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Margaret was born on a farm...
"Oh master of the heart!"...
John Belcher, the son of Enoch...
Samuel's wife was done have babies...
The earliest and only photograph of a young Margaret...
There are no letters or scrapbooks...
When Margaret returned to Hudson for her mother's funeral...
The mystery of why Margaret returned to Hudson...
He did not wear his lighthouse keeper's uniform...
On January 19,1908
If Margaret had felt constrained...
"Dear Ed, Have been out this PM to call on...
Lakeside was only three miles from the...
Two events marked the calendars of history...
Margaret's husband was German...
During times of war, women have always...
The Great War ended...
"What Nature has writ"...
Margaret did return to Hudson for visits...




Margaret was born on a farm.  However, Margaret was not destined to live her life on a farm.  Neither was she destined to marry a farmer.  She was destined to a life of adventure.  Margaret King was born on August 18, 1876; two years before Edward M. Herman (n) was born.  The town that she was raised in was a long way from Tonawanda, NY.  Even though the state bordered a Great Lake, Michigan was very different from Lake Erie.  Margaret’s hometown of Hudson did have a body of water of sorts, but it was definitely not the same size as the mighty Niagara River that flowed next to Tonawanda.  In fact, some would say it was not even much of a watershed that is if they lived on the banks of the Niagara.  The Bean Creek as it was called by the first settlers to the area has its headwaters near Devil’s Lake in Lower Michigan.  The stream flows south through Michigan to the Tiffin River in Ohio.  Hudson, one of three small towns along the banks, sits halfway down the stream.  It was given the name, “Bean” for the timber that grew along the banks.  Probably, referring to the Red Bud tree, the creek is home to a variety of tree species.  It was also home to an American poet and a lighthouse keeper’s wife.

Hudson, Michigan had been in existence for about 40 years when Margaret was born.  The world into which Margaret arrived would not have an immediate impact on her small town, yet, it would have a great impact on her life when she reached adulthood.   The year of Margaret’s birth, like Edward’s, was also giving shape to the modern world. 

On February 14, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone.  Eight days later John Hopkins University opened its door for the first time.  By March 7, Bell had successfully patented the telephone and 3 days later Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call to Thomas Watson.  It would be quite a few years before his new invention would make its way into the community and homes of her hometown. 

Once again, women would make the news, but not because they had formed a successful political group the year Edward was born.  On March 16, 1876, Nelly Saunders and Rose Harland became the first females to enter a boxing match, fighting each other. 

Beyond a boxing ring, Margaret’s world held one hand on the wild America, while reaching for and shaping with the other hand a modern nation.  The country was facing growing pains and part of those pains involved the Native Americans.  Indian wars were being waged and fought in the not so distant Wild West.  The same month Nelly and Rose met in a boxing ring, a General was destroying the Cheyenne and Ogallala-Sioux Indian Camps. 

Margaret’s world was not the only one changing.   In one month, two worlds would be completely altered by the same event; one for the technological advancement it brought to connect a culture, the other for almost wiping out an entire culture.  On June 4, 1876, an express train called the Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco on the first Transcontinental Railroad.  The groundbreaking journey took only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.  Twenty one days later, General Custer and the entire 7th Cavalry were wiped out by the Sioux and Cheyenne at little Big Horn.  It was one small victory for the Native Americans.  They could stop Custer and his horses, but they could not stop the iron horse from changing their world forever. 

In that same month, a white woman was breaking new ground.  Even though she did not have the right to vote, Sara Spencer, a Republican was addressing the U.S. Presidential Convention.  She was the first woman to have that right. 

By July 4, not only was the country celebrating its Centennial, the first exhibition of an electric light was being exhibited in San Francisco.   At the end of July, another school was established.  This one was to have a direct impact on Margaret’s future husband.  On July 3, 1876, a training school was established at New Bedford, Massachusetts and it would eventually be known as The United States Coast Guard Officer’s Training School.  

The same month Margaret King was born, Colorado became the 38th state admitted into the union.  Little could she have known the year she was born a president was elected, Rutherford B. Hayes, who would vacation in the same community she and Edward would retire, Lakeside, Ohio.    Her life was to be an adventure, a journey and just as the book first published in December 1876; it would involve a body of water.  Mark Twain had just written Tom Sawyer and it was first published as a book that year.  And like Tom, Margaret would travel to distant places and meet with many adventures.

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“O master of the heart!  If in yon land
Thou canst but wander its streets and vales,
And then before the countless millions stand
And tell thy merry and pathetic tales

If thou canst yet thy daily toil prolong.
Plead for the right, and battle with the wrong,
The happiness of heaven will o’er thee spread,
For thou thy path heaven-given still will tread!”

From the poem; The Ship Builder
By Will Carleton, American Poet, 1845-1912

Rich, black loam was the way the earth was described by the first inhabitants of Hudson.  It was good for growing corn and providing crops to sustain cattle and sheep.  The land was filled with trees and the creek, which meandered through the landscape flowing to a larger river in a different state, grew trees very different from those found in New York and Massachusetts.  The water that gave sustenance to these strange trees was given the name, “Bean” by the first people to claim it as their own.

  They came from back east and settled in the area around 1830.  Much like Margaret would do at the turn of the new century; they left homes to find a new place for themselves in a territory as unfamiliar to them as the urban environment would be to her.  Some of these new inhabitants were her forebears.  In 1830, the land was cleared and a cabin was built so others could come and have a place to stay.  The cabin was not intended to be an inn of comfort.  The newly arrived settlers with children and seven-month-old babies had walked for many miles.  They needed a place to stay while making a structure to call home.  Sometimes as many as ten adults and children lived in the one room cabin that contained a cramped loft for sleeping.  These conditions hurried the process of completing their own cabins.  Families moved into the hastily fashioned buildings, often before doors or windows could be properly affixed.  The nighttime would be an uneasy mixture of welcome sleep and terror.  Packing boxes were stacked high inside the open door frames and windows to prevent wolves from an unwelcome intrusion. 

The settlement was first called Lanesville; however, it was commonly referred to as Bean Creek by the local folk.  Eventually, it was given the name Hudson and by 1870, it was incorporated.  Fifteen years after the first person ventured into the wild territory of Hudson, Michigan and long before it was incorporated, an American poet was born next to the Bean Creek.  His destiny was shaped by the land and the people that struggled to live by it. 

William McKendree Carleton was born on October 21, 1845 to parents who had settled in the area along with the other newly arrived people.  Wil Carleton as he was to be known graduated from Hillsdale College.  In 1872, he wrote a poem titled, “Over The Hill To The Poor House”.  A moving piece of literature it addressed the plight of the aged and the indifference of their families.  This piece captured the attention of the nation and suddenly Carleton stepped into literary prominence.  Many of his subsequent poems were about rural life and conditions of the poor. 

Hudson continued to grow becoming a city in 1893.  Four years into the new century, Hudson’s population was 2,307.  The city was considered the second in both population and importance of the three communities along the Bean Creek.  The townspeople were described as being “thrifty”, and this description would later serve Margaret well. 

The people of Hudson had produced a famous literary poet.  Education was important and access to books would insure each child an opportunity to expand the mind.  In order to do this the townspeople determined they needed a library.  There was one obstacle standing before the thrifty citizens of Hudson, money.  Yet, determination to achieve a large goal for a small group moved them to see beyond their limitations.  In Andrew Carnegie, they found a kindred spirit and $10,000 to build their library.  In early 1903, Bryon J. Foster wrote a letter to Andrew Carnegie asking help to build a library.  Mr. Carnegie replied on March 27, 1903.  “If the city agrees by resolution of councils to maintain a Free Public Library at cost of not less than $2,000 per year and provide a suitable site for the building, Mr. Carnegie will be pleased to furnish $10,000 to erect a free public library for Hudson.”  The new library opened in 1905 and by June 1908, there were over 5,000 volumes, more then the entire population of the town. 

In addition to reading, religion played an important part in the lives of the people of Hudson.  Churches were numerous and full.  The Methodist Episcopal Church was the third largest in the county with over three hundred members by the turn of the century.  When Margaret was born, the town of Hudson had already determined her future.  She would belong to the Methodist church, she would be educated and well read and she would be strong and independent.  And like Andrew Carnegie, she would one day help to fund an institution dedicated to improving the mind.

When the census taker for the county listed the occupations of its inhabitants, the children would be recorded as, “Scholars”, rather then “at or in school” as was the customary reference.  It was a fitting testament to a community and their educational commitment.  Margaret would benefit from the visions of those first families who settled on the banks of the Bean Creek and built their homes.   Though she would leave its banks, she would often return to her roots to be nurtured and healed and sometimes to be saved from the isolation of a lighthouse.

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John Belchor, the son of Enoch (who was born in 1818 in Verona, New York State), was born in Hudson.   He married Lucena as it was spelled by the census taker.  She was a member of the Van Akin or Vanakin family.  Variations in the spelling of both her first and last name occur frequently in the census taker’s recording.  Later census records spell her first name as Lucinda and Lucina.  This confusion in spelling can be traced to the 1600’s and its Spanish origins.  (Margaret’s family could also trace their origins to the English court of Henry VIII.  Jane Seymour was one of her ancestors traceable through Lucinda‘s mother‘s family.  The Spanish ancestors traced through Lucinda‘s father and the last date of their tracing was around 1550).  Only a few people living in Hudson at that time would be able to trace their pedigree back to Spain, or the court of Henry VIII.  Lucena was one of those few.  In fact, her family’s origins could be traced back to the banks of another body of water.  In another irony of history, the water, a river was also named Hudson and flowed through the State of New York. 

Just as the Hudson River meandered through the valleys and hills, so did her ancestor’s heritage.  Tracing their roots through Spanish, Dutch, German and English forebears, Lucena‘s family stepped on the shores of the new world in the mid 1600‘s.  Some would live and die long before the new land struggled for independence.  Some would die on the eve of the American Revolution.   And some would travel to the wild forests of Michigan, to do what they had done once before two hundred years earlier, settle on new land.   William H. H. VanAkins and members of his family were the original settlers to the Bean Creek area according to the Hudson historical records published during the early 20th century.  Therefore being born of this new place and now the second generation to live in Bean Creek, John Belchor and Lucena Van Akins settled in the Hudson Township after their marriage and began to farm the land. 

