Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Emma’s Story… As I know it today


I imagine the Manhattan apartment was small.  Her father was a harness maker; her ever-pregnant mother kept house.  Emma was the ninth (or tenth) child born to Joseph and Catherine Kurtz Nunn.

Mrs. H. Hebeler of 1804 3rd Avenue delivered Emma at the family’s 2030 First Avenue, Manhattan, New York apartment on 8 February 1899.  Mrs. Hebeler also delivered my grandfather, Harry. At that time, 1890, Mrs. Hebeler lived at 1810 Third Avenue.  I am grateful she registered the births.

Birth Certificate for Emma Nunn

I cannot imagine how Emma, at 15 months, felt when strangers came into her home, scooped her up and drove her to an orphanage far away from Manhattan.  Emma was too young to understand that her father had just died and her mother was in an institution following the birth of her tenth (or 11th) child.  I suspect the absence of parents didn’t have a great impact on Emma since her sister Elizabeth was there to give her good care.  Elizabeth, age 14, kept her family intact until the New York Department of Charities received notification of “destitute children.” The children, with the exception of Elizabeth, were then taken from their home and sent Upstate to Peekskill, New York.  The City of New York paid 38 cents a day for Emma’s care.

I have no idea what life was like for Emma at St. Joseph’s Home.  Nor do I know if the quality of life offered at St. Joseph’s was better than what her life would have been like if she remained in Manhattan.  I do know she developed health issues because in 1910 she was an inmate at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains. By 1920 Emma lived with her sister Elizabeth Nunn Siebert in the Bronx and was working at a press.

On 8 April 1923 Emma married George W. Dorn (b: 1903). George worked as a gem polisher; Emma was an embroiderer.  The couple lived in the Bronx.  I believe that George and Emma had two children: Jean b: 1931 and George, Jr. b: 1935.  

George Dorn died 17 May 1952; Emma (Nunn) Dorn died 18 May 1959. They are both buried in Calvary Cemetery, Third Calvary, Section 22, Range 3, Plot K, Graves 5-7, Woodside, Queens, New York.

I believe that George Dorn was the son of George (b: 1876) and Margaret (Winters) Dorn (b: 1877).  George and Margaret had four children: Nicholas b: 1901. George b: 1903, John b: 1905 and Madeline b: 1907.

The original working title for this entry was: In pursuit of the Dorns.  I have been researching George Dorn’s side trying to make sense of the Dorn family bible pages I have. To this point it is still a tangled mess.  Consequently I decided to develop Emma’s story.

I plan to fill in more details of Emma’s life as time goes on. It would be wonderful to connect with Dorn cousins who would be able to help immensely with the story of her later years.  Rest in peace, Emma.   

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