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Posts Tagged ‘Jenny DeKorn Culver’

Some of you might remember the beautiful scrapbook of photographs that I was given by a very kind stranger. It belonged to one of the two adult daughters –Rhea or Lela–of my great-great-grandfather’s sister Jennie DeKorn Culver.

At least one of the three Culvers moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle on August 20, 1918. If only one Culver moved at that time, it wasn’t long before all three were living in the state of Washington. I have not been able to figure out exactly how the move occurred–or why–but it doesn’t stop me from being fascinated with the photos.

 

Although the majority of the photographs in the album are from 1917 and 1918, this one is marked 9-4-1915. It says it is on Riverside Drive. But what are those initials after the street?

In 1910 Jennie lived with her two daughters at 59 Kalamazoo Avenue in Kalamazoo. She was a seamstress in a corset factory. Rhea was 19 years old and a stenographer in a “paper stock company.” Lela, 21, was a teacher in a public school. I would really love to find out if Lela went to Western Normal School to become a teacher.

So is this Riverside Drive in Kalamazoo or elsewhere? According to Mapquest and Google, there is a Kalamazoo Avenue in Kalamazoo, but not Drive. Both Kalamazoo Avenue and Riverside Avenue are on the east side of Kalamazoo. There’s a famous Riverside Drive in NYC. I’m going to make a guess that those initials say N. Y.–New York City. Do you agree?

And is this one of the sisters? Unfortunately, I would say NO as both sisters had narrow faces. My guess is that this is a friend of the scrapbook owner.

On a slightly related subject, I just wanted to say:

CONGRATULATIONS to the WMU Broncos!!!

They are undefeated this season!!!! This is my alma mater. This is the alma mater of so many of my relatives. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you want to get hyped up, watch the video and ROW THE BOAT!

 

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OK, we’re going to try this again. You might have seen my post last week about this–which I subsequently deleted when it became obvious I’d missed a clue.

My great-great-grandfather’s sister Jennie DeKorn Culver (divorced) and her two adult daughters moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle at some point. All three women died there. Only Lela seems to have married–at the age of 63.

Two weeks ago, I posted the photo that gives the exact date the Culvers moved to Seattle. Here it is again with the date of August 20, 1918 written on it. One of the Culver daughters is in this photo.

 

I also posted a photo of all three Culver women–Aunt Jennie DeKorn Culver and her daughter Rhea and Lela–with some identified travelers or perhaps people seeing them off on their travels.

After much searching I did find one newspaper “jotting” that mentions the move. It was posted in the Kalamazoo Gazette on August 13, 1918.

 

Of COURSE, the mystery deepens. Why does it mention only Rhea and not her mother or sister? I can’t believe they wouldn’t be mentioned if they did, in fact, move at the same time.Maybe Rhea went with the other people in the photo? If so, when did Jennie and Lela move?

I will say that Jennie does look as if she is dressed for travel (she is the 3rd from the left). Do you agree with me? The other daughter, the one in the striped silk could be dressed for travel–or not.

In 1918, Rhea (born 1890) was 28 years old. She was single and a grown woman. I wonder if she went with any of the Culver family or she went with a religious group. Lela was also single and 30 that year. Jennie was 61. I will be 61 this summer. I can’t imagine making that move with my two daughters if I didn’t know anybody else in Seattle.

Also, this new information sheds light on that photo of the young Culver woman with the older woman (above). Maybe that is Rhea and she IS going with that woman to Seattle.

This is where it gets even more confusing.

In the 1920 census, Rhea, stenographer, is living in Kalamazoo with a cousin and the cousin’s husband, Charles Pierce, and daughter! The cousin is Cora DeSmit Pierce, the daughter of Jennie’s sister Mary. WHAT? So Rhea left for Seattle on her own and came back to Kalamazoo? Homesick?

Cora DeSmit Pierce

But wait.

Also in the 1920 census, Jennie and Lela (teacher) were living in Seattle! So Rhea moved to Seattle, according to the paper. It doesn’t say she joined her family there. It sounds as if she is the first Culver to move to Seattle. But how did the others end up in Seattle and Rhea NOT by 1920?

Can this get any more confusing? I will have to study the photo album more to see if I can find any other clues in there. I would like to examine yearly city directories in both Seattle and Kalamazoo, but even if I could, it still might not divulge what happened.

What do you think? Did Rhea move first and the rest of her family come later? Any ideas on where to research next?

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Last week I was given the most wonderful identification of the church that I thought was in Seattle circa 1918. It turned out to be First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1917!!!

