Tuesday, January 24, 2012
When I was growing up, my dad had lots of stories that I've spent years confirming. So you'll understand how thrilled I was with my latest find. He was the son of German Russian immigrants. His mother died when he was only two years old, and he spent his early years as a ward of St. Clara's Orphanage in Denver. He ran away from the orphanage at age 12, and one night dug into a farmer's haystack to keep warm. The next morning the farmer came out in the early morning to feed his animals and nearly ran him through with a pitchfork. It scared the farmer so badly that he took my dad in, and my dad lived with the farmer's family for some time. When I was going through the 1930's census I found my dad at age 14, listed as Edward Burkhardt, a lodger with a Hayer family. The name my father had given me was Hayes. Looking at the original record more carefully, I realized that whoever indexed the entry must have had trouble distinguishing that last letter, thus the Hayer instead of Hayes. The Hayes family lived in North Bijou, Colorado, but were originally from Missouri. The family consisted of Thomas Hayes, his wife Rose, son Thomas- age 18, and daughter Mary- age 10. So... another story confirmed.