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.
Please forgive me for not writing sooner, for I have been so very tired and after looking over the paper a minute I would go to sleep.
How are you? Well I hope. I am well as usual, but mother is very ill tonight, I have just fixed hot applications and a hot lemonade, and hope she is feeling easier now or will soon. I am afraid we shall be compelled to send for a doctor yet.
It is after 10:00 I think and I am growing sleepy Homer so I shall hurry up and O’ yes you spoke of sending or letting your mother see the picture, of course you may, I do not care. How is she?
We shall let liking or loving or the meaning of each alone until we meet – Homer I think it best, don’t you?
When are you coming here “you truant”? Do you forget you started here a great while ago? If you knew how you are missed you would hasten back as fast as you possibly could.
Your picture was taken in Hot Springs and now you must either send or bring me something from St. Louis or any other place your fancy leads you Homer, do you hear? They will serve as souvenirs of your travels to me. Are you having a nice time? I hope you are.
Hoping to see you soon. I am yours Sincerely, Pearl Reed
Two articles from 1905. The first about using lemons for lung trouble and sore throat . The second about how to make a hot compress without burning your fingers. Click to enlarge.
It is just 8:25 P.M. and it happens that we are not going to church this evening, so I am going to speak with you a while, or in other words, spend the evening with you. Are you at home I wonder? I will take it for granted that you are. How are? I am quite well at present. Did you receive the other letter? Of course you did. I forgot, Homer, I am visiting you not writing you. Where did you spend the day? Was it very warm in St. Louis? It was terribly warm here. There did not seem to be a breath of air stirring at times. We visited the First Baptist Church in N. Indianapolis. It is no larger than Calvary. Baptist, if so large. It is very neat and clean and airy and light. The pastor is an old genial pastor if sternly spoken old man and his name, I think is Simmons or something like that. The church is in walking distance from home and so we walked over and mother has had the headache ever since I suppose the sun was too hot or something.
Did not (you) go to church today? O, maybe you will go tonight. Are you near one like at Hot Springs? Some church holds their services in the schoolhouse near us and while I speak to you the singing floats in to me very sweet and clear.
Have you heard from home lately? Your mother is well I hope? O, yes, Homer, do you think you will go to school again? I just thought of you saying that you was thinking of being a Doctor of Medicine. Homer it is hard to give up doing something we have set our hearts on is it not? I was thinking that today on the way to church till I happened to notice an elderly lady, lying in an invalids chair, where it seems, she has lain for a great, great while, and I thought that, how very thankful we should be for health and strength even if we can’t have everything we care and wish for.
Well, I think it’s near 9:00 o’clock, yes the whistle blows just as I speak, and so I shall wish you good-night and very pleasant dreams
Sincerely yours Pearl D. Reed
Front and southern side of Benjamin Franklin Public School Number 36, located at 2801 N. Capitol Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Built in 1896 and since converted into apartments, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.