Newspapers are such wonderful resources, even more so when they have been digitized. They often contain important glimpses into ancestors’ lives that might not be available in any other resources. In the society sections of The Tennessean, a Nashville newspaper, my 2x great grandparents, Nathaniel L. Althauser and Martha (Sears) Althauser appear fairly regularly between the years of 1906 and 1919. The society columns reported when they were visiting relatives or when relatives were visiting them. I have very little information about the everyday lives of Nathaniel and Martha, so these little glimpses in the newspaper give me some insight into their personalities and relationships with their families.
Nathaniel and Martha traveled quite a bit in that 13 year period according to the newspaper, and they probably traveled more than even was reported. The majority of the traveling was between Martha and Nathaniel’s home in Nashville to Pegram Station and to Greenbrier. Martha Althauser was born Martha Sears to Edward Green Sears and Isabella (Kellam) in Pegram Station in 1879. The Sears owned a large farm in Pegram and a beautiful old home with large windows and a porch.
In 1903, Martha married Nathaniel Lyons Althauser in Nashville. Nathaniel was the oldest living son of William Althauser and Mary Frances (Swift) Althauser of Greenbrier, Tennessee. Nathaniel attended Vanderbilt University and by 1906 was the superintendent of the West Station Post Office in Nashville.
Both Nathaniel and Martha were close to their families, so while they lived in Nashville, they often traveled back to Pegram Station and Greenbrier to visit their parents. Sometimes Nathaniel and Martha went together, and sometimes Martha and their daughters Martha and Frances would travel without him. Nathaniel, Martha, and their daughters visited around birthdays and holidays. Other trips were just for pleasure and socializing. Some of these trips lasted just for a day, and sometimes for as long as a month. The Althausers also hosted their relatives at their home in Nashville.
The following excerpts are from the newspaper, giving some details about their travels:
21 April 1906 Miss Willie Sears and Edward Sears, of Pegram Station, are visiting their sister, Mrs. W. D. (N. L. misprint) Althauser on Alabama avenue.
11 May 1906 Mrs N. L. Althauser and little daughter, Martha, have returned from Greenbrier.
25 May 1906 Mrs. N. L. Althauser has returned from Pegram Station.
10 June 1906 Mrs. E. G. Sears, of Pegram Station, is visiting her daughter, Mrs. N. L. Althauser, on Alabama avenue.
13 June 1906 Mrs. E. G. Sears left Tuesday for her home at Pegram Station after a visit to her daughter, Mrs. N. L. Althauser.
1 March 1907 Mrs. N. L. Althauser and little daughter, Martha, are visiting relatves at Pegram Station.
6 March 1907 Mrs. N. L. Althauser and little daughter, Martha, have returned from a visit to Pegram Station.
20 March 1907 Miss Willie Sears has returned to Pegram Station, after visiting her sister, Mrs. N. L. Althauser.
1 May 1907 N. L. Althauser has returned from Sumner County. Edwin Sears, of Pegram Station, was the guest of his sister, Mrs. N. L. Althauser, last week.
24 May 1907 Mrs. Willie Sears is the guest of Mrs. N. L. Althauser.
13 October 1907 Mrs. E. G. Sears, of Pegram Station, is visiting her daughter, Mrs. N. L. Althauser.
23 October 1907 Miss Martha Althauser is visiting relatives at Pegram Station.
11 December 1907 Miss Willie Sears, who has been the guest of Mrs. N. L. Althauser, has returned to Pegram Station. Little Miss Martha Althauser accompanied her home for a visit.
29 December 1907 Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Althauser and little daughter, Martha, went to Greenbrier Saturday to visit relatives.
15 Jan 1908 Miss Lucille Lyles has returned to Pegram Station, after visiting her aunt, Mrs. N. L. Althauser.
29 March 1908 Miss Lucille Lyles has returned to Pegram Station after visiting her aunt, Mrs. N. L. Althauser, in Sylvan Park.
25 October 1908 Miss Martha Althauser has returned from Pegram Station.
16 December 1908 Mr. and Mrs. Althauser and Miss Martha Althauser have returned from a two-weeks’ visit to relatives at Pegram Station.
30 August 1912 Mrs. N. L. Althauser is visiting in Pegram Station.
28 December 1913 Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Althauser and children are spending the week-end at Pegram’s Station.
18 October 1914 Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Althauser and children are spending the week-end with relatives at Pegram’s Station.
29 November 1914 Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Althauser and children spent Thanksgiving with relatives at Pegram’s Station.
30 April 1916 Miss Willie Sears of Pegram is the guest of her sister, Mrs. N. L. Althauser.
21 May 1916 Mrs. N. L. Althauser and children are guests of Mrs. Sears at Pegram for a few days.
4 June 1916 Mrs. N. L. Althauser and children have returned from visiting Mrs. Althauser’s mother, Mrs. Sears.
18 June 1916 Miss Lucile Lyles of Pegram Station is visiting her aunt, Mrs. N. L. Althauser.
20 August 1916 Mrs. N. L. Althauser and Miss Frances and Martha Althauser have returned from Pegram Station where they spent a month with Mr. E. G. Sears.
3 September 1916 Mrs. N. L. Althauser and daughters, Frances and Martha, have gone to Greenbrier to visit relatives.
29 July 1917 Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Althauser and two daughters, Martha and Frances, have returned to Nashville, after spending two weeks with Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Sears.
5 January 1918 Mrs. N. L. Aulhouser and two daughters, Martha and Francis, of Nashville, are with Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Sears.
17 March 1918 Miss Francis Althauser of Nashville spent sunday with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Sears.
30 June 1918 Mrs. N. L. Aulhouser and daughters, Martha and Frances, of Nashville, are the guests of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Sears.
25 August 1918 Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Althauser and two little daughters of Nashville are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Sears.
5 January 1919 Mrs. N. L. Althauser and two daughters, Martha and Francis, of Nashville, are with Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Sears.
After 1919, their travels were no longer recorded in the newspaper as the inclusion of small affairs like these were gradually replaced by more attention grabbing social events. Also, in 1922, Edward G. Sears died followed by Isabella Sears in 1928. By 1918, William Althauser had moved to Nashville to be closer to his children; he died in 1922. The Althausers still visited their Sears relatives in Pegram, especially as Martha inherited part of the farm, though perhaps not as frequently when her parents were alive. William Althauser was the only member of the Althauser family still living in Greenbrier by 1917, so when he moved to Nashville, there was no reason for them to visit that small town.
Very often with ancestors, I have found that I know a lot of details about major events in their lives, but much less about their everyday lives, personal habits, and relationships with each other. I still don’t know many personal details from these traveling habits, but they do seem to suggest that Nathaniel and Martha were close with their parents, and that they encouraged their children to be so as well.