Pearl Doris Reed Cleage – 1884 – 1982

Pearl Reed Cleage. Photo taken in the 1940 at her home on Scotten in Detroit.

Thinking about my grandmother Cleage today. She would have been 133 if she were still living. Pearl Doris Reed Cleage, born in 1884 in Lebanon, Kentucky and died in 1982 in Idlewild, Michigan.

The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.

Links to other blog posts about Pearl Reed Cleage

Dr. Albert B. Cleage and Miss Pearl Reed Wed

1940 Census – The Albert B. and Pearl (Reed) Cleage Family

Two Newspaper Articles

Pearl Reed Cleage With Baby Henry

 

Generations of Family Signatures

missvirginia
The first page from my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s memory book. My mother’s, mother’s mother. The first generation born out of slavery and the first literate generation.  I believe that she and her siblings all attended schools founded by the Congregational Church in Montgomery, AL after the Civil War.
My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.
My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.  I do not have a photograph of him but I did find his signature on my great grandparents marriage license.
ransom_handwriting
My great grandmother’s brother, Ransom Allen.
marymccall_handwritting
My great grandmother’s oldest sister, Mary Allen McCall.
pearl_cleage_signature
My paternal grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage. I found her signature on some legal papers because all of the letters I have from her were signed “Mother”.  I know that she graduated from high school in Indianapolis, IN and received all of her education in Indianapolis but I do not know the names of the schools.  Her signature came from a Marion Indiana Probate record for her older brother’s will in 1946.
My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN.
My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN. His signature came from his marriage license in 1910.
fanny
My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham. She was educated in Montgomery, AL at State Normal which was a school from elementary to high school, started by the Congregational Church for Black students.  Her signature came from the 1910 Montgomery Census form via ancestry.com. She was an enumerator.
Mershell
My maternal grandfather Mershell C. Graham. My mother said he taught himself to read. The 1940 census said he finished 8th grade. From Coosada, Elmore Cty, Alabama. His signature came from his WW1 Draft registration card in 1917 via ancestry.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.
My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.  His full signature came from a Purchaser’s recipt in 1957 for a building Central Congregational Church wanted to buy.

 

 

My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.
My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.  Her signature came from a State of Michigan Teacher Oath in 1964.  The “Doris” came from a letter home from Los Angeles in 1944.
My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit
My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit.   The bottom signature came from my 3rd daughter’s birth certificate in 1976.  The top one came from a deed for the sale of the house on Oregon.  I was a witness. 1968.

 

 

My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.
My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.  Her signature came from the return address on a letter in 1991.

 

When I started looking for signatures, I thought it would be easy because I have many letters through the generations.  The problem was that they did not sign letters with both first and last names.  Some repeatedly used nicknames.  I was able to find most signatures by searching through documents – marriage licenses, social security cards, deeds, bills of sale and group membership cards. I finally found my sister’s signature in the return address on an envelope and if I’d thought of it sooner, might have found others in the same place.

A – Z Wrapup – Letters From Albert B. Cleage Sr 1907 – 1912

The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.
The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge  I blogged everyday using items taken from the letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother from 1907 to 1912, starting with “A” and moving right through the alphabet to “Z”.  I even managed 2 bonus posts on Sundays that were related to the theme.  Doing them out of chronological order to meet the necessary letter bothered me until someone pointed out that I would have overlooked some of the words that gave the letters more context, as in H is for Henry Hummons or Q is for Questions.

This year was much easier for me than last year. I think having a theme and material that was already there, did it. It probably helped that I did little else everyday this month besides work on the blog.  I managed to visit quite a few new to me blogs and got some new visitors.  Now, if I can just use May to put these letters into a print ready form, I will be happy.  The header for this post is a picture of just some of the descendents of Albert and Pearl Cleage taken in 2012.

