CLARA TURK WOLF: First Generation American

Clara TURK is Bart’s maternal great grandmother. She passed away on January 13, 1968 in Deckerville, Sanilac, Michigan. Today we’re celebrating her life. I never knew Clara and I haven’t heard any stories about her so this post will probably be short and full of facts.

Clara was the first generation of the TURK family to be born in America. Her parents, Michael and Catherine KOSLOWSKI TURK were both born in Germany. Clara had 8 or 9 siblings that I know about. She grew up in Sanilac County, Michigan in the “thumb” of the Michigan mitten. In 1894 Clara’s mom passed away. Clara was about 6 years old then. About 8 months later, Clara’s dad married again. Clara’s stepmom, Wilhelmina BRANDT, raised her for 16 years.

Clara was 21 years old when she married William Charles WOLF and William was 24 years old.* Clara was working as a dressmaker (possibly in Cuyahoga County, Ohio) and William was farming in Fort Hope, Michigan. Like Clara, William was a first-generation American in his German family. William had also lost his mom about 3 years before the couple married. After marriage, they lived in Huron County, Michigan. At the time of the 1910 census, Clara and William were living in Bloomfield Township, Huron County, Michigan. They had only been married about 4 months and two of William’s brothers- Albert (age 15) and Wallace (age 13)- were living with them. Albert was helping William on the farm and Wallace was still in school.

Clara and William seemed to be the family’s caregivers from the get-go. In 1920 they were living in Wheatland Township, Sanilac County, Michigan. They were in their early 30’s and had their own family- two girls and two boys (the youngest boy being Bart’s grandfather). Living with them was William’s 56-year-old uncle, Ernest WOLF.

In 1930 they were still in Sanilac County, Michigan but they were living in Delaware Township. One daughter had moved out and another son had been born so there were still four children living at home. Clara and William reported having been married 21 years. This time, though, there were no other family members living with them. By 1940 their other daughter had moved out but the three boys were still at home. William’s uncle Ernest was living next door to the family.

Here is a photo of Clara and William in their later years together.

This photo was taken in 1959- about 9 years before Clara’s death.

Clara and William are buried at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Minden City, Sanilac County, Michigan. I wish I knew more about Clara’s life. I did find one thing online that I would like Bart’s family’s input on. I found a photo of a “Mrs. William Wolf [Clara]” and one of the women vaguely resembles Bart’s great grandmother Clara but I don’t know her well enough to say one way or the other and I only have one photo to compare it to. The photo is dated 16 January 1961 and was labeled as a “cruise party”. It was sent to a “Mrs. Fred Schmidtt”. It’s currently housed at IUPUI University Library Special Collections and Archives in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’ll include the caption and a link to the online photo so family can try to evaluate it:

Link to photo of a Mrs. William Wolf [Clara]” in the Damenverein Collection, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Library.

Photo caption to linked photo.

I’ve enjoyed sitting down with a hot cup of tea to tell you a little about Clara. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about her and if you have stories about her I’d love to hear them. You can comment the stories below or send them to me in a message.

Until tomorrow,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

*As a side note, on the marriage license application, Clara gave her mom’s name as Laura KOZLOWSKI.

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