28 October 1900 – 16 August 1920
Violet was born on her mother’s 22nd birthday, and she would be her parents’ (Caroline “Carrie” Kepschull and Joseph “Jack Blank” Blankenstein) only child.
Carrie has differing information on the public records about her place of birth, but she was either born in Illinois or immigrated as an infant from Germany with her parents. Jack was born in Vienna, Austria, and came to the US as a teenager. He and Carrie married in 1898 when both were nineteen years old.
The family lived in Chicago for most of Violet’s youth, but when she was fourteen, they moved to Indianapolis. Not long after the family moved there, her mother took her own life. The death certificate indicated her remains would be returned to Chicago for burial, but no cemetery is specified.
By the time Violet and Jack show up again in the public records, they have also returned to Chicago. In 1919, both married, Violet in June to David Ginsberg and Jack in September to Leila Westmoreland, a woman 11 years his junior. It seems possible that Jack waited to remarry until after Violet was no longer at home. David had served in WWI and had only been mustered out for a few weeks when he and Violet married, though whether this was a whirlwind romance or young sweethearts reunited is a mystery.
Violet and David are listed on the 1920 census at which time Violet would’ve been very pregnant. Son Jerome was born in March – nine months after his parents’ wedding – and five months later, Violet died. In a note of similar contradictory self-reporting to his mother-in-law, David’s public records vary as to his origin. The most authoratative seem to indicate he was originally from Canada, though he frequently claimed to be from Ohio. I expect as was the case with Carrie, his family immigrated when he was very young.
As she died in Illinois, there is no publicly-available death certificate to give us Violet’s cause of death. We only know she was two months shy of her twentieth birthday. Her husband was a trucker for an express company and only 23 years old himself when Violet died. Whatever the reason, he left Jerome and Illinois behind and went back to Ohio. Jerome was adopted by his grandfather and stepgrandmother, took the name Blank, and was raised by them. If he ever saw his birth father again, we have no way to know. David remarried in 1925 and lived to be 71 years old.
Violet was buried in Section C at Concordia which seems deeply sad, but perhaps this is also where her mother was buried. One wonders if Violet’s death was similarly traumatic. One also wonders if there had been some rift between father and daughter, perhaps due to her possibly impulsive marriage, as it seems Jack could have afforded something more permanent. It’s possible he wasn’t given the chance to help out, though. The inscription indicates that David was the one to take care of the burial, and it may have been a matter of pride for him to do this last act of care for Violet all by himself. Jack and David were both Jewish, but it’s unclear if Carrie was or if Violet was observant.
Jack, Leila, and Jerome moved to California in 1925 where they all lived out their lives. Jack died in 1945; Leila in 1971 and her obituary is filled with loving remembrances by Jerome and his children. Jerome married twice – in a tragic echo, he also lost his first wife suddenly when she died in an automobile accident just two months after their wedding. He and his second wife had children of their own and lived long lives together. Jerome died in 2001 at the age of 81, a celebrated figure in his hometown of Albany, California.
RIP Blank family
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