Eveline’s Senior Year: Graduation Memorabilia

I shared a photo of my grandmother Eveline Coates’ high school graduating class in Mystic, Iowa a few weeks (now months!) ago. Along with the photo and her diploma, a couple of other mementos were saved. One is the program for the Junior-Senior Banquet in honor of the graduating Seniors. It was interesting to see how World War I seemed to be the overarching theme of the festivities. I decided to take a deeper look at what her life may have been like during the 1917-1918 school year. There was a lot going on, a war and the beginning of an influenza pandemic to name the two biggiesThe list of related posts is getting long, so I’ll link them at the bottom.

Today I’ll share a few bits of ephemera that remain from Eveline’s senior year in high school.

A picture of the high school

Mystic High School, Mystic, Iowa

Eveline’s report card

From her report card, we can glean the following information:

Eveline attended Mystic Public Schools.
She was in Grade 12 during the school year 1917-1918.
No room number was provided, just Room H. S. (High School). Does this mean that all high school students were in the same room? I don’t think so? The high school surely housed a number of classrooms.
The principal of the high school was Nevah O. Prior.
Eveline was absent 7 1/2 days during the fall semester, presumably when she had smallpox, and 2 days during the last period of the spring semester. Eveline’s absences were excused.
Eveline was never tardy for school.
Eveline received high marks for conduct – in the high 90s during the fall and just a little less (95) during the spring.
A grade of 95-100 was Excellent. 85-95 was Good.
Eveline earned grades in the 90s in all of her classes.
She studied American Literature and Physics throughout the year.
She studied American History and Physiology during the fall semester.
During the spring semester, she studied Civics, and Economics.
Both of her parents signed her report card.

Another paper saved is this two-fold invitation from the Junior class. The size is about 5×7 inches. The paper is pink and the ink is green. Decorative notches have been cut into the paper.

On May 10, 1918, a Junior-Senior Reception was held at the Masonic Hall in Mystic. It was the program for the reception that prompted me to begin this series.

I’m not sure what this hand-drawn card is. It is the size of a calling card. Perhaps it marked Eveline’s place at the table for the reception.

Also saved was the graduation invitation, held together with green and pink ribbons. An eagle atop a shield decorated with stars and stripes can be seen through a cut out in the invitation cover. I believe it is hand colored.

The inside provided details of the commencement exercises.

The second page of the graduation invitation lists all of the senior class events leading up to and including commencement.

The last page provides information about the class officers, colors, motto, flower, and a list of the graduates. Tucked inside is a graduation name card for Eveline.

I hope to identify some of the people mentioned in the reception program and Eveline’s class photo. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be. It may be like trying to identify the unknown people in the prompt photo below.

Gather around and bring the dogs while you enjoy posts by others participating in Sepia Saturday.

If you would like to read other posts about Eveline’s Senior Year, you can find them here:
Eveline’s Senior Year, Part 1
Eveline’s Senior Year: The Draft and a Carnival
Eveline’s Senior Year: A Look Around Town
Eveline’s Senior Year: Musical Notes
Eveline’s Senior Year: Smallpox
Eveline’s Senior Year: What are you Serving?
Eveline’s Senior Year: Root Beer on the 4th
Eveline’s Senior Year: Miners, Miner and Maps
Eveline’s Senior Year: The Weight of Mining
Eveline’s Senior Year: Gatherings and Gossip
Eveline’s Senior Year: Knit Your Bit
Eveline’s Senior Year: In Search of a Back Story
Eveline’s Senior Year: Sign the Food Pledge
Eveline’s Senior Year: Produce, Preserve, Conserve

Eveline’s Senior Year: A Look Around Town

I shared a photo of my grandmother Eveline Coates’ high school graduating class in Mystic, Iowa a few weeks ago. Along with the photo and her diploma, a couple of other mementos were saved. One is the program for the Junior-Senior Banquet in honor of the graduating Seniors. It was interesting to see how World War I seemed to be the overarching theme of the festivities. I decided to take a deeper look at what her life may have been like during the 1917-1918 school year. There was a lot going on, a war and the beginning of an influenza pandemic to name the two biggiesSee:

