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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

 

 

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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In a previous post called What Went On at Ramona Palace, the photograph that was marked Ramona that actually was the Summer Home Place sparked the question if the Ramona pavilion had windows on the lake side. By the sixties, when I saw it, the lake windows either didn’t exist or had been blocked off behind the bandstand.

The other day my father found a postcard of the Ramona pavilion–a view from the lake. Clearly, the structure was built with windows facing the lake.

 

On the left side of this photograph are the windows at the end of the building that face the lake. The bandstand was just inside those windows. And see the steps leading down to the lake? They would lead you right into the . . . bottomless drop-off! That was such a scary part of the lake by the sixties! I imagined all kinds of underwater beasts living in that mysterious section of the lake.

The property was originally owned by Henry and Carrie (Paak) Waruf. Carrie was my great-great-grandmother’s sister.  What do you think is the material of his hat in this photo?

Carrie (Paak) and Henry Waruf, owners Ramona Park

Carrie (Paak) and Henry Waruf, owners Ramona Park

 

This is a photograph marked “Hank Waruf (cigar in mouth). He’s definitely much older in this photo than the one above.

Henry Waruf (on right of photo)

Henry Waruf (on right of photo)

More posts about Ramona:

The Park with a Literary Name
A Re-telling of Ramona: The Park with a Literary Name
What Went On at Ramona Palace

 

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I didn’t abandon Theresa or the Paake/Pake/Peek/Paak family. Here is George, Theresa’s father.

George Paake

When Theresa was sixteen or seventeen, her father wrote her a letter. (Note that the spelling of the surname for George that I settled on is not one used further on in this post).

He wrote it in Dutch, but Theresa no longer could read or speak Dutch. Professor Lawrence introduces the translation he had prepared of the original letter:

 

The mention of the floods reminds me of a book I read when I was a child. The Little Ark, by Jan De Hartog, was the story of two children caught up in a horrific flood in Holland. I remember that the book seemed to be an adult book, although it was about children. It was very realistic, but like a good “adventure story,” it gave me confidence that if I were faced with a similar situation I could use my wits to survive.

Professor Van Zeitoff who translated for Professor Lawrence gave him the information to prepare this “glossary” for some of the first names, surnames, and geographical names associated with the family.

 

Most of my knowledge of The Netherlands comes from my early education and the books I read that romanticized Dutch culture. The book Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge, is one of those books. She was an American writer and at the time she wrote the book she had never even visited Holland. Part of the romance of the culture was the threat of flooding and the significance of the dikes.

What I want to know is why we never hear on the news about these Dutch floods? Is there technology today that prevents these floods from occurring?

A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902

Paak-a-boo

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

 

 

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We will get back to Theresa Pake, but I am working on so many branches of the family. I can’t let the other leads I have lie there untracked. I need to follow them, too ;).

Let’s start to explore the wonderful scrapbook of the DeKorn-Culver family again (while not forgetting about Theresa or Jenny DeKorn Culver’s sister Mary DeKorn DeSmit’s family either). For more information on this story, see the related posts below.

To remind you, I had wondered what happened to one of the sisters of Richard DeKorn (my great-great-grandfather). Her name was Jenny, or perhaps Jenny Adrianna, and at some point she moved with her two daughters, Lela and Rhea, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Seattle, Washington.  She may have been divorced in Kalamazoo. A lot needs must be explored at this juncture because why would a woman with two daughters move so far away from home–especially in those days?

A reader in the northwest United States who happened to have a scrapbook that belonged to Jenny’s family contacted me. What a surprise! She was so kind to send me the scrapbook. When I finish making both .tif and .jpg copies of the photos I will send her a CD of the photos. My daughter did the preliminary work on the copying, but I need to do more and to “cut apart” the copies that were taken of multi-photo scrapbook pages. In other words, my daughter copied pages so as not to damage the book, but I want to copy the copies and then crop the photos so that they appear separately on the screen.

I wrote to Bayview Manor in Seattle to try to find out if this scrapbook belonged to Lela or Rhea Culver. This is the facility where the scrapbook was found. Unfortunately, I have not heard back from them.

To begin to  identify these photos I need to start with what I know. I have a photo of Jenny when she was a young woman. And there is a photo in the scrapbook which I think looks strikingly like Jenny.  I want to see if you agree or if you think these are different women.

THIS IS JENNY DEKORN CULVER (1857-1947):

Jenny DeKorn Culver 1857-1947

Jenny DeKorn Culver
1857-1947

 

HERE IS THE WOMAN IN THE VELVET COAT. IS IT JENNY?