Their story did not end with “and happily ever after”.  When Lucinda was 30 years old, John died.  His death occurred shortly before the 1860 census.  When the census was taken for the Hudson Township Lucinda listed herself as “widowed”.  She was also left with land to farm and four children; W. Thomas, 10; Homer, 8; Carrie, 3 and Hiriam 8 months old.  The 30-year-old widow was not going to sit idly by and watch her farm die, even if her children were still too young to work the land.  And though she refused to succumb to the tragedy of the one death, tragedy would have its own last word.  Hiriam, the youngest and the last of her children with John, died one year later in 1861. How she managed to keep her farm going is not known.  Yet, she did and it prospered.

  By the time Lucena was 40 years old the tenacity of her ancestors was evident in her will to survive.  She had by 1870 married again and kept her property in her own name.  Her oldest son, W. Thomas was 20 years old and earning his living as a musician.  Homer was 18 years old and worked her farm and Clara was 13 years old on the edge of womanhood and helping to care for the newest member of the family.  Lucena was now married to Samuel King and at 40 years of age was starting a brand new family.  Samuel was 2 years old and Mary, the baby was 11 months old.

  Samuel King was born in England in 1820.  How or why he came to America is not clear.  It is difficult to piece together the journey he took from England to Michigan and eventually to Hudson.  He may have had another wife; the census records list another Samuel that is similar.  This person also was listed as having three children, yet there is no mention of them in connection with Margaret’s life.  He was living in Hudson when he and Luecena married in 1865.  Whatever the circumstances surrounding his path to Bean Creek, he was by 1870 an established farmer.   At 50 years of age, his farm was worth $3,000 and his personal wealth was listed as $300.   Lucena, strong and independent, a quality she would pass on to her youngest daughter, owned more property then the man she married and had gained more personal wealth in the years that followed her first husband’s death.  Her farm was valued at $4,100 and her personal property was listed as $400.  She had done remarkably well for herself and family. 

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Samuel’s wife was done having babies.  She had given birth to at least seven recorded in the census records since 1860.  When it was time for the 1880 census, her husband was 60 years old and she was 50 years old.  Her daughter was now 10 years old and the woman who saved her farm and made it prosper could set her sights on raising the last of her family.  Life does not always take kindly to human intentions and plans.  At age 48, when Mary was 7 years old, Lucena learned she was pregnant one last time.  And like Abraham’s wife Sarah, she must have laughed that God would play with her life in this manor.   Perhaps it is not good to question what fate befalls a person.  

The month of February 1876 would experience record high temperatures.  On February 28, the New York Times reported a violent storm swept the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and elsewhere.  It struck with such furry a tornado was produced damaging most of a town and raining hail the size of walnuts and small lemons and with winds of great destruction. 

On July 8 of that year, there were reports of a very large meteor in the night sky.  It was observed passing over the states of Michigan and Ohio.  August’s newspapers reported record-breaking heat preceded by a spring drought.  On August 4, 1876, a New York Times article mentioned a plague of grasshoppers had severely damaged crops and the railroads in the Northwest. 

Fourteen days later Luecena went into labor delivering her third baby girl.  Margaret King had definitely arrived and she was to be the last child recorded in the 1880 census.  She was then 3 years old, her father was 60 years old and her mother was 50 years old.  Clara, the youngest daughter of Lucena and John Belchor was married.  Her last name was Smith and she lived at home.  The Kings had prospered and Samuel was able to hire a man to help work the farm.  Samuel’s son, his namesake was 12 years old and his daughter Mary was 10 years old.  They were both in school and the census recorder for Hudson, Lenewee County, Michigan listed their occupation as “scholar”, “in school”.

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The earliest and only photograph of a young Margaret was taken when she was about three or four years old.  The occasion for the photograph is not known.  It was finely executed from the photographic art studio of D.H. Spencer.  The studio was located on the ground floor, first door east of Comstock House on Main Street, Hudson, Mich.  There are no dates to accompany the small cabinet photograph, just a name handwritten across the back, “Margaret King.” 

Sitting in a chair far too big for her diminutive size, Margaret seems to be thrust into a world she was not ready to embrace.  Captured in that one moment of time and held for all eternity to see is a child of determination.  A round full face and tightly wound curls hold piercing eyes and lips firmly together in a pose that reveals an emotion not often found in one so small.  Margaret it seems did not want her picture taken.  Perhaps she did not want to sit in the overstuffed large chair.  At the precise instant the camera flashed the bulb a tiny leg is thrust out from her skirt, its movement softly visible in the sepia toned portrait.  When this happened, a sliver of her petticoat fell beneath the freshly starched and ironed dress for all the world to see.  The photograph was not retaken. 

Margaret had to stop for another person's world, but she would make sure it became her own because after all, sitting for a photograph was clearly not what she wanted to do on that particular day.  Margaret was the youngest, yet she was not going to let her birth order determine her fate.  No, she would determine her own destiny and it was to begin that day in a photographic studio on Main Street, Hudson.  Margaret would make her own way in the world, leaving Hudson far behind when she did.

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There are no letters or scrapbooks to tell the story of Margaret growing up in rural Michigan.  She left behind no accounting of her childhood.  Later in her life, she would return to visit family and friends.  It may be presumed her early life was for the most part happy.  Her life probably revolved around school and church and farm chores.  The siblings she shared were two separate families entwined in a web of social and community values particular to small towns and cities throughout the mid-west.  Contrary to later, popular belief, they were neither sleepy nor dull.  Hudson had its share of crime.  A bank had been robbed in the years before Margaret’s birth and there had even been a murder.  The murder victim was an infant, the details of which are not clear.  The myth of an idyllic, pastoral small town setting was just that, a myth. 

When Margaret decided to leave Hudson is not known.    The reason for her decision is also not known.  Women of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s did not usually up and leave their communities unless they were forced by some economic or tragic event.  There is no indication either of these played a role in her decision to leave the banks of Bean Creek.  Women had few if any rights to anything in Margaret’s world.  Separate but equal did not apply to women of any color.  They were simply “not equal”.  Unlike men, women did not run off to see the world.  If they did, it certainly was not done without a companion, because it was not seen as acceptable for women to be alone in society.  Women were under the care and protection of men, they were the delicate creatures created to fulfill a destiny of caring for husbands and children.  The balance of power was clearly not in their hands. 

Yet, women by the time Margaret entered the world were not pleased with their lot in life and much to the discomfort of the male sex wanted it to change.  The way to change the balance was by political force.  That force was through securing the right to vote.  The idea that they were not equal to men for many women was as an absurd idea that had been fed to them by males for centuries.  Women had a secret they wanted to share with men.  The secret was, they knew better, they were not delicate imbeciles.  Yet, it would take a world war for the men to learn just how powerful women really were. 

Women from the rural areas of the country often had more power then their urban counterparts.  Women on farms tended to shift the balance of power in ways that the women of the city could not do, especially if those women were more affluent.  A young, single affluent woman was given a male guardian when she became of age.  She could not have access to her money and must give an accounting for her allowance.  If she did not spend it wisely, she might end up in court.  

This is what happened to one unfortunate individual.  In a small city in Texas, a young lady was thought by her male guardian to have spent too much money on travel and clothing.  He refused to pay her bills.  With no means to settle her accounts, the young woman ended up in court.  Cultured and well educated she must now plead her case before a male judge.  The burden was on her to defend her wanton spending.  Her male guardian argued that she had over spent her monthly allotment and therefore he would not pay her bills. 

In the end, the court ruled in her favor, but not before her humiliating experience was recorded for all the spectators.  Women of good standing and breeding were called to take the stand.  They gave an accounting of their spending and what constituted an acceptable allowance for them to maintain a certain lifestyle.  Every inch of her body was dissected from how many hatpins a young woman should have down to her delicate underwear necessities.  When the court was done hearing how many sets of underwear with how many yards of lace was needed and what the cost was for her clothing that should be reasonable for a young woman of her social standing, the judge lowered his gavel to her favor.  The guardian was ordered to pay her bills, but not before the judge admonished the young lady to mind her spending in the future because he did not want her back in his court again.  She was in her mid twenties. (court documents; McNamara House Museum, Victoria, TX)

Margaret was the only female sibling in her extended blended family to have a career outside of the home.  She was also the only person to leave her hometown except for her older brother Thomas.  It is possible he eventually moved to Indiana, but not before his youngest sister removed herself from the family farm.  Margaret left Hudson sometime in the early 1900’s and moved to Detroit, Michigan.  She had a plan and a purpose for that move.  Margaret became a milliner.  There are no records to tell the complete story of her arrival in Detroit, or how and where she learned the art of hat making.  It was a career that afforded women an opportunity to expand their horizons beyond the confines of home and child bearing. 

The business of hat making had always been a “woman’s business”, traceable to the earliest communities in the new world.  Milliner shops could be found in Williamsburg, Virginia in the 18th and 19th centuries.  These shops were always owned by women and employed women.  They were engaged in not only hat designing and making, but also in sewing and garment making.  If the women did not produce hats locally, they would often import them from Paris and New York City.  Even dressmaking was done in local milliner shops.  Women could have a dress made for them from the latest styles worn on the European continent and advertised at the local milliner shop.   In addition to dressmaking, some shops imported the dresses from fashionable cities and they were displayed in the windows of the milliner’s shop.  They were by women and for women only.  Men did not engage in this business.  The men had businesses to run as tailors and may or may not have employed women.   

The 1900 census records Margaret as living still in Hudson.  Her occupation was listed as milliner.  At the time of the census, she was twenty-three years old.  Living at home with her was her mother, now seventy-three years old and her sister Mary, who was thirty years old.  Mary was married to Charles Sheridan a man five years older. 

Both Charles and Lucinda give their occupation as “farmer”.  Lucinda had never given up her occupation or her farm.  Even at seventy-three years of age, she was still working the farm.  Charles was now farming the land for he had married into the family and his occupation listed was farmer.  Mary’s space on the census record for occupation was left blank. 

Lucinda had outlived two husbands and buried at least three children.  She had worked not only her farm, but her second husband’s as well.  Her oldest son by her marriage to Samuel was married to Sarah Farmer and they had a daughter Mary who was five years old.  Samuel was a painter.  Her oldest son by John Belchor was a musician.  All of her daughters had married with the exception of Margaret by 1900.  The only two women in the family with a listed occupation in the 1900 census were the oldest and the youngest, Lucinda and Margaret. 

