Friday, November 30, 2018

Kate Kennard, St. Louis, Missouri 1881

Kate Kennard was born in 1863 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was the daughter of Edmonia Cates and Dr. Thomas Kennard. Dr. Kennard was a prominent physician from Maryland and the Treasurer of the St. Louis Medical Society. He was the son of Dr. Thomas Kennard Sr, also a prominent Maryland physician. Edmonia was the daughter of a lawyer.

Kate had one sibling, an older brother named Bates, who was born in 1862. In 1879, when Kate was 16, her father died of cirrhosis of the liver caused by Hepatitis C. Just a month after the death of her husband, Kate's mother, Edmonia, was admitted to the Missouri State Lunatic Asylum, where she would remain until her death. It is unclear exactly why she was admitted. During this period in history, it was unfortunately common for women to be diagnosed with "hysteria", a type of mental illness that we might diagnose today as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or any number of other conditions. An 1854 document from the Missouri State Lunatic Asylum lists "loss of husband" as a possible cause of insanity.

While Bates stayed in St. Louis, Katie went away to Kennedyville, Kent, Maryland to live with her grandmother, Jane Kennard, her aunts Kate and Virginia, her uncle Frank, and their many servants. In Kent County, the Kennards owned multiple large properties. It's possible that Kate stayed at "Elmwood," or the "Home Farm," which was "especially noticeable for the size and excellence of its residence and outbuildings and the beauty of the size of its lawn, yard, and garden." The house there was a brick building with 15 rooms and had "an unusually large and well-arranged vegetable and flower garden," an apple orchard, and a peach orchard, as well as a large barn. This is all described in an 1883 newspaper advertisement written by Kate's uncle, Henry C. Kennard when the family was trying to sell the properties.

The last few times I can find mention of Kate is in the 1890s, when she is visiting friends in Winfield, Kansas for their weddings. She visits Winfield again in 1915, still unmarried at 53, for another wedding. After this, I'm not sure what happened to Kate Kennard. It's possible she finally married and changed her name, or moved somewhere completely different. Maybe I can find her family one day and they can tell me!

If you know who this is, let us know in the comments!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Theodore Philip Starke, Norfolk, England 1890's

"Faithfully yours
Theodore Philip Starke"

Theodore Philip Starke was born in 1865 in Buxton, Norfolk, England to parents Robert and Frances Sarah Starke. Robert and Frances had 5 children, of which Theodore was the youngest. Robert Starke was a police sergeant and later, a superintendent of police. Frances Starke also worked, making and selling straw bonnets. Theodore's oldest brother, Henry, followed in their father's footsteps and became a police constable. Theodore, however, had different ideas for his future. At age 16, he was already working as a pupil teacher (or student teacher), though I can't find that he ever actually became a teacher. Instead, he seemed to find his calling in reform movements and organizations.

In 1891, at age 26, Theodore is living in St. Peter Mancroft at the boarding house of Sarah Hughes. During this time he is working as a secretary for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Also known as the NSPCC, the Society was founded in 1884 to address child abuse and neglect and successfully campaigned for Parliament to pass the first UK law to protect children in 1889. The NSPCC still exists today.

Later that year, in the summer of 1891, Theodore married Sarah Anna Warren. They had 3 children but their daughter, Dorothy May, born in 1896, was the only one to survive past infancy. In 1911 the Starkes are living in Buxton at 10 Queen's Crescent with Mary Ann Warren, Sarah's mother. Theodore was now working as the organizing secretary of a temperance society, the United Kingdom Alliance.

His daughter Dorothy married Ernest H. Clark in 1925. After Theodore died in 1939, his wife Sarah went to live with Dorothy and Ernest on their farm in Shropshire until her death in 1959.

If you know who this may be, let us know in the comments!