Curious to see if I could find out more about some of the people and places Thomas Hart wrote about in his letter to Stella in 1886, I went to the Blue Earth County Historical Society to do some research.
The closest available Mankato City Directory is 1885-86 or 1888. There is no listing for Beebe & Hart in the 1885-86 directory. The 1888 directory lists the T.W. Hart residence as 515 South 4th Street. It also includes an ad for Beebe & Hart that matches the letterhead Tom used for his 1886 letter to Stella.
Andrew Hiram Beebe and Thomas Hart were partners in a grocery business, Beebe & Hart, located at 521 South Front Street.
Thomas Hart and Stella Palmer were married on October 15, 1887. He left the grocery business in 1888 and joined the business of his father-in-law, Austin and Son Shoes, as a traveling salesman.
“Mr. Beebe and his girl have gone to the Opera House tonight for an entertainment…” “Miss Walfram comes in the store every day now and has long personal interviews with Beebe.”
Andrew H. Beebe married Anna Wolfram in Mankato on February 5, 1888 and lived in Mankato for 17 years. They had four sons and one daughter.
“Jim has been working for Mr. R. James in China Hall the past week…”
Jim was Thomas Hart’s brother. According to the 1888 directory, China Hall was a retail and wholesale store at 228 South Front Street, which sold china, crockery, glassware, silverware, and cutlery.
“Jim and I went up to Mr. Demerays today to dinner had a splendid dinner and a vary nice time. I think it was the best dinner I ever ate.”
According to the 1888 directory, Mr. Demaray was C.H. (Charles Henry) Demaray and he lived at 113 Beech Street. He was listed as an Expressman.
“Alene Demaray has grown to be almost a young lady she is as tall as I am and so womanly poor girl to be left without a mother so young as she is. She was quite cheerful today but “What is home without a mother?”
Mr. and Mrs. Demaray had three children, Edward, Lyman and Alene. Mr. Demaray became a widower and the children their mother at an early age.
“I wonder where we will spend next Christmas? I suppose in Mankato in some humble little wigwam eating turkey perhaps. I hope so.”
As Tom had hoped, he and Stella did spend the next Christmas in Mankato in their own humble home, as newlyweds of two months.