Yes, Lucinda had done well for her family for they were able now to list a servant on the census.  She had prospered and her rewards were very satisfying.  Yet, soon, very soon, she would lose another child.  However, this time it was not to death, it was to the city, a long way from Hudson and it would be her youngest who would pull up her roots.  Like her mother’s forebears, she would do as they had done almost seventy-five years before, Margaret would travel to a new wilderness and make a new beginning for herself.  Only this time it was not to the wild land of rural Michigan, instead it was to the wild streets of urban Detroit, Michigan.

Shortly after the 1900 census, Margaret left Hudson.  Her move to a city ten times larger then her childhood home was not the usual course for women of her day.  By 1904, she was thoroughly entrenched in the urban experience.  Her address in 1904 was 17 Pine Street.  It may be presumed this was possibly a boarding house for young women.  Today there is no evidence of any such structure.  Yet, it was to this address that the first postcard from Edward M. Herman arrived, telling her he had received her letter “at hand”.  She had by this time met a young sailor.  This sailor was enlisted in the Revenue Cutter Service and sailing on the U.S.S. Morrill.  The Morrill was stationed in Detroit and Edward was part of the year round crew.  He was handsome and seasoned in the way of the world.  His world of the Great lakes, that is and Margaret who was twenty-eight years old was now writing him letters. 

 In 1904, the population of Detroit was 1,790.869 and growing rapidly.  The early 1900’s was experiencing a major shift in the American economy from rural farms to the industrial cities.  The inventions the year Margaret was born had a great impact on the modern world of her adulthood.  Cities such as Detroit were basking in the luxuries afforded by the rapid expansion of the railroads and shipping on the Great Lakes.  The automobile was soon to become the face of Detroit, the river its arms and the Great Lakes the body.  Leaving the other siblings to look for occupations in the larger cities, the first-born sons held the farms of rural America.  The country had just come through an economic panic at the end of the 19th century and the economy was recovering enough so that jobs could be found beyond the farms and small towns.  Those who were either not the firstborn or those who had not inherited the rights to the family farm left their rural communities.  And when they left, they went to Detroit that is if you were from Michigan. 

Once in Detroit the goods and services were beyond the expectations of what could be had on a family farm in rural America.  One could now purchase high-grade electric washers, irons and gas ranges.  No more chopping wood for kindling, indeed the very thought of such activities would make the homemaker shudder in her neatly pressed apron.  The gap between the urban and the rural woman was widening and the chasm that separated them would eventually form a barrier so that many never returned to their roots. 

When you made it in the big city, not only did you have a better life surrounded by everyday luxuries, you could set your sights even higher.  Now the family could take vacations.  The company was not governing the work force or factory management, for unions made it a better workweek and steady pay.  If you were lucky, a paid vacation would allow you to book travel with a travel agent such as Portters Travel Bureau.  Located in the Union Trust Building they offered travel bookings by ocean, air, rail and lake travel. (Although the ad lists "air", the airplane at this time was not yet used for commercial flights. Aviation was still in the experimental stage.)  Woodward Avenue was the up and coming luxury street with shops that catered to the newly rich. 

Pine Street was not far by streetcar and Margaret may have been employed in one of the many high-end hat shops that graced the city.  By 1904, Margaret did not need a guardian to accompany her and she did not need a monthly allowance.  She lived on her own, had a career and her own money to spend as she thought fit.  She was a woman of the times.  She was in love and her destiny seemed fulfilled, until 1905 when her world in Detroit came to an abrupt halt. 

That year two people would move back to Hudson, one because he wanted to return to his roots to write poetry and the other because of a death.  1905 witnessed an increase in the town of Hudson’s population by at least two, Wil Carleton, an American poet and Margaret King, a milliner.  Margaret did not know that when she returned to Hudson upon the death of her mother she would never return to Detroit.  Fate would deal a series of tragedies and Margaret’s life would be changed forever.  Her adventure was to be interrupted with both sorrow and happiness; however, it was to be filled with sadness long before it was filled with joy.

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When Margaret returned to Hudson for her mother’s funeral, she was twenty-nine years old.  She was not old according to her family traditions.  Her brother Samuel and sister-in-law Sarah had been in their early thirties when Mary was only five years old.  Thomas and his wife were married later in life.  They had not started a family by the 1900 census.  Her mother was sixteen years old when she married her first husband, John.  She was thirty-five years old when she married her second husband, Margaret’s father, Samuel.  Yet, for women of the early 20th century, Margaret was old and most would think her prospects were dwindling.  She must have seen her mother as the icon that had held the family together.  A woman of strength and fortitude who carved out a place and a home in the midst of tragedy, Lucinda had also given her youngest daughter a role model that was to serve her well in the future. 

We cannot know if Lucinda gave Margaret her blessings to leave and move to the city, or that she approved of her career choice.  It may have been possible that she met Margaret’s future husband, but it is only speculation.  Yet, Margaret returned often to Hudson after her marriage and it may be surmised she did so because she had a good relationship with her mother and that included her approval of Margaret’s choice in men and career. 

After her mother’s death, Margaret did not return to Detroit.  She might have returned to her position of milliner in a shop located in Hudson, or she may have stayed behind to help settle her mother’s affairs.  Whatever her reasons for staying, Margaret did not give up her relationship with Edward.   It was to become very important to her in the next few years.  If Margaret thought the death of her mother was the end of her world she could not have envisioned the next year and the sorrows it brought. 

1906 was not going to be celebrated with joy and wishes for happiness in the coming New Year.  Instead, it would be marked by another death.  Margaret’s brother Thomas Belchor died at the age of fifty-five on January 1, 1906.  He left behind a wife, Mary and no children. (Margaret's mother died on December 31, 1905. When Thomas Belchor was given the news about his mother's death, he dropped dead from the shock.)  Margaret was no stranger to death, but it seemed a cruel beginning to a New Year. 

She had not yet turned thirty when death once again knocked on their door. 
On July 2, 1906, her brother Samuel King died at the young age of thirty-five two days and six months after her other brother.  His death left behind a wife, Sarah and their daughter Mary, now eleven years old.  For Margaret, the burden of grief must have been over-whelming.  Yet, she was much grounded in her Methodist faith and it was most likely that faith which gave her strength and helped her to cope. 

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The mystery of why Margaret returned to Hudson from Detroit is partially solved.  The death of her mother and family members prevented her return to Detroit.  Yet, the relationship between Margaret and Edward kept at a distance remains elusive and without correspondence to fill in the gaps.  Edward had received a postcard from a woman named Cass in 1906, dated the month of March, two months after the death of Margaret’s brother.  Questions remain unanswered about the time between 1906 and the next correspondence Margaret received from Edward.   Things were very much changed in both their lives.  It was now 1907.  Margaret was thirty-one years old.  Edward was no longer enlisted in the Revenue Cutter Service.  He was appointed to the United States Lighthouse Service.  He began his duties at the Horseshoe Reef Lighthouse and the Buffalo Life Saving Station on May11, 1907. 

On October 19, 1907, Edward sent Margaret a postcard.  Was this his way of trying to reconnect a relationship that had been left to the wayside by time, circumstance and career choices?  On the other hand, was it simply a compassionate lover, trying to send a quick message to a woman he loved who had been met with much tragedy over the past several years?  Edward was an assistant lighthouse keeper, his younger brothers Alfred and Charles were soon to follow his example, one to sail with the Revenue Cutter Service and one to sail on a lighthouse tender.  Edward was approaching twenty-nine years of age.  The brief message of his postcard, “Hello Margaret how are u will write soon.  How is everything at Hudson With wishes E.M.H.”, is written in haste and on the back of a picture of the Buffalo Harbor.  It may be this is the first time Margaret sees the place that she will eventually call her home. 

Margaret remained in Hudson and was strengthened by her close ties to the rest of the family.  Lighthouse keepers did not have much of a chance to get away for a vacation and travel would have been difficult under these circumstances.   No letters or postcards survive from either Edward or Margaret until the fall of 1907.  If Margaret traveled to Buffalo to visit, it is not known.  Most likely, she stayed in Hudson.  What is clear from the correspondence of 1907, Margaret and Edward continued to have a relationship.  Perhaps Edward waited until he was settled in the Lighthouse Service as a keeper, or he may have waited for Margaret to recover from her grief, or perhaps it was Margaret who wanted to wait.  After all, the wife of someone out to sea eight or nine months of the year is not exactly a romantic beginning for a newly wed couple. 

On January 14, 1908, Margaret and Edward were married in Hudson, Michigan, after the navigational season had ended.  Margaret was thirty-two years old and Edward was thirty years old.  Some twenty-four years had passed since the first picture of Margaret was taken in a chair much too big for her. 

This time her photograph would tell a very different story.  There was no chair to engulf her in its overstuffed arms.  Instead, she is framed by a delicate oval boundary next to the man she had loved for so many years.  Still dressed in her dark mourning clothes with only a simple jet necklace her face reveals an emotion captured for all of eternity.  Her piercing eyes are softer, wider and her lips not so tightly pursed almost seem to emit a secret smile. 

The secret behind Margaret’s slight smile was that her destiny had been partially fulfilled, she had taken command of her world and that day unlike twenty-four yeas earlier, she wanted to have her photograph taken.  She had captured the heart of an enlisted officer in the Revenue Cutter Service and a Lighthouse Keeper.  She was right were she wanted to be.

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He did not wear his lighthouse keeper’s uniform on his wedding day.  His suit dark and well fitted surrounded a freshly starched white shirt and held the face of a man serene and content.  Edward’s eyes look into the camera, deep set and dark they are the counter balance to Margaret’s fair complexion and light colored hair.  Edward by contrast has thick, dark, wavy black hair.  Looking closely, Margaret is not the only one who had a secret smile that day.  So did Edward and his smile was ever subtle, if caught at all by the observer.  His secret was the beautiful woman beside him and in front of him.  He had taken command of his world and now she was apart of it.  He had given his heart to a beautiful, strong, independent woman who was just right for the life of a lighthouse keeper’s wife.  His destiny had also been partially fulfilled that day and like Margaret, he was right were he wanted to be.  

The trip back to Buffalo was uneventful.  Little did Margaret know that two weeks after their arrival, Edward would be back tending the light.   He would also be stranded for many days at the Horseshoe Reef Lighthouse, unable to return to the shore because of the tremendous ice jam.  Edward was not the only person stranded.  Margaret would be stranded at the new keeper's residence alone, and without her husband of less then two months.  The next month, February would set record-breaking snowfall throughout the mid-west, especially in Michigan and Illinois.  Margaret was about to meet Buffalo and Tonawanda. 

