Monthly Archives: May 2013

Friday Faces From the Past

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Orhpan Photo 2_NEW

I bought this picture at an antique store in Walworth, Wisconsin.  Written on the back is Donar:  Mrs. Mae Kelley, 620 W. Prairie Street, Marengo, Ill 60152.  Unid. boy, prob. Patrick fam., Marengo.  Photographer inscribed on front: Koehne, Chicago.

I did some searching for this family.  I found a Howard Patrick born about 1887 living in Marengo on the 1940 census at 520 Prairie Street, Marengo, Illinois. Read the rest of this entry

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Two Grandfather’s, Two different War Experiences.

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Recently I’ve been hearing that Memorial Day is only to honor those who served and died in a war.  Our family is very lucky that no one has died in a war.  Both my grandfather’s served in WWI.  My husband’s brothers served during WWII and my husband served during the Vietnam War, but never was sent to Vietnam.  My Uncle served during the Korean War, but was never sent to Korea.  So you can see we have been fortunate not to lose anyone.  However, I would still like to honor those who served today even though they were not killed in the line duty.  All now except my husband, have passed on.  Thanks to all of you for serving.

Both my grandfather’s served during WWI.  One stayed here in the United States, the other one was sent to France.  I wrote about my grandfather who was sent to France a couple of years ago on this blog.  I am reprinting it today along with my other grandfather’s story too.  Both are not the most exciting stories, but I am still proud of both of them for serving.  When any one enlists or is drafted, they don’t know what the future holds.  They both went without complaint and served their country during war time, not knowing if they would return.  That in it’s self must be scary.  So here are their stories.

Grandpa Kaiser

Grandpa Kaiser Military 2

My Grandpa Kaiser was in the Army during WWI; however he never left the United States.  Even though I knew Grandpa well, I do not know much about his military service.  I heard that he spent most of his time in Georgia.  I have lots of pictures he took during this time.  I have never sent for his military papers.  I was looking to see if I had his enlistment or discharge papers, but all I could find was an “Order of Induction into the Military Service of the United States”.  It doesn’t give much information.  It just says to report to the local board at 1950 Lawrence Ave at 10 AM of the 31st day of August 1918.[1]  By this time the war was almost over.   I did find a couple of cards with his papers.  One is a “Notice of Classification” dated 7/11/1918.  His classification was an “I-A”.[2]

I also found another card “Army Training School Certificate”[3].

The information on the card is as follows:

School: South Div. War Training

Location: 26th and Wabash Ave.

Name: Kaiser, Fredrick Rudolph.

Permanent Address:  233 Winnemac Ave., Chicago, Illinois.

Course: Auto Mechanic

Started Date:  9/1/1918

Finished Date:10/31/1918.

Trade Rating in School Course

A= Apprentice  J=Journeyman   E=Expert

Main:  Auto Mechanic Rating: A

Eng. Assem: A

Auto Elec: A

General Ratings by Three or More Instructors

5=Highest   4=High   3= Middle   2=Low  1=Lowest

Mechanical Ability:  4   3   3

Speed:                         3   3   3

Resourcefulness:       3   4   4

Personal Qualities    4   5   5

I had wondered why Grandpa entered the war so late.  Then I learned that the first registration was June 5, 1917 for men ages 21 – 31.[4]  Grandpa missed having to register by 3 months.  He turned 21 the following September.[5]  The second registration was June 5, 1918 for those men who turned 21 after June 5, 1917.[6]  This is when Grandpa registered.  His WWI draft card is dated June 5, 1918.[7]  This answered my question as to why he was drafted so late.

His draft card said he was working for the Texas Company (Texaco).[8]  Grandpa went back to work at Texaco after leaving the service, and he continued to work for them until 1961 when he retired with 46 years of service.[9]  I wish I knew more about his military service, sometime I will have to send for his records.  In the mean time, I’m proud he served in what ever capacity.  During both of the wars he was teased about his name Kaiser.  So on this Memorial Day, thank you Grandpa for serving our county.


