I was lucky and uncovered a few obituaries. Maude Rider (Bessie's mother) had passed away in 1941. Her obituary in the Warren Tribune Chronicle stated that the family had moved from Lorain to Youngstown. It also revealed that Bessie and her sister Margaret had been living with their mother in Youngstown when she died.
I also found Bessie's sister Ada's obituary in the Lorain Journal. Interestingly, she had married a Sheffield Village farmer named Harry Root – thus connecting her with the well-known pioneering Root family. Ada passed away in 1977.
But I still hadn't found anything specifically about Bessie or her life.
Finally, while researching the Rider sons, I found a link to an online issue of The Village Pioneer. (The Village Pioneer is the Journal of the Sheffield Village Historical Society and Cultural Center). An article in the publication mentioned that four of the Rider sons had volunteered for service during World War I.
The article also made reference to an earlier issue of The Village Pioneer that mentioned the sons, and I excitedly looked for it online. When I found that issue (September 2011), I couldn't believe my eyes. An article – entitled "The Rider Family in Sheffield" – was all about Bessie's family!
|(Courtesy of Sheffield Village Historical Society)|
And why was there an article about the Riders in The Village Pioneer in the first place? Because Dr. Herdendorf was related to them! (I should have guessed this, because one of Ada Root's daughters had married a man with the last name of Herdendorf!) I contacted Dr. Herdendorf to share my research with him, and to see if he had any knowledge or memory of Bessie.
He did indeed, and was happy to share his recollections of her with me.
"Yes, I knew Aunt Bess quite well, she was actually a great aunt—my grandmother Ada's sister," he wrote. "Although my grandmother never got along with her younger sister too well, I liked Aunt Bess a lot. She was quite a photographer and did her own developing."
"When I was a pre-teen, she seemed to take a liking to me too, and taught me how to develop photos and eventually gave me all of her darkroom equipment. She lived in the Cleveland area, but I don't recall when she died. I think it might have been in the 1970s. She never married as far as I know or at least she wasn't married when I knew her. I was surprised to hear about the loss of an eye. I never knew it and it was never apparent.
"I do have a photo of her playing in the snow in front of the house where I now live," he noted. Here is the photo (below).