April 12, 1904 – Mother Ill Again

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
230 Bird St. City

2730 Kenwood Ave. City
April 12, 1904

Homer;

Your letter found mother much better and I thank you for your interest in her. You remember I spoke in the last letter to you of an invitation to an entertainment and that I thought that I would be unable to go, well I changed my mind and did go. We had a very nice time. There were about seventy-five there. We stayed until about twelve o’clock. I will be at home Wednesday, evening and shall expect you out. I had not heard of the entertainment at the Chapel although I met and spoke with a young man of that church last evening. I suppose he forgot it.

Good-Bye
Pearl

P.S. Write to Minnie for she is anxious to hear from you
Your Pearl

___________________

I wonder what kind of birthday anniversary it was with 75 people. I hope the rally at Allen Chapel was successful in lifting the debt.

Allen chapel The Indianapolis Journal Sunday, April 17, 1904

April 7, 1904 – Mother Very Ill, Minnie’s New Address

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
#230 Bird St., City

 

2730 Kenwood Ave
City
April 7, 1904

Dear Homer;
Forgive me for not writing sooner, but don’t you know I did write but tore up the letter a few hours after. Mother is very ill now and has been since Easter eve. I am having a terrible time. I could not go to church Easter Morn and have just received an invitation to a friends at her birthday anniversary but had to send her my regrets. Pity me.
Your little friend

P.S. I am in an awful hurry, forgive this writing.

Your Pearl

P.S. Minnis address is #337 Colfax Ave. Benton Harbor Mich.

March 17, 1904 – A New Address and The Mullins Move to Michigan

Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
230 Alleghany St. City

2714 Kenwood Ave., City
March 17, 1904

Dear Homer;

I write to inform you that Minnie and Mullins have gone to Michigan to reside permanently. She told me that you did not know of it and I promised to inform you. I hope this finds you in good health for it leaves me quite indisposed.

Hoping to hear from you soon, or see you at our home.

I remain
Yours,
Pearl
New Address # 2730 Kenwood simply the number changed,
Pearl

_________________

The house on a 1915 Sanborn map. At the time of the letters, Pearl’s Uncle Thomas, brother of her mother, and his wife lived in the house at the other end of the lot.

A Wikipedia entry says “The Sanborn Maps were originally created for assessing fire insurance liability in urbanized areas in the United States.”

I wanted to know what Pearl’s house looked like. When my daughter Ayanna and I drove around Indianapolis looking for family homes, we found the house gone, now a parking lot.  I took a walk in the neighborhood via Google Maps. The houses nearby were on low rises, with steps going up to them. I looked at other houses on the Sanborn Map and found some still standing. I got a bit carried away, looking at the map, finding historic houses still standing. I finally made a composite of what the house may have looked like. I must admit that I added a porch.

My vision of 2730 Kenwood.
Possible layout of Kenwood house

 

Why Renumber and Rename Streets?  A long article from The Indianapolis Journal  April 8, 1895 about why they renumbered the streets. It took years and years to complete the project.

An announcement of the Mullins family’s move to Benton Harbor, Michigan appeared in a local black newspaper, The Indianapolis Recorder.

 

March 8, 1904 – Guitar and Piano Lessons

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
230 Alleghany St. City

2700 Kenwood Ave
March 8, 1904

Homer;
Your letter was handed me at supper and don’t you know, that I was rather glad to hear from you. I did not answer your letter before, because I thought you were tired of hearing such “silly” “little” letters. You have managed nicely to keep yourself out of sight lately, since I’ve come to think of it, I think it has been about a month – don’t you?

I heard of the bad news that you had from home and Homer I send you my sympathy. Are they better now, I mean the ones that were ill?

In regards to my music, why I suppose I am getting on quite well. My tutor flatters me and tells me that I am doing “Oh, so nicely”, but I don’t believe one half of what is told me. Do you know I’ve changed from the guitar to the piano? You must think me the most changeable person Homer, but I get so tired of everything so very soon, you know.

