Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label RICHARDSON Adelaide H. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RICHARDSON Adelaide H. Show all posts

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Remember the women!"

"Remember the women!" is the famous quote of Abigail Adams to her husband John when he was off setting up the new government for the country.    I don't have any women ancestors who were writing the constitution (there weren't any), but it important for us to "remember the women" in our own family -- even if this is a different interpretation of her phrase!  So today's post is about my mother's grandmother, Martha Elnora Worthington Richardson, a.k.a. Nora, a.k.a. Mattie.  My mother had fond memories of living first upstairs from, and then next door to, her grandparents.

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Martha Elnora WORTHINGTON was born in Chicago, 17 November 1865, daughter of Robert Searing WORTHINGTON (1830-1903) and Elnora Esther COBB (1839-1923). Her father Robert Worthington had come to Chicago in 1855 from the family farm in Wisconsin and taken a job as a clerk.  Her mother Elnora Cobb had come from Madison, New York with her parents either late in 1851 or early in 1852.  They married 12 February 1861 and had one child, Mattie.

Her father kept a scrapbook starting in 1865 (see the young man and the President, for an example).  Here is the back cover of his first volume.  The top article is from 5 August 1870 and the ad below is dated "4 Aug 1870."  I suspect these events, which I have transcribed, are linked.


LOST AND FOUND.
LOST -- LAST EVENING, FROM MY BUGGY,
near Union Park Congregational Church, an envel-
ope containing papers and currency.  The finder will
be rewarded by leaving the same at 574 Washington-st,
or at the office of Gibson, Chase & Co., 88 Market-st.
R.S.WORTHINGTON.
[hand written date of Aug. 6 1870]

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 1870,
  A little daughter of Robert S. Worth-
inton, Esq., had a providential escape
from death, on Wednesday evening. Mr.
W. was unhitching the horse before his
residence, No. 574 West Washington
street his daughter begin in the carriage,
when the animal ran away.  In turning a
corner the little girl was thrown out of the
vehicle upon a pile of stones, and but for a 
cushion falling under her, which was liter-
ally cut to pieces, she must have been
killed.  She received but a couple of
slight wounds on the head.


No seat-belts and child "car"seats in 1870!  It was fortuitous, our little Mattie survived her run-away-horse-wagon ride.

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After the Chicago Fire, Mattie's parents decided to build a home out in "the country" at the end of the train line in Oak Park.  There she met Harry Bogart Richardson who had come to Chicago from Belleville, Ontario with his family, after the Chicago Fire as part of the rebuilding effort.

Martha Elnora married Harry on 5 December 1889 in Oak Park, Illinois.  When they married, her  parents built a house next door for them to live, affectionally known as "Rotten Manor."  They had two sons, Robert (Bobbie) Worthington Richardson (1890-1951) and Harold Bogart Richardson (1894-1935) who grew up next door to their Worthington grandparents.  And when her mother's parents (Nathan and Elnora Esther Cobb) were elderly, they lived and died there too.  This extended to the next generation when my mother, Alice, and her sister Madelon & their parents moved into Rotten Manor when she was in grade school.  Her father was Bobbie Richardson and her mother was Adelaide Copeland Harvey (Grawa).

One can only imagine the usual ups and downs of childhood in the upstairs apartment in Rotten Manor with two girls and a bulldog named Mark that my mother had brought home from the schoolyard.  The vet cleaned it up and by it's license traced it back to it's original owner in Springfield, Iowa (the dog had jumped out of their car and run away when they were on a trip).  The old owners allowed the new family to keep the dog.

The envelop on the left is addressed:
For
Alice Jell Richardson, Girl Skoot.
From The Society Eddytor
of THE ROTTEN MANOR BULLYTIN.

Inside was the following news bulletin!
























******JUST REVEELED ******
HORRABLE KRIME KOMMITTED ON WISKONSIN AVENOO
OAK PARK
A fearse Bull Dog lokated at 227 Wiskinsin Avenoo atacked a Pair
of Big Black Mules at that adres and litrly toad them to Shreds,
showing no Mersy.  After Komiting this Turrable Deed the Culprit
Slank away to a Nayboaring House where he lay on the Floor Lick-
ing his Pants-no- Panting his Chops-no-I shud say Licking his
Chops and Breething in Short Pants as if no thing Sinister had
O-curred.
When the Owner of the Big Black Mules diskovered the Holly Cost
and saw the Entrayls of her Butefull Big Black Mules strued on
the Ground she Uttered a Peersing Shreek and Dashed next Door
were her Muther was visitin.  Casting her Short Frales Little
Figger on the Divan she Wrung her Hands and Skreemed threw her
Tears and Nose "Muther, Mark has Etten my Butefull Big Black Mules".
Her Muther, in a low Modulated Voice as usual, sed "My darling
Dotter you shud be more cairfull with youre Properte and other Im-
pedymenta speshly Big Mules.  They shud have Lockedup in a Box
Stawl or something.  Upon herring these Wurds the Owner of the
Big Black Mules in a Frensy shouted ( as tho her Muther was Deef)
"I dont Cair", axsent on the Cair, "Those Mules are Runned".
The Culprit, foaming at the Mouth utherwise Chops, lept on the
Owner of the Big Black Mules, but when she Shouted in a Hi Shril