Me and my grandfather - 1948.
My grandfather Albert B. Cleage Sr and me in 1948.
  1. A is for Albert Buford Cleage – December 7, 1907
  2. B is for Book – March 8, 1909
  3. C is for Comet – May 27, 1910
  4. D is for Detroit – June 20, 1909
  5. E is for Eastern States – June 26, 1909
  6. F is for Flower Clock – September 14, 1909
  7. G is for Graduation – February 10, 1910
  8. H is for Henry Hummons – August 9, 1909
  9. I is for I’ll Take a Chance – December 8, 1908
  10. Extra: 4 Bonus Cards – 7/20/1909, 7/28/1909, 8/21/1909,  9/3/1909
  11. J is for June – Cadavers Post Card – June 19, 1909
  12. K is for Kenwood – March 30, 1909
  13. L is for Lincoln Hospital – March 18, 1910
  14. M is for Mother – February 21, 1910
  15. N is for Nineteen Ten Fayette Street – October 18, 1909
  16. O is for Opportunity and Operation – March 22, 1910
  17. P is for Pearl – July 21, 1910
  18. Q is for Questions – May 27, 1910
  19. R is for Remember – July 15, 1909
  20. S is for Sight Seeing – June 28, 1909
  21. T is for Thomas Dixon – January 21, 1910
  22. U is for Union Station (graduation) – June 21, 1910
  23. V is for Vaudeville -July 15, 1909
  24. W is for Wedding – September 2, 1910
  25. Extra: Home is Where the Heart Is – July 14, 1911
  26. X is for eXsenator & X-ray (Log cabin) – July 21, 1911
  27. Y is for Young Albert – July 11, 1911
  28. Z is for Zoo and Kalamazoo – July 9, 1912

Pearl and Albert with their children and 3 of the grandchildren. My sister and I were at our other grandmothers and the youngest 4 were not yet born.  1951.Pearl and Albert with their children and 3 of the grandchildren. My sister and I were at our other grandparents and the youngest 4 were not yet born. Their backyard at 2270 Atkinson, Detroit, MI – 1952.

 

A-to-Z+Reflection+[2014]
To see other reflections, CLICK!

Z is for Zoo and KalamaZOO

atoz-2014-banner-910

"Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr and son Albert Jr"
Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. and son, Albert Jr

Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr and son Albert Jr – about 1912.  For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging everyday using items taken from the letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother from 1907 to 1912, starting with “A” and moving right through the alphabet to “Z” during April.

My grandfather did go to the Zoo in 1909 when he was traveling between Detroit and Buffalo while working on the Steamer Eastern States.

July 3, 1909 (Enroute to Buffalo, Steamer Eastern States)

My Dear Pearl:

…Yesterday while Lewis and I were walking up the street in Buffalo, whom did we see standing on the corner (as if lost) but Miss Berry of Indianapolis, her brother and his wife and a Miss Stuart an Indianapolis teacher. Well to be sure we were surprised and they too seemed agreeably so. We spent the day with them taking in the zoo and other points of interest. They visited our boat and we showed them through it…

However, it is KalamaZOO that I am more interested in as this is the last letter in the A – Z Challenge and also the last letter my grandfather mailed back to Pearl, now his wife, and little Albert, in Indianapolis as they planned their relocation. My grandfather calls my father “Toddie” in the letter. This is a nickname he kept among family and friends for the rest of his life.  This letter is addressed to a house on N. West Street, several blocks from the one on Fayette Street.

6_10_30_env 10-30-12_000110-30-12_0002June 10, 1912 (From Kalamazoo, MI to Indianapolis)

My dear Sweetheart

I am awfully tired and lonesome. Have not as yet been able to find a suitable place for either office or residence. I am trying to find a place to suit both purposes but so far have been unable to find either. However by the time the things get here I’ll find some place to put them and just as soon as a find how much I am going to have to pay for rent will send you some money so that if you get the things all ready you can leave any time the first of next week. Hope ere this reaches you are much rested and feeling fine. Please do not worry and fret yourself sick about what some people may say. Take care of yourself and baby and get some man to pack and fix the things for you. I expect to secure a place tomorrow if possible.

