Thursday, June 9, 2016

Katharyn was Buried THERE?

By 1900, the George Fawkner family had made it across half a continent from Indiana to California. Fairie Fawkner had married the son of the Minnesota State Auditor, Herbert Braden, who went west to be an "orchardist" in Ontario, California. Fairie's father, George, had died in San Francisco in 1897, and his body was shipped to Ontario for burial. After George's death, his widow and Fairie's sister, Katharyn, went west to be near the Bradens. Herbert died in 1903; Fairie died in 1910. Katharyn and her mother went east to Chicago for a few years (evidence: 1910 census and 1913 death certificate of Fairie's daughter, Genevieve).

Sometime after 1913, Mary and Katharyn returned to Southern California, but they left a faint trail until Katharyn died in 1954. Her death certificate offered a surprise. Burial was to be at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City. Why THERE? Apart from her birth in Indiana, Katharyn had never lived east of Chicago.

The cemetery record was revealing. Katharyn Fawkner and Mary C. Fawkner (died 1931 in Los Angeles) had been interred in lot 16198 in the Clover plot in Section 153 -- alongside Aurie Dell Black. The lot owner was Herbert S. Carpenter, Arthur J. Singer, and the Farmer Loan and Trust Company, executors of the estate of Aurie Dell Black. The cemetery record indicates that bequest no. 1,623 of Aurie's will limited burials in the plot to the three women.

Who in the world was Aurie Dell Black, and why did her will provide for the burial of Katharyn and her mother? There are shorter ways to the answer, but my route started with Aurie's name. I'm not sure why, but I felt like I had seen the name before. Actually, I had not, but my memory took me back to the 1880 census enumeration of Katharyn and her parents in St. Paul, Minnesota. There, with the family of George S. Fawkner, was a niece, "A. D. Walker," 19, born in Indiana.

I knew the Fawkner family inside out, so was pretty certain Ms. Walker was a niece on Katharyn's mother's side of the family. George Fawkner had married Mary Burks in Hendricks County, Indiana, in 1866.  It was easy to find that Mary had a sister Rhoda, who had married William Walker in 1856. In 1870, "Orsa" Walker, 9, was living with the A.P. Burk family in Tuscola, Illinois -- the same town where the George Fawkner family lived. I don't know what, but something had apparently happened to place Orsa, or Aurie, with her grandparents in 1870, and with her Aunt Mary in 1880.

Aurie Dell Walker married John Austin Black in 1895 back in Indianapolis. Black became a wealthy stock broker in New York City. Aurie's September 1922 passport application indicated the couple had divorced. I don't know the details, but after the divorce, Aurie had the means to live at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, where shed died in 1926. She also apparently maintained control of the Woodlawn Cemetery lot, allowing her to reserve space for her aunt and cousin.

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