Audrey, Carolyn and Mary Bradford, Lucy Orme Morgan Home
Updated: Jul 1
The lives of young women after they experienced living at the Lucy Orme Morgan Home has been an obsession of mine for more than a year now. Did they have happy lives and did they gain any benefit from their time in the Home? Or was the Home the bad experience in their lives that limited their opportunities?
Audrey Beryl (1924), Mary Alice and Carolyn Louise (1919) Bradford were all born in Colfax, Illinois, the daughters of Orville L. Bradford and Carolyn Leah Peck. The Bradford family had come to Colfax in the 1840s from Muskingum County, Ohio by wagon. James Bradford brought seven children with him, by one account, and then had eight more children born in McLean County. One of these sons was Orville S. Bradford, a farmer in McLean County. The Bradfords must have been quite successful as farmers, because in 1907, when his grandson, Orville, was just 15 years old, he took a trip to Italy and the Holy Lands accompanied by their minister.
Orville L. Bradford was also a farmer. He had a couple of businesses during his lifetime: a chicken hatchery and a seed company in Colfax. Orville and Carolyn Peck married in 1910 and had four daughters, one dying in infancy. Carolyn was noted as an authority on the artificial hatching of chicks in the Pantagraph.
Carolyn Peck Bradford died of peritonitis in March, 1925, ninth months after Audrey Beryl was born in 1924. Orville's (much older) sister, Servilla was married and living in Colfax and had no children. Perhaps she helped to look after her three nieces for a period of time, but sometime around September 1928, the three sisters became residents of the Lucy Orme Morgan Home in Bloomington. Children would sometimes be taken into the home as boarders, so perhaps this was how they entered the home. Their father had moved to Chicago, but came to visit them frequently, it seems. In 1930 there were three different announcements in the Pantagraph regarding their visits to their grandparents home in Colfax, and their father's visit to Colfax from Chicago at the same time. (Their grandfather died in 1931) The three sisters were photographed with a group of girls from the Home in 1929 and 1931 and appeared in a Christmas program at the Home in 1932. A family tree on Ancestry.com suggests that the girls left the home to live in Chicago with their father and his new wife in June of 1934 but Audrey also lived in South Dakota with a maternal aunt during the 1930s. By 1940, Audrey was attending high school in Lexington and living with her 80 year old maternal grandmother. In 1941 she lived with Mary Alice in St. Clair, Michigan.
All of the sisters and their father eventually lived in Detroit area. Audrey married Garnet Lozon in 1942 (photo) and with him ran a company called Precision Die and Machine Company for thirty years. Audrey was the secretary/treasurer. They had three sons and one daughter.
Carolyn Louise was the first to marry. She married Arthur Platts Ramsey in 1939 in Port Huron, Michigan. Both her sisters attended the wedding. Mary was living in St. Clair, MI and Audrey was living in Lexington, IL. Carolyn Louise owned and operated the Port Huron College of Cosmetology for many years. She died in 2007, survived by only her sister Mary Alice.
Mary Alice lived last in Green Valley, Arizona and no obituary could be found for her. She married Francis Dagg in 1943, who owned and operated a liquor store in Port Huron, Michigan. Mary Alice was also noted as an employee of the Times Herald in Port Huron in the 1940s.
Like so many women who lived at the Morgan Home, these sisters worked all their lives, two of them in management positions. They sheltered each other and celebrated each others' weddings, always close.