Lorain -History Mystery- In conclusion – Clara

January 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm 15 comments


Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/12/28/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara-pt-2/

Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara-pt3/

Part Four https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara-part-4/

Part Five https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara-pt-5/

Part Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara-part-6/

Part Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara-pt-7/
Part Eight https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/lorain-history-mystery-her-name-was-clara-pt-8/
ED NOTE Please click on any of the photos to enlarge
The consensus of opinion is the pages found tucked away on top of the beam in the basement of 212 W. 18th Street are in all likelihood the writings pertaining to a “novel” or story. Clara, a character in a writer’s fertile imagination. The research turned up similarities of place names but nothing that could be traced either in Lorain or in Oklahoma. Just the intriguing Lorain Lumber letter head
However, we were able to track the history of the home – and the family that probably built it “The Greggs”. Renee Dore and I were fortunate to have spent a lovely afternoon on Thursday with Mrs. Margaret Gregg. This gracious lady allowed us to look through family photos and documents to see if we could unravel just who may have been the author of the pages.

Frederick S. Lamb's painting of William Penn at the Brooklyn Museum

Frederick S. Lamb’s painting of William Penn at the Brooklyn Museum

The Gregg family has a long history in these United States, one of the documents from the Gregg family was a completed family tree from the 1930’s. The family traced its roots from Ireland and eventually to arriving in the “colonies” along with the group accompanying William Penn. http://www.ushistory.org/penn/bio.htm

A quick search found
Thomas Coulson Gregg born in 1794 and deceased in 1878 in Belleville Ohio –
His son William Alan Gregg born 1823 -1873 also from Belleville
However it was his son Emmett Gregg who was born in 1860 in Belleville but eventually found his way to Lorain where he passed in 1938.


Emmett Gregg married Barbara (Reiff) Gregg 1857-1937from Maytown Pennsylvania

Photos scanned from the original tintypes
Why Emmett and Barbara ended up in Lorain is anyone’s guess but more than likely came for employment.

What is known is that the Sanborn Fire Maps for 1900 show what is now 212 W 18th as being 314 Forest and the dwelling footprint was very different on the 1900 Sanborn Fire Map

but that can be explained, as in amongst the Gregg family photos was a photo ( enhanced) of the Greggs home a small cottage – written on the reverse.

Was this the dwelling shown in 1900 Sandborn Fire Map? When we spoke to Margaret Gregg she remembers the home was added onto ( or possibly rebuilt??) early on .
In June 1905 according the Sanborn maps more changes had been made – it looks like the garage ( outbuilding) had been added.
1905 Sandborn Map
What we do know is that by 1910 the footprint had changed again
1910 Sandborn Map
The 1918 Sandborn Fire Map and 1926 through 1940 see minor changes
1912 Tax Map for the city we have Emmett and Barbara Gregg listed as the owners of the property.

Emmett and Barbara had a son George in 1882 he passed in 1947

George married Cora (Dyce) who was from Florida –

Cora followed her husband George back to Lorain and back to 212 18th Street. Cora was exquisite- the head and shoulders shot ( complete with Marcel Wave hairstyle) from the family album shows such. Unfortunately, we were scared to remove the photo from its folder due to the condition of the album fearing we might do damage . We do have a picture of her with her young son Donald ( Margaret’s eventual husband ) in 1932/3

George and Cora ( thanks to the research by Rick Kurish) listed themselves in the 1930 census as to their occupation as Lecturer in a Traveling Show.
Audience photo source River Time Players

These shows were extremely successful in the US and elsewhere .George and Cora it seems were quite the artistic couple – a life of audiences and stories . George seen here posing was quite the “dapper” gentleman georgeres

The vocation of George and Clara also is confirmed by family history. George and Cora were heavily involved with the Circus and Traveling shows of the 20’s and thirties . Margaret told us that Cora would love to tell how she had visited all 48 states and the provinces in Canada.

Don’t I wish I could talk to Cora of those days?

However, back to the pages and the mystery as to the author. Margaret, Cora’s daughter -in- law, doesn’t remember anyone ever mentioning anything like the story or writing .

Renee and I sat on the couch and poured over old writings, photos and family papers hoping to find a similarity in the penmanship.
Cora’s hand was very different to the hand that wrote the pages. Just when we felt all was lost we came across another picture of Cora – The Florida girl and the snow circa 1927

It was with a great deal of excitement we found written on the back of the photo

“It took as great deal of coaxing to get the Florida Girl to sit right down in the snow for this picture but she did”

And there is was the same handwriting as the pages, comparing the style of the words to those of the delicate pages, the “d’s” the a’s the I”s the B’s the “she” and the girl with the capital G- there was no doubt the writer of the pages was the same person as the writer on the back of the photo.

