I love this picture of my great-great grandmother laughing. It’s fun to imagine who or what she is laughing at and what the occasion was. Maybe a picnic? The picture below shows from left, my great-great grandmother Mina (Bolt) Moore Thompson, Jessie (Johnson) Bodington, the sister-in-law of my great-grandmother, and my great-grandmother Mae (Moore) Johnson. I think this picture was taken sometime in the 1930s, since Jessie came over from England in 1929.
My great-grandmother Mae Moore Johnson and her 3rd husband Alfred Johnson were married in 1925. They used to take the bus to Florida for the winters in the 1950s (not sure exactly how many years they did this). I’m lucky to have the postcards they sent my mother from their trip in the winter of 1959.
First postcard of the trip, postmarked Feb. 25, 1959, Charleston WV
Second postcard, postmarked Feb. 26, 1959, Charlotte, NC
Third postcard, postmarked Feb. 27, 1959, Orlando, FL
Third postcard, postmarked Mar. 6, 1959, Orlando, FL
Fourth postcard, postmarked Mar. 9, 1959, Orlando, FL
Fifth postcard, postmarked Mar. 16, 1959, Miami, FL
Sixth postcard, postmarked Mar. 28, 1959, Miami, FL
Last postcard, postmarked Apr. 13, 1959, Saint Petersburg, FL
My great-grandmother was married three times, which surprised my mother who always thought she was the sweetest lady and how could she have married three men? Third times a charm, I think, because she was married to her third husband, Alfred Johnson, for 46 years until her death.
Mae Dillon Moore was born in Plymouth, Michigan on May 18, 1892 to Fred and Mina (Bolt) Moore. She had two brothers, Glenn and Earl and a sister Helen. On December 23, 1908 at the age of 16, she married William E. Oakes. In the 1910 U.S. Census, she and her mother, Mina, are living as lodgers in the home of Alta Fisher on W. Elizabeth St. in Detroit. I haven’t found her husband William yet in the 1910 census, but obviously they were living apart. However, my grandmother, Helen Dorothy Oakes, was born on June 19, 1912, so we know it wasn’t a permanent separation! Mae filed for divorce from William on August 31, 1914 for cruelty and non-support. The divorce was final on July 13, 1915. William died in 1928.
Mae married Joseph R. Smiechowski on June 19, 1916, her daughter Helen’s fourth birthday. Mae’s brother Earl was one of the witnesses. In the 1920 U.S. census, Joseph, Mae, and Helen are living at 1521 Sheridan Avenue in Detroit. My grandmother was listed as Helen Smiechowski. Joseph was a painter whose father was from Poland. Mae filed for divorce from Joseph on December 17, 1924 for extreme cruelty and non-support. The divorce was final on May 11, 1925. Joseph died in 1936.
Coincidentally (or not), Mae’s third husband Alfred was married to Cecelia Martin and their divorce was finalized on December 8, 1924, just days before Mae filed for divorce from her second husband. Hmm. Mae and Alfred were married July 3, 1925 (less than two months after her divorce). They lived at 14810 Parkgrove in Detroit for over forty years. They had no children. Mae died on June 6, 1971 of colon cancer and Alfred died January 27, 1975 of spinal cancer. They are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.
Here is an interesting article titled “Caesar LaMonaca: A Remembrance of the Bayfront Park Band Shell Concerts, 1929-1977” about the bandshell with what looks like the photograph that this postcard is based on.
This is the obituary of my Great-Grandmother who sent my mother all those postcards in 1959. She died June 6, 1971 at the age of 79. The three great-grandchildren mentioned in the obituary are my three brothers.