Orcutt home at 550 S 26th Avenue, Omaha, NE. Photograph by Louis Bostwick taken November 1903 on the occasion of Jane Orcutt’s Debut into Society. Handwriting from Anna Jane Beaton Hyde, granddaughter of Clinton Orcutt.

Family historians research every aspect of their ancestor’s lives, including where they lived. We search for addresses by following a paper trail: census records, directories, land deeds, tax records, and newspaper articles. Once we have an address, we google it to determine if the house still exists. If it doesn’t, we might be fortunate enough to discover old photographs. Two of my favorite ancestoral families, the Orcutts and Beatons, left behind a generous paper trail. Compelled by a treasure trove of pictures, records, and newspaper articles, I decided to explore the Clinton and Anna (Dutton) Orcutt house in Omaha, Nebraska – in detail.

My maternal great-grandmother, Edith (Orcutt) Beaton, spent her first seven years in the sleepy rural village of Durant, Iowa – population 500. Then, in the fall of 1887 the Orcutt family packed their belongings and moved 300 miles west to Omaha, Nebraska – population 125,000. By 1890 the population had grown to 140,000.


Listed below are the Orcutt family members who moved to Omaha. Scroll through the picture gallery to view their photos. Sadly, there are no photographs that survived of Louis DeForest Orcutt, the eldest son who died four years after the family moved to Omaha.

  • Clinton Delos Orcutt (1840-1905)
  • Anna Dorcas (Dutton) Orcutt (1842-1899)
  • Louis Deforest Orcutt (1871-1891
  • Marion Edith Orcutt (1879-1964)
  • Anna Ri Orcutt (1881-1942)
  • Jane Clare “Jennie” Orcutt (1884-1918)


Panoramic View of Omaha -Austen, Edward J, and Jefferson Bee Publishing Company. Panoramic view of Omaha. [Jefferson Iowa Bee Publishing Co, 1905] Map.

Between 1870 and 1900, Omaha developed from a frontier railroad center to a regional metropolis.[1] From a business standpoint, the city oozed potential. It had a new Union Pacific railroad hub, manufacturing plants, mills, stockyards, and packing houses. From a cultural perspective, Omaha offered arts and sciences, schools, higher education institutions, and churches. Noted as the “Gate City of the West,” Omaha is located nearly midway between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and about 500 miles from Denver, St. Louis, and Chicago.

The 1890 Omaha city directory described the city in glowing terms.

“Upon entering Omaha, we find ourselves treading finely paved streets and surrounded by a busy throng of active, energetic people, substantial and elegant buildings on every side, stores filled with goods from every climate, and all the appliances of modern civilization. The streets are broad, clean, well lighted and many of them excellently paved with granite, Colorado sandstone, asphaltum, or cedar or cypress blocks, making them fine driveways and roadways.

Shade trees abound on the residence streets, protecting the pedestrian from the summer sun -seventy-three miles of sewer and good drainage. City well lighted with gas and electric lights. Public squares and parks abound.”[2]

Glimpses of Omaha- "Omaha Illustrated: A History of the Pioneer Period and the Omaha of Today", 1888.
Glimpses of Omaha- “Omaha Illustrated: A History of the Pioneer Period and the Omaha of Today”, 1888.

I found another description that portrayed a less appealing side of Omaha. In 1888, Frisby Rasp, a Nebraska farm boy, moved to Omaha to attend business college. His letters to his family may reflect how Edith Orcutt and her family felt when they first moved to the big city. Frisby was overwhelmed by the crowds and anonymity. “If 2/3 of the country people could see Omaha they would open there [sic] eyes as if they had been thunderstruck. It has the most noise and rattle to it I ever saw…” He also found the city to be filthy by a country boy’s standards. “I guess there ain’t any end to Omaha, at least I can’t find any. You can walk till you are tired out any direction you choose, and the houses are as thick as ever…Everything is coal smoke and dirt and people. It is dusty just as soon as it quits raining, and the dust is the worst dust I ever saw. It is all stone and manure. Streets that ain’t paved, two feet deep of mud.”[3] Another disturbing aspect for Frisby was the vice in Omaha. “Every other store is a saloon. This is an awful wicked town. The saloons run on Sunday and most all work goes right on.” In 1888, Omaha boasted 300 saloons. According to Frisby, “…even the local newspapers claimed that if you shut down all the saloons, brothels, and tobacco shops, half of Omaha’s business would be gone…I never want to live in the city. It is the worst place in the world to live.”[4] Frisby rented a room near the Union Pacific Depot, an area not as genteel as the neighborhood the Orcutts chose.


Based on newspaper articles, I knew in 1886 Clinton Orcutt began building a spacious house in Omaha, Nebraska. Researching the deed records required that either I travel to Omaha or find a professional geneaolgist to do the research. So I decided to splurge. I referred to the website for the Association of Professional Genealogists and quickly found a very thorough and professional researcher and genealogist. A sound decision.

Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report: Beaton and Orcutt Homes. History Walks LLC. Sanborn Map Company, (1890). Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Omaha, Douglas and Sarpy County, Nebraska. Vol 2 [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

When Clinton Orcutt decided to build a new home in Omaha, he chose two lots in an area known as Clarks Addition or Clarks St. Mary’s Addition, a largely undeveloped area in the city.[5] Clinton purchased lot 9 from Isaac Congdon (a lawyer) for $4,000 on September 8, 1886. Three days later, on September 11, 1886 he purchased lot 10 from Charles C. Housel (real estate agent) and his wife for $5,000. [6] Unfortunately, the genealogist could not locate information regarding the building costs on the property. The city of Omaha destroyed older building permits in the 1990’s.[7]

Initally, I thought the Orcutt home at 550 S 26th Avenue was located in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Omaha. According to Adam Fletcher, who writes a blog about North Omaha History,the new Gold Coast was the nouveau riche flexing their muscles.”[7] It contained two distinct neighborhoods within its boundaries: the Blackstone neighborhood and the Cathedral neighborhood.

“Houses had all kinds of spectacular features, including three -and four- story towers and spectacular flower gardens on the outsides. Yards were often ringed with iron fencing and served by regal driveways where coaches and drivers could gracefully haul their charges to the next location. The insides of these homes with even more elaborate furnishings, all reflecting the opulence and splendor of the Gilded Age. Woods from exotic places, fine handmade woodworking; elaborate stained glass leaded windows; beautiful silk wall tapestries; Tiffany Lamp Fixtures; and exquisite rugs filled these homes. On an average, when a fine home had six or ten rooms in two stories, these mansions had 20 and 30 rooms in three and four stories. These all had large coach houses, often two stories tall with enough room to accommodate their horses, carriages, and buggies.”[8]

Orcutt home at 550 S 26th and the Gold Coast Historic District, Google Maps.

The Gold Coast lies to the north of the Orcutt home. Clinton may have thought that Clarks Addition would develop into similar high-end real estate. After all, he’d made his fortune buying and selling real estate in Iowa and Nebraska. The area had potential at the time.

Using Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps provided details I previously overlooked regarding Clinton Orcutt’s property. When he purchased two lots, he built two houses plus a carriage house.[9] The larger home served as the Orcutt family residence. The smaller six-room cottage at 554 S 26th Avenue may have been intended as a “mother-in-law” house. Although Clinton’s mother had passed away, Anna’s widowed mother was still alive in 1886. Thanks to a suggestion from the professional genealogist, I examined Omaha city directories for the address “550 S. 26th” to determine who lived in the smaller home from 1886-1910. The occupants were not family members nor domestic servants who worked for the Orcutts. City directories revealed that Clinton rented the home to various tenants, none remaining longer than two years – single men, single women, and occasionally a married couple.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Omah, Douglas and Sarpy County, Nebraska. Image 20, 1901.,0.595,1.662,0.822,0

Many of the wealthy hired Omaha’s finest architects to custom design their homes. I don’t know if that is the case for Clinton Orcutt’s residence. However, the Orcutt home did receive notice in a book published in 1888 that featured prominent Omaha residences, “Omaha Illustrated: A History of the Pioneer Period and the Omaha of Today.”[10] Included in the book is the image depicted below. I am thrilled to have discovered the only known photograph that clearly shows the Orcutt’s home. The home is also listed amongst the notable residences in “Born Rich: A Historical Book of Omaha”, published in 1978.[11]

“Omaha Illustrated: A History of the Pioneer Period and the Omaha of Today,” (Omaha, Nebraska, D.C. Dunbar & Co. Publishers, 1888; digital images, ( : accessed 20 April 2021), p.110.

The Orcutt’s three-story house embodied the popular Victorian Queen Anne architecture; it included a steep roofline, an ornamental chimney, irregular angles, a tower, shapely windows – including a bay window – and an expansive wrap-around porch with decorative trim, railings, and posts. Unfortunately, black and white photographs don’t reveal the color of the Orcutt home, but Queen Anne architecture typically featured rich tertiary colors.

  • “Body: one or two strong colors (usually different for clapboards and shingles)
  • Trim: a color unifying the body colors. Often a different accent color was used for decorative features.
  • Sash: the darkest color on the house: dark green, deep brown, black, deep red, maroon, chocolate, deep umber.”[12]


The home’s interior reflected Victorian style, orderly with detailed ornamentation, yet unique and rambling with multiple bedrooms, second-floor balconies, double doors, and ornate stairways.

A visitor to the Orcutt home first encountered the expansive entrance hall. Traditionally, the front hall included a hall stand, chairs, and a card receiver for calling cards. The stand provided space for hats, coats, parasols, and umbrellas. Hall chairs offered a seat for messengers or unexpected guests who awaited instructions.

“[Illustrations]: Decorative Chart for a Hall; Decorative Chart for a Parlor.” The Decorator and Furnisher, vol. 17, no. 6, 1891, pp. 206–207. JSTOR, Accessed 11 Feb. 2021.

The Orcutt reception/entrance hall must have been impressive. For formal events, the ample space served as an ideal location to place an orchestra. “An orchestra was stationed in the large reception hall, screened by large palms.”[13] In the two photographs below you can see a portion of the entrance hall. The grand staircase is on the left with Anna Ri on her wedding day. On the right, Edith Orcutt Beaton is standing in the palm filled hallway on the occasion of her sister Jane’s wedding. Directly behind Edith is a portrait of her sister Anna Ri Orcutt. I wrote about the painting in another blog about Orcutt family portraits.

Newspaper articles from the Omaha Daily Bee and the Omaha World-Herald described the Orcutt home with the following adjectives: comfortable, commodious, spacious, beautiful, and handsome. I gleaned snippets of information from the newspapers about the types of rooms, their function, and decorative features. For example, the ground floor had a drawing-room, a music room with a piano, a west parlor, an expansive rear parlor with a “bow window,” a dining room, and the grand staircase. Wide doorways separated the parlors, the latter accented with fancy mantles. The “capacious” drawing-room provided sufficient space to host large numbers of guests. On several occasions, the Orcutt’s invited 300 guests to special events, such as the Christmas party they hosted in December 1900.

“In honor of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Beaton [Edith Orcutt Beaton and her husband Alfred Beaton], Mr. Orcutt gave a reception on Tuesday evening to about 300 guests. Though she does not make her debut until next season, Miss Anna Ri assisted her father, presiding with a dignity that would reflect credit upon a much older and experienced hostess.

The house was elaborately decorated with holiday greens, palms, and smilax. In the doorways were suspended Christmas bells with clappers of holly berries and mistletoe. The stairway in the hall was festooned with evergreen and bows of red ribbon, while tall palms formed a screen behind which the orchestra played during the evening.”[14]

When the three sisters, Edith, Anna Ri, and Jane Clare, reached the appropriate age, they acted as hostesses for social events to practice their future roles as mistresses of their own homes. Fifteen- year-old Edith appeared in the Omaha Daily Bee in 1895, when she served as hostess at a luncheon for her young friends.

“A Dainty Pink Luncheon – One of the prettiest luncheons was given by Miss Edith Orcutt last Tuesday in honor of her guest, Mrs. T.G. Wear of Topeka. Cover [places] were laid for sixteen. The table decorations were beautiful. The centerpiece was prettily embroidered in wild roses and the cut glass vases at each end of the table and in the center were filled with fragrant blush roses. The menu consisted of eight delicious courses. The house throughout was decorated with palms and pink roses. The young ladies made a charming picture in their dainty, fairylike summer gowns.”[15]

Researching the Orcutt family produced a wealth of information, as they frequently appeared in the society columns. These included the weddings of the Orcutt sisters. All three events took place in the Orcutt home, beautifully decorated for the special ceremonies.

Of the three sisters, I could only find evidence that Jane Clare actually made a formal debut into society. Described as “an exquisitely pretty girl,” her debut in 1903 made the Society News. Photographed by Louis Ray Bostwick, Jane’s Debut Album showcased the young woman in the Orcutt family home. What a bonanza for my research!

A professional photographer captured the Orcutt daughter’s weddings, including images of the gifts elegantly displayed in the upstairs room. Preserved for over 100 years, these albums provide a glimpse into the Orcutt home and family history.

Based on the pictures, I know the formal dining room included the following:

  • Ornate dark wood furniture
  • Paneled walls
  • Wallpaper with wide decorative borders near the ceiling
  • Stained glass windows
  • Tasseled draperies
  • A gas chandelier
  • A corner cabinet filled with china and crystal

“A formal dining room ensured enjoyable meals. A library stocked well with books and with a sprawling fireplace provided comfort and warmth. Spacious parlors located throughout a home provided occupants with formal living areas for welcoming guests. Parlors usually featured ostentatious decors such as tasseled draperies, dark wood, fireplaces with fancy mantles, and gilded wainscoting.”[16]

The most important rooms in the house were the parlors, as they served as showcases for the homeowners to entertain their guests. The Orcutt parlors, decorated in dark woods, such as mahogany and walnut, featured oversized cozy chairs, oriental rugs, window coverings made of thick heavy fabrics, valances, swags and tassels, candelabras, and multi-light chandeliers ornamented with porcelain and glass shades. “A bare room was considered to be in poor taste, so every surface was filled with objects that reflected the owner’s interests and aspirations.”[17] The Orcutt’s decorated their home with marble figures, artwork, potted plants, and flower-filled vases.

The second floor of the Orcutt home included individual bedrooms for each of the six family members. Anna and Clinton Orcutt had separate bedrooms. Additional rooms included a library, a sitting room and a “modern” bathroom and lavatory for the family members.

“In wealthier homes, the toilet was often in a room by itself, in a corner, or an anteroom with a door. The room itself was always relegated to the bedroom floor, above the parlor floor, away from the public rooms of the house. Many houses had a servant’s toilet off the kitchen, often outside in a shed, or in an attic.[18]

Photographs from the family albums show that the second-story had spacious rooms but with lower ceilings than the ground floor. Oriental rugs draped the floors, lace curtains covered the windows, and lightly patterned wallpaper decorated the walls. Furniture included a carved four-poster bed and walnut or mahogany dressers. Although the images focus on the wedding gifts, they still provide the viewer with a glimpse into the upper rooms of the Orcutt house.


Newspapers never mentioned the behind-the-scenes aspects of how the Orcutt’s managed their household, but I know that servants performed the daily tasks. Society ladies did not engage in household chores. Based on the 1900 census, the Orcutts employed two female servants, one nanny, and a coachman. Female servants probably slept on the third floor, but the coachman likely had a room in the carriage house or the basement.

Unfortunately, I could only refer to the 1900 census for information regarding the Orcutts and their servants. Census records, a valuable resource for family historians, are only available every ten years. The 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire, and by 1910, the Orcutt family no longer lived at 550 South 26th Avenue. I used the tip from the professional genealogist to search Omaha city directories for just the address to learn more about the Orcutt’s domestic help. Searching a directory for an address instead of a name did not yield results for every year. However, I did confirm that the Orcutt family employed two female domestic staff and one coachman. Not surprisingly, the staff changed about every two years.

1900 United States Federal Census for Clinton Orcutt and his household. [19]

  • Clinton Orcutt – head of household – age 59 (widower) – birthplace, Illinois – Capitalist
  • Edith Orcutt Beaton – daughter – age 24 – birthplace, Iowa – no profession listed
  • Anna Ri Orcutt – daughter – age 19 – birthplace, Iowa – no profession listed
  • Jennie C Orcutt – daughter – age 16 – birthplace, Iowa – At School
  • Alfred Beaton – son-in-law – age 26 – birthplace, Canada – Merchant, carpets
  • Baby Beaton (Phillip Orcutt Beaton) – grandson – age one month – birthplace, Nebraska
  • Anna Winter – servant – age 21 – birthplace, Pennsylvania – domestic servant
  • Maggie Oflatherty – servant – age 24 – birthplace, Illinois – domestic servant
  • Emil Anderson – servant – age 26 – birthplace Sweden – coachman
  • Dora Dart – servant – age 27 – birthplace, Missouri – Nurse (nanny)
Phillip Orcutt Beaton with his Nurse (Nanny), Dora Dart, 1901.

The 1900 census didn’t list a cook living at the residence, but I know the Orcutt family employed one. Finding the right cook could be challenging. The Orcutts advertised for “a good cook” in 1896, 1897, 1898, and 1899.[20]

“Wanted a good cook. Mrs. Orcutt, 550. S 26th St.” Omaha World-Herald, July 1898.

The kitchens of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the domain of the staff. As the mistress of the home, Anna Orcutt dictated menus and managed the budget. She did not cook the meals nor clean the house. Accordingly, the kitchen would have been functional but not as ornate as the rest of the house.

“The late Victorian kitchen had the latest in modern appliances. A cast iron stove, able to cook and bake, often connected to a hot water heater that would feed into the sink and piped to bring hot water to the bathrooms. The sink was a large porcelain surface on sturdy legs with hot and cold running water from taps, not pumps. A large work table was usually in the middle of the room, which served as both work space and eating table for the staff.

Wealthier homes had iceboxes, lead-lined cupboards with a block of ice below keeping food cool in a compartment above. There was usually a pantry, a closet with shelves and built-in cupboards for storing foodstuffs, dishes and pots. Often there was also a built-in cupboard in the actual kitchen, or a butler’s pantry, either in the hallway leading to the dining room, or a separate room next to the kitchen where servers could do final prep work on the dish before serving.

Very wealthy families might have a locked silver room, and a larger butler’s pantries. Lighting to the kitchen was supplied by generous windows, as well as overhead gas lighting or electric lighting.[21]

Supplied with heat, gas, and running water, the Orcutt home provided optimal comforts for the time. Based on an 1890 newspaper that recounted a robbery in the home, I know that electric buttons powered the gas lights.

“When Mr. Orcutt drove up to to his house shortly before 7 o’clock, he noticed that the gas in his wife’s room was suddenly turned down but thought nothing further about it. His little daughter, Annie [Anna Ri], and a girl who was her guest finished supper early and ran up the front stairway. The gas in the hall had been extinguished, but the children attached no importance to it and did not relight the jets until they reached the second story, when they touched the electric buttons.”[22]

The burglars escaped via the rear hallway and back staircase, the staircase used by the servants. The thieves made off with two watches and chains, several pairs of bracelets, a diamond pin, and assorted jewelry. The value of the jewelry in 1890 was $600.

Who were the Orcutt’s neighbors? They were a mix of homeowners and renters. Some of the houses were large and elegant, while others were modest properties. On the north side of the Orcutts at 546 S 26th lived Jacob Soloman, a cattle dealer, his wife, two daughters, their spouses, a grandchild, and three servants. Immediately on the south side of the Orcutt home, in their rental property at 554 S 26th, resided a young couple, Charles and Catherine Moyer. The house immediately next to the rental property was occupied by Warren Switzler, a lawyer, his wife, two sons, a daughter, and one servant. Across the street at 557 S. 26th lived James Van Nostrand, a leather clerk, with his wife Virginia, and two female boarders, both listed as nursing school graduates. The neighbor’s occupations included: bookkeeper, printer, salesman, grocery store clerk, car builder, jewelry engraver, bookkeeper, real estate agent, and laundry proprietor. It was also a culturally diverse neighborhood. The majority were American-born with a mix of Canadians, Welsh, Irish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Germans.


For twenty years, the Orcutt family occupied their home at 550 South 26th Avenue in Omaha. They would be the only family to occupy the house as a single residence. After Clinton Orcutt’s death in 1905, his three daughters inherited the property in equal shares. On December 26, 1905, sole ownership was transferred to Edith Orcutt Beaton for the sum of “$1.00 and other good valuable considerations.”[23] Anna Ri married in March 1905 and moved to Chicago, Illinois. Jane continued to live at home until her marriage in February 1906. Edith and her husband, Alfred Beaton, remained in the Orcutt home until January 1907. Then they downsized and moved to “a neat double cottage of gray buff brick at 212 South Thirty-Seventh street“.[24] A more modest home, it consisted of two stories, nine rooms, including the reception hall.

Instead of immediately selling the family home, Edith and Alfred Beaton rented it furnished to a “party of bachelors” – ten single men.[25] By 1910 the Beatons converted the Orcutt home to a boarding house.The 1910 census listed twelve occupants: one female property manager, nine male boarders, and two female housemaids.[26] Finally on March 31, 1915, the Beatons sold the Orcutt home to Frank McGinty for $10,000.[27]

Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report Beaton & Orcutt Homes. History Walks LLC. Douglas County Nebraska Register of Deeds, (1915). Deed Bok 391: 556; Edith Beaton sells to Frank McGinty.

Why did Edith and Alfred sell the property for only $10,000 – a mere $1,000 more than what Clinton Orcutt paid for the land in 1886? As I mentioned previously, Clinton Orcutt likely speculated that the property values would rise. Instead, they declined. According to the professional genealogist, the area today has lower-end apartments and homes subject to vandalism and a high crime rate.[28]

After Frank McGinty bought the property he probably converted the house into at least two flats. I found an advertisement in the Omaha Daily Bee for January 1915 with the following listing. For $30/month the tenant could occupy a nine room, modern flat. The term “light housekeeping” indicated that there were limited facilities for cooking.

“13 Sep 1925, 21 – The Omaha Daily News at”,

After only 33 years, the Orcutt home was demolished in 1920 to make room for a four-story apartment building.[29] In September 1925 an advertisement in the Omaha Daily Bee featured “Omaha’s Finest Walking Distance Apartments” at La Morada Apartments – noted as 554 S 26th St.

“13 Sep 1925, 21 – The Omaha Daily News at”,

554 S 26th Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska – former location of Clinton Orcutt home. Google Maps.

Time marches on but as a family historian I try to capture glimpses of my ancestral past and preserve them for future generations.

