Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lydia LaBrune Schirmer 1882-1955

Lydia LaBrune is first seen in the family of Jean-Baptiste and Catherine Dooley LaBrune at the age of 13 in the 1895 state census.  In 1900, she is described as adopted. And that is all we knew. Very recently I was contacted by a couple of Lydia's great-grandchildren who had discovered through a living relative that Lydia was believed to have a sister by the name of Verda Moore, who lived in Cedar Rapids in the 1930s. A few hours of research uncovered a good deal of Lydia's origins.

Lydia and Verda and another sister, Bessie, were the children of Emma Gooding and Oscar Arnold.  Emma and Oscar married in about 1879 (they are together in 1880 in the census in East Cascade, Dubuque co.).  The girls were born in about 1880 (Verda), 1881 (Lydia), and 1883 (Bessie).  In 1885 the family is together in Cascade; "Lida" and "Virdia" are both there! According to divorce papers (as reported in the newspaper), Oscar was abusive and abandoned the family in 1885 in Cascade.  In 1887, Emma filed for and was granted a divorce and custody of the kids.  That's the last information I found for them. I couldn't find any more trace of Oscar, Emma, or Bessie. In 1895, Lydia was with the LaBrunes in Jefferson twp and Verda was living with Lewis and Liddie Board and family in Cascade (both in Dubuque co., Iowa). In 1902, Verda married William Gearhart in Dubuque. They had four kids, then William died in 1909. Verda then married Daniel Moore in 1911. I found a newspaper article saying she filed for divorce for cruel treatment in 1920, but apparently they resolved their differences, at least for a while, since they were together as a family in 1930. In 1962, Verda Gearhart was buried next to William Gearhart, so I'm not sure of the history of Verda's relationship with Daniel Moore.

Found more information, regarding Emma Arnold.  She was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Goodwin and Eliza A. Summers.  She is with them in the 1870 census in Cascade. Her father died in about 1882 and is buried in Cascade.  In 1887 her divorce was filed in Sioux co., in the far western side of the state, far from Cascade. Her mother, Eliza Goodwin was there in 1900 and I suspect that Emma had gone to live with her mother who had relocated there. In about 1894 Emma married Lars Peterson and they had four or five children together.  They live next door to Emma's mother in 1900 in Hawarden, in Sioux co.  In the 1900 census, I also found a clue as to how Emma's daughter, Lydia, came to be adopted by Jean-Baptiste and Catherine LaBrune.  A few houses away from the Goodwins and Petersons in 1900 are Caspar and Adaline Luchsinger.  Caspar's first wife was Jean-Baptiste's niece. His second wife, Adaline, was also related to the LaBrune family.  So when Emma gave up or lost her children, Lydia may have found a new family through their Luchsinger neighbors. By 1910, both Emma Peterson's and her mother's families had moved out to California: Emma to East San Diego, Eliza to LA. I believe that Eliza Goodwin died between about 1910 and 1918.  Emma Goodwin Arnold Peterson passed away in 1940 in San Diego.

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