The 2nd Part of the story of my Great-Grandfather, Robert Rutledge.
I grew up thinking that my grandfather, Gordon Rutledge, grew up with just a brother who lived back East. But one day, while visiting his daughter, my Auntie Verna, I found out that not only did he have a stepmother but he had a half sister as well.
As I was sitting having tea with my Aunt, she said “You know I am named after my Dad’s sister” I was surprised and mentioned that I didn’t know the Robert & Annie had 3 children. She told me not Annie but his 2nd wife. Now that was a surprise because after asking about family, no one had ever mentioned to me about a 2nd wife and child.
So, a new wife and child — interesting and it got more interesting and sad as I researched them.
I searched for a child born to a Robert Rutledge and named Verna. I found her but it was a death certificate, not a birth record. Verna Eileen Hope Rutledge was born on April 11, 1911 and died on May 12, 1912 of whooping cough. How very sad that she just lived 13 months.
But I believe this death caused problems for both parents as it seemed that after that, while it looks like they never divorced, they did not live together. My Dad told me that he had heard comments that it had to do with depression and alcohol – whose he never said but I can understand this. I have a couple of letters written by Robert in the 40’s which he mentions “Mother” visiting him. By then, his Mother had been dead for a number of years, so I believe he is talking about his wife, Georgina.
I have been unable to find any records, other than their marriage records as to what happened to Georgina. I am hoping to find a copy of Roberts’ death certificate that might list him as a widow or married, which would give a better date range.
One thing that I have that is special to me is that while I don’t have much on my Great-Aunt Verna Eileen Hope and don’t know where she is buried, my Auntie Verna left me her coffin plaque as she knew that I would cherish it and I do. I had it put in a special frame and it is on a wall of honor in my apartment.
So did the death of a child separate Robert and Georgina? When did she leave? Did Grandpa grow up with a step-mother or what type of home did he grow up in?
I guess that there is really no way to answer these questions, but at least Verna Eileen is remembered and not forgotten. While I cannot flower her grave, I do say a little prayer on her birthday and Angel Day.
Part Three will be about Robert’s invention and the rip off of his rights to it.