© 2021 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved


Genealogy Sketch

Name: [Marion Edith ORCUTT BEATON UTTENDORFER -1879-1964
Parents: Clinton Delos ORCUTT 1840-1905 and
Anna Dorcas DUTTON ORCUTT 1841-1891
Spouse: *Alfred James BEATON 1872-1916 and George Newell UTTENDORFER 1887-1972
Children: Anna Jane BEATON HYDE -1907-1998 and Orcutt Phillip BEATON 1900-1971
Relationship to Kendra: Great-Grandmother

  2. Anna Jane BEATON HYDE
  4. Kendra


  1. Lawrence H. Larsen and Barbara J. Cottrell; The Gate City A History of Omaha (Lincoln, Nebraska, University of Nebraska Press, 1977) p 61.
  2. Lawrence H. Larsen and Barbara J. Cottrell; The Gate City A History of Omaha (Lincoln, Nebraska, University of Nebraska Press, 1977) p 61.
  3. David L. Bristow, “A Farm Boy Comes to Omaha, 1888,” History Nebraska ( : Blog; accessed 20 March 2021.
  4. Ditto
  5. Douglas County Nebraska Register of Deeds, (1886). Deed Book 79: 69-70; Isaac Congdon et al. sell to Clinton Orcutt. Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report: Beaton and Orcutt Homes. History Walks LLC
  6. Douglas County Nebraska Register of Deeds, (1886). Deed Book 74: 406-0; Charles C Housel and Wife sell to Clinton Orcutt. Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report: Beaton and Orcutt Homes. History Walks LLC
  7. Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report: Beaton and Orcutt Homes. History Walks LLC
  8. Adam Fletcher, “A History of the Gold Coast Historic District of Omaha,” North Omaha History ( : accessed 12 April 2021).
  9. Sanborn Map Company, (1887).Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Omaha, Douglas and Sarpy County, Nebraska. [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,
  10. “Omaha Illustrated: A History of the Pioneer Period and the Omaha of Today,” (Omaha, Nebraska, D.C. Dunbar & Co. Publishers, 1888; digital images, ( : accessed 20 April 2021), p.110.
  11. Margaret patricia Killian; Born Rich: A Historical Book of Omaha (Omaha, Nebraska, Assistance League of Omaha, 1978) p.46.
  12. John Fiske, “Painting your historic house, a guide to colors and color schemes,” Historic Ipswich on the Massachusetts North Shore, ( : accessed 5 May 2021.)
  13. “Mrs. Orcutt’s Dancing Party,” Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha) 20 December 1896, p.4. col.1 : digital images, Chronicling America online Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 9 May 2021).
  14. “Mr. Orcutt’s Reception,” Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha), 23 December 1900, p.6 : digital images, Chronicling America Online Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 12 February 2021).
  15. “A Dainty Pink Luncheon,” Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha), 18 August 1895, p.4; digital images, Chronicling America Online Newspaper Archive ( : accessed 11 January 2021.
  16. “A Complete guide to Victorian Houses,” Home Advisor, (https// : accessed 5 April 2021.
  17. “Victorian Decorative Arts,” digital images, Wikipedia ( : accessed 5 April 2021.
  18. Suzanne Spellen, “From Pakistan to Brooklyn: A Quick History of the Bathroom,” digital images, Brownstoner, (
  19. 1900 U.S. Census, Douglas County, Omaha, population schedule, Omaha, Enumeration District (ED) 0045, sheet 7, dwelling 102, family 119, Clinton Orcutt : digital image, ( : accessed 4 June 2021 citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 1854.
  20. “Help Wanted – Female,” Omaha World-Herald, (Omaha), July 12, 1898, p.7; digital images, ( : accessed 16 May 2021).
  21. Suzanne Spellen, “Walkabout: Someone’s in the Kitchen Part I,” digital images, Brownstoner, ( : accessed 15 May 2021.
  22. “A Neat bit of Work – How Two Burglars Robbed mr. Orcutt’s Residence,” Omaha World-Herald, (Omaha), 13 February 1890, p.3 ; digital images,, ( : accessed 16 February 2020).
  23. Douglas County Nebraska Register of Deeds
  24. “Dempsters New Cottage,” Omaha Daily Bee, (Omaha), 6 January 1907, p.13; digital images, ( : accessed 4 June 2021.
  25. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha), 30 December 1906, p.7; digital images,, ( : accessed 20 May 2021.
  26. 1910 U.S. Census, Douglas County, Omaha, population schedule, Omaha, Enumeration District (ED) 0083, sheet 6, dwelling 108, family 110, Jeannie Nealley : digital image, ( : accessed 4 June 2021 citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 844.
  27. Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report: Beaton & Orcutt Homes, History Walks LLC. Douglas County Nebraska Register of Deeds, (1915). Deed Book 391: 556; Edith Beaton sells to Frank McGinty.
  28. Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report: Beaton & Orcutt Homes, History Walks LLC.
  29. Lewis, S. 2021. Research Report: Beaton & Orcutt Homes, History Walks LLC. Douglas County Nebraska Assessor/Register of Deeds, Douglas County, Nebraska Property Record -R0813850000. douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds GIS Mapping (Internet Site), at (Accessed 15 July 2021).

Posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

FORMER SOCIETY MISS TURNS WYOMING TRAPPER – (Anna Jane Beaton – my maternal grandmother)

Anna Jane Beaton, Creighton Prom Queen, Omaha, NE 1926

Instead of an Omaha debut, Anna Jane Beaton opted for a year teaching on a ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming after she graduated from college in June of 1927. The title of this article is derived from a newspaper clipping preserved in my grandmother’s scrapbook.

Miss Anna Jane Beaton, Omaha girl, who received many honors as a student at Duchesne College, having been crowned queen of the Creighton university prom, and having served as a princess in the court of Ak-Sar-Ben, is enjoying a totally different experience in Wyoming this season where she is tutoring at the Offutt ranch near Gillette.”[1]

Wyoming 1921, Wyoming Homestead Maps

What images do you have in your mind’s eye when you think of your grandparents? Do you picture them in their youth? Do you know what dreams and aspirations they had? We tend to view our grandparents through the limited lens of our relationship with them.

I thought I knew a great deal about my maternal grandmother, Anna Jane (Beaton) Hyde. I lived with her the summer after graduate school and visited her during some of my college vacations. Our conversations often covered aspects of her youth. We corresponded and called one another weekly. Grams, as my family called her, had inspired me in every realm of my life. But how well did I know who Anna Jane Beaton was as a young woman?

My grandmother embraced life’s adventures and was equally at home on the dance floor at a ball as in the saddle on a ranch. Since she died in 1998, I have regularly examined her scrapbooks, looking for more clues about her life. Her scrapbooks included cards, photographs, and newspaper clippings about her friends, family, and herself. One article piqued my interest. It referred to a story my grandmother had written at age 21, the year after graduating college. She submitted the article to “The Signet,” a magazine published nationally by the Sacred Heart Order.

Newspaper article from Anna Jane Beaton’s scrapbook
The Signet – May 1928 – New York Public Library Archives

For many years I tried to locate a copy of the article, to no avail. Then, while researching information regarding my great-grandmother and her sisters’ education, I found an archivist at the Loretto Heritage Center who provided a tip. The New York Public Library has copies of the Signet, including the article I desired. Anna Jane’s story revealed another layer of information about her life as a young college graduate.


TEACHING IN THE WEST – By Anna Jane Beaton

What shall I do after I graduate? is the question that confronts every college girl. The world stands with its hands on its hips, saying challengingly: “Well, now that you have a college degree, let’s see you do something.” Many a college graduate has probably pondered over the problem of a career with as much indecision as a Freshman choosing a prize from the sea of delectables on Reverend Mother’s tray after the congé.

Seven out of the class of ’27 planned to teach but the pedagogic career did not appeal to me. It happened that an article or so of mine had been published and, unfortunately, some of my friends said they were good, and thenceforth the editorial staff seemed the end of the rainbow. The only detaining factor was that a friend invited me out West for the Summer, to the West whose wild hills in past summers had been boundless childhood playgrounds.

The acceptance of this invitation was to be one last fling of youth before taking on the staid duties of a business woman. Besides, mused the future editor, there I can find time to read, converse, observe, gain experience and, let’s see, what was the fifth source of material? –the textbook recommended for a newspaper writer!

At any rate, when the west-bound train puffed into Gillette, one hundred miles from Sheridan, Wyoming, if you know where that metropolis thrives, the pseudo-editor found herself at her journey’s end.

Gillette, Wyoming, 1920 – Anna Jane Beaton Scrapbook

The old western town had not undergone so many changes and, in spite of what Mary Roberts Rinehart [She is often called the American Agatha Christie] says about the West and its lack of cowboys, there were two live cowboys on the street that afternoon –big hats, loud shirts, leather chaps, spurs, and the prerequisite bow-legs.

The first taste of Western hospitality found a scenic background in the country about twenty miles north of Gillette where we were extended an invitation to a house party with friends living in rustic sublimity at the foot of the Rockies. Our party assembled, and, though the black clouds rolled about sardonically, we laughed at the bad omens. A storm in the weird loneliness of the Bad Lands, however, ten miles from the habitation of a living thing, even a rabbit, for there was little or no vegetation, had not been anticipated. the great steep white banks of white sand rising on either side of narrow divides changed to dull gray, and pink shale turned pale with fright under the freakish yellow light of the approaching outburst. Our horses tremulously hurried homeward under pressure of spurs. Almost sitting on their haunches and with front feet braced they intermittently crawled or slid down steep embankments, only to jump the ravine at the bottom and snort, puff and bob their heads with the labor of mounting the next diminutive cañon, as they trudged under fir branches that provokingly slapped the unwary rider in the face or brushed his hat over one ear.

Anna Jane Beaton (age 20) 1927, Gillette, Wyoming Offutt Ranch

When the storm broke, rain fell, not in drops, but as if the whole wet cloud had lost its mooring and dropped at the same instant. The echo of the thunder gave the effect of a constant deep rumble, broken only by the snap of lightening. One lonely tree in that barren yet picturesque waste-land extended its arms for our protection and when we at last moved from our cramped position, after two hours of drenching and shivering everything was dampened except our spirits. It gave one a feeling of rough-and-readiness to weather a storm like that without even sneezing and the whole atmosphere fostered “the call of the wild”, which undeniably finds a harbor in any heart that revels in adventure or romance.

As we neared our hostess’ home, a match-box of a house loomed up in the lap of a cedar-covered butte. The match-box is the school-house in which this (what shall I call it?) is being created, while little Janey is writing her language-lesson for the first time in ink and Bob just interrupted to find out if it were not about time for recess.

School-House, Offutt Ranch, Gillette, Wyoming – Anna Jane Beaton Scrapbook
Jane Offutt (8-years-old), Robert (Bob- 14-years-old), Offutt Ranch, 1927-1928, Gillette, Wyoming

You see, this being a “school-ma’am” (an appellation much resented by the way), began as a joke for, although my hostess of the house party was eager to obtain a tutor for her two children, she had suggested teaching with the idea that it was quite absurd to picture her guest wearing the traditional psyche-knot coiffure and prematurely balancing glasses on the end of her nose. The matter being finally taken into serious consideration, however, an egotistical exaltation over the real utility of the new position, together with the thrill of actually being self-dependent, made the editorial dream a fugitive. It would be a change, of course, from the ordinary round of social obligations, in direct opposition to the atmosphere of New York and the days spent at Manhattanville. [ Anna Jane attended her junior year of college at Manhattanville], but the time spent at the Sacred Heart is a preparation for withstanding circumstances. Pioneering is nothing new in the annals of the Sacred Heart, and many of its children have caught the spirit.

So, credits, references and registration in accordance with the state laws were speedily attended to and “the new school teacher” was rushed to the Teacher’s Institute for the customary week of lectures, in a town with a population of three hundred expecting to accommodate four hundred teachers.

The “Institute” is a meeting of all teachers from several counties for the purpose of hearing pedagogical questions discussed by prominent educators throughout the state. Attendance at the Institute or meeting-place nearest one’s post is required by contract. The lectures were not long and at the end of five days we received a lucrative remuneration for attending. I wanted to frame that first check and would have, had there not been a good looking leather coat in a window in Gillette.

On returning to the scene of the house party it was necessary to begin work at once, but the days have been anything but drab or uninteresting. One day a rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, counting the button, was killed outside the school-house door just after the men had brought in the fuel from a nearby coal-bank. For our coal-bin is not in the basement; it is in the back yard where it is dug out of the ground being very near the surface.

[Campbell County, Wyoming is mostly grassland over extensive sub-bituminous coal deposits. Some are so close to the surface of that settlers could dig their coal, as the Offutt’s did on their ranch.[2]

Offutt Ranch school house- 1927-1928 – Anna Jane Beaton photo album with her handwriting.

One day while the children were cutting down a Christmas tree they were nearly stuck full of quills for a roly-poly porcupine was hiding under the rock on which they stood. The best sport of all, however, is trapping along the creek for muskrats or looking for the coyote trap whose victim has dragged it across the prairie. Of course, the boys always do all the shooting, for all the practice in the world would not create me into a good marksman.

Trapping and Hunting on the Offutt Ranch, Gillette, Wyoming- Chuck Offutt on the far right. Marguerite Offutt on far left – 1928

There are times when the traps are empty, but then the gallery is more thoroughly appreciated, the priceless art gallery of Nature. God must have forgotten that He promised the rainbow only after the storm for there is at least an approximation of His truce in the lavender, pink, and yellow hues of shale that patch the western hills. As though a French couturier had gowned them, the hills wear a chiffon-like covering of grass dotted thickly with clusters of sage-brush, yet not so thickly as to hide their pink shale underslips. Some of them boast rich green cedar or pine trees, apparently as carelessly laid out as a Futuristic design, yet with equal finesse.

Following an antelope or rabbit trail in the snow on the way to the “matchbox,” the sun seems to burst over one special butte and cast its spotlight teasingly until the early pedestrian feels like a water nymph dancing in a fountain spray; that is morning.

A broad uncivilized expanse ended by the peaked ridges of the Rocky Mountain Range on the western horizon and by shadowy Black Hills on the east, enclosing a vast prairie, broken by rough hills like turbulent waves on the ocean; that is broad day.

Even red glow, a halo on the crest of the square-topped buttes, gradually shading into mauve; that is sunset.

Ethereal moon, gleaming through silhouetted pines like a forest-fire in the night, as fascinating as the long, drawn-out coyote howls that accompany its resurrection; that is nightfall.”[3]


As Anna Jane mentioned in her story, she applied for a teaching position at the suggestion of her friend, Marguerite (Elmore) Offutt. The list of characters in this blog might be a bit confusing due to the similarity of names – Offutts and Orcutts and three “Janes,” thus it’s best to provide a background to each individual.

  1. Anna Jane Beaton – born 1907 in Omaha, NE. Named after her maternal aunt, Jane (Orcutt) Keeline. Friends with the Offutt family through Jane (Orcutt) Keeline.
  2. Jane (Orcutt) Keeline – born 1884 in Iowa- maternal aunt of Anna Jane Beaton, married to Arthur R. Keeline of the historic Keeline Ranch in Campbell County, Wyoming, and classmate of Marguerite (Elmore) Offutt


1.Charles Seymour Offutt – born 1879 in Maryland, owner of the Offutt/Elmore ranch along the Little Powder River, located 16 miles from Gillette, WY. According to The Bureau of Land Management website, Charles Offutt filed for a land patent for 616 acres in 1916 to raise stock. In 1933, his wife, Marguerite filed for an additional 480 acres.

2. Marguerite (Elmore) Offutt – born 1881 in Iowa, owner of the Offutt/Elmore ranch, a classmate of Jane (Orcutt) Keeline. The Elmore family filed their first land patent in 1888 in Wyoming. Marguerite’s brother, Michael, her sister, Mary (Elmore) Clark, and her brother-in-law, Maurice Clark, are pictured in Anna Jane’s photograph albums.

3. Charles Elmore “Chuck” Offutt –born in 1907 in New York, eldest son, and rancher on the Offutt Ranch.

4. Robert Seymour “Bob” Offutt –born in 1913 in Wyoming – second son of the Offutt family.

5. Jane Margaret “Janey” Offutt –born in 1919 in Nebraska – named after Jane (Orcutt) Keeline, youngest child in the Offutt family.

Marguerite (Elmore) Offutt and Jane (Orcutt) Keeline were married to men who owned ranches in Wyoming. While Marguerite lived year-round on the O-7 Bar Ranch near Gillette, Jane (Orcutt) Keeline visited the Keeline 4J Ranch occasionally. She invited her niece and nephew, Anna Jane and Phillip Orcutt Beaton, during their summer vacations, where they spent hours riding horses and exploring the ranch. After Jane (Orcutt) Keeline died in 1918, Anna Jane continued to visit Gillette and maintained contact with the Offutt family.

Anna Jane’s scrapbooks included several articles about the year she taught on the Offutt ranch with information about her activities and experiences. Weekend outings to scenic sites such as Sylvan Lake, The Big Horn, Devils Tower, the Bad Lands, and Lake Dome kept her busy on the weekends.

The school year commenced in September and ended in mid-May with a break over the Christmas holidays. School hours on the ranch were to be “observed strictly from 9 o’clock to the noon hour and from 1 to 3 o’clock in the afternoon.”[4] Anna Jane taught two students, 8-year-old Janey and 14-year-old Bob. In the Gillette school yearbook for 1928, one of the very few yearbooks available online for Gillette, I found a listing of the Campbell County Rural High Schools. The county High School served a territory about 103 miles long and 50 miles wide. Many of the eighth-grade students were too young to send away to school, so the county placed teachers in rural schools for the approximately 60 High School students. There were 28 rural teachers for the school year 1928 – that list included Anna Jane’s name.[5]

Gillette High School 1928 – Anna Jane Beaton photo album.
The CAMEL 1928, Campbell County High School Yearbook –

Although I don’t know the specific subjects Anna Jane taught little Janey, the High School yearbook listed the subjects she was required to teach Bob for ninth grade: English I, Algebra I, World History, Community Civics, and Dry Farming; Business Spelling; and Advanced Penmanship.[6]

After-school hours were primarily spent on horseback. Bob and Jane each had their own pony, and Anna Jane always had a horse available to ride. With only two students, Anna Jane had plenty of time to participate fully in life on a remote ranch. She developed her skills as a trapper – trapping beavers, muskrats, and the occasional raccoon. [7] Nineteen-year-old Chuck Offutt, the older brother of Bob and Janey, a handsome young man, slim and 5’10” tall, with black hair and brown eyes, was an attentive instructor.

I appreciate my muskrat coat,” she writes to friends. In the country, a muskrat skin brings $1. She says it takes 128 skins for a woman’s coat, and the cost of making it is about $125. Muskrat coats can be bought for less in Omaha after Christmas than the cost would be to one who trapped for his owns skins and hired the coat made.”[8]

Anna Jane Beaton with a coyote – Offutt Ranch 1928, Gillette, Wyoming

Although she didn’t hunt herself, Anna Jane told the Omaha paper, “Antelope dinners are frequently given, and ducks are so thick that one could hunt them with a stick instead of a gun.”[9]

Offutt Ranch, Gillette, Wyoming – Probably Charles Offutt and Maurice Clark and Michael Elmore – 1927 (Handwriting on photos by Anna Jane Beaton)
Chuck Offutt, his two uncles Michael Elmore and Maurice Clark- Offutt Ranch, Gillette, Wyoming 1928. (Handwriting on photos by Anna Jane Beaton)

My grandmother shared a few stories with me about her experiences. According to statistics, the winter Anna Jane spent in Wyoming was the coldest in 30 years. It got so cold in the winter that she had to break the ice in the washbowl to rinse her face in the morning. Trying to stay warm while traipsing to the outhouse required extreme measures. The best way to try and stay warm was to take Tiger-Rose, the family cat, with her.

Tiger-Rose, Offutt family cat- Gillette, Wyoming 1927

Before Christmas, the heavy snow made driving a car into town impossible. Anna Jane rode horseback 16 miles from the ranch to get into Gillette. “The residents of the ranch lands were stormbound, practically since Christmas. Sever cold, or heavy snows or the bad roads resulting, kept the ranchers fairly isolated, according to letters from this young Omahan, who has only been into the town of Gillette three times since the holidays.”[10]

During the Christmas holidays, Anna Jane returned to Omaha, where she indulged in a busy social life visiting friends and family and hosting a party with her lifelong friend, Jean McGrath. The two young women gave one of the largest luncheons of the Omaha Christmas season at the Fontenelle hotel, with 85 guests in attendance

Omaha World-Herald, Jan 1, 1928

The day after the party, January 2nd, 1928, Anna Jane took the train back to Gillette to finish the school year, which ended in mid-May. After a year of roughing on the range, Anna Jane resumed her busy social life. I know she enjoyed her year on the ranch, but “pedagogy” did not appeal to her as a career. However, her love of nature and the west inspired her lifelong.

Anna Jane Beaton – Gillette, Wyoming – 1927


Robert (Bob) Offutt suffered acute cardiac failure at age 27 and died in May 1941; Charles Seymour Offutt died at age 62 in June 1941 from a cerebral hemorrhage; Marguerite Offutt died at age 66 in September 1948; Chuck Offutt died at age 74 in 1981; and Jane Offutt Rourke died at age 82 in 2001.

According to Jane (Offutt) Rourke’s obituary, she attended Catholic high school in Alliance, Nebraska, and then two years at Loretta Heights College in Denver, CO. She then lived with and traveled extensively with her maternal aunt, Mrs. Maurice Clark (sister to Marguerite). Finding this obituary clarified some of the photographs in my grandmother’s album, such as references to “Maurice”, “Michael” and the “Clark ranch.” Jane Offutt married Paul Rourke in 1955 and remained involved in ranching and working with livestock in Gillette, Wyoming.[12]

Offutt Ranch, Gillette, Wyoming – Anna Jane Beaton photograph album- 1927-1928

© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved


[1] Hyde, Anna Jane (Beaton). Scrapbook, ca 1907-1935. Privately held by Kendra Schmidt, Vienna, VA. 2022

[2], Campbell County Wyoming : accessed 12 August 2022

[3] Anna Jane Beaton. “Teaching in the West.” The Signet, Vol VIII, May 1928, No.2, pg.63-65.

[4] Hyde, Anna Jane (Beaton). Scrapbook, ca 1907-1935. The Omaha World-Herald, September 28, 1927, Privately held by Kendra Schmidt, Vienna, VA. 2022.

[5] Campbell High School, The Camel (Paragon printing 1928), p.74. “U.S. School yearbooks, 1900-1999.” ( accessed 12 August 2022).

[6] Ibid.

[7] Hyde, Anna Jane (Beaton). Scrapbook, ca 1907-1935. Privately held by Kendra Schmidt, Vienna, VA. 2022

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10]Hyde, Anna Jane (Beaton). Scrapbook, ca 1907-1935. The Omaha World-Herald, September 28, 1927, Privately held by Kendra Schmidt, Vienna, VA. 2022.

