I was quite surprised to find this news item awhile ago while searching for information about Jacob Cleage. It would have been interesting to find that my grandfather and his brother were involved in a knife fight, however there are several things in this clipping I know to be untrue.
R.C. Cleage is unknown to me. Jacob was my grandfather’s older brother’s name. My grandfather, A. B. Cleage, was the only medical student name of Cleage in Indianapolis during that time. He did work on the excursion boats out of Detroit during the summer of 1909. However, he graduated in June of 1910 and did not work on the boats in 1910.
My grandfather was married with a baby (my father) in September 1911. My grandmother did receive several postcards from Detroit dated July, 1911. I could find no record of legal happenings and no further news articles about it.
July 12, 1911 (Mrs. Pearl Cleage) Just got back to Detroit, Hope you all are well and happy. Will feel better when I hear from you. Albert.
7/12/11 to Master A. B. Cleage Jr. Did not forget you were 4 weeks old yesterday and tomorrow you will be 1 month. My, but you are getting old fast. Papa
7/21/11 to Mrs. Pearl Cleage Dear Pearl – I am lonesome for you and baby. Want to see you all awful bad. Hope you are well and happy. Albert
I, Leonard M Quill Clerk of the Circuit Court of Marion County of the state of Indiana certify that Albert B. Cleage has complied with the laws of the state of Indiana relating to the practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics in the County and State aforesaid.
Witness my hand and seal of said Court, this 1st day of Sept, 1910
James Cleage was born in 1870, the eighth of the ten surviving children of formerly enslaved Jerry and Charlotte (Bridgeman) Cleage. His parents had been enslaved on David Cleage’s plantation before the Civil War. Neither Jerry nor Charlotte learned to read or write. Jerry worked as a laborer until his death at age 92.
In September 1894, twenty-two year old James Cleage married twenty year old Josie Cleage. Although they were both named Cleage, it was not because they were related. Josie’s family was enslaved on Alexander Cleage’s plantation while James Cleage’s family was enslaved on David Cleage’s plantation and both families took the surname of “Cleage”. Both were born after the Civil War.
They had six children – Henrietta born in 1897, Lucille in 1899, James in 1901, Albert David in 1907 and Hattie Ruth was born in 1909. One child was born and died between censuses and I do not know if it was a boy or girl or their name.
James seems to have been the only one of his siblings to get an extensive education. In April 1890 Jacob Lincoln Cook, came to Athens to establish a Presbyterian Mission and founded the Athens Academy. James Cleage was one of the small group of dedicated educators that worked with him and taught there in the early years. In 1900 James was 29 and teaching school at the Athens Academy. He and his family were living next door to his wife’s mother, step-father and her younger brothers.
In 1900 J.L. Cook was appointed president of Henderson Normal Institute in Henderson, North Carolina. James also went to North Carolina and began teaching at the Institute. In 1901 Josie and James son, James Oscar, was born there. My grandfather, Albert Cleage, lived with his aunt’s family while he was attending high school at Henderson Normal. He graduated in 1902. By the time Albert David (called David) was born in 1907, the family was back in Athens, Tennessee, but not for long.
By 1905 Henry and Jacob Cleage had relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana and in 1908 James, Josie and their growing family joined them there. Their youngest daughter, Hattie Ruth was born in Indianapolis in 1909. James worked as mailing clerk for The Indiana Farmer. Here is a link to the January 2, 1909 issue of that paper. Josie stayed home and raised the children and kept the house.
Both James and Josie were active in Witherspoon Presbyterian Church. I found these short items in the Indianapolis Star “News of The Colored Folk” during 1911.
March 11, 1911 Officers of the Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church entertained its members at the church at a banquet Tuesday night. Dr. H.L. Hummons was toastmaster. Addresses were made by Henry and James Cleage, Mrs. Lillian T. Fox and Mrs. M.A. Clark.
April 9, 1911 Sunday The Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church will give its annual musicale Friday evening at the church on North West street. The following program will be given: Solo, Mrs. T.A. Smythe; reading, Mrs. James Cleage; clarinet solo, Philip Tosch; reading, Mrs. Harriet Mitchel; quartet, Messrs. Lewis, Thompson, Chavis and Thompson. The church choir will render three selections. Mrs. Daisy Brabham has charge of the program.
My father and his siblings regularly traveled from Detroit to visit their cousins in Indianapolis. My aunt Anna remembered her uncle James as a very quiet, gentle man who helped around the house.
The children all finished several years of high school and then got married or started working or both. Lucille seems to have been the first to relocate to Detroit where her uncles Albert, Jacob and Henry Cleage had settled.
James A. Cleage was 62 when he died from prostrate problems in Indianapolis City Hospital on October 21, 1933. He is buried in New Crown Hill Cemetery.