The conclusion was reached by myself, Mrs. Margaret Gregg and Renee, after comparing writing styles , the writer was not Cora but Barbara Gregg. Cora’s mother – in- law.

Barbara Gregg passed away in 1937 – was that the reason we will never know who murdered Bob Sandford? What was the rest of Rose Flemming’s story? Who was Clara and what was her mother’s secret? . Why were the pages tucked away all those years ago? We will never know unless somewhere in that old house there are other pages.

Barbara Gregg’s pages have now been published , the story forever on the internet , her life and times documented and along with her writing has taken us all on a “history tour”

Many thanks to the Gregg family for their permission to continue the story, the photos and a special thank you to Margaret Gregg who was so charming and helpful.
And a thank you to Dennis Flores , who showed up at my door with a file of very, very special writings.

The End???????????????

Entry filed under: Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, Lorain's Magical History Tour, writers and writing. Tags: , , , , , , .

Lorain- History Mystery- Her Name was Clara – Pt. 8 Feb 3rd – The Toilet Bowl – Chris Ritchey-

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kelly  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    What an amazing story! Thank you for all of this research you’ve done (and for Dennis Flores for giving you the impetus). You’ve given Barbara a chance to be heard in this world and provided us with so much history along the way. Can you just imagine being a lecturer in a traveling show in the 1930s???

  • 2. thatwoman  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I know I was fascinated by the places these pages too me to – and yes maybe it is a sign Lorain needs to remember her history as more than a few buildings.

  • 3. Kelly  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    You know I agree . . .

  • 4. thatwoman  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Tell me honestly Kelly have you, like I did,flesh out the rest of the Clara story .. who was her mother, the relationship between Bruce and Rose, the murder mystery……. my imagination was on over drive 🙂

  • 5. Renee Dore  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks for posting all of this Loraine and trying to solve this mystery. You still have to wonder why it was tucked away in the basement beams-and it was with a few other items stored along side the papers. Maybe a little time capsule of sorts?? You have to wonder if Barbara had an occupation?? She seemed very well educated. It was fun trying to help with the mystery. Glad Dennis took the papers to you.

  • 6. Kelly  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Oh, totally . . . I’d love to see a play written about them. Historical fiction, using what we know and letting imagination go from there.

  • 7. Renee Dore  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    It was the kind of story in which you didn’t know if it was fact or fiction and had quite a tale to tell. Glad you were able to post it so we could all join in and try to help.

  • 8. thatwoman  |  January 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Kelly and I know just the writer to do that – Kelly!!!!

  • 9. thatwoman  |  January 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Renee it was fun wasn’t it – going back into a different time and world our excitement finding the writing on the back of Cora’s photo – You have to wonder what other tales are forgotten in this old town- Captain Wilford and Fanny – have to wonder whether Barbara and Fanny knew one another oh the mind keeps asking the questions

  • 10. Kelly  |  January 29, 2017 at 5:03 pm


  • 11. Rick Kurish  |  January 29, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    What a great conclusion to the mystery! My guess as to the author would have been Cora, but just like any good novel there is a surprise “twist” at the end! Thanks Loraine.

  • 12. thatwoman  |  January 29, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Rick that would have been my thought too and I was so disappointed when I saw her handwriting – I thought well that is it I guess we will never know and then the Cora in the snow photo – we were so excited – you should have seen us you would have thought we had found gold……..

  • 13. Renee Dore  |  January 30, 2017 at 3:26 am

    It does the heart good to have the opportunities to look into the lives of those who have come before us here in Lorain. Not only are the stories interesting but so are the photos-you have an idea what the older neighborhoods looked like when they were new, the styles of those decades they lived in, and the images that are created in wondering how life must have been here then. So many contrasts to today.

  • 14. Donna Gregg Szakats  |  February 9, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Just wondering – Could it be George Gregg or Emmett Gregg who wrote on the back of the picture of Cora? Could the story have been written by a man?

  • 15. thatwoman  |  February 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    I don’t believe so – the writings we were able to compare with the information we looked at was so similar to Barbara’s and looking at the story as I deciphered it I believed it to be a woman’s all along – but you have a fascinating family history … maybe a project for this generation to finish the story 😉

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