Henry Cleage 1916 – 1996

henry laugh sepia
Henry Cleage

Part 1

(The links will take you to posts I have written that give more details about his life.)

Henry Wadsworth Cleage was born March 22, 1916, six months after his family moved from Kalamazoo to Detroit, Michigan.  He was born at home on 1355 24th Street, the 3rd of the 7 children of Dr. Albert B. Cleage SR and his wife Pearl Reed Cleage. This was my first digression.  I went to look on Google Maps to see if the house was still there.  It wasn’t. There are mostly empty lots with a few houses scattered about. The house was located on the corner of 24th Street and Porter, a few blocks from the Detroit River And the Ambassador Bridge.

Between January and June of 1920, when Henry was 5 years old, the family moved 3 miles north to a large brick house on 6429 Scotten Ave.  My grandmother was pregnant with Barbara, her 5th child and first daughter, who was born in the new house. I remember my aunt Gladys telling me that all the girls were born in that house on Scotten.

Henry and his siblings attended Wingert Elementary school, a few blocks from the house. He built forts in the backyard with his brothers and neighborhood friends and told of riding his bike out Tireman to the country where they roasted potatoes in a campfire.  His father’s mother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman stayed with the family during that time.

He attended McMichael Junior High School and then Northwestern High School.  While at Northwestern he played in the school orchestra and the All City Orchestra, played school baseball and was on the 12-A dues committee.

After high school Henry attended Wayne University, getting his BA and then entered Law School at Wayne.   These posts talk about his life during those days Henry Cleage’s Journal 1936,  Follow up on Henry’s Diary.

Henry married Alice Stanton in 1941.  When WW2 started, Henry and his brother were conscientious objectors and moved to a farm in Avoca where they raised dairy cows and chickens.  Henry and Alice were divorced in 1943.

While on the farm, Henry wrote short stories and sent them out to various magazines of the day. None were published. I shared two of them earlier – Just Tell The Men – a short story by Henry Cleage and another short story Proof Positive. In 1947 Henry returned and completed Law School and began practicing in Detroit and Pontiac.

This ends part 1 of the life of Henry Cleage.

Note: You can find out more about Henry’s time as a conscientious objector in this post – Of Cows and Conscientious Objectors.

22 thoughts on “Henry Cleage 1916 – 1996

    1. I have a couple that look like they were taken at the same time. He’s looking rather devilish in all of them. Or some of them anyway.

  1. I’m familiar with conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War. This post makes me realize that I don’t know much about conscientious objectors in WWII–and make me want to do a little research.

    1. Wadsworth is the only one, aside from me being named after the heroine in “Kristin Lavransdatter”. Henry would have preferred to have Wolfgang as his middle name.

  2. Henry looks like a man who enjoyed life, and he would have enjoyed reading this bio too.

  3. What a smile! He obviously was reacting to something very funny & not just smiling for the photographer! 🙂

  4. I was so happy you Posted this today! Henry and the Cleages really stood on their work and walked the walk of a Man. I got a chance to read the link to the conscientious observer point of view and his stance on it.
    This post revealed so much on who they were. I love the Printing Company. My childrens Great Grandfather was one of the first to start his in Pennsylvania so it was a extra treat to see how two Men from each era, different races, start their business and the timeline of events that made that happen and just compare. I think this was so advance for Henry to do that and now look at us in this day in age where it’s needed so much and a part of our lives we so depend on.

    Thinking men that were pioneers in their way ahead of their time. Thank You!

  5. Hello Ms. Kris! I pray all is well with you and the family. I always enjoy reading about the Cleage family, but something about this picture is speaking volumes of joy and happiness. I don’t know, but I fell like Mr. Henry is telling us all to live life to the fullest. Thank you for always sharing your passion and love of family!

    1. We are all well, hunkered down and hoping to remain so. Henry said they called him “Happy” when he was growing up, I think this photo shows that side.

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