Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A History Teacher Through the Years

University of Washington,
This month, more than 100 years ago, a future history teacher was born. Thanks to the yearbook collection on Ancestry.com, I can see images of her through the years...and even her signature!

Grace Marguerite Wiester, my husband's 1st cousin two times removed, was born in Saltsburg, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1892. With her parents, Harry Lewis Wiester, Sr. and Fannie Belle Kirkendall, Grace moved to Washington state by the time she was 8 years old. The family was first in Spokane and then moved to their permanent town of Wenatchee in Chelan County. Grace's younger brother, Harry Jr., was born in Wenatchee but died when he was only 2 years old.

University of Washington,
From various articles on Newspapers.com, I learned a little bit about Grace's teenage years. In 1907, she performed at a piano recital at the Wenatchee Theatre. That same year, she was a pall bearer at a friend's funeral. In 1908, she picnicked at Lilly Lake (located 9 miles south of Wenatchee) with friends and a cousin from Spokane.

When she was 17, she traveled to Seattle with friends. And in 1910, she entered the freshman class of the University of Washington, which would put her on the path of becoming a high school history teacher.

Wenatchee High School,
In the 1920 census, she wasn't employed yet. But two years later, she was listed in a 1922 yearbook as a teacher at Wenatchee High School (with her surname spelled incorrectly as "Weister"). The school's 1921 yearbook isn't online, so it's possible that she may have started at the school a year earlier. In any event, it appears that she stayed at that high school for her entire career.

Wenatchee High School,

The 1940 census specifies that she was a history teacher. In 1957, she was still teaching at Wenatchee High School, which means that she was educating students there for at least 35 years!

Grace Marguerite Wiester died at the age of 83 on December 12, 1975, and was buried in Wenatchee's Home of Peace Mausoleum next to her parents and younger brother. Although she didn't have any of her own children, Grace touched the lives of many, many children who grew up in Wenatchee, Washington.


  1. A beautiful tribute! I was able to find one of my grandmothers in a yearbook on Ancestry. What a treasure!

    1. You are so right--it's definitely a treasure! Finding a photo is thrilling, so I was especially excited to see multiple images showing Grace as she aged. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Dana!


Do you have a genealogy problem or need guidance on where to search next? Send me a message if you'd like me to help!