Aren’t you tired of this stuff Homer? Well I am.

Good-bye
Pearl

_____________

Did Pearl forget the letter she wrote just a month ago telling him off for insulting her mother?

Guitar? I had no idea my grandmother ever took guitar lessons. When I decided to stop taking piano lessons, she told me I should continue because I could play at parties and for friends. Some years later, she taught her niece Helen (Minnie’s oldest daughter) to play the piano.

Pearl would have heard about Homer’s family back in Georgia being sick from Minnie, who was married to Homer’s cousin, James Mullins.

February 7, 1904 – Evil Thoughts

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
230 Alleghany St. City

2700 Kenwood Ave
Indinapolis
February 7, 1904

Mr. Jarrett,

Homer, for the evil thought and words concerning my mother, which you spoke a few weeks ago, I forgive you as I hope to be forgiven of my many sins and faults. My mother does not know anything about it and has often asked why you never visit any more. She shall never learn your terrible thoughts of her . She will always think you one of the most gentle young men in the city, if I can help it.

Sincerely
Pearl D. Reed

 

January 27, 1904 – Illness and The True Reformers

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
9 Walnut St.
Hot Springs, Ark

2714 Kenwood Ave.
Indianapolis, Indiana,
January 27, 1904

Homer,

I received your letter about fifteen minutes ago and was pleased that you should be so solicitous of our welfare as to write to inquire about our health.

I am sorry to relate but I have a very bad cold from the exposure of Sunday evening. I was unable to be at my work Tuesday and, today was confined to my bed ‘till a few hours ago taking horrid old bitter remedies for my cold, and feel real badly yet, although I intend to go down town tomorrow whether or no.

I had intended to go to Allen’s Chapel Friday eve, but this slight illness has caused me to change my program for the week. If I am able to be at my work I will be contented. I am grateful to you for your kindness, but I am unable to accompany you on that evening.

You seem to be hurt over my calling you a coward. I said it, because, at the time you acted like one, but otherwise, I do not think you are. Forgive me if I spoke too plainly, for I did you an injury in doing so perhaps.

You must also forgive me for causing you to break your vow, in accompanying us to church and home. You should not have broken it Homer. You told me once before that you wanted to forget me and I told you that I would help you. We did quite well until Sunday Eve, and I suppose that you forgot. It shall not occur again, since, you wish it so, for I would not have you do an injury to yourself for me for anything, Homer.

Thanking you for every kindness that you have done for me and wishing you a successful career, I will say

Good-bye
Pearl D. Reed

 _________________

What did my grandmother Pearl miss and who were the True Reformers?

True Reformers meet at Allen ChapelTrue Reformers meet at Allen Chapel Fri, Jan 29, 1904 – Page 16 · The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) · Newspapers.com

True Reformers’ Large Installation.

The Order of True Reformers has made elaborate arrangements for a public installation at Allen Chapel tonight, at which 105 officers will be installed. The affair is under the direction of W. S. Henry, chief of the Indiana department. An address of welcome will be delivered by the Rev. H. E. Stewart, and a response by the Rev. Charles Williams. An address will be made by the Rev. James M. Townsend on “Negro Enterprises,” and one on “Advantages of Race Protection,” by the Rev. J. F. Walker. The installation will be conducted by the Rev. J. T. Carpenter, of Washington, D.C., who is department general of the order. Representatives of the seven fountains (lodges) of the city will respond. There will also be music and recitations.”

More information about the history of True Reformers Bank.

True Reformers Bank 1888-1910

The Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers was the first bank owned by African Americans in the United States. It was founded on March 2, 1888 by Reverend William Washington Browne and opened on April 3, 1889. Although the True Reformers bank was the first black-owned bank chartered in the United States, the Capitol Savings Bank of Washington, D.C. was the first to actually open on October 17, 1888.