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On January 19, 1908, two postcards were sent to Hudson, Michigan.  One was to Claire Belchor and the other was to C.E. Sheridan.  Margaret had married someone quite different from her family.  He was not a farmer and his family had not been living in America for over two hundred years.   They were German and lived in Tonawanda.  His family must have been very pleased to learn that Edward would be returning close to home to serve as the lighthouse keeper at the Horseshoe Reef Lighthouse in Buffalo.  After all, he could have been assigned to any one of the many lighthouses located on the five Great Lakes.  Travel to Buffalo from Tonawanda was still not easy.  However, it was a lot better then going to some place far away.  He was also bringing a new wife home and she was beautiful, smart and had lived by herself in Detroit.  Not one of Edward’s sisters had gone off to a big city to pursue a career.  Margaret was a Methodist and it was accepted Edward would follow her into the new religion.  Eleven days after their marriage and return to Buffalo the newly married wife penned those two messages with pride on her first postcards as Mrs. Herman (n). 

The first postcard was addressed to Miss Claire Belchor, Hudson, Michigan.  She writes to Claire that the home they live in “is right down the pier” and points out Edward’s lighthouse.  She also notes that it is now “all ice and snow”.  The ship on the postcard was to play an important role in their lives.  She tells Claire it is the tender Crocus.  This tender would travel to Edward’s second lighthouse bringing much needed supplies and books for them.  The postcard is signed, “Mrs. E.M. Herman”.

The second postcard is addressed to C.E. Sheridan, Hudson, Michigan.  Choosing a card with a scene from a storm the previous year, Margaret writes that the house is down the beach.  When Claire’s card arrives, they would have a better idea.  It is signed simply, “Margaret Herman”.

Early Buffalo photographs are of Margaret and Edward in his lighthouse keeper’s uniform standing in front of the large keeper’s residence, which was newly built to house the keepers.  Life on the “beach” as the 1910 census taker referred to the area was not isolated.  The Buffalo Life Saving Station was a large and busy complex.  There were other lighthouse keepers to serve the main light and there were keepers and Life Saving crews.  Presumably, the keepers had families, especially wives that Margaret could look to for companionship and support. 

Buffalo was a busy and growing city when Margaret arrived.  It was one of the busiest on the Great Lakes, which made working the harbor one of the more dangerous for sailors and lighthouse keepers.  Margaret would have to be strong for there would be many times her husband was stranded at the lighthouse and could not return home.  She does not write any of this or convey her thoughts and feelings during her first year of marriage.  (Less then two weeks after their return to Buffalo following the wedding, Edward was stranded for many days at the lighthouse because of ice and storms.  Margaret was stranded at the new residence without a husband.  Edward recounted the story years later to a newspaper reporter). 

There are no other postcards save the two written to family in Hudson shortly after her trip to Buffalo.  Most likely, her first year of marriage was spent adjusting to living at the keeper’s residence and making a home for them.  She probably had to learn all about her new family in the not so distant Tonawanda.  Fitting in would never be easy for Margaret, especially when you are thirty-two and have lived on your own in a large city. 

By the time the second navigation season ended on Lake Erie, Margaret did not want to spend her second Christmas with keeper Edward in Buffalo.  She left for Hudson leaving her husband behind.  Their life must have been happy those first two years.  Edward wrote to his wife in Hudson on December 20, 1909.  “Dear Margaret”, the card began and went on to describe the horrible weather conditions he faced in Buffalo.  “The harbor is already full of ice and it was very cold”.  Because of the ice, he was not able to ferry across from the lighthouse to the residence. He must have stayed there at the light while she was gone.  A loving husband writes that he had to walk over the ice and a great distance around to fulfill her request.  The request was for Edward to recover her fur and bring it with him when he traveled to Hudson.  

Margaret’s fur coat had a long and colorful history.  It symbolized for her a part of life that did not involve the hardships of living at a lighthouse.  She wore it often along with a large hat of grandeur proportions, and may have been of her own design.  Elegant and regale she is photographed in her coat and hat time and time again.  Why she did not take it with her on the journey back home will never be known.  Yet, Margaret’s fur coat would still be remembered as being very important to her ninety-six years later.  Edward’s niece wrote a letter to his great niece in 1996 reminiscing about Margaret and her life at the lighthouse in Ohio.  “She always wore her fur coat in the winter-it was one she brought with her from Hudson.  She was never without it and it was very important to her.”  This niece did not know that Margaret’s husband had walked across a frozen harbor on a blustery cold day in December to retrieve a warm fur coat for his beloved wife of less than two years.  

When he wrote this postcard to his wife Edward for the first time in any of the correspondences sent to her signed it, “with love, Ed”. 

The year 1909 also marked a change in Margaret’s hometown.  The population had grown enough the mail needed to be sent to an address.  The card was mailed to:

Mrs. Ed. M. Herman
C/o C.E. Sheridan
R 4 Box 73
Hudson, Mich

Margaret and Edward spent their second Christmas together as a married couple on the banks of the Bean Creek, in a house on route four, a long way from the lighthouse in the Buffalo harbor. 


If 1909 marked a change in Margaret’s hometown, it also was the beginning of change in Buffalo and Tonawanda and the world.  On January 16, 1909, Ernest Schackleton located the magnetic South Pole.  January 23 the first radio rescue at sea occurred.  Women still did not have the right to vote.  As the suffragists were taking to the streets to make their voices heard, the civil rights of another group, this time men were becoming an issue. 

The African American community was trying to shift the balance of power by forming on February 12 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  While the political and racial climate was gearing up steam, the technological side of the economic coin was also gaining great momentum.  On February 22, the Great White Fleet, the first U.S. Fleet to circle the globe returned to Virginia. 

The month of March began with the Inauguration of a new President taking place during a huge blizzard.  On March 4, 1909, President Taft took the oath of office and became the twenty-seventh President of the United States of America in a record-breaking 10-inch snowstorm.  The next month Robert Peary and Matthew Henson reached the North Pole. 

That summer the United States was making the headlines on a monthly basis and they always had the word “first” in them.  In June the first U.S. Plane was sold commercially by Glenn Curtiss and in July, Orville Wright tested the first U.S. army plane.  Three days later the Wright brothers delivered the first military plane to the army. 

The summer of 1909 ended with the first SOS used by an American ship the Arapahoe off Cape Hatteras, NC and on August 29, the first air race was held in Rheims, France and won by Glenn Curtiss.  Women were making a name on an international level, even if they were not gaining a foothold in the U.S. political scene.  On December 31, 1909, Madame Currie received her second Nobel Prize. 

Margaret’s new extended family was also experiencing change.  By the summer of 1909, Edward’s younger brother had enlisted in the Revenue Cutter Service.  Alfred was sailing on the U.S.S. Morrill and like his brother hoped to become a lighthouse keeper.  Charles, another younger brother wrote to Alfred about his own aspirations that summer. 

In doing so there is a glimpse of what Margaret was feeling.  The days when Edward was at the light were long and lonely for her.  She did not wish to spend them in isolation, not when there was family near by.  She often went to Tonawanda to the large house on Broad Street, spending time with her husband’s family.  The days were spent reading or visiting with her sisters and brothers-in-law and her new mother-in-law.  Charles and Margaret may have formed a close relationship during those lonely times when her husband was out to the lighthouse.  They may have even gone to baseball ball games, Charles wrote to Alfred he was reading and then heading out to a ball game later.  Margaret, he mentioned was also at the house.  Years later, when Margaret and Edward lived in Marblehead, Ohio Charles and his family would often visit during the summer months.

 She also had a good relationship with Alfred who wrote to her while sailing on the Morrill.  Addressed to Mrs. E. M. Hermann c/o the Life Saving Station at Buffalo, Alfred’s postcard was filled with newsy information about life on the ship and the parade they had marched in making “a fine showing”.  The postcard picture was the Barcelona Lighthouse.  Alfred was seventeen years old. Alfred’s brother was his idol and he wanted to journey down that same path.  He was not about to waste his time on Great Lakes cargo ships.  No, he was going to sail with the military, the Revenue Cutter Service. Perhaps Margaret was fond of Alfred because he reminded her of her own now deceased brothers.  Or, perhaps he reminded her of Edward.  Whatever the reason, the postcard from Barcelona, New York State stayed with her until her death.  Perhaps it was because this was the last postcard Alfred would ever write to his sister-in-law. 

If 1906 had been a year of sorrows for Margaret’s family, then 1910 was to be the year of sorrows for Edward’s family.  Margaret must have thought she was back in Hudson, because what had happened to her then could not possibly be happening again.  Only this time the deaths were in her new family and the place was Tonawanda, New York.  Two years into her marriage, she was called upon to give comfort and solace to not only her husband, but also her in-laws. 

On April 7, 1910, Mary Wilhelmina Rosina died at the age of twenty-two.  The circumstance surrounding her death remains a mystery. (Recent family recollections by a niece indicate she may have died from diphtheria or meningitis). However, to another generation she remains a mystery.  Most of the nieces and nephews could not remember an aunt named Mary.  If there were pictures of her, they are non-existent now.  She is perhaps an unidentified sister in a family portrait, but it is not certain.  What is certain is that she slipped from life without any traces of being in this life, except for her death card.  There were no postcards, no letters, nothing, except a wondering question by a great niece almost one hundred years later about her.  The question for the most part, would never be answered because very few family remembered her or knew she existed.  Yet, for all of her life she lived in the large house on Broad Street.  She was surrounded by older and younger siblings and a mother and father.  There had not been a child’s death in the Herman (n) family since 1894.  Years later, all that remained to tell her story of life was a handwritten notation in a wire notebook.  It simply read, “Mary Wilhelmina Rosina Herman, 22, 1910-4-7”. 

Exactly five months later, Margaret’s favorite nephew was dead.  The family would remember this child.  On September 6, 1910, Alfred Herbert Herman (n) died of a ruptured appendix.  His younger sister, Clara remembered well the events that led to his death.  Suddenly his appendix burst.  They called for the doctor.  When he arrived, the dinning table was cleared and Alfred was laid upon the wood surface.  The family held the lights so the doctor could see to operate.  The tools for operating were laid out on the kitchen counter and the sisters acted as nurses, handing the instruments for cutting as the doctor called out for them.  Alfred was in horrible pain and the sisters could hardly bear the sights and sounds.  Quick as the doctor was he could not save Alfred from the infection that had already spread throughout his body.  Alfred died that night on the family dinning room table with his sisters still holding the light.  He was only eighteen years old. 

