Vida Beougher, Tallman Teacher, early 1920s

I debated about posting this photo, first because the photo itself is a bit of a mess, as you can see, and second because it has only a tenuous connection to our family history. But it provides an opportunity to relate a family anecdote and also appreciate a hard-working teacher. According to Mom’s “adult” caption in her photo album, this is “Vida Boegher.” According to Mom’s “teen” caption, this is “Dear Teacher”.

Census data and other records indicate Vida’s name was actually spelled “Beougher.” Considering Mom added the name to the album years later, and she was not naturally a good speller, she actually got pretty close. I don’t have any information about how Vida pronounced her name, possibly something like “Bower.”

During a period in the early 1920s Vida Beougher served as a teacher at Tallman School. According to Mom’s recollection, she had a tough assignment:

Later the school population grew to forty-six, too many for one teacher. The last teacher who had that many students was Vida Bougher [sic]. She lived at the house at the foot of the Bryant Park bridge. From there she would walk to the depot in Albany [a bit under a mile], take the train to Tallman, then walk another mile to the school. She did all the janitor work and taught more than forty kids in all grades in one room. In real bad weather she would stay at our house for a few days. We kids thought that was great because she would even play games with us in the evening.

Speaking of games, the McClains were fond of the card game “Rook.” (It is somewhat similar to Pinochle, but played with a special card deck.) If I am remembering the story correctly, Aunt Betty and Miss Beougher were often partners when they played (perhaps Mom and Uncle Barney were the other partners in the foursome). Aunt Betty would have been barely old enough to grasp the details of the game. If she and Miss Beougher went “set” on a hand (meaning they did not make their bid), Aunt Betty would complain, “Teacher bidded too high!” (Perhaps you would have to be familiar with Rook or a similar game, and with Aunt Betty, to fully appreciate the humor in this.)

Vida Beougher has an interesting story in her own right. She was born in Kansas in 1895, the third of twelve children of D.W. and Frances Beougher. In 1913 or 1914, the family moved to rural Linn County, near Sweet Home. In 1916 D.W. was killed in a logging accident.

In 1920, according to census data, Vida was living at home and teaching, helping support the family (one assumes). Of the other siblings still living at home, her oldest brother Francis (26) was working as a mechanic and her younger brother Daniel (15) was doing farm work. Everyone else was in school.

Based on Mom’s recollection, shortly after this she evidently moved to Albany (alone, or maybe with some siblings) and got the job at Tallman.

In 1928 Frances Beougher moved her family to the Bend area. When she passed away in 1935 ten of her eleven living children resided between Bend and Sisters (the other resided in Albany).

Frances was a teacher in Kansas, and she apparently passed on her interest in teaching. In 1930 four of her daughters were working as teachers: Vida, Mary and Helen in the Bend area, and Ethel in Toledo. In 1935 Ethel and Vida were still teaching, both in Bend.

I have not been able to trace Vida’s life after 1935. Her remains were interred in a Portland mausoleum in 1965, so perhaps she was living in the Portland area. Her oldest brother Francis died in 1973 and is interred at the same mausoleum. Perhaps she was living with him. Vida was interred under the name “Beougher” so it seems likely she never married.

Based on the evident positive impact she had as a teacher on Mom during her “middle school years” (as they would be called now), one hopes Vida continued teaching for many years after our last glimpse of her in 1935.

4 thoughts on “Vida Beougher, Tallman Teacher, early 1920s”

  1. Thank you, Lloyd!!! All this is new information to me. Wow!!! It is strange to me that I was never curious about Mamma’s schooling.

  2. Yes Donna! Strange that we (I) was not curious about a lot of things that I would now find interesting!
    Teaching 46 kids in all grades would have been a daunting task in itself then her travel and janitor duties added on….she must have been an amazing young lady!

  3. Art has a more specific and detailed memory of the Rook story which he related to me recently. I debated even as I was originally writing this post whether it was Mom or Aunt Betty (or both) I had heard this story from, and which of them was the subject of the story. It appears that I got it wrong.

    According to Art, this lament of “teacher bidded too high” was uttered by Mom (not Aunt Betty), and on one specific occasion. They had been playing Rook and evidently Mom and Miss Beougher were partners. They lost the game, at which point it was Mom’s bedtime. Mom was angry about losing (and perhaps angry about having to go to bed as well) and so stomped loudly up the stairs to her bedroom, complaining so all could hear, “Teacher bidded too high!”

    If Art has it right (and I really think he does), it is an interesting story beyond the immediate humor of the lament. As an adult Mom was exceptionally even-tempered, rarely even raising her voice (at least in my experience). So the image of her early adolescent self stomping up the stairs and complaining loudly about a Rook game creates quite the cognitive dissonance.

  4. Interesting! I was looking for family (Beougher) pictures on Google and there was Aunt Vida, a picture I’ve not seen before. I read the comments, and you nailed it! I’ll try to fill in some gaps, but I grew up in South America so would only see her every 4 years or so.

    After 1935 (but probably before 1940) she moved to Oswego (now Lake Oswego) near Portland and continued teaching. We’re thinking that she retired around 1960, and died in a vehicle accident in 1965. My sister and a cousin visited her in 1965 and she was very happy working on her art and pottery. I still have a cup and saucer that I made with her in 1956.

    You are right, Vida never married. Her brother Francis (Uncle Bud to us) shared the house with her in Oswego, but after her death moved back to Bend.

    Our side of the family (the Oregon side) pronounced the name Boo-Her. The Ohio and Kansas side pronounce it Boo-Ker. They are probably more correct, John Henry Bucher was born in Pennsylvania in 1747. He had 6 children. The first 5 spelled in Bucher, but the 6th is shown as Benjamin Beougher. He would be Vída’s great grandfather and my great-great.

    Kansas. In 1886, my grandfather D.W. (Daniel Webster Beougher) and his cousin Joel Beougher walked from Ohio and homesteaded side by side parcels in Gove County. Daniel met and married Frances Hannaford. They lived in a sod hut on the prairie. They built a 2 story stone house when Uncle Dan was a baby in 1904/1905. I have a picture of the family (D.W., Frances, Francis, Ethel, Vida, Elizabeth, Mary, and baby Dan) standing in front of the new stone house. The sod house is visible in the picture. I have another picture around the same time showing DW, Frances, Ethel, Francis, Lloyd, Mary, Elizabeth, Vida, and baby Dan standing in the wind in a field.

    When Daniel and family (12 children born in Kansas, 1 died in infancy) moved to Oregon in 1914, cousin Joel’s family stayed in Kansas. My sisters and I went to a family reunion in Gove several years ago, met many of them, and drove around looking at history. It was amazing in a way, being where my dad was born (Orion, population 1) and trying to imagine what life would have been like back then – those people were tough!

    Oregon was rough on the family after DW died in 1916, but they all pulled together and helped their mom as much as they could.
    So there are some of my memories of your Dear Teacher. My Dear Aunt. We loved her very much.

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