Friday, February 14, 2014

Frederick Henry Lexow (1875-1931) - "52 Ancestors"

Sometimes when your life changes you start to think of things differently. I am in the process of moving for a new job as supervisor of the Everglades Restoration South team. I've been looking at houses and wondering about neighborhoods. Because of the move, this is the last semester that I will be teaching my class on cultural ecology. I have had a great time teaching students about how our history and culture effect the way that we view the environment that we live in. As part of the class we take weekly field trips to various areas around the city. Recently, we were taking a 2.5 mile hike through the historic district, talking about how the neighborhood developed after the 1901 fire and looking at a park that was designed by Henry Klutho in 1929-1930. The land for this park has historical significance to the city that many residents never think about. After the field trip on the way home I was listening to NPR and they were talking about neighborhoods that have disappeared with history. One of the speakers made the following comment "Someone forgot to tell the story." This hit me pretty strongly. Who are our storytellers today? Who is keeping the story alive? We as family history researchers are among those that are responsible for continuing the story of our history. That is one of the reasons that I originally titled my blog as "Our AnceStories" - to emphasize the stories that everyone has, no matter how short their lives were. I feel the responsibility and obligation to bring back the lost stories and perpetuate them into the future. I hope many of you also feel this responsibility and do your part to keep the history alive.

And now on to week 7 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Week 7, OMG! See I can be consistent, sometimes, maybe, if I don't have any other distractions. SQUIRREL! By the way, if you have been reading my blog since the beginning of the year you will remember that I made two resolutions. Well, I guess I am batting 0.500, since I stopped the other resolution after less than two weeks.

Now on to my story. This week I decided to stick with my wife's family for another story. This story is about Frederick Henry Lexow (1875-1931), her great-grandfather. Frederick was born on 7 September 1875 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His parents were J. Charles Lexow (1842-~1910) and Whilhelmina "Minnie" Dettof (1853-??). Both of his parents immigrated from Germany. Charles' immigration record indicates that he arrived in the United States on 2 July 1872 aboard the ship Silesia. He departed from Hamburg and arrived at Castle Garden. Charles and Wilhelmina married in Indianapolis on 8 September 1874, almost exactly one year before Frederick was born. Frederick had two brothers, Charles John (1877-1958) and William J (1884-??).

197 Orange Street, Indianapolis, Indiana (today)
The 1880 census has Charlie (age 35), Minnie (age 25), Frederick (age 4), and Charley Jr (age 2). Frederick's father is listed as being unemployed for two months. Charlie and Minnie are both listed as being born in Prussia, while the two boys are listed as being born in Indiana. They were living at 197 Orange Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. Today, this neighborhood is an industrial area. The story of this neighborhood has been lost to those who drive through it today.

270 Olive Street, Indianapolis, Indiana (today)
In the 1888 Indianapolis, Indiana City Directory the family is living at 270 Olive. It looks like this home has been demolished and is now a vacant lot. Frederick's father was employed as a truckman for the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis & Chicago Railway. By 1895, Frederick's brother Charles is also employed as a truckman. Frederick was listed as a machine hand but soon changed jobs and became a bottler between 1896-1897. In 1897 Frederick enlisted in the US Army, Company C, 1st Det Regiment and was stationed at Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. While he was there he met Mary A. Truesdell, daughter of Stephen P. Truesdell and Katherine Churchill. Frederick married Mary A. Truesdell (1881-1950) on 14 February 1898, at No. 5 College Street, Charleston, South Carolina.

In the 1900 census, Frederick and Mary were living at Sullivan's Island. Frederick had achieved the rank of Sergeant after serving for two years. Frederick is listed as being a veteran of the Spanish American War. He was discharged from the Army on 25 August 1900, but that didn't end his military career. After being discharged he and Mary moved back to Indianapolis to live with his family at 1513 Barth Avenue. His father was a flagman for the railroad by this time. His brother Charles was a stove monitor and William was listed as a helper as his employment. Frederick was employed as a clerk at 128 South Illinois. In 1904 Frederick is listed as living at 1606 Shelby, in Indianapolis but is back living at 1513 Barth Avenue in 1905. During this time he is also active in the Indiana National Guard, 2nd Regiment Infantry, 1st Battalion. He had reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant by 1906. In 1907 he is employed at Van Camp Hardware and Iron Company as a foreman.

