52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 – Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
It is just plain fun to research for some ancestors. I found that my wife’s great-grandfather Rufus was such an individual. Family legend said Rufus Harry Darling was a riverboat gambler and something of a cad so researching him would be interesting.
father was a prominent businessman and one of the early settlers in Kalamazoo. His
mother had a child from a previous marriage, was widowed and remarried.
was disabled. Less than a month after his birth his father died of consumption. His mother never remarried and it appears that he did not have much of a father figure in his life.
house and must have had several entrances because the address for the residence changes between Cedar and Rose quite frequently. The house no longer exists.
living with his mother and sister Emily. Rufus continued in school until at
least 1876 when he was not only a student but also worked as a clerk.
that in 1880, Rufus Harry was living in the 42 Rose Street house and was working as a clerk, but we do not know where. In addition, in 1880, Rufus was “away” during the census taking. We do know that in 1887, young Rufus was working as an abstract clerk for the MCRR, as his father did thirty years earlier and
was living at 207 N. Edwards Street (which is probably the parking lot of the current Kalamazoo Beer Exchange).
there were sometimes floating poker games that were on the trains. This may have been where he started the gambling practice. In 1894, Rufus resigned his position with the MCRR and “went to Texas.” I haven’t found anything that places him in Texas during those years, but he does seem to bounce between Kalamazoo and Kansas City.
Kansas City. Sometime between 1900 and 1905, Rufus met the young Hannah McAllister. I say “young Hannah” because she was 27 years younger than Rufus. Family legend says they met down on the docks in Pittsburgh. Young Hannah had a daughter, Elizabeth, by Rufus in March of 1906. She quickly became pregnant again, and in February of 1907 the two married in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, (about 40 miles up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh).[ii] In August of 1907 their second child Robert Harry was born. It is interesting to note that there was a family legend that Elizabeth had been born on the “wrong side of the sheets” (out of wedlock), an assertion that Elizabeth refuted. It appears that Elizabeth even doctored a copy of the marriage certificate to indicate that Harry and Hannah married in 1905 instead of 1907 as the state’s copy of the certificate indicates.
It doesn’t appear that Rufus was around much. None of the
surviving photos of Anna (who changed her name from Hannah to Anna when she married Rufus so she could sign things “A. Darling”) include Rufus. In addition, the 1910 Census indicates that Rufus is at the Curtis Hotel, 10th & Broadway, Kansas City while his wife and children were roomer in a house in Pittsburgh.
of Rufus being a gambler and a cad and it certainly appears that he had an
Certificate, Rufus H. Darling – Death June 5, 1917. . http://seekingmichigan.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p129401coll7/id/123256.;