Main at Polk - North
1913: Partly hidden by trees on the left is the house of Henry Samuel Fox at 1206 Main. Henry was a German immigrant, formerly an iron merchant and banker, whose household at about this time included a domestic staff including a cook, a maid, a coachman and other servants. Not visible further to the left is the Albert A. Van Alstyne-John F. Dickson house at 1216 Main, in front of which the photographer must have stood to take this picture.
The Carter Building is the towering structure further up Main Street, at the time the singular skyscraper in Houston, which can also be seen at a similar perspective from another block back [south] in Main at Clay - Methodist Church and Main at Bell - Methodist Church yet another block south.
See Main at Dallas for a view of this block from the other direction one block up further north along Main Street.
26 March 2014: The multistory building at the left is the Humble Oil Building at 1212 Main, constructed in 1921 as headquarters of the Humble Oil and Refining Company. Corporate headquarters moved a few blocks south to 800 Bell in 1963, the ExxonMobil Building. The Humble Building is now used as a hotel and apartment building.
The skyscraper void to the left of the Metro Train was once Foley's Department Store, then bought out by Macy's, and since this photograph was taken, has been replaced by corporate headquarters building of Hillcorp at 1110 Main Street.
To: Ruth Biggerstaff
DeKalb Route 3 Tex
Postmarked: 7 August 1913 D### [DeKalb?] Tex.
Stamp: 1c Green Geroge Washington #405
From: Mama [Mary Emma Biggerstaff]
Message: Claude TX
how are you we are all well hope you all are the same. I think your Grand pa is better I had a card from Kit they are well and soon from Your Mama
Ruth Biggerstaff was staying in DeKalb, Bowie County when her mother wrote her from the Texas Panhandle town of Claude, TX in 1913. What Ruth, a young girl not yet turned 15, was doing there cannot be ascertained. The family was from Whitewright, Grayson County where James Hall Biggerstaff and Mary Emma Amiss raised a family of 7 children: Jessie (born 1888), Willie (1890), Bessie (1893), Victor Hugo (1893), Maude “Sallie” (1896), Ruth (1898) and Edith (1902). They were together there for the 1910 census on their family farm, but by 1920 Willie had married Clarence Carlton and moved to Dallas, where he worked as a clerk for the Sante Fe Railroad. Ruth lived with them and worked as a telegraph operator. It is tempting to speculate that "Kit" is Clarence Carlton, but there is no evidence to support this. Clarence in 1910 was a sailor on the U. S. S. Colorado in Bremerton, WA, but it seems that he married Willa about 1915 and may have been married at the time of this postcard.
What drew Ruth's mother, Mary Emma, to Claude, Armstrong County, in the north Texas from which she wrote this postcard cannot be determined either, but she mentions the fact that Ruth’s “grandpa” seems to be better. Ruth’s paternal grandfather, Benjamin Boone Biggerstaff, died in 1881, so Mary Emma’s father, George Amiss must be meant, but he cannot be accounted for in Claude, Armstrong County at that point in time.
Mary Emma died in 1933, James Hall Biggerstaff died in 1941 and they are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Whitewright, Grayson County. Ruth never married and retired as a supervisor for Western Union. She died in 1973 in Dallas and was buried near her parents in Whitewright.