[11] Omaha World-Herald, (Omaha, Nebraska, January 1, 1928, Sunday, pg. 9, digital images, ( accessed August 2, 2022)

[12]Gillette News Record, Jane Offutt Rourke – August 14, 2001., : accessed 12 August 2022.

Posted in My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments


Orcutt Travel Album – (L-R_ Anna Ri Orcutt, Clinton Delos Orcutt, Jane Clare “Jennie” Orcutt

The final leg of the Orcutt’s Grand Tour included at least three popular tourist destinations in Italy – Venice, Florence, and Rome. Their tour probably included some smaller towns, as evidenced by mystery photographs from the travel album.

From Switzerland to Italy, the Orcutts would have traveled by train. During the busy season, the express trains could be overcrowded. However, a group of six persons could secure a compartment, provided they notified the railway personnel half an hour before departure.[1]

In Italian stations, two minutes before a train starts, which it usually does exactly on time, the train hands cry out, ‘in vettura!’ (all aboard), and all the doors of the carriages are closed, after which the conductor immediately appears and demands the tickets. A shout ‘Pronti(ready) is then repeated from end to end of the station; next, a shrill pocket whistle is heard, and if everything is all right is answered by a distant horn with a fine operatic effect. Last of all, a short, sharp whistle from the engine means the real business, and the train draws out.”[2]

In Italy, each piece of luggage had to be weighed and paid for on the railway. The cost was about seven-tenths of a cent a mile for every hundred pounds.[3] Although it sounds minor, the price could add up. In most of Europe, a traveler did not have to worry about the safety of their trunks when they were out of sight. This was not the case in Italy. Every guidebook advised that the traveler secure their luggage with cording to deter theft of the contents.

The train men there seem to have got into the unpleasant habit of spending their time between stations in exploring the baggage…The only protection is in cording the trunk, besides locking it (for they do not hesitate to break locks), and in sealing the knots in the cords; a leaden seal is preferable, but if this is not easily procured, sealing wax may suffice; usually the porter at the hotel will attend to the sealing wax when asked.”[4]

Most guidebooks advised against traveling to Italy during July and August due to the heat. The Orcutts visited Italy in August, possibly the hottest month. The average summer temperature of Venice was compared by one guidebook to that of Louisville, Kentucky, or Virginia. “endurable enough, but less comfortable than in spring…the canals get stale and sour.”[5]

If you are thinking of travelling in summer and say to your friends that you intend to see something of southern France and Italy, they will assure you that you will suffer dreadfully from the heat and will probably die of sunstroke or of some terrible local fever. The reason for this widespread belief is that the original guide-books for use on the Continent were written by for use by Englishmen, who are usually uncomfortable if the thermometer goes over seventy degrees Fahrenheit.”[6]


Venice, Venezia, the capital of the province has its own name, a commercial and naval port…lies 2.5 miles inland from the mainland, in the Lugane, a shallow bay of the Adriatic…its 15,000 houses and palaces, chiefly built on piles, and about 6.5 miles in circumference, stand on 117 small islands, formed by more than 150 canals and connected by 378 bridges, most of which are stone. In winter, spring tides raise the level of the water about 8 ft. so that even the Piazza di San Marco is flooded and has to be transversed by gondola”[7] Baedeker, Northern Italy, 1899

Venice, Italy – Panorama from the Campanile S. Marco towards S. Maria Della Salute – Library of Congress

If you stay more than two or three days in Venice, as you will certainly wish to do, you had better engage a gondolier to be at your service during your stay. the legal rate is five francs a day for a gondola and one man; if you want another rower for long expeditions, he is hired extra, and the gondolier expects a franc or a franc and a half for a day. For this modest sum, he will be at your service from early in the morning until late at night and will cheerfully tell you the name of every church and palace as you pass them. The Venetian gondolier is as simple and kindly a creature as the Roman or Florentine cabby.”[8]

Clarissa Sands, who explored Europe from October 1900-September, 1901, kept a journal of her travels. Her description of Venice might reflect what the Orcutts thought as they glided along the canals.

It was so queer to see boats instead of buses. We all got in, and the gondolier stood up behind and piloted us safely through the small canals to the Hotel, and just as we were at the door, the full moon came up…we went all around to see the first of Venice in a flood of moonlight and no descriptions have been exaggerated, for it’s glorious with the light pouring down on the old Venetian palaces with their stories of open arched loggias.”[9]

Photographs of Venice

  1. Clinton and Jane Orcutt in a gondola with the Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute in the background.
Clinton and Jane Orcutt – Venice, summer 1901

2. Clinton and Anna Ri in a gondola. Baedeker’s guidebook recommended that at least 3/4 of an hour be devoted to a trip on the grand canal to glimpse the principal palaces. [10]

Clinton and Anna Ri Orcutt – Venice, Italy – summer 1901
Rialto bridge, Grand Canal, Venice, Italy – Library of Congress

3. This photograph was taken from a gondola on the Grand Canal. The Palace of the Doges (Palazzo Ducale) is on the right, and the Marciana Library is on the left. Atop the two columns are the patron saints of of Venice. St. Mark the Evangelist is represented by a bronzed winged lion, and St. Theodore stands atop a crocodile on a marble column.

Orcutt travel album – summer 1901 – the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

4-5 Anna Ri Orcutt is feeding pigeons in the Piazza de San Marco with the Basilica of San Marco in the background. According to Baedeker’s guidebook, an age-old tradition to send out pigeons from all the churches on Palm Sunday resulted in the pigeons nesting in the nooks and crannies of surrounding buildings.[11] Every visitor felt compelled to buy grain or peas from the peddlers to feed the pigeons. Both Jane and Anna Ri succumbed to the entertainment and had their photographs taken with the birds clustered about them.

Anna Ri Orcutt, Piazza de San Marco, Venice, Italy – summer 1901
Anna Ri Orcutt, Piazza de San Marco, Venice – summer 1901

6-7 Jane Orcutt feeding the pigeons in the Piazza de San Marco, Venice. She has them eating out of her hand. Notice how few tourists there are strolling around the Piazza.

Jane Orcutt, Piazza de San Marco, Venice, Italy – summer 1901.
Jane Orcutt, Piazza de San Marco, Venice, Italy – summer 1901

8. The final picture of Venice depicts a military band playing for the crowds. It must have been quite a thrill for the Orcutts to witness the pomp and ceremony.

The Piazza of St. Mark is the grand focus of attraction in Venice. On summer evenings, all who desire to enjoy fresh air congregate here. The scene is liveliest when the military band plays (Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday 7:30-9:30 or 8-10) and possesses a charm all its own. Indeed, there is, perhaps, no more fascinating spot in Europe than this huge open-air drawing room.”[12]

Orcutt travel album, Piazza de San Marco, Venice, Italy, the military band- summer 1901.


Cityscape view looking toward the Cathedral of Florence, Italy – Library of Congress

Florence, Italian Firenze…formerly the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany…while in ancient times, Rome was the grand centre of Italian development, Florence has since the middle ages superseded it as the focus of intellectual life…An amazing profusion of treasures o fart, such as no other locality possesses within so narrow limits…and lastly, the delightful environs of the city combine to render Florence one of the most interesting and attractive places in the world.”[13] Baedeker, Northern Italy, 1899.

Mary Cadwalader Jone’s guidebook voiced the following thoughts regarding tourists to Florence and Rome:

Travellers may be broadly divided into two classes, Romans and Florentines, that is, those who distinctly prefer one city to the other. This often seems to depend upon which of the two they have seen first, but it is also the result of the radical difference between the two cities. Florence has practically one connected past, whereas, in Rome, there have been half a dozen periods of great historical value.

The picture galleries in Florence are glorious and have the great advantage of having all their treasures collected practically under one roof, while in Rome, a great number of masterpieces are still scattered in private collections and must be visited separately and on different days.

Florence seems much smaller than Rome and is therefore to many people more homelike…in summer, the heat is sometimes very great.”[14]

I don’t know if the Orcutts preferred Florence to Rome, as I do, but they did visit Florence first. Their photograph album includes just two pictures taken in Florence.

  1. The first is the Battistero, or Church of San Giovanni Battista, originally the cathedral of Florence. The octagonal structure clad in white Carrera and green Prato marble slabs is one of the “finest specimens of the Tuscan-Romanesque style.”[15] There are three celebrated bronze doors with relief sculptures on the baptistry. The Orcutts photographed the south door, the oldest of the three. I determined it was the south door based on the figures above the door, which depict the beheading of St. John the Baptist.

Orcutt photograph album, Church of San Giovanni Battista, south entrance – Florence, Italy – summer 1901
The Baptistry, Florence, Italy – circa 1905 – Library of Congress

The first door, the oldest of the three, on the south side, was completed by Andrea Pisano in 1336 after six years of labour. The reliefs comprise scenes from the life of John the Baptist and allegorical representations of the eight cardinal virtues, square panels with tastefully executed borders. The figures are full of life and simple charm…above the door is the Beheading of John the Baptist…”[16]

2. The second photograph taken in Florence depicts the Ponte Vecchio bridge, one of six bridges connecting the Arno River banks. The bridge is said to have existed as early as the Roman period and consists of three arches.[17]

Orcutt travel album – Ponte Vecchio bridge, Florence, Italy – summer 1901.

Twenty-eight years after the Orcutts visited Europe, Clinton Orcutt’s granddaughter, Anna Jane Beaton (my grandmother), traveled to many of the same locations. Her photograph album includes a picture of the Ponte Vecchio bridge taken in the summer of 1929. I did not take a picture of the Ponte Vecchio bridge in 2006; instead, I purchased a postcard.

Ponte Vecchio bridge, Florence, Italy- Anna Jane Beaton photo album – summer 1929.

The Orcutts had a limited amount of time in each city they visited and spent perhaps two or three days in Florence. I am confident that they visited the Uffizi Gallery, a prominent art museum known worldwide for its collection of priceless works of art and sculpture, particularly from the Italian Renaissance.

I don’t believe that the Orcutts kept a travel journal when they visited Europe. I did. In April 2006, while living in Berlin, Germany, I traveled with my husband and son to Tuscany, including a trip to Florence. Following the advice of current guidebooks, I made reservations to visit the prominent museums, which wasn’t necessary for 1901. There was so much to see and remember that it was a bit bewildering. However, you don’t forget the wonder you felt when you gazed upon Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Galleria dell Accademia or the works by DaVinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Titian, and Botticelli at the Uffizi.


Rome (Roma in Latin and Italian), known even in antiquity as ‘the Eternal City,’ once the capital of the ancient world, afterward the spiritual empire of the Popes, and since 1871, the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, with 489,965 inhabitants (31 Dec. 1897)…The city proper lies on the Left Bank of the Tiber, partly on the plain, the ancient Campus Martius, and partly on the surrounding hills. Modern Rome is principally confined to the plain, while the heights on which the ancient city stood were almost uninhabited in the middle-ages and the following centuries…these are the far-famed Seven Hills of Rome.” Baedeker, Central Italy, 1900.[18]

Although most guidebooks for 1900 advised against visiting Rome in July or August, the Orcutts were on a schedule that took them to the Eternal City during the hottest part of the year. Mary Cadwalader Jones stated in her travel guide that Rome in July and August “is not nearly so bad as Washington…”[19]I live in the Washington D.C. metro area, and the summers can be stifling due to the combined heat and humidity. When I visited Rome in May 2006, it was already hot, so August must have been quite intense for the Orcutts.

Baedeker’s guidebook advised caution on the part of the traveler if they visited Rome during the summer.

In summer, the neighborhood of Rome, as well as parts of the city itself, are exposed to malaria, but even apart from that fact, the suitability of this season for the tour depends to a great extent on the constitution of the traveller. The scenery is then in perfection, and the long days are hailed by the active traveller, but the fierce rays of an Italian sun seldom fail to sap the physical and mental energies.”[20]

The Orcutts may have had four days in Rome based on Thomas Cook’s travel guides. Even if they had a month, they could not exhaust the sights of Rome, “with all its museums, its galleries, excelling even those of Florence, and its four hundred churches.”[21] When I visited Rome for five days, I trekked through the city from morning until evening and saw only a fraction of the sights. It wasn’t enough time.

Hopefully, the Orcutts relaxed in their hotel during the hottest part of the day. Many of the state-run museums closed after three o’clock. Most churches were open in the morning until 12 or 12:30 and then again from 4 to 7 p.m., while the important ones remained open the entire day.

When the Orcutts went shopping, they would have learned that only the department stores had fixed prices. While they were in Italy, Jane purchased a wooden framed Madonna; perhaps she bargained for it. “…you should never forget in Italy that bargaining is a custom of the country, generally looked upon by both buyers and shopkeepers as a reasonable recreation which it would be a pity to forego.”[22] My grandmother, Anna Jane Hyde, nee Beaton, inherited the small artwork and passed it to my sister who shared these images with me.

One of the pleasures of foreign travel is sampling different cuisines. The Orcutts would have experienced a variety of new delicacies. I hope they stopped at an Italian café to drink a Caffé Nero or a Caffé Latte in the morning. I hope they savored a gelato every afternoon at one of the cafes.

Ices (gelato) of every possible variety are supplied at the cafes..Sorbetto, or half-frozen ice, and Granita, iced-water (limonata,of lemons; aranciatia, of oranges; di caffé) are other vaieties.”[23]


  1. The Triumphal Arch of Septimius Servus and the Temple of Saturn- the black and white photograph is from the Orcutt album. The colored print reflects a clearer image- courtesy of the Library of Congress.

2-3. Three figures walk amongst Roman Forum’s ruins, shielding themselves from the hot sun with umbrellas.

Forum Romano, Rome, Italy, ca1890-1905 – Library of Congress

4.Baths of Caracalla

Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy – Orcutt travel album summer 1901.

5. The Arch of Constantine is an ancient Roman gate outside the Colosseum.

Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy – Orcutt travel album summer 1901.
“The Colisuem and Meta Sudans, Rome, Italy” – Library of Congress

6. Roman Forum – temple of Faustine and Antonius Pius

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy – Orcutt travel album, summer 1901.

7. Colosseum – a sight where the Orcutts, Anna Jane Beaton (my grandmother), and I all photographed a similar image. Five generations stood and admired the same view at different times. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a time-lapse to view our reactions- Clinton Orcutt, Jane, and Anna Ri Orcutt, Anna Jane Beaton Hyde, Kendra Hopp Schmidt, Alexander Schmidt?

Colosseum, Rome – Orcutt travel album, summer 1901.
Colosseum, Rome, Italy – Anna Jane Beaton photograph album, summer 1929.
Colosseum, Rome, Italy, Kendra Schmidt – May 2006.


The Orcutts traveled to a few destinations where I could not determine the location.

Clinton Orcutt, Jane Orcutt, and Mrs. Martha Blackwell took a city tour in an unidentified location in Italy – the horse has a straw hat – Orcutt travel album- summer of 1901.

Italy – unidentified location – Orcutt travel album – summer 1901.
Italy, unidentified location – Orcutt travel album – summer 1901
Italy, unidentified location – the red arrows point to people in the water – Orcutt travel album- summer 1901.


On September 14, 1901, the Orcutts returned to Omaha, Nebraska. Unable to locate a passenger list with their names, I don’t know if they departed from Italy or returned to North America via Montreal or New York. Their Grand Tour lasted 102 days, plus travel time from Omaha to Montreal at the onset of their trip.

Mr. C.D. Orcutt and daughter, Miss Jennie, returned Sunday from their European trip. Miss Anna Ri will remain in New York to visit friends. Address 683 West End Avenue.” [24]


Our connection to our ancestors extends beyond the obvious- DNA. The influences your ancestors had upon their descendants may have impacted your life. These threads that bind us together through the generations, often unbeknownst to us, intrigue me. Jane Orcutt Keeline preserved her photograph album until her untimely death at age 33 in 1918. She bequeathed an inheritance to her niece, Anna Jane Beaton Hyde, and several personal items, including the photograph album. I know my grandmother, inspired by her aunt’s travels, embarked on her tour of Europe in the summer of 1929. Like her Aunt Jane, my grandmother kept a photograph album of her adventures. She shared her experiences, enthusiasm, and her photographs with me. I have my grandmother to thank for inspiring me to study, travel, and live overseas.

© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt.


[1] Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company. Digital Books. Hathi Trust Digital Library. p. 206.

[2]Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company. Digital Books. Hathi Trust Digital Library. p. 206.

[3] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad?Some Advice. Boston, R&L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images. p. 65.

[4] [1] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad?Some Advice. Boston, R&L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images. p. 65-66.

[5] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R&L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images. p. 14.

[6]Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company. Digital Books. Hathi Trust Digital Library. p. 5.

[7]Karl Baedeker (firm). (1899). Northern Italy: including Leghorn, Florence, Ravenna, and routes through Switzerland and Austria. 11th ed. Revised.Leipsic: K. Baedeker. P. 252-253. Digital Archives,

[8]Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company. Digital Books. Hathi Trust Digital Library. p. 229.

[9]Arnold, Clarissa Sands, Edith by Deborah Stewart Weber (2010). Four Girls in Europe My tour of England and the Continent, October 1900-September, 1901. Universe, Bloomington, IN. p. 104.

[10]Karl Baedeker (firm). (1899). Northern Italy: including Leghorn, Florence, Ravenna, and routes through Switzerland and Austria.11th ed. Revised.Leipsic: K. Baedeker. P. 290. Digital Archives,

[11] Ibid, p. 254.

[12] Ibid, p. 254.

[13] Ibid, p. 416.

[14]Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company. Digital Books. Hathi Trust Digital Library. p. 226.

[15]Karl Baedeker (firm). (1899). Northern Italy: including Leghorn, Florence, Ravenna, and routes through Switzerland and Austria.11th ed. Revised.Leipsic: K. Baedeker. P. 442. Digital Archives,

[16] Ibid, p.443.

[17] Ibid, p. 421.

[18] Ibid, p. 144-145.

[19]Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company. Digital Books. Hathi Trust Digital Library. p. 21.

[20]Karl Baedeker (firm). (1900). Central Italy and Rome.13th ed Revised.Leipsic: K. Baedeker p. xi. Digital Archives.

[21] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R&L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images. p. 27.

[22]Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company. Digital Books. Hathi Trust Digital Library. p. 211.

[23]Karl Baedeker (firm). (1900). Central Italy and Rome.13th ed Revised.Leipsic: K. Baedeker p.xxii . Digital Archives.

[24]Our Card Basket, The Excelsior, (Omaha, Nebraska, September 21, 1901, Saturday, p.14. ( accessed 6 June 2022.)

Posted in My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , | 4 Comments


Orcutt family travel album – (L-R) Anna Ri Orcutt, Clinton Delos Orcutt, Jane Clare Orcutt (Jennie)

My 2x great-grandfather, Clinton Delos Orcutt, and his two youngest daughters, Anna Ri (age 19) and Jane Clare (age 16), traveled to Europe in the summer of 1901, accompanied by their family friend Martha Blackwell. Their photograph album is now 121 years old, and I have undertaken the mission of solving the mystery of the unlabeled photographs and writing about their travels. Part I covered their trip across the Atlantic; Part II was their visit to England, Belgium, and the Netherlands; Part III was their tour of Germany. This section will focus on the Orcutts’ trip to Paris, France, and their travels in Switzerland.

Avenue d’Ilena and the Eiffel Tower, south-west from the Arch of Triumph, Paris, France. 1903, Library of Congress


Language – “For those who wish to derive instruction as well as pleasure from a visit to Paris, them most attractive treasury of art and industry in the world, some acquaintance with French is indispensable.[1]

Expenses – The cost of a visit to Paris depends of course on the tastes and habits of the traveller. If he selects a hotel of high class, dines at the table d’hôte, or perhaps the ‘Dîner de Paris’ partakes of wine of good though not extravagant quality, visits the theatres, drives in the parks and environs, and finally indulges in suppers à la carte, he must be prepared to spend 30-40 fr. a day or upwards. Those, however, who visit Paris for the sake of its monuments, its galleries, its collections, and not for its pleasures, will have little difficulty, with the aid of the information in the Handbook, in limiting their expenditure to 15-20 fr. a day. It need hardly be observed, that, in a city where luxury is raised to a science, and where temptations to extravagance meet one at every step, each traveller must be his own mentor.”[2] Baedeker – Paris and Environs 1894

Fortunately, Anna Ri and Jane could speak French due to their education at Duchesne, Sacred Heart Academy in Omaha, Nebraska.

Sadly, there are no photographs in the Orcutt album that depict their travels in France. However, the Orcutts did have a chance encounter with friends while touring Paris. After the friends returned to Omaha, an article appeared in the Omaha World-Herald that recounted their meeting.

“Though Paris is much farther from Omaha than is Council Bluffs yet when Mr. Luther Drake and Dr. (Wilson Orton )Bridges were strolling down the street of the gay French capital, they met Clinton Orcutt and his two daughters and Mrs. Blackwell of this city in as much of just-so-happened manner as if the meeting had been on Farnam street during any afternoon. The Orcutts were then, about August 20, in the midst of their trip abroad.”[3]

“Nebraskans,” 1854-1904 – Library of Congress


According to the travel guide by Richard Luce, written in 1900, the majority of foreign tourists found Paris to be the most interesting city in Europe, and no trip would be complete without a visit to it. “In the Louvre it has the finest art collections; in the Boulevards, the finest streets; in the Bois de boulogne, the handsomest park, in its cafes is the best cooking, its Opera House leads the world; at Versailles, St. Cloud and Fontainebleau, easily accessible suburbs, are the most magnificent of royal estates. Everybody knows it sets the fashions for the ladies of the globe.”[4]

des Champs Elysees, Paris, France – 1900-1910. Library of Congress

According to my grandmother, Anna Jane Hyde, nee Beaton, her Aunt Anna Ri Orcutt “was very extravagant and society minded.” With her fondness for buying beautiful clothes, I can imagine that Anna Ri enjoyed shopping in Paris and may have visited a dressmaker or two.

According to Baedeker’s guide, ladies would have had no difficulty finding suitable dressmaker shops or milliners. The advice was to reduce the price by bargaining a little.[5]

Perhaps Anna Ri purchased the luxurious gown in Paris that she later wore for her formal portrait. My grandmother inherited the richly embellished frame and the painting of Anna Ri. I recall seeing the painting hanging on the wall of my grandmother’s house for many years. It hung at the top of the staircase, and Anna Ri’s eyes seemed to follow me as I ascended the stairs.

Anna Ri Orcutt Jaques- portrait painted about 1901 Omaha, NE. Current owner unknown.

