younger sister, Barbara.

school days barbAnd then there are the fun verses of the time and mysterious references.
school days autographschool days operettaschool days operetta intAnd then the photos.  Mom is ‘me’ bottom center and her sister Helen next to days snapshots



Grandpa’s Diary 1958 – Part 2

Part one is here.
201258George picked Tom up at Martin in Sioux City A.M.
Opened our gifts – Tom George & I.
251258251258bWent into hospital 10:30 A.M. and opened Amos’ gifts.  Difficult for him to talk but when the phone call came about 11:20 A.M. he did very well & enjoyed it.  Helen sent some dinner to him and he ate all the liver & oysters.  With him in P.M. & eve.
 The phone call was a conference call with all his children – quite an event for 1958.
261258Amos about the same.  Breathing difficult & speech some times.
Amos about the same but failing slowly.
Spent P.M with Amos and George came after me in eve when he asked for me.  Hard for him to talk.
291258b291258Nurse called about 11:20 A.M.  Amos had taken turn for worse but he was gone when George Tom & I got in.  They turned him on side after giving hypo and he was gone – quickly & [____].  Called all the children in P.M.  John came 7 P.M Monday eve.
301258Barbara & Roy arrived Omaha 7:30 P.M.  Richard 7:30 P.M.  John met them in Omaha.
  Barbara & her husband, Roy Davis, live in Los Angeles, California.  
311258b311258Frank arrived Omaha 7 A.M.  Harry Ellis Fisher brought him up.  Edward could not come on account of snow in K.C.  Had dinner over at John’s home and left from here for service at church at 2 P.M.  Flowers were beautiful and a nice service.  Margaret Olson played hymns & “Going Home.”  
Edward is Amos’ brother who lived in Kansas City, Missouri.
040159Jan. 4, 1959  Frank & George took Tom to Cushing Iowa – John Barbara Roy Richard & I went to Soo City with John – to meet Frank & George at Martin Hotel – John & Helen Bressler went too – dinner at the Normandie & John C. left for home 3 P.M.
060159Jan. 6, 1959  Frank Richard Barbara Roy & I take Frank & Richard to Omaha – leaving for home – Richard missed his plane but left at 1:30 P.M.  Frank at 12:15 P.M.  Roy drove home.  George’s man gone.   
I think George could not drive them to Omaha if his hired hand was gone.
080159Jan. 8, 1959 George Roy Barbara & I to Omaha – Barbara & Roy left at 11:30 A.M. for home.  George & I came back to an empty house.

Grandpa’s Diary 1958 – Part 1

atc tucson trip

My grandfather, Amos Claycomb, kept diaries for most of his life.  The earliest I have is his 1900 diary when he was 14 years old.

He switched from small bound diaries to desk calendars.  He wrote less than he had earlier – of course, the temperature and some weather notes, and his main task on the farm.

In September 1958, he was 72 years old, and made the trip from Wayne, Nebraska to Tucson, Arizona for his fraternity reunion.  It’s briefly noted on the calendar.

His next entries were on the 8th and 15th of October 1958 – both medical in nature.
atc last entryThose were his last entries.  From now on Grandma (Ruth Bressler Claycomb) wrote on the desk calendar.  It’s very touching – and a little difficult to read.  She didn’t leave much in writing, a few letters and this calendar.   Warning for the family:  Get the tissues handy.
241058John Helen & boys came this eve.   John is the oldest son; his family lives in Wisconsin.
261058John Helen & boys left this P.M.
271058Took Amos to Hospital before 7 A.M.  Paralysis set in.
281058Took Amos to Meth[odist] Hosp. in Omaha.  John Bressler took me down.  Dr. Benthack showed x-ray picture of vertebrae disintegrated.  John Bressler is Ruth’s brother.
291058Amos no better and nothing to do.  John B[ressler] went home and Helen [his wife] came down to Omaha about 6 P.M.
301058Amos the same – Helen & I came home in the P.M.  Called Barbara – John Frank & Richard called.    Barbara, John, Frank, and Richard are their children who live outside of Nebraska.  Their son George lives on the farm with them.
311058John pick Richard up in Sioux City.
011158John Richard to Omaha and Amos came home to hospital here.
021158John met Frank in Sioux Falls, S.D.
031158John left at 4:17 A.M. for Minden.  
Not sure of the place name.  There is a Minden Nebraska, but not sure why John would be going that direction.  Any ideas of what place it could be?  Windam?
051158Frank left for Ames.  Richard left & met in Sioux City.  Frank is going to Ames because his son, Tom, is at Iowa State College for his freshman year.
061158Frank returned from Ames P.M.
071158John Helen & boys arrived about 6 P.M.
091158George took Frank to Omaha to catch is plane.  Met Barbara on her arrival.
161158George and I took Barbara to Omaha to take plane for L.A.  Storm warnings.  Barbara’s plane late.
221158George picked Tom up on No. 20 in eve.
  Tom is Frank’s son.  
271158George Tom & I for Thanksgiving – sent oysters to Amos but he didn’t eat them.
  The family will recognize this is a very serious event.  Grandpa loved oysters that were a special dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Part 2 is here.

