Tag Archives: Beavertown

Wilmer Kearns out to win Edna in Episode #6, a program at Suffrage Wagon Cafe

Wilmer Kearns, Storyteller




Episode #6: Wilmer Kearns tries to win over Edna with his storytelling. “Spirit of 1776.” on Vimeo.

By Marguerite Kearns

Welcome to Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Wilmer Kearns (my grandftaher) is complicating the story, as Edna’s best friend Bess points out. Wilmer’s determined to wear down Edna’s resolve not to marry because of the few rights young women possess at the turn of the 20th century. Bess has been reading Mary Wollstonecraft and other controversial women writers. She’s even paid a price for doing this after her parents found the Mary Wollstonecraft books hidden under her mattress in her bedroom at home.


Wilmer Kearns is a fresh upstart from Beavertown, PA where he grew up playing musical instruments with his family. Enjoy these images of Wilmer as a young man from the Kearns family photo collection. Episode #6 highlights one of Wilmer’s tactics. His determination to wear down Edna’s resolve to avoid marriage is fueled by his storytelling. This has worked so far while they’ve been meeting in secret at the Market Street teahouse. But the narrative becomes even more complicated after Edna’s parents find out about the couple seeing each other weeks after their first meeting at the Pompeii restoration exhibit.


Wilmer Kearns left his hometown at age 16 and moved to Philadelphia where he enrolled in business college. That’s when he met Edna at the Pompeii exhibit in 1903. Bess warned Edna to be careful about falling in love. Bess is committed to remaining single, and she wastes no time in sharing books with radical ideas about equality with all her friends. Edna seeks a middle ground, but it’s not clear yet if Wilmer Kearns has what it takes to win Edna’s heart.

Edna and Wilmer meetEpisode #1. Bess gets in trouble.

Episode #2. Now Bess is in even more trouble.

Episode #3. Wilmer Kearns enters the story.

Episode #4: Mary Wollstonecraft’s books gets Bess in more hot water.

Episode #5: Bess and Edna argue about decisions they must make.

Episode #6: Our special feature here at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

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Kearns Family Members Got Together over the Holidays: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's Musings

It’s always fun to stumble on a family connection. It’s one thing to know that my Kearns relatives are still based in Beavertown, PA where my grandfather Wilmer Kearns was born. And it’s even more exciting to know the extent of their ties and how they spent the holidays visiting, either in the NYC area or Beavertown, PA

I found a social notice of Max and Peg Kearns (Wilmer’s brother and sister in law) visiting Wilmer and Edna Kearns in 1917 in the South Side Observer of Long Island, December 30, 1917. “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Maxwell Kearns, of Pennsylvania, are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer Kearns for several weeks.”

I’m busy documenting how Wilmer Kearns served as treasurer of Kearns Motor Car Company, the family business,  when he and Edna lived in New York City. And Lulu Kearns, Wilmer’s sister, played an important part of suffrage organizing with my grandmother Edna Kearns in 1913.

A holiday video greeting.

Another opportunity to celebrate the holidays with the Suffrage Wagon on Vimeo.

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