H is for Henry William Cleage

Teachers at Athens Academy.

This is my eighth post for the April A-Z Challenge. I am going to write about my Great Uncle Henry William Cleage. He was born about 1877, in Louden County, Tennessee, the third child of Louis and Celia (Rice) Cleage.   The family moved to Athens where he attended Athens Academy, which was organized by northern Presbyterian missionaries. His parents divorced before 1889, when Celia married Roger Sherman. 

Henry W. Cleage

is a native of Athens. He entered and finished the course of the Athens Academy under Rev. Cook’s administration.  He then attended Knoxville College.  His teaching one year at Riceville gave him his first ideas of the practical side of the profession n which he is now engaged.  At present he is a member of the corps of instructors of the Academy of Athens.

Mrs. Minnie B. Cleage

is not in the profession now, but she finished the course at the Academy of Athens, and was a student at Knoxville several years.  She is now the wife of Henry W. Cleage.

From an unidentified Athens, TN newspaper 1900-1901.
The former 910, now 914 Fayette.

In 1900 Henry married his first wife Minnie B. Loving, August 20, 1900. His son, Richard Henry Cleage was born the following year.  Minnie died between 1901 and 1905 and we find Henry Cleage living in Indianapolis, IN with his older brother, Jacob and Jacob’s wife.  Richard stayed in Athens, TN with his grandmother.

Henry worked at the post office during most of the time he lived in Indianapolis. He and his brothers Jacob, his brother’s wife and his younger brother, Albert, shared the house at 910 Fayette for years until they younger men married and moved.

In 1918 Henry married his second wife, Ola Mae Adams. He met her while he was a postman  and she was living there with her sister.  They were married in her hometown, Danville, KY. and took a trip through Michigan after the wedding. His younger brother, Albert was married and living in Detroit, MI by that time.

While in Indianapolis, Henry Cleage was active in the founding of Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church and the colored Y.M.C.A.

Witherspoon Presbyterian Church
Witherspoon Presbyterian Church. Henry Cleage is in the center back row, 7 from the right. His brothers are to the right of him. My grandmother, Pearl is 3rd from the right.  Taken in 1909 in Indianapolis, IN.

His daughter, Geraldine, remembers her father fondly “He was a very loving, caring and giving person and a devoted family man, not only to his family but also his siblings families.”

His nephew, also named Henry Cleage, remembered “When I was at the Post Office and would get into trouble, he’d get me out.  He was very righteous.”

When the Cleage Brothers Corporation opened a grocery store in Detroit, Henry Cleage managed it during it’s short life.

Henry Cleage and family plus two family friends. Early 1930s.
Henry Cleage and family plus two family friends. About 1928. Front, seated is his mother, Celia Rice Cleage Sherman. Behind her are daughters Ruth and Geraldine. In the back row we have the unidentified friends on each end with Henry W. Cleage and his wife, Ola Mae.  They are in front of their house at 6315 Stanford, Ave. Old West Side, Detroit.

I can’t believe I didn’t write up Uncle Henry’s family for the 1940 census. I will have to remedy that later and for now we will leave Henry William Cleage and his family in 1928.

You can read more about Henry William Cleage in these posts:

A Church and Two Brothers – Two Splits

Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church

What did Lewis Cleage Look Like?  to see a photo of the five youthful Cleage siblings – Josephine, Jacob, Henry, Edward and Albert.

5 thoughts on “H is for Henry William Cleage

    1. Thank you. I enjoy being able to find photos to illustrate my posts. And I still can’t believe that I didn’t write up Uncle Henry when I was writing up everybody I could find in the 1940 Census when it came out this year.

  1. It’s interesting how two of the women in the family photo had coats draped over their shoulders–but hadn’t inserted their arms into the sleeves. If it was a cold day, I wonder why they didn’t just wear the coats.

    1. I think that the women in the back on the end does have her arms in her coat. You can see her hand coming out of the sleeve. I think that my great grandmother there in the front has a coat/shawl type thing – there seem to be slits for the arms instead of sleeves. The girls just have their dresses on and their mother seems to just have her dress on too.

  2. What a labour of love Kristin! And for finding and transcribing the photographs into a blog post! You have my admiration ten-fold. Lovely to see these ‘olden’ photos which gives us a sense of the time. The 3rd one was just prior to WW1 and the last just prior to WW2 – amazing that our ‘elders’ went through those times.

    Thank you!

    Susan Scott’s Soul Stuff

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