Hancock

An image of Mrs. Lewis Dingman Brodhead (a.k.a. Mildred Elizabeth Hancock)

Lewis Dingman Brodhead (undated; probably circa 1904)

Lewis Dingman Brodhead (undated; probably circa 1904) – Image copyright James and Barbara Brodhead

As long-time readers of this blog know, Mildred Elizabeth Hancock (1892 – Aft 1940) eloped with my Great Uncle Lewis Dingman Brodhead (1884-1934) on June 23, 1911, at the Church of the Transfiguration in Manhattan.

(My previous blog posts about them include: Another Brodhead elopes, this time in 1911 at NYC’s Little Church Around the Corner; More on Lewis D. Brodhead; and Survived by ‘Mrs. R. J. Cole of Philadelphia’)

Well, some good news! The Baltimore Sun has kindly given me permission to publish the photo of Mildred that appeared on p. 14 of the July 12, 1911, issue of that paper.

Mildred’s hat is pretty fabulous; it’s a shame we can’t see her or her hat in full living color, but under the circumstances, B&W will definitely do!

Below Image: Reprinted with permission from The Baltimore Sun.  All rights reserved.

Mildred

Reprinted with permission from The Baltimore Sun. All rights reserved.

Categories: Brodhead, Hancock, Lutherville, Maryland, New York City | Tags: | 7 Comments

Survived by “Mrs. R. J. Cole of Philadelphia”

As many of you know, I have been intermittently obsessed with figuring out what happened to Mildred Elizabeth Hancock who eloped with my Great Uncle Lewis D. Brodhead in 1911. The last traces of them together as a couple were found in a 1922 Pottsville, Pennsylvania, directory. I speculated a divorce or desertion had occurred since Mildred was not mentioned in Lewis’s 1934 obituary.

I searched high and low online, paid the Schuylkill Historical Society to see what it could find, and asked for help from a wonderful lady at the county courthouse to see what record there may be of a divorce. She searched high and low, going above and beyond what I’d requested. When all was said and done, zippo, nada; seemingly Mildred had vanished.

What now? I’d had all my eggs in the Pottsville-divorce-record basket. That was going to tell me everything! Bloodhound that I am, I was not about to give up. Perhaps, she’d been mentioned in a parent’s or sibling’s obituary. I’d tried that route before, but now I had more info on the family, so I decided to have at it again.

Fortunately, on USGenWeb archives, parents Josias and Laura Hancock appeared in a mention of the existence of a 1928 Baltimore Sun obit for their daughter Ethel, who had eloped shortly before Mildred did. I searched Genealogy Bank, but they did not carry it. So I did some digging on her and discovered she’d divorced in 1924. Then I went online on the Baltimore Sun archives site and paid a $4 fee for her obituary (under the name “Mrs. Ethel H. Langrall”). (She’d died suddenly in Philadelphia while en route to Atlantic City.) And, there, in the last paragraph were the names of her four siblings: …Mrs. R. J. Cole of Philadelphia, and Mrs. William T. Crafton and Miss Margaret M. Hancock of Baltimore, and also a brother Charles A. Hancock... So, hooray—Mildred Hancock Brodhead had become either Mrs. R. J. Cole or Mrs. William T. Crafton. And after a brief dig, I connected Crafton to the sister named Hazel, which meant Mildred was Mrs. R. J. Cole.

I’d hoped that more/different details would emerge in other family obits. But the only one I found was Josias Hancock’s. I’d found his date of death in the Maryland State Archives online death index, and a record of his obit in the Baltimore Sun in October 1949. For the $4 archive fee, I discovered the obit was bare bones — no mention of his children, just wife Laura.

So, anyway, my hunch was right. Lewis and Mildred split up after 1922 and before Ethel’s death on 1 January 1928. Eventually, I found her and her new husband Richard J. Cole (born in Ontario, Canada) in the 1930 census. They were renting in Dallas, Texas, and he was working as an auditor; that particular census asked for age at first marriage, and both of their answers indicated they’d been married four years—circa 1926, which was when Lewis appeared by himself in the Pottsville directory. (Of course, this was not Mildred’s first marriage, but obviously she wanted everyone to think it was.) The 1940 census showed Richard and Mildred living back in Philadelphia, and he was working as a ‘treasurer’ in ‘Retail groceries.’ No children were indicated.

By 1940, which is when I lose Mildred’s trail again (but this time, I don’t mind), Lewis had been dead seven years, and for Mildred he was just a distant memory—and maybe not a very good one. Still, I can’t help but think that somewhere out there, perhaps floating around a thrift store or antique shop, there exists a photo album full of images of Lewis and Mildred enjoying some some happy times together. It’s just a shame that—for whatever reason—things did not work out.

