Monday, October 19, 2009

In the Eye of the Storm

This is a photograph of the Fred A. Bulman family in 1928. Fred is 57 and Lena is 47. Eugene Vern is on left rear and is 24. Percy H. is on the right rear and is 21. Verona Irene is in the middle rear and is 17 in the picture. Luella Ione (15) is on the left. Archie (10) is in the middle and Edwin J. (12) is on the right.

Fred and Lena are in the eye of the storm of their lives in this picture. They have endured much as a newly married couple in Wisconsin and while raising their younger children on a homestead in Wibaux, Montana. Since the early Twenties, they have been living in relative stability. This will change with the beginning of the Depression. Shortly, Percy will marry. So will Verona. Both are in Michigan for the 1930 Census. Verona and Otis are with Lena who also has Eugene and Luella still living with her in Flint, Genesee. Percy is also in Flint with his wife, Vida M., and his son, Robert L. Fred, his mother, and the younger boys will move out to Washington State to start the family farm Puyallup in Pierce County and they can be found there in the Washington Census in 1930. This will be the site of the family for decades to come. But, there will be great sorrow in the midst of their struggles.

Accounting for each of their deaths, at least briefly, and locating their resting places will help us to identify key times and places in their lives that can be filled in with family rememberances and other documents over time. The first significant death that I am aware of (there may have been unknown children who died during infancy) was Lena's. The story begins with a news article about a trip taken by Fred and his mother, Margaret.

Waukesha Freeman
6 July 1938

Elderly Woman Comes Here in House-Truck

Fred A. Bulman and mother, Mrs. Margaret Bulman, arrived Friday from their home in Puyallup, Wash., to visit Mrs. William Bochem of this city and Mrs. Lizzie Meyers of Milwaukee. Mrs. Bochem and Mrs. Meyers are sisters of Mrs. Bulman. Mrs. Bulman, who will be 92 years of age in October, is a Civil War widow. The trip from the west was made in a 1 1/2 -ton truck and eleven days were spent in transit to complete the 2200-mile trip. The truck is a house-truck, equipped in similar manner to a house trailer and enabled Mrs. Bulman to have much comfort while en route here.

Sadly, a tragedy was unfolding back home. Lena drowned in the Puyallup River. She was just fifty-seven. According to the death certificate, Lena was born 1 July 1881. The coroner questionably marks 22 June 1938 as the date of her death and this may have been the last day that a family member saw her alive. Her son Eugene seems that have been the one handling all the arrangements. He listed a John Kunfferman as the father. Her mother, Anna, appears to have died on 6 January 1936 according to LDS information that needs to be confirmed. Her parents emmigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1873 according to census data. They were Romansch speaking from Graubunden Canton (John, Johann, was born in Schied and Anna in Almens it seems). I can remember Verona talking about the German and Romansch languages being spoken by her mother who was born in Wisconsin. This is a picture of Lena which I think might have been taken shortly before her wedding (see the end of the 17 October 2009 post for their wedding photo.)

Lena's creamation was arranged by the Voiles Funeral Home, Sumner, Washington and was carried out on 8 August 1938 at Mt. View, Tacoma, Washington. According to online cemetery records, Lena Bulman is buried with the Kunferman clan (including her parents) in St. John's Lutheran Cemetery in Eau Claire.

Verona was 27 when her mother died. She had two young children.

Just over eighteen months later, Fred would lose his mother. The following article begins to locate the family in time and space.

Waukesha Freeman
7 February 1940


Mrs. Margaret Bulman, 93, died Monday morning at the home of her sister, Mrs. Louise Bochem 834 Oakland Ave. Born in Germany, Mrs. Bulman came to Waukesha at the age of 6, and lived on a farm east of here until 1874. Then the family moved to Eau Claire. In 1908 they moved from there and took up a homestead in Montana. They went to Puyallup, Wash., in 1929, and returned in August 1939, to Waukesha. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Katherine Miller of Wolford, N. Dak.; two sons Fred A. Bulman of Waukesha and Walter Bulman of Wibaux, Mont.; two sisters, Mrs. Louise Bochem of Waukesha and Miss Elizabeth Mayer of Milwaukee; also 18 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held Thursday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. at the Erling Larsen funeral home, 419 E. Broadway. Rev. Dwight M. Bahr will officiate, and burial will be in the Prairie Home cemetery. Mrs. Bulman was a member of the G.A.R. Custer Circle No. 25 of Puyallup and the Spanish War Veteran's Auxiliary. The local Spanish War Veterans will have a part in the service. Friends may call at the funeral home after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Edwin would die from wounds in September 1944 having fought to breach the Sigfried Line (see March 2009 posts).

