28 January 2015

Workday Wednesday: the Eckman sisters

Yesterday I featured John and Catharine Eckman in my Tombstone Tuesday post. Since several of the children are buried with them and listed on the same stone, I included mention of all 11 children in the post. One of my girls read it and asked why so many never got married. Three of the four unmarried sisters were all teachers. 

Teaching was one job at that time that was acceptable for ladies to do but it involved more than just teaching. Teachers then were expected to be role models. To my 16 year old girls this concept of them not marrying because they were teachers is foreign. I have been at this long enough that I never gave it a second thought. So today, on Workday Wednesday, I thought I would focus on the Eckman sisters. 

The sisters are:
Clara (1858-1927) never married
Dora H. (1861-1882) never married. Died at age 21.
Margaret Estella (1863-1939) married Lewis Eckman on 25 October 1894.
Martha Ann (1865-1924) never married
Winona Sue (1873-1950) never married.
Kate Bernice (1875-1952) never married.
Edith Alberta (1882-1962) married Robert Costello. 

Clara was the only daughter in the 1860 census. She was just two that year. The 1870 Census show the girls – Clara, Dora, Margaret and Martha – at home and school. The 1880 Census shows the girls “at home”. Edith was not yet born then. 

John Eckman, their father, passed on 8 December 1889 and their mother Catharine on 1 August 1896. Being the eldest, Clara assumed the head of house position when their parents both passed. The 1900 Census shows her as such. That year, Clara is a dress maker. Martha is a music teacher. Winona is a school teacher. Edith is still at school herself. Dora has already passed away. Kate is not listed with her sisters in Providence. However, Kate is listed living on Mary Street in Lancaster City with her brother Darius and his wife Ella and their daughter. No occupation is listed for Kate. 

In 1910, Clara is a seamstress for a private family. Martha is a music teacher and Winona is a teacher. Edith is listed as a milliner, although no industry is listed for her. I found Kate living with Nelson and Mabel Oliver over in Christiana. She is listed as a boarder and those names do not appear anywhere else in the family. Kate is a teacher at a public school now.  

Women teachers were becoming more common. They were subject to strict rules. Female teachers were not allowed to marry or even date. Their male escorts were expected to be their father or brothers. Male teachers however were permitted one evening a week to go courting, two if they attended church regularly.  

By 1920 Clara, now 61, is not working. Martha is still a music teacher. Both Winona and Kate (listed as Kathryn) are teachers in a public school. Edith is listed as a milliner in a lumber department. 

Martha died on 26 June 1924 at the age of 58 due to apoplexy. Apoplexy is the sudden loss of the ability to feel or move parts of the body caused by too little blood going to the brain, usually the result of a stroke.  Her occupation was listed as retired piano teacher.  

Clara passed on 4 March 1927 due to myocarditis. Myocarditis is the inflammation of the myocardium, which is the middle muscular layer of the heart wall. Her occupation was listed as dressmaker. 

After Clara passes, Winona is listed as the head of household, according to the 1930 census. Winona and Kate are both still teaching. Edith is now married to Robert Costello. Edith is also now listed as a servant in a private house. 

The 1940 census – which is the last currently available – lists Winona, Kate, Edith and Edith’s husband Robert living there. Winona and Kate both lists their education level a C4, indicating they both attended college, which makes sense since they had been teachers. Edith only attended up to grade eight. None of the sisters have an occupation listed in this census, indicating they all had retired in the last 10 years.  

Winona died on 29 April 1950. Edith was the informant and listed her usual occupation had been a teacher. Her cause of death was arteriosclerosis due to hypertension. 

Kate died on 10 June 1952. Edith was the informant and listed her usual occupation had been a teacher. Her cause of death was carcinoma of intestines with metastasis of the liver.  

Edith passed away on 22 September 1962, a decade later. The cause of death is listed as cerebrovascalar hemorrhage due to hypertension c-v disease. Diabetes was also a contributing factor in her health and subsequently in her cause of death. Her husband lists her occupation as housewife. 


Workday Wednesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.