I wondered what souvenirs the Orcutt sisters may have purchased to bring back to their sister, my great-grandmother, Edith, who stayed in Omaha with her husband, Alfred Beaton, and their one-year-old son. While writing this article, I realized that Anna Ri and Jane probably purchased a small memento in Paris. It is a small hand-painted French Ivory miniature bust-length portrait of an 18th-century aristocratic lady in a pastel dress and flower-bedecked straw hat (7 x 6 cm). The detailed brass frame with a ribbon surmount and easel back can also be hung on the wall. I think the noble lady resembles Marie Antoinette.

Marion Haller, a family friend of the Orcutts, traveled with her grandparents to Paris during the World’s Fair in 1900. The fourteen-year-old schoolgirl shared her impressions of her travels in the Omaha, Excelsior.

I never saw so many carriages before. The hack drivers are so mean to their horses it makes my blood boil. People dress for the streets as if going to a party, and you would think the clerks in the stores were the ladies of the land – so many pretty women driving and shopping. The fashion is for men to wear white shirts with tucked fronts and coats like preachers. People at the hotel dress swell for dinner; lots of pretty girls in evening dress while the gentlemen wear dress suits. Tally-ho parties from the hotel are all the rage. Each man has a horn and each lady a poodle.”[5]

Paris, France – the gardens at Luxembourg Palace –

Based on Thomas Cook’s itineraries, the Orcutts likely spent three days touring Paris before departing for their following location. The Omaha World-Herald mentioned that in mid-August, the Orcutts were halfway through their trip. Although the photo album does not include pictures of their excursions in France, it does include images of their next destination- Switzerland.


Language – “So many thousands flock annually over most of the routes described in this book that nothing save the mother tongue is absolutely essential. English is spoken in all the principal hotels, and interpreters may be met with at the principal railway stations. Of course, a knowledge of French and German will prove of great advantage, and those who explore remote regions will find it indispensable, but no one need hesitate to visit Switzerland on the score of not knowing anything save English.”[7]

Jane Orcutt devoted two pages and twenty-one photographs to record her memorable trip to Switzerland. The Orcutts may have felt the same wonder expressed by Robert Luce in his travel guide.

“Switzerland is incomparable. There may be higher peaks elsewhere, more stupendous glaciers, but nowhere else is so much mountain scenery so accessible, so conveniently, safely, and economically accessible. Most delightful lakes in the world, and the quaintest of Swiss cities.”[8]

According to Luther Drake, the friends whom the Orcutts encountered in Paris, “Switzerland is the playground of Europe and it is fast becoming the playground of America too. We found the mountains overrun with Americans and the valleys packed with them.”[9]

I used the Thomas Cook guidebook to determine where the Orcutts likely traveled in Switzerland, in conjunction with their photographs. The popular destinations included Lake Lucerne with an excursion to the scenic small town of Flüelen and Mt. Rigi, a carriage ride over Bruenig Pass to Interlaken and an excursion to Grindelwald Glaciers.[10]


Photo #1 – Three women clustered in front of a hotel with three levels and balconies. Above the curtained windows on the ground floor, the hotel featured a billboard. Only one word is legible – ‘Déjeuner’ – (breakfast). Although their facial features are blurred, I can distinguish two of the women by their hats, Martha Blackwell, and the unnamed friend, previously mentioned, whom the Orcutt girls met while touring.

Orcutt photo album summer 1901 – Hotel with French signage – (L-R)unnamed friend, Jane Orcutt, Martha Blackwell

Photo #2 – Anna Ri, in the light-colored skirt and jacket, stood in front of the carriage. It isn’t clear who the additional two female figures are. The travel group seems to be preparing for departure from their hotel the “Gasthof Zum?” Unfortunately, the photographer failed to capture the entire name. However, above the portal to the hotel is the Swiss coat of arms that shows the white-on-red cross.

Orcutt photo album summer 1901 – Swiss hotel Gasthof Zum- Anna Ri Orcutt and Mrs. Martha Blackwell

Another clue the Orcutts are in Switzerland is the coach or diligence as it was known. The vehicle was a “huge, heavy, lofty, lumbering machine,” sixteen to eighteen feet long, and required at least four horses to pull it. There were four sections, the coupe, the interieur, the rotonde joined together forming the inside, and the banquette above the coupe. “Each compartment being covered so as to form a continuous roof for the luggage, and a station for passengers on a fair day, whence they have a fair view of the country.[11]

The carriage picture intrigued me so much that I searched the internet to discover more information and to find a similar image. Pictured below is a Swiss diligence with the vehicle enclosed as it would have been used during inclement weather.

Swiss Diligence – Stock photo

The first-class compartment just behind the driver had room for three persons, the interior or second-class compartment, had four to six seats, while the elevated banquette had room to seat two.[12]

Photo #3-5 –Clinton Orcutt presents a rather stout figure as he stands with his hands in his pockets in front of the diligence. It appears as if the travelers have made a rest stop. The driver is perched atop the large vehicle waiting for his passengers to continue their tour. Two additional carriages and horses prepare to follow.

Photo #6 – A view of the majestic Swiss mountains.

Orcutt photo album summer 1901- Swiss Alps

Photo #7-Jane Orcutt stands on the Alpen slopes holding large clumps of snow in her hands.

Orcutt photo album, summer 1901 – Switzerland-. Jane Orcutt holding clumps of snow in her hands.

Photos 8-9 –The Orcutts took a steamboat ride on Lake Lucerne. In the first photograph, Clinton, Jane, Anna Ri Orcutt, and Mrs. Blackwell posed with three additional women. A breeze softly blew the scarf Martha Blackwell tied in a bow around her neck indicating a breeze. In the second photograph, Jane Orcutt and her friend talk and laugh with joy.

Mark Twain in A Tramp Abroad wrote the following about Lake Lucerne.

“For some days we were content to enjoy looking at blue Lake Lucerne and the piled-up masses of snow-mountains that border it all around – an enticing spectacle, this last, for there is a strange and fascinating beauty and charm about a majestic snow-peak with the sun blazing upon it or the moonlight softly enriching it – but finally we concluded to try a bit of excursioning around on a steamboat, and a dash on foot at the Rigi. Very well, we had a delightful trip to Fluelen, on a breezy sunny day. Everybody sat on the upper deck, on benches under an awning; everybody talked, laughed, and exclaimed at the wonderful scenery; in truth, a trip on that lake is almost the perfection of pleasuring.

The mountains were a never-ceasing marvel. Sometimes they rose straight up out of the lake, and towered aloft and overshadowed our pygmy steamer with their prodigious bulk in the most impressive way. Not snow-clad mountains these, yet they climbed high enough toward the sky to meet the clouds and veil their foreheads in them. They were not barren and repulsive but clothed in green, and restful and pleasant to the eye. And they were so almost straight-up-and-down, sometimes, that one could not imagine a man being able to keep his footing on such a surface, yet there are paths, and the Swiss people go up and down them every day.”[13]

Burgenstock, hotel and lake, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland 1905 – Library of Congress image

Photo #10 –An image of the diligence as it slowly climbed the winding road. Two women can be seen standing in the center of the carriage. Two additional women in the banquette turn their heads to look up at the photographer, who is likely perched in a carriage further along the mountain road.

Orcutt photo album, summer 1901 – Switzerland – A Swiss Diligence on a mountain road.

As I read A Tramp Abroad, I wonder if the Orcutts felt the same awe expressed by Twain when he described his experiences as he traveled over the Bruenig Pass from Lucerne to Interlaken.

“We got away pretty early in the morning after a hot breakfast, and went bowling over a hard, smooth road through the summer loveliness of Switzerland, with near and distant lakes and mountains before and about us for the entertainment of the eye, and the music of multitudinous birds to charm the ear. Sometimes there was only the width of the road between the imposing precipices on the right and clear cool water on the left with uncatchable fish skimming about through the bars of sun and shadow; and sometimes in place of the precipices, the grassy land stretched away, in an apparently, endless upward slant, and was dotted everywhere with snug little chalets, the peculiarly captivating cottage of Switzerland.[14]

Photo #11– Swiss storefronts and a multistoried hotel with mountains looming to the right of the picture.

Orcutt photo album, summer 1901. Switzerland – small town

Photo #12 – The Orcutts prepared for another day’s journey. Clinton Orcutt, Jane Orcutt, and Mrs. Blackwell sat in the center of the carriage to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. They seemed to have called to the small dog who approached the carriage. The driver can be seen as he checked the harnesses before they departed. Once again, the photographer captured only a portion of the hotel’s name – Hôtel Boden?

Orcutt photo album, summer 1901- Switzerland, Hôtel Boden – Jane Orcutt, Clinton Orcutt, and Mrs. Martha Blackwell in the Swiss diligence.

Photo #14 – The travelers gazed off in the distance at a hotel, probably to admire the view. Clinton Orcutt raised his arm to point in the same direction as he conversed with a fellow traveler. I can almost hear him say, “What magnificent scenery!”

Orcutt photo album, summer 1901- Switzerland – Clinton Orcutt has his arm raised to point in the distance.

Photos 15 – Likely taken at the same hotel, Anna Ri Orcutt and a friend cheerfully posed in the garden.

Orcutt photo album, summer 1901 – Switzerland, Anna Ri Orcutt and a friend posed in the garden of a Swiss hotel.

Photos 16-20 –Although I can’t be certain, I believe the Orcutts took these photographs at Grindelwald Glaciers.

Photo #21 –The final image for the Switzerland portion of the trip appears to be a border crossing to Italy. Every picture tells a story, and as I examined each photograph, I tried to imagine what the photographer tried to capture. In this case, there may be a bit of chaos in entering the country. An older woman watched as the customs official questioned a young man. The foremost gentleman seemed to express relief that he made it through the gauntlet.

Orcutt photo album, summer 1901 – possibly crossing the border to Italy.

After their exhilarating tour of Switzerland, the Orcutts commenced their tour of Italy, where they would experience La Dolce Vita as they explored Florence, Venice, Rome, and a few unidentified coastal areas.

Part V – to be continued.

© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt.


Genealogy Sketch

Clinton Delos ORCUTT

Name: [Clinton Delos ORCUTT -1840-1905
Parents: Daniel Heath ORCUTT 1809-1864 and
Angeline PERKINS 1813-1887
Spouse: Anna Dorcas DUTTON 1842-1899
Children: Louis DeForest ORCUTT -1871-1891, George Dutton ORCUTT 1873-1886, Marion Edith ORCUTT BEATON 1879-1964, Anna Ri ORCUTT JAQUES 1881-1942, and Jane Clare ORCUTT KEELINE 1884-1918
Relationship to Kendra: Great Great-Grandfather

  1. Clinton Delos ORCUTT
  3. Anna Jane BEATON HYDE
  5. Kendra



[1]Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1894). Paris and environs, with routes from London to Paris: handbook for travellers. 11th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. xii Digital Images. (

[2] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1894). Paris and environs, with routes from London to Paris: handbook for travellers. 11th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. xiii Digital Images. (

[3] Nebraskans in Europe – Some of Those Who are Spending their Vacation Abroad, Omaha World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, September 6, 1901. Digital images. ( : accessed 25 January, 2022.)

[4] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 23. (

[5] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1894). Paris and environs, with routes from London to Paris: handbook for travellers. 11th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. 37 Digital Images.

[6] Impressions of an Omaha School Girl Abroad, Marion C. Haller. The Excelsior, Omaha, Nebraska, September 29, 1900, pg. 10. Digital images. ( : accessed June 6, 2022.

[7] Thomas Cook (Firm). (1900). Cook’s tourist’s handbook for Switzerland: with maps and plans. London: Thomas Cook & Son. Digital Images. (

[8] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 26. (

[9] Omaha Daily Bee, (Omaha, Nebraska, September 6, 1901, Friday, pg. 7. Digital Images, (https: accessed July 20, 2022).

[10] Cooks Excursionist and Home and Foreign Tourist Advertiser, (January 1892). Digital Books. Google Books. (

[11]Geri Walton Unique Histories from the 18th and 19th centuries, April 11, 2014.

[12] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 75. (

[13] Twain, Mark. A Tramp Abroad. 1880. Reprint 2021. P. 75

[14] Twain, Mark. A Tramp Abroad. 1880. Reprint 2021. P. 90.

Posted in Heirlooms, My Family Ancestry | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Orcutt family travel album – (L-R) Anna Ri, Clinton Delos, Jane Clare (Jennie)

By mid-July 1901, the Orcutts and their friend, Mrs. Martha Blackwell, had made good progress on their Grand Tour of Europe. Thus far, they had visited England, the Netherlands, and Belgium. You can read Part I and Part II if you missed the first two blogs. The next leg of their journey took the Orcutts to Germany, where they traveled up the Rhine River and then toured Heidelberg.

I created a google-map of the Orcutt’s trip, including photographs from their trip and postcard images from the Library of Congress and You can click on each location to view the images.


  • LANGUAGE – A slight acquaintance with German is indispensable for those who desire to explore the more remote parts of the Rheinish Provinces. Tourist who do not deviate from the beaten track will generally find English or French spoken at the principal hotels and the usual resorts of strangers; but if they are entirely ignorant of the language, they must be prepared occasionally to submit to the extortions practiced by porters, cab-drivers, and others of a like class, which event he data furnished by this Handbook will not always enable them to avoid.
  • TRAVELLING EXPENSES the expense of a tour in the Rheinish Provinces depends of course on a great variety of circumstances…it may be stated generally that travelling in Germany, and even on the Rhine, is less expensive, and in some respects more comfortable, than in most other countries in Europe.” Baedeker, The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance, 1903.p. xiii.[1]
Map of Middle Rhine River- wikimedia

Nearly every traveler to Germany took a trip up or down the Rhine River between Cologne and Mainz.[2] It was a popular tourist destination because of its historic and legendary associations, castles, old fortresses, and cathedrals. The Orcutts were no exception. Page four of the Orcutt travel album included six pictures of their Rhine River trip where they captured the magic of the castles that beckoned from the hillsides.

“As the Rhine flows, so flow the national genius, by mountain and valley-the wildest solitude-the sudden spires of ancient cities-the moldered castle-the stately monastery-the humble cot. Grandeur and homeliness, history and superstition, truth and fable, succeeding one another so as to blend into a whole.”[3]

A Trip on the Rhine, Germany, circa 1907-1915,

More than 100 steamboats and one million passengers went up and down the Rhine annually, according to Baedeker’s 1899 guidebook. The more powerful saloon steamers made the journey from Mainz to Cologne (downstream) in 7 1/2 hours. It took 12 hours to make the trip upstream.[4] Although, I’m not positive where the Orcutts commenced their journey or ended it, I assumed they began their trip in Cologne, a prominent tourist destination.

Cathedral of cologne and Pontoon Bridge, Over the Rhine, Germany. Germany and Austria Historical Postcard Collection,

Fourteen-year-old Marion C Haller, a family friend of the Orcutts, toured Europe with her grandfather, George Washington Lininger, in 1900. Lininger established the Lininger Art Gallery in Omaha, where the Orcutt girls attended gatherings. Marion contributed two articles to the Omaha, Excelsior, and recounted her “schoolgirl impressions,” including her trip to Cologne. Her description may be similar to what 16-year-old Jane Orcutt might have written, as the two girls were close in age.

“Cologne is a quaint old city with narrow, crooked streets and horse cars. After visiting the great Cathedral, the ceiling of which looks a little like Trinity, we bought several bottles of cologne and took a large steamer up the Rhine for Frankfort. The scenery was beautiful; high mountains on one side and pretty little towns on the other. Nearly every mountain has a ruin on it. Even at night, the Rhine is beautiful with the different colored lights on the boats and on the shore.”[5]

Suppose you’ve never had the pleasure of a Rhine River cruise. In that case, you can view a six-minute YouTube video that highlights many of the historic castles, including a few that the Orcutts photographed while aboard the Rhine River steamboat.

The comfortable steamers had deck saloons with windows the entire length. While aboard, travelers could partake of the refreshments provided. Tourists who boarded the steamer early were encouraged to have breakfast on the ship instead of rushing through breakfast at their hotel. The table d’hôte was served at 1 o’clock, and wines were a special feature.[6]

The Orcutt’s first picture of their Rhine River cruise showed six people aboard the ship. Two young men smiled at the photographer, probably Anna Ri or Jane, while the bespectacled female friend of the Orcutt girls poked her head from behind. I recognize her large hat from the café picture in Belgium. Martha Blackwell wore her usual severe mien and her funny hat. Two men sat casually on a bench, one smoking a pipe and the other probably paged through a travel guide. Another picture is a similar scene, but Mrs. Blackwell is now missing from the photograph.

(Above: Two photographs from the Orcutt travel album taken on a Rhine River Cruise, July 1901.)

I believe the following photograph is the Marksburg Castle near Braubach. The imposing structure rises 485 feet above the river and is the only fortress on the Rhine which has escaped destruction. Please let me know if you have another suggestion.

Orcutt Travel Album 1901, Rhine River Cruise- perhaps the Marksburg Castle?
Marksburg Castle, Germany, Library of Congress Images

Below is a mystery picture. Do you recognize this town along the Rhine River?

Orcutt Travel Album summer 1901, Rhine River Cruise- exact location unknown. Photograph #4

My husband, whose father is from the Rhineland, identified the following picture as the Mausetürm (Mouse Tower), a 25-meter tower that sits on a quart-rock in the middle of the Rhine, near Bingen am Rhine. Once a custom tower, the original name was Mauthsthurm or Custom House. the name Mausetürm is said to be “derived from the well-known legend of the cruel Archbishop Hatto of Mainz. Having caused a number of poor people, whom he compared to mice bent on devouring the corn, to be burned in a barn during a time of famine, he was immediately attacked by the mice, which tormented him day and night. He then sought refuge on this island but was followed by his persecutors and soon devoured alive.”[7]

Mausetürm (Mouse Tower) on Rhine River, Germany -Orcutt photograph album, July 1901.

Images above include: Bingen am the Rhine with Mouse Tower in center of the Rhine River from Library of Congress; Modern image of Mouse Tower from Wikipedia; Postcard image of Mouse Tower from Library of Congress.

According to Baedeker’s guidebook, the true story is that the tower was erected as a watch-tower, and “the name was derived from the old German ‘musen’ to spy.”[8]

The imposing Castle of Stolzenfels, situated 310 feet above the Rhine with a pentagonal tower 110 feet high, captured the Orcutts attention. They took two similar pictures of the castle and quaint houses along the river. The castle was built in the 12th century and used as a fortress, a residence, and a prison.[9] I was fortunate to find a postcard on the Library of Congress website that depicts nearly the same scene as the Orcutt’s photograph.

Stolzenfels Castle- Orcutt travel album – July 1901.
Rhein-Schloss Stolzenfels mit Capellen– Stolzenfels castle and chapel, Rhine River, Germany – [between 1890-1900] Library of Congress

Once again, I relied on my husband’s keen eye and memory to recognize the castle. As a boy, his father took him frequently to the area. He had such fond memories of his trips that a Rhine River cruise was one of the first tours we made as newlyweds when we moved to Germany. I didn’t realize at the time that the Orcutts had traveled the same route gazing in wonder at the beautiful scenery and numerous castles.

After finishing their tour of the Rhine River, the Orcutts traveled to Heidelberg, located on the left bank of the Neckar River. Baedeker’s noted that “few towns can vie with it in the beauty of its environs and its historical interest.”[10] The photograph album included two pictures of Heidelberg Castle; Baedeker’s noted that the castle is “the most sumptuous example of German Renaissance.”[11]

Heidelberg Castle – Orcutt travel album – July 1901.
Heidelberg der Schlosshof- the Castle courtyard- postcard from
Heidelberg Castle – notice the group of tourists, bottom left – Orcutt travel album – July 1901.

Mark Twain’s description of Heidelberg Castle from A Tramp Abroad, published in 1880, fills the reader with delight and awe, which is what I imagine the Orcutts felt when they gazed on the Heidelberg Castle.

“Heidelberg Castle must have been very beautiful before the French battered and bruised and scorched it two hundred years ago. The stone is brown with a pinkish tint and does not seem to stain easily. The dainty and elaborate ornamentation upon its two chief fronts is as delicately carved as if it had been intended for the interior of a drawing-room rather than for the outside of a house. Many fruit and flower clusters, human heads, and grim projecting lions’ heads are still as perfect in every detail as if they were new. But the statues which are ranked between the windows have suffered. These life-size statues of old-time emperors, electors, and similar grandees, clad in mail and bearing ponderous swords. Some have lost an arm, some a head, and one poor fellow is chopped off at the middle. There is a saying that if a stranger will pass over the drawbridge and walk across the court to the castle front without saying anything, he can make a wish, and it will be fulfilled. But they say this that the truth of this thing has never had a chance to be proved, for the reason that before any stranger can walk from the drawbridge to the appointed place, the beauty of the palace front will extort an exclamation of delight from him.

A ruin must be rightly situated to be effective. This one could not have been better placed. It stands upon a commanding elevation, it is buried in green woods, there is no level ground about it, but on the contrary, there are wooded terraces, and one looks down through shining leaves into profound chasms and abysses where twilight reigns and the sun cannot intrude. Nature knows how to garnish a ruin to the best effect. One of these old towers is split down the middle, and one half has tumbled aside. It tumbled in such a way as to establish itself in a picturesque attitude. Then all it lacked was a fitting drapery, and Nature has furnished that; she has robed the rugged mass in flowers and verdure and made it a charm to the eye. the standing half exposes its arched and cavernous rooms to you, like open, toothless mouths; there, too, the vines and flowers have done their work of grace. The rear portion of the tower has not been neglected, either, but is clothed with a clinging garment of polished ivy which hides the wounds and stains of time. Even the top is not left bare but is crowned with a flourishing group of trees and the shrubs. Misfortune has done for this old tower what it has done for the human character sometimes -improved it.”[12]

I used to discover the location of the Orcutt’s photograph. You can see the resemblance between it and the Library of Congress postcard. Notice the group of tourists gathered at the tower’s base in the second picture. The image is too blurry to distinguish the Orcutt family members.

During their tour of Germany, I hope that the Orcutts had the opportunity to visit a “conditerei” or pastry shop, which Mary Cadwalader highly recommended in her travel guide from 1900.

“The conditerei or cake ship is not to be overlooked in German life. As dinner is at one o’clock, and supper not until nine or ten, by four or five it is necessary to take a light intermediate meal, corresponding to the English afternoon tea. Coffee is preferred as a drink, and the solid nourishment consists of all sorts and conditions of cakes.”[13}

I can attest to the fabulous display of delicate pastries that tempt you to indulge in the afternoon pleasure, which we did at every opportunity, wherever we traveled in Europe.

PART IV – The Orcutts tour Paris, France,; Lake Lucerne and the Grindelwald Glaciers in Switzerland.

© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved


[1] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1903). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: handbook for travellers. 15th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. xiii Digital images. ($b263973&view=1up&seq=23&skin=2021)

[2] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 25. (

[3] Arnold, Clarissa Sand, Edited by Deborah Stewart Weber (2010). Four Girls in Europe My Tour of England and the Continent, October 1900-September, 1901. Universe, Bloomington, IN, p. 21.

[4] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1899). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance:handbook for travellers. 11th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. xvi. Digital Images. Accessed on June 29, 2022. (

[5] Letters from a School Girl in Germany, Marion C. Haller. The Excelsior, Omaha, Nebraska, October 27, 1900, pg. 8. Digital images. ( accessed June 6, 2022.)

[6] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1903). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: handbook for travellers. 15th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. xvi-xvii. Digital images,$b263973&view=1up&seq=26&skin=2021)

[7] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1899). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: Handbook for travellers. 11th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. 115 Digital Images. Accessed on June 29, 2022. (

[8] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1899). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: Handbook for travellers. 11th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. 115 Digital Images. Accessed on June 29, 2022. (

[9] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1903). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: handbook for travellers. 15th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. 114. Digital Images. Accessed: June 28, 2022.$b263973&view=1up&seq=207&skin=2021

[10] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1903). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: handbook for travellers. 15th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. 266. Digital Images. Accessed: June 28, 2022.($b263973&view=1up&seq=424&skin=2021&q1=heidelberg)

[11] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1903). The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance: handbook for travellers. 15th rev. ed. Leipzig: K. Baedeker. P. xxxiii. Digital Images. Accessed: June 28, 2022. ($b263973&view=1up&seq=43&skin=2021&q1=heidelberg)

[12] Twain, Mark. A Tramp Abroad. 1880. Reprint 2021. P. 160.

[13] Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company, p. 184. Digital Images.

Posted in My Family Ancestry | Tagged | 1 Comment


Orcutt family travel album – (L-R) Anna Ri, Clinton, Jane Clare

The S.S. Australasian departed Montreal on June 8, 1901, bound for Liverpool, England. On board were three of my ancestors – Clinton Orcutt, my 2x great-grandfather, and his two youngest daughters, Anna Ri and Jane Clare. After ten days at sea, they arrived in Liverpool, England, where they began their 70+ day tour of seven countries. You can read a detailed description of their trans-Atlantic journey here.

However, the Orcutts left me with a puzzle to solve. What cities and sights did they visit? Although I have their photograph album, the 89 pictures aren’t labeled. How many of us are guilty of not labeling our photographs? My grandmother, Anna Jane (Beaton) Hyde, who inherited the album, noted two prominent cities (Venice and Rome) after she took her Grand Tour in the summer of 1929.

Most of the Orcutt’s photographs will be shown in the original black and white. However, I have colorized some of them to improve their visibility and appearance. It is very likely that the Orcutts, novice photographers, were unsuccessful with every image they took. The album includes no photos of the Netherlands or Paris, France. Perhaps, these pictures didn’t turn out?

I created a google-map of the Orcutt’s trip, including photographs from their trip and postcard images from the Library of Congress and You can click on each location to view the images.

As I researched for this blog, I read travel handbooks from Thomas Cook, Karl Baedeker, and several late 19th century authors who wrote travel books for the average tourist. I found their writing styles amusing, informative, and a pleasure to read; thus, I have included an assortment of quotes from their books.


Library of Congress
  • MONEY – Foreign Money does not circulate in England, and it should always be exchanged on arrival. A convenient and safe mode of carrying money from America or the Continent is in the shaper of letters of credit, or circular notes, which are readily procurable at the principal banks.
  • EXPENSES –The cost of a visit to Great Britain depends, of course on the habits and tastes of the traveler. If he frequents first-class hotels, travels first-class on the railways, and systematically prefers driving to walking, he must be prepared to spend 30-40s (shillings) per day or upwards.
  • PASSPORTS- are not necessary in England, though occasionally useful in procuring delivery of registered and poste restante letters.”[1] Baedeker, Great Britain, 1901.

The first image taken after the Orcutts arrived in England is depicted below; perhaps they were in Liverpool? Anna Ri and her companion, Martha Blackwell, posed on a wooden sidewalk. A group of women seated to the left seemed to be waiting for a carriage. Are they all part of the same travel group?

Martha Blackwell and Anna Ri Orcutt – perhaps they are in Liverpool, England? June 1901.

Before departing Liverpool, travelers could give notice to the Station Master and request a luncheon basket be brought to the main train carriage. A Cold Luncheon basket contained half a chicken with ham or tongue, salad, bread, cheese, butter, and half a bottle of claret, stout, or mineral water. The Hot Luncheon basket contained a steak or chop with vegetables, cheese, bread, and half a bottle of claret, stout, or mineral water.[2]

Based on Thomas Cook’s itineraries, the travelers probably toured a few sites en route to London. One guidebook stated that rural England was more delightful than the urban areas and advised tourists to take a trip through the English countryside.[3]

Page two of the album features nine pictures taken in the English countryside. The exact locations are unknown.

A somewhat ethereal image of Anna Ri in a castle garden. Four additional women are in the background. June 1901.

Clinton Orcutt at the top of the staircase. A group of unknown travelers and a horseless carriage wait below. June 1901

Four pictures were taken in the English countryside. Anna Ri Orcutt posed opposite a castle/manor house on a rock wall. This collage includes the only interior photograph taken on the trip.

Clinton Orcutt, Martha Blackwell, and Jane Orcutt – location unknown. Quite the hats Martha and Jane are sporting.


Cook’s itineraries generally advised three days in London. Unfortunately, the Orcutts’ trip to London coincided with the height of the “Season,” when hotels were crowded, museums and galleries thronged, and shopkeepers rushed. The must-see places included Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the British Museum, the South Kensington Museums, and the National Gallery.[4] One guidebook for 1900 offered the following advice for visitors to museums and galleries:

“…not to spend too much time at a stretch in a gallery or museum; an hour and a half or two hours should be the utmost limit of the visit; after that, the brain becomes like a soaked sponge, and although you may think you are noticing things, you will not remember them.”[5]

Top Left – British Museum, Bottom Left – Houses of Parliament and Thames River, Right – Westminster Abbey. Images from Library of Congress and Ancestry postcard images.

If the Orcutts and Mrs. Blackwell had done their homework, they would have read general works of art and history for each country they planned to visit. Guidebooks, such as those written by Thomas Cook Ltd or Karl Baedeker, provided travelers helpful tips to enhance their experiences abroad. They included recommendations for hotels and restaurants, learning a foreign language, financial matters (currency, going through customs, buying souvenirs), and advice for personal behavior, something every guidebook mentioned. Unfortunately, Americans did not have a good reputation for manners on the Continent.

“…unless travellers are willing to leave national prejudices behind them and ready to see whatever is characteristic and excellent in a foreign country, without finding fault because it is unfamiliar, they had better remain at home. Americans are among the worst offenders in this regard, and there is no greater nuisance than the man who growls because he cannot get buckwheat cakes or the woman who fusses when she has to do without iced water…while you are abroad, try to get all the pleasure and profit out of that visit.”[6]

Thomas Cook catered to American tourists and ensured that every detail enhanced the traveler’s comfort. However, Cook thought Americans were “…extroverted and outspoken, indulging in what he called ‘high airs and tall talk.’ A constant cause of friction was the Continental breakfast which seemed like an insult to people used to starting the day on steak. Another source of friction was the expectation of hoteliers that hotel guests would order wine with their meals and the American determination to drink iced water and coffee and not pay extra for it.”[7]

As young American ladies, Anna Ri (age 19), and Jane Clare (age 16), needed to be cautious in their interactions with strangers, both on the ship and while traveling on the Continent. Being courteous was acceptable, but a lady should not be too friendly, especially to men.

“The frank, level gaze with which the American girl, not thinking any evil, meets the eyes of men who are strangers to her is always startling to Europeans. Ladies in Europe, especially on the Continent, dress quietly when walking and wear very little jewelry in the daytime.”[8]

“A lady will be courteous to everyone out of self-respect, but effusiveness of manner is not thought in England to be an attraction…and by some classes of people, it may be misunderstood.”[9]

Dover, England, seafront – Library of Congress

After about three days in London, the Orcutts likely journeyed by train to Dover. From there, they could catch a ship and travel 3 1/2 hours to Ostend on the coast of Belgium.[10] I based my assumption on Cook’s itinerary and page three in the Orcutt photograph album. It includes six pictures of beach and town scenes, that after close examination, led me to believe that the Orcutts took the photographs in Ostend and Blankenberghe, two popular Belgian coastal towns.


  • The works of the painter and the architect are Belgium’s great attractions.
  • Passports are not dispensed with in Belgium, but they are frequently useful in proving a traveller’s identity, procuring admission to collections, and in obtaining delivery of registered letters.
  • Custom House formalities are generally very lenient. The traveller should always, if possible, superintend the examination of his luggage in person. In crossing a frontier, even the smallest articles of luggage usually kept in the railway carriage have to be submitted to inspection.
  • French is still the language of the government, the army, of most of the newspapers, of public traffic… and indeed of all the upper classes, as it has been since the time of the crusades.”[11] Baedeker, Belgium and Holland: including the grand-duchy of Luxembourg, 1901.

The Orcutt sisters had the advantage of knowing a second language, which would have facilitated their travels in Belgium and France. Anna Ri and Jane had to study French when they attended Duchesne, Sacred Heart Academy in Omaha. You can read about their studies here.


Ostend, Belgium. Library of Congress image

Cook’s tourist handbook noted Ostend as one of the principal avenues of passenger traffic between London and the Continent. It was also one of the most “popular and fashionable watering places in Europe.”[12] During the season, which lasted from June to October, 40,000-50,000 tourist visited Ostend for sea-bathing. Tourist could rent Bathing machines and tents on the beach for the day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.[13]

When I examine the photographs in the Album, I ponder why the photographer (Clinton, Anna Ri, or Jane) took that particular scene. The first picture on page three depicts a street undergoing repairs; large paving stones are stacked in piles, awnings shade the storefronts, and horses and carriages wait for their rides. The Café de l’Empereur (founded in 1764) is on the far right of the image. I searched Baedeker’s travel guidebook for Belgium and Holland for 1901 and found a Hôtel De L’Empereur in Ostend that included a restaurant.[14] Perhaps, the Orcutts went to the cafe, or they found the street repairs interesting?

Possibly taken in Ostend, Belgium. Café de L’Empereur – Founded in 1764- Orcutt photograph album June, 1901.

A second photograph taken on a city street is too blurry to read the storefront signs, but perhaps Jane or Anna Ri took the picture in Ostend?

Belgium, possibly taken in Ostend. Orcutt photograph Album, summer 1901.

The third photograph featured a friend whom the Orcutts met while on their trip. Anna Ri and Jane seem to have become quite chummy with their new friend. The unnamed young lady appeared in eight pictures. In this photo, she is seated at a café under the shade of an umbrella. I recognize her by her hat; she usually wears glasses.

Belgium, possibly in Ostend. Orcutt photograph album, summer 1901.Traveling friend of the Orcutts.


Blankenberghe, located 10 miles to the N.W. of Ostend, was a small fishing town of about 4,300 inhabitants and a rival sea-bathing resort. It offered lower rates than Ostend and was “freer and less conventional.”[15]. Did the Orcutts rent swimsuits and enjoy sea-bathing?

I discovered several postcards of Blankenberge pier, built in 1894, which strongly resemble the photograph in the Orcutt Album. Images are from the Library of Congress.

Blankenberghe Pier, Belgium. June-July 1901, Orcutt Photograph Album.

After the Orcutts toured Ostend, they likely traveled by train to Brussels. They may have taken the express train from Brussels to Cologne (Köln). This is where they probably began their tour of the Rhine (Rhein) River. Unfortunately, I don’t have any direct evidence that they visited Brussels, but according to Cook’s and Baedeker’s travel handbooks, it was one of Belgium’s most popular tourist destinations.


Each time the Orcutts crossed a border into a different country, they had to go through customs. The custom-house examinations were generally made at the station nearest the frontier. Every guidebook described the process as “one of the greatest drawbacks to the pleasures of foreign travel.”[16] Each country had different customs procedures, with the English being the most lenient and the French the strictest.[17]

“When landing in any foreign country, and whenever you cross the line between any two countries, you must go through the tedious farce of a customs house examination. It is tedious because it delays the journey from half an hour to two hours, at points utterly devoid of interest; and it is a farce for about all American tourists because they carry nothing on which duty is collected. Liquor, tobacco, and food are the things sought for more than anything else, and the traveler is likely to carry none of them in dutiable quantities.

The trunks are all taken from what we call the baggage car and what the English call the luggage van, placed on long tables, and opened when you produce the key. If you are good-natured and show no uneasiness, the examining official will make only the most cursory examination, often merely lifting the lid. If you claim two or three trunks, frequently you will be asked to open but one; don’t suggest which one it shall be, or the official will have another opened.”[18]

A fellow Omaha resident who traveled to Europe in the summer of 1901 described her frustrating experiences to the Omaha Daily Bee after returning home.

“Paying car fare and opening my baggage for inspection took most of the three months I spent in Europe. I guess they must have thought I was a diamond smuggler. Nearly every waking hour I was traveling, an inspector demanded that my luggage be opened. I became so accustomed to obeying orders that I sat with my keys in my hand, ready to open my trunk and traveling bag on a moment’s notice. Friends told me that if I would talk to the inspectors in an animated manner, they would pass my luggage without tumbling everything into a mess. The men who understood English seemed to grow more suspicious as I jabbered away at them. My German and French had no effect whatever on inspectors who speak only those languages. They only looked at me hopelessly and went on with their work of stirring things up.”[19]

The Orcutts and Martha Blackwell had completed their tour of England, Holland, and Belgium and were ready to visit the fourth country on their itinerary. A change of borders meant a shift in language and customs. Hopefully, they kept their travel guidebook at hand as it offered advice on every aspect of travel.

  • Chance acquaintances must never be made in the street, except under extraordinary circumstances.
  • Before taking your place at a table d’hôte, you should bow slightly to the other persons at your table, and also when you get up to go away. People who omit to do this are thought very rude on the Continent, especially in Germany.
  • If you are next to a stranger at the table, it is allowable and indeed polite to talk with him or her, and if your neighbor is a man, it is your place to speak first. (This advice was for a female tourist.)
  • In England, you don’t greet the shop people whereas on the Continent it is customary to say “good day” when you go into a shop in France, Italy, or Germany.
  • In England, as with us, a woman bows first in the street, but on the Continent, the reverse is the rule, and men speak first to women.”
  • The American custom that a man walking with a woman should always keep himself between her and the gutter is not known in Europe; a woman’s place is invariably on the man’s right hand, whether walking or driving.”
  • If you walk or sit on a man’s left in Germany, it amounts to an admission that you are of a decidedly lower class. An older woman always sits on the right of a young one.”
  • It is exceedingly bad form to be late at the table d’hôte.”[22]
  • Three health tips to adhere to while traveling: “Don’t get overheated and then chilled; Don’t go too long without eating; Don’t drink water unless you are sure it is good.”[22]


Boulevard Ornano, Paris – Station – around 1900.

Trains served as the most practical transportation from one city to the next. The railway cars differed from country to country but most offered first, second, and third-class compartments. Each railway car was divided by partitions parallel with the end of the car into compartments. The first class had eight seats (four facing front and four back) in a compartment, while the third class had ten, one more on each side. Some travelers felt the first-class compartments were superior to second-class. Still, Baedeker’s guidebooks stated there was no difference in Germany and very little in England, France, and Italy. An English proverb says that “only Americans and fools travel first-class.”[23] The comment was based on the sentiment that “there is more false pride in democratic America than in aristocratic Europe.”[23 If, as I surmise, the Orcutts booked a circular ticket through Thomas Cook or a similar agency, then they would have purchased first-class railway tickets.[24}

Dining cars were not as popular abroad as in the States due to the shorter distances traveled in Europe between cities. However, the Continental Express trains offered a restaurant and dining cars; otherwise, the passengers could procure food from the local station restaurant stops. Travel guidebooks recommended that the American tourists purchase an inexpensive hamper and fill it with picnic items to eat while underway. Since good water was not always available, a bottle of wine was a good addition. In Germany, beer was offered through the railway car windows at nearly every stopping place.[25]

PART III – to be continued

Join the Orcutts as they visit Germany, where they take a steamer up the Rhein River and visit Heidelberg castle. Then on to Switzerland, where they take an excursion on Lake Lucerne and drive from Interlaken to Grindelwald to see the glaciers. Their itinerary also included a three-day trip to Paris.


Genealogy Sketch

Clinton Delos ORCUTT

Name: [Clinton Delos ORCUTT -1840-1905
Parents: Daniel Heath ORCUTT 1809-1864 and
Angeline PERKINS 1813-1887
Spouse: Anna Dorcas DUTTON 1842-1899
Children: Louis DeForest ORCUTT -1871-1891, George Dutton ORCUTT 1873-1886, Marion Edith ORCUTT BEATON 1879-1964, Anna Ri ORCUTT JAQUES 1881-1942, and Jane Clare ORCUTT KEELINE 1884-1918
Relationship to Kendra: Great Great-Grandfather

  1. Clinton Delos ORCUTT
  3. Anna Jane BEATON HYDE
  5. Kendra


© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved


[9] Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company, p. 132. Digital Images.

[10] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1901). Belgium and Holland: including the grand-duchy of Luxembourg; handbook for travellers. 13th ed., rev. and augm. Leipsic: K. Baedeker. Digital images.

[11]Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1901). Belgium and Holland: including the grand-duchy of Luxembourg; handbook for travellers. 13th ed., rev. and augm. Leipsic: K. Baedeker. Digital images.

[12] Thomas Cook (Firm). (1901). Cook’s tourists’ handbook for Holland, Belgium: the Rhine and the Black Forest. London. Digital images. (

[13] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1901). Belgium and Holland: including the grand-duchy of Luxembourg; handbook for travellers. 13th ed., rev. And augm. Leipsic: K. Baedeker. P. 10. Digital images.

[14] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1901). Belgium and Holland: including the grand-duchy of Luxembourg; handbook for travellers. 13th ed., rev. and augm. Leipsic: K. Baedeker. P. 9. Digital images.

[15] Karl Baedeker (Firm). (1901). Belgium and Holland: including the grand-duchy of Luxembourg; handbook for travellers. 13th ed., rev. And augm. Leipsic: K. Baedeker. P. 17. Digital images.

[16] Thomas Cook (Firm). (1901). Cook’s tourists’ handbook for Holland, Belgium: the Rhine and Black Forest. London. p. 1. Digital images. (

[17] Holland, Evangeline. Edwardian England A Guide to Everyday Life 1900-1914. 2014 Plum Bun Publishing. Digital images.

[18] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 192.

[19] Miss Tobit is at Home Omaha Librarian Returns from Extended Tour of Europe. Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, August 8, 1901, pg.7. Digital images. ( accessed January 16, 2022.)

[20] Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company, p. 13-15. Digital Images. (

[21] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p139.

[22] Jones, M. Cadwalader. (1900). European travel for women: notes and suggestions. New York: The Macmillan company, p. 7. Digital Images.

[23] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 54.


[24] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 55.


[25] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 58.


[26] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images., p. 61

Posted in My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged | 2 Comments


ORCUTT TRAVEL ALBUM (L-R Anna Ri Orcutt, Clinton Delos Orcutt, Jane Clare Orcutt)

I was about twelve years old the first time I saw the Orcutt Family Travel Album. Since then, many years have passed, and the album’s condition has deteriorated. Yet, it still continues to fascinate me. After much research, I decided to reveal the stories hidden within.

Aunt Jane Keeline & Auntie Ri’s Trips with Grandfather Orcutt to Europe, Mexico Yellowstone Park (Label written by Anna Jane Beaton Hyde)

My grandmother, Anna Jane Hyde, nee Beaton, inherited the album from her favorite aunt, Jane Clare (Orcutt) Keeline. Around 1898, fourteen-year-old Jane Orcutt acquired a loose-leaf Morehouse scrapbook manufactured by the Heinn Specialty Co in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The album, 15.25″x11″x1″ includes 24 ash grey “leaves” or pages. The first two images posted in the book were taken circa 1899 when the Orcutt family traveled on vacation from Omaha, Nebraska to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The next five pages of the album show Jane cavorting with her friends in the Orcutt family home.

The focus of this blog concerns the following ten pages filled with 89 small black and white photographs – the Orcutt’s Grand Tour of Europe. On June 8, 1901, Clinton Delos Orcutt, my 2x great-grandfather, accompanied by his two youngest daughters, Anna Ri (19) and Jane Clare (16), set sail from New York bound for England. A long-time family friend joined the Orcutts on their excursion and acted as a chaperone for the girls. Mrs. Martha Blackwell was a widow whom the Orcutt family knew from their years in Muscatine, Iowa.

Clinton Orcutt, Jane Orcutt, Anna Ri Orcutt, Mrs. Martha Blackwell & unknown travel companions – Europe Summer 1901
  • 1 Clinton Delos Orcutt – 60 years old
  • 2 Jane Clare Orcutt – 16 years old
  • 3 Anna Ri Orcutt – 19 years old
  • 4 Martha Blackwell – 42 years old

“Mr. Clinton Orcutt, accompanied by his two daughters, Miss Ana Ri and Miss Jennie, will sail for England to be gone for several months. Their tour will include England, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, and Italy.”[1]

“Mrs. Martha Blackwell left Sunday for New York, where she sails today for Europe. The Misses Orcutt sail on the same steamer.”[2]

Although Jane did not keep a written travel journal, I reconstructed the Orcutt’s Grand Tour using the photograph album, newspaper articles, and travel guides/books. At the beginning of the 20th century, a lengthy tour of Europe became almost a rite of passage for upper-middle -class youth. Inspired by popular books and travel writings of American authors Nathanial Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and others, readers were encouraged to explore Europe[3]. For example, in 1869, when Twain published the Innocents Abroad, he wrote, “Everybody was going to Europe…The steamship lines were carrying Americans out of the various ports of the country at the rate of four or five thousand a week.” [4]When the Orcutts and Mrs. Blackwell set sail for Europe in 1901, steam powered sailing ships crossed the ocean in little over a week. In addition, the integrated train transportation network within Europe facilitated travel for foreigners across the continent. The advent of companies dedicated to organizing this travel facilitated and enhanced the experience. A novice traveler could rely on Thomas Cook & Sons of London to arrange every aspect of the trip.