 

And is the coat velvet or fur? I am assuming it is velvet, although I did find a picture of a fur coat from around 1920 that had a similar look. However, the main reason I think it’s velvet is that it looks like velvet at the points where the fabric bends.

What do you make of the shadow at the bottom of the photo? Is the setting a garden or a lawn?

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When my father ran Ramona Park, he used to sit on a ticket taker stool to admit dance patrons. He still had the stool until recently.

Ticket taker stool

The other day, he gave it to Paula Taylor, who is writing a history of Ramona and Long Lake.

 

Paula says that the photo of the ballroom I posted last week in What Went On at Ramona Palace is of the Summer Home Park on the south end of Long Lake, not Ramona. And Paula knows a lot about the history of Long Lake. My dad says that Paula is correct.

This is a bit of a mystery because the photo is part of the set of photos that came to me from the owners of Ramona–and one of them wrote on it (many many years ago) that it is the Ramona Pavilion ballroom.  Why are we always finding mysteries on The Family Kalamazoo?  Just goes to show you can’t trust what somebody wrote on a photo a long time ago!

Here is the photo again, but with a correct caption:

Ballroom, NOT Ramona Palace, Long Lake, Michigan

Ballroom, Summer Home Park, Long Lake, Michigan

Thanks, Paula, for your keen observation!

Update on why the Ramona/Long Lake photos say Vicksburg:

Maggie Snyder for Vicksburg Historical Society says this:

Vicksburg never included Ramona Park, which was at Long Lake. However, at that time Portage as a town was much smaller than Vicksburg, so it would have been the closest “big” town. Also, the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad had a flag stop at Ramona Park, and their closest depot was in Vicksburg.

On another note: here are a couple of online articles about Long Lake:

Long Lake: from sinking houses to sea serpents

Portage Couple Has Spent a Lifetime on Long Lake

 

More posts about Ramona:

The Park with a Literary Name
A Re-telling of Ramona: The Park with a Literary Name

 

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When I was a kid my father used to bring me (and sometimes my friend, Jill, a reader of this blog) to Ramona Park. We explored and played while he worked–maintaining and refurbishing the pavilion, the grounds, and the shore of Long Lake that ran along the property.

I’ve written before about this park, located in Portage, Michigan here:

The Park with a Literary Name
A Re-telling of Ramona: The Park with a Literary Name

I remember trying to imagine what the pavilion, which was called Ramona Palace, was like back in its heyday, when people came to listen to live music and dance in the ballroom.

Ballroom, Ramona Palace, Long Lake, Michigan

Ballroom, Ramona Palace, Long Lake, Michigan

Notice that this old photograph locates the park in Vicksburg, but it is now Portage, Michigan. This is the ballroom as I remember it–big and empty.  The lake was just outside those windows.   According to Paula Taylor, in a comment below, the caption on this photograph is wrong.  She says “it was Summer Home Place where the Long Lake Roller Skating Rink is today, it was owned by the Bucholz. The Carpenters bought the the old Summer Home Palace and turned it into a skating Rink and it is still there today. Just wanted you to know what the picture really was really of, alot of people get the two parks mixed up… But they were two entirely different places.”  Odd that the Remines/Warufs kept a photograph incorrectly marked, but Paula probably knows more than anyone about the history of Long Lake.

A while back I was contacted by Shawna (Smith) Raymond about those days. Her grandfather, Eddie Smith, and his Big Band used to play at Ramona Palace.

Eddie Smith and the Revelers courtesy of Shawna (Smith) Raymond

Eddie Smith and the Revelers
courtesy of Shawna (Smith) Raymond

Shawna passed on a story from her aunt about those days.

When Mom, whose name was Margene, would walk into the Ramona Palace ballroom where Dad was playing, he’d always stop whatever song they were playing and play ‘My Little Margie.’

Shawna’s aunt has a framed collage of the sheet music to “My Little Margie” and Shawna’s grandfather’s conducting baton. According to Wikipedia:

Margie“, also known as “My Little Margie“, is a 1920 popular song composed in collaboration by vaudeville performer and pianist Con Conrad and ragtime pianist J. Russel Robinson, a member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Lyrics were written by Benny Davis, a vaudeville performer and songwriter. The song was introduced by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1920 as Victor 78, 18717-A, in a medley paired with “Singin’ the Blues”. The B side was “Palesteena”.The Rega Dance Orchestra recorded the song in October, 1920 for Okeh Records, 4211. The ODJB recorded their instrumental version on December 1, 1920. The song was published in 1920 and was named after the five-year-old daughter of singer and songwriter Eddie Cantor. Cantor is credited with popularizing the song with his 1921 recording that stayed at the top of the pop charts for five weeks.

Here is a Benny Goodman version from 1938:

 

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