Professional Women of 1909, Part 5

Here is Part 5 of 7 of my series to see what I can find online about the histories of the women who were listed in the 1909 business directory for the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Again, this is preliminary research through online search engines and, sources are cited in the text.

Grace Mikel

Grace was listed in the 1909 business directory as the principal of the Syllabic Shorthand School.  The school was located on the 3rd floor of the Phillips Block on the southwest corner of Main Ave. and 6th St. and Grace lived in the same building [Sioux Falls City Directory (1909), 187].  “Grace Mikel” did not appear in the 1907 or the 1910 directories.

In November 1909, however, there is a marriage record for Grace Mikel, divorced, who married Eugene Drillon, both of Sioux Falls, but they married miles south in Elk Point [South Dakota Department of Health. South Dakota Marriage Index, 1905-1914, 1950-2013 and South Dakota Marriage Certificates, 1905-1949. Pierre, SD, USA: South Dakota Department of Health via].   There is also a record of Grace Elinson Mikel marrying a man named Robert Boyd in 1906 in Chicago [ Illinois Department of Public Health records. “Marriage Records, 1871–present.” Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois via].

In 1910, they lived in the Queen City Building (not sure if it’s the same as the Phillips building…).  Eugene worked as a tailor for W.H. Rounds clothing store, and Grace continued to work as the teacher of the shorthand school [Sioux Falls City Directory (1910), 100; Thirteenth U.S. Census, ED #334 (April 23, 1910), 5A].  But the school seemed a short-lived venture…

Grace was born in 1883 in Illinois to William and Hannah Mikel.  They lived on a farm in Grant, Reno County, KS in 1880 [Tenth U.S. Census (1880), 25].  Hannah eventually remarried, to realtor Richard Houghton, and they lived in Bloomington, IL in 1900 [Twelfth U.S. Census, ED #82 (June 5, 1900), 5].  In the 1920s, Grace and Eugene moved to Portland, Oregon (where Eugene worked for Montgomery Ward) and Miami, Florida (as “mus,” musician?) [Portland City Directory (1923), 593, (1924), 591; Miami City Directory (1930), 302].  In one passenger list from 1930, Eugene is listed (alone) as a traveler from Havana to Key West and as a resident of Brooklyn [U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Key West, Florida; NAI Number: 2790482; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85, Roll 26, via].  From there, they then lived in Burlingame, National City, and Beverly Hills/Los Angeles, California, where Eugene owned and trained race horses; from National City, he worked at the Caliente Race Track in Tijuana, Mexico [Sixteenth U.S. Census, ED #41-94 (April 12, 1940), 9B; Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration, #2378, via; The Times (San Mateo, CA), March 13, 1946].  (If this is the right person) Grace may have lived until 1969 [“Grace E. Drillon,” Find-a-Grave website].

The Phillips Block at 335 N. Main Ave. was built in 1891-92 and still stands at that street corner.  It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is now also part of the Old Courthouse and Warehouse Historic District.

Mrs. Mintzlaff

Mrs. Mintzlaff was listed in the 1909 business directory as the operator of a boarding house.  Sophia Mintzlaff was born in 1864 in Germany (her maiden name may have been Eichhorn based on her son’s marriage certificate)  [Thirteenth U.S. Census, ED #334 (April 22, 1910), sheet 4B; “Sophie M. Mintzlaff,” on Find-a-Grave website].  In 1879, she immigrated to the U.S. and came to Dakota in 1880 [1915 S.D. State Census, 818].  Her husband Fred, who had owned a meat market on N. Phillips Ave. and ran the European House for a time, died in 1895 [Sioux Falls City Directory (1889), 230, (1894), 120; “Mintzlaff,” Cemetery Record Search, South Dakota State Archives].  She and her two children lived at 308 N. Main in 1900 and later at 201 1/2 N. Main Avenue [Sioux Falls City Directory (1900), 190, (1906), 152, (1910), 308, (1919), 599, (1928), 225, (1935), 206; Twelfth U.S. Census, ED #261 (June 6, 1900), 7; Sixteenth U.S. Census, ED #50-24 (April 2, 1940), sheet 2B].  In some directories, her residence was specifically listed as a rooming house and boarders were listed with the family on each of the censuses from 1900 to 1940.  Sophia died in 1944 and was buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Sioux Falls with her husband and an infant son [“Sophie M. Mintzlaff,” on Find-a-Grave website]

Alice Bassett Muller, South Dakota Historical Collections 16 (1932), used with permission.

Alice Bassett Muller, South Dakota Historical Collections 16 (1932), used with permission.

Alice B. Muller

Alice Muller was listed in the 1909 Sioux Falls business directory as an attorney at law.  Alice E. Bassett was born in 1867 in Brothertown, Wisconsin to parents from New York [Fourteenth U.S. Census, ED #179 (January 13, 1920), 5B; “Alice B. Muller,” Find-a-Grave website].  She lost her parents at a young age (her father in 1875 and mother in 1883), attended Jennings Seminary in Aurora, Illinois, and came to South Dakota in about 1887-1889 [“Ira Bassett” and “Betsey Bassett” on Find-a-Grave website; Lisa R. Lindell, “‘Awake to all the needs of our day’: Early Women Lawyers in South Dakota,” South Dakota History 42 (3) (Fall 2012), 212; G.W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4 (1915), 190; 1905 and 1925 S.D. State Census].   She married Henry A. Muller, also an attorney, in January 1900 in Thorntown, Indiana (a “snippet view” on Google Books of a 1900 issue of Western Christian Advocate seems to indicate that the pastor there was Alice’s brother-in-law) [Kingsbury, 190; Thirteenth U.S. Census, ED #332 (April 19, 1910), sheet 4B; Comp. Index to Marriage Records Indiana: Indiana Works Progress Administration, 1938-1940 via].

