Erma Strouse and Her California Girls

January 11, 2018

I absolutely love this circa 1910 photo of my husband’s great-grandmother, Erma Strouse, posing with friends, Sarah Vaughn and Agnes Longmire, in their beach attire. Erma is the beauty in the middle (polka dots), probably about age 16 at the time. I can not imagine swimming in long stockings like they are wearing. The back of photo reads “Taken while at Hospital, Soldiers Home, Cal.”

about erma

Erma was born in Moab, Utah in 1894. Her father, William Strouse, was an adventurer and gold prospector in the Colorado River Valley. At age nine, Erma was sent to live with an aunt in California after her mother, Stella (Depler) Strouse, died unexpectedly from pneumonia.

Erma married Bert Demaris in 1911 and the couple had at least six children together. In 1916, the family relocated to Washington State when Bert opened a bakery near Spokane. Business must have been bad because in 1925 Bert left to look for work in California or Arizona. Soon after, Bert wrote to ask Erma for his belongings and was never heard from again. With so many mouths to feed, Erma took a job working in a Yakima orchard. In 1931 she married Glenn Rider and had two more sons, Richard and Francis. Erma died at the age of 66 in Grant County, Washington.

For sources and more details about Erma’s life and family, check out her profile on our Ancestry tree:


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    1. ~Would be fun to know what Karma was bestowed on Bert the blockhead!

      1. So true! One of my little projects is to try and find out where he disappeared to. 🙂

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