Sometimes there are dark things in your family tree that aren’t talked about – things that when you stumble upon them positively blow you away. Such a thing happened to me about a month ago when I was meandering down the Archer branch of my tree. The deeper I dig, the more enthralled I become.
As a child, I knew “something bad” had happened to my great-grandfather, Glenn Archer Stewart. My great-grandma Rosa May Stewart had lived with a man named Leonard Hochmuth for eons and while he loved me as a grandchild, I never called him grandpa as I just knew he wasn’t my “real” grandpa but I usually never gave it much thought. When I was in my teens, I heard a relative talking about how my real great-grandfather killed himself. It’s stuck with me all these years but I knew better than to ask further. Naturally, when I began researching my tree, he was one of the very first I searched after. I found him mentioned a record from the Ohio Boy’s Industrial School along with the name of his mother, Esther Iona Stewart. I promptly sent away for a copy of his record and when it came, the details were scant at best but I saw a notation that he was “homeless”. I saw his younger brother was also placed in the Boy’s Industrial School at the same time. So I began digging into why they were homeless….