Perhaps the Orcutt family members read some of the same books I used during my research. I discovered a couple of travel books printed circa 1900, many now available digitally, that provided detailed descriptions. I started my research by reading “Four Girls in Europe,” written by Clarissa Sands Arnold, transcribed and edited by her great-granddaughter, which recounts her tour of Europe from October 1900 to September 1901. Like the Orcutts, she began her travels in England.

Mary Cadwalader Jones wrote a travel guide specifically for women traveling to Europe, “European Travel for Women.” She strongly advised her readers to purchase a circular ticket through Cook’s or another travel agency to take advantage of benefits.[5]

“Not only can you tell exactly what your tour will cost, but you are taken care of everywhere by thoroughly efficient machinery, and if you know nothing of any language except your own, you will probably profit more by your trip than if you try to wander about alone. I strongly advise you to go to Cook’s offices, which are found in almost every city, for your railway and steamboat tickets.”[6]

Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, 30 March 1901,

Margaret Addison, who wrote “A Diary of a European Tour,” published in 1900, traveled for a portion of her journey with Thomas Cook & Sons.

“The advantage of traveling with Cook’s – unique at the time – was that one could book and pay in advance for all travel on the differently owned steamship and railroad lines, hotel accommodation, and even meals. Tourist tickets and hotel coupons were issued to be exchanged for services as needed. Cook maintained uniformed officers at main railroad stations to advise travelers, as well as to vehicles to support them to their hotels.”[7]

Cooks Excursionist Home & Foreign Tourist Advertiser

I found an 1898 digital copy of Cook’s Excursionist and Tourist Advertiser with tour itineraries and pricing. The tour selection changed through the seasons based on popularity. According to newspaper articles, I knew the Orcutts had departed on June 8, 1901, and returned to Omaha on September 15.[8] thus, they had 98 travel days. They likely allowed three days of train travel from Omaha to the East and back, plus ten days of trans-Atlantic travel in each direction. I concluded that the Orcutts had approximately 72 days to tour Europe.

Per the recommendations from the guidebooks, the Orcutts probably booked their trip several months in advance through a local Thomas Cook agent in Omaha. A deposit of 25% was required upon booking and the balance two or three weeks before sailing.

TOUR OF 59 DAYS – $615.00 per person ($20,917 in 2022) visiting England, Belgium, Holland, Germany, the Rhine, Switzerland, and France

TOUR OF 86 DAYS – $750.00 per person ($25, 509 in 2022) visiting England, France, Swizerland, Italian Lakes, Italy, The Tyrol, Bavaria, Austria, Germany, The Rhine, Belgium, England[9]

The fare included:

HOTELS – Hotel accommodations included simple breakfast, meat lunch, table d’hote [a dinner restaurant meal offered for a fixed price], plus bedrooms, lights, and service.

FEES – Omnibuses to and from hotels, stations, and piers while with the Cook’s Conductor. Tips and fees for servants, railway guards, porters, hotel servants, and sight-seeing while with the Conductor.

BAGGAGE – On the Atlantic 250 lbs, in England 150 lbs,, on the continent 60 lbs., free.

CARRIAGE DRIVERS, STEAMERS, GONDOLAS, AND EXCURSIONS – All the necessary expenses per program, including a qualified conductor’s services, who will act as guide and interpreter.[10]


Guidebooks advised that the traveler should have a sense of purpose in their travel and be prepared by reading guide books and works of history or fiction relating to the various European countries. They should also be open-minded and look at things from the point of view of the local citizen. “Remember when you go to a strange country that its inhabitants have not sent for you; you go among them, presumably of your own accord, and their manners and customs cannot possibly seem stranger to you than yours do to them.”[11]

The most crucial matter for the traveler to decide was how much they could afford to spend on the trip. Once they set their budget, the Orcutt family could have purchased traveler’s checks from the American Express Company, Brown Brothers, or similar firms. They might have taken the advice from the guidebooks to acquire a Letter of Credit, which could be issued for a minimum sum of $500.00. [12]

Although a passport was not necessary, it was recommended as a means of identification. It was good for two years and could be renewed for one dollar. Unfortunately, I have not found any records that indicate if the Orcutts or Martha Blackwell acquired passports.


1.Two smaller pieces of luggage rather than one large one as the luggage must be carried by hand up and down stairs at hotels. “Don’t try to drag about the huge arks with which some Americans advertise their nationality because they are inconvenient, as Europeans are not used to handling them.”[13] A safe size for a steamer trunk is thirteen inches to be stowed under the berth.[14]

2. “A large dark-coloured canvas bag, or ‘kit,’ for soiled clothes…A canvas cover with straps in which the rugs and shawls of the party may be neatly rolled will keep them from the dust of travel, and still, another canvas case is advisable for holding umbrellas and parasols, which otherwise soon get badly chafed and shabby looking.”[15]

3. Women – two tailormade cloth suits, one thicker and one lighter in a dark color, preferably serge or mohair, a good silk or satin skirt, and a few blouses or shirtwaists. If going to the theater, an evening wrap, a house dress or tea gown if the traveler stops to rest for a day or two. A silk petticoat and simple underclothes as they will receive hard usage from the washerwomen. Warm underclothes to wear aboard the ship as the Atlantic can be chilly. A thick gauze veil in case of excessive dust. For nighttime, a simple, think flannel dressing-gown, in “some quiet color, in order not to be too conspicuous when you go to the bathroom.” It can be worn over a nightgown at sea.[16]

4. “A handbag, and do not make the mistake of choosing it too small, or the leather which will easily become shabby; russet or black pigskin or morocco [soft leather made from goatskin] is very serviceable.”[17]

5. “For the feet, light-colored shoes are, on the whole preferable, because they look better with less care. Every healthy tourist is sure to do a great deal of walking, and many a night, the feet will ache. So only the easiest of shoes should be worn, and for the same reason, slippers will prove a big relief in hotels and pensions.”[18]

6. Men should wear a business suit. “Outing shirts for men are far the most comfortable, and they have the decided advantage of not yielding so quickly to the grim of railway trains and the perspiration of exercise, which the traveler cannot avoid.” [19]A white shirt and collar should be worn at the table d’hote and at any resort after dark.

7. Both men and women should wear a hat. For women, it should fit the head closely, be trimmed with ribbons or stiff feathers, and have a slight brim to protect the eyes from the glare of the sky and water. For men, a Derby was the preferred hat in the city streets.[20]

8. A camera to preserve memories. “The Daylight Kodak 5×4 is an easy size to carry, and in all large cities, you can get Eastman’s films or have them developed.”[21]

Basic Kodak Brownie Camera, Wikimedia Commons


shaving brush bootlaces & hat stringaneroid barometer, and pocket thermometer
soapcathartic pills & quininepaper covered novels
pocket-knifeleather vial case containing vials of Jamaica ginger, cholera medicine, listerine, arnica, medicine for coughs, & colds, whiskey, toilet water, hamamelis, ink, paregoric.binocular glasses or opera glasses
comb & hair brushSeidlitz powdersflask
court plasterpocket looking-glasscompass
ink bottle with spring coverpieces of flannel & cottonpocket tool chest, tools inside handle
spongehot water bagsmall pillow for steamer chair & in trains
vaselineelastic bands & tags & labels
telescoping drinking cuppatent trouser buttons
steamer rug (a thick carriage robe serves in a pinch)playing cards
shawl strapthin linen & paper envelopes
clothes-brushtape measure & pocket rule
stylographic or fountain penfolding alcohol lamp
corkscrewtube of toothpaste
needles & threadfor women, smelling salts
pincushion & safety pins
toilet paper (in cloth case)
visiting cards, recommended as “proof of respectability”
leather purse for coins
foreign currency both coins and bills
collar buttons and shirt studs
For women- glove & shoe buttons, sewing silk, tapes, hooks, eyes, hat pins & small pins, black & white
soap (hotels did not supply it)


RMS Ruapehu also known as the SS Australasian, courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand

Finding the correct ship was not smooth sailing. I encountered a few waves that threated to founder my research. Numerous searches for a ship’s manifest yielded no results, so I relied on newspaper articles for (what I thought) was accurate information; unfortunately, it conflicted. Four articles stated that the Orcutts and Mrs. Blackwell sailed from New York to England on June 8, 1901.

  • Clinton Orcutt, the Misses Orcutt and Mrs. Martha Blackwell sailed from New York on Saturday for Europe.”[23]
  • Mrs. Martha Blackwell expects to go east soon, sailing from New York on June 8, to spend some time abroad. She will be accompanied by her friends from Muscatine, Ia.[24]
  • Mrs. Martha Blackwell left Sunday for New York, where she sails today for Europe. The Misses Orcutt sail on the same steamer.”[25]
  • “Mr. Clinton Orcutt accompanied by his two daughters, Miss Anna Ri and Miss Jennie, will sail June 8 for England, to be gone several months. Their tour will include England, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, and Italy.”[26]

Two additional articles stated that the Orcutts sailed from Montreal to Liverpool; the first article had obvious errors.

  • Mrs. C.D. Orcutt and daughter sailed from Montreal for Liverpool on Saturday. They expect to be away four months.”[27]
  • C.D. Orcutt and his two daughters left last week for Europe. They sailed from Montreal and will travel on the continent for four months.”[28]

I concluded (erroneously) that New York must be the correct port of departure and conducted my research accordingly. After I found the ship that departed from New York for Liverpool on June 8, I amassed articles, photographs, even a ship’s menu from the New York Public Library. As I typed the final edit of this blog, my ancestors whispered, “You’ve got the wrong ship.” One more time I perused the U.K. and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists. Gobsmacked describes my reaction when Genealogy Serendipity struck! Finally, I’d found it -the ship’s manifest that listed the names Mr. Clinton D. Orcutt, Miss Anna Orcutt, Miss Jennie Orcutt, and Mrs. Martha Blackwell. They sailed on June 8, 1901 from MONTREAL to Liverpool.[29] UK and Ireland Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960, Liverpool, England 1901 Apr-Jun

The manifest included the name of the ship, the Australasian, the summary of steerage and cabin passengers, and the master of the ship, Captain John Brown. UK and Ireland Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960, Liverpool, England 1901 Apr-Jun

Back to the drawing board. Further research revealed that there were two ships with the same name – the S.S. Australasian. The first vessel I researched was built in 1884. It sailed between England, Australia, and New Zealand and served primarily as a cargo ship. It took another couple of days to discover that the second Australasian ship launched in February 1901 under another name, the RMS Ruapehu.
Allan Line Advertising Card c. 1886, courtesy of

“The Allan Line have taken over from the New Zealand Steamship company the SS Ruapehu, which has been renamed the Australasian and will make her maiden voyage on May 23rd [1901].”[30]

The RMS Ruapehu was built by William Denny & Bros at Dumbarton, Scotland for the New Zealand Shipping Co. Ltd. She was 7,705 tons, 475 feet long, 58 feet broad, and 42 feet deep, and was intended for the Company’s trade between London and the Australian colonies.[31] According to a maritime website, “Her First- and Second-class public rooms were fitted out in a high quality and well furnished, whilst the cabins were known to offer from supreme to good comfort.” [32]The ship could transport 340 passengers, 40 in First Class, 50 in Second Class, and 80 Third Class plus space for 170 steerage passengers. The manifest for the June 8th voyage listed 202 passengers (192 adults, 8 children, and two infants). The passengers were either listed as steerage (71) or cabin (141), but the manifest did not designate which passengers occupied First-, Second-, or Third-class cabins.[33] A 1903 Allan Line publication described the accommodations aboard three of its newest ships as follows:

“The first- and second-class accommodations amidships where, of course, the minimum of motion is experienced, on the saloon deck. Above the saloon deck is the upper bridge deck, and above that again the shade deck. From the shade deck, a companion-way leads to the upper bridge deck below, on which are a number of staterooms, the first-class smoking room, and the bridge deck below on which are a number of staterooms, the first-class smoking room, and the first-class music room, while surrounding the containing deck house is a noble promenade well equipped with seat accommodation and sheltered from the weather by the shade deck above. The first-class staterooms are each fitted with a wardrobe in rich mahogany, a settee in red plush, and the most up-to-date of toilet equipment. At the after end of the passenger accommodation on the upper bridge deck is the first-class smoking room, an apartment which suggests both ease and solid comfort. The floor is of oak parquetry, the ceiling is decorated in rich cream and gold, while the oak panels of the walls are relieved by floral devices in maple. The lounges and chairs are upholstered in stamped leather with handsome mirrors, and last but not least, a commodious bar completes a tout ensemble which male passengers will not be slow to appreciate. The ladies comforts are specially catered for by an exquisite music room; the refinement and luxury which reflects great credit upon the builders. The piano by Steinway, the writing tables, and panels are in oak and maple, while the predominant tint in the flowered silk of the upholstery is blue, a color which harmonizes with the cream and gold of the ceiling and the curtains which screen the oblong ports, commanding views both to port and starboard as well as forward. From the upper bridge deck, a handsome staircase and entrance hall communicates with the saloon deck and the first-class dining saloon, a noble apartment well lighted and lofty and extending the full width of the ship. The furniture, organ, and sideboards are of walnut, while the upholstery is terra-cotta stamped velvet.”[34]

RMS Ruapehu also known as the SS Australasian, courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand

I was reassured I had the correct vessel when I found two articles that mentioned the RMS Australasian in conjunction with Captain Brown.

“The Allan Line R.M.S. Australasian, Captain Brown, arrived in port [Montreal] shortly before one o’clock yesterday with passengers and general cargo. This is the third trip of the Australasian to this port and already she has proved herself not only a good seaworthy vessel, but she has also become a favorite with the travelling public. Her present voyage was an exceptionally pleasant one to the passengers, the latter as they disembarked speaking in eulogistic terms of Capt Brown and his officers for the manner in which they had been treated during the trip across.”[35]

Allan Line Steamship Australasian and Captain Brown,
Allan Line Wharf, Montreal, Canada, courtesy of Norway

The purchase of a first-class ticket entitled the bearer to one berth in a stateroom. Jane and Anna Ri Orcutt probably shared a stateroom. Clinton Orcutt either paid to have a stateroom to himself or shared with another passenger. If the Orcutt family followed guidebooks’ advice, they would have chosen staterooms away from the pantries, the machinery, and away from the toilet rooms.[36] They probably selected good-sized cabins on the upper deck or the middle of the deck, as there was less motion than at either end.

The only images I found that depict the interior of Allan Line ships, show the second class cabins, music room, dining room, smoke room and the promenade. [37]

Passengers were advised to arrive early at the steamer and settle in their cabins by unpacking only the items necessary for the journey and safely stowing the remainder in their steamer trunk. Due to the salty spray from the ocean, women were advised to change into the “frock” they would wear for the voyage. [38]Next, one should ring for the cabin stewardess, maker her acquaintance, “and ask her to send the bath stewardess. Say to her that you hope to take a bath each day and choose the hour which will suit you best.” [39]

Montreal, Canada – Allan Line Illustrated Tourist’s Guide to Canada and the United States,

If the ship followed procedure, it departed at daylight from Montreal to Quebec on the magnificent St. Lawrence River and then into the North Atlantic. The weather forecast for the 8th of June was cloudy and cool with rain later in the day. Perhaps the Orcutts and Mrs. Blackwell went on deck to watch as the great ship pulled out of harbor.

Allan Line Royal Mail Steamers, St. Lawrence route

An advertisement pamphlet for the Allan Line shipping company for 1907 provided more details about routine matters while aboard ship.

  • “Cablegrams and telegrams should be handed to the Purser or his assistant.
  • The Saloon Steward will, on application, supply Stamps, Telegraph Forms, Books of Reference, and Railway Time Tables of the principal companies.
  • An experienced Physician is attached to the Steamer. For medical attendance in case of sickness on board, no charge is made, medicines are also provided free of charge. But the Ship’s Physician is allowed to charge the usual fees to travellers who submit themselves to treatment for maladies not contracted during the voyage.
  • Questions relating to Baggage should be referred to the Third Officer, who is the Ship’s Baggage Master. Trunks or rugs which passengers may desire to leave in charge of the Company should be properly labeled to the Baggage master on the wharf at Liverpool or Montreal, and such articles will be stored entirely at the owner’s risk. It is necessary for passengers themselves to see all their Baggage passed by the Customs Authorities on landing.
  • Deck chairs can be hired from the Purser.
  • It is desirable that valuables or money should be placed in charge of the Purser for deposit in his safe. As no charge is made for carriage, the Company can accept no responsibility for loss or damage, however arising, but passengers can protest themselves by insurance.”[40]

Once the ship was underway, the passengers could contact the purser to inquire about the table where they would dine and express a preference to dine with friends. Life aboard the ship was regulated by bells, including mealtimes. Although I could not find a specific menu for the Australasian, I located one for an Allan Line ship from 1906. [41]

Porridge with Fresh Milk or Maple SyrupGerman SoupCold Meats
Loch Fyne HerringRoast Veal, Lemon SaucePreserved Salmon
Beef Steaks and OnionsRoast Goose, Apple SauceFindon Haddie
Liver and BaconHaricot MuttonCottage Pie
Curried Mutton and RicePotatoesSalad
Irish StewParsnipsFresh Bread
Fresh RollsSago PuddingToast
ToastStewed Prunes and RiceSugar Buns
JamJam PuffsBiscuits
The Allan Line: information for passengers, 1907

Every guidebook offered tips to combat seasickness. Fresh air was the best preventative, but if dry biscuits, cotton in the ears, a pinch of baking soda, powdered charcoal after each meal, sniffing ammonia before meals, drinking plenty of hot water, or a diet of well-masticated beef for the first three days didn’t cure you, then passengers could consult the ship’s physician.


While aboard the ship, the Orcutts took three photographs. When I examined the first image, I thought Jane had simply taken a picture of the ocean. After scanning and lightening the image, I realized she had spotted an iceberg, not uncommon when crossing the Atlantic in June. Look for the large white object in the photograph below.

Photograph from Jane Orcutt’s album of the Atlantic Ocean, the white object is an iceberg.

It may have taken the passengers a few days to get their sea legs and enjoy life on an ocean steamer. Sociability on board included playing games such as shuffleboard, ring toss, cards, chess, telling storytelling, or relaxing on a deck chair. The latter could be rented for a dollar for the voyage. The occupant could place their calling card into a little frame on the back and tie a colorful ribbon to easily identify it and deter squatters. The joy of “plain straight loafing is accomplished with the utmost satisfaction when one is stretched out on a steamer chair, warmly wrapped, basking in the sun, on the leeward side of the promenade deck.”[42]

Three dapper men relaxing in deck chairs aboard the Australasian June 1901. Photograph in author’s possession

Jane’s final picture aboard the ship depicts an unknown woman and a crew member. Unfortunately, Jane’s photography skills needed some honing. Most of her photographs are rather dark, and blurry.

Young woman and crew member aboard the RMS Australasian, June 1901, photograph in possession of author.


The average length of the journey from Montreal to Liverpool was seven days, but on this trip the Australasian took ten days to cross the pond. The ship’s manifest noted an arrival of June 18. The Liverpool Daily Post noted the arrival of the “Allan steamer Australasian, from Montreal and Quebec, arrived in the Mersey (Liverpool) at 3:45 p.m.” [43] The weather forecast for the day was “moderate northerly winds, slight rain in places, then clearer, brighter, but not settled.”[44]

The Orcutts and Mrs. Blackwell had arrived in England, a good place to commence their tour of Europe, a tip advised by Mary Cadwallader Jones. “Every American who leaves his own country should begin by going to England. In the first place, while the transition is marked enough, it is less violent than if one is suddenly pitchforked into a place where the language, as well as all the customs, are unfamiliar; and then, although we have become different in some ways from the English, we are many of us descended directly from them and have a common inheritance in their past.”[45]

Landing Stage at Liverpool,

As the Orcutts and Mrs. Blackwell disembarked did they have the same thoughts expressed by Clarissa Sands Arnold upon her arrival in Liverpool?

“To think we are really across the Atlantic and have but to look around to find ourselves to be hurrying off the Steamer onto the tug to be brought into Liverpool!”

Part II – Gilded Age Girls – The Orcutt’s Grand Tour of Europe – to be continued.


