These two photos came to me from the United States. Once I had deciphered the handwritten names, it wasn’t difficult to find them in the paper trail. And boy, was there lots to read about them!
Jean “Jennie” Wylie Peck was born on June 8th, 1865, in Evansburgh, Coshocton in Ohio. She was the oldest of the two daughters of John Pearson Peck (1834-1897) and Sara Rodgers Day (1841-1894). Jennie and her younger sister Hester probably had a pretty carefree childhood. According to the Peck family tree, published on FamilySearch, Jean’s father John Pearson Peck was the president of the Farmers Bank at Coshocton, Ohio.
Jean attended the Coshocton High School, where she was known as Jennie. She graduated in 1883.
On August 4th, 1885, Jean married Stacy Bancroft Beebe in Coshocton. Unfortunately, Stacy passed away unexpectedly in 1889 before the couple had any children.
On December 27th, 1892, Jean re-married. Her second husband William Washburn was a widow himself, a single dad with a toddler son Ludlow Joseph Washburn just 4 years old at the time. Together the couple had 4 more children (according to Jean’s family tree on FamilySearch):
- Sarah Elizabeth Early née Washburn (1893-1977) married John Early and had 3 children: John Jr., William and Eleanor Early
- Hester Spangler Washburn (1895-1967) – the baby in our second photo. About her in more detail below.
- William Day Washburn (1896-1966) married Gertrude Seiffert Beiderbecke in 1923, but I don’t know if the couple had children.
- John Peck Washburn (1898-1961) married Vera Jane Spiller in 1926 and the couple had a son John P. Washburn Jr.
William Washburn was an attorney by profession, one of the leading corporation lawyers of the United States at the time and a prominent citizen of Chicago (a newspaper excerpt about him and all his accomplishments has been published on the FindAGrave.com page dedicated to him). You’d think that Jean had her hands full with raising the 5 children with no time for anything else. Well, you’re wrong! Her obituary in the Chicago Tribune from November 9th, 1950, allows us to get a glimpse at her very fulfilling life outside of home as well, as a leader in civic and patriotic activities and a regent of the the Chicago Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as well as the treasurer and vice president of the Chicago Woman’s Club.
In 1922, she was nominated as a candidate for county board on Regular Democratic ticket. The board allowed only one woman as a member.
William died in June 1928. Jean passed away 22 years later, on November 7th, 1950, in Evanston, Cook in Illinois, at 85 years of age. She was buried next to her husband William at the Oakwoods Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.
Now to the second photo – of Hester Spangler Washburn:
I must say I was a bit confused about this name for a girl. But I soon realised that the name was perhaps a symbol of sisterly love from Jean to her sister Hester. Jean’s sister Hester Howard Peck (1869-1964) had married Charles Etherington Spangler in 1890.
Our baby Hester had been born on February 22nd, 1895, in Chicago. Hester married a Canadian Allan Gilmour Hendry on July 13th, 1920, in Chicago, after a war-time romance.
The couple had a daughter on December 20th, 1923, whom they named after Hester’s mum Jean (love these little symbolic declarations of love among the women in this family!). Unfortunately I don’t know how life turned out for Hester’s daughter Jean Claire Hendry.
I found this photo of Hester Spangler Hendry on FindAGrave.com. Wasn’t she gorgeous! The same big blue eyes, like in the baby photo above. The similarities to her mother Jean are uncanny!
Hester passed away on September 16th, 1967. She was buried at the family burial lot at the Oakwoods Cemetery in Chicago.
Were the Washburns perhaps your ancestors?
I’ve added their photos and a link to this blogpost to their profiles on FamilySearch and FindAGrave (links have been provided above).