Monday, July 11, 2011

Dorothy Eleanor Paulson Carter (1901-1981)

Dorothy Eleanor Paulson Carter, about 1902
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy Eleanor Paulson Carter
Born Jan. 5, 1901
Mother: Gertrude Drusilla Funkhouser Paulson
Father: Joseph Fillmore Paulson, bricklayer
Graduated from New Brighton High School
Married June 6, 1925 to Lynn McKee Carter
Married in 1960s to Charlie Brandt (separated after a few years)
Died: April 18, 1981

Children:
Thomas Lynn Carter, b. 1932
Eleanor Ann Carter Brubaker, b. 1936

Siblings:
Alma Gertrude Paulson, b. 29 August 1888; d. 12 March 1970; m. Samuel Ellsworth West
Carrie Marie Paulson, b. 1891; m. Marshall Cowsert
Lila Catherine Paulson, b. 1892; d. 1971; m. Gabe Thompson
Ruth Mae Paulson, b. 1895; m. John Thomas Wilson
Lois Christine Paulson, b. 1897; m. Seth W. Hulmes
Joseph Osmon Paulson,b. 1899; m. Mildred Irene Jones
Cromwell Truby Paulson, b.25 Sept. 1903; d. Oct. 1979; m. Etta Jones
Virginia Elizabeth, b. 1906; died at 8 months

More information about the Paulson family is in this post.

Dorothy in 1901



Dorothy, about 1905
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy (cropped from photo below)
Dorothy was one of the youngest children – and the sixth daughter – born to Gertrude Drusilla and Joseph Fillmore Paulson, a bricklayer.

Dorothy Eleanor Paulson Carter (far left) with her sisters, 1907
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Bob Brubaker

The Paulson home. Dorothy is the little girl leaning against the porch post on the right.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy (top row, fifth from left) with what I believe to be her first grade class. Probably 1906 or 1907.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy, about 1919
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
According to my mother’s records, Dorothy attended New Brighton public schools, and after graduation, worked as a bookkeeper for the Union National Bank in New Brighton. In 1925, she traveled to join Lynn in California, where he was working for an engineering firm. They were married in a Methodist church there on June 1, 1925. Some of Lynn’s friends and the church’s congregation were in attendance. “Dorothy took clothing design courses and was a talented seamstress,” my mother wrote. “She was a tiny thing, only 4'11" and 85 pounds, and Lynn was very tall and auburn-haired. At this time, Los Angeles was a beautiful place and Dorothy always remembered it as a paradise.”

Dorothy with her husband, Lynn McKee Carter, late 1920s or early 30s.Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
Lynn took many photos of Dorothy when they traveled, which they appear to have done extensively in the western United States.

Dorothy in silk Chinese pajamas, late 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

 

Dorothy looking stylish on the rocks near Laguna Beach, California, late 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy at Laguna Beach, California, 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
Dorothy, 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Lynn and Dorothy, 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp


Lynn and Dorothy, 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy (left) with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, 1920s; this may be Yosemite.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy, 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp


Dorothy (left) with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp


Dorothy, 1920s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy had two children with Lynn, Thomas Lynn Carter (born 1932) and my mother, Eleanor Ann Carter (born 1936).

Dorothy with Eleanor, 1936.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
Dorothy with Lynn, Eleanor and Tom, about 1937.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

In 1938, Lynn died suddenly, and Dorothy returned to New Brighton, where she lived for some time with her mother-in-law, Agnes Loretta Warren Carter, and her sister-in-law, Miriam Carter. She worked hard, and long hours as a seamstress and a librarian, often working two jobs to keep her family afloat. Her obituary states that she worked as a librarian at New Brighton Library, and at Berkman’s Clothing Store in Beaver Falls. My mother used to tell me that her mother could see a dress or a coat, and then come home, make a pattern for it, and stitch it up. She made almost all of her own clothing, and my mom’s. 
Dorothy at her sewing machine, 1940s
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy with Lynn, Eleanor and Tom, about 1945.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
Here is a story my mother told me several times when I was a child. She wrote it down for my daughter Lea in 2004: 
“When I was about nine or ten, my mother, brother and I no longer lived at my grandmother's house; we had moved into a house of our own. In fact, it was the same house where my mother was born, way back in 1901. This was before most women went to hospitals to have babies. So it was about 1945 when this story happened. 

“My mother had to take care of the fire in the furnace, because we had no man in the family, since my father died when I was just a baby. She hated that furnace, because it required attention when she had other things she wanted to do. 

“One cold winter morning, she went down to see how the fire in the furnace was doing and found that it looked as though it had gone out. She was mad and in a hurry, so she looked around in our cellar and found a jar of kerosene. Now kerosene is very flammable. That means that if it comes into contact with fire it bursts into flame. She planned to put some coal in the furnace, sprinkle a little kerosene on it and carefully light it with a match to get the fire going fast. This was not a safe method. Usually one got the fire started slowly with some kind of kindling, like paper or small pieces of wood. 

“Well, when my mother sprinkled in the kerosene, unexpectedly there was a big BOOM! and the fire shot out. It sent out sparks and flames because there had been a small spark lurking under what she thought was a dead pile of ashes. 

“Now, my brother and I were up in the kitchen eating our breakfast and getting ready to go to school. We heard the boom and a scream from our mother. We ran to see her coming up the cellar stairs. She was all black, and all we could see on her face were her teeth and the whites of her eyes. The front of her hair was singed and her eyebrows, too. (Singed means burned a little but not flaming.) Her pretty white nylon blouse was sort of melted around her neck, and she probably would have been badly burned if she had not been wearing a heavy wool jacket and skirt. 

“The crazy thing was – she was laughing!! She just thought it was pretty funny that she had done such a dumb thing and then been lucky enough not to get badly hurt! So she took a bath, put on a clean clothes, and went to work. And for many years she would retell that story, and laugh and laugh!”
Me with Charlie Brandt, Dorothy’s second husband, about 1964
 In the 1960s, Dorothy was married for a short time to Charles Brandt, a farmer, but was very unhappy, and legally separated from him in 1964.  

Dorothy, whom I called “Nanny,” in the early 1970s.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp
Both my mother and father described her as a very open-minded person, and I remember her as a doting grandmother who loved me very much.

Me with my Nanny.
Photograph and digital image in the possession of Susan Brubaker Knapp

Dorothy died in 1981, after an illness of four months, of congestive heart failure. Lynn and Dorothy are buried in the Carter plot at Grove Cemetery in New Brighton.

Photo by Mark R. Brubaker, taken August 2013
Photo by Mark R. Brubaker, taken August 2013

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