Von Seggern Auto Company

On October 11, 1911 my great-grandfather, John T. Bressler, started an automobile company in Wayne, Nebraska with two other men, William E. Von Seggern, and Fred G. Philleo.  This handwritten agreement was in a ledger labelled “The Von Seggern Auto Co.”

von seggern auto agreement 1911

1911 is pretty early to be starting a car company in Nebraska, but they did it.  William Von Seggern’s son, William, married John Bressler’s daughter, Kate, in April 1911.  I don’t know any connection to Fred Philleo.  The pages of the ledger relating to the car company have been torn out.  My grandmother used the rest of the pages for her household accounting from 1937 to about 1965.
vsac ledger

Dad’s Ratty Sweater


Mom and Dad – when the blue sweater was new and still respectable enough for photographs.

Dad had a favorite blue sweater that he wore in the morning to  keep off the chill.  The problem was that he wore it for years and it got quite worn.  A few holes, some unravelling.  And he didn’t want it washed or cleaned because that would damage it more.

Mom found it appalling.  Shabby.  But she kept quiet unless he wanted to wear it on errands to the grocery store or go next door to the neighbors.  Or could he please change it when folks dropped by to visit.  Dad rarely gave in.

After he died mom slowly sorted his clothes.  Special things were saved for family.  Some of the nicer things were given to friends.  And Mom wore the shabby sweater for a few evenings.

I guess she finally discarded it.  I wish we had kept it.  I have one of his more acceptable sweaters, but I don’t remember him wearing it.  I do have Mom’s gaudy pink and blue plaid fleece shirt which is well worn and has lip balm, change, and mints in the pocket.  I wear it on chilly mornings.

Amos Claycomb’s Grades University of Illinois Urbana

atc grade scanThis is a fine little folder of the grades received by Amos Claycomb at the University of Illinois.  He graduated in 1909.  Please note this should be left on file in the Registrar’s office when not in use by the student.  A duplicate will cost fifteen cents.



This is about 6″ x 16″
atc grade scan coll tilThis is part of it enlarged.atc grade scan det

Grandma’s Tiny Books

The Norka Series of little books was printed in the early 1900s “bound in Ooze leather, printed in two colors, cover stamped in gold, 25 cents.”  These are two that my grandmother, Ruth Bressler Claycomb, received from her parents.  They are about 2 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches.

little books

Norka Series books, John T. and Julia Fair Bressler, parents of Ruth.


O. A. Harker Letter 1929

harker envOliver Albert Harker, better known as O.A. Harker, married my grandmother’s sister, Maude Bressler.  My grandmother, Ruth, was visiting the Harker’s in the Texas panhandle where she met my grandfather-to-be.  So Harkers are responsible for a lot!


This is a letter that O.A. sent to my father when Dad’s steer won grand champion at the Wayne County (Nebraska) Fair.  Dad was 14.
harker letter 1929It would be nice to have someone in Harker’s lineage have this letter.

Quiz Kids on the Radio

Mom was a writer – short stories, jingles, slogans, and it seems, Quiz Kids questions.  This is a postcard she received in the early 1940s (I can tell from the address) in response to a question she submitted for use on the Quiz Kids radio show.  I think the question was never used.  There was no Zenith portable radio in our house.
quiz kidsquiz kids rev

Jessie Tucker 1903

This is Jessie Tucker, a friend of my grandmother’s.  Grandma kept the photo – she wrote on the back.  It says “Jessie Tucker 1903″ – this makes me think she was a friend at Birmingham School for Girls in Pennsylvania.  The other option is that she was a friend from home, that is, Wayne Nebraska.  But Jessie is not part of our family and I’d love to her relatives have this photo.  Do you know Jessie?
jessie tucker