******************************************************************

1930, Dallas, Texas – United States Census, 1930, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:C4ZS-C2M : accessed 22 April 2016), Mildred E Cole in entry for Richard J Cole, 1930.

Household
Role
Gender
Age
Birthplace
Richard J Cole Head M 30 Canada
Mildred E Cole Wife F 36 Maryland

 

1940, Philadelphia, PA – United States Census, 1940, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KQJ6-TC3 : accessed 22 April 2016), Mildred Cole in household of Richard J Cole, Ward 46, Philadelphia, Philadelphia City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 51-1929, sheet 1B, family 28, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 3747.

Household
Role
Gender
Age
Birthplace
Richard J Cole Head M 40 Ontario Canada
Mildred Cole Wife F 46 Maryland
Categories: Brodhead, Hancock, Maryland | Tags: | 3 Comments

Another Brodhead elopes, this time in 1911 at NYC’s ‘Little Church Around the Corner’

Credit: Aukirk, 22 Oct. 2012. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Credit: Aukirk, 22 Oct. 2012. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Completely by chance, I came across a grainy 1911 photo of a “Mrs. L. D. Brodhead,” under the headline: “Lutherville Girl Who Eloped.” The photo was from the Baltimore Sun whose old issues can be found on Genealogy Bank. I certainly did not recognize her nor did I expect to. However, having just published the story about William Hall Brodhead and Mary Van Tassel’s elopement, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by news of yet another Brodhead elopement. So, I found the accompanying article, expecting I’d come upon some “new” Brodheads down there in Maryland (“my Brodheads” were mostly from the NJ/NY/PA area), probably some distant relations… But, life changed in an instant–half way into paragraph No. 2, my jaw dropped and all I could think was “Holy cow!” The Brits have the greatest word: “gobsmacked”– and that’s exactly what I was. The groom’s name? “Lewis D. Brodhead of Elizabeth, New Jersey.”

1904 Stereoview card:

1904 Stereoview card: “The Elopement: A Hasty Descent” (Wikimedia; source: Library of Congress – public domain)

“Uncle Lewie,” as my dad used to call him, died of a heart attack on 8 December 1933 at age 49, when my Dad was just 12. At the time of his death, which took place in his office, Lewis was on the board of the American Swiss File and Tool Company. The December 10 obituary notice in the New York Times mentions only his mother and two brothers as surviving him.

All my Dad remembered about Uncle Lewie was that he was a bit too fond of his drink, had a reputation for being quite a character, and had never married or had children. And there I was–almost 80 years after Lewie’s death–suddenly confronted with proof that he’d been married—to one Mildred Elizabeth Hancock on 23 June 1911. How bizarre. It was shocking. Even my 90-year-old mother was shocked, and it takes a lot to shock her these days. My late father would have been completely flummoxed by this. How could it be that neither of his parents ever mentioned Uncle Lewie has having been married?! It’s extremely odd, and all I could immediately surmise was that the marriage was either a very brief one or a very troubled one that ended in divorce and was swept under the rug permanently. But it still seemed a bit nuts that my dad would not have heard anything about it.

Top: Uncle Lewie's mom and dad: Andrew Douglas Brodhead and Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead. Their three sons: Frank Martin (seated left), Lewis Dingman (right), and Andrew Jackson (standing in rear) (PHOTO of the three brothers courtesy of James E. Brodhead)

Top: Uncle Lewie’s mom and dad: Andrew Douglas Brodhead and Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead. Their three sons: Frank Martin (seated left), Lewis Dingman (right), and Andrew Jackson (standing in rear) (PHOTO of the three brothers courtesy of James E. Brodhead)

Lewis (b. 5 October 1884) was the second of three sons of Andrew Douglas Brodhead (son of Andrew Jackson Brodhead) and Margaret Lewis Martin (a daughter Edith died in early childhood); I cannot help but wonder what their and the rest of the family’s reaction was to this elopement. My grandfather (Uncle Lewie’s older brother) Frank M. Brodhead (b. 5 Feb. 1882) and wife Fannie Woodruff, who lived in Elizabeth, would have been entering their third year of marriage at that time. Youngest brother Andrew (b. 3 October 1886) was still living at home in 1905 but was gone by 1910, so I don’t know where he was at the time of Lewis’s 1911 elopement (Andrew married in 1916).

The elopement of Mildred Hancock, daughter of Laura and Josias A. Hancock, caused a great deal of buzz in the local Maryland press. Mildred was described as “one of the most attractive belles of the [Lutherville, MD] community” This was the second Hancock to elope in the space of three months, and Mildred broke the news to her parents via telegram. Mildred, 18 years of age, had been employed for five months in a touring theatrical troupe, partially against the wishes of her parents. Sometime during her brief stage career, she met Lewis, who became a regular member of the audience. She left the troupe and returned to Baltimore. Apparently Lewis was a traveling hardware salesman, and he soon found reason to visit Maryland regularly on business. He met Mildred’s mother on several occasions, but never met Mr. Hancock. In June 1911, Lewis was in NYC on business and Mildred insisted on making a trip to NYC at that time, not telling her parents the trip involved Lewis.

