Friday, May 13, 2016

Mrs. Henry Takes in Foundlings

In recent email exchanges with Cousin Timmy, he expressed an interest in learning more about his great grandmother, my great-great grandma, Annette Hinch-Henry. I have been posting a lot about her lately; well, mostly about her husband, Victor Henry, and the murder-suicide he committed. But I have quite a bit I have learned about her through my research as well.

In a recent post I stated that my paternal lineage shows a history of generation after generation taking in wayward cousins, down trodden in-law, and/or generally lost souls. One of these caretakers was Annette, or as she is more often called, Anna.

After her husband's death in 1908, Anna had to find someway to financially support herself and her three children; Charles (my great-grandfather), Jane, and Victor. When I met with some Hinch family cousins last summer they shared with me and my grandmother a story I had never heard about how Anna had to put her children into an orphanage for a brief time. Where ever this home for children was, it was located near a beach. They told me that Charles, being the oldest, saw that his siblings weren't getting enough food to eat in this facility and so he would hid the fruit from his lunch in his pockets, take it out to bury on the beach, and later on his siblings would retrieve the food so they would have something to eat. Anna learned of this and immediately brought her children home. She took on odd jobs, mostly cleaning for people. At one point she worked at Aquaduct Raceway in Queens cleaning at what is a pretty well know horse racing track. She also took in foster children which I am sure came with some money from the state as it still does today.

In several census records I saw children other than her own living with Anna.

In the 1915 NY State Census, Anna has 6 children living with her; the three that we know are her biological children and Joseph (age 3), Frank (age 1), and Antonio (age 1) all listed as with the surname Henry.

In the 1920 U.S. Census she had three "foundlings" in her care; George Hula age 4, and twin girls age 2, Marah and Mary Gericie.

In 1930, Victor is the only one of Anna's children still living with her but they also had an 8 year-old "boarder" named Edward Reed.

One time I asked my Great Uncle Bobby, Cousin Timmy's dad, if he had any recollection of Edward. He told me Edward died of appendicitis while in Anna's care. Great Uncle Bobby said his grandma took Eddie to the doctor's office with terrible stomach pain and the doctor dismissed his ailment as an act on Eddie's part in order to get out of going to school. Bobby said he recalled that Anna was devastated with grief at Eddie's death.

I was able to find that Edward Reed died on December 7, 1937 at the age of 16. According to his death certificate which I observed on microfilm at the New York City Municipal Archives back in November of 2011, Edward died at Jamaica Hospital and is buried at St. John's Cemetery in Queens, NY. The cause of death is listed as gangrene following an appendectomy conducted on November 19, 1937. Anna signed his death certificate as his guardian.

Edward, George, Marah, Mary, Joseph, Frank, and Antonio are just the 7 foster children I know of but I image there were many others.

Although I did not know my Great-Great Grandmother, I know she must have been a strong woman with a gentle heart who shared and showered her kindness on the unfortunate. That's a nice legacy to leave behind, don't ya think? 

Poking through her census records that I she is linked to on yesterday revealed some new Irish records about the Hinch family which I will blog about soon. Stay tuned...

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