Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gulvin Children Reunited and Family Mystery Solved

A few years ago when I began researching family history, I came across a cousin of my grandmother named Myra Gulvin.  She had never married and moved around quite a bit, often acting as housekeeper for friends and relatives who needed assistance, particularly when mothers had passed away leaving younger children who needed care.  It took quite awhile but slowly I pieced together the fact that she and her siblings had all ended up in various places.  Their parents, Richard and Ann (Towne) Gulvin had disappeared from the census records by 1870 and the children didn't show up together.  I finally realized that they had been orphaned and had been split up.  I did find a letter showing that Myra knew about some of them at least.  This week I came across a letter from Myra to my grandmother telling about a wonderful family reunion that the siblings had had decades after their parents had passed away.  Richard and Ann Gulvin had passed away in 1866 and 1867 respectively.  The oldest of the five children, Martha, was ten when her father died and the youngest child, Richard, was only two.  The reunion of siblings had been written about in the Lafayette paper.  I don't have the exact dates, but the newspaper clipping was in a letter dated July 1934. Following the rest of the newspaper article is the letter that Myra wrote about the event.  
Maywood, Ill
July 17, 1934
Dear Cousin Susan,
            I have just been reading over your nice long newsy Xmas letter and guess we are quite as too negligent and live such a quiet life here that there is so little to write about it seems useless to write.  However I sure enjoyed your letter and this morning it seemed like having a talk with you once again.  I’m glad you all really liked the scrapbook. I really liked it myself when it as all done – it was the very prettiest one out of several that I made last year. I think we must have had the same kind of weather that you had up in Wisconsin. We have had a very dry hot summer so far and in some places the crops are in bad shape.  I have just returned from a most delightful visit in my old Indiana home town at the home of my brother Richard. We had a family reunion at his home.  Sisters Mattie and Grace came and of course brother Charlie lives there so he was with us two or three evenings a week.  We had a picnic in the woods down in Fountain County where we were born.  Besides us five Brother Charlie’s family were with us all but the oldest one, he works for the Monon Rail Road and couldn’t get away.  However there were twenty of us in the family with only two outsiders, two youngsters visiting their sister, the wife of one of Charlie’s boys.  Charlie’s children are all married and he has seven grandchildren, all boys but two.  Well we had a lovely day visiting, taking pictures and doing justice to all the good eats that the various overtook.  It was rather warm but we just forgot that part of it and had a good time.  I am sending you a clipping from a Lafayette paper which will tell all the rest; you might send it out to Salt Lake to George and Dora if you please. I only had three, am keeping one and sent one to your Aunt Marian. I thought your bunch would be the most interested in the occasion of my [family] so that is why.
            The day of the picnic the  daughter of a lady who used to know our father and mother took us girls for an auto ride down through that part of the County where we used to live and we saw the actual spot where the house stood and where our brother Charlie was born and where Father died. And we have found the spot where our parents are buried and the brothers are looking after it. Isn’t it splendid after all these years to know just where they were laid and to be able to feel there will be someone to look after the place in the years that are ahead.
I guess my family are all well at present tho I haven’t heard from any of the Delevan branch for some time.  Sister is with Hattie in the Worth part of Wis on a vacation trip.  I am about as usual, have my ups and downs as the old ladies say. 
            If you think our Salt Lake friends would like to read this letter and you are so minded just send it along for them to read.  I haven’t even made my bed and it is nine o’clock so think I better close at this time.  With love to all
                                                            From Cousin,  Myra J Gulvin
Myra herself has written her age on the bottom of the photo.  The photo was taken two years later, but she lived five more years after this family reunion.