1545 Barth Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana (today)
In 1910, Frederick (age 34), his wife Mary A. (age 28), and children Alita W. (age 8) and Herbert J. (age 4) are living at 1545 Barth Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana. This neighborhood looks much the same today as it did back then except that Interstate 65 now runs right through the back yard. The house was built in 1905. There were five people in addition to Frederick and his immediate family, living in this house. They included his father Charles Sr. (age 68), his brother Charles H. Jr. (age 32), his sister-in-law Estell Truesdell (age 17), and two boarders Martin Hardin (age 50) and daughter Mabel Hardin (age 9). Frederick's occupation is listed as hardware salesman. In 1913 Frederick and Joseph Truesdell, brother of Mary, are listed as patent holders for an excavating apparatus with patent number #1,066,683.

Frederick served in World War I as a Captain in the Infantry Reserve Corps, C1 US Artillery, M1 Georgia Infantry Battalion D, and 6 Co Infantry Provisional Training Regiment. In 1920 he is listed as a Captain in the Officers' Reserve Corps stationed at Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida. They remained in Jacksonville until their deaths. The family consisted of Frederick (age 47), Mary (age 38), Alita (age 17), Herbert (age 14), Estelle Truesdell - Mary's sister - (age 26), Charles Lexow (age 37) and his wife Lena (age 26). They were living at 2232 Fisher Street in Jacksonville, Florida. Fisher Street and the neighborhood no longer exist. Frederick and his brother were employed at Dixie Wholesale Company, and Alita was working in the Eve Larsen real estate office. In 1923 the family moved to 2000 Hill Street and Frederick started working at the municipal docks and terminals sometime between 1923-1924. He continued working at the docks until his death in 1931. Estelle Truesdell continued living with the family at least through 1933.

The family moved around quite a bit during the late 1920s and early 1930s. In 1928 they were living at 1639 E 8th. In 1929 they were living at 1830 East Beaver. In 1930 they were living at 901 Parker Street and 1806 East Duval. Herbert, Frederick's son, became a fireman at Fire Staton #1 in 1927. I don't know why they moved so often in the final years of Frederick's life.

Lt. Col. Frederick H. Lexow
Frederick died on 7 August 1931. His funeral was held at the Seashole Funeral Parlor at 1806 East Church Street on 10 August 1931 with Rev. A. C. Shuler of Calvary Baptist Church officiating. The pallbearers were all former officers who had served under Frederick. They included First Lieut. J. E. Fant, Second Lieutenants F. H. Sharp, Conrad Mangles, J. E. Dahl, L. W. Raulerson and W. A. Miller with the honorary pallbearers from the local Reserve Association being Lieut.-Col. Lynwood Evans, Col. Chester H. Wilson, Lieut.-Col. R. R. Milam, Lieut.-Col. Robert L. Seither, Capt. S. A. Marshall, Lieut. W. M. Bishop and Lieut. Hunter Lynde. The 124th Infantry supplied the firing squad for his funeral service. Frederick was buried in the family lot in West Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness - "Someone forgot to tell the story" That gave me chills as I think about the stories that possibly only I know. Because I liked to listen to old stories I know a lot of them. While it's not about neighborhoods, it's about MY FAMILY. I think I need to make a BIG poster with this saying on it and put it up above my computer. Then, when I'm about to play Candy Crush or something I'll stop and write down one story instead. Thanks!!

    And PS - just because you haven't put something in the blessing jar everyday doesn't mean you've failed. Just keep it up - 300 blessings in the jar at the end of the year is better than just 2 or 3. :-)