Showing posts with label Sepia Saturday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sepia Saturday. Show all posts

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sepia Saturday: Postcard Leads to Two Shocking Discoveries

For this week's Sepia Saturday, I began by scanning one of the few postcards I have from Dorothy Louise Baker (1897-1981), to her first cousin, Wallis W. Wood (hubby's great uncle).

The year was 1912, and Dorothy was living with her parents (Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter and James Sills Baker) and her younger sister (Edith Eleanor Baker) in Toledo. 

Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter and her four siblings were born in London, and I went to my online tree to do a quick search on her name.

I found something quite shocking. Adelaide and all of her siblings had been admitted to Bromley House--a workhouse--for several nights in May, 1874.

This is the kind of sad place for the poor where, a few lines above the Slatter siblings in this same ledger, a 50-year-old laborer admitted for a few nights was found dead in his bed. Bromley House added to its defenses, according to records, to prevent "inmates" from escaping. Not the sort of place you'd want two little girls, ages 7 and 5, to stay for a few nights.


After catching my breath, I went back to my other research about the Slatter family living in a terribly poverty-stricken part of London, Tower Hamlets in Whitechapel.

I knew the three boys had been sent to a military training ship on the Thames in 1875 and were lucky to escape a devastating fire. All three brothers went on to serve with distinction in the military, with Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) becoming a renowned band leader based in Toronto.

But until now, I didn't know all five siblings had been bundled off to Bromley House, the workhouse. According to the admission and discharge book, they were sent by the matron of the Forest Gate School.

Why?

Well, I had a guess. I've never been able to find the death date of the mother of these children, Mary Shehen Slatter. Born in 1840, I thought Mary died before 1888, the year when her husband left London forever and came to America.


But maybe I was wrong. This was my second shock. Above, part of a ledger from "UK Lunacy Patients Admission Registers" for the year 1877. A Mary Slatter was admitted to Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum (later called Banstead Asylum) on September 28. This Mary died on April 19, 1889. According to the death index, this Mary was 52 years old.


So if Mary Slatter wasn't able to care for her children from 1874 on, it makes sense that they could be shuttled from school to workhouse to training ship (the boys).

Yet John Slatter sailed off to America and by 1893, was living in Cleveland along with a wife, Louisa (I've never been able to locate a marriage record for these two, so perhaps she was a "wife"). So did he leave a wife in the asylum and start a new life to forget the misery of the old one?

More research is in my future to determine whether the Mary in the asylum was, in fact, my husband's great-grandma.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sepia Saturday: The Mysterious "Grandma" in Cleveland

On Sepia Saturday, I'm posting this colorful 1905 holiday postcard, another in the series sent to my husband's uncle (Wallis Walter Wood, 1905-1957) in Cleveland, Ohio, during the early 1900s. This card isn't just beautiful, it's informative and mysterious.


Informative because it provides yet another address for my hubby's grandparents, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) and Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). I believe 7203 Duluth Street in Cleveland was the site of a home built by James, one of many he constructed "on spec" and then sold, moving on to build another house nearby.

Mysterious because the front has the greeting From "Grandma" and yet Wallis had no living grandparents at that point. So who was Grandma?

One clue: This pretty postcard was dropped into a mailbox early on the morning of Christmas Eve, as the postmark shows. None of Wallis's aunts (by blood or marriage) lived in the area, so they couldn't have sent this.

Another clue: Wallis's name is spelled correctly. That means his Aunt Rachel "Nellie" Wood Kirby (1864-1954) didn't send it. She never spelled his name correctly, in a decade or more of mailing him cards for every holiday, and this isn't her handwriting.

So my guess is this Sepia Saturday postcard was from an old family friend living nearby, or a close friend from church, or a more distant (older) relative who doted on toddler Wallis.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sepia Saturday: Margaret Larimer McClure and Family


This is the only photo I have of my husband's great-great-grandma Margaret Jane Larimer McClure (1859-1913). She's shown on the right in this photo.

At left in the photo is Margaret's younger daughter, Lucille Ethel Larimer Develde (1880-1926). In the middle, between the two fashionably dressed ladies, is Lucy's husband, Edward Everett De Velde (1874-1947).

Since Lucy and Edward were married in June, 1905, this photo was most likely taken between 1905 and 1913, when Margaret died. Margaret was ill on and off for three years before her death, so I suspect this photo was actually taken between 1905 and 1910.

Location of the photo is unknown. But I know, from the 1910 Census, that Lucy and Edward were living in Chicago, where he was a plumber working on new buildings.

Margaret had been widowed in 1887, when her husband William Madison McClure died. So perhaps Margaret traveled to the Chicago area to see her daughter and son-in-law? Or maybe they vacationed together somewhere between Chicago and Wabash (where Margaret lived)?