Alice worked as a teacher and stenographer for Charles P. Bates’ law office, before passing the state bar exam on April 5, 1898, “enjoying prestige as an able practitioner” [Sioux Falls City Directory (1889), 47, (1894), 36, (1898), 55; Lindell, 212; Kingsbury, 191].  The first woman to become a lawyer in South Dakota did so in 1882, but it wasn’t until 1893 that there was a second [Lindell, 200, 203].  Later in 1893, the state began requiring that aspiring lawyers pass a bar exam [Lindell, 203].  Alice Bassett was one of the first handful of women to work as attorneys.  In Dakota, the law was only slightly less popular than the occupations of farmer or land agent, and there was a high demand for legal counsel.

In 1898, Alice had an office in the Edmison-Jameson Block.  She and Henry switched residences a few times, living in rooms at the Syndicate Block, at 120 S. Duluth Avenue, and at 333 W. 8th Street  [Sioux Falls City Directory (1900), 111, (1906), 156; 1920 census].  She worked as a lawyer, trying cases and giving legal advice for clients, and ran a business/shorthand school from an office in the Minnehaha Block for nearly three decades [Lindell, 212; Sioux Falls City Directory (1900), 111, (1906), 156, 293, (1913), 30, (1916), 581, (1922), 221, (1926), 250; Twelfth U.S. Census, ED #260 (June 5, 1900), 5].  She made about $2,000-$4,000 per year in income [Lindell, 213].  In 1905, her shorthand school had one teacher and thirty-five students [Annual Report of the Commissioner of Education, vol. 2 (Washington: GPO, 1907), 1250].  In 1913-14, her school had two teachers and sixty-seven students [Annual Report of the Commissioner of Education, vol. 2 (Washington: GPO, 1915), 486].  She served for a time as state secretary for the National Shorthand Teachers’ Association and as secretary for the Sioux Falls Humane Society [The Phonographic Magazine 16 (April 1902), 86; The National Humane Review (December 1920), 239].  She served as stenographer for many state conventions and political addresses, and for thirty years as stenographer secretary and historian of the S.D. Grand Army of the Republic [Lindell, 213; Notes for GAR post records, on SDGenWeb online].  Alice died in 1926 and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Sioux Falls [“Alice B. Muller,” Find-a-Grave website].

Henry was also born in Wisconsin, his father being an immigrant from Alsace-Lorraine and his mother from Ireland.  His family migrated to a farm in Bon Homme County, Dakota Territory in 1873.  Henry studied at the SD Agricultural College (SDSU now), then taught at a school near Scotland, S.D. while taking lessons at Scotland Academy.  He then attended the University of South Dakota (presumably the law school) from 1889 to 1891, and went to Sioux Falls in 1892 to work for a law firm there.  With partners, he started his own firm in 1893 and was associated for many years with Daniel J. Conway [from G.W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4 (1915), 190].

Mary E. Nobles

In the 1909 business directory, Mary Nobles was listed as proprietor of the Bean Rooming House.  Mary managed rooms at 220 W. 8th Street [Sioux Falls City Directory (1907), 374, (1909), 201].  However, she is not listed in either the 1906 or the 1910 directories and I find nothing promising in the 1910 census.  Nothing at all for “Bean Rooming House” either…

Miss Alice Pinkerton

Miss Pinkerton was listed in the 1909 business directory as an artist.  Alice was born in about 1874 in Wisconsin [Thirteenth U.S. Census, ED #345 (April 18, 1910), sheet 4A].  She specialized in china painting and pastels and worked as an art teacher [1910 census; Sioux Falls City Directory (1906), 187, (1907), 261, (1917), 344, 532].  She worked out of the Minnehaha Block,  the Southwestern Block, the Boyce-Greeley Building, the Shakstad Building, and several others  [Sioux Falls City Directory (1906), 187, 266, (1909), 218, (1910), 227, (1911), 264, (1912), 270, (1915), 339, (1916), 538].  In 1906, three other women were also classified as artists in the city directory [Sioux Falls City Directory (1906), 265-266].

Alice’s family lived for a time in Gilman, Iowa where her father worked as a coal dealer, and in Luverne, Minnesota where her father worked as a landlord [Tenth U.S. Census, ED #280 (June 1, 1880), 31; MN State Census, ED #2 (June 20-21, 1905), sheet 50].  Her sister Edna Pinkerton was a music teacher who lived for a time with Alice [1910 census].  In 1912 in Sioux Falls, Alice married a divorced man, Edward Robie, who worked as a printer at Will A. Beach Co. [#34279, South Dakota Marriage Index, 1905-1914, 1950-2013 and South Dakota Marriage Certificates, 1905-1949. Pierre, SD, USA: South Dakota Department of Health; Sioux Falls City Directory (1914), 309].  She used both last names in the 1915 and 1916 directories, and was listed as “Mrs.” in the 1917 directory, but used her own last name.

It appears she divorced Edward eventually and married Theodore Olson, a mechanical engineer, in 1920 [#76209, South Dakota Marriage Index, 1905-1914, 1950-2013 and South Dakota Marriage Certificates, 1905-1949. Pierre, SD, USA: South Dakota Department of Health; Sioux Falls City Directory (1922), 238].

About trends in china painting for women on the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, link here.


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