Did Mamma and Ed leave Wednesday? Did Richard go with them? Tell Toddie to give you whole lots of bites for daddie. I would give five dollars to hear him say: – “Ite man” tonight

Remember I’ll try to send you some money by Monday. How are the people paying you, I want to see you all awfully bad.

Write often to your Albert.

___________________

From Michigan Manual of Freedmen’s Progress. Published in 1915. Page 53.

Albert-B-Cleage Albert B. Cleage was born in Loudon County, Tennessee, May 15, 1883. He graduated from the Henderson Normal and Industrial College in 1902, from Knoxville College in 1906, and the Indiana School of Medicine in 1910. He was appointed as intern at the city dispensary at Indianapolis and served there as house physician and ambulance surgeon. He began private practice in Kalamazoo in 1912 as the first African American doctor and practiced and lived at 306 Balch Street.

X is for xray and eX-Senator

atoz-2014-banner-910

"Pearl Cleage and baby Albert"
Pearl Reed Cleage and baby Albert. 1911 Indianapolis, IN

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging everyday using items taken from the letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother from 1907 to 1912, starting with “A” and moving right through the alphabet to “Z” during April.

As I tried to figure out an X word to use for this post, I wondered if an x-ray machine was in use during 1910 when my grandfather finished medical school.  Yes, they were. Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen discovered them in 1895 and by 1910 there were various early versions of x-ray machines.  Here is a photo of Rontgen’s wife’s hand, with ring.

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen with x-ray of wife's hand.
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen with x-ray of wife’s hand.

Since this information was not included in one of my grandfather’s letters or cards, I am also including this postcard of the log cabin in Palmer Park, Detroit.  It was built for eX-senator Palmer and still stands.  This card was postmarked Buffalo N.Y. July 21, 1911.  My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr, was just over 1 month old.  I don’t know what the purpose of the trip was. On July 12, my grandfather sent a 1 month birthday card to my father, which was postmarked Detroit.  I remember being called “nigger” by some white children in this same log cabin one long ago summer day in Detroit while on a family outing to Palmer Park.

pc-7-21-11_0001“Log Cabin, Palmer Park, – Built on land donated to the city by Ex-Senator Thomas W. Palmer in 1893 and situated north of the city at the extreme terminal of the Woodward Avenue car line, is one of the city’s favorite breathing spots. Its center piece is a log cabin which is an exact reproduction of the home in which Senator Palmer resided when Detroit was a little more than a trading post”

7/21/11

Dear Pearl – I am lonesome for you and baby. Want to see you all awful bad. Hope you are well and happy.

Albert

 

Home Is Where the Heart Is

July 12, 1911 and grandparents had now been married a year and the first of their 7 children, my father, was about 1 month old.  I’m not sure why Albert is in Detroit. Perhaps trying to figure out where to establish his medical practice.  The card is addressed to the house on Fayette so they were still living with Albert’s brothers, Henry and Jacob and Jacob’s wife Gertrude.

My grandparents - Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.
My grandparents – Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.

home_i_where

7/14/’11

Just got back to Detroit, Hope you all are well and happy.  Will feel better where I hear from you.

Albert

 

 

W is for Wedding

atoz-2014-banner-910

My grandparents - Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.
My grandparents – Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.

