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Archive for the ‘Kalamazoo late 1800s – early 1900s’ Category

I dug into the bottom of a file drawer and pulled out a book I forgot that I had. It was put together by the Kalamazoo Gazette and featured photographs sent in by individuals of Kalamazoo from the past up to the early 1960s.

My grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, is listed as one of the contributors, so I went through and tried to find the photos he might have sent in.

Definitely these two photos. The little boy in the check dress and straw hat is grandpa himself. And the little girl on the hammock is his cousin Alice Leeuwenhoek.

Those are the relatives sitting on the front porch. Gosh, I own that photo! I didn’t realize that was Richard Remine (though I can see right now that it is, of course, him)–or his children Therese, Harold, and Jane either. It would fit that the two little girls are Alice (next to her grandma Alice Paak) and Therese. With Harold behind the children. But Jane doesn’t really look old enough in this photo. According to my records, Jane was 14 years older than Therese. Something is off here. That big gap in age between Jane and Therese bothers me, and it always has. And if you recall when I wrote about Frank and Jane Tazelaar, I had been confused for awhile about if there had been 4 Remine children and 2 girls of similar names.  This photo must be somewhere around 1901, based on the assumed aged of the 3 little children. Jane was born in 1881 and is not 20 here!

The known people: back row is Aunt Jen DeKorn Leeuwenhoek, Richard DeKorn, Richard Remine. Front row is Lambertus (Lou) Leeuwenhoek, Alice Paak DeKorn, and then the little girl next to Alice definitely looks like Alice Leeuwenhoek, Jen and Lou’s daughter. It would seem plausible that the three other children belong to Richard Remine, but Jane could not have been that small.

What else? Here is Harold Remine big enough to go fishing at Long Lake. The other photo is not from my family, but it does show off a great collection of hats!

This is the Ladies Library building that Richard DeKorn was the mason contractor for.

But I don’t think that is one of our family photos.

One of these photos could have been taken by Joseph DeKorn and been submitted by Grandpa. It is very similar to the ones that I own.

Take a look at the captions for the downtown views. Does it make sense? It doesn’t make sense to me for some reason.

Most importantly, Grandpa autographed this book!

Here is a bonus photo. It isn’t from my family, but isn’t it a cool reminder of the kitschy business architecture popular in those days?

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You might remember reading a post about Grandpa’s girlfriend before Grandma in “Grandpa’s Girlfriend.” I noticed a later entry in the Memory Book where he was asked if his mother liked Grandma. He wrote that she never liked any girls he dated, but that she “accepted” Grandma. As well she should. By then, Cora, Grandpa’s mother, was dying (the spindle cell cancer that was in her death certificate that I posted the other day) and he was devoting his life to taking care of her. He didn’t have a job at the time. When he married Grandma, she not only helped him take care of his mother, but she worked full-time as a teacher, as well, that first year.

Another person that was important to Grandpa was the person he identified in the Memory Book as his best friend: Clarence Pettiford. He wrote, “Clarence Pettiford had good values and was nice to be around.” When I was a little girl and Grandpa was still living in the same neighborhood–and had his Sunoco Station there, too–Clarence also still lived in the neighborhood.

The way I knew Clarence was that Grandma and I would walk “uptown” to the downtown bank with the service station deposits–or take the bus if the weather was rainy or too hot. We would always stop and visit the man I thought was the most important banker in the elegant bank at the corner of Burdick and Michigan. He was known to me as “Mr. Pettiford,” and he was always so very nice to me. I thought he was such a fine gentleman in both the way he acted and his tall distinguished appearance. When I got older, it was a little surprising to me to learn that he was in charge of security, rather than the head banker.

Grandpa wasn’t able to attend high school because he was blind in one eye, and it caused him a lot of distress. But Clarence did attend Kalamazoo Central High School, and I was able to find a  photo of him in the yearbook. I apologize for the quality of the photos–they are from the Delphian and not the best quality.

 

This photo comes from this page in the 1932 yearbook:

You can see that Clarence was quite the athlete. Grandpa also loved sports, but he would get sick from following the ball because of his bad eye. You can read what happened to his eye here. Clarence was about 3 years younger than Grandpa, but maybe the nearest boy who wasn’t a relative. Grandpa had about 7 boy cousins who lived nearby, but I imagine it was hard to be an only child and hang around with 7 boy cousins who were all brothers.

