Tag Archives: family history

Older Children Care for Younger Siblings in Large Families

Photo of Ruth—She was Aunt Marian’s youngest sister. This photo was taken 15 or 20 years before Aunt Marian enlisted in the WACs.

Some of Aunt Marian’s items were donated to the Pennsylvania Military Museum in the early 1980s. When the donation was made, her sister Ruth wrote a letter that described  Marian. It said in part:

Marian was born near Montgomery, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Se was the 6th of 11 children of a farm family. She became a second mother to me, the youngest, as she was to all her nieces and nephews.

My mother used to say that in large families each of the older girls would be paired with one of the younger children. The older one would be responsible for providing the day-to-day care of her younger sibling. Mom always used the example of how each older child would get one of the smaller ones dressed and ready for church each Sunday morning.

Marian was about 10 years older than Ruth, and it It apparently worked that way in the Solomon family.


Aunt Marian’s Family and Home

The family of Caroline and Frank Solomon- Front (l to r):  Naomi, Ruth, Caroline, Frank, Marion. Back (l to r): Paul, Florence, Martha, Margaret, Dorothy, John
The family of Caroline and Frank Solomon- Front (l to r): Naomi, Ruth, Caroline, Frank, Marion. Back (l to r): Paul, Florence, Martha, Margaret, Dorothy, John

Aunt Marian was born in 1899 and was the sixth child of Frank and Carolyn Solomon. In all there were 11 children. Another way of putting it is that Marian was the middle child in a family of 11 children.

Marian had six sisters (the oldest, Lillian died of the flu in 1918) and three brothers (though one, Leroy, had died before she was born).

The family lived on a farm in central Pennsylvania. The farm was located in the southern part of Lycoming County near Montgomery.

Recent photo of the farm house where the Solomon family lived
Recent photo of the farm house where the Solomon family lived

A Short Biography of Marian Solomon

Marian Solomon
Marian Solomon

Welcome to my new blog! It’s always difficult to know where to begin when embarking on a new adventure, so I guess that today I’ll tell you how I became interested in Aunt Marian and her story.

When I was cleaning out my parent’s attic, I found a trunk full of her items, including a handwritten cookbook and lots of Women’s Army Corps (WAC) memorabilia. There were items from Fort Oglethorpe, occupied Japan, San Francisco, and other places. My mother apparently stored the items for Aunt Marian many years ago.

When I first found Aunt Marian’s items in the attic, I had little interest in them because I barely knew her. I complained to my son that it was a lot of work going through her things. He said, “If seems like your grandmother’s sister would have been really old in World War II. How old was she when she joined the WACs?”

His comment led me to dig out a small spiral-bound,  mimeographed family history. This is what her sister Martha wrote:

Marian Mildred Solomon

Marian Mildred Solomon, fourth daughter of Frank W. and Caroline (Carrie) Miller Solomon, was born February 17, 1899. She attended the Mountain Grove Country School–an elementary School. She did not attend high school, but took a number of short courses while in the service.

Marian helped her father on the farm until his death, July 14, 1943. Then she joined the Women’s Army Corps. She received a few medals for her service and was a Sergeant First Class when she received a medical discharge after almost twenty years of service.

Marian was a member of First Methodist Church, Montgomery, Pennsylvania. Her hobbies were many–traveling,photography, ceramics, embroidery, tailoring, sewing, baking, and preparing meals. Her greatest satisfaction in life was keeping in touch with her family and helping them and others. She contributed to many charities. Marian never married. She passed away April 5, 1966.

Perhaps Aunt Marian’s life can be summed up in these three paragraphs–but I have a nagging feeling that there’s much more that needs to be remembered and told.

How did a woman who was a farm laborer and caregiver with an 8th grade education, reinvent herself in her forties?

I hope that you will join me in the upcoming weeks and months as I research Aunt Marian’s story. I’m not sure where the journey will take us–but my gut feeling is that it will be a fun adventure with lots of twists and turns along the way.