I recently found this photo among a slew of others in an antique shop in Indiana. It is a carte de visite, often referred to as a CDV. It is a photographic print that is mounted on a stiff card, and the term describes the size of the photo, which is about 2 ½” x 4”. The size made it perfectly suited for people to send by mail and carry with them to hand out to friends and family. Although the girl’s blank stare is what drew my attention to this image, I was happy to find the identifying writing on the back, “Ava B. Hamilton Hudson Indiana (Steuben Co).” Read on to discover more about Ava’s life in Hudson, Indiana!
Miss Ava Blanch Hamilton was born in 1872 in Walkerton, Indiana. She was the daughter of Dr. Frank C. and Katherine Rebecca (nee Reamer) Hamilton. She moved to Hudson, Steuben County, Indiana as a young girl, with her parents and brother, Lloyd Elton Hamilton, where she spent the majority of her life. Her father, a well-known doctor, also owned a Drug Store in Hudson and her brother owned the General Store in Hudson for more than thirty years.
Ava was very socially active, visiting with and entertaining friends often. After graduating high school, she continued her education, studying music in Chicago, Illinois and also at the College in Angola, Indiana. Following her formal education, she taught music in the Hudson, Salem Center and other Steuben county schools. She was active in her church, being a member of The Epworth League, a Christian, young adult organization associated with the Methodist church, which started in 1889 and still exists today. She was a member of the Women’s Relief Corps, a society founded after the Civil War, for women who wanted to help preserve the honor of all those who served our country, especially the Grand Army of the Republic. Members would often be in charge of erecting war memorials, placing markers on veterans’ graves, working to support disabled veterans, war widows and orphans, and organizing Memorial Day events. Being so loved and well known socially, her activities were often recorded in the Hudson section of the local newspapers. I really love one in particular, from 1898, it was reported that Ava received a very fine parrot as a present from a relative in New Mexico.
Defying societal norms, Ava did not marry until 1920, at the age of 48. It was the first marriage for her and her husband, Joseph W. Emenhiser, aged 40. Joseph led an equally interesting life; he was a military man in his younger days, serving in the Spanish-American war, and as a guard on the prison ship that traveled from the Philippines to the Alcatraz prison. Alcatraz was used as a POW facility for Spanish American Philippines Islands prisoners after the war. After his nine years of military service ended, he worked as a guard at Alcatraz for a time and later moved to Auburn, Indiana, where he worked as a painter and decorator.
I find it interesting that in 1918, Ava’s father was the registrar for Joseph’s World War I Draft enlistment. Is this possibly how the couple met? Or did love simply come later in life for the two? The couple’s nuptials took place at the home Ava shared with her parents.
Joseph died in 1941, leaving Ava a widow until her death on March 22, 1949, in Hudson, Indiana. She had been ill since the previous year and resided with her brother. A cerebral hemorrhage, followed by two strokes claimed her life.
1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 Census Records
Woman’s Relief Corps
Epworth Leaque – Angola Herald, Angola, Ind., June 30, 1897
W.R.C. – Angola Herald, May 10, 1899
Chicago music lessons – Angola Herald, Dec. 27, 1893
Music class – Angola Herald, May 9, 1894
College – Angola Herald, June 10, 1896; March 10, 1897; Oct. 27, 1897
Parrot- Angola Herald, July 13, 1898
Frank’s Obit – The Waterloo Press, Waterloo, Ind., June 9, 1927
Katherine’s Obit – Angola Herald, July 5, 1929
Marriage – Steuben Republican, Angola, Ind., July 7, 1920
Joseph’s Obit – Garrett Clipper, Garrett, Ind., Mar. 10, 1941
Ava’s Obit – Garrett Clipper, March 24, 1949
Ava’s Obit – Angola Herald, March 25, 1949
Lloyd’s Obit – Angola Herald, Feb. 10, 1950
Indiana, Index to Select Marriages, 1780-1992, FHL Film Number 1872324, p 188