Thursday, May 28, 2009

Henry Lesser

My great grandfather, Henry Lesser, was brought to a home, St. John's Home, by his mother at the age of 5. He stayed there until he finished elementary school and then went to St. Vincent's Home for High School. He lived at the home until he enlisted in the Navy in 1914.
A number of months ago my cousin's wife, sent for a copy of a record of Henry to St. John's Home. Heres what the record says:

First Page

Lesser, Henry
Born: 9-30-95 (1895)
Ad. 12-6-1900
Dis. 10-16-1911
Father: Michael
Mother: Lavinia Ferris

Second Page

Name of Father: Michael
Mother: Lavinia Ferris
Business of Father: Barber
Nativity of Father: NY
Nativity of Mother: NY
Religion of Father: R.C (Roman Catholic)
Religion of Mother: R.C
Other Relatives: none
Com. By: Board of Directors
Cause of Com. Aban. by father (abandoned by father)
Brought by: Mother
Recieved by: Sr. M. Cyril
Remarks: none
Discharged: October 11, 1911
To Whom: St. Vincent's Home on Boerum Place and State St. in Brooklyn, NY

Third Page

State No. 3739
City No. none
Institution: St. John's Home
Name: Henry Lesser
Date of Adm. Dec. 6, 1900
Date of Com. none
Date of Exp. none
Age When Adm. 5
Birthplace: Cedarhurst, Long Island, NY
Date of Birth: September 30, 1895 (July 31 was originally written there but it was crossed out and someone wrote the correct birthdate)
Address When Admitted: Cedarhurst, LI
Baptized: Yes
At Church of: St. Joachin, Cedarhurst, LI on November 18, 1895
Confirmed: No
Physical Condition: Good
Mental Condtion: Normal
Vaccinated: No
Had Whooping Cough: No
Scarlet Fever: No
Measles: No

I was very surprised to find out that Henry was abandoned by his father. Which meant that even though Lavinia wanted to raise him, she couldn't by herself. So she had to give him up for adoption or in this case bring him to a home. My cousin's wife and I both thought that the parents died when he was young. Now Henry was born 2 months after Lavinia and Michael got married, which was July 1, 1895. So that means that Lavinia was pregenant on her wedding day and before they were married.
My dad thinks that Michael didn't want a child or didn't want to rasie a child. So maybe he threatened to leave Lavinia and since she didn't want a divorve and raise Henry by herself (and she probably couldn't) she brought her son to a home.
Now I'm thinking maybe somewhere down the line Michael decided he was ready to have children and raise them. So maybe Lavinia and Michael had more children, but we don't know this because my great grandfather didn't talk about his life much. Or maybe Lavinia and Michael got divorced somewhere down the line and Michael remarried and Lavinia remarried. But like I said we don't know this.


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