The young lady in plaid is a Culver, I’m sure. I don’t know who the other lady is. All dressed up for travel. What does the caption say? STARTING FOR SEATTLE AUG. 20, 1918. Hah, you can’t ask for anything better than that in genealogy and family history research. The actual answer–to the day–complete with new outfits and a Gladstone bag in the hand of the older woman. Look it up. It was named after Prime Minister Gladstone, and it’s a very specific and stylish type of luggage. I know this because . . . ta dum . . . I used to own a luggage store. Look at how crisp their clothing was. These poor orphanage girls, daughters of a woman who had to figure out how to make a living for her family of divorce, looks like they are doing pretty well. No idea why . . . .

Here are other photos. Tell me: what does it look like. Are these other people traveling with the Culver women? If so, why are they going to Seattle? Are they all planning to settle there? They seem to be “of a group” because the man is carrying a bag. But what if he’s holding the lady’s Gladstone for her? Maybe they aren’t all going.  I’m confusing myself. What I do believe is that that is Jennie to our right (and their left) of her plaid-skirted daughter. And I think the boldly decorated young lady on plaid’s right (to us she is farthest left) is the other Culver girl. 

 

Remember that this date is before the end of WWI, which ended in November.

While I have solved the mystery of when the Culver women left for Seattle, I still do not know WHY or WITH WHOM.

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Last year I posted a photo that I believed was taken in Seattle. It was in the Culver-DeKorn photo album that was so kindly sent to me by a “caretaker” of the photos for decades. I wondered what the uniform was that the man was wearing and what the building was that is shown behind him. My assumptions have been shaken to the core. The old post is in quote marks, and below that is what I discovered!

First let me tell you a little more about Jennie DeKorn Culver, my 3rd great-aunt. She is a very sympathetic character to me. She went through a divorce when very few people did so, and she lost her daughters to the orphanage for a little while because of that. She was an artist when that was not approved of for a woman, especially from her background.

Jennie’s parents and two siblings were all born in the Netherlands, but Jennie was born in 1857 in Ottawa, Michigan.

When Jennie was 7, her mother died. When she was 16, her father died. The year before her father died, her oldest sibling, Richard DeKorn, married Alice Paak  on May 10, 1872. Her sister Mary married John DeSmit on October 4, 1872. So when their father passed away, that left Jennie alone. Jennie didn’t marry John Culver until she was 25. What did she do from age 16 to 25 and where did she live?

Here is the old post:

(The Culver-DeKorn family: my great-great grandfather’s sister, Jenny DeKorn Culver, and her daughters, Lela and Rhea, who moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle 100 years ago.)

In the scrapbook which I received from a blog reader I found this photograph. Any ideas on the type of uniform? Since this would have been around the time of the end of WWI, does the uniform have to do with the war?

I don’t know who the man is. Most of the Culver photos are of women.

But the clues would leave me to believe the photo was taken in Seattle in or around 1918. But did Seattle have old elegant buildings like this at that time?

###

Well, my goodness! I had a surprise yesterday when a blog reader posted a comment that upset my whole way of looking at the photo album in general:

That building is the old First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo. It burned down in 1925. There is a colorized view of the building halfway down this page.

http://www.kpl.gov/local-history/religion/first-congregational.aspx

 

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I can’t find a Carl Sadler in Kalamazoo who would be born around 1915 or 1916. Since these photos were taken in 1917, I am estimating that he was born around that time.

Another thing to consider: how many other photos in the album are from Kalamazoo?!

But stay tuned for the next installment of Aunt Jennie. Because I have some more new info about her!

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Remember the Culver family: my great-great grandfather’s sister, Jenny DeKorn Culver, and her daughters, Lela and Rhea, who moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle 100 years ago.

In the scrapbook which I received from a blog reader I found this photograph. Any ideas on the type of uniform? Since this would have been around the time of the end of WWI, does the uniform have to do with the war?

I don’t know who the man is. Most of the Culver photos are of women.

But the clues would leave me to believe the photo was taken in Seattle in or around 1918. But did Seattle have old elegant buildings like this at that time?

 

What about the building? My first inclination was a church, but I don’t see any crosses. Are those rosettes for ornamentation?

 

 

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Reminder: Jennie DeKorn Culver, 1857-1947, moved to Seattle from Kalamazoo with her two adult daughters, Lela and Rhea, around 1915

Since I did not have any photographs of Lela and Rhea Culver as adults until I received the scrapbook, I have had to make guesses on the identity of people in the scrapbook photos. I did have a good photograph of Jennie’s face as a young woman, so that does help.

I’m hoping you can help me decide which photos do have Jennie, Lela, and/or Rhea in them. After the new photos, I’ll repost a couple I’ve posted before for comparison.

Because the photos were all in the scrapbook together–and some of them were loose–it would help to know what year fashion the clothing is in each photograph (since the years may be all mixed up). Clothes, hair, background, compare faces: whatever ideas you have, lemme have ’em, please! I’ve numbered the new photos. Also, you can click on each photo to enlarge.