There were no postcards to tell of the grief the family suffered in 1910.  It is doubtful Margaret traveled anywhere to visit that year.

Edward’s brother Charles had written to Alfred while he was serving on the U.S.S. Morrill the summer of 1909 that he wanted to do something meaningful with his life.  The inference was that his two brothers had a meaningful life and he did not.  After Alfred’s death Charles found that meaningful something.  He was now sailing the Great Lakes on a lighthouse tender. Her name was the Crocus.

 1911 was another year of technological and political firsts, although not all of them took place in this country.  On January 26, Glenn Curtiss piloted the first successful hydroplane in San Diego, California.  American women were still voicing their protests because they did not have the right to vote.  Another country was to grant women that right long before the United States.  On April 30, Portugal approved women’s suffrage.  While the voices of women were coming together to push for that right in this country, the distance between the coasts of the continent was getting shorter and the faster mode of transportation would help women in their quest for voting rights.  On September 17, 1911 the first transcontinental airplane flight took place from New York to Pasadena. 

On December 11, 1911, a postcard arrived to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Herman (n) c/o the Buffalo Life Saving Station.  It was from Charles sailing on a “fine cutter” (the cutter he was referring to was the lighthouse tender, Crocus).  They had rescued five men on a boat that “stove a hole”.  The picture on the postcard was a nighttime view of Marblehead Lighthouse.  Several years later, the irony of the card must have seemed a funny joke to Margaret and Edward.  

By 1912, Margaret had been living at the Buffalo Life Saving Station for three years. She traveled back to Hudson periodically for extended visits.  There was family in New York that she connected with and visited.  Distantly related to her through Lucinda and the Dutch ancestors, Margaret discovered them or knew about them already.  The Manges trace their family ancestry through a family, which sailed to America on the Mayflower.  This same family traces their roots through an English line to the courts of Henry VIII.  The pedigree of Margaret’s family connects various lines to Jane Seymour, one of only two wives not beheaded or divorced. (For more information on the wives of Henry VIII:  www.tudorhistory.org/wives/  ). 

Now, Margaret seemed somewhat unhappy to be were she was at this particular point in her life.  If she thought about having children, she never wrote to any of her sisters or if she did, the letters do not survive.  She was thirty-six years old.  Her mother had born children, herself included well into her fortieth year.  She was no doubt involved with her Methodist church, but that did not remove the loneliness she felt, especially when Edward was at the light for extended periods.  Sometime in the fall of 1912, Margaret left Edward to visit her distant relatives in Waterloo, New York.  There is only one postcard from Edward to Margaret.  From the contents, it seems that Margaret may have first gone to Hudson and from there traveled to Waterloo, New York.  The weather, Edward writes, “Is squally and blowing hard”.  He has received “Mate’s card and two of yours”.  He also ate up the leftover ham and apple pie.  He had gotten his suppers uptown and went to the academy.  “It was a fine show”.  “I have been to market this morn and got myself some grapes”.  Then he asks her a question.  It is the type of question one expects not from a happily married couple, but when one of the pair is not content in the marriage.  “When are you coming home?”  The card was signed, “Edward”.  This was not the same Edward who had walked across the frozen harbor to retrieve his newly wedded wife’s fur coat and had signed the card to her, “love, Ed”. 

It was one year later when another postcard was written and saved.  Margaret was no longer living at the Buffalo Life Saving Station in the keeper’s residence.  She was living at 346 Broad Street, Tonawanda, NY with her in-laws.  This time Margaret was to receive another postcard of a lighthouse.  Not a picture of a nighttime scene, it was a bright, clear day and the lighthouse was Marblehead Lighthouse, Ohio with the keeper’s residence gracing the edge of the shoreline.  Edward sent it to “give you an idea of the place”.  It was the first time Margaret saw her new home and Edward’s future lighthouse.  

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If Margaret had felt constrained by her life on the beach at the mouth of the Buffalo harbor living in a busy social complex, she would soon find herself at the opposite end of the spectrum.   Marblehead, Ohio was located at the other end of Lake Erie, heading west from Buffalo.  While an immediate busy social complex did not surround this new place, it must have looked much like the community of Margaret’s childhood.  For Margaret, it must have seemed like coming home.  Buffalo had been a long 360 miles from Hudson, Michigan.  Marblehead, Ohio was only 114 miles to Hudson and a mere 105 miles to Detroit.  Marblehead was close to Sandusky, a major shipping port on the lake and only 21 miles from the lighthouse.  And like Hudson, Sandusky had acquired a library from the coffers of Andrew Carnegie.  Only, Sandusky’s library was several floors and many volumes larger then the library in Hudson.  Even though Sandusky was much larger then Hudson, it had a similar historical flavor.  Both Hudson and Sandusky had played a part in the Underground Railroad.  Famous people had walked the streets of Sandusky.  Hudson could boast a native son; Sandusky could boast a visit by Charles Dickens.  Well, the townspeople were able to recount that he had passed through on a brief visit.  Unfortunately, for the town, Charles did not write a very glowing report.   Never-the-less, Sandusky was by the time Margaret and Edward stepped onto the shores of Marblehead, a thriving small city, just the right size for someone with a rural background. 

The lighthouse itself was a welcome change from the dangerous and unappealing Horseshoe Reef Lighthouse.  The land was much more isolated, but the lighthouse was already famous and picturesque.  People actually traveled to visit the lighthouse and take in the surrounding beauty of the landscape.  There was no pollution from the industrial waste of a city, the air was clean and bright and the lake waters a vivid blue.  Edward would no longer be stranded miles from the keeper’s residence tending to the light.  He was only steps away from his watchtower.  There were apple trees, cherry trees, and a place to have a garden with fresh vegetables in season gracing the table. 

The new keeper’s home was not newly built, but it was clean and spacious.  The residence itself lacked the more modern conveniences that a larger city could offer such as indoor plumbing and an electric range.  However, Margaret had grown up with a wood burning stove.  She already knew how to prepare the kindling for burning and stoke the fire.  And Margaret already knew how to cook on a wood burning stove; she had done it all her life.   Margaret and Edward were assigned the upstairs apartment and the head keeper, Charles Hunter was to live on the first floor.  From the upper apartment, Margaret could see the winding staircase of the lighthouse through the tower windows.  She would be able to watch Edward as he climbed those stairs and from her windows, she could see him on the balcony gazing out to the inland sea.  

There was another reason Marblehead was a good place for Margaret.  They were used to strong, independent women.  And they were not the types who were the wives of ship captains and lighthouse keepers, no; they were the keepers of the lighthouse.   When the first of Margaret’s ancestors were settling on the banks of the Bean Creek and establishing the community of Hudson, Rachel Wolcott was already tending to the lighthouse after the death of her husband, Benejah Wolcott in 1832.  In 1896, another woman took on the responsibilities of tending the light after her husband died.  Johanna McGee along with her children kept sailors safe from the treacherous Lake Erie waters until Charles Hunter arrived in 1903. 

If there was anything to damper Margaret’s enthusiastic arrival, it was the marital status of her husband’s partner.  Charles Hunter was a seasoned laker and son of a Great Lakes ship captain.  He had been an assistant keeper at the 30 Mile Point Lighthouse located on Lake Ontario before assuming the position of head keeper at Marblehead.  Although he and Edward had much in common from a career point of view, Edward had a wife.  Charles Hunter did not.  Whether this was an issue of concern at first, Margaret never revealed her feelings.  A bachelor for some fifty years, Charles would take a wife to live downstairs from Edward and Margaret seven years after their arrival.  Before then, Charles and Margaret developed a close working relationship when a war landed on the lighthouse doorstep.  Yes, this was going to be a good place for Margaret.

On October 12, 1913, Margaret and Edward moved from Buffalo to Marblehead (Edward arrived before Margaret, she stayed with her in-laws until it was time for her to join Edward).  Five months before the spring of 1913 experienced one of the worse natural disasters on record.  On March 25, 26, 27, Ohio experienced the Great Flood of 1913.  The Sandusky River flowed over its banks flooding Tiffin, Sandusky and the surrounding area.  Nineteen lives were lost and the economic cost was devastating.  One month after they arrived at the new lighthouse, Buffalo and Lake Erie experienced one of the worse storms ever recorded on the lake.  Called the Great White Hurricane, the storm was responsible for the loss of many lives and the sinking of a brand new lightship.  Safely and without incident, keeper Herman (n) and Margaret arrived in October and began life in a new state.

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“Dear Ed, Have been out this P.M. to call on Mrs. And Mr. Gibson.  We are going to church this evening.  All are well.  It is so very cold here.  Matie had a four hour wait at the train so she did not get here until 3 o’clock or after.  We are going up in the city tomorrow.  Love from all, Margaret.”

To E.M. Herman
Marblehead, Ohio
September 9, 1914 Mailed from Detroit, Michigan

Margaret was thriving in her new environment.  Her postcard to Edward was lively and upbeat.  People of her own faith, Methodists, also surrounded her.  She would go to the big city for relaxation and entertainment, but not before she went to church.  In the early 1900’s church as it had been the previous century was central to many people’s lives.  It provided the social entertainment for families, and often was the only provider of educational opportunities, especially for women.  The church was at the front of social, political and reform issues.  The idea of the separation of church and state was an ideological conviction not held by the masses unless you were against the platform of reform that a particular denomination stood for.  While men may have preached the protestant gospel, women were the movers and shakers of the bible, giving voice to the morals of right and wrong with strong political agendas.  

During the 1800’s the political agenda had been the abolition movement and the rights of women, namely to vote.  In the 1900’s the political agenda had been the women’s temperance movement and the right to vote.  The way to get your particular political agenda through was by the power of the vote.  Whether you were a liberal or a conservative woman, you were united by the desire to obtain the right to vote.  Each group needed this right to further the cause of their own agendas and voting was the only way to accomplish this. 

Men had failed miserably in the areas of social reform and women‘s education and health issues.  Denying education to women and basic human rights to children, it was left to women to forge a new frontier, the women’s movement.  In doing so women crossed all political and religious lines to gain the freedom to vote and shape the country’s politics, as they deemed necessary.

