If you’ve been following along here for some time, you might remember my posts about Theresa Pake, the middle child (of five) of my great-great-grandmother’s brother, George Paak.
When we left off, Theresa had married Roy Lawrence.
I’d like to backtrack. Remember how her father’s house burned down two years after her mother passed away? It was 1902, and Theresa was only 8. The article in the newspaper showed how destitute the family was by the fire, George’s illness, and Lucy’s death. The paper emphasized that the oldest girl, Cora, had been running the household from the time she was 12 until the fire–when she was 14.
At some point after this, Theresa went to live as a foster child with Oliver and Una Pickard. It would have been hard to find this information strictly from documents, but I had a great lead in the form of Theresa’s son Professor Lawrence.
This is a quote from one of my earlier posts:
At some point Theresa lived with foster parents, Una Orline and Oliver Oratio Pickard. Prof. Lawrence thinks she maybe have gone to live with them as early as age six, which would mean she wasn’t under the care of her older sister. However, the newspaper article about the fire in 1902 would show that she was still living at home at the time of the fire (nearly 8 years old). Regardless, at some point, the Pickards became the caregivers of Theresa. None of the other children in the family seem to have gone to live with the Pickards.
SO WHO WERE THE PICKARDS?
Professor Lawrence told me that Oliver was a postman and Una a nurse. He said he couldn’t find his mother with them in any of the censuses.
I did a little search myself to confirm and hopefully augment this information.
I found the Pickards in the 1900, 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses.
1900: living in a “home” with 74 other people. There is a couple that are the head of household and his wife. Then Oliver is listed as a nurse and Una as “wife” (incorrectly as the wife of the head of household). After that are 3 attendants, a cook, and a lot of patients. So were both Oliver and Una the nurses for the facility? I can’t find the address on the census document.
From there, I went to the previous page of the 1900 census. It’s a short page and this is how it ends after a listing of some patients: “Here rests the enumeration of that portion of the Michigan Asylum for the Insane situated in Kalamazoo township outside the City of Kalamazoo.”
But wait! the page with Oliver and Una is in Oshtemo Township. That gave me the idea to see if anything is written at the end of the Pickards’ “household on the page after the one listing Oliver and Una.”
Wow!!! Something was written and erased. I can barely make out anything, but it appears to say pretty much the same thing as the above quotation about the asylum but using Oshtemo instead of Kalamazoo!! Why was this information erased? So did the Michigan Asylum for the Insane have Kalamazoo Township AND Oshtemo Township facilities?!! I can’t go past that page because this section ends on page 36–and the Pickards are listed on page 35.
I looked up “Oshtemo township” with the Kalamazoo State Hospital, and I found that the hospital owned a farm in that township since 1888: Colony Farm Orchard. Some patients lived on and farmed the property. Could this be where Oliver and Una first worked together?
1920: living at 1846 Maple Street in Kalamazoo. They owned their own mortgaged home. Una’s parents lived with them. Oliver was a mail carrier and Una was a nurse at the State Hospital. At this point, Theresa was finishing up her education, still under the guidance of the Pickards. THERE! The State Hospital IS the Michigan Asylum for the Insane. The name was changed in 1911. So it looks like maybe Oliver quit nursing and became a mail carrier–and maybe they moved to their own home that way.
1930: living at 1844 Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo. They owned their home, worth $15,000. Notice that 1844 address here is similar to the address in the 1920 census. I wonder if it’s the same house and there is an error in the number and the street? Or are they two different “owned” homes?
1940: living at 1846 Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo. So it probably was 1846 Oakland Drive all along. Una is a registered nurse in “private work.” That makes sense because she is listed as 67, and she couldn’t possibly be providing care at the State Hospital at that age. Oliver said he worked 52 weeks in 1939, but his income from this work is listed as zero–but he has income from “other sources.”By now the house only valued at $8,000.
A look at the neighbors in the 1940 census does not show that preponderance of Dutch names that I’ve seen in the neighborhoods where my relatives lived. The surnames seem to be of English origin, for the most part. But in the 1920 census, the same neighborhood had more Dutch surnames. Maybe this reflects a change in the neighborhood–or in the demographics of Kalamazoo.
Professor Lawrence told me that Una was Theresa’s Sunday School teacher. She must have taken a liking to the girl. I think Theresa was an intelligent and hard-working child, so that may have appealed to Una who took her on either from affection or religious conviction or a mixture of both.
So who are these people who married young (she was 18 and he was 23) and worked and lived at the State Hospital until he left for a job as a mail carrier? Who never had their own children, but managed to provide a quality education and a religious upbringing to one of the Paake children? That would have been very hard work being a nurse at the “asylum.” It could also be dangerous. In approximately 1904, a resident doctor was stabbed to death.
I also think the Pickards were most likely Methodists as they chose to send Theresa out of state to a Methodist school.
What was it like for Theresa to live with the Pickards?
Here are the other Pake/Paake/Paak/Peek posts:
A Series of Disasters
The Children After the Fire, 1902
Saved from the Fire
Who is George Paake, Sr.?
Curious about George
George Paake’s Legacy, Part I
George Paake’s Legacy, Part II: Theresa’s Pre-Professional Education
George Paake’s Legacy, Part III: Theresa’s Professional Education
George Paake’s Legacy, Part IV: A Letter to His Daughter
George Paake’s Legacy, Part V: Theresa Gets Married
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