An Unexpected Find

Speaking of obituaries, one of my siblings happened upon something interesting. My grandfather had an obituary published in Billboard:

I wonder who placed it? I can only suspect that it was one of his vaudeville associates. One interesting aspect of the obit is that it only mentions two daughters, presumably Vera and Helen, his first two daughters by his wife, Vera Luce, who died, presumably giving birth to her second daughter, Vera. Vera was raised by their uncle, Charlie, and his wife, Belle, and never knew that Owen was her father. Helen’s daughter told me that she did, indeed, know.

Unmentioned are Owen’s son, Eugene, who died in boyhood, and my mom who was his only child who actually knew him.

The possibility that my grandfather played with Primrose and Dockstader’s Minstrel Men, suggested in the obit, is interesting and provides some new avenues for research for me. It also conflicts with my mom’s claim that her father had never done blackface.

Having only a casual relationship, an acquaintanceship shall we say, with the truth, was not unusual in my mom’s family but I can’t help but wonder if it hadn’t been a sensitive subject for my grandfather.

1 comment… add one
  • As I may have mentioned before, my family’s history would make a good novel except that it’s too incredible.

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