Meyer, Maude Smith | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Maude Smith grew up in Wolf Lake, Illinois, a small town in Union County near the Mississippi River. Little is known about the early years of Maudeâ€™s life; after completing the eighth grade she won a four-year scholarship to any Illinois state university, but it is uncertain whether she ever attended college or received a degree. Her correspondence with William Meyer does provide some facts: she had a Carbondale campus mailing address in 1910, and she and Will were married between 1910 and 1911.
Will Meyerâ€™s connection to Maude most likely grew out of his association with silica mining in southern Illinois. As an employee of John Lawrie and Sons, he traveled between their Chicago office and other Midwestern cities, often stopping at the silica mine in Wolf Lake. The envelope accompanying his October 28, 1913 letter is from the Meyer Silica Company of Wolf Lake, suggesting that he had a proprietary interest in the areaâ€™s mining activities. Although he and Maude established their residence in Pomona, Illinois, Will continued to travel, often having Maude join him in Chicago to visit with his family.