To me, the interest in these postcards is on the back, in the notes that were written more than a century ago.
This flowery "Greetings" card was postmarked on July 24, 1908, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. (I like the elongated postmark with its Francis Hopkinson version of the 13-star United States flag.1)
The postcard is from Papa and it was mailed to Wesley K. Swartley in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. The note, with its odd mixture of capitalization and non-capitalization, reads:
Dear Wesley,Thanks to online genealogy records, I think I have figured out the identities of everyone mentioned in this postcard.3
We were down to Phila by Trolley on sunday, it was A very hot day, hope you have A good time
Wesley K. Swartley was born on March 31, 1899, and thus would have been 9 years old when he received this.
Wesley was the son of Sylvester H. Swartley and Ida Knepper. Sylvester was a master painter and paper-hanger. The Swartley family lived in Norristown and was of the Lutheran faith.
The postcard was mailed to Tamaqua in care of Harry Knepper (I really thought that was Kneffer in cursive writing), who is Ida's brother and Wesley's uncle.
Wesley grew up to marry a woman named Katie. When the 1940 census was taken, he and Katie were living in Norristown and had a 10-year-old son named Wesley Jr. The three of them were living in a home valued at $3,000 and Wesley Sr. had grown up to be a paper-hanger, like his father.
This "Remember Me" postcard was mailed to Mrs. Mattie Taggert in Nickerson, Kansas. It was postmarked at 6 p.m. on December 30, 1910, in Stanton, Iowa.4
The period-challenged note reads:
Dear MattieNickerson and Stanton are about 360 miles apart (perhaps further, depending on what avenues of transportation were available then), so it would have been quite a production for Mattie to make a December or January trip to visit the writers of this postcard in 1910/11.
well we did not see you Christmas again I think the weather is staying just on purpose for you to come up to see us we are all well and have pretty good appetites I have not had any chicken pie lately though I am still waiting for the letter you owe me We got the Christmas package all right
If Mattie had access to a car (unlikely) and the roads were good (unlikely) and the weather held out (dicey), it might have been possible to make the trip in 3-4 days, with stops in the likes of Salina, Junction City, Topeka and Nebraska City. More likely, such a trip would have required a cobbled-together itinerary employing multiple modes of transportation.
That's a lot of work to have some chicken pie.
As far as who Mrs. Mattie Taggert was, the best clue comes from this genealogy page, which states that a Mattie Snyder was born on November 24, 1888, in La Crosse, Kansas. She married Andrew Taggart5 on August 5, 1906, in Hennessey, Oklahoma. They had three children -- Rector Dee, Ivan Lee and Arlene Ellen.
2. Based on the postmark, the "Sunday" that Papa refers to would have been July 19, 1908. I can't find those weather records for Philadelphia. But here are some notable things that happened on that date:
- Shoeless Joe Jackson married 15-year-old Katie Wynn. Here's their wedding photo.
- American painter Joseph Plavcan was born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, to Czechoslovakian immigrant parents.
- This Rootsweb page
- This specific Rootsweb page for Sylvester H. Swartley
- This 1916 history of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania (for Knepper family information)
- Wesley K. Swartley in the 1940 census, on Ancestry.com
5. The SnyderWeb.com page has references to both Taggert and Taggart, which is not necessarily problematic.