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“Come down and see my etchings…”A discovery on the Homestead basement floor



In the far reaches of the Homestead basement, a keen-eyed observer recently noticed a carved circle in which the following had been etched:

S T M

B C M

APRIL

1906


STM is of course, Stephen Tyng Mather. But BCM? That would be Bertha Carter Mather. (See blog “Dear Uncle Joe…) Bertha was the daughter of Henry Burritt Mather, a younger brother of Joseph Wakeman Mather, Stephen’s father.


For many years Bertha worked as business assistant and companion to Joseph Wakeman Mather. The 1890 census shows four people living at the Homestead: Joseph Wakeman Mather, head; Evelyn Smith, housekeeper; Bertha Mather, niece; John Tillman, servant.


When Joseph Wakeman Mather died in August 1905, he left the Home-stead to Stephen and Bertha equally.


We can assume that these co-owning cousins then inscribed their initials with the date in the following year. Stephen ultimately purchased Bertha’s share in the Homestead for $1300.

On February 9, 1909, at the age of 44, Bertha married Harry L. Harris. An entry in the Mather Guestbook shows that the Harrises’ visited in 1914. Bertha died in June 1926 at the age of 61; Harry died in 1932 at the age of 78. Both are buried in Wildwood Cemetery, Bartow, Florida.


Image below:

2. Bertha “Bertie” Carter Mather



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