Monday, December 12, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Baby Pines for Lost DaDa - 1907

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
This week I transcribe a news story that appeared in the 1907 St. Louis Post Dispatch. Goldie Cruvant, who I mentioned last week, had just returned to East St. Louis from Chicago, with husband, Benjamin, and their two children. And Ben's parents weren't happy about the relationship.

St. Louis Post Dispatch; June 21, 1907; page 3
ProQuest Historical Newspapers St. Louis Post Dispatch (1874-1922)

Shoemaker’s Wife Asks Police to Help Find Her Husband Who Disappeared

The love of a blue-eyed baby girl is awaiting the return of Benjamin Cruvant, who left his home in East St. Louis two months ago. His 2-year-old daughter is worried over his absence and in her baby prattle she daily calls for her “dada,” whose absence she cannot understand.

Cruvant is 24 years old and formerly had a shoe shop at 512 North Sixteenth street, East St. Louis, now run by his wife. After visiting his parents, who were opposed to his marriage, he packed up his tools and left home April 19, last. He did not tell his wife he intended to leave and she has not heard of him since.

Mrs. Cruvant is not a Jewess, but is of English parentage, and to this she ascribes the objections of her husband’s parents, Morris Cruvant, father of Benjmain, who lives at 435 Collinsville avenue, East St. Louis.

Mrs. Cruvant says she cannot account for her husband’s long absence from the baby, whom he loved dearly. The little one pines for her father’s love and often hugs and kisses his photograph which her mother keeps within her reach on a dresser.

Mrs. Cruvant has appealed to the police to assist in locating her husband.


1) Despite its flair for the dramatic, it is interesting that the article doesn't mention that Ben and Goldie had two children. In addition to a two-year old daughter, there should have been a three-year-old son.  Is it possible the elder child had been left in Chicago with some relatives of Goldie, hoping the grandparents might be more willing to accept one grandchild?

2) The details are unknown, but it's clear Ben made the decision to break it off with Goldie. Goldie and their children returned to Chicago, and Ben remained in St. Louis, and ultimately married again, and had two more children.

3) Ben and his father, Morris, both traveled to Chicago in 1903-1904 - apparently looking for work.  Morris returned the following year, but appears with Ben in the 1904 Chicago Directories.  Ben and Goldie's first child was born in July of 1904.  Ben and Goldie were married in May of 1904.  The odds are strong Morris knew about his son's marriage between 1904 and 1907.  It's not clear if the rest of the family had been told, though.

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