June 1934: Sallie Olis Larkham Matthews

Larkham Sallie Olis 3w     This is embarrassing. I had an blog ready to go about Addie Jones Dow's obituary as found in the Whitcraft Scrapbook. In research done over a month ago in preparation for the piece, I found Dow's death date. Or so I thought. I wrote  June 7, 1897 down in my planner and did not give it another thought until this past Friday.

     Whoops! As I did more research it became apparent that Dow did not die on June 7, 1897, but she died in May of that year.* It was my fault for not digging more deeply at the get-go, but the mistake meant no early June piece for Passed Time. I could have run the Jones piece late, but prefer doing histories through our ancestors eyes. Kind of a "On this date in ....," but for us common folk. Then I remembered this little beauty, a home-made souvenir book from Hot Springs, Arkansas.

      This is another one of those re-purposed books, much like the Denison Ledger. It began with ruled paper, in which someone glued parts of articles, souvenir books, and postcards about Hot Springs, Arkansas and other locations. About halfway through someone pasted in a couple of sheets of unruled paper from Portales, New Mexico. These pages also have postcards stuck to them and the entire notebook serves as a homemade travel souvenir. 

      Due to the paste, I cannot unstick the postcards from the pages without causing severe damage, but one page reveals the address sides of two postcards. Both were sent to Sallie Olis Larkham in Blackwell, Oklahoma. One was sent in June of 1934 and another was sent in 1936 (possibly also June but the month is illegible). The two postcards addressed to Larkham (later Matthews) were stuck onto the additional Portales, New Mexico paper.  I suspect she received the book at a later date and in keeping with the spirit of the artifact, kept its purpose intact.

 Larkham Spring Parkw

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     Sallie Olis Larkham was born in Blackwell on February 2, 1923 to Burr and Jailie Larkham. She moved to Jonesboro in 1959 to manage a Western Union office until its closure in 1971 when she moved to Hot Springs where she worked for a lumber company until retirement. At some point, she married Warn Matthews (1909-1980) becoming Sallie Matthews. Matthews remained active and was involved in area organizations until her death on March 4, 2007.** 

     The postcard with the date of 1934 was sent to Larkham when she was eleven-years-old. It came from someone named "Donnie" who, as he or she stated, was loneseome without Sallie. The author also states he would like to look at the cats because "daddy" said they were big. In reviewing Larkham's ancestry, I found no one named "Donnie." If it were someone's first name, middle name, pet name, or nickname, it would not necessarily show up. Of course, Donnie might also have been a childhood friend. The postcard scene depicts Spring Park in El Dorado Springs, Missouri (image above). 

      As for the later postcard, sent to Larkham when she was thirteen, this image of the Rusher Hotel is pasted over the author's name. Although a good conservator could remove it, the cost would be substantial. The writing on the postcard is quite legible, so I will not enclose a transcription. This postcard shows "The Narrows, The Gateway to Eureka Springs, Ark." (image below)

     Larkham might have received the notebook from a friend or family member for two other postcards placed in the book show Miss Olis McRae of Byars Oklahoma received at least two of the postcards. They show only partial dates of "19.." Furthermore, two cannibalized souvenir books which pertain to Rock Island, Illinois are addressed to Mrs. Sallie Harrison of Byars, Oklahoma. As mentioned before, these are all pasted onto the ruled paper. I believe they came first and Larkham added her section at a later date. Given the first names, I suspect a family connection. More research will be done on these other contributors to the souvenir book at a later date.  On this day, 82 years ago....Best, Pat

 * The Addie Jones Dow obituary as recorded on Find-A-Grave. Note the death date could not possibly have been on June 7, 1897, unless reporters for Kansas newspapers have some Cassandra-like superpowers. Instead, I suspect the entry simply got mixed up. 

 *Information provided by Tributes.com

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External Sources:

Just as points of interest:

Some might recall that in May of 1955, Blackwell, Oklahoma was one of the sites struck by a tragic F5 twister. For access to a Time Magazine article and photographs, click here. 

 For an online travel guide to Hot Springs, Arkansas, click here.

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