Born in 1849, Browne was a former Georgia slave who escaped joined the Union Army in the North. After the Civil War, he founded the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers, a black fraternal organization. In 1887 when Browne visited Charlotte County, Virginia to establish a local branch of the True Reformers, he encountered problems. The branch arranged to keep its savings with a white shopkeeper in the county, but with racial tensions high after an 1887 lynching, the shopkeeper told other white residents that local blacks were organizing and raising funds, and the branch was forced to disband. Browne decided the True Reformers would have to found and run a bank itself so that its finances could not be monitored by whites. ”  To read more, please click on the linked text.

December 21, 1903 – Christmas

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
#230 Alleghany St. City

2714 Kenwood Ave.,
December 21, 1903

Mr. Jarrett –

Homer, do you remember a girl that you once knew and visited some times in the north part of this city? If you do, well that girl would like very much for you to come out to her house Christmas Day and take dinner with her and family, if you will be so obliging. It will give us great pleasure Homer if you will take dinner with us then, will you?

You are far from your home and mother and I would be delighted if you would share mine on this day of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

How are you? We have not seen you since the Sunday that you were out. Did you know that Minnie had moved on West Street now? I was at her house one evening last week, for a few minutes, and discovered that she had changed her dwelling.

I shall expect you for dinner Friday Homer and you will not disappoint us?

Your
Pearl

____________________

Bookmark to Pearl from her brother Clarence E. Reed. Christmas 1903.
Journal to Pearl from her brother Clarence.

July 3, 1903 – Hot Weather and A Train Trip

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
Exchange Hotel
Union Stockyard City

2714 Kenwood Ave.
Indianapolis,
July 2, 1903

Homer;
I received your interesting little letter and was delighted to hear from you. I do not feel very well, in fact, I do not believe any one could this warm weather, unless they were composed of iron. Do you?

I think we shall leave for Benton Harbor Monday A.M. if I am not mistaken. We were speaking of our trip today and mother spoke as though she wanted to stay only two weeks, but I shall try to persuade her to stay two months.

Homer you spoke of our going to the park Sunday, well, if we go, I think it had better be at 2 P.M., for it will be cooler then.

If I have worried you with this message, forgive me. I am tired and angry and had to vent my ill humor on someone.
Good-by.
Pearl D. Reed

__________________

We will never know why Pearl was tired and angry, but I did find out about the weather for that day and traveling to Benton Harbor by train. According to the Indianapolis Journal, on July 2, 1903, the high temperature was 90 degrees and the low was 70. It was clear and sunny with a south wind.
July 2, 1903 weatherJuly 2, 1903 weather Thu, Jul 2, 1903 – Page 2 · The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana) · Newspapers.com

Union Station, Indianapolis, Indiana

Union Station, Benton Harbor, Michigan

Pearl and her mother traveled from Indianapolis and Benton Harbor at least once a year to visit her older sisters Sarah Busby and Louise Shoemaker and their families. They would have taken the train.  One train left at 7 AM and arrived in Benton Harbor at 8 PM that same day. The later train left at 11 AM and arrived the next day at 3:10 PM.
Fri, Jul 17, 1903 – Page 9 · The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana) · Newspapers.com

The trip was 303 miles and lasted about 13 hours. The cost of a ticket in 1903 was about two cents a mile, bringing a the cost of one ticket to $6.06.

When I graduated from college, I took a trip to San Francisco via the Greyhound Bus. My grandmother Pearl packed me a big lunch to carry with me. I remember fried chicken enough to share and white buttered bread. And fruit.  I imagine they packed a good lunch for the train trip.

May 17, 1903 – Evangeline

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
Exchange Hotel
Union Stockyard, City

2714 Kenwood Ave., City
May 17, 1903

Mr. Jarrett,

Homer I am indeed very sorry that I was not at home Saturday when you came. In looking through “Evangeline”, I found your little missive and was glad to hear that you liked and enjoyed the books. Mother was feeling badly when you were here and is worse now. She was confined to her bed all of today. You need not answer this Homer for it is of no consequence and is not worth spending the time on.