rings_enveloperingsrings_2

8/30/10

My dear Pearl,

The contents of your letter were very carefully noted and I shall endeavor to answer it in detail. Am sorry that such a letter was necessary but you did perfectly right in asking the questions you did, I had no idea that such thoughts were troubling your mind. You must forgive me dear for mistakes oversights etc. – I have never attempted anything like this before, – I realize now that I have taken too much for granted and have not talked with you over the matter as perhaps I should have done. Now don’t get from what I say that I do not realize the seriousness of what I am about to do – my responsibilities etc.- You know I spoke to you sometime ago about not staying with Gertrude and I thought I go from your reply that it did not matter much about where we stayed and neither was I very choisey about places, just so I could be with you knowing that in time we would be somewhere. Since we did not want our marrying to be general gossip I have refrained for a time asking the people whom I had in mind about rooming. However this morning I talked the matter over with Gertrude and she is more than willing – is rather anxious to have you live with her – and I convinced that it will be just about as congenial a place as will be possible for you to stay now, if agreeable to you, you may plan to live at 910 Lafayette – We’ll talk it all over. – again – you may plan definitely on going to visit my mother.

You ask about a wedding ring- I believe it is the conventional thing, in conventional weddings. – not by any means in my mind, a necessity.

Do you distinguish between an engagement ring and a wedding ring? I confess that I have never thought of an engagement ring for I thought you want that kept quiet – I had planned giving you a wedding ring after the wedding – but sweetheart it makes no difference to me. If you prefer it before or after you may have your choice. You must tell me all of this when I see you and anything else you must feel free to talk to me about, just as a wife talks to her husband- Now I hope everything is clear.

10 We shall live at 910 Lafayette (if you are willing)

2) We shall go to Athens, Tenn., on a honeymoon.

3) We shall have a ring – when you desire it.

Will let you know when you are to ? meeting when I see you Sunday. Hope you will get to come to choir practice. Your Albert

wedding“In the presence of relatives and immediate friends of the two families Dr. Albert B. Cleage, Interne at the City Dispensary and Miss Pearl D. Reed, 1730 Kenwood avenue, were married at noon Thursday.  The Rev. D.F. White of the Witherspoon United Presbyterian church officiated.  Immediately after the cremony Dr. and Mrs. Cleage left on their wedding tour, during which they will visit the Appalachian Exposition at Knoxville, Tenn., and points farther south.”

AppalacianExpo

V is for Vaudeville

atoz-2014-banner-910

My grandparents - Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.
My grandparents – Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging everyday using items taken from the letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother from 1907 to 1912, starting with “A” and moving right through the alphabet to “Z” during April.

This letter was sent while Albert was on the Steamer Eastern States during the summer of 1909 on July 15.  Pearl had left Indianapolis to visit her sisters in Benton Harbor, Michigan for the summer.  The hard times that he mentions were the result of her mother’s objection to their relationship. At the end he mentions a Vaudeville he attended. Click images to enlarge.

7-15-09_00017-15-09_00027-15-09_00057-15-09_0006On Board the Steamer
Eastern States
July 15/’09

My dear Pearl-

Words are in adequate for me to express the pleasure that was mine on going to the office today and receiving two letters from you, both of which I read and re-read.

The description you gave of your surroundings was fine and it certainly made me long to be with you and enjoy with you the pleasures which such condition must afford one.

You say you are unhappy, and though that man part of me appreciates that feeling entertained by you that you cannot be quite happy without me – I beg of you,  for a few short weeks (for your own sake) forget me in the sense of longing to be with me and fill each moment of your life with such thoughts and activities that will mean most to you in the way of health & happiness.  After such a strenuous life as yours last winter – filled with anxiety, fear etc, such a needed rest as is your privilege now to enjoy – should be greatly welcomed and your pleasures not marred by anxious thoughts of him who has brought naught but sorrow and discontent into your home and hardships into your life.  For all of which dear, forgive me.  I could not do differently.  I would not if I could and could not if I would. 

These little things are but the trifling price we pay for love – I believe with someone who wrote: – to fully enjoy and appreciate the blessings of heaven, it is well to have spent a few moments in H___.

You say you love me more than I will ever know. Is it possible?  Remember that the part that I’ll never know of will do no one any good.

In thinking that you probably had forgotten me, I was not judging you by myself “for if thinking be forgetting, then dear, I have forgotten you long ago.”

