A search of some newspaper archives sheds new light on the years immediately before and after Lydia’s marriage to Dick Parr.
Here’s a short note from the January 11, 1918 edition of the Laramie Boomerang:
Lydia Novak is a visitor in the city for the day from Walden.
This means that that Lydia left Nebraska a couple of years earlier than I thought. She may have moved to Walden in 1917 or even earlier.
I happened to pass through Walden this week on my way to a water conference in Steamboat Springs. I’m now thinking these three photos that I shared last time were not taken in Weston, Nebraska but more likely in Walden, Colorado. I believe Lydia is wearing her maid’s uniform in a couple of the photos, and then the heavy winter wear that she would have needed during the harsh mountain winters there. I’m noticing some rough log structures in the background of the photo – buildings you’d find in mountain country.
Images of Lydia Novak sometime before 1920 (click to enlarge)
So we can place Lydia in Laramie, Wyoming and Walden, Colorado in January 1918. Meanwhile, we can also place her future husband Dick Parr in Fort Collins, Colorado and Encampment, Wyoming in July 1918. This article tells about him being called up in World War I and visiting home before being deployed.
Dick’s draft card is available on Ancestry, but I can’t find any further record of his military service.
So what else do we know about Dick Parr?
From what I can glean from (unverified) sources on Ancestry, Dick was the son of James and Ann (Ainscough) Parr, who were immigrants from England. It’s likely that James worked in the mines in Encampment. Dale and I spent a weekend in Saratoga, Wyoming last summer and we spent one afternoon in Encampment at their delightful outdoor museum and now I’m anxious to return with an eye toward what the life of the Parr family would have been like at the turn of the last century.
Dick had lots of siblings but only a few made it to adulthood. For example, three of his brothers died during a typhoid outbreak in 1907. His father died in 1902, and another brother died in France as a soldier in World War I. Dick left home as a teenager and got work as a farm hand in Weld County, Colorado (where I live now!).
A family tree on Ancestry created by a descendant of one of Dick’s siblings has two photos of Dick. One is a childhood photo, and the other photo is Dick with a woman who is NOT Lydia.
I’m sure there’s a story here but I have no idea what it might be. (Or…has someone misidentified a photo?)
In any event, Dick and Lydia find each other somewhere in their travels between Walden, Encampment, and Laramie and were married in Walden in August, 1921.
We find evidence that they were still living in Walden for at least a few months after that. In January, 1922, Dick is mentioned as being a caretaker of an oil company property east of Walden:
And the following month, we find a rare mention of Lydia – she is in Laramie and is traveling by train to Denver!
I wonder what kind of adventure took Lydia to Denver in the cold of winter in 1922?
Next time, we’ll follow Dick and Lydia back to his childhood home of Encampment, Wyoming.
p.s. Here are links to all the installments in this story line: