Grandmother Before the Party

Before the party.

It was June of 1971 and my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage was waiting for the party to begin. Uncle Hugh is in the kitchen getting things ready.  Grandmother was 87 and didn’t break her hip for some years yet. I remember so many dinners around that table. There were always cakes with caramel icing for birthdays. This time it looks like there are two cakes – one chocolate and one with caramel icing. Both have candles.

Candy corns in the little silver dish. There were often candy corns in the covered candy dish that always on the front room table coffee table. Candy corns or red and white striped peppermints or sometimes chocolate kisses.

My parents at the party, a corner of Henry. Blair and Anna Pearl are at the kids table in the front room.

I can think of several June birthdays. My father turned 60 that year. My cousin Anna Pearl turned eleven and her sister Maria turned nine. It must have been an all June collective party. I wish I had been there. My oldest daughter Jilo turned one that June.

Click to see other Sepia Saturday posts.

Sarah Jane Reed Busby – Obituary

Sarah Jane Busby 1871-1954
Sarah “Sally” Reed Busby

You can read more about Sarah Jane Busby in these two posts: Correspondence Relating to George Reed’s Estate and Canning With Aspirin Instead of Sugar.

Sarah Jane Reed Busby was my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s older sister. She was sixteen when my grandmother was born. She grew up in Lebanon, Kentucky and moved to Indianapolis around 1887. In 1889 she married James Busby and moved to Benton Harbor Michigan where their ten children were born. All but the two oldest lived to adulthood.

Her husband James; four of her sons – Rosco, Roscoe, James and Morris; two of her sisters – Josie and Lillian and three of her brothers – George, Hugh and Clarence preceded her in death.

Correspondence Relating to George Reed’s Estate

Note: Sarah Jane Busby could not write and one of her daughter’s wrote the letters that, I believe, her mother dictated. At the end of one of the letters, the daughter writes as herself, a little note to Aunt Pearl. She doesn’t sign her name though so I don’t know which one it was. Sarah and Sally were one and the same.

7:45 A.M.

Benton Harbor Mich

April 4-18-46

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am writing you again to see how you are. I am quite well and trusting you and family are the same.  The weather here is nice, only a little cool this morning.

I am sending these papers. I received this from Minnie yesterday. I am not paying any of her bills. She made it so therefor she will have to pay it. Her lawyer does not know anything about me. But if she signed my name on any of her papers I will know something about her. She is getting off easy with her lies.

When she came to me to help get a lawyer I told her then no. Because she said Ben paid $50.00 and want to know if I wanted to pay $50.00 an I told her no.  Minnie and her lawyer did not fight any case for me. George fought my case when he made his paper out the way he wanted them. She told the lawyer I did not know anything about law, and I don’t think she did either.

Will close. All send love to you and family.

Sincerely your sis Sally J Busby

_________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Jun 18-46

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. It found me not quite so well and glad to know you are the same. (Note; at first she said it did find her well.) No I was not affected by the bursting of water main.  I would love to go to Indianapolis but I am not quite up to it. I am having trouble since and bothers me quite a bit.

I won’t need to be there you have did a good job up to now and I know you will finish this job just as George would like and I know with God’s help you will come out more then (someone) (sic)

While you are out there you ask the lady what she would want to pay out for it. As long as she is the first to ask for it. And you can let me know just what you think it is worth.

What did Minnie say why she is going to Calif. and who is she going to visit. And they left her there in Detroit and they will do the same to her after her money is gone. I think she had better stay where she is at. But that is not any of my business.

I have no garden up yet and I have not got my house cleaned all up yet. Can’t get a man to take my storm windows down for me.

Did the tornado affect you any way? I just heard it on the radio.

Be good and take care of yourself. Your sister,

Sally Busby

P.S. Morris’ boy has twins girls – and a older son.

Benton Harbor Mich

Dec. 2-1946

1238  Broadway

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter this morning and was more then glad to hear from you. I am quite well. And was glad to hear that you & the family are the same. Yes I sent the receipt that the atty sent for. I don’t understand what he wants the hospital Bill for and it being paid. Pearl you have to see after my things until this estate is settled. He has not sent me any deed as yet. I have no deed yet.

