Sisters all grown up!

Frances and Helen Bowers in 1918

Frances and Helen Bowers

In my last post I wrote about two little girls who happened to be sisters.  Well here they are all grown up now.  Frances on left at 18 and Helen (my grandmother) on right at 20.  They appear to be in some kind of park.  I must say those are some outfits!  They sure look happy in this photo.  Like I said in previous post they were close and always together.   Just their names and 1918 was written on the back of the picture.  

Helen B, W. Prettie and Frances Bowers

Helen Bowers, John Walter Prettie, Frances Bowers.

Here they are together again.  Helen is on the left, W. Prettie in the center, and Frances on the right.  As you can see in this picture Frances is taller and overall bigger than Helen.  I don’t know who the soldier is to them.  I don’t know if he was a boyfriend of one or just a friend.  The writing on the back of the picture says, “H. Bowers, W. Prettie, and Franky Bowers Sun Dec. 7, 1919.”  It hit me when I saw the date that little did they know that 22 years later the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor on this day.  December 7, 1941 and it happened to be a Sunday too. 

I decided to search for W. Prettie and found a John W. Prettie on the 1920 census living at 2339 Racine Avenue in Chicago and the Bowers sisters are living at 2333 Racine Avenue.(1) As it turns out that they were neighbors and that is how they knew each other.  

“A Steamfitter by trade, John fought in France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force 1916-1918. He returned home to Chicago 1919. He was the son of John Adam Prettie and Mary Upton; his wife was Clara B. Jenkins (1900-?) whom I suspect is buried beside him.”(2)  John Walter Prettie was born 28 November 1898 in Canada.(3)  He passed away 20 February 1938 in Chicago and is buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in River Grove, Cook, Illinois. (4)  I am pretty sure that I have the same person as the W. Prettie in the picture.  He returned home in 1919, could this be his returning home picture?

I have looked at these photo’s many, many times but as I started scanning them and documenting them in the computer, I realized how much I missed before.  

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst



1. Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 24, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_335; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 1371>  Source Information: 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).

2. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave.


4. Ibid.


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