After he died Josie also moved to Detroit. In 1940 she lived with her son David and his family on the Old West Side of Detroit, not far from her brothers.
Homer Jarrett Forwarded from French Lick to 131 Puryear St. City
2730 Kenwood Oct. 29, 1905
I wonder what you are doing tonight? Are you at home? I have but just returned home after leaving with Hugh about four o’clock for a walk. O, and it was a walk too Homer! We reached home about nine thirty o’clock.
I enjoyed it though. Everything was and is just beautiful. The trees all shades of yellow and red and the fields with the green and yellow pumpkins lying here and there amid the shocks or stacks of grain. Past groups of cows and horses all of which I gave ample space while Hugh laughed and tried to assure me that they were harmless. And such a lovely sunset!
He took me over the new aqueduct supposed to be the only one of it’s kind in the world. He helped to construct it. We walked on and on until the new moon came to warn us of the end of the day and we then winded our way in downtown stopped at the Dairy Lunch, got a lunch and caught the car and came home. Was to have gone to a friend’s house and from there to church, but Hugh suggested the walk and it just suited me, for it was just cool enough today to walk briskly.
What did you do today I wonder? Tell me about French Lick? Will you? Is it a pretty place? Do you like it there?
I wonder if you are at church now? Hope you are.
Yours Pearl Doras Reed
P.S. O Homer, I forget, did I tell you that the new Post Office was completed? I suppose you read of it in the paper? It is simply grand. I think I have been in it once since it has been completed.
What are you going to do Halloween? Celebrate? I hope you have a pleasant time.
Most exasperating of people, your difficulties and troubles must have ruined your memory, for you asked me to or why I had not answered your letter and you should know that I wrote last and did so about six or seven weeks ago. Did your tribulations run away with your pen, ink, pencils and paper? You have my sympathy, I am sure.
You know very well that you did not come to French Lick to be near me, of course it sounds nice to be told that but of course you do not mean it Homer.
Where you did not answer my letter I thought you had gone south or some other place and was agreeably surprised to get your letter. Glad you are well and coming home, if “even for a visit” O Homer are you coming? Soon? I am curious you see?
What have you been doing with yourself for so long? Everything? How is your mother? Mine is quite well and sends her best regards to you. She tells me that she will be glad to see you again.
We are having ugly weather here Homer, it is raining now, just a fine penetrating rain that soaks you through.
I suppose I’ve about spoiled your temper Homer so I shall cease.
Pearl Doras Reed
P.S. Wait a second, please, Homer, mother, just now, tells me to tell you that she wishes you were here now to paint this house, for you know you told her that you painted “houses”. She says she is trying to get ready for you Thanksgiving for she expects to have you out here.
Your letter came o.k. after I had despaired of receiving it and I was very glad to hear from you. I thought at first that you had gone south and that I should receive my letter back again but I was agreeably surprised to hear from you and that you are so near.
You spoke of the weather, yes I am glad it is cooler. Are you? Last Sunday I visited Riverside Park and although it was cool and I’ve had to wear jackets, I enjoyed it. We stayed out until about 7:30 P.M. and from there to church. We had our supper out there, of sandwiches, hot coffee and cream.
Last night (6th) I took part in a concert at Allen Chapel and did not get home until 1:00 A.M. We had a very nice time.
O Homer what are you doing? Are you well? May “we” hope to see you soon? How is your mother and friends at home? Mother and the boys send their best regards to you.
Homer forgive this pencil, for the old pen point refused to write at all and I have not another just now and it is 9:30 P.M.
I have worried you to desperation Homer I am sure and I shall say good-bye.
Yours truly, P.D.R.
Looking online I found that “The Old Maid’s Association” was a farcical entertainment for thirteen females and one male that was often put on by church groups as a money raiser in the early 1900s.
Miss Blanche Young mentioned in the news item, married Pearl’s brother, Hugh the following year. In 1905 she was a 17 year old high school student at Manual Training High School, a well respected and innovative new high school. Blanche was several years younger than Pearl. According to several news items, she was active in both the Ninth Presbyterian Church and Allen’s Chapel, as Pearl was. She lived about a mile from Allen’s Chapel and a mile and a half from Pearl.
Blanche was born on October 26, 1887 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was the oldest of the seven children born to James Harvey Young, a teacher and Roberta Ruth (Jordan) Young, a housewife. Two of her younger siblings died before 1900. The youngest, Elizabeth, died of cholera in 1900 before she was a year old. Her mother died of meningitis in 1901.
Blanche’s father re-married a widow with a young daughter later that year. Soon afterwards he and his new wife moved to Southern California. They took the two youngest daughters. Blanche and her brother Clifford, remained in Indianapolis. Blanche completed two years of high school and married Pearl’s brother Hugh in 1906 when she was 18 years old.