I don’t know what to make of that atty. I don’t know what he is trying to do. I sent my things to him and I have not heard from him since. You know the Bond won’t be lifted until it is all settled. If George knew this is going on like this, he would turn over in his grave. I heard Minnie was gone and John went with her and I don’t know how true it is. All send love to you and your family.

Sincerely your Sis Sally

Note: There is no letter from Sarah Busby about the property not coming to her. I do not know if this was cleared up and it did go to her. The Mr. Frankovitz mentioned in this letter was the owner of the market located a block from George’s house on Kenwood.

1840 W. 20th St.

Los Angeles

Jan 1/47

Dear Pearl;

I arrived ok and the trip was very nice. The flowers are really pretty, so many are in bloom now in the dead of winter, one can imagine how it will be in the summer time. The last week has been very cold the coldest it has been in years so the people say. I have had a touch of the flu for the last week. But I am a little better now. I hope all of you folks are all right, and in the best of health. Peter seemed to take the trip very well.

Last week I heard Anny went back to Detroit after staying in Phoenix about two weeks. But I don’t think she is satisfy yet.

Say Pearl have you people heard or taken care of that rubber stock that George left. You said you were waiting for Albert to come back from Tenn. about a month ago. So I hope Grant hasn’t started any more of his tricks because I got very little of what George left anyway, I do need whatever was suppose to be mine very much.

Well that’s about all, I do hope to hear from you soon.  Tell Lou hello, and I do miss seeing him very much. Peter said hello also.

Your sister

Minnie

________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Jan. 2-1-47

Sarah Busby

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am sending you this letter and the address of the Real Estate Office addresses on the estate. I have sent for the tax and can’t get no answer. I don’t understand why I can’t hear about the taxes. I do hope you can get these things straighten out. Because that Atty is doing the same thing right over again and why is he doing it? Well, this is all. Hopen to hear from you soon. All send love to you and your family.

I remain

Sincerely your

sister

Sally

__________________

Sunday  2-6-1947

1238 Broadway St.

Sarah Busby

Dear Pearl:

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. glad to know that you and family are well. Every one here is quite well. Only I am have some trouble with my knees.

No I have not received any mail from Atty Grant since the last of October. You was supposed to look after this estate so you had to see this estate was carried out as George wished it. Now you know when you brought the Deed the old one the transferred was supposed to be attached to it. Here he sent money to see if I would let the people have it. I wrote to Davis and  they did not answer either. It looks like you are letting them handle it to beat me out of it. Now you say if you could you would go to Indianapolis and see about it yourself. Why don’t you and see after it. You was paid for that until the estate was finished and anyone received their part. What is wrong now? Where does Bonding Co. located at? I sent about the taxes and they turned it over to Grant. I don’t intend to stand it, but I will understand it. Why are you so afraid that I will lose this property? You told they it was only worth $2,000 and have him sell it. And George told you to watch Grant. Now what is he trying to do? You must have taken your eye off of him. What is the matter that Grant does answer your letters? There is not any bills. I want to hear from you at once.

I remain

sincerely your

sis Sara Busby

__________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Mar. 3- 12th -47

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am writing you again to see how you are. I am quite well and trusting you and family are the same.

The weather is quite nice here now only a lot of water. How is it in Detroit? Nice I hope.

Pearl, you said in your letter everything would be settled up in ten days. I have received no papers as yet of any kind and I don’t know just what to think about this Mr. Grant. I don’t see why they can’t make him settle up this matter. I am going to make another stop. I want to know what they are holding up that deed and transfer. I want to know what the hold is. I can’t hear a word from Atty Grant. When you write to him he won’t answer you and why and he has never sent the rent money at all. and I want to know. Will you be so kind as to write where George paid his taxes and find out for me how much it is. Because this is a stumbling block there somewhere. I hope I hear from you before the last of the week because this is not settled up with until I get my papers.

