Sunday, May 8, 2022

Mum, Mom, Mother. The Early Years

     Five or six o’clock would come on a summer day and a cow bell would sound throughout the neighborhood followed by a loud motherly voice…Lin….Ken….Jeff.

Lin, Ken, Jeff
Circa 1958

     We were summoned from our play to come to dinner.  From a friend's backyard, from our playground in the woods, from who knows where.  Childhood in the 1950’s.  

Mother.  Martha Jean Stark Hughes

     Martha Jean Stark, daughter of Charles Edward Stark and Martha Marie Frederick, who married later in life and had one child on December 4, 1921.  Martha, known as Marse, grew up in Avalon, a borough outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, graduated from Wooster College in Ohio and married George VanGilder Hughes, a neighbor, who she attended Avalon schools with from first grade through high school.  

Mom featured on a magazine page
Photography by Alfred Walter Stark
Unable to find the name of the magazine

Circa 1925
Pre School
Photography by Alfred Walter Stark

Elementary School
Photography by Alfred Walter Stark
All dresses made by Mom's Mom
Martha Marie Frederick Stark

Age Ten
Photography by Alfred Walter Stark
Note the beautiful, handwork on the dress
The smocking and embroidered flowers
all created by Mom's mother

     There are numerous, beautiful photographs of Mom, taken through her early years by paternal uncle, Alfred Walter Stark, a professional photographer.

     Mom's years before college was one of privilege.  Not wealth, but certainly one of an upper middle class, even during any financial downturn in the country.  Her father, was the head of the traffic department at Carnegie Illinois Steel Company.   The traffic department was the financial end of the operation...the claims department....the money crunchers.  

1926 Kennywood Park
Cousins with One Dollar Bills
Dorothy and Lois Cooper
Martha Jean Stark

1928 Motor Trip
Martha Jean Stark, Martha Marie Frederick Stark,
Wilhelmine Swartz Stark, Francis Stark
and Charles Edward Stark

Atlantic City

Chicago Exposition 

Camp at Cedar Springs, Canada 

1935 and 1936
YMCA Camp Buddy
Lake Lynn, West Virginia

     There were summer vacations to various cities and beaches, summer camp weeks, family gatherings with both sides of the family (Stark and Frederick), dance lessons, quiet evenings with opera streaming through the apartment played on a Victrola, weekends spent with friends at the movies in town or playing Monopoly.  

     One childhood item that I was unaware of was a speech issue.  Mom did not actually identify what the issue was; however, she did take elocution lessons from her paternal aunt, Emily Stark Miller.  The lessons took place sometime during Mom's elementary school years.  Aunt Emily must have been a great teacher as Mom put the lessons to good use as she moved through her life.

Age Ten
The Pittsburgh Press
December 20, 1931
page 33

Age Thirteen
The Pittsburgh Press
October 9, 1935
page 38

Western Pennsylvania Conference of High School Journalists
Age Eighteen
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
April 21, 1939
page 17

Avalon High School
Senior Photograph

     She was encouraged by her father to excel in academics.  And she did.  By her senior year she was the editor of the senior yearbook, a writer for the school newspaper, elected to The Quill and Scroll (a national honorary journalistic fraternity), acted in two school plays her senior year,  and was one of four commencement speakers....the only female.  By the way the salutatory was given by her future husband, George VanGilder Hughes, who she was dating.  

     Off to The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio in the fall of 1939. George headed to Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania and they continued their relationship long distance.

    I was somewhat amazed by this newspaper article I found. Mom was chosen as a college student to model fall school fashions at Kaufmann's Department store in Pittsburgh. This would have been just before beginning her senior year at Wooster.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
January 26, 1942

The College of Wooster
Class of 1943
Senior Photograph

    Marse pledged a college women's social group, was active in the drama department and Kappa Theta Gamma Wooster's drama fraternity, a department head of the school's newspaper, debate, student senate, YWCA club and The Big Four Cabinet. Her major was English and teaching, graduating in May 1943.

     George had fast tracked his college experience in three years and was already attending medical school at the University of Pittsburgh when Martha graduated.  At this time the young couple knew a child was on the way.  With years of medical school, internship and residency ahead, they made the tough, courageous decision to allow adoption through Catholic Charities.  

Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph
December 2, 1943
Page 17 

     On November  23, 1943, George VanGilder Hughes and Martha Jean Stark married.  

Other Blogs on Flipside





-HUGHES, MARTHA STARK, Christmas Eve in Memory of Mom


-HUGHES, MARTHA JEAN STARK Fearless Females # 8: Journal--Baby Book

-HUGHES, MARTHA JEAN STARK Fearless Females #18: Shining Star Theater

-HUGHES, MARTHA JEAN STARK Fearless Females #17: Social Butterfly

-HUGHES, MARTHA JEAN STARK, Mom’s Last Christmas—Wordless Wednesday




I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2022, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Back to the Fifties: Waffles


     This past Christmas, 2021, my waffle iron bit the proverbial dust.  About once a month I make a batch of waffles and pancakes, freeze them and have them for breakfast for a couple of months.  The Linda Eggo Waffle...😂 


 Last week, while in Walmart, I saw the exact waffle maker I wanted.  Today was its maiden voyage.

     My inner maternal great grandmother, Jessie Pool VanGilder, kicked in and I decided to make the waffles from scratch.  No premade mix this time.  As the waffles were baking away and as each one, done and stacking up on a plate for later freezing, my mind traveled to a memory from my early years.

     In the early 1950's, there were special times that I would spend a weekend at my paternal grandparents, George Henry Hughes aka "Pop Pop" and Sarah (Sara) VanGilder Hughes aka "Grams".  

     From 1950-1956 they lived in a duplex apartment at 168 Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue, a town outside Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. As an elementary aged kid, I called this place the Grandpa Snazzy House.  More about that in another blog.  I have so many cherished memories of this home.  The waffle story is one of them.

     When I stayed at 168 Lincoln, I slept in Aunt Faith's bedroom.  She was attending school at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.  My mother's alma mater. Later in life, Aunt Faith told me that her bedroom set formerly belonged to her maternal grandmother, Jessie Pool VanGilder.  Holy Toledo!  I slept in Great Grandma VanGilder's bed.

     One Saturday morning I awoke and hurried downstairs following the aroma of breakfast that was filling the apartment.  When I entered the kitchen, Grams was busy at the stove and Pop Pop was at the kitchen table reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee nearby.  

     I need to add here that my Grams was a wonderful cook.  Nothing fancy....just delicious.plain.home cooked food.  It was mostly made from scratch.  She was well schooled in food preparation.  Her mother ran boarding houses and then was the cook on several different steamboats.     

My brother at the home breakfast table 
Talk about a choice of cereal.😉

     To my delight, the breakfast menu that morning consisted of waffles, bacon and orange juice.  I want to interject here that my Mom was not a morning person or a cook.  I don't think I had ever seen or eaten French toast until I spent an overnight with my elementary school best friend and neighbor, Ruthie Arthur, circa 1956.  Breakfast at home in the 1950's was a collection of different cereal boxes to choose from on the kitchen table.  Waffles and bacon was the breakfast of kings or a princess 😂   

     And now the cherished memory.  Grams plated my breakfast and placed it before me on the kitchen table.  As I was about to dig in, Pop Pop stopped me.  He took the little metal log cabin syrup container (Remember them?  The container shaped like a log cabin) and poured a small amount of syrup in each little square in the waffle.  💕


I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2022, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mont Mettie Munger Vaudevillian


     I have touched on my maternal grand uncle's (through marriage) time on stage, singing and dancing in vaudeville shows.   Curiosity and fascination with the subject have driven me down the proverbial rabbit hole looking for additional vaudeville information.   Subscribing to the historical newspaper option through ancestry has given me the material I needed.  

     I have covered Mont's family life with his parents, wife and children.  Also his two composed, copywritten songs and his book, Song of Heaven in other blogs.  This one focuses on his vaudeville year from June 1907 to June 1908.

     To date I have no known knowledge as to whether Mont sang in the school or church choir, played an instrument in the school or town band or entertained his family, friends or schoolmates with singing and dancing.  At age twenty-two he made the decision to go on the vaudeville circuit, first as a solo act and then joining Charles Hasty's Vaudeville Company for several months.  I have culled the information from various newspaper articles and The Billboard.  I had hoped to add a photo of each theater; however, have not been too successful.  The venues have either burned down or have been renamed.  

