A Cryptic Message


The above postcard, postmarked six P.M., 10 August 1909, contains a cryptic message from S.S.H. to Miss Julia Fowler of 1310 Myrtle Avenue, Baltimore MD.

Hear’s one for
luck hoping that
you have changed
your mind about
a certain subject
Will see you to-
morrow night.

We may happily assume Julia did change her mind “about a certain subject” because she married Samuel Stewart Hoopper (1884-1972) on 7 June 1910. The wedding took place at the Third Reformed Church in Baltimore with the Reverend Clayton H. Ranck officiating.

In the 1910 Census Julia Leas Fowler (1886-1974) was unemployed and living at 1310 Myrtle Avenue, Baltimore, with her father, Isaac Fowler (1853-1922) , her mother, Julia Amelia Leas (1857-1932), and her sister, Lotta A. Fowler (1882-1938). She graduated from Western High School in 1905 and probably followed in her mother’s footsteps by attending Western Maryland College (McDaniel College).

Stewart, as he was known, was the son of Samuel James Hoopper (1861-1862) and Susan Lee Stewart (1862-1943). Stewart was an accountant by trade and a Mason. He served on the board of the Baltimore Coin Club. He was an amateur photographer and cache of his photographs from the early 20th Century was donated to the Maryland Historical Society in 1978.

Julia and Stewart had one child, Julia Fowler Hoopper (1913-2004). She never married and lived with her parents until they died. A graduate of the Maryland Normal School (Towson University), she was a teacher and librarian in Baltimore City public schools.

Stewart, Julia, and Julia were modest people who lived quiet lives. That doesn’t mean they had no impact. The esteemed newspaperman Jacques Kelly of The Baltimore Sun lived next door to the Hoopper family when he was a boy and occasionally mentioned them in his columns. In 1999 he wrote about Julia Fowler Hoopper’s Easter rituals and you can read that here. In September 2004 he wrote a lovely memorial to Julia Fowler Hoopper and I highly recommend you go here to read it.

Below is the front of Stewart’s postcard. I purchased the postcard at an antique store on The Avenue in Hampden, the coolest neighborhood in Baltimore.


A Cryptic Message

Family Affair


The inscription on the back of the above photograph reads, “Charles & Sarha Ohmor; Catherine & Harry Storll; Marge Sipe.” This photograph was purchased in September 2016 along with the photograph that is the subject of my previous post about Aunt Edna Stroll. It’s pretty obvious to me that the ladies in the photograph are related. It also seems obvious that Marge Sipe is the person in the middle. What I am not sure of is which couple is which?

“Marge” is Margaret H. Beck (1876-1969), AKA Tillie, who was the daughter of Anthony Beck (1845-??) who was born in Germany and Mary Anna Kyle (1850-1932) who was born in Baltimore, MD. She married Clayton Sipe (1879-1918) and they had five sons and one daughter.

Marge’s sister, Sarah Elizabeth Beck (1886-1976) married Charles Omar (1880-1950) in 1906. In 1916 Sarah and Charles adopted a girl from The Children’s Home of York whose name at the time of her death was Alverta L. Heilman Omar Martin (1911-1944). I am not sure how that name came about. Alverta died while a patient in the Mont Alto Sanitorium. Charles was born in Algeria and legally changed his name from Omar Bene Haddadene in 1913, explaining to Judge Wanner that his original name was “too cumbersome, vague and hard to understand and thus hinders him as well as inconveniences him in the transaction of his business.” That business was to “go about the county selling dry goods and notions.”

Marge’s sister Anna Catherine Beck (1871-1942) married Carroll Lloyd (1872-1904) and one of their daughters was Catherine A. Lloyd (1897-1960). She married Harry Arthur Storll (1890-1969). They had two daughters who survived infancy and a son and daughter who did not. Charles was one of Edna‘s brothers.

Both Charles and Harry had some difficulties with their wives. A 13 July 1911 article in the Reading Times with a York byline reported that Charles was “mourning at the same time the loss of his wife and his bank account . . . Omar had been out a few hours and upon his return found a note from his wife on the table [which] informed him that Mrs. Omar felt she was fitted for something better than the life she was leading.” The joint bank account had contained $160. Harry placed a notice in the 30 April 1918 edition of The York Daily notifying all persons he would not be responsible for debts incurred in his name by his wife, Catherine Storll, who had “left her bed and board without just cause.”

As for which couple is which, I assess that the couple on the left are the Storlls and the couple on the right are the Omars based on very slim evidence: In their WWI draft registration documents, Charles had black hair and Harry had “light colored” hair. When they registered for the WWII draft both were described as having gray hair.


Family Affair