Google dictionary gives us this definition: ¹
- Verb: care for and encourage the growth or development of.
- help or encourage the development of.
- cherish (a hope, belief, or ambition).
- Noun: the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.
- upbringing, education, and environment, contrasted with inborn characteristics as an influence on or determinant of personality.
The definition describes only a fraction of what’s involved in nurturing. Are there people who have no one to nurture them? Sadly, yes. Are there others not being nurtured by those who should be nurturing them, but have others come into their life and provide what’s necessary? Fortunately, yes!
I think there’s another group, though, who are nurtured, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, find themselves feeling unnurtured. It can have a lifelong effect. I think my father-in-law may fit in that category.
Now, I’ll admit I’m skating on really thin ice, here! I never met the man— he died 3 years and a day before I married his son. Mike and I knew each other when his father died, but we weren’t dating, yet. Other than a few photos and documents, most of what I know about him is second hand.
You already met Gerald Bauman in Where There’s a Will. His mother, Mildred Fitzgerald Carmody, died a month after his birthday, and Jerry (yes, it’s “G” for his full name, “J” for the nickname!) was adopted by his first cousin, Anna Carmody, and her husband, Frank Bauman.
Anna and Frank married 13 January 1919, in Toledo, Ohio.² Frank was 9 years older than Anna. She had been married before, to a Julius Klammer and was granted a divorce from him 30 March 1918, on grounds of desertion.³ There’s more to his story, but that’ll be another day.
Julius and Anna married in 1908.4 I found a potential Julius in the WWI draft registration in 1917 who listed a “wife and child.”5 I never knew them to have children, but could this be my Anna? Did they have a child I don’t know about, or did he simply make up a child to appear less draftable? Maybe. There were a lot of unanswered questions, so I went digging.
The 1920 census doesn’t show any child in the household of the recently married Anna and Frank. It seems unlikely to me Julius would desert Anna and take a child with him. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s also possible this is a different Julius Klammer, but the name is distinct enough, I think not. I haven’t noticed others. I had trouble finding Julius and Anna in the 1910 census, but
obsessive creative searching located them in Flint (NOT Port Huron or Detroit—more obvious places). 1910 was the second (and last) census where married women were asked how many children they HAD and how many were currently LIVING. Anna had one—and zero.6 Now that I had a new location for them, a search at SeekingMichigan.org found their son, Bernard, who died New Year’s Day, 1910, little more than a month before his first birthday.
So, why does that backstory matter to Jerry? As best I can tell, Anna and Frank had no biological children. The opportunity to adopt Jerry in 1928 was probably a dream come true—an answer to Anna and Frank’s prayers. He is the only child in their household for the 19307 and 19408 censuses.
Nothing I’ve heard from Mike about Anna and Frank suggested that Jerry had any negative feelings for them. Presumably he was properly nurtured by them, and did maintain a relationship for a time with his older brothers, Michael and Joseph, placed with other families after Millie’s death.
Unfortunately, another untimely death complicated things. Frank Bauman died 18 July 1936 of “carcinoma—hepatic” when Jerry was only 8. That left Anna a widow in the middle of the Depression. How she made ends meet, I don’t know, but she and Jerry continued to live in Port Huron, with extended Carmody relations nearby—including Jerry’s birth father.
In 1940, death landed on Jerry’s doorstep, again. This time it was his adoptive mother, Anna. Some time that spring, she was diagnosed with kidney problems. She died 4 November 1940, of chronic nephritis that had been diagnosed 6 months earlier. Being widowed and in ill health, she presumably spent time that spring and summer making arrangements for 12-year-old Jerry’s care, if she were to die.
We don’t know who she approached to take him in. His oldest brother, Michael, was just turning 18, so really wouldn’t have been in a position to be able to take care of Jerry. There were numerous older half siblings (from John Joseph’s first wife) in Port Huron. They might have have been potential guardians for him, but none agreed to serve as such.
They ranged in age from 57 to 42, so some were already empty nesters, the others still dealing with their own teenagers. Either group may not have wanted to add another person to the mix. The Depression was also still going strong, so it’s possible those families really didn’t have the wherewithall to feed and clothe a teenage boy. If they were barely scraping by, another person might have been too much to take on.
Unfortunately, Jerry’s biological father, John Joseph Carmody, had died 4 January that year, of brachio pneumonia, almost age 78. At that age, he certainly wouldn’t have been able (or expected) to take Jerry in, but would he have been able to convince one of his other children to do so? Who knows? Maybe. Maybe not. But he died before Anna knew she was sick, so was of no help.
Bottom line, Anna was unable to find someone to agree to take Jerry in. Her will named Rollin B. Stocker executor and guardian for Jerry. Jerry spent time at the Starr Commonwealth (a children’s home, still in existence) in Albion, Michigan. This, of course uprooted him from his school and friends in Port Huron.