Vintage Postcard – Grosvenor Hotel, London (Sepia Saturday 611)

The prompt photo for Sepia Saturday nudged me to focus on the town of Mystic, Iowa – the places where Eveline spent time, the places that represented her world and her town. Alas, there were no hotels or buildings quite as grand as the one in the prompt photo. The population of Mystic in 1917-1918 was somewhere around 2,700. The population increased from 1,758 in 1900 to 2,663 in 1910. By 1920, the population had grown to 2,796. These were the boom years when coal production peaked in the city and county.

The building where Evelline spent most of her time away from home during her senior year was the new Mystic High School, which opened its doors in 1915. Eveline shared some thoughts about the new school in an autobiography she wrote when she was sixteen, perhaps in the fall of 1917:

Then came the fight for the new school house and a half term of school in the U. B. Church. This didn’t benefit any of us as we did as much talking and so forth, as ever.  But in the new building a perfect rule of tyranny began. For no talking is allowed after you enter the building until you leave again.  Of course we obey this rule in every respect, even keeping still during recitation.

Mystic High School. Mystic, Iowa. Scanned from Eveline’s collection.

Do I detect a note of sarcasm?

The photo below appears in History of Mystic, Iowa: 1887-1987. All those children sitting outside the United Brethren Church lead me to believe that this was taken during the time it was used as a temporary school. Surely all those children did not attend the church!

United Brethren Church, early 1900s. Scanned from History of Mystic, Iowa: 1887-1987

I don’t know if Eveline is in this photo. I think the older girl 4th from the left in the back row most resembles my grandmother. Or maybe the 6th girl from the left??? (Click to enlarge.)

I’m not sure what church Eveline attended, or how often she was present. She was baptized at the Church of Christ in 1916, where the funeral of her grandmother Celia Jenkins Harris was held. Other family funerals seem to have been at the Methodist Episcopal Church, and that is also where Eveline married in 1923. The photo below includes the Methodist church and the “old” high school, which was torn down and rebuilt.

M. E. Church and High School, Mystic, Iowa. Before 1915

The History of Mystic, Iowa: 1887-1987 states that there were five churches in town: Methodist, Christian, United Brethren, Catholic, and Second Baptist. No Church of Christ is listed to confirm Eveline’s baptism.

But Wikipedia has an explanation for that: “The churches are independent congregations and typically go by the name “Christian Church”, but often use the name “Church of Christ” as well.” I’ll assume that the Church of Christ in town was commonly referred to as the Christian Church.

Scanned from History of Mystic, Iowa: 1887-1987

The streets of Mystic were unpaved, subject to ruts, rain, and dust if not oiled. Main Street was paved with bricks sometime in 1918. Some residents had cars and were reported in the newspaper to have “motored” to one town or another to visit family or attend an event. Many likely still relied on horse powered transport as well as their own two feet. I found a few pictures from the 1920s-30s of people on horses in town and another of the mail being delivered in another part of the county by horse and buggy. There is an undated photo of Eveline’s parents, Joseph and Mary Coates, standing by a buggy. In 1917, they would have been 50 and 45, respectively. It is hard for me to tell their ages in this photo.

Joseph Coates and Mary Ann Harris Coates, undated

If you wanted to travel to Centerville, the county seat, you could hop on the Interurban.

Following are a few memories shared by a Mystic resident, with some photos interspersed:

In 1910 our Sunday afternoon entertainment was watching trains come and go from the Mystic Depot.

Later on, streets were oiled to Walnut City, making an initial improvement. In 1918, Main Street was bricked which remains to this day. The town burned twice. The first fire was in 1910 and burned the east end of town from Second Street to the west. In 1911, it burned from Second Street towards the east. Bradley’s Bank did not burn until the fire in 1912. The livery barn on Second Street stopped the fire because the posts were cut which toppled the metal roof thus smothering it.