Pearl

____________________

 

 

The Letters – The People

Pearl

My grandmother, Pearl Doris Reed, was born in Lebanon, Kentucky in 1886. She was the youngest of the eight children of Anna Ray Allen Reed.  The four youngest, including Pearl, were the children of Buford Averitt, a white physician.  The older children had different fathers. By 1888 Pearl’s oldest brother, George, had moved to Indianapolis Indiana to work at Van Camps cannery. The rest of the family soon followed. She graduated from high school and took music lessons. In 1903, Pearl was nineteen years old. She lived with her mother and older brothers in North Indianapolis, Indiana.

Oldest sister Josie was dead before 1900. Sisters Sarah and Louise were married and lived in Benton Harbor, Michigan with their husbands and families. Minnie and James Mullins and her growing family moved back and forth between Indianapolis Indiana and Benton Harbor during this time.

Pearl’s mother, Anna Ray Reed, was born into slavery about 1845 in Lebanon, Kentucky. For most of her life she worked as a domestic or a laundress. During the time of the letters, she was often ill. Her sons supported her. Anna had two siblings. Her sister Clara remained in Lebanon, Kentucky. Her brother Thomas served in the Civil War. He moved to Indianapolis, about 1877. During the time of the letters, Anna and her family lived in the house directly behind Thomas’.

Homer Jarrett

Homer Jarrett was a cousin of Minnie’s husband, James Mullins. He was born in Harris County, GA in 1882. He completed 8th grade. During the time of the letters he was moving around a lot, from Indianapolis, to Pine Bluff Arkansas to St. Louis MO and back to Indiana. He eventually moved to Boston, MA where he made his living in real estate. He never married. According to his draft records, he was short, slender, tan complexion, black hair and blue eyes, . He died in Boston in 1959 at 77.

James Mullins
Minnie

Minnie Averette Reed Mullins was born in 1878. Completed 8th grade. In 1898 Minnie married James Mullins in Indianapolis, IN. Their daughter, Helen was born in 1899, son James in 1900, Ben in 1901. Arthur was born in 1904. They had 12 children in all. They continued to move between Indiana and Michigan, settling in Michigan permanently by 1920. Minnie died in 1963 at 84.

Hugh

Hugh Marion Reed Averette was born on April 23, 1876, in Lebanon, Kentucky. He completed the 8th grade. Hugh served as a coal presser during the Spanish American War and returned to Indianapolis in 1902. He married Blanche Celeste Young in 1906. They had four children. They moved to CA in the 1940s and the whole family passed for white. He died in 1951 at 75.

Lillian Louise

Lillian Louise Reed Shoemaker was born about 1873 in Lebanon, Kentucky. In 1891, Louise married Michigan native, Solonus Shoemaker, in Benton Harbor, MI. Daughter, Mildred, was born in 1899. Son, Floyd 4 years later in 1903. She died in 1938 at 65.

George Reed: Was born in 1867 in Lebanon, Kentucky. His mother was 18 when he was born. There was an older sister, Josephine, who was born during slavery and died before 1900. George never married and had no children. As the oldest son in a home without a man, he became the man of the house. He never learned to read or write and earned his living as a laborer. He moved to Indianapolis in 1887, where his mother’s brother Thomas Ray Allen had been living for at least five years. The rest of the family followed. George died in 1945 at 78.

Sarah

Sarah Jane Reed Busby was born in 1871. Completed 4th grade. In 1889, she married James A. Busby in Indianapolis. They immediately moved to James’ home in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They had ten children. She died in 1954 in Benton Harbor, at 84

Clarence Elwood Reed was the youngest son of Anna Reed and the brother next in age to my grandmother Pearl. He completed 8th grade. In 1902 he moved with the rest of the family to 2730 Kenwood Ave. He later moved to Chicago and married at least three times. He had no children. He died in 1954 in Chicago at 72.

In 1900 a black laborer earned about $150. An black laundress earned $180 per year.  By 1910 the average worker earned $200 – $400 per year.