Published before 1920 by The American Art Publishing Co., New York City; H. Finkelstein & Son (Wikimedia Commons: Public domain)

Published before 1920 by The American Art Publishing Co., New York City; H. Finkelstein & Son (Wikimedia Commons: Public domain)

Library of Congress image, 1904 (Wikimedia commons: Public domain)

Library of Congress image, 1904 (Wikimedia commons: Public domain)

They eloped, marrying at the Church of the Transfiguration on 29th Street (a.k.a. The Little Church Around the Corner; Episcopalian). Afterwards they “made merry” in Atlantic City and elsewhere on the Jersey shore. The Hancocks eventually telegraphed their blessing (no indication given that a blessing arrived from M/M A.D. Brodhead). Lewis then made his way to Canada on a business trip and Mildred returned home to her parents where all awaited Lewis’s August 26 visit to finally meet Mr. Hancock. Then, according to Mildred, Lewis and she would be leaving for a honeymoon although she had no idea where, just that it was going to be an “awfully long distance” away and that she wanted to go to Europe soon as well. The article contained a number of comments made by Mildred that made her come across as immature and a bit ditzy. It closed by saying Mr. & Mrs. L. D. Brodhead planned to make their home in Springfield, MA (And they did end up going there).

So, the big question for me was: Did the marriage last? Well, the answer is “yes”–at least for 11 years. I found Lewis’s 12 September 1918 registration card for WWI. His home address was listed as 132 Bushkill Street, Easton North, Pennsylvania. He stated his place of employment as manager at Crew Levick Co. (an oil company) in Easton, and lists wife Mildred as sharing his Bushkill St. home address. He described himself as “tall” and “slender”, and as having brown eyes and black hair.

'A portion of the Yuengling Brewery at night, as visible from Mahantango Street, Pottsville. Artwork now adorns the entrances on the front of the building' (Wikimedia: Author Mredden, 13 Mar 2007)

‘A portion of the Yuengling Brewery at night, as visible from Mahantango Street, Pottsville. Artwork now adorns the entrances on the front of the building’ (Wikimedia: Author Mredden, 13 Mar 2007)

Lobby Card c. 1921 featuring the first appearance on film by Laurel and Hardy, in Lucky Dog produced in 1919 and released in 1921. Published 1921; photo may have been taken as early as 1919. Author unknown (Wikimedia: Public domain in USA)

Lobby Card c. 1921 featuring the first appearance on film by Laurel and Hardy, in Lucky Dog produced in 1919 and released in 1921. Published 1921; photo may have been taken as early as 1919. Author unknown (Wikimedia: Public domain in USA)

I found the next trace of Lewis and Mildred in a 1922 Pottsville, PA, directory. They were living at 109 S. Centre Street. Why Pottsville, home of the famous Yuengling Brewery, (America’s oldest; est. 1829)? I don’t know, but it wasn’t for the beer as prohibition had gone into effect in 1920. Perhaps a clue comes from the Wikipedia entry for the town: Until the middle of the 20th century, Pottsville was a popular destination for many traveling acts and vaudeville performers. The 1929 film Berth Marks stars the comedy legends Laurel and Hardy as they attempt to reach Pottsville by train for one of their booked performances. Pearl Bailey had once resided in Pottsville during the early part of her entertaining career. Soldiers in training at nearby Fort Indiantown Gap were prohibited from visiting Pottsville during most of World War II due to the large amounts of illicit venues and activities present during the time. Maybe Mildred was involved with the theatre there, or maybe the couple just liked the city’s “vibe”. It was, after all, the roaring ’20s.

So sometime between 1922 and Lewis’s death in 1933, Mildred died or the pair split up. She is not mentioned in his obituary. I’ve searched high and low for further clues, but have so far come up empty-handed. A trip to Pottsville to look at old court records and library archives will probably be required to figure this one out! If anyone reading this has any clues, please share!

Update 9/17/13:  I found an Elizabeth city directory for 1931 showing Lewis (salesman) living with his widowed mother Margaret Lewis Brodhead at 11 Elmwood Place. No mention of Mildred. Also, I forgot to mention that Lewis was buried in the family plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, NJ.

Follow-up Posts:
Lewis Dingman Brodhead – death
Mildred Elizabeth Hancock Brodhead – remarriage

Resources: YouTube Videos: To Live in the 1920s ; Flappers: The Roaring 1920s

Categories: Brodhead, Hancock, Lutherville, Maryland, New Jersey 1905, Pottsville Schuylkill Co, Providence, Rhode Island, Scandal, US Federal 1910 | 8 Comments

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