This is all family send love to you and family.

Sincerely

Your sister Sally,

Answer soon.

PS and Atty Grant said I owe him some money and I want to know what I owe him any money for. Please tell me.

1840 West 20th St.

Los Angeles California

April 7, 1947

Dear Pearl,

This morning I received three checks from Townsend and Townsend for $4.19. I thought we were getting interest from the stock but it seems that he sold the stock and that is all we get. I am sending you the letter so you will understand better. When you have finished reading it please send it back to me and also the other letter that I sent you some time ago.

How is everyone? I hope they are all well. Harold’s baby is just fine. She is a very big baby. I heard Marie had her baby, girl, March 9th.

I dreamed of you the other night. You sent Henry to tell me to come for three days to help you make Gladys’ birthday party. I thought it was such a queer dream. There was you and Albert an another man there, but there was a mist between us and I couldn’t see too clearly. Well, that’s all for now. Everyone is fine here, Minnie

________________

Benton Harbor, Mich

April 4-22-47

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. This leaves me quite well and trusting you are still improving.

Yes, I receive a letter from Minnie and a check of $4.19 and she never told me the stock was sold. She said the atty sent it to her to send to me. and she told you that the stock was sold.

My Atty said it was not sold. Because he received a letter from stock Co. and it is not sold. And is that the first check you received?

As Grant I have never heard from him. And find out about the taxes from me and see about that transfer, you tell Minnie that I received the check because I have no address of hers. This is all and we all send love to you and family. I would like to get this all straighten up before there is a lot of scandal. Because people know you handled it. You know what I mean.

Aunt Pearl Excuse this writing I am in a hurry and tired. I worked my day and night too till 11:00 P.M. and I am so tired I don’t know which way I am going.

Will answer at once.

Sincerely

Your

Sally

George Reed Probate Record – 1946

Today I am posting the Final Report of George Reed’s Estate file.  It includes the names and locations of his five surviving siblings. Two sisters, Josie Campbell Robertson and Lilly Louise Reed Shoemaker, predeceased him.

It has the address and location of the family home on Kenwood Avenue, and the amounts and location of his funds. It names monies that had been paid out and to whom it was paid.

George was a laboring man all of his life. He couldn’t read or write.  It amazes me that he was able to leave so large a sum at his death. There were no family stories of George being a bootlegger or gambler. My aunt Barbara mentioned that he owned other property but there is none listed here.

My uncle Hugh Cleage, who looked like George Reed, according to my aunt Barbara.

George was strict with the younger family members that came up under his care. My aunt Barbara said that his niece Bessie, ran off as soon as she could to escape the restrictions. My grandmother Pearl was a few years older and seems to have thrived there.  I have no photo of him, only that he “looked like Hugh.” My uncle Hugh, not his brother Hugh. I take that to mean that he was short and wiry and brown skinned. There were no particular stories about him. I wish that I had talked to my grandmother about him.

Next up will be letters exchanged between the lawyers (both of whom were well known black attorneys in Indianapolis), the sisters (Minnie and Sarah) and my grandmother Pearl.

 

 

George Reed Funeral – May 31, 1945

George Reed Funeral

“Funeral Services for George Reed, 73, colored, who died Monday at the home of Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Cleage, Detroit, were held today at the C.M.C. Willis mortuary, with the Rev. J.A. Alexander, pastor of Bethel, A. M. E. church, officiating. Burial was in Crown Hill. the body was accompanied here by Dr. and Mrs. Cleage and Henry Cleage, Detroit. Mr. Reed became ill here a year and a half ago and was taken to Detroit where he lived with his sister, Mrs. Cleage. Survivors, besides Mrs. Cleage, are two other sisters, Mrs. Sara Busby, Benton Harbor, Mich.; and Mrs. Minnie Mullins, Detroit; and two brothers, Clarence Reed, Chicago, and Hugh Reed who has lived in the West several years.”

George was actually closer to 78. He appears in the 1870 census as three year old George Ray with his mother Annie Ray.

