Monday, January 17, 2011


So far everything I had found about Sarah M(Sadie)Dunham , her husband
Clinton R(ufus) Dorr and their son Richard Dorr had been from the Federal
Census images at Now I started checking some of the other
historical documents there and began to fill in more pieces of the puzzle.
First, I found Clinton Dorr in the 1884 South Abington Directory(p143) listed
as the stitching room foreman for the C S & L Company. After South Abington
became Whitman, Clinton is in the 1889 and 1892 directory as the foreman
at the Stetson Shoes  stitching room.

Next I turned to Richard Dorr and reasoned he was of the right age to have
served in  World War 1. Sure enough I found his draft registration card and
got a surprise. Richard was no longer living in Massachusetts in 1918, nor
was he an electrical engineer! Instead, he was a teacher at the Hill School
in Pottstown, Pa. (The school was a private boy's high school and is still
around in the present day as a coed private school). Richard is described as
tall and of medium weight with  blue eyes and brown hair along with a limp.
He lists Sara Dorr as his next of kin, but she was living at 15 Centre St back in
Brockton, Ma. I wondered what subject Richard taught? Science, perhaps?
But I soon found other records that pointed to another change in jobs,
and that helped answer another question besides.

I found passenger list and passport application images that showed Richard
had become an employee of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. A
letter from the vicepresident of the company dated  October 9th, 1919
is attached to the first passport and confirms Richard had been recently hired.
There's also an affidavit from Sarah identifying Richard as her son. From this I
learned Sara was now a saleswoman living in New York City at 43 West 48 St .
Best of all is the photograph of the now thirty eight year old Richard. Apparently
Richard made three trips back and forth to Brazil to purchase coffee beans for the
company. His first stay lasted three years and on the second passport application
for his return home I learned of the fate of his father Clinton Dorr.

Richard states that his father had died in 1908 in Taunton, Ma. A search of the 1900
Federal census told me Clinton had been an inmate at the Taunton State Mental
Hospital.  Perhaps he was still there at the time of his death. Now I knew what
had gone wrong in the Dorr family sometime after 1884 when Clinton Dorr worked
at Stetson Shoes.

My search ended on a happier note though. On the passenger list for the ship
Pan American'a arrival in New York City from Brazil is not only the name of Richard
door but Sarah Dorr as well. Richard had taken his mother with him to spend the
winter in Brazil.  I have their passport photographs as well:

Richard Dorr passed away in 1931 and Sarah followed a year later in 1932. I don't
know yet about their lives between that trip together to Brazil and their deaths.
I hope they had happier times. If not, I hope there was at least pleasant memories
of Brazil to see them through dark times.

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