Ada Marian Howe (1886-1974): Buffalo and Cleveland

       
 
By 1894, despite the new man in her life, Addy was struggling. Hearing of this back in Cleveland, her father, Joseph Milo Stowe, used some of his Civil War pension to fund two train tickets east for his granddaughters. Ada and Zoe rode the train for three days on their own, with only the kindness of strangers to provide food for the journey.

The rail journey east might have been quite glorious in parts, depending on the season.
The train bore them to Chicago, and then to Cleveland.

The South Dakota grasslands would have been a contrast indeed to the industrial megalopolis that awaited them at the end of the line.

Luckily, Grandfather Stowe's place was in a more residential part of Cleveland, near St. Clair Avenue. This is St. Clair looking east.


Joseph Milo was not doing well himself when he sent for the girls. But with the help of his daughter Minnie, he was able to provide for the girls until his death in 1895, at which point the girls were returned to their mother and stepfather, who had by then moved to Buffalo.
Clint was from New York, so this might be why he and Addy chose that area.

Joseph, born in 1827 in Haverill, New Hampshire, was the son of Joseph "Appleton" Stowe and Matilda Morse. The family moved to Wisconsin when Joseph Milo was a young man. There he married Laura Bates, with whom he had three children, but he abandoned them, sent word he had died, and started life anew in the 1850s. He met Abigail Whiting of Maine when he was in Michigan, and they had their first child Eva there. Then they moved to Cleveland, where the rest of their children were born.

Joseph served in the Civil War, although he was ailing a good bit of the time. His greatest honor, he said, was to stand guard at Lincoln's funeral procession in Columbus, Ohio in April of 1865. He worked as a house- or ship's-carpenter much of the time, and was also an accomplished singer and singing master. It was this musical ability the girls loved most about their grandfather,
who composed songs for them they remembered their whole lives.

These are Addy's younger brothers and three of her sisters, one of whom is probably Minnie, but I don't know which one.

This is the only photo that was labeled with Minnie's name. I don't know who the infant is.
Minnie and her husband Albert Lord did not have any of their own.

When Ada and Zoe came to Cleveland, they acquired a whole extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins, some of whom they loved, some not so much. I don't know whom Grandfather Stowe is sitting next to here, but it must be a granddaughter, given his grey beard. Addy's older sisters Cora and Eva had daughters whom Ada counted as friends. The girl standing next to Grandfather Stowe might be Cora VanBuskirk, who signed Ada's autograph book in 1900.
Her favorite cousin, according to Ebba, was her Aunt Eva's daughter Eva Mehling, who went on to become an accomplished vocalist.

The nearest open school to where Grandfather Stowe was living was St. Clair,
which must have seemed like a palace after the homespun White Lake schoolhouse.

Cleveland must have seemed a beehive of activity compared to the quiet of the prairie. Zoe and Ada wrote of going to see the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in downtown Cleveland, which was erected in 1894.

Grandfather Stowe was an active member of a veterans' group called the Grand Army of the Republic, and was proud of his GAR pin.
This is a photo of an 1888 GAR parade on the occasion of the Ohio Centennial celebration.

Grandfather Stowe died of cancer of the mouth in 1895 and was buried in the Monroe Street Cemetery in Cleveland. He and his wife Abigail had numbered plots, but I couldn't find the spot. This photo shows roughly the area where they should have been.

From about 1896 to 1900, Ada and Zoe lived with their mother in Buffalo. We have envelopes addressed to Addy at three different addresses, so they moved around a lot. It is not known how long Clint was with them, but he was there for at least the first part of that period, because a letter Addy received from her brother at that time references how good the couple looked in the photo they had sent to him. Was it the one below, taken at Niagara Falls, or in front of a backdrop?

Addy and H.A. (Clint) Williams

The 1900 censustaker found Addy, widow of H.A. Williams, living in Buffalo with her two daughters and a lodger named E. Fitzgerald. Her occupation is dressmaker. Later that year, she died of causes unspecified later in letters that were sent between the sisters.
It wasn't disease, or they would have said so. I wonder if it might have been an accident, given her youth.
She had enrolled Ada in a religious organization called Christian Endeavor, which is said to have been the inspiration for AA.
Perhaps alcohol abuse was involved. That might explain Ada's later distaste for the stuff.

After their mother was buried, in the Pine Hill cemetery of Buffalo, the girls went back to live with Minnie for a time. At 16, Ada left school and went into domestic service for a woman named Agnes Seely, of whom she was very fond.
This photo is probably from that period.


Their father came back into their lives after their mother died, and tried to persuade them, along with their Aunt Minnie, to come to South Dakota and live with him in the frontier town of Bonesteel. He probably did not tell them what a den of iniquity it was. A land rush had brought unsavory types galore to that part of South Dakota, and Bonesteel was a haven for gamblers, swindlers, and drunks.
These photographs are from 1904, the very year he tried to talk them into moving there.

Luckily, fate intervened, in the form of David Argyle Burns's courtship and marriage proposal.
Ada went on to see her father after 1904, and Zoe probably did too, but I'm sure they were both glad they decided to stay in Ohio!


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