Bespectacled Floyd Blum

Floyd Blum, 1923 Liberty Union High School in Ohio

Floyd Blum, 1923 Liberty Union High School in Ohio

Meet Floyd, as promised, the husband of Dorothy Cowan from the previous post. They were in the same class at Liberty Union High School in Baltimore, Fairfield county, Ohio. Whether or not they were high school sweethearts is unknown. Dorothy, we know, had 3 years of college before she married.

Like Dorothy, Floyd was born in Ohio. According to Find A Grave his birthday was April 14, 1906 and he lived until September of 1981. Unlike Dorothy, not all that time was spent in Ohio. The son of Charles Blum(e) and Nellie Strayer, both of Ohio, Floyd moved with his family to Michigan sometime before 1915. We know this because Floyd and his younger sister Relva (who is daughter is named after apparently) were both born in Ohio, but younger brother Paul was born in Michigan in 1915. Charles was working as a motor builder in Detroit during the 1920 census. Before that, in 1910, he had been an oil well drilling supervisor in Lancaster, OH. Clearly the family was back in Ohio by 1923 for this photo.

We know a bit about Floyd and Dorothy in 1930, they were married with one child, Relva. The directory of Newark, Ohio listed Floyd and Dorothy in 1927, 1929, 1931, and 1934. I believe it was 1935 when Dorothy was once again living with her family and the couple had divorced.

I was unable to find Floyd in the 1940 census, but we do know that in 1943 he joined the WWII effort from Philadelphia, PA. And, according to the SSDI, Floyd died in Parksburg, Chester county, PA. Whether he ever remarried is unknown. But he hadn’t by 1943 as he’s listed as “divorced with dependents” on the WWII draft registration card. Floyd is buried in Grandview Cemetery in Fairfield, the same cemetery where his mother is buried.

Dorothy Cowan, a survivor

Dorothy Cowan, 1923 Liberty Union High School

Dorothy Cowan, 1923 Liberty Union High School

This is an absolutely wonderful class photo from 1923 – the seniors of Liberty Union High School in Baltimore, Ohio (near Lancaster in Fairfield county.) I’ve started with the lovely Dorothy Cowan. I don’t think the written name next to her photo is her signature though, as all the names are written in the same script.

1923 class of Liberty Union High School in Ohio

Dorothy, I presumed, was born about 1905 given she would have been 18 in 1923. I found a Dorothy Cowan living in Liberty, Fairfield county, OH in 1910, 1920, 1935, and 1940. She was the only surviving child of Charles G. Cowan and Emma Olive Sager born on May 7, 1905 in Ohio. It appears that Emma had several children die, but at what age is unknown. She was 34 when Dorothy was born. On the 1910 census the number of children born is difficult to read, it could be 3 or 5. Dorothy is the only one who made it to adulthood. That must have been tough on everyone.

In 1910, four year old Dorothy lived with her parents and maternal grandmother (Rebecka Fultz Sager.) By 1920, the three lived on their own; Mr. Cowan was a farmer. But Dorothy’s paternal grandparents, Amos and Lucinda Cowan, lived only a few houses (or farms) away. Three years after this lovely high school photo was taken, Dorothy married Floyd R. Blum* at the age of 21, and after 3 years of college. And in 1930 they had an almost 2 year old daughter Relva J. Blum and were living in Lancaster.

However, something goes amiss. By 1935 Dorothy had moved back in with her parents, little Relva with her.  In 1940 she was an elementary school teacher still living in Liberty with mom and dad. Dorothy listed her self as a widow. But Floyd wasn’t dead. As a matter of fact he became a WWII vet and lived until 1981.

Her Ohio death certificate indicates that Dorothy Mae Cowan Blum died on July 5, 1994 in Richland and that she was divorced. It seems silly to indicate a marital status of divorced when she was married for less than 10 years of her whole life! Dorothy is buried at Union Evangelical Cemetery in Baltimore, OH.

It would be easy to characterize her life as sad. But the truth is that these bare facts tell us very little about how Dorothy weathered what may have been rocky times. She very well could have been the happiest woman on earth. And I hope she was!

*A follow-up post will cover Floyd. He’s also in the 1923 class photo with Dorothy!