Voice "No, No, you Notty Dog" he turned Tale and Slank or Slunk, I
forget which, to a Sitting Posishun on top of a Radyater and looked
out of the Windo as if he had not shortly Purpetrated a Holly Cost.
The Grandfawther of the Owner of the Big Black Mules who waz wurkin
on a X wurd puzzel was shocked to heer of the Catsafterme ansd sed
"Dogonit I can't think of a Sinnynim for Hollycost in three letters
begining with A and ending with Z"
Granmuther, her feet on the Radyater, remarked in a Strong Di-ossy-
sen Suprana "This is Possytively Harrying, I dont supose you will be
abel to find as Large or as Butefull a teem of Mules in the Loup
or outside of it".
Meenwile the Owner of the Big Butefull Black Mules retreated to
her Home folowed by the Culprit at Heal.
Wen the Polees herd of this Turrible Kalamity they took no intrust
on lerning from an inosent bistander that the Owner of the Big
Black Mules was alsow a part Owner in the Culprit.  Thasall.

February 1929 [handwritten]

Only one press release survived.
This press release must have been special to the girl whose dog chewed up her beautiful black mules -- once she calmed down.  It was found in her personal papers after she died in 2001, seventy-two years later.


For those not in the Chicago area, "the Loop" is the downtown shopping area; and in this case, the grandfather who was told "This is Possytively Harrying" was named Harry.


©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich

The link to this post is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2013/03/remember-women.html


Monday, February 18, 2013

I Remember Grawa

Adelaide, age 3 (earliest picture I have)

When I was growing up, one grandmother lived with us all the time, the other for 6 months of the year.  I don't think I really appreciated all that they did -- for starters, they took care of all four of my parents' children in an era when mothers were expected to be home.  No lunchroom at school: kids had an hour and a quarter to walk home, eat, and return for the afternoon.   She was there to nurture us and feed us every day, 24-7.
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Adelaide Copeland Harvey was born 3 a.m., 4 November 1893 in Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin.  Her birth certificate lists her name as "Miss Harvey" daughter of Joe Harvey and Alice Copeland and siblings of "Riley, Cathy and Copeland."  The doctor recorded the birth the same day but no one ever went back and filled in the name.   She told me she was so sickly as a baby that she was carried around on a pillow -- maybe no one thought when she did live, to go back and tell the town clerk that she had a first name.

Luckily that wasn't as much a problem as I thought it might be when I tried years later to correct her death certificate.  Adelaide H Richardson died 6 August 1971 in Houston, Harris County, Texas, at age 87.  Only, a bit of arithmetic shows that she wasn't 87 but really only 77.  I decided that I should tell the folks in the State of Vital Records office that her death certificate was incorrect.  It took a number of months with notarized letters back and forth, copies of her birth certificate and certificates identifying her parents to finally get her death certificate amended.  Now, if you order a copy, at the bottom, is the "AMENDMENT TO CERTIFICATE OF DEATH" listing her mother's name as "Alice Copeland" instead of "Alice (don't know)" and date of birth as November 4, 1893" instead of "1883" --- type of document: "affidavit of granddaughter..." not mentioning any of the vital records I had sent.

So who was this Adelaide Harvey who married Robert W Richardson?  Definitely more than just someone who was 77 when she died from pneumonia, carcinoma of the lung, with contributing conditions of chronic bronchitis and asthma and carcinoma of the face.  To me, she was "Grawa," the name I gave her when I first tried talking.  She was the person who would always have treats for us children at lunch such as a homemake cake with butter cream frosting or send one of us out to buy one package of Paul Malls for her along with Hersey with almonds or Nutty buddies for everyone -- depending upon the season.
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Adelaide grew up the youngest of 4 children.  Her early years were near relatives in Wisconsin.  One day her aunt, Isabel Harvey Wegemann was minding her while making angel food cakes for the church supper.  Addie watched as her aunt carefully separated a dozen egg whites for each cake.  This became an all-day project as Isabel baked a dozen angel food cakes, all for the church supper -- no tasting!  Addie was devastated that she could not even have a little taste.  At the end of the day, Isabel made one more angel food cake for Addie to take home for dinner.  Every year thereafter, her sister Katherine made her an angel food cake for her birthday.  In later years, Auntie Kath would mail an angel food cake and we would look forward to the treat of eating of that very special cake.  It always looked somewhat battered and mishapened, but oh did it taste good.
[Katherine Harvey Rhodes, died 1964]
[Stories told to me both by Adelaide and by my mother]



Her family moved from Lake Mills, to Madison Wisconsin so two of her siblings could go to college.  Her mother ran a boarding house nearby while Kath and Riley attended the University of Wisconsin.  Then her family moved to Oak Park, Illinois.  After graduating from Oak Park High School, she married Robert Worthington Richardson on 15 January 1916.


