Lillian is the second oldest child and oldest daughter. She was 8 years old when her mother, Mae died. Lillian had been left in the house to watch the younger children while her mother went out to hang laundry on the clothes line. When her mother did not return to the house, Lillian went looking for her. Mae was found slumped over the wet laundry under the clothes line. This event would turn Lillian and her siblings lives upside down. Everything changed in an instant.
After Mae died, George was left with five children whose ages ranged from 11 to 1 year old. I can not imagine how overwelmed he must have felt. Unfortunately his relationship with his children would change forever. Lillian, Florence and Ernest went to live with Mary Florence Boyer, Mae’s mother, in Flint. Florence and Ernest were mere toddlers and would never have a memory of their mother. For several years I did not know why Lillian, Florence and Ernest lived in Flint with their Grandmother, Mary Florence while George and the older boys lived in Clio or at the farm in Gladwin. I assumed that it was because George was a farmer and the boys helped him but I wondered why Lillian didn't cook, clean and take over the household duties. Eventually I found out that it was against the law for a father to raise an under age daughter by himself after a wife died. Daughter’s were shipped off to a female relative and George could not take care of an infant.
Eventually George would remarry, and Ernest would go to live with his Father and his new wife Alice but by then the girls had been raised by their Grandma for so long that they remained in Flint with Mary Florence. They seemed to see their brothers and George regularly when they were at the Clio farm. There are a few pictures of kids together when they were small. And the oldest son Lester, attended the Doyle School with Lillian. Lester and Lillian are marked on the photo. This photo was likely taken a year or two after Mae’s death.
Lillian is 6th from the left in the middle row and Lester is 6th from the left seated in the front row.
Lillian is making a fashion statement in this picture as a teen in Flint. I always thought this was such a cute picture of her. It is one of the few that we have of her as a child.
Austin Boyer, Mary Florence’s husband died in 1908. After his death Mary Florence moved from Clio to Flint and ran a boarding house. The girls helped Mary Florence run the boarding house. I wish I had asked more questions about when she was young. She had very few pictures. Her Grandmother, Mary Florence was killed when she was hit by an interurban train in 1929. She was walking along the tracks on her way to Lillian’s house to see her Great Grandson for the first time. The Great Grandson was my Dad.
Lillian would lose a daughter at six years old, three short years later. Lose a mother, then a Grandmother and then a daughter all with in 16 years. Seems like an awful lot for one person to bear. Lillian’s faith was strong and she endured. She did meet the love of her life during that 16 year , Everett Smith.
It was Grandma Lillian who decided that I ought to be the keeper of our family information all those years ago with that dusty old box of photo’s.
Love you Grandma Lillian!