     I have mentioned this story my mother told me in a previous blog.  Back in the 1930's, the Stark family would gather at Mom's Aunt Dorothy's apartment and Uncle Mont would entertain singing and running is fingers up and down the player piano while a piano roll was playing.  As a kid, she thought this to be hilarious.  Little did she know Mont WAS an entertainer when he was 22 and 23.

     This is probably a slim outline of Mont's vaudeville career.  He undoubtedly performed in many other venues and most weeks during the year.  This is what I was able to find researching in newspapers and on line.


The Elwood Daily Record, Elwood, Indiana

     Mont Mettie Munger, performing high class singing and dancing at the Crystal Theatre, June 20, 21 and 22, 1907.

The Republic, Columbus, Indiana
July 24, 1907

The Orpheum--A New Bill
     The new bill at The Orpheum tonight will contain some good things.  Mont Mettie Munger, a refined singer and dancer, will be one of the big drawing cards.

The Republic, Columbus, Indiana
June 26, 1907

Identified as The Orpheum Theatre in Columbus, Indiana
Opened as a vaudeville theater on September 3, 1906

     Mont Munger, high class vocalist, performing at The Orpheum Theatre, Columbus, Indiana on June 24, 25 and 26, 1907.

The Billboard
Volume XIX, Number 27
July 6, 1907

Identified as the Opera House in Shelbyville, Indiana
Name changed to The Alhambra

     Mont M. Munger appearing at the City Opera House in Shelbyville, Indiana on July 13, 1907.

     This is the last article I found Mont appearing on his own without a company.  He joined Charles Hasty's Vaudeville Company sometime in July or August, 1907.

The Call Leader
Elwood, Indiana
August 15, 1907

     This article outlines Charles Hasty's vision for his vaudeville company and the first performance at the Crystal Theatre began on August 26, 1907.  Mont Mettie Munger was a featured act.

The Call-Leader, Elwood, Indiana
August 27, 1907

     "The company consists of the following well known vaudeville artists......Mont Munger, he phenomenal baritone singer, comedian and dancer....."

"The novelty number of the bill is the great sermon song, Pictures From the Book of Life, introduced by Mont Munger, the famous baritone.  A complete set of scenery and effects is carried especially for this allegorical production.  Nothing like it ever seen in vaudeville or elsewhere, before.  It is positively new and original."

The Call-Leader, Elwood, Indiana
August 27, 1907

The Call-Leader
Elwood, Indiana
August 28, 1907

     "......and Mont Munger sings Hasty's original song creation, Pictures From the Book or Life, with great success."

The Reporter-Times
Martinsville, Indiana
September 6, 1907
     Mont Munger in Charlie Hasty's all feature vaudeville company appearing at the Star Theatre in Martinsville, Indiana all week, Friday, September 6-Friday, September 13, 1907.

Elkhart Daily Review
Elkhart, Indiana
September 14, 1907

     Mont M. Munger at the Crystal Vaudeville Theatre the week of September 15-September 10, 1907.  Mont continues to be a member of Charles Hasty's company.  Although the internet only provided this small clip of the newspaper article, "Southern Reminscence's" was one of the mentioned acts in another newspaper article.

     There is almost a month and a half from September 10- November 4, 1907, where I was unable to find any mention of Mont and vaudeville.  Perhaps he took a break from the circuit.  Perhaps he left the Hasty Company and was reestablishing himself as a single act.  The next newspaper mention of him is as an act; however, not with the Hasty Company.

The Chattanooga News
Chattanooga, Tennessee
November 4, 1907
page 3

     Mont M. Munger appearing at Automatic Vaudeville in Chattanooga, Tennessee from Monday, November 4-Thursday November 7, 1907, two shows daily.  Mont Munger a cleaver singing and dancing comedian who is real funny.

Pensacola News Journal
Pensacola, Florida
December 15, 1907

     Mont M. Munger, singing and dancing comedian, appearing at the Crescent Theater in Pensacola, Florida, December 15, 1907.