This gorgeous wedding photo belies some of her challenges ahead.  When her second daughter was born, her mother moved in to help take care of the children and then died suddenly.  After her mother's death, depression set in and she was sent to the Kellog Institute in Battle Creek where they thought grains and special diet could cure many ills.  Her two daughters were cared for by her brothers and their wives while she was gone.  There was a comedy movie made about this health sanitarium, "On the Road to Wellville."  Years later, whenever we had popcorn, she always ate hers with milk on it -- "It's a cereal," she'd explain.  

She had asthma all her life, I remember her sitting on the side of her bed and wheezing and using her atomizer.  She developed sores all over her face as a young adult.  She saw doctors who never figured out what caused it, one even tried treating it with x-rays.  It think the sores all over her face probably itched.  Sometimes, she'd sit on the side of her bed and clap her two hands on her cheeks of her face.  It wasn't until the early 1950s that someone figured out that those sores were a staph infection, and they responded to treatment.

As a young mother, she developed cataracts in both eyes and ended up having surgery twice.  This was in the days when the patient couldn't move her head for a couple of weeks and would lie in bed with her head sandbagged in place.  Her first surgery was semi-successful, the second was a failure.  So, she lost the sight in one eye from an allergic reaction to the medication.  Not only did she lose her sight, but her brown eye turned blue.   

We grew up, knowing Grawa had different colored eyes and didn't see too well with her "good eye."  I didn't stop her from preparing meals, but it did lead to many things dropped.  Whenever she would drop something, she would yell "Nothing fell!"  If my mother was home, she would send a child to "see what nothing is this time."  We had a high-breakage rate for dishes dropped by Grawa, and so the first Christmas when Corning had "unbreakable" dishes, that was the family Christmas present.  My slightly unusual father, loved the fact that Corning would replace any dishes that broke.  When visitors came to our house, Dad loved to ask if they had seen these new unbreakable plates before and he would then "frisbee-toss" a plate to the usually horrified startled guest.

One really cold winter night, I was sitting in the living room and there was a loud crash in the kitchen, "Nothing fell!"  I went out to find Grawa had somehow dropped a gallon of root beer syrup [a Christmas gift from my best friend].  The glass jug hit the back edge of the washing machine, broke and there was root beer syrup going down the wall in the pantry behind and under the machine. While I spent the evening trying to clean it up [we eventually had to disconnect and move the machine to clean it up], my brother was in the basement with my father trying to thaw the frozen water pipes.  Dad came up for a break.  My brother came up and joyfully announced the pipes were dripping.  "If they're dripping, they're leaking and they're broken!"  Dad went downstairs to find root beer syrup leaking through the pantry floor into the basement.

Later in life, Grawa decided to get a glass eye that would cover her blue eye.  Each night Grawa would take her teeth out and put them on the dresser and then take out her eye and put it in an eye cup next to the teeth.  My youngest sister always assumed that's what everyone's grandmother did.  When she put the eye back in, it didn't always line up "just right" and she would need us kids to tell her if she appeared to be looking at the ceiling with one eye.  

Early Sunday morning before Christmas 1963, Grawa got up to go to the bathroom and couldn't seem to focus as well with her "good eye."  She woke my mother, "Alice, I can't decide if the house is on fire or if I can't focus" -- I heard my mother yell -- "Ted, wake up, the house is on fire!"  Once outside, my mother was checking to see that everyone was there -- the only one missing was my father. When she asked a fireman if he had seen her husband he replied, "Is he the stark-naked guy inside telling us how to fight the fire?"  

The fire chief had told us that the fire had smoldered all night, possibly started by something as simple as a mouse running in the walls--static electricity.  It started in the wall below the fire-break between the basement and kitchen.  It had just broken through the wall into the kitchen and was filling the house with smoke when Grawa woke us.  The chief said if we had slept another 10 minutes, no one would have gotten out.  

Thank you Grawa for saving our lives!

The grandmothers at our wedding reception:  Helen Markovich (Nona),
Adelaide Richardson (Grawa), Marion Dakin (Nana).  Before we left, I
tossed my bouquet and Grawa caught it.  She was always hopeful to remarry.
As kids we teased Grawa that when a workman left a ladder against the house
near her bedroom, it was so that she could elope with Mr. Reeves, the widower
who lived down the street!  When we got in the car to drive away after the
reception, Nana was in the back seat asking for a ride to where she was staying.


©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich