Person Thing

A Postcard to Miss Hazel Kern

While shopping at Ghosts in the Attic, in Portsmouth, Ohio, we came upon this beautiful photo postcard. Dated October 30, 1910, it passed through the post office of Portsmouth on its way to Chillicothe, Ohio.

The front of the postcard features sixteen people in various stages of pose outside of the gorgeously adorned brick structure in what appears to be a side garden. A closer inspection of a high-resolution scan focused onto the thermometers above the two suspendered men almost reveals a clue in that the name of a hotel is given. A search of the 1910 Portsmouth City Directory does not contain a comparable match.

Continuing to compare the structure to those existing in Portsmouth during this time period revealed that the structure is the Portsmouth City Water Works.

Here is a closer comparison look of the structure and the postcard:

As seen in the comparison survey many of the spatial aspects of the architecture are identical. Additionally, the previously discussed thermometers are visible as are the hedges that have been cut back. While discovering the location of the photograph is fortunate it does raise the question as to why the photograph was taken there.

The Portsmouth City Water Works 1

Genealogical research shows that Miss Hazel Kern, was the daughter of Edward H Kern and Emma Hubber. She was born approximately 1894 in Ross County, Ohio. On December 27, 1919, she and James R Snyder, son of William H Snyder and Lillian Cooley, were married at Chillicothe, Ohio, by Reverend CC McKinney having taken out their marriage license the day prior.

The 1920, 1930, and 1940 census each show Hazel and William living together in Ross County, Ohio, and it is believed that the to-be-released 1950 census will also show the same. The Ohio Death Index shows that on February 20, 1979, James H Snyder, age 85, died in Ross County, Ohio. Twelve short years later, on September 29, 1991, while living in a long-term care facility in Portsmouth, Ohio, Hazel joined her husband in death.

September 1910 Visit

An article published in the September 1, 1910, Portsmouth Daily Times gives some clues as to those pictured and who the writer of the postcard may have been:

“Mrs. Frank Watkins entertained with a dinner party, Friday evening, honoring her nieces, the Misses Leola and Hazel Kern of Chillicothe for whom Mrs. Myers Bagby entertained, Saturday with dinner followed by a Casino party and also for whom Mrs. Myers Bagby and sister Miss Ellen Watkins entertained, Monday evening with a party at the opening of the Orpheum.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Charles Huber entertained in their honor with a dinner Tuesday evening followed by a party at the Airdome.”4

Miss Minnie Huber and sister Miss Long entertained with a farewell dinner, Wednesday, for those charming young visitors, who departed for their home in Chillicothe Wednesday afternoon.”5

More Genealogical Research

Initially, research into Miss Kern yielded little result with findings being limited to her immediate family. However, the above article has proven to be useful in including the extended family of her mother’s Huber line.

Working backward through Hazel’s line shows her father, Edward Kern, marrying her mother, Emma Huber, on October 27, 1887, in Ross County, Ohio. Using the above article with mentioned given names of the Huber line and locality yielded a possible result in Scioto County, Ohio, during the 1880 Federal Census.

The 1880 Federal Census shows that both Emma and Charles were the children of Frederick Huber and Krescenz Storz. This detail might have been overlooked due to the parents’ names being on the previous page of that record. Additionally, Mary Huber, who married Frank Watkins, on August 18, 1883, in Scioto County, Ohio, is also enumerated in the same household in 1880. Further research shows that Mrs. Myers Bagby, was Emma Huber Watkins, daughter of the aforementioned Frank Watkins and Mary Huber.

Charles Huber, Hazel’s uncle, was a lifelong resident of Portsmouth, Ohio, and is buried in that city’s Greenlawn Cemetery along with his wife Rosanelle Huber. The identity of writers of the postcard, C&R, is most likely the above. It is also likely that picture is from their visit in September.

The text on the back of the postcard reads:

“Suppose you are all enjoying this pretty October weather. What do you think of your pictures? Would you know yourselves? C&R”

  1. (1911) Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio
    . Sanborn Map Company, Sep. [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,
  2. unknown, “The Orpheum Theatre, Portsmouth, Ohio,” Local History Digital Collection, accessed January 11, 2021,
  3. F. M. Kirby & Co., “Millbrook Park Casino, Portsmouth, Ohio,” Local History Digital Collection, accessed January 11, 2021,
  4. 720 Chillicothe Street, Portsmouth, Ohio
  5. (1910, September 01). Portsmouth Daily Times, p. 8.
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