Friday, February 27, 2015

Rose and Charlie

Here is Rose and her son, Charles … the second great trouble of her life.

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(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

According to the 1900 Census and the WWI Draft Cards, Charlie was born in September 1882, a couple of months before Rose's 20th birthday. Here he looks perhaps as much as a year old, so the photo probably dates to 1883.

Rose's expression strikes me as determined, even defiant, and small wonder: she was facing down convention as a single mother. Around the age of 19, Rose had become romantically involved with a man (name unknown), and she got pregnant. The usual solution to that problem in those days was a quick marriage to the father of the child. But marriage wasn't possible in this case; the father was already married. And with her own father a widower, Rose could not even try to preserve her respectability, as Jennie Ols may have, by letting people believe the child was her new sibling.

Of all the other alternatives, she chose the least unpleasant. She stayed in her home, gave birth, and set about raising her son, without pretense. Her father and her sister stood by her, apparently, but I can only imagine the gossip that went on behind her back — maybe even name-calling to her face — and some degree of ostracism felt by all the Hendrickses. From what I've heard of Rose, she was headstrong, decisive, lean and energetic, and could swear like a sailor; whether those qualities predated her trouble, I don't know. But even with a strong personality, a young woman could still feel, and suffer from, the judgment of others, and then there were her father and sister to consider, too. The social disapproval in Plymouth may have been what drove Rose and her family to leave.

After a blank of 20 years, we find Rose in Hobart in 1900, now the wife of William Ezra Gilpin. They tell the census-taker that they were married circa 1890; I can find no official record of the marriage. Ezra, born and raised on a farm in Adams County, Indiana, had by 1880 joined his sister, Nancy, and her husband, Dr. Charles Rainier, in Center Township, Marshall County — where Rose was living at that time, so they might have married there.

The little Gilpin household in Hobart includes Charlie, now 17 and working as a day laborer, and described to the census-taker simply as Ezra's son. They had no other children.

Living nearby, we find Rose's sister Ida, who had married Edward Berg circa 1895, and their father, Jacob Hendricks, still working as a carpenter at 65 years of age. The Bergs had no children.

Their living situation sounds pleasant and cozy. I'd like to think this was a happy ending to a difficult beginning.


Rachel said...

The look on her face says "Come on, I dare you". She must have had a hard time. Nice that it seemed to have worked out in the end.

Ainsworthiana said...

That's a good description!