 

 


Last Will and Testament of George Reed

You can read about George Reed’s life at this post George A. Reed

George Reed 1873 – 1945 – Tombstone Tuesday

Last Will & Testament of George Reed 1943

Click to enlarge

Last Will and Testament of George A. Reed

State of Indiana

County of Marion

I, George A. Reed, being at this time a resident of the city of Indianapolis, Marion County, in the state of Indiana and although impaired physically, of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament hereby revoking any and all wills by me hereto fore made.

Item I  All my debts and funeral expenses shall be first and fully paid.

Item II I hereby give and bequeath to my brothers Clarence Reed and Hugh Reed twenty five dollars ($25.00) each.

Item III  I hereby give, bequeath and desire my real estate situated at 2730 Kenwood Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana, more particularly described as  seventy (70′) off the east end of Lot twenty five in Ruddle and Vinton’s Park Place addition to the city of Indianapolis, in said county and state, as per plot thereof in Platt Book 4 page 190 seventy (feet) off the East end of said Lot twenty five (25) being forty (40′) feet wide, to my sister Sarah Busby of Benton Harbor, Michigan, to be her sole property, absolutely and in fee simple.

Click to enlarge

2.

Item IV I have money on deposit in the United States Postal Savings Bank of Indianapolis, Indiana and at the Railroadmen’s Federal Savings and Loan Association of Indianapolis. I hereby give, bequeath and desire all said money and all the rest and residue of my property, real, personal and mixed that remains after my bequests mentioned at Item II and the devise at Item III to my sisters, Sarah Busby of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Minnie Mullins Busby of Benton Harbor, Michigan and Pearl Cleage of Detroit Michigan, to be theirs absolutely and in fee simple, and they shall each have one third thereof.

Item V  I hereby nominate and appoint Pearl Cleage to be the executrix of this my last will and testament and of my estate.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 25th day of October 1943 George A. (His X mark) Reed (seal)

Witness to mark:  Mettie J. Martin

Robert Lee Brokenburr                         Indianapolis, Ind. Oct. 25, 1943

We, the undersigned hereby, in the presence of said George A.Reed and in the presence of each other at his request witness the foregoing last will and Testament, that he declared the same to be his last will and testament and signed same of his own free will and accord in our presence, and we sign same as witnesses in his presence and in the presence of each other.

Mettie J Martin

Robert Lee Brokenburr

____________________

You can read about George Reed’s life at this post George A. Reed.

Remembering my father on his birthday

My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr aka Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman would have been 107 today if he had not made his transition in 2000. I am re-posting a collage with 100 photographs of him that I did on 2011 today.

Click to enlarge. It will enlarge twice.

Here are links to some of the posts I’ve done about him:

The Fellowship Dinner  – One of my favorites, a letter home in which he describes the first church supper after he became Pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield Mass. in 1945.

Rebellions Create Strange Leaders – sermon, 1967

Accountability – article, 1967

Cleage for Congress – 1966

How Do We Program For Power? – 1968

Man of The Year – Detroit’s Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr (1963)

 

 

Why Renumber and Rename Streets?

Engineer’s Department Would Like to See Some Changes

Two Streets of the Same Name Not an Unusual Occurrence – Renumbering Suggested

(From The Indianapolis Journal  April 8, 1895. Newspapers.com)

Click to enlarge

The city engineer’s department has had under consideration for some time the question of renaming and renumbering the streets of the city.  The department believes that reform in this line is needed and a casual glance at that portion of the city directory which contains the names of the streets and a short hunt for some unknown number indicates that reformation is needed. The engineer’s department has prepared a number of ordinances with an improvement  as the object, but for some reason that (sic) they never appeared in the Council for consideration. It is said that there are three or four ordinances calling for changes in street names and numbers now at rest with committees.  The ordinance providing for the most radical change was prepared by Chief Clerk Fuller and he said the other day that he has never heard from it since he handed it to one of the councilmen for introduction and consideration. It provides for the changing of all the cross streets north of Washington street, calling Market street First street and the other cross streets named accordingly. The ordinance provided for fifty numbers to a square, so when a person found Third or Tenth street he would know what numbers could be found near those streets. This plan has been adopted in all the leading cities of the country. It is said by some that Indianapolis has the poorest numbered and worst named streets in the country.

