Category Archives: Indianapolis

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

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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.

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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.

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.

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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?