Friday, April 19, 2013

As Was Expected…

L. D. Woodworth is at the Covina hospital
for treatment and observation.
Mr. Woodworth has been failing in health for several months.

After reading a report in the Covina Argus like the one above that appeared in the community newspaper on October 7, 1927, it was probably no surprise to learn that Lafayette Woodworth, junior, would be mentioned again soon after.

It wasn’t in the obituary section of the paper, however, in which his name appeared. For a local newspaper in a town the size of Covina, California, in the late 1920s, one of their pioneer residents’ passing merited a mention on the front page.

A discreet five days after the younger Lafayette Woodworth’s passing, the Covina Argus headlined the occurrence simply, “L. D. Woodworth Passes Away at Home on Sunday.”

That Sunday was October 30, 1927. Home was most likely in Covina, as it had been for the family’s entry in the most recent census record. Though he had lived elsewhere, over the years, with his wife and children, his first home after arriving from his native Wisconsin had been Covina—leading the newspaper to note that his death “marks another thinning of the ranks of the pioneers of the San Gabriel valley.”

In listing those surviving Lafayette’s passing, the newspaper article provides some answers—well, in that roundabout way that doesn’t totally insure journalistic perfection—as to names and spellings we’ve struggled with. Lafayette’s wife, Olive, was indeed a Hostetler—not a Hostetter as previously reported, nor a Hosletter, as I observed in yet another mistaken record.

And the mystery daughter Verdana and/or LaFay? She took her place in her father’s obituary notice as “Mrs. La Fey Shettle of Rosemead.”

In addition, the newspaper confirmed the Woodworths’ son, Carroll L. Woodworth, as currently living in Lompoc, plus
Miss Margery, who resides at home, and two little grandsons, Carol Jr. and John Woodworth. There also remains of his family two brothers, W. C. Woodworth of Covina and H. P. Woodworth of Pomona, and three sisters in the east.
As is often the case with obituaries and eulogies, Lafayette was duly endowed with praises at his passing:
Mr. Woodworth was a man of sterling integrity, and possessed a strong affection for his family and his friends.
Despite all those customary accolades and traditional reports, it was for one poignant note that I was sent back to the online search engines in a quest to find the explanation for yet another story.
Mr. Woodworth had been failing in health for several months, and especially since the death of a son, Harvey, which occurred four months ago.


  1. SO he had a son Harvey and a brother named Harvey too.

    A classic case of too many Margarets!

    1. Yes, two Harveys. It's starting to get that way with the name-afters--but not quite as much as the Tully family with all their Margarets!

  2. So home really was considered to be Covina, among "the ranks of the pioneers of the San Gabriel Valley."

    And it sounds as if the death of his son aggravated Woodworth's decline. Very sad.

    1. Of my friends who have died young, I remember hearing their mothers comment on how difficult it is for parents to see the death of their own child. Of course, all loss is difficult, but those who have gone through this type of loss see it as even more so.


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