Thursday, February 9, 2017

Miss Howarth's North Side Grade 4 Class

I hate it when valuable bits of family history get separated from their families. This class photo, picked up in an antique store in a Chicago suburb, is worn and faded, but two things help: the photographer notated the class and teacher on the negative, and the sister of two of the students pictured wrote names on the back. This is presumably North Side school, grade 4, with a Miss Howarth as the teacher. The photograph itself is typical of the 1890s.
On the back has been written "George Hasel, Margaret (Meg) Hasel, bro & sister of Ann (Hasel) Gourley".
Contrast enhanced and tone mapped in order to bring out faded details. Presumably that's the principal or headmaster at the far right.
So here are the results of my short bit of research (for the benefit of anyone doing genealogy research on these names) who these folks were: has an entry for an Anna Hasel Gourley, born June 25, 1891 in Fairbury, Livingston Co. Illinois. The site also has an entry for Margaret G. Hasel, born 1888 (and listed on the site as Anna's sister); while nothing is said of the location of her birth, her grave is in Fairbury, Livingston Co. Ill. Since most fourth graders are nine or ten years old, that would put this photo at 1897 or 1898, consistent with the physical characteristics of the print.

Information on George Hasel is much more tenuous. Findagrave has several by that name, but none buried in Illinois, and only one, George Frank Hasel, who was born in the right date range (June 3, 1887); he is buried in California, so he might be the brother...or his birth date might be just a coincidence. has an entry for Simon J Hasel who lived (and died) in Fairbury and had eight children, three of which are Anna B. Gourley, Margaret G. and George Frank, which to me confirms that this is the correct family matching the photo. If anyone is doing research on this family and has thoughts on these kids, please leave a comment below!

As for Miss Howarth, Findagrave has an entry for a Alice Hindle Howarth, also buried in Fairbury, Illinois. She was born April 6, 1849, so if this photo was taken in 1898, that would make her 49 years old, consistent with her appearance in the photo. As for her being referenced as "Miss" when Howarth is her married name, that is still today a common practice for teachers (my wife is one).

Fairbury is a small town in north-central Illinois, about 80 miles as the crow flies from Elk Grove Village, where the antique store is that had this photo. The population of Fairbury in 2000 was 3,968 and in 1900 was 2,187.
The two Hasel children are marked with blue pen X's.

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