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 Winamac IN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winamac IN. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Blind Insurance Agent is Discovered

I've been working on figuring out what happened to various children of William Richardson and Mary A C Bogart, my GG-grandparents.  They died in 1921 and 1910.  There are pieces of the puzzle still missing, but some DuPage County IL probate records led to Pulaski County Indiana for land records.  But that is another story, once I get the last piece of the puzzle from the Cook County Court archives.

Years ago I had finally found that William and Mary were buried in Hinsdale IL, there I learned she died in Downers Grove IL and he in Winamac IN.  Why Indiana?  He died with his son Fredrick, but why was a 50-something Chicago insurance agent in Winamac?  It's not exactly commuting distance from Chicago.

Last month, on my way to the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, I stopped in Winamac to look for probate records for William and Fred Richardson.  There is a wonderful woman in the County Clerk's office who knows how to help genealogists, and welcomes them.  She looked, no probate, but asked if I had checked the library (they had one of the newspapers "indexed" for vital records and microfilm of the issues).  She called the library to say we were coming and where to direct us.  The index was helpful, we learned when Frederick died, just two years later [new information to me] and that the local paper did have obituaries, which I looked up and copied.

Frederick T. Richardson
     The death of Frederick T.Richard-
son occurred Friday evening, Dec-
ember 14 at ten o’clock at his home
just east of town.  Mr. Richardson
had been sick with menengitis but
was thought to be better and had
been up around the house that even-
ing. He retired about nine o’clock
and Mrs. Richardson was reading to 
him when death came.  The immed-
iate cause of his death was a stroke
of apoplexy.
     The deceased was 55 years of age
and leaves a wife and a foster daugh-
ter. Mrs. Janet Phillips.  Mr. and 
Mrs. Richardson came here from Chi-
cago several years ago.
     The funeral was held Monday af-
ternoon at one o’clock at the Presby-
terian church, conducted by Rev. C.
S. Valder with interment in the Win-
amac cemetery.”
The Winamac Republician, 20 December 1923, vol. 57, page 6.

At that time I didn't know about a lawsuit involving Frederick and his wife.  I learned about that a week later.  So, I contacted that wonderful woman in the Pulaski County office to ask her to look for some land records relating to it.  She did and found the records, I sent my fees and an envelop and then today arrived not only those land records [still to be sorted out] along with a surprise.
Today's was another obituary for our GG'uncle Fred:

  The death of Frederick T. Richard-
son occurred Friday evening at the 
home east of Winamac.  Hed had been
seriously ill for several days from an
attack of menigitis, presumed to
have been a result of severe treatment
that he had been taking in Chicago
in an effort to regain his sight, which
failed totally about fifteen years ago.
He was feeling much better Friday
and had been up and around the
house, but a cerebral hemorrhage
after he had retired for the night
brought death quickly.
   Mr. Richardson was fifty-five years
of age on Nov. 19.  He and Mrs. 
Richardson moved here from Chicago
about six years ago.  His father, Wil-
liam Richardson, died here two years
ago the day of the son’s funeral. which
was held Monday afternoon.  Services 
were conducted at the home by Rev.
C. S. Valder, and interment was given
in the Winamc cemetery."
Pulaski County Democrat, Thursday 20 December 1923

Wow!  He was blind and had been for 15 years!  That might explain why he wasn't still working in his father's insurance agency in the past few years.  It notes that he died two  years after his father, how many years they were in town, gives details about his going to Chicago for treatment for his blindness. Unfortunately, neither obituary gives his wife's name!

This led back to an article in my Richardson-wantabee file:

28 May 1916, Oregonian (Portland OR), Vol XXXV, issue 22, section 5, page 11:
Chicago Broker Gets Decree on Mis-
conduct Charge.

CHICAGO, May 22 -- Twelve men
with two eyes apiece marched from
an anteroom into Judge McKenley’s
courtroom, gazed impassively at a
pretty woman, and stood while the
clerk read their verdict finding the
pretty woman guilty of misconduct
and granting a divorce to her sightless
   The wife, severely costumed, turned
to look at the face of Frederick T.
Richardson, blind insurance under-
writer, who began tap-tapping to walk
from the room.  A little later, Mrs.
Richardson, accompanied by her attor-
ney, Robert E. Crowe, also departed.
     She had recited her defense.  Henry
F. Baker, said she had been a roomer
and a family friend in the Richardson
home at 4021 Lake Park Avenue.  Her
Husband had tried to thrust her into 
Mr. Baker’s room when private de-
tectives, prearranged by plan, had ap-
peared at the door.
  “I married Fred Richardson, al-
though I knew he was going blind.”
she said.  “Always I was faithful to
him.  They frightened that that poor boy,
Baker, into making a confession.”

This piece of news tells me not only was Fred Richardson blind but it tells me where he was living [that Richardson family moved frequently in the past couple of decades], was involved in some sort of scandal with his now former wife [un-named, unfortunately], that he took in roomers.  I'm sure there must have been an article about this that was in a Chicago paper [this was in a paper from Portland OR, a common thing to do with sensational stories].  And what does "severely dressed" mean?

Sounds like it is time to see if there are court records and maybe more newspaper coverage to be found!

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2013
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