[1]  Order of Induction into Military Service of the United States for Frederick R. Kaiser, Order Number 152, Serial Number 146.  Dated August 31, 1919.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[2] Notice of Classification for F. R. Kaiser, Order No. 152, Serial No. 146,  Dated July 11, 1918.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[3] War Department—Army Training School Certificate for Frederick R. Kaiser.  South Div. War Training, 26th and Wabash Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author

[4] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background. http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration/index.html

[5] Baptism Certificate for Friedrick Rudolf Kaiser, baptized June 21, 1899, born September 12, 1896, Ravenswood Evangelical Church, Pensacola and Hoynes Avenues, Chicago, IL; Registry Entry #485.

[6] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background. http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration/index.html

[7]“United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K6DF-C7F .  Fredrick Rudolph Kaiser, 1917- 1918.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Certificate of Retirement from Active Duty with Texaco Inc. for Fred R. Kaiser, 1961 after 46 Years of Loyal Service. Signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Augustus C. Long.

Grandpa Manfroid

My grandfather, George Manfroid, served in France during WWI.  He died when I was eight years old so I never heard about his war experience in France.  All my father ever said was that his father was in France during WWI.  That was it the end of the story.  I did not think much about it until one day when I was reading his enlistment and discharge papers.  I was going to use these papers for a class that I was teaching.  I wanted to show an example of things that you might find in your possession or in the possession of a relative, and how they can be used to help you trace your ancestors.  I had read these papers before but all I really cared about back then was where he was born, date of birth, etc.  But since I knew all that I took a closer look and thought about what they said.  He was inducted on September 19, 1917 in Maywood, Illinois.  His vocation was a millwright, he was 25 years old, blue eyes, light complexion, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and single.  His character was excellent, his service honest and faithful.  He was part of the A.E.F. France, received no wounds, and was entitled to wear the Blue Service Chevron.  He was at Camp Grant, Illinois when discharged on January 19, 1919.[1] [2]

After studying the papers, I was curious as to what A.E.F. stood for and why he received the Blue Service Chevron.   I look up the A.E.F. and found it stood for American Expeditionary Forces,[3] and the Blue Service Chevron was given to soldiers who served overseas less than six months[4]  I Googled my grandfather’s name and found his name in a book titled The Official History of the Eighty-Sixth Division.  He is listed as serving in 311th Trench Mortar Battery.  According to the book he left New York Harbor on September 17, 1918 aboard the Lapland for France.  He spent his time in Vitrey and Chauvirey-le-Chatel.  The 86th division was to be sent to the Lorraine Front on November 14, 1918 with other American Divisions and thirty French Divisions to capture the Metz.  The 86th was to participate in what the supreme war council had planned as the Allies’ mightiest endeavor of the war.  But on November 11, 1918 came the news of the signing of the Armistice.  He returned to the United States on January 9, 1919 aboard the Georgia.[5]

The men prepared for a year to battle on front lines and for some this was a disappointment. I don’t know my grandfather’s feelings because nothing was ever said.  I think about the part fate played here.  If he fought and was killed, I would not be here.  We take for granted our lives and the lives of our ancestors.  But one little twist of fate could change everything.  Even though he never fought on the front lines, I am still proud that he served his country honorably and faithfully during this time.  Thank you Grandpa for your service to this country!


[1] Enlistment Record for George Manfroid, September 19, 1917, Maywood, Illinois, book 44, page 176.  In possession of author.

[2] Honorable Discharge from the United States Army for George Manfroid, January 19, 1919, Camp Grant, Illinois. Book 44, Page 175.  In possession of author.

[5] Little, John G., The Official History of the Eighty-Six Division (Chicago, Illinois, States Publication Society, 1921). https://www.google.com/search?q=Official+history+of+the+eighty+sixth&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

Twenty-six Years Ago Today

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MOM

MOM

On Saturday, May 9, 1987, I was in Phoenix, Arizona sitting at the kitchen table discussing with my Uncle and Brother what we were going to next when the doorbell rang, and  I answered  the door.  There stood a man smiling at me with a floral arrangement.  It was the florist delivering flowers for my mother.  I had ordered them the previous Monday for Mother’s day.  I took them to the kitchen with tears running down my cheeks and asked my Uncle and Brother, “What am I going to do with these?”  You see, my mother had just passed away an hour before.  My Uncle said, “Well, you can enjoy them, you are a Mother.”

