Tag Archives: #Jacob Cleage

Students Wanted in Detroit

Albert B. Cleage Sr, 1910

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.

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

Jacob Cleage 1874-1942

Jacob Cleage 1874 – 1942
The Detroit Tribune. 1942 Dec 12
“Jacob Cleage of 5670 Hartford Avenue is quite ill at his home.”

Jacob Cleage was the second child and first son of the five Cleage offspring of Louis Cleage and Celia Rice Cleage Sherman. He was born in 1874 in either McMinn or Loudin county Tennessee. According to his death certificate he was in the Spanish American War. For years he worked as a waiter in Knoxville, where he met and married Gertrude Brunt. They had no children.

They moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where all of his siblings, except Edward, moved. He continued to work as a waiter and also in real estate. Eventually they all ended up in Detroit, Michigan. He worked in the Sheriff’s department for several years. Continued to sell real estate and, according to his death certificate worked as a janitor.

I found the above clipping in the archives of The Detroit Tribune. It announced his serious illness five days after he died. I could find no mention of his death in the paper. I found his death certificate on Ancestry and the one new piece of information I found was that he served in the military during the Spanish American War.

Jacob Cleage’s death certificate with notes. There is so much information here. Click to enlarge.

To clarify, Jacob Cleage’s nephew, Louis Jacob Cleage was his physician. Louis Jacob Cleage was named after his grandfather Louis and his uncle Jacob.

More information (or misinformation) about Jacob Cleage here – Jacob and Gertrude Cleage in the 1940 Census.

1940 Census – Jacob and Gertrude (Brunt) Cleage

The Old West Side Detroit neighborhood where my father's family and aunts and uncles and cousins lived in 1940. Uncle Jake's house was the second one up from the bottom of the map.

Jacob Cleage was my grandfather Albert Cleage’s oldest brother.  He and his wife, Gertrude, lived at 5670 Hartford Avenue, very close to my grandfather’s Cleage Clinic.  The house is no longer there, but there are 3 houses on either side of the spot where it stood   and it appears that all were built from the same plan.

Empty spot marked by "A" where Jacob and Gertrude Cleage's house once stood.

House near 5670 Hartford Ave. The least modernized house of the 3 and perhaps the closest to what their house looked like.

5670 probably looked like this house that hasn’t been renovated or sided. I think their house would have been painted and kept up.  They owned the house and it was worth $1,900 according to the 1940 census.

Jacob Cleage

Gertrude Cleage










There were six people in the household. Everybody was identified as Negro and had been living at the same address in 1935.

According to the census  Jacob Cleage was the head of the house. He was 62 years old and had been born in Florida. He worked as a sweeper in an auto plant with 2 years of high school.  He earned $1,200 in 1935.

Gertrude Cleage, 58, wife, born in West Virginia. She was not working outside the home and had completed 3 years of high school.

John Cleage, 29, son (SON?? first I heard of Jacob having any children), born in West Virginia. He worked in the stock room of an auto factory and earned  $1,600 during 1935. He had 4 years of college and was attending college in 1940. He was married and his wife were seperated.

Jacob Cleage, jr, 24 son (ANOTHER SON???) also born in West Virginia. Not working with 3 years of college and attending college in 1940. He was single.

Robert Evans, 22, lodger, born in Alabama. He had attended school that year and had 2 years of high school. He wasn’t working and had earned no money. He was married.

Countess Evans, 22, wife of a lodger born in Alabama. Shw had 4 years of college, was not working and had earned no money. Countess spoke to the enumerator which probably accounts for the incorrect information.

Jacob Cleage was actually born in Tennessee and Gertrude was born in North Carolina. I never heard that they had any children and I’ve followed them down through the years from the 1880 census and other records and through family stories and photographs. My grandparents lived with them when my father was born in 1911. I can’t find Jacob Jr. or John Cleage any place else, not living apart with a different mother and not in any directories.   If all of these young people were living there in 1935, the lodgers would have been 17. Jacob Jr. would have been 19 and John would have been 24. That would have been a house full of students for one working man to support.  Jacob Cleage died in 1942, just two years later.

I wish Jacob or Gertrude had been the informant because I’ve got to take much of this with a grain of salt until more information comes my way.

Source: 1940 U.S. census, Wayne Co., Michigan, pop. Sch., Detroit, Ward 14 E.D. 84-785  Sheet No. 11 B  HH 191 Jacob Cleage. Informant – lodger. Click to view census sheet.