Sunday, February 7, 2016

Family History Writing Challenge Day 7

1937 Flood
The year 1937 was an important one in Cincinnati history. Heavy rains in January and February led to extensive flooding along the Ohio Rive and many tributaries. January was the wettest month in Ohio since 1866 with a state average of 9.57 inches of rain. The highest rainfall was 14.88 inches in an area just west of Cincinnati. The Ohio River at Cincinnati stayed above flood stage from 18 January until 5 February, cresting on 26 January at 79.99 feet. Schools, stores, theaters, and factories closed. Authorities rationed electricity and suspended streetcar service. The water supply was shut off except for four hours daily. One-fifth of the City of Cincinnati was under water, making it likely that the old living quarters of the Crusham family were impacted by flood water. They must have been very relieved that they had moved west of town back in 1913. It is hard to imagine what the residents of the city were facing, coupled with the fact that the country was in the depth of a depression as well.

After Michael died in July of 1937, Catherine continued to live in the home home that they owned on West Liberty. The 1930 census lists their daughter Mary and her husband Lawrence Schwartz also residing in the home, along with their three children: Mary, Catherine, and Lawrence. It must have been comforting for Catherine to have her daughter and family there when her husband passed on. The grandchildren slept up in the attic, where they had skylights above their beds. By the 1940 census, only Mary and her three children were living with Catherine Crusham. The two granddaughters recall their grandmother as a kind woman who always had a book in her hand except when she was doing chores. They especially enjoyed her homemade raisin bread. Another favorite memory was their grandmother's waist-length hair, which she kept wrapped in a bun.

Catherine Colgan Crusham
Catherine remained in her home on West Liberty until her death. She was 86 when colon cancer claimed her life on 18 January 1951. After fourteen years apart, she and Michael were finally reunited.

Catherine Crusham's Death
St. Patrick's Church
From their humble beginnings in Ireland, to making the sacrifice of leaving family and friends behind to search for a better life in a new country, Michael and Catherine fulfilled many of their dreams. Michael had a long-time career with the railroad, which enabled him to buy property. That is something he probably would not have been able to do in Ireland. Their nine children were all educated at St. Patrick's Catholic School, located at 3rd and Mill Streets, which would have been very near their home when they lived downtown. For Michael in particular, this must have made him very proud as he could neither read nor write when he arrived in America. And ultimately through the unions of eight of their children, thirty-two grandchildren were born. That is quite a legacy to leave behind.

May you live to see your children's children. ~ Irish Proverb

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