Century-old Valentine seeks its JP home

May 27, 2011
By

Photo by Sarah Swain and Lyndon Berry. The back of the card shows a 1-cent stamp and a 1912 postmark from “Jamaica Plain Station.”

“To my Fair Valentine,” reads the unsigned post card mailed in Jamaica Plain on Valentine’s Day, 1912. Addressed to a “Miss E. Lockwood” of 60 Glen Road, it has turned up almost a century later at a flea market in Chesterfield, England. 

Long-lost love stirred the interest of Sarah Swain and Lyndon Berry of Nottinghamshire, England, who found the Valentine while digging through post cards at what is known as a “car boot sale.” The only U.S. card in the lot, it is decorated with an image of a child feeding pigeons, and its 1-cent postage stamp bears the cancellation mark of the “Jamaica Plain Station.”

Swain contacted the Gazette “to see if there are any family members or anyone who may be interested in this post card. We would love to see it go back to its original destination and would love if family members were able to receive it.”

“We are not asking money for the card. We just like the idea of it being returned home,” she said.

The mysterious Miss Lockwood and her secret admirer seemed the stuff of romance. But a Gazette investigation through Boston Globe and Jamaica Plain Historical Society archives, as well as old social registers on Google Books, found some surprises.

Photo by Sarah Swain and Lyndon Berry. The front of the card.

Elizabeth “Liz” Lockwood, the Valentine’s intended recipient, was all of 6 years old at the time—which explains the child-friendly design. A parent likely sent the card. Lockwood, whose life led her West, died in Arizona almost 40 years ago. 

The Valentine’s Parkside address of 60 Glen Road no longer exists. But it appears that the Lockwood house still does, now converted into condos and renumbered as 11 Rocky Nook Terrace.

The house was home to Hamilton de Forest Lockwood, a Harvard grad and cotton merchant, and Maria (Wheelwright) Lockwood, whose family owned land in the area. The couple married in 1900 and had three children.

Elizabeth, the middle child, was born Nov. 8, 1905. Her siblings were Hamilton Jr., born 1903, and Rosamond, born 1913.

Elizabeth presumably had more Valentines in her life, as she found love with husband W.S. “Sky” Thurber. They visited an Arizona ranch in 1948 and decided to stay, settling in Wickenburg. The couple owned a store where Elizabeth designed dresses and costumes.

Elizabeth died in Phoenix in April 1973. Sky Thurber followed her in death in 1982. All of that information comes from Findagrave.com, a memorial website that includes a photo of the couple’s headstone in Wickenburg. The information was collected from public sources by Sharon Reinhardt, a researcher who says she has no connection to the family.

Elizabeth’s older sibling, Hamilton Jr., died in 1996 with no immediate survivors, according to an obituary. The Gazette was unable to locate sister Rosamond.

Anyone with information about the family that might send Elizabeth’s Valentine to a good home can contact Swain and Berry at lyndonberryfitness@yahoo.co.uk, or the Gazette at news@jamaicaplaingazette.com.


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