My Aunt Ruth

I have a lovely picture of my Aunt Ruth as a young girl/lady. No date is given for the photo. She was born in 1888 and lived a long life, marrying twice and living to the age of 97. She was born in Peoria Florida as her parents spent 10 to 12 years there for reasons of my grandfather’s health. The family returned to their base in Ohio when my grandfather became terminally in 1898. Aunt Ruth would have been about 10 years old when her father (my grandfather) died.

So she spent the remainder of her formative years in Newark Ohio. She became a teacher and taught school in both Newark and then Indiana. In Indianapolis Indiana she first married John H. Hilkene, a widower with one child. She was 42, he was 55. This was in 1923. He subsequently died in 1930. One thing that struck me about him is that he served in the Spanish American War in 1898, and he also served in the 1st World War. He was very active in the American Legion in Panama. He (they?) were living in Panama when he became seriously ill and subsequently returned to Indianapolis to die.

Five years later in November 1935 she married James S. Milligan in Indianapolis. (Her younger brother my father married for the 3rd time in December 1935). She was in her late 40’s when she married James. He was a widower with 2 children.

At some point she moved from teaching to work as an underwriter for the Sun Alliance Insurance Company. She worked for that company until retirement.

She spent her final years between Indianapolis, Raleigh North Carolina and Florida with her sister Myrtle and her mother, She died at age 97 in 1984.

I might have met Aunt Ruth in the fall of 1948, but I doubt it. I was 11 years old when my sister Ruth and I went south (by train) to Raleigh North Carolina to visit our Grandmother and our Aunt Myrtle. My only recollections of that trip are in photographs and my only real memory is of the suit I wore – a lovely brown and white suit and so-called sport shoes.

Why would Aunt Ruth have been there in North Carolina – possibly visiting her sister and mother? Doubtful, I’m sure she was busy enough in Indiana.

My Aunt Ruth – A Segue to My Father’s Youth

My Aunt Ruth was my father’s sister, born 1888. She was 3 years younger than my father. There were 5 children in the family, 3 boys and 2 girls. The first born was Myrtle born 1884. Then along came Dana, a boy born 1887. Then in 1888 Ruth was born, followed by the 2 boys, my father Joseph born 1891 and Roy born 1893. I imagine my grandmother and grandfather had a lively time with these 5. Although the family had their roots in Ohio they spent time in Florida. My father and his sister Myrtle were both born in Peoria Florida, a part of St. Augustine.

I have subsequently found an obituary in the Newark Daily Advocate for my grandfather, Major Charles Dana Miller. In the obituary it is noted that he spent the last 10 to 12 years of his life in Florida, due to health problems. When he became very ill, he returned to his mother’s home on Buena Vista Street in Newark where he died.

Mary Gilman Miller’s family home on Buena Vista Street, Newark Ohio. This home is where my father spent the later years of his youth.

Prior to reading the obituary cited above, I did not understand why or how they spent time in Florida. I thought It might have been for health reasons but not as severe as those cited in the obituary. My grandfather was injured in the Civil War and although he appears to have lived a very full life, he did die relatively young at the age of 61.

From the obituary my mental image of the 5 children attending their father’s funeral is incredibly sad.

My father was only 8 or 9 years old when his father died, and he never told me any memories of his dad. What childhood memories my father told me were all of his mother and their home in Newark Ohio.

A Golf Tournament Like No Other

Family Reunion Golf Tournament

This morning I came across this photo quite unexpectedly while looking for something else. When, where was this photo taken? I think it must have been in Seattle. Was it as long ago as Ian’s 80th birthday? No I don’t think it was as long ago as that. That young man on the right is now a junior in college and he towers over his dad. I am sure the competition was fierce and the results hotly contested. And there must have been a trophy involved. I must ask the contestants. This is a memory test for me.