     This is the last article I was able to locate for 1907.  The newspaper subscription from ancestry does not cover all papers in the US; however, it does have a large selection and a good search engine.  Mont could have been performing in small towns, their newspapers not in my subscription or he may have been off the circuit and looking for a more permanent full time job.

     There are two additional shows in 1908 in which he has an act,  both in Ohio.   He is slowly moving east from his mother's home in Frankfort, Indiana to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he will spend the remainder of his life.  

Dayton Herald
Dayton, Ohio
April 2, 1908

     Mr. Mont Mettie Munger, trinier, singing and dancing artist, appearing April 2, 3 and 4 at the Pastime Theatre in Dayton, Ohio

Mansfield, Ohio
June 16, 1908
page 10

     Mont M. Munger, refined singing and dancing performed at the Alvin in Mansfield, Ohio June 15, 16 and 17, 1908.

     Mont made his way to Pittsburgh and in October, 1908, he married my maternal grandaunt, Lucy Wilma Stark.  How and where they met is a story that is lost to the ages.  By 1909, Mont was employed in Pittsburgh as a stenographer.  His vaudeville days were behind him.

Additional Blogs on Flipside for Mont Mettie Munger:

 Mont Mettie Munger and Lucy Wilma Stark Munger

Mont Mettie Munger--Writer, Composer, Musician and Vaudevillian

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2021, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Monday, May 3, 2021

William Walter Frederick


     My maternal granduncle, William Walter Frederick, son of Alfred F. Frederick and Lucinda Bell Orr Frederick was born in Franklin Square, Columbiana County, Ohio on October 2, 1871.  He was the second child born to the Frederick's and joined his older brother, Albert L. Frederick.

     I believe the boy was referred to as Walter.  He grew up in Franklin Square and later to Columbiana and Salem, all towns in Columbiana County, Ohio.  He was used to his father not being at home as Alfred Frederick worked for the railroad.  Walter had two brothers and two sisters, attended school, played with neighborhood friends, helped with chores, attended church and spent time with a large extended family living in the Columbiana County area.

Frederick Children circa 1886

William Walter Frederick

     This is the only photo I have of Walter.  He would be about fifteen, although he looks younger to me.  

     There are very few records and documents for Walter.  Another case where the 1890 census would be helpful.  

Railroad Fireman

      The railroad fireman fed and stoked the fire in the steam engine train.  Early engines burned from 40 to 200 pounds of coal per mile.  The fireman was also responsible for keeping the wheels lubricated.    

     Walter followed his father into work with the railroad.  From an article featuring Alfred Frederick in a Pittsburgh newspaper, I learned my maternal great grandfather worked for forty years with the P&LE Railroad.  I am not certain which company Walter was with since the tracks all met in larger towns and a person could switch trains.  

    Walter would have been twenty six in 1897. I have used this article to determine when the Frederick family relocated to the Pittsburgh area from Salem, Ohio.  Certainly he would have been employed with the railroad by this time and was probably visiting old friends and family in Salem.

     Probably over a decade ago, another researcher sent me this obituary.  My mother and I had already visited the Columbiana Cemetery and located the Frederick's buried there.  I knew Walter had died at a young age.  The obituary gives a glimpse into Walter's personality--a young man that made friends easily, personable.  

     The W.J. Frederick mentioned was Walter's uncle, William Jackson Frederick, his father's brother.  William Jackson Frederick was a successful business man and for a time, was elected mayor of Garrett, Indiana.  The two women mentioned, Edith and Queen, were Walter's cousins, Mary Edith Frederick and Queen Elizabeth Fredrick.  

     The tracks that Walter traveled the final days of his life belonged to the B&O Railroad.  Garrett, Indiana was a stop on their track.  I am not certain the the P&LE Railroad also used those tracks; however, the P&LE did run from Pittsburgh to Youngstown where Walter would have made a connection to go home.  

     It was from Walter's Mahoning County, Ohio death information that I learned he followed his father into railroading as a railroad fireman.  The medical diagnosis of his death was typhoid fever.



     William Walter Frederick, age twenty seven, died on February 24, 1899 in Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio.  He was buried in Columbiana Cemetery, Columbiana, Columbiana County, Ohio.  His parents were laid to rest beside their son.

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2021, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser