Harold John Crowe is my great grandfather. You may remember him from my blog posts a couple of weeks ago in which I thought he and his family had been abducted by aliens, only to find out he was just a victim of bad penmanship.
I can’t remember ever meeting him, since I was only about 3 years old when he died, but doing this research has really helped me learn a little bit about who he was, and it makes me kinda proud.
“Pop” Crowe (this is what everyone in the family called him) was born on 15 Sep 1899 in Cannelton, Perry County, Indiana, to Charles C. and Ida Mae (Gray) Crow. His family bounced around in rented homes to Perry County (1900 Census), Spencer County (1910 Census), and Posey County (1920 Census).
On 31 Dec 1917, he traveled roughly 50 miles to Princeton (Gibson County), Indiana, and enlisted in the Army National Guard and presumably served in France during World War I. I don’t know yet when he was discharged, but he is listed with his family on the 1920 Census at 502 Third Street, Mt. Vernon, Indiana.
He finally put down some roots in Indianapolis (Marion County) in September 1920, when he married Lucile Francis Stiker (1900-1969), daughter of Eugene F. and Jeannette C. (Heerdink) Stiker. They lived at 1637 Raymond Street in Indianapolis on the 1930 Census. Unfortunately, the house has since been demolished, as it appears as a grassy lot on GoogleMaps. They had four children between November 1921 and December 1926, the third being my grandmother.
In 1936, Pop Crowe filled out his SS-5 to receive his social security number. I finally received a copy of it in the mail the other day. At that time, he was living at 2435 S. State Street, Indianapolis. He was working for Continental Baking Company (Wonder Bread Bakery) at 339 E. Market Street, Indianapolis. Apparently, the bakery building has since made way for a parking lot. I sent an inquiry to the company (now Interstate Brands) to see if they might have an old photo of the bakery.
In 1939, he went to work for General Motors in the Allison Division as an engine inspector and retired from there 25 years later in 1964. He passed away on 19 Sep 1971, at the age of 72, from respiratory and cardiac arrest resulting from a cerebral vascular accident (stroke). He also was diabetic. At the time of his death, he lived at 35 W. Pleasant Run Parkway South, Indianapolis. His son, Harold Jr. (“Bud”) was the informant on his death certificate, as “Mom” Crowe had predeceased him in 1969. I received the funeral records from G. H. Hermann Funeral Home in Indianapolis showing that Pop Crowe is buried in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Indianapolis.
Obviously, this is not his entire story, and I have many holes to fill. At least I have a solid framework to fill in at this point. I plan to get my mom and her siblings to provide some stories of Mom and Pop Crowe (so if they are reading this – get busy!).
Part of my attempt to fill in some gaps in the history is to locate the Indiana state census records, along with obituaries for both Pop and Mom Crowe. I am also trying to obtain his military service record, but it looks like I may have to get my grandmother to request it, since I’m not considered “immediate family.” I am also going to see if Wonder Bread still has employee records from 1936. I’m curious to find out what position he held there. I should probably get some church records (if any exist) and check for probate records too. If anyone has any other ideas, I look forward to hearing them.
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