Postmarked Willshire, 1911, from D.W.H.

Regular readers know that I enjoy trying to figure out and learn a little about the writers and recipients of old post cards from this area.

Today, an interesting old postcard with an April 1911 Willshire postmark, an Easter postcard with a cross and Easter lilies.

1911 postcard, postmarked 1911 Willshire, Ohio, from D.W.H.

The front of the postcard is a typical holiday postcard for that time period. However, the back is rather unusual because the message and address are typed out. Nearly every postcard I have seen from that time is handwritten.

Postmarked April 1911, Willshire, from D.W.H.

The message:

April 11, 1911
Dear Friend:
They are there.
That makes fence staks
Ho. Ho. Ho.
How this for you
It looks good to me.
Good. By.

Mr. Leo Karl.
796 kercheval ave.

The message is rather curious and does not make much sense. Plus, how many rural Indiana households had a typewriter in 1911? Or perhaps this was typed from a business, although the message does not sound very business-like.

The typewriter, as we basically know it, was invented in about 1870 and the first practical typewriter was the Remington. I wonder if this message was typed on a Remington like this.

Old Remington Typewriter

After a little research, I believe the writer, D.W.H., may have been 32 year-old Daniel Wesley Hamrick, who in 1910 lived near Pleasant Mills, in St. Marys Township, Adams County, Indiana. In 1910 Daniel was single, living by himself, and doing odd jobs. [1] He was born in 1875/6, the son of Moses and Margaret (Knock) Hamrick and died in Fort Wayne in 1960.

The recipient of the postcard, Leo Karl, was living at the above address in 1910. He was age 23, single, and worked as a baker. [2] A few years later he was a soldier in WWI.

[1] 1910 U.S. Census, St. Marys, Adams, Indiana, ED 10, p. 1A, Dwelling & Family 7, Daniel W. Hamrick;, viewed 17 Aug 2023.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Detroit Ward 17, Wayne, Michigan, ED 248, p. 12A, Dwelling 197, Family 263, Leo Karl [Anton Karl household];, viewed 17 Aug 2023.


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    • Bruce Hamrick on August 18, 2023 at 9:32 am
    • Reply

    Hi Karen,
    Very cryptic message to say the least!
    I was excited to see my family name, Hamrick in this story.
    I will need to check my family genealogy to find out more of Daniel.
    His middle name of Wesley was also given to my great Grandfather Miles Wesley Hamrick. He passed in Adam’s County in 1921 and is buried in the Willshire cemetery.
    Thank you.
    Bruce Hamrick

    1. Since the writer only used his initials, I am not certain it is Daniel Wesley, but he was about the only person living near Pleasant Mills in 1910 with those initials. He is definitely a person of interest. Also interesting that Wesley is a family name in your Hamrick branch. Thanks for writing!

    • MBJ on August 18, 2023 at 9:47 am
    • Reply

    Merci pour cette jolie carte si énigmatique : je suis étonnée par la régularité des caractéres dactylographiés. J’ai la Remington de ma grand-tante qui date des années 20 et je peux affirmer que, même une secrétaire expérimentée ne parvenait pas à un tel résultat sur papier… La machine à écrire qui aurait été utilisée pour rédiger cette carte était peut-être un modèle haut de gamme ou plus sophistiqué pour obtenir un texte aussi homogène sur de la cartonnette embossée… Bel été à vous, chère Karen… Bien amicalement.

    1. So nice to hear from you! I hope you have been well. You have given me a great insight into typewriters. I, too, thought it would be difficult to type on an embossed card. I think it is rare to see an old postcard with a typed message. But it may be more common than I think. I purchased the old Remington pictured in this post some time ago but have never typed on it. It just looks nice on my old library table, the library table which was used by my dad and his siblings growing up. Take care!

      [French translation of Karen’s comment, Google Translate: Tellement agréable d’avoir de vos nouvelles! J’espère que vous allez bien. Vous m’avez donné un aperçu des machines à écrire. Moi aussi, je pensais qu’il serait difficile de taper sur une carte en relief. Je pense qu’il est rare de voir une vieille carte postale avec un message dactylographié. Mais c’est peut-être plus courant que je ne le pense. J’ai acheté le vieux Remington illustré dans cet article il y a quelque temps, mais je n’ai jamais tapé dessus. C’est juste beau sur ma vieille table de bibliothèque, la table de bibliothèque qui a été utilisée par mon père et ses frères et sœurs en grandissant. Prends soin de toi!

      Translation of MBJ’s original comment: Thank you for this pretty enigmatic card: I am amazed by the regularity of the typed characters. I have my great-aunt’s Remington from the 20s and I can say that even an experienced secretary could not achieve such a result on paper… The typewriter that would have been used to write this card was perhaps a high-end or more sophisticated model to obtain such a homogeneous text on embossed cardboard… Happy summer to you, dear Karen… Kind regards.]

    • Frank on August 20, 2023 at 4:38 am
    • Reply

    Hi Karen,

    One has to wonder if the comments were an inside joke between the two parties. Perhaps the author was showing off his new typewriter and his skills in using it? Who knows? Hopefully the recipient wasn’t nearly as baffled as we are. But then I again I wonder how many things I have jotted down over the years will perplex an ancestor or researcher a hundred years from now?

    1. I wondered the same thing, particularly when he typed Ho, Ho, Ho. Plus, there is not much room on a postcard to write or type a message. You can’t say much and have to be brief. It is interesting to speculate. Thank you for writing!

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