The women’s suffragist movement has a long and complicated history in The United States.  As early as the late 1700’s the issue was made public and continued to become an issue although it usually involved individual circumstances.  The early 1800’s gave rise to more voices, mostly women who expressed the desire that they should have the right to vote.  The voices heard were for the most part not at the national level, but within individual states.  Some states such as Utah did give women the right to vote, but it was not generally accepted and was negated at the federal level.  Following the War Between the States women grew more active in the movement to secure the right to vote.  That right had been granted to men of color, while women of any color still did not have that privilege.  Although there were men of both white and color who supported granting women the right to vote, it was not largely accepted by the opposite sex.  Not all women supported the right to vote.  Some felt that it undermined their roles in the home and society and actually hindered their political power and personal relationships with men. 

Men of the late 19th and early 20th century mostly feared giving women the right to vote would mean the temperance movement would succeed and the prohibition of alcohol would become national policy.  The complexities of the issue are far greater then any one slight discourse could give justice to its history, however it remained one of the more important hindrances for women’s voting rights.  By the turn of the century, women had united into a strong political force and it was not just at the individual or state level.  They had formed a strong political voice at the national level with the formation of a national women’s political union. 

Education for women was another area of contention for the female sex.  Schools had been opened to both sexes at the lower grade levels for decades.  Yet, for many Americans the highest level of education thought necessary for life skills was the eighth grade.  “Getting an education,” meant learning the basics, reading, writing and math.  Colleges were expensive and few had opened their doors to females.  Many jobs that did employ women, such as teaching and nursing were closed to them after marriage.  Higher professional levels such as doctors and lawyers were not generally thought acceptable for women.  While there were some women who did enter these professions, they did not make up the majority of their sex.  Women who wanted more in life then to sit by the fire darning socks had to formulate a plan. 

When Margaret first placed her foot on the rocky soil of the Marblehead peninsula, she stepped right into a community that had one such plan.  Not only had it been in existence for a long time, it was also Methodist.  Margaret’s life was soon to become a part of Lakeside, Ohio and she would be influenced by their religious, political and educational responses to the world around them.   The community would also provide both Edward and Margaret a support system and a place to call home when Edward retired from the United States Lighthouse Service. 

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Lakeside was only three miles from the Marblehead Lighthouse.  Located on the shores of Lake Erie in northern Ohio it was initially formed in 1873 as a revival campsite.   Revival campsites were popular Christian forums for invigorating the “spirit” of the local people and were more prevalent in certain denominations.  The Methodist church was one such denomination.  People traveled to hear sermons by well-known ministers, often setting up camps with tents and sitting on wooden planks.  Some of the revival meetings lasted for days. 

While Lakeside first started out as one of these camps, it evolved into a much different type of community by the late 1800’s.  Beginning in 1875 construction on a hotel was started.  The hotel when finished changed the community from a tent revival community to a place where both religious renewal and recreation could take place.  Lakeside was a progressive thinking “Chautauqua Community”.  These communities became popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  By the early 1900’s there were more then 300 Chautauqua resorts associated with both Christian and Jewish congregations.  They were located from New Jersey to California.  By definition, a Chautauqua Community is a resort that combines religious observation, summer education, recreation and cultural opportunities. 

Lakeside was all that and much more.  The newly finished Lakeside Hotel provided a place for not only summer vacationers, but also famous visitors to the community.  Cottages were built replacing the tents and eventually the community had established a year round permanent population.  It was also a place where women could have more in-depth educational experiences then what was available to them and this included education that was more then just religious.  Indeed some of the Chautauqua communities provided secular education in the form of “Normal Schools”.  These schools took the place of the college experience, were open to women and their curriculum enabled women to become teachers.  A college education was not required for a woman to teach until after the turn of the century.  Some of these early Normal Schools went on to become accredited colleges and universities in the mid 20th century.

Lakeside was considered one of the better Chautauqua communities because college professors from Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan, Baldwin University, Ohio State, and Wittenberg University spent the summers conducting classes.  The classes consisted of art, music, literature, chemistry, foreign languages, geology, and health issues. 

Women instructors gave the face of Lakeside a much different role model.  These women were educated, strong and independent.  They did not necessarily reflect the general population or attitudes toward females.  By 1890, Lakeside was advocating health and fitness for women.  Women such as Dr. Mary A. Allen gave lectures for girls and women on health and fitness subjects as well as physiology.  Medical doctors continued the practice of lecturing on health and hygiene to the Lakeside Community.  They were not always men.  Dr. Carolyn E. Geiselt’s lectures in 1915 and 1917 focused on Community Hygiene.  Dr. Lena Sadler and her husband conducted health conferences during the time leading up to WWI and during the 1918 flu pandemic. 

Cultural events were another important aspect of the Lakeside Community. Musical events were an acceptable form of entertainment. Dancing was not. For those who wished to partake in the forbidden fruit, the dance hall was just west of the West Fence at Erie Beach Dance Hall. Attending a dance was not something one did with the full knowledge of the community.  Therefore, summer and year round residents attended acceptable concerts and listened to guest speakers from a variety of areas.  Such notable speakers as Ida Benfrey, Maud Charlesworth Booth, May Antin, Madame Ernestine Raesler Schumann-Heink, contralto Madame Louise Dilworth Beatty Homer (at the time of her appearance the League of Women Voters had voted her one of the twelve greatest Americans.  She also had combined a successful career with motherhood), Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt and Marion Anderson.  Ms. Anderson had been denied permission to sing in Constitution Hall by the DAR in 1939 because she was black.  A recognized artist in Europe, the Lakeside Community embraced her concert in 1951. 

Numerous opportunities for expanding the mind were organized; 1880 the Literary and Scientific Circles, 1890 the National General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1894, Lakeside Federation of Women’s clubs, 1895 Lakeside Noonday Club, and many other groups and clubs which dealt with political and social issues of the time period were formed.  They gave a rich banquet of choices from which the women could draw inspiration as well as become members through their various commitments.  When the Women’s Home Missionary Society was organized, Lucy Webb Hayes, the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes was recruited to be the national president.  Lucy was a graduate of the Wesleyan Female College in Cincinnati.  Rutherford B. Hayes held reunions of his Civil War regiment at Lakeside.  Lucy encouraged undertaking projects to help the recently freed black women in the south and with immigrant women in the north.  Although the First Lady broke many female stereotypes, she was opposed to women having the right to vote. 

A sampling of the speakers who came to lecture include, 1895 Susan B. Anthony, 1930 Jane Adams the founder of Hull House, 1936 Mary McLeod Bethune, 1940 Eleanor Roosevelt, and 1949 Judge Florence Allen.   These women had forged a path in unknown territory, their subsequent journey had been long, arduous and life changing.  They had made a difference.

Many of the women who were the pioneers of Lakeside and were instrumental in giving it the face of a progressive thinking community were college educated.  They came from families who valued and nurtured the mind in both the sexes.  They had in many cases husbands who supported women’s rights.  They were all strong, independent, and knowledgeable as well as grounded in a deeply bound religious faith.  Margaret Herman (n) was about to become one of them.  She was going to do something that would have far-reaching political consequences.  However, not before another series of tragedies and events touched her life.   


Five years before Margaret married Edward; his sister Esther Herman (n) married a carpenter from Germany.  Esther and Otto Zastrow were married on October 6, 1903.  For nine long years, Esther had waited for a child.  Finally, after giving up the idea that she and Otto would have a family other than to be baptismal sponsors for her younger sister’s daughter, Esther became pregnant.  On September 11, 1912, Esther gave birth to a girl.   She named her Violet.  Esther had been close to her brother Edward.  It was only natural that she asked him to be one of the sponsors at the child’s baptism.  Therefore, by proxy, lighthouse keeper Edward M. Herman (n) became a godfather to a small delicate infant.  Edward was working at the Horseshoe Reef light station when Violet was baptized, making it impossible for him to attend the ceremony.  Esther did not care.  She wanted the lighthouse keeper to be the sentinel for her child.  Margaret was Methodist and the rules of the Lutheran Church did not allow her to be a sponsor.  Violet was the closest either of them would come to having a child permanently in their lives. 

Perhaps the time and the hour of death for one so small should come gently and softly.  Yet just as the winds blow from the Great Lakes to whip up the seas and form a storm on the unsuspecting, Violet died on October 10, 1914.  The day before Esther sat waiting for the doctor to travel from Buffalo in hopes of saving Violet’s life.  While waiting for the doctor Esther penned a poignant postcard to her brother, the lighthouse keeper.  By the time the card reached its destination, the tiny child was all ready dead.  The lighthouse keeper could do nothing to save his goddaughter.  There would be no funeral to attend because the distance was too far and the navigational season had not yet ended.

Death was not to give a respite to the weary soul of grief, and certainly not to Margaret’s soul.  The following year her beloved sister Claire died.   It must have seemed to Margaret all her family was leaving and it was not to foreign lands for a new beginning.  For two years, the pen of correspondence was silent until the summer of 1916.  From a mother-in-law’s visit to the Marblehead Lighthouse came a postcard to let her “dear son and daughter” know she had returned home safely and “had a very good time out there”.  The card was signed by a “loving mother”.  It would be another two years before a postcard was sent to Marblehead.  The year it was sent would have a direct effect on not only Edward and Margaret, but also the entire world.  Margaret was about to become politically active.

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Two events marked the calendars of history when the New Year of 1918 began.  One was the Great Influenza Pandemic and the other was The Great War.  WWI would soon become very personal for Margaret and Edward.  On May 2, 1918, a postcard arrived at the lighthouse from Spartanburg, North Carolina.   It was from Charles Herman (n).  He was dropping a line to let them know they were leaving North Carolina the next day.  He did not know where they were being sent and he hoped to get a pass home before going overseas.  Charles would try to “drop a line” before “leaving the good ole USA”.  The card was signed, “love, your bro. Chas”.  Charles was in the army and soon he would be traveling across the ocean to fight a war unlike any the world had seen before.

