The Ladies of Local History Month 2013


Ferol Tibbetts Jess
Josephine Cornick Ross
Minnie Wilson Schomber

May is Local History month! Local History Month is an opportunity for residents to consider the big themes present in the history of small places. Each community has its own weird, wild and wonderful stories that are unique to that place. Sharing these stories helps connect community members to their place, and also to each other, as public recognition of local history helps to foster local pride, maintain community character, and build a deeper sense of appreciation for the place itself.

This year we are celebrating Local History Month by looking at life through the eyes of three young women who grew up in Issaquah.  By coincidence, we happened to be researching all three ladies at the same time. Since they were all of an age, it was impossible not to start comparing them and seeing common themes. All three were born around the turn of the Century and came of age during the early 1920s.

The 1920s brings with it images of flappers, jazz, Prohibition, dancing the lindy, flagpole sitting, silent films. We wondered, how many of these tropes were true of life in Issaquah during the Roaring Twenties?

Well, how many of us really lived like Don and Betty Draper during the 1960s?

So we decided to get to know Ferol Tibbetts Jess, Josephine Cornick Ross, and Minnie Wilson Schomber and find out how they experienced the 1920s. The three were acquainted with each other — and, most likely, with most of the other residents of Issaquah, which was a small town of 1,000 people. They were in many of the same organizations and service clubs together, and even appear in various photos together. All three worked at various times in their lives. None of them had children. They weren’t close friends with each other, however, which speaks to their differences.


In order to get to know the ladies, we relied on photographs and documents from our collection, the contents of photo albums belonging to Ruth Johns Anderson and Ferol Tibbetts Jess, Minnie Wilson Schomber’s correspondence and diaries, Ferol’s diaries, the Issaquah Press and Seattle Times archives, and information from Washington State and King County archives. We’ll begin sharing images and information on Saturday, May 4. Stay tuned!

In-depth cataloging of letters, journals and other documents was made possible by a grant from 4Culture. Yet another grant from 4Culture, along with generous support from individual donors, makes it possible for us to scan these items and share them through our Digitial Archives.