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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle history’

If you recall my posts about Jennie Culver, and her daughters Rhea and Lela, moving to Seattle, you will see that this photo fits neatly into the move. Try this post if you need a reminder or are new to the story:

Bingo: When Aunt Jennie Left for Seattle

On the back, one of the girls has written “my present domicile” and on the front, the date is 1918, the year other photos showed them at the train station, ready for the move.

I glanced at some of the other unidentified Culver photos to see if this apartment building (I assume it is apartments) shows up. Only one other photo with square brick columns shows up, but it can’t be of the same building. See here:

Notice what confuses me here. The square brick column, the white round column–the same as the first photo, right? But the white siding in the second photo is not in the first photo, right again?

I will say the age seems right for Seattle in this photo. The more I look at the Culver photos, the more Kalamazoo photos I suspect might be in the collection.

So who wrote “my present domicile” on this photograph? It wasn’t Jennie because the scrapbook and its photos clearly belonged to one of the daughters.  My confusion began with information I noticed that I wrote about in this post:Who Went Where When?. According to the newspaper, Rhea, the stenographer, moved to Seattle mid-August 1918. Jennie and Lela were not mentioned. But at some point Jennie and Lela did move to Seattle and lived there the rest of their lives. Somewhere around 1918. And Rhea did, too, except that in 1920 she was “spotted” living in Kalamazoo (see my post).

Can I assume that Rhea did go to Seattle August 20 as the newspaper and photograph verify? And that “my present domicile” was where Rhea lived? If so, can I conclude that the scrapbook belonged to Rhea. And that this photo I posted earlier was, in fact, Rhea in the plaid?

Is the handwriting on the above photo, the same as on the back of the first photograph I posted here?

Barely any letters to compare. They each have a final “le”–in Seattle and domicile. While nobody’s handwriting is completely consistent, are these in the bounds of what could be written by the same person? I will say there is a similarity to MY handwriting, weirdly. Both Miss Culver and I produce the triangular Ts of Emily Dickinson.

As usual, I manage to produce more questions than answers. This is becoming a disturbing trend!

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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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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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I wrote about this coat here.

Here it is again.

Isn’t this the same coat? And isn’t it fur? NOT VELVET.

And, if so, what changed Jennie’s fortunes from having her children in an orphanage 20 years earlier to wearing a full length fur coat? Note that the earlier photo has no snow, whereas this photo is obviously winter.

The Mystery of Jennie D. Culver deepens.

P.S. Do you think the other woman in this photo is one of Jennie’s daughters or another woman?  Here is the photo I posted last week of the daughters:

Lela and Rhea Culver Seattle, WA

Lela and Rhea Culver
Seattle, WA

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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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