2nd Presbyterian Church
1908: The neighborhood was a residential area with many fine homes on both sides of Main Street, including the residence of M. T. Jones, the Unce of Jesse Jones, who took over the family lumber business at the former's death in 1898. As other areas of Houston were developed in subsequent decades, Montrose, Heights, River Oaks, this area fell into disrepair.
2014: The vacant space here depicted is currently being filled with mid rise residences. The entire neighborhood is part of a vital Midtown resurgence which will soon render it once again unrecognizable.
To: Miss Bessie Books
Postmarked: Houston, Tex. Aug 31, 1908
Received: Cambridge City, Ind. Sep 2, 1908
Message: [Front] I had this card ready to send you, when I got your letter this morning. I would so glad to hear from you. And we appreciate your sweet sympathy I will write you some time soon. Ethel
[Back] I received your card it is a fine picture of you. Bess my dear brother Walter died last Sunday morning at six. He was buried last Monday. Let me hear from you.
We think of postcard communications as a rather public forum, and it is with some surprise we see Ethel announce the death of her brother Walter with a certain flatness. Her correspondent, Bessie Brooks, certainly knew Ethel, but her identity is unclear to the viewer 108 years later. It took a search of the Houston Chronicle of August 24, 1908 to find Ethel’s family: “Funeral services over the body of Walter S. Guild, aged 29 years, who died Sunday morning at his residence, 1819 Austin Street, were held Monday morning at 10 o’clock with internment in Hollywood cemetery. Deceased had been ill for several months, having been a resident of Houston for the past ten years. He was born in Cambridge City, Ind.”
Ethel was about 22 years old when she wrote the postcard, daughter of George Guild of Scotland and Martha Elliott of Crawfordsville, IN. In addition to Walter and Ethel May, the family consisted of Frank Harold Guild, 25, and Allan George Guild, 17.
Bessie Brooks was about two years older than Ethel, and lived with her mother in Cambridge City, Indiana. Her father James Eugene Brooks, a telegraph operator, had died four years earlier, and her twin sister Lillie may have married as she was not living with Bessie and her widowed mother, Jennie M. Kiser Brooks in the census 2 years later.
Ethel and Bessie disappear from the records shortly after this postcard. Ethel Guild does not appear again in any records, and may have married and left the Houston area. Neither has George or Martha been found, but Frank Harrold Guild moved to Tyler in 1928 where he died in 1951 and is buried there in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Bessie Brooks, after appearing with her mother on the census of 1910, disappears from the official records as well. Her mother Jennie died in 1935 and joined her husband in Riverside Cemetery in Cambridge City.