Monday, October 8, 2012

The "Birthday Four"

My great great grandfathers, George B. Parker, and Charles F. Steen both had the same birthday, May 17th. They, along with two of their friends, Frank N. Hills and Albert N. Baker, celebrated their birthdays together every year for much of their adult lives. All these men were farmers who lived in Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio. They all worked very hard on their family farms, and it sounds as though they surely enjoyed their leisure time together when day was done!

An article which appeared in the Sandusky Register of May 18, 1891, read:
The birthdays of Messrs, Frank N.
Hills, Chas. F. Steen, Geo. B. Parker
and Albert N. Baker, of Perkins, occur
on the same date, May 17, and are annually
celebrated at the home of one
of the gentlemen. According to the
usual custom, the birthday quartette
was entertained at dinner on Sunday
by Mr. Chas. F. Steen.

Though my great great grandfather, George B. Parker, was the youngest of this foursome, he was the first to die.

Grandpa George died tragically in an automobile accident on the way home from a visit to the Sandusky County Fair in Fremont, Ohio on  September 23, 1914. He was laid to rest in Perkins Cemetery. I am sure the friends who shared his birthday celebrations with him were very sad to see him leave this earth when he was only 58 years old. Albert N. Baker passed away in 1916.

This article appeared in the May 15, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Register. It was entitled "To Dine: Survivors of  'Birthday Four.'"

Those of the "Annual Birthday Four"
who for more than thirty years celebrated 
their birthday together on May 17, will
celebrate this year at the home of Mrs.
Albert Baker on May 17, the coming
Tuesday. The quartet, originally was
composed of Messrs. Charles Steen, 
Frank Hills, George Parker and Albert
Baker, all of Perkins Township. Two
have died - Messrs. Parker and Baker.
Accordingly there will be but two to
partake of the hospitality of next
Tuesday's hostess, Mr. Baker's

On August 12, 1933,  Charles F. Steen, he last of the "Birthday Four," passed away.
Great Great Grandpa Charles Steen had a Masonic funeral, and he was buried next to his beloved wife Sarah at Oakland Cemetery. I am quite sure that prior to his death in 1933, Grandpa Charlie thought about the "Birthday Four" every year on May 17th. Through vital records on file at Family Search, I was able to verify that Charles F. Steen, George B. Parker, and Albert N. Baker were all born on May 17, though in different years. The birthdate of Frank N. Hills was listed as August 2, 1842  on his death record in 1922. I am not sure of the explanation of why Mr. Hills was part of the "Birthday Four" if he didn't really share the same birthday as the other three men, but some things are just left unexplained.


Jasia said...

Thank you for sharing this very special birthday celebration in the COG, Dorene. It's a lovely tribute to these four men.

Joan said...

Dorene, Thanks for sharing this neat story of the birthday quartet. Tis a bit irritating when everything in our genealology world lines us -- then there is glitch that makes you want to head back to the research arean. LOL, yes, or no.

Cynthia Shenette said...

What a great story and so unique! It's nice that a special day was celebrated in such a special way and is still remembered after all of these years!

Nancy said...

What fun it must have been for the four of them to celebrate their birthdays together -- and equally sad for those remaining to celebrate without all four of them there. Thanks for sharing, Doreen.