Back to Clarence: he lettered in football in 1930. He must have been 19 at the time. And in 1932, he must have been 21. The age is a little off, I know, but there might have been reasons that we don’t know. My other grandfather, for instance, immigrated from Europe when he was fourteen, and he was still playing football and declaiming in Glee Club for his high school when he was 21.

In this page, Clarence is the manager of the intramural team:

Oh my, did you read what it says about the Intramural Team? It’s for boys not talented enough for varsity or the reserve team. Yikes. Did they have to spell it out like that?

This blog post is a little tribute to the memory of Clarence Pettiford, a talented gentleman.

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The other day I posted Richard DeKorn’s death certificate from Kalamazoo and asked for help with the cause of death. Readers were very helpful, and I’m so appreciative.

I mentioned at the time that Richard’s daughter and Grandpa’s mother, Cora DeKorn Zuidweg (Mrs. Adrian Zuidweg), wasn’t in the register of deaths. Two readers kindly sent me Cora’s death certificate that they found on the Seeking Michigan website.

Cora is a particularly intriguing person to me because Grandpa and Grandma used to tell me that I looked a lot like her, especially with my hair pulled back. Cora always wore her hair up. The first time I saw this picture of Cora I was in my 20s and felt as if I was looking into a mirror.

Also, Grandpa’s stories about her included stories of her love for animals and her courage to defend them. I feel a real affinity in the area of love of animals and wish I had her courage.

Here are Cora and Adrian (senior) with Grandpa, Adrian (junior)

What I knew about Cora’s death was that she had cancer that had spread throughout her body and her brain became confused from the disease. I also knew that she was dying when my grandparents got married. That explains why they got married out of town and on their own. My grandmother moved into the house with Grandpa and his mother and took care of her until she died a few months later.

Now take a look at the cause of death on the certificate:

Exhaustion – debility from gen – metastatic sarcoma spindle cell – primary in left thigh, followed injury was removed 9-16-29 – had existed there 5 years.

I believe that it is what it says.

So cancer that started in her left thigh. Cancer that, according to Google, would be treated with chemo today. If caught in time, the results would probably be positive. Spindle cell sarcoma apparently is a connective tissue cancer.

I thought that was a little bit of a coincidence because it seems that Cora had the cancer since she was about 52 and when I was 50 I had a tumor in my foot. While my tumor turned out not to be cancer, it was a giant cell reparative granuloma, which means that it has some characteristics of cancer (possibility of metastasizing and also destruction and replacement of healthy tissue). My tumor is the type that also reacts to injury or pressure, as Cora’s did.

After checking out more on Google, I also learned that Giant Cell tumors can turn into cancer if left untreated–and sometimes into spindle cell. Notice that Cora’s original tumor wasn’t removed until 1929, about two years into her diagnosis.

All very curious. I know that I am lucky that I got 21st century medical care for my foot.

Cora passed away at age 57, never meeting her three grandchildren. My mother would be born less than two years after Cora’s death.

 

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The haphazard method of genealogy research that I practice is fun because I follow threads that interest me at the moment, and since I am always juggling a lot at once because I’m a little hyper, it probably works best for me.

Nevertheless, this style has its limitations. I didn’t realize the extent, though, until I went to look up “causes of death” on death certificates for my grandfather’s family. Well, darn. They all lived and died in Kalamazoo–and apparently it is not easy to find death certificates in Kalamazoo. At least not from afar.

Out of 6 people–Grandpa’s parents and both sets of grandparents–I only have one death certificate, that of Richard DeKorn. When I pushed myself, I did find 4 of the other 5 on the death registers online. Then I emailed the County Clerk volunteers to see if someone can find the information for me. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one!

Grandpa’s mother, Cora DeKorn Zuidweg, isn’t even in the register. She passed away near the end of 1932, but I couldn’t find her the last few months of 1932 or even the beginning of 1933. I hope that volunteers can give me some insight into this issue.

Here is Richard DeKorn’s death certificate:

Here are some things I noticed of interest from the 1930 document:

Richard lived at 1440 Maple Street (not too far from Oakland Drive), not at the corner of Burdick and Balch. Does this mean that he had already moved with his second wife, Jennie, from the old neighborhood?

He died at New Borgess Hospital. So Borgess must have had that name at that time.

