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Florence Etta 'Flora'
(DeMoss) Wake

(1864-1928)

 

Florence Etta (DeMoss) Wake was born in January 1864 (or 1865) in Van Wert, Van Wert County, OH, the daughter of Charles W. and Eliza (Miner) DeMoss

When Flora was age three, her father, a Civil War veteran who never truly recovered from his wartime ailments, passed away, leaving her fatherless. Her mother remarried again when Flora was age eight, to William Cornwell.

Shortly afterward, Flora and her mother, stepfather and siblings migrated westward to Nebraska, settling in Columbus, Platte County. When Flora was age 19, in 1883, her mother and stepfather divorced. Her mother later moved again, to Kinsley, Edwards County, KS, but Flora is not thought to have gone with her.

At the age of 17, Etta was a teacher in a school in the Columbus area, and attended the annual teacher's institute. The news was reported in the Columbus Journal.

On March 25, 1885, when Flora was 20, she married 25-year-old Charles William Wake (1859-1932), the son of Charles and Emma (Shefford) Wake, and a native of Omaha. The ceremony was held in Columbus at the home of county judge John J. Sullivan, who officiated. The marriage was announced in the Columbus Journal, which said that "the heartiest congratulations of this young couple are tendered them by their friends."

The Wakes had three children -- Charles Christian Wake, Dora Marguerite Wake and Ethel P. Wake.

The Wakes made their home in Schuyler, NE circa 1893. That year, in May, Flora became seriously ill, and her aunt Caroline (Crumrine) Miner traveled from Columbus, NE to provide care, as noted in the gossip columns of the Journal.

 

Bird's eye view of the west half of Newman's Grove, Nebraska

 

When the federal census was taken in 1900, the Wakes lived in the village of Newman Grove, Madison County, NE. Charles was employed that year as a dry goods salesman. 

By 1910, the family had migrated to the Beaver Precinct of St. Edward, Boone County, NE. There, Charles continued his longtime work as a salesman in dry goods merchandise. Daughter Dora, age 20, assisted him with sales in the store. Daughter Ethel, age 19, was a teacher in a local school. 

The census of 1920 shows the Wakes living on Main Street in St. Edward. Charles' occupation was as manager of general merchandise. Daughter Dora, now age 30 (but stated on the census as 27), was a clerk in the store.

In 1922, residing in St. Edward, Flora wrote to the United States Pension Commissioner in Washington, DC. She said her maiden name had been DeMoss and that she wanted "any information you may have in your dept" about the Civil War service of her father, "Charles Warren DeMoss." 

Continuing to move around, Charles and Flora migrated during the 1920s to Fremont, Dodge County, NE. The census of 1930 shows them making their home in West Eighth Street, but with Charles having no occupation. Daughter Dora, now 36 (or 39), was employed by J.C. Penney Company as a sales lady. Photographer L.B. Skoglund, age 45, who ran his own studio, lodged under their roof that year. 

Sadly, in 1932, Charles died in Fremont, NE, at the age of 73. He was laid to rest in the local Memorial Cemetery. 

Flora outlived her husband by six years. She joined him in death in 1938, at age 74, and they rest together.

 

~ Son Charles Christian Wake ~

 

   

Charles and Cora Wake

Son Charles Christian Wake (1887-1953) was born on July 22, 1887 in Genoa, Nance County, NE. As a boy or teen, he migrated with his parents and siblings to St. Edward, Boone County, NE.

He was tall and slender, with blue eyes and brown hair. 

In about 1909 or '10, Charles married Cora E. Warner (1889-1963). They had at least four children -- Donald L. Wake, Alan E. Wake, Robert W. Wake and Kathryn V. Wake.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, the Wakes lived in St. Edward, where Charles worked as a printer.

During World War I, in June 1917, Charles was required to register for the military draft. At the time, he stated that he was a self-employed printer and publisher in St. Edward. 

The 1920 census shows the Wake family living on Second Street in St. Edward. Charles reported his occupation as editor of the city newspaper. The paper, the Boone County Advance, was Republican in its orientation and published every Friday. Circulation was about 700.

During the 1920s, Charles left the newspaper and was appointed postmaster in St. Edward, with Cora serving as assistant postmistress. Senseless tragedy rocked the family in 1931 when their son Alan died after suffering an injury while playing football.

Sometime before 1935, they moved from St. Edward to Omaha, where they remained for a dozen years. In 1947, he and Cora relocated again, to Phoenix AZ. 

Charles died at the age of 66 in Phoenix in 1953. His remains were returned to Nebraska for interment in his wife's family plot in Herman, Washington County.

Cora survived him by a decade. She passed away in 1963.

Son Donald L. Wake ( ? -1965) established his home in St. Louis, MO. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a newspaper executive. He died in 1965. 

Son Robert W. Wake ( ? -1976) joined the U.S. Army in 1941, the year our nation entered World War II. He trained as a bomber pilot and served in the Asia-Pacific Theatre during the war. After the war ended, he moved into the field of military intelligence and was an early professional in the very young field of U.S. Air Force computing and data processing. While in the Panama Canal Zone, he met and married his second wife, Esther (?) ( ? -1998) in 1949. They had two sons. In 1962, he retired from the Air Force and moved to California, working in the aerospace industry. He died in 1976. Esther joined him in eternity in 1998. In all, from two marriages, Robert had three sons and a daughter. 

Daughter Kathryn "Kay" Wake ( ? - ? ) married (?) Snetzer. She also joined the military and served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces. She died in 1996.

 

~ Daughter Dora Marguerite Wake ~

Daughter Dora Marguerite Wake (1889- ? ) was born in August 1889 in Nebraska. 

By 1910, at the age of 19, Dora lived with her parents in the Beaver Precinct of St. Edward, Boone County, NE. There, she assisted her father in a dry goods merchandise store. 

Dora remained in her parents' household during the 1910s. The census of 1920 shows the home to be on Main Street in St. Edward. Dora continued her work as a clerk in the store managed by her father. 

She moved with her parents during the 1920s to Fremont, Dodge County, NE. There, she was employed as a sales lady by the local J.C. Penney Company.

 

~ Daughter Ethel P. Wake ~

Daughter Ethel P. Wake (1891- ? ) was born in January 1891 in Nebraska.

 

Copyright 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 Mark A. Miner