Agnes Boorem


Agnes Charity Boorem was the second eldest of John and Jane Boorem's children. She grew up on her father's farm in Mountainhome and married David John, a railroad worker, and settled in Scranton, Pa., where for many years David worked for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad (DL&W). Although they had no children of their own, David and Agnes raised several foster children, including some of Laura Boorem's children (Agnes' sister), who died in 1912. When her brother Hooker died in 1948, Agnes' nephew Ulreh Vogt, Jr. chartered an airplane from Chicago so that she could attend her brother's funeral. Agnes was the last of the Boorem children (from his first wife) to die in 1950, and she and her husband are also buried at the cemetery in Gouldsboro. She is fondly remembered by the descendants of her sister Laura, who knew Agnes like a mother and grandmother.

Below is a letter from Agnes (Scranton, Pa.) to brother-in-law Ulreh Vogt (Chicago, IL), written July 21, 1915. Ulreh was the husband of Agnes' sister Laura who died in 1912. After Laura died Anges and her husband David John helped raise some of Ulreh and Laura's children in Scranton, including daughter Blanche, who is mentioned in the letter. Unfortunately Blanche died just two years later in 1917 at age six, and is buried in Lehigh Cemetery, Gouldsboro in the same plot as Agnes and David John, and Ulreh and Laura Vogt. Family tradition says that Agnes John was a Christian Scientist, and therefore refused to take Blanche to a doctor when she became ill. Interestingly, Blanche is buried on the same side of the cemetery plot as Agnes and David, and her tombstone reads, Blanche John 1911-1917. There is no tradition that Agnes and David adopted Blanche, although her cemetery inscription makes it clear that they considered Blanche their daughter.

In the letter Agnes complains to Ulreh that he hasn't written lately, and tells him she was expecting to see his children by the 4th of July. The letter also tells us that Agnes was having trouble handling the young Blanch, who apparently favored husband David.

I have corrected certain spelling and punctuation, and added words for greater clarity.

Scranton, Pa., July 21, 1915

Dear Brother,

I will write you one more, although I do not owe you a letter for I have written you a number of them and I do not get any reply. I rather expected the children by the 4th of July for Laura said they were coming, she thought. How are you all getting along by this time, and are you married, and who to if so? We went for an auto ride Sunday down to Susie's (sister Susie Surplus in Gouldsboro), and your mother (Ulreh's mother Margaretta d.1939) had just left as we arrived. I was so sorry to have missed seeing her. Your mother and Rosie and Charlie and I don't know if Wilmer was along or not. They hired an auto and came by(?) to see if the children were at my house so you see they expect(ed) them to (be there). Aunt Susie had two fresh air boys from New York staying there for two weeks, and when Rosie and your mother saw one of the boys they cried out, "oh there is Sonny," for they expected to see Son and Laura at Aunt Susie's.

(Rosie, Charlie and Wilmer Vogt were the brothers and sister of Ulreh Vogt Sr. Sonny, also called Son, was Ulreh's son Ulreh Vogt, Jr. and Laura was his sister. JLT)

Well, I haven't much more to say for I don't know anything about you folks out there (in Chicago). I wish Laura would write to me oftener (more often), and tell Theresa to write to me. I have lost her address and can't write to her till I get it from someone. Tell Son that Blanch is growing like a weed and she is sorry; she will say "for goodness sake shut up, you make me nervous". She grows like everything now and she is sun burnt as brown as a Hindu.

Last night David (Agnes' husband) was down fixing the light on the auto and I wanted her to go to bed. She screamed at the top of her voice, "I want my father, oh I can't go to bed (with)out my father". If I do anything to her during the day she will say "you wait till my father comes home, you will catch it". When I tell him, of course I am just about as much afraid of her father as I am of her, but they think the world of one another. He just adores her. Everyone around here knows that well good. Good bye. Write to me soon and tell me all the news, and if the children are coming.

Your sister, Agnes


Below: Agnes (left), Susie (center) & Laura (right) Boorem


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Text and photographs copyright 2003 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved