In my last post, Rudys and Kirsches and Goodsons, oh, my!, I got in a hurry and moved way too quickly through the 1880’s. Wouldn’t you know that I missed a complete person being born? That story impacts the Kirsch Family.
Crawford County, Jennings Township, Indiana 1880…my great-great-grandparents Nicholas and Caroline Kirsch, both of them born in Germany, are now raising their family in the USA. Married in 1864, by 1880 their family was complete. They had Nick, jr (I couldn’t help myself) who was 13; John, 10; Fred, 9; Christina, 7; Peter, 5; Charles, 3; and Elizabeth, 3 months. What I almost missed is that they had another child, Emma, in 1883.
That’s a birth that certainly had its impact on the family during the 1880s, but there were some deaths that took their toll. Their oldest son, Nicholas L., died in 1886, age 20.
Down the road, 2nd-great-grandparents North and Catherine Goodson, also lost their 18-year-old son, Claud, about 6 months later. Fevers would go through those areas and affect every family and TB was rampant.
So with those additions and subtractions, the 1890 census would most likely have shown all of our central characters still living with their respective parents on farms. I should note here, though, that neither Nicholas nor Northumberland were farmers in the 1880 census, the former being a stonemason and the latter a sawyer. I don’t know if they still had those same jobs in 1890, but it’s likely they were working as laborers of some type.
In 1891, in Jennings Township, Crawford County, Indiana, Nicholas and Caroline Kirsch’s daughter, Christina, married North and Catherine Goodson’s son, Halleck. Christina was barely 17 and Halleck was 24. They had no doubt known each other all of their lives. I assume they stayed around the farms, possibly even living with their parents. Christina and Halleck are my great-grandparents.
Also In 1891, a ways over in Union Township, Crawford County, Indiana, my great-grandparents George W. and Amanda Almeda Eaton welcomed their last child, a son they named Clarence Wordie, my grandpa. George and Almeda were old compared to the Goodson parents.)
The young-ish Goodson family expanded to include Alta Fern, born 1892; Claud Charles, born 1894. It was another 6 years before we see another child born, but most likely there were other pregnancies, possibly more infants and deaths. In 1900, they were blessed with another daughter, Flora Ilene, my grandma.
The 1900 census shows the family of five still living near Leavenworth and Halleck owns his home, free and clear. It is a house, not a farm. He is working as a day laborer and had not worked in three months. While I had seen before that Halleck had gone to school, it was unclear to me whether he could read or write. This census, and subsequent enumerations, clearly say that he is illiterate. Christina is not.
Between 1900 and 1910, there was a slew of deaths…Christina’s baby sister Emma died in 1903, age 20 (of “nasal hemorrhage of 20 days and cardiac exhaustion”–sounds like leukemia?;; her father. Nicholas Kirsch died in 1905. Halleck’s mother, Catherine, died in 1907; his father, North, died early in January, 1910. There was a birth, though! Grace Marie Goodson, the last of Halleck and Christina’s children, was born in 1903.
Meanwhile, up near English, Indiana, the Eatons were going through even harder times. Here’s the original backstory:
21-year-old George W. Eaton married 16-year-old Amanda Almeda Harris in 1873. They commenced to having children. Amanda later states on a census that she had given birth to eight children, but I have found only five who survived:
William was born in 1876; Lillie in 1878; Myrtle, 1881; Emma, 1886; and Clarence in 1890.
By 1900, Lillie and Myrtle had married and were living nearby. Still left on the farm with George and Amanda were William, age 24; Emma, age 14; and Clarence, age 10.
On April 28, 1905 Emma died, age 18, of TB. On July 16, 1905, George W. died of typhoid fever. His death certificate says that it was of 16 days duration. On August 18, 1905, Myrtle’s daughter died of gastroenteritis of 2 weeks duration. She was 18 months old.
On June 24, 1906 Myrtle died, also of TB, leaving no living children.
Lillie gave birth to a daughter, her fifth child, on April 27, 1907. Lillie died on June 2, 1907 ( of TB) and her little daughter died 12 days later, June 14, 1907.. Lillie was survived by her 3 sons, and a 4-year-old daughter, Rosa.
Doesn’t that just break your heart? So by 1907, Clarence would be 17 years old. Great-grandmother Meadie had been through hell, but she kept the farm. Her son, William, 31-years-old, was still single, so she had her sons to help…I think…
This is great-grandma Meadie and her sister, Dora…great smiles…not sure which is which
In the 1910 census, Halleck and Christina are now living on a Farm, still down in Jennings Township, and Halleck is doing general farming “on his own account”. He still maintains his illiteracy. The children listed are Claud, 16; Florrie, 11; and Grace 7. At first I figured their oldest daughter, Altie, had probably married since she was 18 years old and these hillbillies consider that prime age for marryin’. However, I found her living in Corydon with her aged grandmother, Caroline Rudy Kirsch. She lived there until Caroline’s death in 1911.
1910 is when I “lost” grandpa Clarence. His mother is still on the farm up in English, living with her oldest son, William (who is still single) and her grand-daughter, Rosa.
I have spent considerable time running down leads on where he might have been living, even found a Clarence that fit the bill up in South Bend, but he was from the Indy Eaton Family. I finally catch up with the Real Clarence Wordie Eaton in 1915: his WWI draft card…and it just gives me more questions…
See there where it says he is”farming” “myself & Mother” “on Mother’s farm”? Then, there are no dependent children, but he is married, so Usually that line will say that his wife is dependent. WTH? Stories had always gone around that Grandpa had been married before he married Grandma, so I diligently searched searched Everywhere for a marriage license. I scrolled census records in and around “Mother’s farm” to see if he was living with his in-laws. I made sure he didn’t run off to California… I simply cannot find him. Did he just say he was married to get out of serving in WWI? I don’t blame him if he did.
He really was the only one on Mother Meada’s farm at the time, as his brother, William, had married and moved to Perry County, Indiana. A book listing all the “boys” from Crawford County who served in WWI had Clarence Eaton’s name. I know he did not serve, though, as I have his draft card listing him as a “2” deferment…
Hey, I’m just thrilled that he can read and write…and that signature is boss…
My theory is that in 1910 he was down near Leavenworth, working at the Button Factory, married or not, because if I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times: Grandpa was a button cutter…**
**Read on: Grandpa was a Button Cutter