Beardstown’s Bachelor Maids

Beardstown, like many cities, was home to a Bachelor Maids club. These groups were formed by young women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The organization was one of the many social clubs that used to exist in Beardstown, and was sometimes referred to in the local newspapers as the W. B. B. M. (Women of Beardstown Bachelor Maids?). Club members were assessed fines ranging from one-cent to twenty-five dollars for numerous infractions, such as talking to a young man or getting married – the ultimate offense. This photo of the Beardstown group appeared on page 30 of the January 8th, 1899 edtion of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Those pictured are: Mayme Speaker, Mabel Miller, Mae Knight, Maud Morrow, Irene Shaw, Anna Smith, Alice Schweer, Edith Smith, Harriet Hocking, and Tillie Hendricker. All of the members except one, Ms. Speaker, would have paid the maximum fine. I could not find any reliable information about Ms. Shaw. From the photo caption:
The membership is now only 10. Miss Bernice Spring died and E. T. Hunter, J. T. Carpenter and A. F. Hogener captured three of the others.
Edward T. Hunter, postmaster of Bluff Springs, married Mayme Hendricker, Tillie’s sister, in October of 1897. Mayme Smith, sister of Edith and Anna, wed Jesse L. Carpenter in March of the same year. On September 16th, also in 1897, Albert Hagener and Suzanna Young were married at Ms. Young’s parents’ home in Grafton, Illinois.