Archie died next on 17 Janaury 1961. He was forty-three. Interestingly, the Montana State Death Index 1960-1969 (B) has him dying in Deer Lodge County in Montana. The funeral service took place in Missoula. However, the funeral card indicates that he was creamated in Spokane, Washington. That was probably the closest facility. Spokane eventually became a very important centre for our family.

I don't remember being told of his death. Although we would soon be back in Montana, we were living interstate at this point. Verona was in Missoula then. Fred and Eugene would have been in western Washington. I think that Luella and, her husband, Cecil were there as well. Percy would have been in Michigan. Archie's life and death are somewhat shrouded in mystery. I believe that there had been an accident that affected his sight and severely limited his quality of life. I have placed his funeral card to the left.

Fred A. Bulman died next in either 1962 or 1963 (see previous post). However, I have no obituary for him.

Eugene Vern Bulman, his eldest son, died next in 1972.
Eugene's funeral card is to the right. Here is the text of the obituary. However, the clipping does not indicate which paper, page or date:

Eugene Vern Bulman

Eugene Vern Bulman died Sunday on Route Four (Box 668). His home was at 5525 Boulevard Extension Road. He was born in Superior, Wisconsin, July 14, 1904 and had made his home in the Olympia area since 1942. He had worked at Fort Lewis for 27 years and retired in 1967. He was a member of the Electrical Union. Surviving are one brother, Percy Bulman, Mio, Michigan, and two sisters, Mrs. Cecil E. (Luella) Watkins and Mrs. Edwin (Verona) Vail, both of Olympia. The funeral service will be held in Olympic Memorial Gardens this Saturday, starting at one p.m. The Reverend Winston Ketchum will officiate. Arrangements are by Selene and Eros Mortuary.

Percy was the next to die at seventy-two. Interestingly, he was in the Mercy Hospital in Grayling, Michigan. Otis Arthur Hayes, Verona's first husband, was a close friend of Percy (see the March posts to see an areoplane that they built in 1930). The Hayes family once resided in Grayling in the late 1800s. Also, Percy seems to have married a second time. The Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996 index lists Percy's residence as Elmer, Osconda, Michigan.

Here is a copy of the obituary text; again, there is no information as to paper, page or date:

Bulman, Percy

Percy Bulman of Kittle Road, Mio died May 31, 1979 at Mercy Hospital in Grayling. He was born July 1, 1907 in Janestown, Wisconsin and came to the Mio area in 1969 from Flint. He was a retired mechanic.
Surviving are his wife, Eloise, one daughter, Patricia Copnick; one son, Robert Bulman of Goodrich; four grandchildren; three great-grandchildren and two sisters. Funeral Services were held at Larrison's Funeral Home June 2 at 11:00 a.m. Rev. Carpenter officiated. Burial was in Kittle Cemetery.

Luella died just four years later at 70. According to the Washington Death Index, 1940-1996, she died 30 September 1983 and her residence was at Thurston. I believe that she had suffered from diabetes for some years. I am not sure that she and Cecil every had any children. I cannot remember their having ever mentioned any. Here is the obituary without paper, page or date (it is hand printed on clipping as was Percy's):

Luella I. Hawkins

A graveside service for Louella [sic] Ione Hawkins will be at 1 p.m. Monday in Olympic Memorial Gardens, under direction of Selene Mortuary. Mrs. Hawkins, 70, died Friday in a local convalescent center.
She was born March 1, 1913, in Wixbau County, Mont. She was a homemaker and attended the Nazarene Church. Among her survivors are her husband, Cecil, at the family home in Olympia, and a sister, Verona Vail, Olympia....[clipping torn]

Finally, Verona Irene died. Here is notice on the mortuary web-site:

Verona I. Vail

Born in Wibaux, Montana on Jun. 27, 1911
Departed on Feb. 17, 2009 and resided in Coeur d'Alene, ID. Vail, Verona I., 97, of Coeur d'Alene, died February 17, 2009 at Ivy Court. Verona was born June 27, 1911 on a homestead near Wibaux, Montana to Fred and Lena (Kunferman) Bulman. Formerly from Missoula, Montana and Olympia, Washington; she moved to Coeur d'Alene in 2002. Verona is survived by a daughter, a son, 9 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

She was cremated and interred with Otis Arthur Hayes in Missoula. Below is a picture of their new headstone.

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