Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mary Kerr's 1936 Autograph Book

In the summer of 1936, my grandmother Evelyn Kerr worked as a cashier at Jefferson Beach Amusement Park in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. My mother, who was almost 14 years old then, wrote about her memory of that summer:
"I went along with her, and wandered around the park, trying out all the rides which were free to me. But each day I would go to the woman in charge and ask, "Mrs. Stevens, can I work today?" She pointed out that there was a law that I had to be 16 to work, and I would need working papers. I never gave up, and finally she relented and said I could be a check girl in the bath house on the beach."
At the end of the season, Mrs. J.C. Stevens wrote in my mother's autograph book:

Sept. 7, 1936
May success be yours, it should.
Mrs. Stevens - "Can I work today"
Mrs. J.C. Stevens

My mother got autographs from lots of the park workers, most of whom noted what their job was or what ride they worked at. Many of the autographs included little verses, but this one had heartfelt sentiment:
August 26, 1936
Dear Mary,
I will always remember you - the little girl whose many acts of kindness I will appreciate always after we are separated here at Jefferson Beach. May we meet again. Loads of health, luck & happiness in the future.
Mary Louise
Mom's sister Bonnie, who was almost 17, wrote a short verse containing a grammatical error which belied her later command of the English language. She became an eloquent poet.

Mrs. Carl Schulte also signed my mother's book. Some time ago the names of Carl and Blanche Schulte had come to my attention in another venue, and I had asked my cousin Cheryl Schulte whether she knew how they were related to our family. I was going to look up her old email for the explanation, but Cheryl refreshed my memory this morning before I got around to it:
Now I can tell you quickly how Blanche & Carl (Chuck) Schulte are related to you or to your Mom and you won't even have to look up the old e-mail. In essence, in the land of DNA and blood and all that true genie stuff, they are NOT related at all to your Mom or to you. In a nutshell, this is how it goes (and I am mighty proud that I can rattle this off without looking anything up):

Carl or Chuck is the son of Elizabeth Feucht (my Julie's oldest sister) and Elizabeth's second husband Louis Pospishl. When Louis died and then my Julie died, Elizabeth persuaded Julie's husband, Rudolph Schulte, to marry her which Rudolph did 9 days after Julie died. Elizabeth came to the marriage with her son, Carl (Chuck) Pospishl, and her other 4 children from marriage #1 to her Storkel husband. Rudolph, of course, only had my grandpa, Elmer, to bring to the marriage. I even have the birth record for Carl Pospishl from South Dakota I believe.

For some reason that nobody could ever tell me, down the road, during the marriage of Elizabeth and Rudolph, Carl Pospishl 'took' the surname of Schulte. He was never legally adopted or anything like that. He just called himself Carl or Chuck Schulte and from then on, when he married, when he and Blanche had children, grandchildren, etc, it is Schulte.

Carl is, of course, related to me through the Feucht family. His mother and my great-grandmother were sisters. But he is not a true Schulte so he would not be related to your Evelyn, etc. But they were all good friends and partied together.
It's not clear whether Blanche and/or Bonnie worked at the amusement park. It's possible, but neither of them indicated a job when they signed my mother's autograph book.

A name index appears below. Click on the album cover to see the pages of the book.

Mary Kerr's 1936 Autographs

Index to Mary Kerr's 1936 Autographs
  1. Jimmy Rodda, Mary Kerr
  2. Betty Jane S., 14969 Coram Ave., Detroit, Mich.
  3. Wm Kureimi, Elsie Daniels, Meryle Downy, Lilla Hallison, Leone Hunt, Henry "Heinie" Walleman
  4. Doris Olsen, Mrs. C. [Carl] Schulte (Blanche)
  5. R. Patten (Ballroom), Bonnie [Kerr, Mary's sister]
  6. Mrs. Roy Patten (ballroom), Vivian Olsen
  7. Doris King (ballroom fountain), "Pickles"
  8. Al Sova ("Just a hashslinger), Lucille Goss (relief)
  9. Phyllys K., Joe Mazzella (plaster doll store)
  10. Red Alexander (bath house), Joe Fresard & Bernice MacMillan
  11. Helen Barkoot, Howard Carrier
  12. Richard Travis, Bob Steveling (candy kid)
  13. Donna Lordy (the root beer girl?)
  14. A. Beard, Norma
  15. Rose E. Dodd (courtesy)
  16. Artemis Kevas (beer garden), June (relief)
  17. Tommy (Dungeon Dipper)
  18. Maxine
  19. Irene (Sportland), Joseph Batty
  20. Mrs. J.C. "Marge" Stevens, "Beans" Callas (R.D. #7, Butler, Pa.)
  21. Mary Louise (Coaster)
  22. Geo Meldrum (Swooper), William Bartley (Aeroplane)
  23. G. Arnott, 21936 Rosedale, St. Clair Shores, Mich.
  24. Harry D. Perry, 21707 Ten Mile, St. Clair Shores
  25. Douglas Dickerson, Thomas Taubitz (bath house)
  26. Marion Gough, Stanley T. Dunk
  27. Stan
  28. Honey (dance hall), Shorty (Skooter)
  29. Clark K*t (High Striker), Rita (restaurant)
  30. Harry Millette (Speed Boats)
  31. Stubby, M. Shintel (dog stand)
  32. Edith Rodda
  33. Florance Urquhart, Walter James Urquhart, Bob Grossman
  34. J.F. Jones, Braham Barkoot (blanket store)
  35. Frank Daniels, 737 Briar Pl., Chicago, Ill. (cigarette store)
  36. B. Almany, Arthur Boyden (assistant doorman?)
  37. Alita Sayers, George Beyer
  38. Harry Bigres?, Roy Gayle?
  39. Bob Hoadley (Skee Ball), Dot Lucas ("I guess weights")
The St. Clair Shores Historical Commission has posted an excellent history of Jefferson Beach Amusement Park, and if you scroll down that page you'll find lots of great old photos too.


Juliane's granddaughter said...

What a wonderful presentation. It is amazing how well the pencil written pages scanned for you. I wonder where this Amusement Park was exactly. Perhaps along Jefferson Avenue? Do you know?

T.K. said...

You're right, Cheryl, Jefferson and 9½ Mile Road. Jefferson Beach Marina is located there now. Actually, it was about half a mile from my parents' first house, where we lived until 1956. Oddly I don't remember ever going to the amusement park despite the proximity.

Apple said...

A great keepsake and bit of family history!

T.K. said...

Yup, this was a fun find, Apple!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great!
Here is the url of the blog from the Archives of the Sandusky Library, if you would like to take
a look:

T.K. said...

You made my day, anonymous! Thanks for the lovely compliment. And for the link to Sandusky History, which I did visit and, wow, it's great! (In fact, I've just subscribed to the RSS feed.) I would love to see every library share their holdings this way.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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