Franklin Marion Sullivan and Clara Ida Noe
Clara Moves to Marietta; Married and Widowed
When Clara was 19 and Eva was 52 they moved to town and both took jobs, Clara at a Cigar Factory and Eva as a store clerk, housemaid and nanny for a Marietta family. Apparently, Frank and Clara kept dating. Mom says he was probably out on Pleasant Ridge and took a horse and carriage to town. They were married on Nov 12, 1912. My mother, Lorene, was born almost a year later on October 5, 1913.
Mom has a crystal vase that was given to Frank and Clara as a marriage present by Julia Buertel and Jacob Gilcher. Julia was the younger half-sister of Frank's mother, Carolina, and the younger sister of Frank's adoptive mother Elizabetha Buertel Zimmer. My sister, Vicki Smith, also has a lovely table given by Julia to Clara and Frank as another wedding present.
For the first few years of their marriage they lived in various places around Marietta and Frank held various jobs. When Lorene was about three, they went back to stay with "Grossvater und Grosmutter" Zimmer, because Frank hadn't been successful in finding sustaining work for his family. The deal was that Frank and Clara were supposed to take care of the old folks, and in turn, they would inherit the farm.
But there was a fight, or perhaps deep differences leading to a fight. Lorene tells it this way: Grossvater Zimmer had sugar diabetes, and Grossmutter made special white bread for him, while serving the rest of the family corn bread. Lorene (4 years old) cried for white bread, and was told it was for Grossvater. The disagreement between Clara and Elizabeth over what Lorene would eat escalated, and they left within a few days. Frank lost his inheritance.
It was then that he found the good job at the Safe Cabinet Co, and worked his way up to the head of the paint department for several years. When Lorene was four, he bought a farm of 11 acres out on Pike Street for $500. He grew some produce for local markets and they had pigs and chickens. Also, across the road lived Tom and Rose Hawkins, and Frank and Tom really struck up a good friendship. Tom came over and helped him repair the front porch on the old beat up place. They became good buddies, including drinking buddies who made the rounds of the local saloons. Mom says that Rose was a big woman, and when they got too drunk she'd bop 'em on the head and put 'em to bed. Mom has good memories of this time. She said that when Frank would ride his bicycle in the lane to their farm she would run out the lane to meet him. He'd grab her up in his arms and call her his little "Nubbin."
Somewhere along the path, Frank and Clara started to fight. Clara was upset about his drinking, but there was more to it than that. According to my mom, Clara wasn't the easiest person to get along with. Mom said that when they'd get into a fight, Frank would play the fiddle and try to get her in a good mood, but more often than not, she would sulk. Things went from bad to worse. Frank took to ailing. Maybe it was the drink, but maybe it was poison from the paint department. And maybe it was more than that. Mom tells me that in an effort to get Tom to stop drinking, Rose Hawkins bought some kind of potion that was supposed to cure alcoholism. But instead, she gave it to Tom in secret and it made him blind. The Hawkins left their home and went to the County House where they became caretakers, he of the men's side and she of the women's side.
At any rate, Frank's health was failing. He sold the family farm and moved over to the place where the Hawkins's had lived, renting it for $5 a month. Continuing from worse to terrible, unknown to Clara, he gambled away the family savings. She only found out about this after his death, when she went to cash in the savings account. Frank died when Lorene was only seven. He just came out of the barn and had a heart attack and died on the spot. The neighbors tried to stop Lorene from running to see him, but she knew her daddy was dead. That was 1921.
Recently, mom told me that right after Frank died, Frank's brother, Bill asked Clara if he could have something to remember Frank by. In particular, Frank had a lucky gambling ring that was 18K gold set with a ruby that he would like to have. Clara said, "Well, you're not going to get it." When the hearse in Frank's funeral procession passed a field in which Bill was working, he doffed his hat to his brother, and then kept on working. However, I have been lucky enough to inherit my grandfather's ring and cuff links, and I wore them to a formal Mardi Gras party in Natchitoches, Louisiana on January 29, 2005.