Houston Land and Trust
Postmarked: 8 February 1913; Houston, Texas “D”
Stamp: 1c Green George Washington #405
To: Mrs N. F. Howard
will be home Sunday at noon there is no place like S. D. after all
Mrs. N. F. Howard was Annie Pleasant Stickle, daughter of Edward and Lydia Stickle. She was born in 1868 in Bellevernon, Fayette County, PA and by 1880 the family moved to Fort Smith, AR where Edward continued his occupation of stone mason. Annie’s father died in 1882, and it was up to her mother to raise the family of five children: Leonora (18), James Alfred (16), Annie (14), Lottie (11) and Mary (3). How the family coped, and where they settled is not clear, but Lydia and her son James returned to Pennsylvania in due course. It was there in Westmoreland County that Lydia died in 1930 at 88 years of age, James in 1939 at 72, with burial in Vandergrift Cemetery. Annie apparently stayed out West and in 1888 at Hempill County, TX she married Nelson Frank Howard. They lived in Canadian, TX near Amarillo in 1890 where their son Edward Lakin was born, then 100 miles northwest of there at Washburn where Charles William was born in 1893. They continued to move as needed as Nelson worked for M K & T Railroad and by 1900 they were in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Territory where Annie supplemented the family income by working in the home as a dressmaker. Their last child, Nellie Frances, was born in 1906 in Cleveland, OK 100 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, but they moved yet again by 1910 when the postcard was received in San Benito, Cameron County, TX in the Rio Grande Valley section of the state.
There she must have met Lola, the author of the 1913 postcard. The style of the writing and penmanship suggests that Lola was quite young, perhaps in grade school or early grades of high school at the time. Nellie Frances Howard was only 6 at the time, her brothers were out on their own. In the 1910 census tract in which Annie lived there were only two girls named Lola or Lula, and the first, Lola Amador, daughter of a butcher, Louis Amador. She was only 8 years old, and since her father immigrated from Mexico, perhaps grew up in a Spanish-speaking household. The other girl, Lula Vista Holmes, was a bit older at nearly 10, the daughter of Charles William and Ida Holmes, a farming family. Lula was born in Louisiana where they farmed rice on the delta lands. Their stay in the valley may have been brief, and they returned to Louisiana near Jennings, Jefferson Davis Parish by 1920. Travel between Jennings and San Benito would have brought Lula through Houston, and it is perhaps on one of these trips that Lula bought and sent the card to her older friend Annie. The postcard message evokes a line from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz published in 1900. The book was a huge success, and perhaps Annie had read the book to young Lola or Lula. No fact can definitively tie the author of the postcard to either of these girls, or any other, so her identity must remain a mystery.
Annie did not have an easy life after San Benito, moving to Oil City near Shreveport, LA where Nelson died in 1918. Widowed like her mother, she was forced to deal with the circumstances, but her boys were emancipated and only Nellie was at home, not yet 12 years old. They found a farm in Richardson near Dallas, where they ran a restaurant and chicken ranch. Annie’s son Edward contracted tuberculosis and moved to El Paso, TX to improve his health, but died there in 1922. The others son, Charles William, found work as a mechanic for an Magnolia Oil Company and moved to Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico in 1920. After a move to Aruba, he died at Oranjestaad in 1928.
Nellie Frances married on 21 April 1930 in Los Angeles County to Lyle Reed Howard and lived in the suburb of Lynwood at 3417 Norton with her mother. Annie worked as a seamstress in a department store, Lyle was a process server for a legal firm, and Nellie worked as a telephone operator. Lyle was the son of Emma Reed and William Herbert Howard from an unrelated Howard family. Lyle was born in Cawker, KS and went to Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia in 1927 before moving to California. They relocated to Wilmette on the North Shore outside Chicago where he worked in publishing for Popular Mechanics magazine. They had three children, and divorced in 1952.
Annie died in Wilmette in 1960 at the age of 91 and her cremated remains were interred in Graceland Cemetery. Nellie Howard died in 1994 in Waukegan, Lake County IL.