Genealogy Sketch

Clinton Delos ORCUTT

Name: [Clinton Delos ORCUTT -1840-1905
Parents: Daniel Heath ORCUTT 1809-1864 and
Angeline PERKINS 1813-1887
Spouse: Anna Dorcas DUTTON 1842-1899
Children: Louis DeForest ORCUTT -1871-1891, George Dutton ORCUTT 1873-1886, Marion Edith ORCUTT BEATON 1879-1964, Anna Ri ORCUTT JAQUES 1881-1942, and Jane Clare ORCUTT KEELINE 1884-1918
Relationship to Kendra: Great Great-Grandfather

  1. Clinton Delos ORCUTT
  3. Anna Jane BEATON HYDE
  5. Kendra


© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved

  1. Social Chit Chat, Omaha Daily Bee, (Omaha, May 5, 1901, p.6; digital images, ( accessed June 5, 2021).
  2. Our Card Basket, The Excelsior, (Omaha, Nebraska, June 8, 1901, Saturday, p.14. ( : accessed 5 June 2021)
  3. Arnold, Clarissa Sands, Edited by Deborah Stewart Weber (2010). Four Girls in Europe My Tour of England and the Continent, October 1900-September, 1901. Universe, Bloomington, IN. p. xi.
  4. Twain, Mark, 2018. The Innocents Abroad. Sea Wolf Press
  5. Jones, Mary Cadwalader, (1900). European Travel for Women Notes and Suggestions. Norwood Massachusetts, Norwood Press. Digital Books. Google Books. 2007. P.22
  6. Ibid
  7. Addison, Margaret. Diary of a European Tour 1900. Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press. 1900. Digital images. Google Books 1999. P. 5-7
  8. The Excelsior, (Omaha, Nebraska, September 21, 1901, Saturday, pg.14, digital images, ( accessed January 21, 2022.)
  9. Cooks Excursionist and Home and Foreign Tourist Advertiser, (1898). Digital Books. Google Books.  P.11.
  10. Ibid
  11. Jones, Mary Cadwalader, (1900). European Travel for Women Notes and Suggestions. Norwood Massachusetts, Norwood Press. Digital Books. Google Books. 
  12. Ibid, p.2.
  13. Ibid, p.33.
  14. Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images.  p. 216
  15. Jones, Mary Cadwalader, (1900). European Travel for Women Notes and Suggestions. Norwood Massachusetts, Norwood Press. Digital Books. Google Books. 2007. P.37
  16. Ibid, p41.
  17. Ibid, p.41.
  18. Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images.  p. 226
  19. Ibid, p.227.
  20. Jones, Mary Cadwalader, (1900). European Travel for Women Notes and Suggestions. Norwood Massachusetts, Norwood Press. Digital Books. Google Books. 2007. P.53
  21. Ibid, p.38.
  22. Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images.  p. 221-222.
  23. Social Chit Chat, Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, June 9, 1901, pg. 6. Digital images, ( accessed January 13, 2022.)
  24. Social Chit Chat, Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, May 12, 1901, pg. 6. Digital images, ( accessed January 13, 2022.)
  25. Our Card Basket, The Excelsior, Omaha, Nebraska, June 8, 1901, p.14. Digital images, ( accessed 13 January 2022.)
  26. Social Chit Chat, Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, May 5, 1901, pg. 6. Digital images, ( accessed January 13, 2022.)
  27. Our Card Basket, The Excelsior, Omaha, Nebraska, June 15, 1901, p.13. Digital images, ( accessed 13 January 2022.)
  28. Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, June 9, 1901 p.6. Digital images, Chronicling America Library of Congress, ( accessed 23 Jan 2019).
  29. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 174; Item: 37. Digital Images. :2008.
  30. The Nottingham Evening Post, Nottinghamshire, England, May 9, 1901, pg 3. Digital images, ( accessed 31 May 2022.)
  31. Clyde Shipbuilding Gossip, Dundee Evening Post, Dundee, Scotland, March 2, 1901, p.5. Digital images, ( accessed 31 May 2022.)
  33. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 174; Item: 37. Digital Images. :2008.
  34. Allan Line to Canada, Allan Line, Canada, 1903. Retrieved from Internet Archive website:
  35. Marine Notes, The Gazette, Montreal, August 13, 1901, pg 10. Digital images. ( accessed 31 May 2022.)
  36. Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images.  p. 41-42
  37. Allan Line to Canada, Allan Line, Canada, 1910. Retrieved from Internet Archive website :
  38. [1] Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images.  p. 46
  39. Jones, Mary Cadwalader, (1900). European Travel for Women Notes and Suggestions. Norwood Massachusetts, Norwood Press. Digital Books. Google Books. 2007. P.75
  40. The Allan line: information for passengers, list of saloon passengers, Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal, Friday, April 27 1907. (p.2) Retrieved from Internet Archive website:
  42. Luce, Robert, Going Abroad? Some Advice. Boston, R & L Luce Publisher. 1900. Digital images.  p. 46
  43. Mail and Ship News, Liverpool Daily Post, Liverpool, Merseyside, England, June 19, 1901, pg5. Digital images,, ( : accessed June 1, 2022.)
  44. Weather Forecasts, Evening Standard, London, Greater London, England, June 18, 1901, pg. 1. Digital images, ( : accessed 1 June 2022.)
  45. Jones, Mary Cadwalader, (1900). European Travel for Women Notes and Suggestions. Norwood Massachusetts, Norwood Press. Digital Books. Google Books. 2007. P.17
  46. Arnold, Clarissa Sands, Edited by Deborah Stewart Weber (2010). Four Girls in Europe My Tour of England and the Continent, October 1900-September, 1901. Universe, Bloomington, IN. p. 1.

Posted in My Family Ancestry | Tagged | 6 Comments

OMAHA SOCIETY WEDDING – (Marion Edith Orcutt & Alfred James Beaton)

Marion Edith Orcutt Beaton, wedding photograph, October 1899, Omaha, Nebraska. Hermann Heyn Photographer. Photograph in possession of author.

Twenty-one-year-old Edith Orcutt and her twenty-seven-year-old fiancee Alfred Beaton had a secret engagement for five years before the official announcement of their betrothal. When and where my great-grandparents met remains a mystery. The Orcutt and Beaton families moved in different social circles. While Edith came from a well-to-do family, Alfred worked as a clerk at the Omaha Carpet Company. An ambitious young man, Alfred started work at age eleven as an office boy; he eventually became president of the Beaton-Laier furniture company with some financial assistance from his father-in-law, Clinton Orcutt.

Perhaps Edith and Alfred met because they lived only half a mile from one another. Edith lived with her father, a widower, and two younger sisters at 550 S. 26th Street, Omaha, Nebraska. Alfred lived at home with his widowed mother (Mary Ann McDonald Beaton) and four brothers (Frank, Charles, Paul, and John) at 209 S. 28th. Avenue. The Beaton family may have walked near Edith’s house each Sunday when they attended mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

Alfred’s Beaton ancestors were Scottish Catholics who immigrated from Lochaber, Scotland, to East Point, Prince Edward Isles, Canada. In 1873, when Alfred was one-year-old, his parents (Allen Beaton and Mary Ann Beaton, nee MacDonald) immigrated to the United States. First, they moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Then in 1875, they followed the expanding railroads and moved to Schuyler, Nebraska. Finally, in 1878 they settled in Omaha, Nebraska. Two years later, in 1880, Allen Beaton passed away. His widow, Mary Ann, was left with five boys between two and eleven.

Alfred and his older brother, Frank, likely had to leave school and discontinue their education to contribute to the family income by working at small jobs. In 1883, when Alfred was eleven-years-old, he was listed as an office boy. The Omaha city directories provided insight into Alfred’s determination to improve his condition in life. By age seventeen, in 1889, he worked as a bookkeeper at Omaha Carpet Company, eventually becoming a salesman and carpet merchant. He continued to live at home and support his mother and younger brothers, assisting two of his brothers to attend Creighton University. However, Alfred did not enjoy the comfortable lifestyle of his fiancee nor have the advantage of exclusive education.

Although the Orcutts weren’t Catholic, they did send their three daughters to a Catholic girls school. Duchesne Sacred Heart Academy, known for its high academics and its rigid social training, would become a family tradition. Three generations of my family attended the school.

The Orcutts had a long tradition with the Congregational church. Edith’s mother, Anna (Dutton) Orcutt, descended from multiple generations of Congregational ministers and Deacons. Edith’s grandfather, Thomas Dutton, studied and trained at Yale Divinity School, the same as his father, Reverand Aaron Dutton. Given their different religious affiliations, Alfred and Edith probably didn’t meet at a church social.

Perhaps, Edith and Alfred met through a mutual friend. Society columns noted on at least two occasions that they attended the same party, including Edith’s farewell party before she attended her “finishing” year of education at Maryville, Sacred Heart Academy in St. Louis, Missouri. I’ll likely never know how they met, but I did discover information about their engagement and wedding.


Note written by Anna Jane (Beaton) Hyde, Edith’s daughter. Edith’s nickname – “Dee Dee”.

Edith was still a schoolgirl when Alfred gave her a heart-shaped gold locket engraved with “MEO” (Marian Edith Orcutt). She hadn’t yet made her debut into society and knew her parents would disapprove of the engagement. So she hid the locket beneath her dress, according to a story she told her daughter and wrote in a letter. The locket contained a photograph of Alfred, his initials “AJB,” and the date 8-24-94. Based on the inscription, Edith was 15 when Alfred gave her a token of his love. Five years later, on August 27, 1899, the couple announced their engagement.

Engagement announcement for Marion Edith Orcutt to Alfred James Beaton. August 27, 1889. Omaha World-Herald,

The engagement of Miss Marion Edith Orcutt, daughter of Mr. C.D. Orcutt, to Mr. Alfred J. Beaton is announced.”[1]


A Fashionable Wedding” is how the Omaha Daily Bee described the wedding of Marion Edith Orcutt to Alfred James Beaton on October 18, 1899. The event took place at the home of the bride on a Wednesday evening at 8 o’clock. At the turn of the century, wedding traditions differed from what we are accustomed to today. Instead of a weekend wedding, many took place on weekdays. “Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays were the most popular choices.”[2] Edith and Alfred chose the middle of the week. They also decided to marry at the bride’s home, very traditional for the time. The wedding was a quiet one, owing to the death of Edith’s mother in January of that year.

Residence of Clinton Orcutt, 550. S 26th Street, Omaha, NE. “Omaha Illustrated: a History of the Pioneer Period and the Omaha of Today.”

“One of the beautiful affairs of the week was the wedding of Miss Marion Edith Orcutt, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton D. Orcutt, to Mr. Alfred J. Beaton, which took place Wednesday at the home of the bride. The decorations of the house were on the most elaborate plan, and were a most fitting background for the lovely gowns of the bridal party and guests. In the hall the musicians were screened behind a quantity of palms and smilax; in the parlor was a gorgeous canopy of smilax, from which hung three wedding bells made of carnations and roses; one bell of pink and two of white. The mantels were also banked in the pink roses and the room illuminated by candles under pink shades. Pink and white roses banked the piano in the music room, and the library was profusely decked in magnificent American Beauty roses. The dining room presented a gorgeous picture. A huge basket of pink roses on an elaborate centerpiece of Mexican drawn work, placed over pink silk, adorned the center of the table. From the chandelier above strands of smilax extended to the pink shaded candles which made a circle on the round table. Just under the chandelier hung a brass wedding bell of great value, connected by strands of smilax to the brass candle sticks. The settee upon which the bride and groom sat for refreshments was of gilt and placed under a canopy of lace. Hundreds of roses and smilax, artistically arranged about the room completed the exquisite effect.

The wedding procession was on no less an elaborate plan. Rev. Father J.E. English of St. Peter’s church entered the parlor, followed by eight young girls who, with pink satin ribbon, formed an aisle for the bridal party. They were Ada Kirkendall, Jeanne Wakefield, Marion Haller, Marion Connell, Ethel Palmer, Vivian McDowell, Grace Thurston, Blanche Kinsler, and Blanche Brady. Their gowns were of white, with stocks and belts of pink. At the head of the bridal party walked the groom with his best man, Mr. Charles Beaton. Then came the ring bearer, Miss Jennie Clare Orcutt, the two bridesmaids, Miss Bessie Towle of this city and Miss Bessie Baum of Pittsburg, and the maid of honor, Miss Anna R. Orcutt, sister of the bride. She wore a handsome white organdie with a deep flounce of accordion pleating. The bodice was entirely of fine tucks and real lace insertion worn over white taffeta. She carried a large bouquet of bridesmaid roses tied with broad pink satin streamers whose ends fell to the bottom of the skirt. The bridesmaids and ring bearer all looked as lovely and stately as bridesmaids could look, in beautiful gowns of white organdie, elaborately trimmed in lace and accordion pleatings, and carring pink roses.

After little Miss Eunice Beaton, the sweet flower girl, came the bride on the arm of her father. She wore a creation of pearl satin trimmed in exquisite duchesse lace: her veil, which was fastened by a diamond brooch, fell about her like a cloud, and she carried a shower of bride roses. A pretty girl at all times, she was a vision on this important occasion.

The ceremony was witnessed by many friends and followed by a reception. The presents were especially handsome. Mr. and Mrs. Beaton left on a late train for the south.”[3]


Marriage Certificate for Alfred Beaton and Marion Edith Orcutt – October 18, 1899, Omaha, Nebraska

The wedding announcement mentioned that the “presents were especially handsome.” Gift registries didn’t exist in 1899, and presents were usually decorative items. The only gifts to survive are two romantic figurines.

Figurines- wedding gifts to Edith Orcutt and Alfred Beaton – October 18, 1899.


During the reception, the bride and groom experienced a mid-west tradition they hadn’t anticipated nor welcomed – a shivaree.Known also as serenading or belling, a shivaree is a noisy, rowdy, and often bawdy community celebration of a marriage.”[4]


“As a finale to the ceremonies of the wedding of Alfred J. Beaton to Miss Marion Edith Orcutt at 550 South Twenty-sixth street last evening, a mob of West Side hoodlums came around as a charivari crowd, and proceeded to make the night hideous with unusual noises. The leader was given an apparently satisfactory sum to appease the third of the crowd and it departed only to return in a few minutes more clamorous than before, vowing that the leader had eloped with the cash.

After the charivari party had promised that it had confidence in the new leader, he was given money also for the crowd. In a half-hour the mob returned for the third time. Upon being refused a third contribution, the crowd began pounding the house till the plastering began to fall from the walls. Then Patrolman Edgar Hill went around with a club, which was to all intents quite satisfactory, for the crowd quickly departed and didn’t return.”[5]

Soon after their wedding, the young couple departed on a train headed south for their honeymoon. Unfortunately, the newspaper article didn’t state where in the south the Beaton’s spent their honeymoon. Two weeks later, on November 5th, the newlyweds returned to Omaha to live with Edith’s father and two sisters, Anna Ri and Jane Clare.


Edith and Alfred had a wedding album to commemorate their marriage; only one photograph has survived. Unfortunately, Edith’s second husband, George Utendorfer, was a jealous man and destroyed her wedding album.

Hermann Heyn’s portrait studio took the wedding photograph of Edith. An important portrait photographer in Omaha, Nebraska, from the 1880s through the 1920s, he is nationally noted for more than 500 images of Native Americans, mostly Sioux. Copies of the photographs are in the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Native American Museum. The bulk of the photographs were taken at the Indian Congress of Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition (1898) and the Greater American Exposition (1899), both held in Omaha, Nebraska. [6]

The Heyn’s portrait studio won the silver cup – first prize- for grand portraiture at the Nebraska state and interstate photographer’s convention in the summer of 1899.[7]

© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved


Genealogy Sketch

Name: [Marion Edith ORCUTT BEATON UTTENDORFER -1879-1964
Parents: Clinton Delos ORCUTT 1840-1905 and
Anna Dorcas DUTTON ORCUTT 1841-1891
Spouse: *Alfred James BEATON 1872-1916 and George Newll UTTENDORFER 1887-1972
Children: Anna Jane BEATON HYDE -1907-1998 and Orcutt Phillip BEATON 1900-1971
Relationship to Kendra: Great-Grandmother

  2. Anna Jane BEATON HYDE
  4. Kendra


  1. Society, Omaha World-Herald, (Omaha, 27 August, 1899, Vol XXXIV, Issue 331, p12; digital images, Genealogy Bank ( : accessed 21 June 2021).
  2. Connie Williams, “Weddings have changed but many traditions remain the same,” ( : accessed 15 June 2021).
  3. “Society,” Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, 29 October 1899, Vol XXXV, Issue 29); digital images, Genealogy Bank ( : accessed 10 June 2021).
  4. Michael Taft, “Shivaree”, Encyclopedia of the Great Plains David J. Wishart, Ed. Accessed 19 June 2021 at (…)
  5. “Hoodlums Hold Up a Groom”, (Omaha World-Herald (Omaha) 19 October 1899, Vol XXXV Issue 19, p3); digital images, Genealogy Bank ( : accessed 15 May 2021.
  6. Byron Harvey, III Collection of Exposition and Portrait photographs, Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives, ( : accessed 22 June 2021.
  7. “Heyn’s Free Gift Another Month” Omaha Daily Bee, (Omaha) 27 Aug 1899, p20, col 2 : digitial images, ( : accessed 9 June 2021).
Posted in Biographies, Heirlooms, My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments


This gallery contains 3 photos.

Growing up during the Gilded Age, the Orcutt sisters, Edith, Anna Ri, and Jane, filled their calendars with ladies-of-leisure activities. Fortunately for my research, the Orcutts figured prominently in the Omaha newspaper society columns, as did their peers. The society … Continue reading

More Galleries | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

GILDED AGE GIRLS- Three Orcutt Sisters in Omaha

The Orcutt family packed up and left Durant, Iowa, on August 13, 1887, bound for Omaha, Nebraska, where opportunities beckoned. Shortly after they moved into their elegant new home, Edith Orcutt, my maternal great-grandmother, celebrated her eighth birthday. She had two younger sisters, Anna Ri, age six, and Jane Clare “Jennie,” age three, and one older brother Louis, age sixteen. Now school age, the girls would benefit from the educational choices offered in a larger city. Their father, Clinton Orcutt, a self-made man, and entrepreneur understood the advantages of social contacts and private education. The girls’ mother, Anna Dutton Orcutt, descended from a long line of Yale-educated Congregationalist ministers, including her father, Reverand Thomas Dutton. The Orcutts had the financial means to provide the best of everything for their daughters, including an elite school.


Park Place, Sacred Heart Academy, 1894, Omaha, Nebraska, used with permission by Duchesne Sacred Heart Academy Archives.

Like many of their peers, Clinton and Anna Orcutt chose a private school for their daughters. A good school would train their daughters with a classical education and “distinguished manners.” Many wealthy families sent their daughters to school in the East. But there were two primary choices for those who preferred a local school. One option was Brownell Hall, founded by the Episcopal Church in 1867. Another choice was Duchesne Sacred Heart Academy (known as Park Place), a Catholic girls school founded in 1881. The Orcutts chose the latter and started a family tradition that lasted three generations.

As members of the Congregational Church, the Orcutts may have had a few qualms about sending their girls to a Catholic school, but Duchesne, known for its high academics and social graces, impressed them. Moreover, the rigid training would prepare the girls for every phase of life.

Advertisement for Academy of the Sacred Heart, Park Place Omaha, 1893,

“The Sacred Heart Academy for day pupils…is an institution devoted to the moral and intellectual education of young girls…Difference of religion is no obstacle to the teaching of pupils, provided they conform to the general regulations of the school.”[1]

Constructed on the highest hill in Omaha, the Academy of the Sacred Heart at Park Place, provided a beautiful view of the city. The substantial brick building was 144 feet long, 81 feet wide, and five stories high.[2] The view below depicts the school and contented cows in a nearby pasture.

Sacred Heart Academy, Park Place, used with permission by Duchesne Archives, Omaha, Nebraska.

The Omaha Daily Herald for November 1882 described the opening ceremony for the Sacred Heart Academy, which included descriptions of the interior.

“The ground story is occupied by the dining room, kitchen, laundry, storerooms, feed and boiler rooms, and bathrooms and water closets. The stairways run from basement to attic, and an elevator for trunks and baggage connects all stories. The dining room is furnished tastefully and has a bay window facing east, making an inviting room which will accomodate a hundred people.

The first story is entered by a flight of broad stone steps, opening into a large vestibule, paved with tiles, and leading into a spcaious hallway. A parlor stands at the south side, and two other parlors and a private parlor are located at the north side of the hall. The parlors are furnished with Brussels carpet, marble mantels, steam radiator, and walnut furniture, all inviting apartments.

North of the parlors is the society, fitted with a rich vestment case. Beyond this and occupying the northeast corner is the Chapel. Three stained glass windows stand back of the altar, and the altar itself is beautifully carved and gilded. Statues of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph surmount the side altars. Black walnut pews and a fine large organ complete the furniture.

The second story is occupied by the classrooms, recitation rooms and music rooms, and studio, the larger classrooms standing over the Chapel.

The third story is divided into private rooms for the students, dormitories, and apartments for the community of the sisters.”[3]

Duchesne, Sacred Heart Chapel circa 1896, photo in possession of author.

Some of the students boarded at the Sacred Heart Academy, while others, such as the Orcutt sisters, were day pupils. Edith, Anna Ri, and Jane had a short distance – two miles- to travel from their home at 550 S. 26th Street to Duchesne, located at 36th and Burt Street.

The Omaha City Directory for 1885 noted that “The scholastic year commences on the first Wednesday in September. Classes commenced at 10 a.m., and pupils were dismissed at 3:30 p.m. References are required from all persons unknown to the institution.”[4]

Since the Orcutt girls were unknown to the Sacred Heart Academy, who provided the references for them? A business associate of Clinton Orcutt, a friend, or perhaps a neighbor?

Edith Orcutt 1888, age nine, Omaha, Nebraska, photograph in author’s possession.

Registration books for day students recorded that Edith commenced her education on September 10, 1889, at age ten. A year later, in 1890, nine-year-old Anna Ri joined her sister. Then, on September 6, 1892, the youngest child, Jane Clare, age seven, accompanied her sisters to Duchesne. [5] I contacted the archivist at Duchesne, who generously shared registration documents and several photographs featured in this blog.

Dressed neatly in black high-necked ankle-length dresses, with their hair combed straight back, Duchesne students appear in a photograph with the Mother Superior Margaret Dunne in the center.

Duchesne Sacred Heart Academy, Omaha, Nebraska, reproduced with permission by Duchesne Archives.

Information from Sacred Heart archives described the regimen practiced in the Sacred Heart Schools when the Orcutt girls attended. “One such custom was the use of a wooden signal whose dry clack, to which decorous ranks obediently moved about the school in a strictly enforced silence.”[6] In addition, the girls learned to curtsey to the Superior and the Mistress General and rise as the nuns entered the room. When I mentioned these routines to my mother, who attended Duchesne in the 1940s-1950s, she distinctly recalled the sound of the clacker, quietly processing the hallways, and the required curtsies to the nuns.

A daily schedule would include morning prayers, spiritual reading, Mass, and classes broken by fifteen minutes of recreation. During mealtimes, the girls remained silent while a student read a suitable book aloud, such as Dickens, Thackeray, or James Fenimore Cooper.[7]

A special event remembered by every student who attended a Sacred Heart school was the “Grand Congé,” an event looked forward to weeks in advance and reminisced for weeks after it passed. [8] Congé is a French word for ‘leave taking’ or farewell. At Sacred Heart schools, the Congé is a holiday at school; students leave their studies and channel their energy to celebration and fun.[9] My mother recalls this event fondly, as I’m sure my great-grandmother and her sisters did.

In 1890, when Edith was eleven years old, Duchesne included 100 students, a faculty of eighteen “very efficient teachers,” plus thirteen staff employed in the care of domestic matters.[10] It is also the year that all students were required to take Latin, formerly an optional course. Duchesne’s comprehensive education, which lasted eight years, included the following subjects:

“Reading, penmanship, grammar, rhetoric, orthography, etymology, geography, United States history, ancient and modern history, universal literature, zoology, physics, botany, chemistry, geology, astronomy, mineralogy, logic, intellectual and moral philosophy, needlework, languages, drawing, painting, music, both vocal and instrumental, harp, piano, violin, guitar, and organ.”[11]

Sacred Heart Academy did not neglect “physical culture” and calisthenics; they too were part of the curriculum.

I found an advertisement that included the fees to attend Duchesne in 1885. The Omaha City Directory for 1885 listed the tuition and associated costs. Day pupils would have paid less than students who boarded. The tuition costs remained the same in 1889 advertisements.[12] Using an online inflation calculator, the $215/semester fee, per child, in 1890 would cost approximately $6,566.00 today.

“Terms payable in advance: Including board, washing, Tuition, and Instrumental Music, also French of five months, $150.00. Painting, $30, Drawing, $20, German $15, Vocal Music, $20.[13]

Religious education was a part of the Sacred Heart Education, but converting to Catholocism was optional. Only Jane converted and made her First Communion and Confirmation of the three sisters. Photos of Jane’s First Communion depict Jane and five classmates. In the center photograph, Jane is in the back row on the right.

Jane received a star-shaped medal, neatly preserved in the original jewelry box, that was awarded on Prize Day, an end-of-the-year celebration honoring achievements. Engraved on the top is “Sacred Heart Academy, June 23, ’96.” Jane’s nickname, “Jennie C. Orcutt, ” is inscribed across the middle.”