For the past several years, Margaret’s life had dealt with death and grief.  When she was not dealing with her grief, she was dealing with what was left of her family and Edward‘s activities at the lighthouse.  The time in-between was devoted to her church and the activities that came with those responsibilities associated with its various organizations and social groups.  Now it was time to step back and take stock of the reality of the situation in which she found herself.  In August, Margaret would turn forty-two.  She had been married to Edward for almost ten years.  They had lived at the Marblehead Lighthouse for five years.  She did not have any children.  Her husband was German.  The Great War was being fought against the Germans.  Her brother-in-law was being sent over seas to fight against his ancestors.  Her Tonawanda, New York family still embraced a German culture and spoke the language on a daily basis.  Edward was extremely busy with the lighthouse due to the increased ship traffic as a result of the war activities.  Women were being called into action on the home front.  They were suddenly needed by the government to join the work forces, to step into the male shoes while keeping their aprons close at hand.  While they did this, the men went off to battle.  Yet, there was something very wrong with this picture.  Women still could not vote.

Margaret never shared her thoughts on the suffragist movement.  Many strong independent women did not feel their sex should have the vote.  Within her Methodist faith, there was a division of opinion with some women fervently desiring the right while others remained ambivalent about the vote.  There is nothing to shed light on which side of the political fence Margaret stood.  Perhaps she simply did not know, or perhaps she did know.  Later her involvement in one of the Lakeside organizations might give a clue, yet it would remain a mystery with only speculation for guidance.  However, the fact that Lakeside had for most of its history been involved in social and political issues and some of those were directly tied to the Women’s Right to Vote Movement, she probably was a strong advocate for it.  If it were not for one brief entry in the Marblehead Lighthouse log books by Charles Hunter, her political involvement during the Great War may never have been known.  A man not given to writing many words briefly recorded, “Mrs. Herman Asst keepers wife and C A Hunter solicitors for 4th Liberty Bond Loan.”  (Charles rarely mentioned names of men, let alone women.  When he married, the log book records the event, yet his wife’s name is never mentioned.  Even when she was ill and died, Keeper Hunter referred to her only as “wife”.) Margaret’s activity was to have far-reaching consequences spilling over into the world beyond her immediate community.  The balance of power for women was about to change and Margaret was about to take on a new role. 

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Margaret’s husband was German.  His family was still culturally and ethnically German.  They spoke the language at home and in the community in which they lived.  Until very recently the last name had been spelled Hermann.  Slowly the spelling of the name changed, perhaps to reflect a more assimilated image in a country experiencing an increasing anti German sentiment.  Now that the United States was embroiled in the world conflict and wrestling with the decision to enter the war, that anti sentiment was growing.   The second “n” had been dropped by the time the United States entered the war.  Ohio experienced a strong reaction to the population of Germans now living in the country.  It was not a positive reaction.  Anti German sentiment was so high many feared for their lives, even those who had been born in this country and had never even set foot on European soil.  The German language was banned in schools and universities, books were burned, German culture was looked at with disdain and people were ridiculed for any connection they might have with anything German.  There were lynches and tar featherings in various states.  Street names were changed from German to Anglicized versions or completely different names. 

The anti German movement was fueled by the Women's Temperance Movement.  This movement was gaining steam at a time when the United States government was promoting anti German sentiment with anti German propaganda in the form of posters and postcards and advertisement.  Trying to lift the American public’s anti war sentiment, anti German sentiment had to be pushed into the eyesight of the average American citizen.  Suddenly, everything German was considered bad including the Kaiser, the people, the culture, and the language.  When it reared its ugly head, the consequences were enormous.  If opinions other than negative ones were expressed about the Germans, you were not expressing opinions you were simply anti American. *(At the height of the war, propaganda against Germans reached a feverish pitch. Even respected magazines such as National Geographic focused on the evils of the Prussian. In 1914, the magazine ran a glowing article about the magnificent new Imperial Germany, citing detailed information on her agricultural, ship building and cultural contributions to the world. By mid 1918, the magazine's issues included demeaning articles as well as ads that featured "patriotic" calls for the war efforts. Ivory soap to watches capitalized on the anti German feelings. Even children were depicted in Uncle Sam outfits extolling the public to purchase war stamps. The message was clear-buying so many stamps would produce so many bullets for the "Kaiser". The Committee On Public Information was created by President Wilson and headed by a journalist named George Creel. The task of the committee was to create an atmosphere of advertisement that would extend to all media in the form of propaganda. The propaganda would influence the American public through advertisements, movies, magazine articles, etc...that America's decision to enter the war was a just cause. It also helped to foster anti German sentiment. The American Protective League was another group sanctioned by the American government. This group consisted of volunteer American citizens who actively sought out German spies and pro German Americans. The result was the arrest and trials of innocent Americans who were considered to be anti American because they expressed ideals the APL considered pro German. They were responsible for disseminating information and exciting public opinion against all things German as well as any union activists and Americans who considered themselves to be pacifists. Included in this group were Lutheran ministers, Mennonites, school teachers and even motion picture directors. Jane Adams was also considered to be anti American for her strong political views against going to war.).  

In addition, the Temperance Union was exercising its muscles and sometimes the two were directly intertwined.  Running side by side was the country’s growing intolerance for all things alcoholic.  The country had been receiving new immigrants in unprecedented numbers since the turn of the century.  They came for the most part poor and to already over crowded cities.  Social welfare programs were almost non-existent and jobs were for English speakers.  Men especially, the traditional breadwinners had been lured to a promise land of milk and honey.  Jobs were not as plentiful as they had been lead to believe. Cultural differences widened the gap.  Even if your ancestors came from a particular culture, you did not “see” yourself the same as the new arrivals.  In some cases, the language had changed to the extent there was no understanding the new arrivals.

Men often turned to drink and the companionship of other disenfranchised men.  Society failed to understand the root causes and correct them.  Instead, women who were the champions of the Women's Temperance Movement saw only the disease and not the symptoms.  If doing away with alcohol would make society a better place, then it must be banned.  No more alcohol meant an end to domestic violence, child abuse, unemployment and life would stabilize.  What was meant to be a good cause to eradicate an evil sin eventually helped to fuel an even greater sin.  One which was directed toward the German American culture and the consequences it would bring to the American people, namely anti German sentiment. 

The Germans were destroying world peace and the German Americans were destroying the country’s families.  Their men folk and especially the newly arrived immigrants were turning to drink.  Drink was the backdrop for all the other social ills. The Germans had the distilleries and the breweries. For some odd reason, the public failed to realize the French and the Italians had been engaged in the wine making industry for decades, some even in the area of Ohio where the Marblehead Lighthouse was located. While there was ethnic prejudice against the Italians, it was not because they had declared a war of aggression in Europe. (The other ethnic group targeted was the Irish. It was not because they were involved in the production of alcoholic beverages. Rather, there were large numbers of Irish immigrants and it was thought they would not fight alongside the British). The Women's Temperance Movement was targeting the German breweries and believed by eliminating them, they would eliminate the evils of society and a more moral, pure nation would exist.

Women marched, they protested, they committed civil disobedience to get the job done.  Women who were themselves disenfranchised, who had few if any rights and certainly not the right to vote, saw dysfunctional families and no way to fix them.  Frustrated by their own place in society they pressured those who were able to vote.  On January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment was ratified.  But the anti German sentiments produced had far lasting effects and some of the very women who rallied to the cause of intemperance now found themselves defending their German husbands and in some cases their own ethnicity.  

Margaret Herman was one of those women.    There is nothing to indicate Keeper Herman personally experienced any hostilities toward his ethnicity.  Or that Margaret was made to feel uncomfortable being married to Edward.  Yet, the lack of postcards from 1916 to 1920 may give an indication of the atmosphere surrounding Margaret and Edward.  Charles wrote to them before he left for Europe on May 2, 1918. The only other surviving postcard is dated after the war ended.  The postcard was written by Edward’s youngest sister thanking them for the birthday card sent to his mother and provided information about her health.  The last line informs them that “Charlie” was on his way home from the war.   The years from 1916-1920 were uncannily silent except for the one postcard from Charles. 

Margaret did what she learned to do from her mother.  When there are obstacles in life, you turn to face them head on and with determination.  Margaret joined the war effort.  Becoming a part of the Liberty Bond Movement was the most American thing she could do.  If her husband were to be perched on the deck of a lighthouse saving the lives of sailors, Margaret would be saving the lives of American soldiers.  Margaret pursued a most unusual set of actions.  She enlisted the head lighthouse keeper, Charles Hunter.  Together they would do what the lighthouse keepers and the lighthouse keeper’s wives had been doing for centuries, organizing and helping to save others.  Only this time the lighthouse keeper’s wife would be mentioned in the log books. (Charles Hunter went on to help with the 5th Bond sale after the war ended. He did not record in the log books if Margaret participated.) 

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1917-1918 AND THE 19th AMENDMENT

During times of war, women have always been at the forefront of organizing and helping to stabilize the home front.   They have also been on the battlefield where they have served as nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers.  Some have even fought along side men.  Pre- 20th century women worked hard to hold down the farms when their men folk were called into battle.  They sewed bandages, socks, gloves, clothing, prepared medicine kits and visited wounded soldiers in hospitals.  They gave birth, raised the children and managed to keep a society going which would have crumbled if they had not risen to the task. In some cases, they had to defend their homes from invading soldiers.  They were not passive players to the events around them.  They took a very active role. 

Both the nature of war and the needs of the home front changed after the turn of the century.  The Great War became a war based on the technological developments that had taken place at the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the 1900’s.  The home front consisted not only of farms and rural communities, but also of cities filled with industrial plants and factories.   When the men were called off to do battle, someone needed to take their place.  The government called on the next available source, women.  

There were two separate issues confronting the government.  Funding for the war and the stabilizing of the home front.  Stabilizing the home front meant keeping the factories and industrial plants working to provide the soldiers with materials to fight.  The same government that had tried to keep women from entering the work force and voting now needed them to stabilize the home front and work the factories.  Women rose to the occasion on both fronts.  They had a little secret up their sleeves, they knew they were not delicate and they were not imbeciles.  The government had yet to learn that fact.

Much weight has been given to the role women took on the home front during WWII.  Proportionately, the information about women during WWI is not the same.  Yet, the role they played had a direct impact on men and society.  In fact, the Liberty Bond Movement during WWII is extensively written about whereas the Liberty Bond Movement of WWI has little if any information to substantiate the role of women.  Perhaps because women’s issues died after WWI and other movements did not come to fruition until after WWII there is little documentation.  It may also be that the Great Depression, which followed the Great War, consumed the time, energy and emotions of society.  Women were thrown back into a role they had just started to emerge from when jobs once again became scarce.  Only this time it was due to economic forces rather then the dictates of the sexes.  So many men were in need of jobs there was no place for women to fill the gaps.  The fact was there were no gaps. 

Government propaganda has always played an important part in shaping national identity.  WWI was no exception.  The government needed women to work and they needed women to stay at home to tend to the land and care for future citizens, namely the children.  In the eyes of the government, women were still the delicate souls of morality.  This image was depicted over and over again in posters and postcards.  Women still needed to be feminine, but they needed to do men’s work.  The government sought to capitalize the delicate female image with the strong mother who takes care of her brood.  The soldiers on the battlefield, Uncle Sam and the American soil became her brood.  Women were often portrayed as strong, but caring, beautiful, but capable and menacing, but feminine.   In actuality, they were mothers who could multitask.  This meant being what men did not think they were capable of achieving.  The men were to be proved very wrong on all accounts.

The war was expanding and the government needed huge amounts of money to sustain the war efforts.  The idea began in the drawing rooms of the rich society ladies of New York.  When called upon by government officials to help with the organization, the wealthy society women stepped forward.  The women who had been organizing balls and movements and addressing social issues not only took the reigns of the organizing horse, they hoped onto the saddle and rode into the sunset leaving the men behind in their dust.  The Liberty Bond Movement began at the top of the upper crust of society.  From there it expanded to the middle class educated women and finally to some extent their poorer cousins.  These women organized and built the movement into a multi million-dollar industry, which expanded into multiple bond movements.  Women from the industrial cities to the rural farming communities were at the front and behind the scenes all the way down to the grass roots.  This meant women like Margaret were the forces behind the local community involvement in the Liberty Bond Movement.  They organized the home front women who marched, passed out propaganda, leaflets, and flyers and went door to door to raise funds.  They encouraged women to rise up and become independent.  This meant dipping into carefully saved money to invest in the war bonds.  It meant giving women permission to feel an entitlement to being more then an apron and a baby factory.  They worked the fields, the factories, and they rationed everything from sugar, meat, and metal and gave back to the country more then ten fold.  When the war ended, the women had performed beyond the expectations of the men.

The same men who would not have considered themselves champions of women’s rights now found themselves singing their praises.  And, women had not lost their femininity.  They were still wives and mothers, who cooked, cleaned, mended, and loved, their husbands, their children and their homes.  And they wanted to vote.  It was their right; they had earned every penny of it, literally.  The time was ripe for change and they would be silenced no more.  Ratification of the 18th Amendment was completed on January 16,1919.  The men did not have to fear women would vote for prohibition.  Perhaps, if women could organize an entire nation, maybe they could be useful in garnishing votes for men running for political offices.  On June 4,1919 Congress proposed the Nineteenth Amendment, ratification was completed on August 18,1920 and incorporated into the Constitution on August 26,1920.  Women had earned the right to vote.  The War was over. 

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The Great War had ended and life was slowly returning to normal.  Except it never really would be the same.  Margaret’s brother-in-law had survived the war, though just barely having suffered the effects of mustard gas.  Tragedies of the war became even more personal for her husband when they learned his cousin had been killed in action. (Louis J. Herman was killed on August 13,1918 and is buried in Flanders Field. Edward planted a walnut tree in his memory near the keeper's residence).  Now the lighthouse was undergoing changes.  The accessibility of the automobile and the construction of new roadways throughout the country meant more Americans were traveling.  As with any war fought, the years immediately after were filled with a renewed hope and a zest for the experiences men had longed for on the battlefields, but were almost lost by the close encounters with death.   This hope spurned a desire to travel and take in the sights of the country they had just defended.  The new roads and cars meant ever-increasing numbers of visitors to the Marblehead Lighthouse.  The 1920’s were the celebration years.  For Margaret it was time to re-evaluate her life.  The war years had infused her with a sense of responsibility and self -worth.  She had made a name for herself; she had done something apart from her husband.  She wanted more then her world was offering.  January of 1923 landed Edward in the Providence Hospital in Sandusky.  The navigational season had ended.  There is one correspondence from his sister Esther wishing him success with his operation.  Nothing survives to tell the nature of his medical condition. 

Margaret was approaching fifty.  It was probably clear to her that she and Edward would not have children.  Again, there is no correspondence to give insight about her feelings on the subject.  Yet, the year 1924 provides a clue, which echoes Margaret’s discontent twelve years before when she left Buffalo for Waterloo.  This time the postcard is sent from Hudson.  It is the beginning of fall and she writes with a lack of intensity as though she were far and detached from her husband.  “Dear Ed, Your letter and card received.  Am glad you are getting along as well as you are.  Do not know just when I will be home.  Will let you know”.  Her thoughts turn to news about friends and finally she mentions they are having “lovely fall weather”.  As if she just now remembered, a reference is made to a “fire”.  She is “sorry to hear of it, a dreadful loss.”  Whatever the circumstance surrounding the fire it is clear this is not her concern.  She is there with family and friends.  They are clearly more important then the life her husband is having at the lighthouse.  The fire is terrible, yet not so devastating to end the correspondence. She goes on to mention that, “Matie’s little cats are as cunning as ever.  Love from all.  Margaret”.   From 1924 to the beginning of 1928, there are no postcards.  On January 18, 1928 a postcard with a hand written note across the bottom, “stopped here over-night, Jan 18, 1928”, is saved.  Sent to no one and without any further message the picture on the front is the Long View Lodge, Scrub Ridge on the Lincoln Highway located in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  This is the last postcard written in Margaret’s hand to survive.  Her family was still a presence in her life well into the 1940’s.  Yet when Edward was hospitalized, the postcards that survive to tell his story are written to Matie in Hudson by his pen, not Margaret’s pen. 

The celebration years ended two years after the last postcard.  Margaret, at some point returned to the lighthouse.  She was approaching fifty-four years of age when once again her world changed.  A new decade was about to encounter a new disaster when the nation was thrown into what would be called, “The Great Depression”.  Margaret’s thriftiness would serve her well, just as it had throughout her life.  In fact, her family fifty years later would still remember how thrifty she was.  Yet, while many would find not hope but despair during the 1930’s, the lighthouse keeper’s wife would experience an epiphany.   In the middle of the depression, Margaret found a place for herself in a most unexpected way.  When she settled into this place, it would breathe new life into her soul and she would once again thrive.  Margaret was home to stay.

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“What Nature has writ
with her lusty wit
Is Worded so wisely and kindly
That whoever has dipped
in her manuscript 
Must up and follow her blindly
Now the Summer prime
is her blithest rhyme
In the being and the seeming,
And they that have heard the overword
Know life’s dream worth dreaming.”
-Wm. Ernest Henley-  Echoes


The Lakeside Noon Day Club was formed in 1895.  It remains one of the oldest Lakeside clubs still in existence.  Well over one hundred years old, the club was organized based on the 19th century tradition of women’s literary clubs.  Their constitution reads, “The object of this club shall be the literary and social advancement of women”.  The Noon Day Club was by invitation only and when a woman was nominated, the members must vote her in.  Membership was limited and the total number never exceeded more than eighteen.  Women were expected to present papers each month on various topics such as science, education, history, government and current events.  The in-depth papers presented were critiqued followed by a discussion on the topic presented.  If a woman presented an inferior paper she was told by the presenter, she had not done well.  Some of the members had college educations.  The program was a vigorous, multi layered and very exclusive way for a woman to achieve an education beyond the classrooms of a university.  The club’s motto was, “Light, More Light”, -Goethe-. 

Margaret Herman was nominated for membership.  She was voted into the exclusive circle of members and by 1927 was serving on the executive committee.  She was also the club’s treasurer.  By 1935, Margaret was the secretary, she had moved up the club’s officer ladder and she was still serving on the executive committee.  Margaret was in her element.  Her first paper was presented as part of the wider topic, “Educational Aspects of New York”.  Throughout her membership, Margaret presented papers and led discussions on topics from South America, women and their status in 1803, and American women in government.  Margaret had filled her mind with knowledge and this education was her fulfillment of something, which had been denied to her because of circumstance and gender.  It was not to be a forbidden fruit anymore.  When it was offered to her on a golden plate, she took not only the plate, but also second and third helpings.  Margaret was once again, right where she wanted to be.  The Noon Day Club would often meet at the lighthouse and when her husband became the Head Keeper, he made sure to record it in the log book.  Margaret was a busy person and she was becoming more and more involved in the Lakeside Community as well as her church.

When Margaret began to flourish, she accomplished something beyond the confines of what society expected of her sex.  Margaret went on to be a member of the Women’s Society for Christian Service, and the Lakeside Yard and Garden Club.  She taught the Adult Church School and given the intellectual atmosphere of the community, that was not an easy task for someone who did not posses a college degree. 

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Margaret did return to Hudson for visits.  It is recorded in the lighthouse log books.  Yet, she never returned for extended periods and she never again wrote with such despair.  Long after her family died and the estates were settled, Margaret and Edward retired to live within the Methodist community at Lakeside.  During that time, she heard the call for donations to help fund a new Methodist college in a place she had never been, the state of Alaska.   Its purpose was to offer an education and a chance to obtain something the world had denied an indigenous people because of who they were ethnically.  Margaret knew what it was to be denied something because of her gender and she knew what her husband’s people had experienced prior to the Great War because of their ethnicity. 

Now into her eighth decade, her thriftiness had paid more then a small dividend.  Family remembered serving tea to Margaret and Edward.  Margaret saved the second tea bag, dipping the first into Edward’s cup and then into her cup.  It was remembered with the smiles of those who could never understand what it was like to be the lighthouse keeper’s wife.  Who knew when the tender would bring supplies? Or, if you might be stranded for weeks without any supplies?  Margaret knew, because it had happened many times. 

Perhaps the community she grew up in really had prepared her for the incredible journey she had traveled.  Now, that thrifty nature they were so well known for would provide the funds for a college.  Margaret answered that call with a sizeable donation.  Alaska Pacific University remains today an ever-growing educational institution.  Although her donation may have been long forgotten by those who administer its programs, it lives on in the minds of those who have received their degrees and contribute to the world beyond.  Now, Margaret had done more then fill her mind with knowledge and she was right where she wanted to be.  She had achieved something in life beyond the societal expectations of her 19th century birth.

When Margaret King Herman died the Lakeside Yard and Garden Club included the following poem above her memoriam.

“It matters not how straight the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate;
I am the master of my soul.”
-Wm. Ernest Henley-
Margaret had fulfilled her destiny.





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