It had been a horrible three days, and I knew there were more horrible days ahead.  It was funny how fast live could change in less than a week.  Last Monday, I ordered the flowers never knowing my Mom would never see them.  On Wednesday, it was a beautiful day in Illinois.  I was trying to start a home based business.  I was out delivering flyers for my business.  I was enjoying being outside on such a beautiful day and feeling good and excited about my business venture.  That evening, my husband, kids, and I went out to dinner.  When we came home there was a phone message from my brother.  He said, “When you get this message call me.”  I could tell by his voice that something was wrong.  I returned his call and he told me that my mother had collapsed that afternoon, and it was serious.  I didn’t know how serious.  What exactly did he mean by serious.  Serious like she will die, or it’s serious and she has a chance.  I didn’t want to ask.  So I said, “Do you think, I should come down there?”  He said, “Yes please!”  At that point I knew it was bad.  I got off the phone and tried to tell my husband, but the words were hard to get out.  My kids were little.  How do I tell them about their Grandmother?  She had just moved to Phoenix the previous year.  Until she moved, she lived nearby and my kids spent a lot of time at Grandma’s and were very close to her.  I went outside and sat on the front steps, I felt like I was dreaming.  My husband came out and sat next to me.  We talked and cried. There was a lot to be done, and I knew I would not sleep.  I thought about the day she moved.  We were at her house the night before.  I didn’t want her to go.  I sat in her house wishing this night would last forever.  I didn’t want to go home.  I now knew what a broken heart felt like.  I felt like my heart was breaking.  I even thought I might have a heart attack.  I never showed it, and I never said anything to her about it.  I don’t remember the reason I did not go over there the next day when she left for Phoenix.  At first we called each other all the time, but the phone calls were expensive and neither of us had a lot of money.  So we had to cut down on our phone calls.  We went down to visit her for two weeks that summer and she came up for Christmas.  She went back after New Year’s and my oldest son’s birthday.  When it was time for her to board the plane, she started to cry.  I thought then this is the last time I’m going to see you, and I believe she was thinking the same thing.  That was the last time, I saw her alive and well.  The last time I talked to her on the phone was Easter.  I was saving my next phone call for Mother’s Day.  I spent the rest of Wednesday night making plane reservations, washing clothes to take to Phoenix, and making plans for the kids and my husband.  I got on the plane the next morning for Phoenix.  On the plane, people are talking, laughing, and having a good time.  I listened to conversations about vacations.  I wished I was going there for a vacation, and I wished my husband was sitting next to me instead of some stranger.  All I wanted to do was cry, and I was holding it back.  I didn’t want to cry in front of strangers.  I also felt sick to my stomach.  I was hoping I really wouldn’t be sick.  It was the longest four hours of my life.  My brother and Uncle met me at the airport.  They wanted to know if I wanted to go to their house or the hospital.  I said, “Is she going to make it?”  They didn’t know, but said she had not regained consciousness and she was attached up to all kinds of machines.  I then said, “To the hospital.”  I could not believe my eyes when I saw her.  She was pale and she had all kinds of tubes attached to her, I took her hand and talked to her.  I didn’t know if she could hear me or not, but I hoped she could.  Then the doctor came in to talk to us.  He said that she had a brain aneurism and she was brain dead.  He showed us her chart with a straight flat line.  He said, “She is being kept alive on machines. You will need to make a decision whether to take her off of the machines or not.  She is not going to get better.  If she lives, she will be a vegetable for the rest of her life.  I’ll leave you alone to discuss it.”  All three of knew what had to be done.  We didn’t want to do it, but we had too.  I remember before my mother left for Phoenix she had told me, “If anything happens to me, I do not want to be kept alive on a machine.”  I tried to make light of it because I didn’t want to talk about it.  She said, “’I’m serious.”  So I knew that this is what she would want.  When the doctor came back into the room, we told him to go ahead and remove the machines.  He said, “We will do it slowly, and wean her off the machines.  We will remove one at a time.”  We went back to the hospital later, and her breathing was harder.

Back at her house, I looked around and saw her everywhere I looked.  Her glasses lying out and things she had been in the process of doing when this happened.  I asked my brother and uncle if she complained of headaches or anything and they said, “No”.  That morning she mentioned that she felt like she had a hangover although she didn’t have anything to drink.  She went to sit outside.  The dogs started barking and looking out the window.  My brother looked out to see what they were barking at and saw her lying on the ground with lawn chair tipped over.  He went out there and tried to talk to her and she said, “Where’s my pillow?”  And that was the last thing she said.  They called 911 and she was taken to one hospital, but then air vaced to another hospital that specialized in neurology.