He had been retired for fifteen years from his occupation as a mason contractor. Since he was 78 when he passed away, he retired at age 63.

What does his cause of death state?

Secondary pneumonia 2 days.

Mucopurulent bronchitis 10 days.

Prostatic hypertrophy [interstial???] cystitis 3 months.

Is that last the same thing as prostatitis?

Does this mean that he had a UTI that eventually led to pneumonia?

If penicillin was first used as an antibiotic in 1928, what was the state of antibiotic usage in 1930? Were they being used yet? Did Richard die because he didn’t have an antibiotic for cystitis?

UPDATE:

Since I posted this earlier this morning, I’ve had some interesting info shared. Amy Cohen of Brotman Blog asked her medical expert about Richard’s cause of death. Here is what he said:

I would say with confidence that the ultimate cause of death was pneumonia–formerly known as the old man’s friend because it caused death quickly and with relatively little discomfort. It sounds as though he initially became ill with either a viral infection or had COPD (Chronic Bronchitis), which progressed to a pneumonia. Cystitis is any inflammation of the bladder, and it does not need to be infectious in nature. A man with an enlarged prostrate could have cystitis from inadequate bladder emptying and bladder distension. If a UTI was the primary factor, then the ultimate cause of death would have most likely been sepsis, not pneumonia.

As for antibiotic treatment at his time of death, none really existed. Sulfa-based antibiotics and penicillin may have been discovered in the late 20’s – early 30’s, but they would not be commercially available for another decade. Sulfa was being used in the 30’s, but Penicillin use didn’t really start until WW2 and probably was not widely prescribed until late 40’s – early 50’s.  People not dying from bacterial infections is just another thing Baby Boomers take for granted.

I sure do! I was born in 1955, and I remember getting a lot of penicillin as a kid because I was sick a lot. It never occurred to me that my parents wouldn’t have had that same advantage.

Also, TAO (who writes a fabulous blog about adoption) shared some specific information about penicillin. According to her, it wasn’t prescribed until 1945, which is corroborated by Amy’s medical expert.

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Great photos of a tour of Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo from Pedis-n-Passports.

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While visiting Kalamazoo for my son’s college orientation at Western Michigan University, we had the incredible opportunity to spend a night at The Henderson Castle.  This delightful step back in time was more than we could have hoped for and was an enchanting reminder of our trip to Europe a few years ago when we resided in an Austrian castle.  Immediately upon entering, our senses were ignited with the spark of history–the aroma of old wood, the creaking of the original flooring and the soft melody of piano transported us to a royal destination.

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Almost two years ago, I posted photos of my grandfather as a very young man with an unidentified female. I hypothesized that she was his girlfriend before my grandmother.

Here they are together–looks like a couple to me.

I was going through some papers and found memory books my grandparents had prepared (one of his memories and one of hers) for the grandchildren. Inside Grandpa’s memory book, the question is asked: WHO IS THE GIRL YOU REMEMBER THE MOST?

This was his answer: (2) Vander Weele and Garthe: Don’t remember first names

So I did a little research on these names. I figured out who I believe at least one of the girls is, based on the census reports and other documents.

Garthe turned out to be Margaret Christine Garthe, born 11 days after my grandfather in 1908. She wasn’t from Kalamazoo, but from northern Michigan. She had come to Kalamazoo to attend Western. I found her in the 1928 Western State Teacher’s College yearbook.

Tell me if this isn’t the girl my grandfather is seen with above. Back row, 3rd from left.

 

From Ancestry it looks as if Margaret married Hans James Knutson. She passed away in 1997 in Muskegon, Michigan. Grandpa lived until 2000, happily married to the end to Grandma.

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I was doing a little research for a post I want to write about my grandfather when I discovered this link to a historical photography project in Kalamazoo.

Students are taking old photos from the Kalamazoo Public Library collection and photographing the same scene from the same angle. Very interesting. It’s still a work in progress, and I can’t wait to see more.

Check it out here: KALAMAZOO THEN & NOW

Although I am so disappointed that Western Michigan University’s old campus was allowed to be destroyed for the most part, I do think Kalamazoo has a strong voice for history–in part because of the university and an active library and in part because so many people love Kalamazoo.

How about your community? How does it take care of its history?

downtown Kalamazoo, photo by Joseph DeKorn

 

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