When you spoke of being out in the country I was reminded of your rustic hero of whom you told me the Sabbath we went to Meridian Heights. Did you see him again?  You must be careful of snakes and men, both are dangerous.  But the old man who was kind enough to entertain you with funny stories will not bite, I guess.  You see, I am trying to make you afraid of men so none of those country chaps will steal you from me.

The flowers were beautiful and I appreciated them as reminders of the fact that I am not forgotten.  I hope it will be possible for me someday to see all of those beautiful places you speak of, with you.

Now about that skin disease you speak of – it is a disease known to medical science as Vitilligo or Leukoderma.  It is incurable and peculiar to the Negro race.  Its cause is not definitely known.  Miss Locklear whom you met has a brother so afflicted.

 It is now very late sweetheart.  Most everyone is asleep and I too am tired and sleepy.

I attended a vaudeville in Buffalo today – Two colored women singers were features of the program.

Good night Sweetheart.  Your Albert

 

Maybe he saw the famous Griffin sisters.  I found their picture while searching Indianapolis newspapers for news items about my family and found it again online in goggle news archives.  There are links to several news articles below.Griffin_sisters_photo

An Obituary for Emma Griffin  from “The New York Age” 7 September 1918 Page 6

“Emma GRIFFIN DEAD; Ellis avenue. Miss Griffin died a Christian. Emma Griffin was born in Louisville, Ky., and was 44 years of age. She made her first appearance on the stage with her sister at Kohl and Middleton’s Museum, Chicago, when they were girls. Their first appearance as regular professionals was with John W. Isham’s original octoroon company, headed by Fred J. Piper and Madam Flower. When they had gained fame with the octoroons they entered into vaudeville and remained in that field and made money. When Mabel Griffin was taken ill at Youngstown, O., eleven weeks ago and had to return home ill, Emma took Margie Lorraine as a partner and opened at the Star Theatre, Pittsburgh, ten weeks ago, but broke down and returned home ill. Both sisters were bedridden in separate rooms during a period in which a benefit was given for them at the States Theatre of special pictures by Theda Bara. No performers appeared and the occasion marked the first theatrical “movie” benefit in history. Elizabeth Hart and Cassie Burch Slaughter conducted the benefit Miss Griffin was well educated, having been a student of the State University of Louisville. As an actress she was a comedienne of the May Irwin type and was a clever mirth provoker despite her avoirdupois. As an orator she had recognized ability, recently demonstrated in politics as a suffragette. The stand she took on behalf of the rights of performers against managers was well known. The deceased was a charitable woman and always interested in the welfare of her profession. Miss Griffin was the oldest child of Henry Griffin, deceased, and Blandina Duncan. The funeral was held Tuesday, September 3, and was largely attended.”

 Grizzly Bear article 1910 – you can see the photo above and a short description of their act.

Griffin Sisters “The First and Only Colored Women’s Theatrical Booking Agency in the United States and their Desires and Intentions.” This was a very interesting article from “The Freeman” that went into depth about their lives, beliefs and careers. I recommend it!

U is for Union Station

atoz-2014-banner-910

My grandparents - Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.
My grandparents – Albert B. Cleage & Pearl D. Reed in 1909.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging everyday using items taken from the letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother from 1907 to 1912, starting with “A” and moving right through the alphabet to “Z” during April.

U is for Union6/21/10

Dear Pearl –

Hope you are well and happy, and that it is still possible for you to go with us tomorrow.

Is it hot enough for you? am going to be very busy today.  Meet me at the Union depot tomorrow morning no later than 7:30 a.m.

Tomorrow I shall become a gentleman of title & hereafter shall be considered by the world – doctor, but to you I hope to always remain – just Albert.

us_extGood photos and history of Union Station “By 1900, approximately 150 passenger trains a day passed through the station.  In 1910, the number peaked at around 200 passenger trains a day.  The railroad tracks, still at grade level and declared dangerous to pedestrians and motorists, were elevated between 1915 and 1919.”