We went back on Friday she was still alive, and her breathing even more labored.  Some friends of my mother and uncle came by the hospital and then invited us over to their house.  It was a pleasant relief.  It helped to take my mind off of my mother dying.   They were telling stories about my mom and about life in Phoenix.  Then on Saturday morning we went to hospital again.  Her breathing now was really hard.  I thought each breath was her last.  Her chest would rise up and then nothing and then after what seemed like minutes, but probably just seconds, she would let the breath out and her chest would sink back down. And then this would repeat.  I held her hand and talked as if she could hear me.  I told her how much I loved her and how much the grandchildren loved her.  How my husband had said she was a great mother-in-law.  I told her she was a great mother and my uncle added “and sister”.  My brother said, “I guess were not going to make it to Vegas”.   My Uncle said, “Next time”.  We decided to leave, go get something to eat and come back later.  So we went to a restaurant and then back to the house.  We were only home a few minutes when the call came that she had passed.  Later that afternoon we went back to the hospital to sign papers and make arrangements for her.  We decided that she had more family and friends in Illinois so we would have her cremated in Phoenix and her ashes sent to the cemetery in Illinois.  We would have a memorial service in Illinois.  I had to get back to Illinois because my husband was taking time off of work to stay home with the kids. I made plane reservations for my brother and me to fly back to Illinois on Monday.  My Uncle came later in the week.  He could fly for free as he was retired from the airlines.  Later in the week we had the memorial service to have our final good-bye to Mom.  It was a horrible Mother’s Day that I will never forget, and I still don’t like Mother’s Day.  I don’t like celebrating it.   I felt like I didn’t have time to mourn her back then.  My brother had no family so I felt bad for him.  I tried not to let my kids see me break down.  I had made all the arrangements so I was busy.  My brother and I were now orphan’s.  My Brother, Uncle and I were the only ones left from our original family.  In the seven years preceding my mother’s death, I lost both my grandparents, and father.  My husband had lost his mother and a brother.  So we were feeling pretty lonely especially on holidays.  Recently, a friend who lost her father asked, “Does it ever get any better?”  The answer is, “sort of”.  I don’t think about it every day, but there are days when I want my mother.  I would love to be able to talk to her.  When I have had problems over the years, I wish I could ask her advice.  I have felt so alone at times.  That’s why I say it “sort of” gets better.  I have moments when I regret that I wasn’t with her at the end holding her hand.  Why did we leave her?  I don’t remember what our thinking was that day.  I feel guilty that we said remove the machines.  I think about the “what ifs”.  What if the doctor was wrong?  What if she wasn’t brain dead?  I know this is wrong to think about the “What ifs” and most of the time I think we did the right thing.  Life does go on and my brother and I often talk about our childhood memories with Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa and our Aunts and Uncles.  We have many good and wonderful memories of them all.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day so once again my thoughts are on that Mother’s Day twenty-six years ago.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you!

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

Aunt Agnes a Love Story

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Art and Agnes

Art and Agnes

Aunt Agnes was one of my grandmother’s three aunts.  Agnes Reinhardt was born in 1891 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[1]  She was the youngest of seven children.[2]  She was only seven years older than her niece, my grandmother.[3]  Agnes grew up in Ottawa Illinois with her parents, brothers, and sisters.  Aunt Agnes is listed as living in Ottawa on the 1910[4] census and in a 1911 city directory,[5] after that I lose her for a few years.  In 1920 at age 28 she married Arthur Lightfoot in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.[6]  He lists his occupation on the marriage record as a Traveler.[7]  The first thing that came to my mind was, “What kind of occupation was a traveler?”  I thought maybe he was a gypsy (just kidding).  I think it was a term used back then for a traveling salesman.  Later census records list him as a salesman.[8]  I have no idea how they met or why they got married in Detroit.  His resident on the marriage record is listed as Indianapolis, Indiana and hers is Ottawa, Illinois.[9] On the 1930 and 1940 census records, they are living in Chicago, Illinois.[10] [11]  Also on his WWI and WWII draft cards he is living in Chicago.[12] [13]  At some point in time, they moved to Hartford, Connecticut.  Arthur was born and raised in Connecticut.[14] When I was a child, I knew that Aunt Agnes lived in Connecticut.  Aunt Agnes and Art came to visit us a couple of times from Connecticut.  Arthur died in 1957 in Connecticut,[15] and some time after his death, Agnes moved back to Chicago.

