The Travels Of A Young American Man
Two of the photos in my collection have the same handwriting on the back and I have managed to work out the connection. The first photo, is of a young boy. On the back is written : Edward Bernard Butler b. 6th Sep 1919 Garfield Park Hospital, Chicago, USA. Son of Alice (Nee) Edwards.
When I started researching the little smiling boy in the photo I was amazed at what an interesting life he had led. I found out so much, but annoyingly there are still so many gaps I couldn't fill in. Edward's mother Alice Edwards was born on 7th March 1881 in Birmingham, England. She was the seventh child of nine children of Harry and Kate Edwards (Nee Durden) . In 1910 she married Bertram Alcock, also from Birmingham, and the couple emigrated to Chicago, Illinois where Bertram worked as a toolmaker. Sadly in 1917 Bertram died leaving Alice a widow at only 36 years old.
The following year, Alice married William Butler a 56 year old grocer, nearly twenty years her senior, who was also originally born in Birmingham, England and who had emigrated to Chicago in 1889. William was the eldest of seven children to Richard and Frances Butler (Nee Sneath). I love to think of them meeting at some sort of ex-pats group! How nice it must have been for them both to talk about home. In 1919, their son Edward Bernard was born and it should have been a new beginning for the little family, but tragically in 1925, at 44 years old and when her little boy was only 5 years old, Alice died too.
Poor William, alone in America with a five year old. By the following year he had returned to England with Edward, giving an address in Cleethorpes, where is younger sister lived, as his destination. It must have been a very different England to the one he had left in 1889.
The next reference I could find to the family is on the 1939 register, when William and Edward were still living in Cleethorpes. William had retired and Edward gave his occupation as a clerk at a fish merchants. The next document I came across was from 1943. It was a draft card, for a 24 year old Edward who had returned to America to join the army during WW2. He gave his father's address as 9, Prince's Road, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire and his occupation as a student at Hull University. What happened next to Edward I am unsure of. His father William died in Cleethorpes in 1946 but sadly I can find no other definite mentions of Edward after he joined the army. An Edward Bernard Butler with the same birthday died in Croydon Surrey in 2001. I wonder, could this be the little boy in the photo. I can find no other mention of this name in the area or any family links so I can't just presume. Even though I have moved on to the next family photo, I'm not completely giving up. I will keep going back to the records as I would love to complete the journey of the life of the little smiling boy in the photo.
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