Curious about the manufacturer, I discovered that the W.J. Feeley Company, Jewelers, and Silversmiths, located in Chicago, made ecclesiastical wares and medals in gold, silver, and brass.[14]


All of the Orcutt sisters expressed an interest in music and art. Their mother, Anna, played the piano and occasionally gave lessons, including perhaps to her daughters. Edith probably chose to take painting classes, evidenced by her interest in art, which I wrote about in a previous blog. In addition, a newspaper article from 1893 indicates that she took vocal classes. During the commencement exercises for 1893, Edith sang and “distinguished herself as Miriam” in the original operetta “A Woodland Dream.”[15]

Anna Ri expressed an interest in music and vocal classes. She performed at the Sacred Heart commencement exercises in 1894, where she sang a solo cantata, “In the Glenn.” The paper described her voice as “well developed, which promises much in mature years.”[16] She also played the mandolin and performed during her final year of school at the 1898 commencement.

At the June 1896 commencement, eleven-year-old Jane presented the salutatory, “whose pleasing manner and expressive delivery charmed her audience.” Her older sister, Anna Ri, performed in a drama, “A Page from Roman History.” She displayed “much taste and a correct conception of the character.”[17]

The girls also took private singing lessons from a Canadian-born music teacher, Miss Margaret Boulter, as noted in a newspaper article from 1899.[18]


Many wealthy young women spent their final year of education, the “finishing” year, at a private school in the East, Midwest, or overseas. It prepared them to play their role in society. The three Orcutt sisters chose three different Academies for their final year. Edith decided to attend Maryville in St. Louis, Missouri. Anna Ri, who was more adventurous than her older sister, decided to venture farther away and went to Loretto Academy in Denver, Colorado. Perhaps family vacations in the Colorado mountains enticed her to continue her studies there. Finally, when Jane’s turn came, she traveled the farthest distance, over 1260 miles, to Kenwood Sacred Heart Academy in Albany, New York.

Surprisingly, only Jane completed her education and graduated from a Sacred Heart Academy. Edith and Anna Ri spent their final year away from home but chose not to undergo the more rigorous examinations necessary for graduation. In speaking with a Sacred Heart archivist, I learned this was not uncommon.


Postcard Academy of Sacred Heart, Maryville, postcard in author’s possession.

In September 1895, fifteen-year-old Edith traveled 415 miles by train to Maryville, Sacred Heart Academy, accompanied by her father, Clinton Orcutt. As a boarding student, she brought with her: black uniform dresses, six regular changes of linen, six table linens, six toilet towels, two pairs of blankets, three pairs of sheets, a pillow, three pillowcases, one white counterpane, a rug, or piece of carpeting, a goblet, two silver spoons, knife, fork, work-box, and dressing-case.[19] All of this could fit quite nicely in the travel trunk her father purchased from the Omaha Trunk company, which I wrote about previously.

Several newspaper articles provided details about Edith’s departure and her visits home over the holidays.

Where Will They Study – Already trunks are being packed, and our boys and girls who have helped to enliven and brighten the hot summer days, are beginning to think of leaving for their schools and colleges, which are about to reopen. After their summer’s rest and recreation, they will be more fit to encounter the struggles of the coming year. Quite a number have gone already, and others are taking their departures daily.”[20]

The Provincial Archivist for the Society of the Sacred Heart United States- Canada Province shared the registration book that listed Edith Orcutt as a student at Maryville from September 1895-June 1896. In addition, she included a copy of the Maryville school journal for that year with details of student life, plus a few photographs of the school.

The first journal entry for September 1895 noted the commencement of the school year and the student’s arrival. [21]

Maryville Sacred Heart Academy journal for 1895, Used with permission of the Society of the Sacred Heart, United-States-Canada
  • Sept 3rd Sixty-four pupils enter the first evening.
  • Sept 4th Fifteen pupils enter, including nine-day scholars.
  • Sept 8th Feast of the Nativity – Eighty-five pupils in the house.

Edith Orcutt’s name appears as #35 in the registration book. Some registers provide much more information, but unfortunately, for 1895, only the name and place are listed.

Maryville Sacred Heart Academy registration book 1895- Used with permission of the Society of the Sacred Heart, United-States-Canada

Most journal entries provide detailed accounts of various Feast days in the liturgical year and the girls’ participation in processions and religious events. Other entries noted the vacation and examination days. After one month of school, the students had their first break at the beginning of October for Fair Week. Edith, who developed a habit of early departures and late arrivals, left school early to attend a social function in Omaha. The society columns for the Omaha World-Herald on Friday, September 20, described Edith’s attendance at the first Ak-Sar-Ben Ball to be held in Omaha. (Ak-Sar-Ben is Nebraska spelled backward.)

Descriptions of the Gorgeous Costumes worn at the Ball. Miss Edith Orcutt, delicate pink moire silk, cream lace, and pearls.”[22] After nearly two weeks at home, the paper reported, “Mr. C.D. Orcutt and Miss Edith left yesterday [October 5] for St. Louis, where Miss Edith attends the Convent of Sacred Heart at Maryville.”[23]

Christmas vacation commenced at Maryville on December 21, 1895. Once again, Edith returned home early. The Omaha World-Herald listed her return to Omaha on December 20. She hastened home to attend a large and formal dancing party held in honor of her sister Anna Ri.

The Maryville Journal entry for January 2, 1896, stated: “Return from the Christmas vacation – a few are tardy.”[25] Yes, Edith was one of those tardy students; she remained home until January 14. “Miss Edith Orcutt left for St. Louis last evening (January 14), where she will continue her studies at the school of the Sacred Heart.”[26]

Maryville Sacred Heart Academy journal for 1896, Used with permission of the Sacred Heart, United States-Canada

Was Edith prepared for the French examinations held on January 22nd, 24th, and 25th, followed by the arithmetic and English examinations on the 27th? Perhaps not. A notation in the school journal stated, “With the exception of one class, all showed a marked improvement giving evidence of solid, serious work.”[27]

February brought the delight of a Sacred Heart tradition, the Congé, “a day for students to take leave of the rigors of their studies and their seriousness of purpose to bring forth and experience joy.”[28] Edith and her classmates celebrated the day by sharing the occasion with twenty little orphans from St. Mary’s Asylum. The chief feature of the day was a pretty play, “Elisha’s Burglar,” enacted in the afternoon.[29]

April 3, 1896, the Maryville students returned home briefly for their Easter vacation. Easter in 1896 fell on April 5; the students had to report back to school by April 7. Again, it seems that Edith may have stayed home longer than permitted. The Omaha Daily Bee noted in the “Friendly Gossip” column on Sunday, April 12, that “Miss Edith Orcutt has been spending the Easter holidays at home.”[30]

June brought the final examinations for the year from the 15th-17th with satisfactory results. A final program for the graduates held on June 18 included music by Mozart, an operetta, an essay, a polonaise, and the bestowal of graduating honors on six young women. Unfortunately, Edith was not on the list of names.

Maryville Sacred Heart Academy journal for 1896, Used with permission of the Sacred Heart, United States-Canada

Meanwhile back at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, the annual commencement exercises took place on June 20. Had Edith graduated then she might have experienced something similar.

“On entering the hall, a spectacle of bewildering beautymet the eye; a carpet of dainty shades of blue and gray, mingled with gold, covered the floor, while a profusion of palms and ferns and draperies of cream lace formed a pretty background to tthe groups of children in pure white dresses and ribbgons. The stage presented a garden scene opening out from a marble terrace, whose ascent was an embankment of trailing vines and potted plants. Marble urns of palms and and other tropical foliage ornamented the terrace here and there, while arched above, an entanglement of ferns, smilax, and white blossoms gave an exquisite finish. Admiring the artistic taste displayed in the decoration, especially in the scenery painting, where brooks, grasses, and trees seemed real, one felt a deep regret that many lovers of art were excluded from such a treat, as according to the established custom, the list of invitations is limited to the clergy.

The entertainment opened with the overture from Reinlike, which was given with a skill and brilliance that elecited well-deserved applause.

The second number of the program was a bright little operetta, which was exceptionally well-rendered; the voices were good, and the singing and acting showed a correctness that is only attained by long and thorough training. Miss Jennie Orcutt was charming as the little princess.”[31]

After Edith returned home in June 1896, she occupied herself with social engagements, travel, painting, and plans for her engagement and marriage to Alfred James Beaton.


Reproduced with the permission of the Loretto Heritage Center

At age sixteen, Anna Ri embarked on her “finishing” year at Loretto Heights in Denver, Colorado. Her father likely accompanied her on the train trip to Denver in September 1897. Unfortunately, researching Anna Ri and her education at Loretto Heights Academy did not yield as much information as I found for her sister Edith. However, three small news clippings mentioned Anna Ri’s trips to Denver.

The first, September 1897, noted that during the summer, “…the Misses Orcutt [resided in] Colorado Springs, COl.”[32] The second article, Sunday, January 9, 1898, stated that “Miss [Edith] Orcutt has returned from Denver, where she left her sister at school at Loretto Heights.”[33] And the third announced Anna Ri’s return from Loretto in June 1898. “Miss Anna Ri Orcutt is expected home next Friday from Loretto Heights academy at Denver.”[34]

Loretto Heights, Denver, Colorado. Reproduced with the permission of the Loretto Heritage Center

I contacted the Director of the Loretto Heritage Center for information and photographs. She gave me permission to include images of the school, making it easier to envision what Anna Ri saw when she attended the school.

Loretto Heights, Denver, Colorado. Reproduced with the permission of the Loretto Heritage Center

Located in southwest Denver, Loretto Heights Academy, a Catholic boarding school for girls operated by the Sisters of Loretto, opened in 1891. The Romanesque style main building is an imposing three-story red sandstone structure with a steeply pitched gabled roof. The central tower rises to a height of more than 160 feet.[35] The round arch at the base of the tower is of “intricately carved sandstone with the Loretto moto ‘FIDES, MORES, CULTURA’ [Faith, Moral Integrity, and Cultivation of Culture] inscribed in very large letters. The building included a gymnasium, two dining rooms, a kitchen in the basement, classrooms and a laboratory on the 1st floor, classrooms and administration on the 2nd floor, student dormitories on the 3rd floor, and individual nun and older students’ sleeping rooms and art rooms on the 4th floor.”[34]

Reproduced with the permission of the Loretto Heritage Center

In my search for articles about Loretto, I found one in the Denver Evening Post that listed Anna Ri as a student, but not a graduate. Six young ladies graduated from the Loretto Academy on June 22, 1898, and received their diplomas amid floral decorations, music, and patriotic exercises. In addition, the graduating class presented an original drama entitled the “Columbian Council,” which included interesting dialogues on current topics, all expressed in allegorical form. Musical performances by other students included classical piano pieces, vocals, guitars, and mandoline. Anna Ri, who played the mandolin, performed Il Trovatore by Verdi and received a “crown for literary merit” for her performance, as did many of the other performers.[37]

Denver Evening Post, June 22, 1898

After she completed her “finishing” year, Anna Ri returned home where she became involved in a swirl of social engagements along with her sisters for the next six months. When their mother, Anna Orcutt, died at age 56 from unknown causes on January 12, 1899, the girls entered a period of mourning. Edith age 19, Anna Ri age 17, and 14-year old Jane refrained from all social gatherings for at least six months. Edith took over running the household and mentoring her youngest sister. Jane continued her education at Duchesne, Sacred Heart Academy until she turned seventeen and then departed for her final year of study on the East coast.


Kenwood, Sacred Heart Academy, Albany, New York, 1903, the image in author’s possession.

On Friday, September 12,1902, Clinton Orcutt accompanied his youngest daughter, Jane, to Kenwood Sacred Heart Academy in Albany, New York. Their route probably took them to Chicago and then directly to New York aboard the Chicago and New York Express, all in the luxury of a Pullman car.

“Mr. Clinton D. Orcutt, accompanied by his daughter Miss Jennie, left on Friday for Albany, N.Y., where she will enter Sacred Heart Convent School, Kenwood.”[38]

Kenwood has a longer history than either Duchesne or Loretto. The Sisters of the Sacred Heart went to Albany in 1852. In 1859, the Female Academy of the Sacred Heart purchased 53 acres and the large Rathbone estate house and buildings. In 1867, they tore down the mansion and used the building materials to construct a Gothic-style chapel and school buildings.[3]

I contacted the Communications Coordinator for the Society of the Sacred Heart, United-States-Canada, and obtained permission to include photographs of Kenwood Academy. Likewise, the Editor for the Friends of Albany History website, Julie O’Connor, permitted me to use images from their website that depict the chapel, classrooms, and dormitories. I imagine that the dormitories at Maryville and Loretto might have been similar to those at Kenwood.

As with Anna Ri, I found just a few newspaper articles that provided information about Jane’s final year of study. The first one from the “Society” column in the Omaha Daily Bee provided information that Jane returned to Albany on Monday, January 5, 1903, after spending the Christmas holidays with her family.[40] A second notice on May 31, 1903, announced, “Miss [Anna Ri] Orcutt will leave this week for New York to attend the graduating exercises of Sacred Heart convent, Kenwood, Miss Jane Orcutt being a member of this class.”[41]

By June 28, Jane had returned home. “Miss Jane Orcutt has returned from the east, where she recently graduated.”[42] After her return, the new graduate filled her social calendar with activities: teas, picnics, theater dinners, dances, balls, picnics, sailing parties, horse shows, travel, and her formal debut into society in November 1903.


October 1903 was a special month for Edith and her sisters, aside from their regular social activities. At the end of the month, the alumnae of the Sacred Heart Academy in Omaha held their first annual meeting and elected officers. All former pupils who graduated or finished the first class received invitations. Fifty alumane accepted, including Edith and Jane. Anna Ri does not appear in any of the photographs, perhaps she had a more pressing social engagement.

Duchesne Alumnae 1903, reproduced with permission by Duchesne Archives.
Duchesne Alumnae 1903, reproduced with permission by Duchesne Archives.

The exercises began at 10:00 a.m. with a devotional service, followed by luncheon at noon and a business meeting. The school pupils provided entertainment in the afternoon. [43]

Duchesne Alumnae 1903, reproduced with permission by Duchesne Archives.
Jane Orcutt, Duchesne Alumnae 1903, reproduced with permission by Duchesne Archives.

I don’t know if the Orcutt sisters continued to attend the annual reunions. However, Jane did maintain her connection to the Sacred Heart Academy. In 1915 and 1916, she served as Vice-President of the Alumane Board.[44]


Inspired by her faith and experiences at Duchesne and Kenwood, Jane bequeathed $5000 (worth $92,000 today) to her niece, Anna Jane Beaton, my grandmother, and the only daughter of Edith Orcutt Beaton. Receipt of the inheritance was conditional upon Anna Jane attending a Sacred Heart Academy for seven years. Failure to comply would result in transferring the funds to the academy.[45]

Tragically, Jane, who wrote her will on June 11, 1915, died from an internal hemorrhage due to a tubal pregnancy on March 24, 1918. She left an estate valued at more than $150,000, valued today at $2,760,000.

Anna Jane, who began her studies at Duchesne in 1914 at age seven, completed her education at a Sacred Heart Academy, including four years of college. Like her Aunt Jane, Anna Jane attended a Sacred Heart Academy in New York for one year. She spent her sophomore year at Manhattanville and returned to Duchesne, graduating in 1925.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, my maternal family’s education at Duchesne lasted three generations; my great-grandmother Edith and her sisters, my grandmother Anna Jane, and my mother Jean. It has been rewarding to research and explore the Sacred Heart traditions.

© 2022 copyright – Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved


Genealogy Sketch

Name: [Marion Edith ORCUTT BEATON UTTENDORFER -1879-1964
Parents: Clinton Delos ORCUTT 1840-1905 and
Anna Dorcas DUTTON ORCUTT 1841-1891
Spouse: *Alfred James BEATON 1872-1916 and George Newell UTTENDORFER 1887-1972
Children: Anna Jane BEATON HYDE -1907-1998 and Orcutt Phillip BEATON 1900-1971
Relationship to Kendra: Great-Grandmother

  2. Anna Jane BEATON HYDE
  4. Kendra


  1. Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska,  August 6, 1890, online archives ( : accessed 15 December 2021)
  2. Tom Quest. (2017, August). Duchesne College & Academy: A Brief Look at the History of our Building.
  3. “Sacred Heart the Third Large Insitution Founded in the Northwestern Part of the City” Omaha Daily Herald Thursday, Nov 30, 1882 Omaha NE vol XVIII Issue 52, p 8,  online archives ( : accessed 1 December 2021).
  4. “Omaha, Nebraska, Directories, 1885, database, ( : accessed 2 June 2021), entry for Academy of the Sacred Heart), citing “Omaha, Nebraska, J.M. Wolfe, 1885), p. 6.
  5. Archives for the Sacred Heart, Duchesne, Omaha, Nebraska.
  6. “Development of the Studies,” Chapter Three, Kenwood Archives, Society of the Sacred Heart, United States-Canada Province,. p31.
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid, p34.
  9. “Our Heritage and Traditions.”, 15 Apr. 2021,
  10. “Dusting off the Desks Omaha’s School and Colleges Preparing to Reopen for Many Sutdents.” Omaha World Herald Tuesday, August 19,1890 Omaha, NE Vol XXV Issue 310 Page 8, online archives (https:// genealogy : accessed 10 December 2021.)
  11. “Educational – Sectarian Schools Catholic” Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska,  Thursday Jan 1, 1885 p. 5, online archives ( : accessed 28 November 2021.
  12. “Academy of the Sacred Heart,” Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, Tuesday, 3 Sept 1889, p.4, online archives, ( : accessed 10 November 2021.)
  13. “Omaha, Nebraska, Directories, 1885, database, ( : accessed 2 June 2021), entry for Academy of the Sacred Heart), citing “Omaha, Nebraska, J.M. Wolfe, 1885), page 6.
  14. The Stylus, Volume IX, Number 7,(Boston College,  April 1, 1896), accessed December 16, 2021,
  15. “Satolli was Present the Prelate attends the Exercises at the Sacred Heart” Omaha World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Wed Jun 21 1893 page 8m online archives ( : accessed 8 September 2021.)
  16. “Sacred Heart Academy” Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska,  Thursday June 21, 1894, p. 8, online archives, ( : accessed 10 October 2021.)
  17. “Sacred Heart Commencement” Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, 24 June 1896, p. 5, online archives, ( : accessed 5 July 2021).
  18. [1] “Musical” Omaha World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday Dec 18, 1899 Vol XXXV issue 71 p. 21, online archives, ( : accessed 5 December 2021.)
  19. Omaha, Nebraska,Directories, 1885, database, pg 5, ( : accessed 3 Sept 2021), entry for Academy of the Sacred Heart), citing Omaha, Nebraska,  J.M. Wolfe, Herald Printing, Binding and Electrotyping House.
  20. “Where They Will Study” Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday, September 15, 1895, p 5, online archives, ( : accessed 1 December 2021.
  21. Archives for Sacred Heart,  Maryville School Journal 1895-1896, Society of the Sacred Heart United States-Canada Province, St. Louis MO.
  22. “The Ladies Gowns” Omaha World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Friday Sept 20, 1895 Vol XXX Issue 353, p. 3, online archives: ( : accessed 8 November 2021.
  23. Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, 6 October 1895, p.4, online archives, ( : accessed 10 October 2021.)
  24. “From College. Omaha boys and Girls Return Home for the Holidays” Omaha World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Friday Dec 20, 1895 Vol XXXI Issue 81 pg 8, online archives, ( : accessed 7 November 2021.)
  25. Archives for Sacred Heart,  Maryville School Journal 1895-1896, Society of the Sacred Heart United States-Canada Province, St. Louis MO.
  26. Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, January 15, 1896,  p. 8 image 8, online archives, ( : accessed 8 September 2021.)
  27. Archives for Sacred Heart,  Maryville School Journal 1895-1896, Society of the Sacred Heart United States-Canada Province, St. Louis MO.
  28. Susan Tyree Dempft, Ph.D. (2018, February 8). A Sacred Heart Tradition Observed…Congé. : accessed 1 December 2021.
  29. Archives for Sacred Heart,  Maryville School Journal 1895-1896, Society of the Sacred Heart United States-Canada Province, St. Louis MO.
  30. “Friendly Gossip,”  Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday April 12, 1896 p. 5, online archives, ( : accessed 16 October, 2021.)
  31. “Sacred Heart Commencement,” The Omaha Evening Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, 20 Jun 1895 Pg 1, online archives, ( : accessed 10 October, 2021.)
  32. “Summer Addresses,” The Excelsior, Omaha, Nebraska,  11 Sep 1897 Saturday, p. 6, online archives, ( : accessed 11 December, 2021.)
  33. “Gossip,” Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday Jan 9, 1898 Vol XXXIII Issue 101, p. 12, online archives, ( : accessed 27 November 2021.)
  34. “Society,” Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska,  Sunday June 19, 1898 Vol XXXIII Issue 262 p. 12, online archives, ( : accessed 10 December 2021.)
  35. Loretto Heigths Academy, Denver County. : accessed 2 December 2021.
  36. Loretto Heights Academy and College 1891-1988 Inventory of Historic Resources and Survey Report,  March 2019,  Prepared by Square Moon Consultancs LLC, PDF download.
  37. “Six Young Ladies Graduate From Loretto Academy” The Denver Evening Post, Denver, Colorado, June 22, 1898 p. 10, online archives, ( : accessed 7 December 2021.)
  38. “Social Chit-Chat” Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday Sep 14,1902, p. 7, online archives, ( : accessed 4 December 2021.)
  39. Julie O’Connor, Kenwood and the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany (2018 April), accessed 5 November 2021.
  40. “Society” Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday Jan 4, 1903, p. 7, online archives, ( : accessed 20 November, 2021.)
  41. Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Nebraska, 31 May 1903, Sunday, page 6 , online archives, ( : accessed 5 December 2021.
  42. “Society” Omaha Daily Bee Sunday June 28, 1903 Omaha Nebraska, p. 7, online archives: ( : accessed 20 November 2021.)
  43. “Sacred Heart Alumnae” Omaha Daily News, Omaha, Nebraska, 19 Oct 1903 p. 1, online archives ( : accessed 20 November, 2021.)
  44. “Elect Officers of Sacred Heart Alumni” The Omaha Daily News, Omaha, Nebraska, Jun 21, 1915, p 12, online archives, ( : accessed 12 December 2021.)
  45. “Mrs. Keeline’s Will Filed; Estate More Than $150,000,” Omaha Daily Bee Mar 30 1918, p. 11, online archives, ( : accessed 3 December 2021.)

Posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , | 5 Comments