Julius C. R. Dumke

Corporal, Company A, 2nd Illinois Infantry, Spanish American War
8 September 1872 – 16 February 1914

This headstone is in Section C (near where Beulah Corley is buried) which I’ve learned since profiling Beulah was used for simple, time-limited term burials until just after World War II. The last burials you can find there date from 1909 through 1946. Anyone buried in this section prior to 1909 would have had their lot reused as the lease was for twenty-five years (which is also the case by default in Pere Lachaise so I was familiar with this practice). The cemetery office told me these were simple burials in wooden coffins and were a less expensive option. It feels a bit like an old-school cremation option back when cremation was not considered very civilized.

Every time I try to do a quick bio of someone, I dig up a hornet’s nest! This one is less his history than it is the mess various amateur genealogists have made of things by mixing up two people with the same name and screwing up the findagrave.com records REALLY badly but still. MORE than I was looking for when I wanted to do a brief bio.

What we do know about this Julius Dumke is that he was the US (Illinois)-born son of German immigrants. In 1898, he enlisted as a private and fought in the Spanish-American War, being discharged honorably a few months later as a corporal.

In 1900, he was listed as living as a boarder in a house filled with what appear to be relatives of his. The head of the household was a widowed young man a few years older than Julius with the same last name. Also living in the same household were the widower’s three sons plus a housekeeper. Julius being listed as a boarder may be just one more Census Taker Wackadoo Mistake or perhaps he was a distant cousin and more boarder than family, but it is also possible he was paying rent to help out and listed as a boarder on a technicality. I believe the widowed man was his older brother. Both were working as salesmen.

There are a few city directory listings for Julius C. R. that continue to list him as a salesman through 1901, and then in 1902, he’s listed on the muster rolls for the US Marine Corps as a private, stationed in Washington, DC in the Marine Barracks at the Navy Yard. It’s unclear how long this service lasted or what it entailed as I could find no other related records, but it might explain why he remained single into his thirties.

By 1908, he’d returned to Chicago and on 24 June, he married Minnie Johnson, a daughter of Swedish immigrants who was at least ten years younger than he was. In 1910, their daughter Ruby was born. Julius, according to the census, was working as a streetcar conductor.

And in 1914, he died. I couldn’t find any news items or details of how he died. Possibly an accident related to his work or as likely at the time, some illness we never think of today (thank you, vaccines).

It appears Minnie eventually remarried and Ruby married at 20 and had at least one daughter, Barbara. It appears Ruby passed away in the early 40s as she vanishes after that and her husband remarried in 1943 and with the lack of census data after that, it’s not possible to track if Barbara continued to live with him. It’s possible Minnie ran off with Barbara, changed her name, and we’ll never find her, and honestly that seems more likely than that they both died and there was no record of it.

RIP Julius and family

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