Aunt Agnes would come to visit us on some weekends and holidays.  In her old age, Aunt Agnes was flamboyant.  She wore a lot of makeup, her hair was bleached blond, and she wore a lot of jewelry.  The jewelry had big stones and was gaudy.  One time I was looking at a bracelet she had on with big stones.  She asked me if I liked it.  I didn’t want to insult her so I said, “yes.”  She took off the bracelet and handed it to me, and told me I could keep it.  I was around 13 years old at the time.  I thanked her, but knew I would never wear it.  I didn’t like it.  After she had gone home, my mother confiscated it, and put in her jewelry chest.  The bracelet was in my mother’s jewelry chest for years.  I don’t know what ever became of it.

Aunt Agnes would come out to our house by train or bus and sometimes we would drive her back to Chicago.  One time when we drove her back, when we got to Clark and Belmont near where she lived, she said, “Now I can relax, I am home.”  I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t relax at our house.  Our house was in the suburbs and it was nice, quiet, and safe compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.  I thought it would be easier to relax in the quiet and calm of the suburbs.  Until I started delving into her life, I thought she and her husband always lived in Connecticut after they were married.  I also had the impression that they were rich.  Not sure how I came to these conclusions.  So I was surprised to learn that she lived in Chicago, most of her married life. I doubt that he became rich as a salesman.

I think Aunt Agnes probably had the most normal life of the three sisters.  I gave this posting the title Aunt Agnes a love story because I truly believe that Aunt Agnes loved her husband and he loved her. She talked about Art all the time.  I hope they loved each other, they were married 37 years.  They had no children.  I have wondered if Aunt Agnes had a previous marriage, but haven’t been able to find any other marriage records for her.  I found no illegitimate children or any thing unusual.  I believe she led a very ordinary life and loved her husband.   She died in Chicago, IL in 1978 at 87 years old.[16]  She had a good long life, and I am glad I got to know her before she died.  As always, I wish I had asked her more questions about her life and family, but I wasn’t interested in Genealogy at that time.  So now I can only go on a few memories and documents.  I hope I did her justice today, since I had so little to go on.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] “Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[2] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978

[3] State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics and Records; Delayed Record of Birth, State file # 204857; Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Helen Dorothy Bowers, December 3, 1898.

[4] Year: 1910; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 5, La Salle, Illinois; Roll T624_301; Page: 11A’ Enumeration District: 0129; Image:  ; FHL microfilm:1374314.  Ancestry.com.  1910 United States Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2006.

[5] McCoy Ottawa City Directory 1911 – 1912 The McCoy Directory Company, Publishers and Compilers, 411 Brown Building, Rockford, Illinois. Agnes Reinhardt page 140.  Ancestry.com. U. S. City Directories, 1821 – 1989 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[6] Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[7] Ibid.

[8]Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[9]  “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[10] Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[11] “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[12] “United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917- 1918,” index and images.  FamilySearch(https://familysearch.orgpal:/MM9.1.1/K6DX-DDG) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1917-1918.

[13]“United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” index and images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V1KW-8GM) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1942.

[14] “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9QK-KZZ) Arthur A. Lightfoot in entry for Arthur Lightfoot, 1900.

[15] “Connecticut, Death Index, 1949 – 2001.” Index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VZPP-1XL) Arthur A Lightfoot, 1957.

[16] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978.

Friday Faces From the Past: Walter Hadler

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Orhan photo no 1

A few weeks ago a friend and I visited some antique stores, and I came across some photos , and for some reason, I felt compelled to buy them.  There were a lot more, but I couldn’t afford to buy them all.   I have seen and heard about people buying orphaned photos, and sometimes they are able to return to their families.   So I thought I would give this a try.  Then I saw that Geneabloggers had this as a Friday blogging prompt.  What better time than now to start.

The name on the back of the photo is Walter Hadler.  The photographer is Holdmann at 224 Grand Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I am guessing by the clothing and card style that it is the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.  I could be wrong here because this is new to me, and I am going by what I have found on the Internet.  So if someone out there with more experience knows what the time period is, feel free to comment.  He’s a cute little boy.  I wonder what happened to him?