Just over a year ago, in A Series of Disasters, I posted a newspaper clipping that I found tucked in with the family photos. This is the copy of the article:
The residence of George Paake at 1016 Trimble Avenue was burned this morning about 10:30 o’clock and a worthy family which has had a series of disasters, left without a home. The house which Mr. Paake was paying for in the Building and Loan Association was entirely ruined although most of the contents of the home were saved. Mr. Paake receives no insurance whatever and the little which had been accumulated by the family was lost.
The fire is only an incident in the history of the family. Mrs. Paake died a short time ago leaving five children, the oldest being fourteen years old. Since the mother’s death the little girl has had entire charge of the house and the four little children and has had all the responsibility of the family except the support which Mr. Paake gave as a laborer. Recently he has been unable to work and was ill this morning when the fire occurred.
The neighbors have taken in the little ones and are doing all that is possible to alleviate the sufferings of the family. Mrs. Carrier has been responsible for raising a sum of money to which the neighbors have liberally contributed.
At the end of this post I will re-post the newspaper clipping for documentation. I want to apologize for spelling the surname every which way, but at every turn the name is spelled differently. Family members changed the spelling, and different documents recorded it differently. Paak-Peek-Paake-Pake: they are all the same.
Eventually, I discovered that this man was George Joseph Paak, Sr., the brother of my great-great-grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn and that the fire occurred on Wednesday, September 3, 1902.
George’s wife Lucy Kliphouse passed away in 1900, leaving 5 young children in their father’s care. George (born Joost) was 50 at the time he was left a widower. At some point he had changed the surname to Pake.
The five children were Cora, the eldest mentioned in the article, Jennie, Theresa (also called Tracy), Fanny (also called Frances), and George Jr. Cora was born in 1888; Jennie (who later changed her name to Jane) in 1890; Theresa in 1893; Fannie in 1896, and George in 1898. George was only four when the fire occurred. Imagine Cora, at 14, taking care of the others–ages 12, 9, 6, and 4. What a burden on such a young girl. And when her mother died, she was only twelve and young George was two!
Since the time of that post, George’s grandson, Professor Edgar Lawrence, discovered this blog. He’s been able to fill in many of the missing pieces about this branch of my family. His mother was Theresa, the middle child. Here is a photo, taken at least a decade after the fire, showing all five Pake children.