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Running away… to life

He was sick. Potentially-life-threatening-type sick. Sick with tuberculosis in the days before antibiotics. Sick enough that he was committed to a sanatorium in Summit County, Ohio, to be confined, away from his family, perhaps never to return home.

And when George Bulick was admitted to the Springfield Lake Sanatorium in East Akron, Ohio, on the 14th of February 1927, he was still a little more than six weeks short of his 12th birthday.

But on that 12th birthday, on the 1st of April 1927, George Bulick did something most children sent to Springfield Lake didn’t do. What most of them couldn’t do. What the rest probably wouldn’t have had the nerve to do.

George Bulick ran away.1

Now anybody who’s a regular reader of this blog knows two things.

First, The Legal Genealogist loves to poke around in old records. So when I ran across this index card record of George’s stay at that tuberculosis treatment facility in Ohio, it wasn’t for any particular blog post that I researching. There’s no particular Ohio law that needs explaining in this context. I was literally just poking around in the records.

And, second, The Legal Genealogist sometimes can’t help it — can’t begin to resist — can’t stop without finding out the rest of the story. In this case, the fact is, I have a 12-year-old nephew. And all I could see when I looked at that 12-year-old’s record was my 12-year-old nephew’s face. So I had to know. I had to find out.

What happened to George?

George was born 1 April 1915 in Barberton, Ohio. His father, Mike, and mother, Julia, had both been born in Europe — Austria, according to George’s admission card,2 Yugoslavia according to later census records.3

He was admitted to Springfield Lake Sanatorium on 14 February 1927, and his admission card said he was an 11-year-old fifth grader at Central School in Barberton. He was admission number 3177, and was assigned to the Children’s Building. In all, he spent 47 days as a patient at the Sanatorium.4

Until his birthday. 1 April 1927. And on that day, his 12th birthday, the card records that he was “discharged.” And the reason for discharge: “Ran away.”5

I have to tell you: I was almost afraid to look for the answer to my question about George. I thought of all the places where I might find him — and the one I dreaded was the Ohio Death Index for 1927. But that’s name-searchable on Ancestry.com — and he wasn’t there.6

I looked for 1928. Not there. I looked for 1929. Not there. I looked for 1930. Not there. Could it be? Was there actually hope? With fingers and toes crossed, I turned to the 1930 U.S. census.

And there he was.

George, son of Mike and Julia, age 16, single, born Ohio.7 Living at home. Attending school. With any luck teasing his younger siblings and being picked on in turn by the older ones.

I quickly turned to the 1940 census, but George wasn’t living with Mike and Julia then.8 Maybe, I thought, maybe — could it be — could he have married?

The Summit County, Ohio, marriage books are online. And there he was again.

On the 26th of June 1937, George Bulick, age 22, living in Barberton, Ohio, son of Mike and Julia, married Fannie Ferraro, age 19, a native of Schenectady, New York, at St. Augustine’s Church in Barberton.9

Now fast forward to 1940 and the census. Now I could find him. And there he was again.

George Bulick, age 25, married, a clean up man at a match factory, with Fanny, age 21. And with Norma Jean. Age one. Born in Ohio.10

Fast forward once again to a general search of the Ohio death index.

And there he was one last time. George Bulick, born 1 April 1915, died 26 July 1966, in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, at the age of 51.11

I don’t know if George’s daughter outlived him, or if he had other children. I don’t know what he ended up doing in the years between 1940 and 1966. But for a boy who ran away from a tuberculosis ward on his 12th birthday, what I do know is pretty amazing.

He went home. He went back to school. He grew up. He married. He became a father.

He lived.

Good show, George.

I wish I could have met you.


 
SOURCES

  1. Springfield Lake Sanatorium, Summit County, Ohio, admittance card, George Bulich (Bulick), no. 3177, 1927; Summit County Records Retention Office, Cuyahoga Falls; digital images, “Ohio, Summit County, Coroner Inquests, Hospital and Cemetery Records, 1882-1947,” FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/ : accessed 20 Feb 2013).
  2. Springfield Lake Sanatorium, Summit Co., Ohio, admittance card, George Bulich (Bulick), no. 3177, 1927.
  3. See e.g. 1940 U.S. census, Summit County, Ohio, Barberton, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 77-11, sheet 20(B), page 162(B) (stamped), household 421, Michael and Julia Bulich; digital image, Archives.gov (http://1940census.archives.gov : accessed 20 Feb 2013); citing National Archive microfilm publication T627, roll 3152.
  4. Springfield Lake Sanatorium, Summit Co., Ohio, admittance card, George Bulich (Bulick), no. 3177, 1927.
  5. Ibid.
  6. A search with negative results for all persons with the surname Bulick (and alternative spellings) who died in Ohio between 1927 and the present was conducted in the database at Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2013).
  7. 1930 U.S. census, Summit County, Ohio, Barberton, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 77-211, page 105(A) (stamped), sheet 1-A, dwelling 2, family 2, George Bulich (Bulick); digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2013); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 1881; imaged from FHL microfilm 2341615.
  8. 1940 U.S. census, Summit Co, Ohio, Barberton, pop. sched., ED 77-11, sheet 20(B), p. 162(B) (stamped), household 421, Bulich household.
  9. Summit County, Ohio, Marriage Record Book 73: 72, marriage license and return, Bulick-Ferraro, 26 Jun 1937; Summit County Court of Common Pleas – Probate Division, Akron; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2013).
  10. 1940 U.S. census, Summit County, Ohio, Barberton, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 77-9, sheet 3(A), page 125(A) (stamped), household 48, Bulick household; digital image, Archives.gov (http://1940census.archives.gov : accessed 20 Feb 2013); citing National Archive microfilm publication T627, roll 3152.
  11. “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007,” database, entry for George Bulick, 26 July 1966, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2013), citing Ohio Department of Health, Index to Annual Deaths, 1958-2002, Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus, OH. See also Social Security Death Index, entry for George Bulick; Mocavo.com (http://www.mocavo.com/ : accessed 20 Feb 2013).
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