Actually, I never knew the home’s name, and had always thought it was in St. Clair, a town about 12 miles “down river” from Port Huron— not 160 miles away! Jerry graduated from the St. Clair High School, so I assumed it was there, and no one told me differently. Fortunately, we just spent two weeks cruising to and from Hawaii with Mike’s brother and his wife, so we had several conversations where the guys were able to “compare notes” about their memories. Each had heard (or maybe remembered?) different details from their dad. It wasn’t necessarily contradictory information, just different. Mike’s brother mentioned foster homes— something else I had never heard! Presumably the last one was in St. Clair.
Obviously, being orphaned had a huge impact on Jerry. According to Mike, his dad felt anger and resentment that none of the Carmodys took him in after Anna died. We don’t know how much Jerry did or didn’t know about Anna’s search for a replacement family for him. Maybe he heard all the details, or maybe she gave him only the Cliff Notes version.
Realistically, if you’re a 12-year-old kid about to be orphaned, it doesn’t really matter how good the reasons might be—or not be—for the adults around you not to take you in. All that matters is that you are losing your last parent, and no one wants you. You are feeling unwanted, unloved, and definitely not feeling nurtured! It’s a hard enough age under the best of circumstances—and his certainly weren’t the best!
I don’t know that Jerry had any animosity towards Stocker; he was just a man doing his job. He looked out for Jerry and his interests (assets held until adulthood). He wasn’t family, though, and didn’t make up for them.
Jerry left high school early to join the Army, 5 November 1945 (age 17), and was honorably discharged 12 May 1947. He was awarded his high school diploma 11 June 1947, though he has the programs for all the Commencement activities (19 May-7 June, 1946) and the Honors Convocation held 28 May. He was already in the Army, so couldn’t have attended any of them. Someone must have saved those for him.
He and moved to Detroit shortly after his 1947 graduation. He didn’t keep in touch with the Port Huron Carmodys. Both full brothers had also moved away: Michael to Seattle, and Joseph to Pennsylvania, so he didn’t have a particular reason to stay in Port Huron. Since the three brothers hadn’t been raised together, I don’t know how much they kept in contact with each other as adults. Nor did Jerry reestablish contact with his Carmody half siblings, as an adult. That wound from his youth never fully healed, and was clearly expressed to Mike, as an older teen. His feelings mirror his father’s, in not wanting to connect with the descendants of these families. I’m not sure if that will extend to the Carmody descendants still in Ireland, but I’ll cross that bridge when I actually locate some!
This whole story makes me sad, though. Everyone has lost out, due to this rift. I’m not about to lay blame on anyone—not Anna, not the Carmody relatives, and certainly not Jerry—aged 12 or 40-something. People made the decisions they felt they had to, and were entitled to the feelings they had.
Perhaps as time passes, the emotions will mellow and dissipate. In the meantime, I need to look into getting whatever records might be available from both Starr Commonwealth and the high school. Hopefully, information from one or both institutions will answer lingering questions Mike and his brother may have regarding their dad’s life.
²Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, index and images, accessed 8 March 2019, citing Lucas County, Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, FHL microfilm 004260731, image # 00171, reference ID it 1 p 273 No. 32685, image # 00165 of 333. Frank M. BAUMAN (39) and Anna B. KLAMMER (30); FamilySearch.
³Wayne County, Michigan, Circuit Court, In Chancery, divorce file No. 60,848 (30 March 1918) Anna KLAMMER v. Julius KLAMMER, decree of divorce; Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Detroit. Copy obtained from estate files of Gerald Bauman.
4“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925”, database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch Record Search (https://familysearch.org), accessed 8 May 2019, citing Port Huron, Saint Clair, Michigan, reference n.g., citing FHL microfilm 2342682, image# 534, citing Secretary of State, Department of Vital Records, Lansing. Julius KLAMMER (21) and Anna CARMODY (20).
5“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, digital image, The National Archives (https://www.familysearch.org), Julius KLAMMER, serial no. 1527, order no. 381, Draft Board Ward 4 Precinct 3, Wayne County, Michigan; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: NARA microfilm publication M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library Roll No. 1,613,195; accessed 8 May 2019. Registered 5 June 1917.
61910 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, Genesee, Flint, e.d. 17; Page 6B; dwelling number 110; family number 121; line 79; Charles A. NORGET household; accessed 12 May 2019. Julius KLAWMER [KLAMMER], age 23, boarder; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 642; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
71930 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, St. Clair, Port Huron, 10 precinct, e.d. 74-41; Page 1B; dwelling number 25; family number 25; line 73; Frank M. BOWMAN [BAUMAN] household; accessed 12 May 2019; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1025; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
81940 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, St. Clair, Port Huron, ward 10, e.d. 74-29; Page 1B; household number 12; line 42; Anna BAUMAN household; accessed 12 May 2019. Anna BAUMAN, age 52, widowed; NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1815; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).