At present there is no rule for finding a given number but “keep right on going until you come to it.” Persons who have to direct strangers find it difficult to do so. Street-car conductors, except after acquaintance with the numbers, seldom know where to stop the cars for given numbers. The present method of numbering streets running north and south from Washington street and those running east and west from Meridian street is said to be a good one. Many of the down-town streets are properly numbered, that is, for a certain distance from the center of the city. After a person gets out some distance, however, he is likely to find 1070, 1039 and 1067 on houses in one row.

But the renumbering of the streets would not begin to cause the change which the renaming of them would. There are several cases shown in the directory, where two streets in different parts of the town have the same name. Since the annexation of North Indianapolis the confusion is greater, for that suburb has many streets bearing the same names as streets in the old Indianapolis. Irvington street namers seemed to take delight in adding to the confusion for the majority of their streets have the same names as streets in the city. But as Irvington is a town all by itself the city cannot presume to interfere with its naming of throughfares. Should the streets north of Washington Street be given numbers for names the names which they now bear could be given to some of those streets which have been so hard run for a name that they have had to take the name frequently heard but doubtless it is little known that there are two College avenues. There is the one for which the street-car line is named and then over east, somewhere in the vicinity of the Monon tracts, there is another College avenue. Should a seeker of the little-known College avenue desire to find his way some night it might be embarrassing for him. Noble is another familiar street name and it should be, for there are two Noble streets, upon each of which live many people. One of them is a north and south street east of Meridian and the other is west of Meridian, near the river. There is a Fifteenth street and after it has run for a distance under that name it changes to Bruce street. Eleventh street acts in much the same manner, except that it adopts Herbert as a name, after a certain length. Carter is the name of a north and south street in the northern part of the city and also the name of an east and west street in the eastern part. Christian avenue is a very pretty residence street north and Christian street is a street of homes east of Rural street. There is a Davis street northwest in the Fourth ward and a Davis street southeast in the Twelfth ward . There are two Eldridge streets in different parts of the city and two Ellis streets several miles apart.  There is an English avenue southeast and an English street north. It is a long distance which separates Harrison avenue from Harrison street, but a stranger would be apt to put them very close together, that is until he found one and then learned that it was the other he was seeking.  There is a Michigan street, a Michigan avenue and a Michigan road and each has many residents. There are two Nevada streets, one way up north in the First ward and the other as far south in the Fourteenth. South, there is a Pennsylvania avenue, although one of the principal north-and-south streets is named Pennsylvania, and the two are not related. There are two School streets, two Smith streets and two Sheridan streets and a number on either cannot be sought without confusion. Walnut seems to be a favorite for streets in this locality. One of the leading cross streets on the North side is named Walnut, there is a Walnut in the Fifth ward, a Walnut in North Indianapolis and Irvington complicates matters by having a Walnut avenue. Many cases appear where two streets bear the same name. West Indianapolis and Haughville have been somewhat considerate and but few of their streets bear the same names as the Indianapolis streets.

Policemen who are expected to direct strangers and answer all questions put to them, daily realize the confusion resulting from too many streets and two few names.  The engineer’s office also appreciates the embarrassment and the employees of that department are anxious for a reformation. The Council has the power to change the names of streets, but only occasionally is such done. A councilman from one ward naturally feels that the other fellow should ask the change and no councilman feels called upon to ask the change of the other fellow’s street.

++++++++++++

This post is in answer to the question “Why renumber houses?” raised by this post “910 Fayette Street – Not the House I Thought It Was”

 

910 Fayette Street – Not the House I Thought It Was!

While looking for information about the house my grandmother Pearl Reed and her family lived during the time she wrote the letters to Homer Jarrett, I decided to look in the real estate section of the Indianapolis newspapers.  I came across an an item offering the  house that my grandfather Albert B. Cleage and his brothers lived in at 910 Fayette, for rent. (Click on images to enlarge.)