Mystic, Iowa. 1909

Mystic had two opera houses. The first one was on the north side of the street over Scott and Minor’s Grocery Store. It burned down when Mystic burned the first time. The second Opera House was located where Strand Theatre stood. Karl Breeding operated the first “picture show.” Mystic also had a town band under the leadership of Lem Hicks. A community symphony orchestra was also formed, consisting mostly of French and Belgian musicians. At one time, Mystic had three hotels and many boarding houses. Every year Mystic had a Fourth of July celebration which included a Sham Battle, shooting blanks out of guns.

History of Mystic, Iowa: 1887-1997. pg. 37-39.

The burned out portions of Main Street were rebuilt mostly in brick. I visited Mystic with my aunt and uncle in September 2016. We were trying to cover a lot of area that day, including cemeteries, and you can see from the clouds that bad weather was approaching, so our time was limited. I only took the one photo of Main Street from the car. I wish I had taken more and that I had done a little research before I made the trip so I would have had a better idea of what to look for. Oh well. It appears that I was at the opposite end of the street from the old photo above.

Main Street, Mystic, Iowa September 2016

Not a full picture of the town that Eveline knew and loved, but a glimpse. I’ll keep working on it!

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday. Click the link to see and read how others have responded to the prompt.

Sepia Saturday – Miss Evans’ Girls and Boys

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

The prompt photo of Miss Garland’s girls was taken in 1900. I’m not sure who Miss Garland was or her relationship to these “girls”, but I am pretending that Miss Garland was their teacher.

My grandmother, Eveline Coates Hoskins, was born in 1900 in Mystic, Iowa, and attended East End School. Her teacher for several years was Edna Evans. My grandmother is in the 2nd row, 2nd from right in the photo below. It may have been a chilly day, with the boys – and only the boys – dressed in jackets and hats. Or maybe their mothers dressed them that way to look smart for picture day and not have to worry about wild hair and dirty overalls. The girls all have hair neatly styled in braids and bows.

East End School, Mystic, Iowa 1909
Edna Evans, teacher

The back of the photo has my mother’s handwriting, identifying where her mother is in the picture, and my grandmother’s handwriting, identifying the school and the teacher. I think the third bit of handwriting must be Eveline’s signature as a nine-year-old.

There are two copies of this photograph. Even though I can’t quite figure out who intended to send this second one to whom, it does provide a date.

Here is Edna Evans and her students again. My grandmother Eveline is the 7th student from the left. A tall girl has her arm resting on grandma’s shoulder. A warmer day this time – I hope! – as many of the children have bare feet.

East End School, Mystic, Iowa
Edna Evans teacher. Undated

Again, Grandma identifies the school and the teacher, but not herself, so I did that. And, once again, samples of her handwriting as a child and as an adult.

Is it just me or the poor quality of this photograph that leaves me wondering if these teachers are both Edna Evans. They look a bit different to me, although there is something about the left arm/hand. As I am prone to do, I went looking for information about Edna Evans, but I was left confused, so I won’t take you down that rabbit hole with me today.

Eveline graduated from Mystic High School in 1918. Here she is pictured first left on the top row. Her future sister-in-law, Alice Tingle is next to her.

But before graduation, Eveline had to complete her studies and earn the right to graduate. All of the grades on her report card her senior year are 90 or above, so she was in the clear.

I don’t have any pictures of Eveline and her class mates reclining on a grassy place holding their hats, but I do have the program from the Junior-Senior Reception held May 10, 1918. One of the speakers was … Miss Evans.

In this small community, it seems likely that Miss Evans kept up with this group of students that she had known throughout their public education. The graduating class consisted of eighteen students – fifteen girls and three boys. Most of the boys had likely ended their education after 8th grade to work, often in the coal mines.

I previously shared an autobiography that Eveline wrote as a school assignment in high school. She portrayed herself as having gotten in trouble a few times at school when she was young. I wonder if Miss Evans was her teacher at the time.

Miss Evans may have inspired my grandmother to teach – which she did – at East End School.

Did the graduating class of 1918 considered themselves to be Miss Evans’ girls and boys?

(I found the program for the reception interesting, but I’ll save that for another post.)