 

From Scrapbook (haven’t posted before)

Photo 1

 

Photo 2 (I feel fairly certain this is Jennie and her daughters)

 

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 7

 

From scrapbook (posted in earlier posts)

Photo 8

Lela and Rhea Culver Seattle, WA

Lela and Rhea Culver
Seattle, WA

Rhea and Lela Culver Kalamazoo, Michigan

Rhea and Lela Culver
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Jenny DeKorn Culver 1857-1947

Jenny DeKorn Culver
1857-1947

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The story of Jennie DeKorn Culver begins in Michigan. It turns out that, even with the beautiful scrapbook, she is one of the biggest mysteries of my family tree.

Jennie’s birth name was Adriana. She was named after her grandmother, Adriana Krijger (the mother of Johanna Remijnse, Jennie’s mother). According to Adri van Gessel, in the dialect of the Goes region at that time, she would be called Joâne–a name that doesn’t sound like Joanne. There is no English equivalent, so she was called Jennie.

Jennie was born in Ottawa County, Michigan, in 1857 or 1858, one or two years after her parents moved to the United States, so she never lived in The Netherlands herself. Her mother passed away in 1864, so Jennie would have only been 6 or 7.

On December 25 (Christmas Day!), 1882, Jennie married John P. Culver in Kalamazoo. John was born in 1854,1855, or 1856 in Climax, Michigan, to Oliver C. and Almira Carney Culver. John had six siblings. He was about 12 years older than Jennie who was 25 or so.

The couple had two daughters:

  • Lela Almira Culver, born in Kalamazoo, on September 27, 1888
  • Rhea A. Culver, born in Kalamazoo, on November 13, 1890

The Culver girls before their parents divorced

At some point before 1898, the couple divorced. I know this because John remarried on July 7, 1898, at Muskegon, Michigan. His new bride was Florence V. Potter (Flora), daughter of William H. Potter and Florence King. Florence was born in 1876 and died after 1940, possibly as late as 1964.

Florence was married about 1900  to Norman Brant. The couple had two daughters. Florence went on to marry again, too.

John Culver himself probably had a 3rd marriage, possibly to Gladys E. Simmons.

Back to Jennie. I couldn’t find a divorce record online for her divorce from John, so I resorted to Genealogy Bank to look up the local newspaper, The Kalamazoo Gazette. That’s when I found articles that show that the couple certainly did divorce, and while the girls were so young. Jennie didn’t come from people who divorced, so for her to divorce her husband (and with young daughters at home, too), they must have had a drastic problem.

The following newspaper articles tell part of the story. Several of them are attached in .pdf form because they were too long for me to take screen shots of them. If you click the links you will find the newspaper articles. Be sure not to pass by the last one without clicking and reading.

Before the storm you could get lunch at Culver’s: Jan 5, 1895 lunch at Culver

It begins in the fall?

Kalamazoo Gazette 4 October 1895

Kalamazoo Gazette
4 October 1895

The Gazette had a list of Circuit Court cases in the paper on Dec 6, 1895.  Jennie Culver v. John P. Culver was listed as a divorce case.

More about the divorce on May 8, 1896 .

As if to counteract the bad publicity the day before, the Gazette lists something innocuous about John on May 9, 1896. It merely states that he has been given the refreshment concession at the Recreation Park.

On May 14, 1897, there were two articles. One was in Jottings and shows that John Culver has changed something small or large about his livelihood.

May 14, 1897 article about property in jottings

Apparently, one can no longer get lunch at John Culver’s on North Burdick.

There there is one that tells me that the divorce was finalized before May 14, 1897.  Heart-breaking. This one you need to click through to read.

The children were at the Children’s Home! Not with their mother! I tried to find something about the Children’s Home in Kalamazoo at that time. All I could find was a list of the children in the home in 1900.

CHILDREN’S HOME LIST 1900

Note that the girls are not on the list, so it’s likely that they were living with their mother by 1900.

Here are some articles about the Children’s Home:

1. General history

2. More general history

I’ve written to the blogger who wrote both these articles because it appears that her relatives lived at the home at the same time the Culver girls lived there.

When did Jennie move to Seattle with her daughters? And why?

Rhea and Lela Culver Seattle, WA

Rhea and Lela Culver
Seattle, WA

The 1910 census shows Jennie still in Kalamazoo, and the city directory shows her there in 1915.

Many of the Seattle photographs in the photo album seem to be from about 1915-1925.  Remember that Jennie would have been around 58 years old in 1915!

Jennie died in Seattle on July 4, 1947.

The answer to the title is: I don’t know! I guess I have to keep researching. Jennie doesn’t appear to have remarried, although it is possible.  The daughters remained single for a long time (not sure if one of them ever married), so it wasn’t to follow a daughter’s husband’s job or family.

Any guesses on why she would have moved to Seattle in or just after 1915?

 

 

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