910 Fayette is at the bottom of the list.
The little blue house on the left was 906 and 908 until the numbers were changed and then it became 910 and 912. The two story house on the right was 910 and 912 until the addresses changed and then it was 914 and 916.  This is a Google photo.

When visiting Indianapolis a decade ago, my daughter Ayanna drove me around the city looking for family homes. We found nothing but parking lots and weed covered land where our ancestors used to live, until we found a little blue house numbered 910 Fayette standing and in good condition.

I took this photo the day we found the house. You can see the number 910 on the door.

My father, Albert Buford Cleage, Jr, was born at 910 Fayette on June 13, 1911. His parents had married the year before when Albert Sr. completed his medical training and received his physician’s license. I imagined how crowded it must have been  with Jacob, his wife Gertrude, Henry, Albert and later Pearl sharing one half of the small two family home.

Next, I looked at the Sanborn Fire Maps for Indianapolis, Indiana, to see how and if the house had changed over the years. The oldest map was from 1887. I could not find 910 Fayette. The street numbers only went up to 350.

The next map was from 1898. I found the house on the forth lot from the corner.  The house was a two story, divided frame house, with a one story room on the back and a porch across the front. The house and the small outbuilding behind it (outhouse?) had wood roofs with wooden shingles. The house number is printed in the street in front of the house with the current address, 910, closest to the house and the previous address (164) beneath it in parenthesis.

1898 Map. Red marks 910 Fayette.

Using the number, 164, I went back to the 1887 map. I found a house on the third lot, numbered 162. Next to it was an unnumbered lot. It would have been 164 and it was the fourth lot from the corner. The house I was looking for had not yet been built.

1887 Sanborn Fire map. Red marks the lot where 910 would eventually be built.

Next, I pulled up the 1914 Sanborn map and located 910 Fayette. I noticed that the house was marked as a frame house but with only 1.5 stories.

Red again makes the spot.

But wait, 910 is the third house from the corner on this map instead of the fourth. Looking at the fourth house, more closely, I saw that the number closer to the house was now 914 and the one below it, the old number, was 910! The house I thought was the one my father was born in was not the little blue house, but the larger house next door. Both houses were divided to hold two households.

The former 910, now 914 Fayette.

I found a photograph online at several real estate sites, of the renovated house. It looked like half of that house would be much less crowded for five adults and eventually a baby, than the smaller blue one next door.  In 1905, it rented for $12.50 and had five rooms. My grandfather and his brothers and their families lived there from 1909 to 1912. At that time they spread out to larger quarters.

________________

Go To this post to read an 1895 article about renumbering and renaming streets in Indianapolis – Why Renumber and Rename Streets?

My Grandmother’s Letters

Pearl Reed (later Cleage) about 1904.

During the past month I have been working on the forty letters I recently found written from 1903 to 1905 by my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage to her friend Homer Jarrett. Homer was a cousin of her sister Minnie’s husband, James Mullins.

After reading through the letters, I transcribed them. It wasn’t always easy because her hand writting seems hurried and is hard to read. There were a few words I couldn’t make out at first but after going back, I have figured out most of them.

Next, I looked in newspapers of the day to find out about the temperatures when she said it was hot or cold. I looked for announcements about concerts, church events and people that she mentioned. I googled the books she wrote about.  I looked for how much money a black laboring man made during those years. It wasn’t much. I’ve wondered about their Christmas and Thanksgiving menus.

Now I am trying to reconstruct the house she lived in with her older brothers and mother. I found the house in the Sanborn and Bast Atlas maps. At first I was happy with that, then I wanted to know what the house looked like. For several days I’ve been looking at pictures online of historic houses in Indianapolis, Indiana and at drawings of possible layouts. Now I’m wondering about furniture.

The letters themselves gave me a window into the life my grandmother was living back in the early 1900s. The other information helps me to light up the rooms I’m looking into. Eventually I will be ready to put it all together.