Tag Archive | Henry Hodge

Wordless Wednesday: Henry Hodge & Rancho Los Amigos Nursing Staff

Henry Hodge (my Uncle) was an Orderly and attendee at the Rancho Los Amigos Health Center in the 1950’s in Los Angeles, California. At the time the Rancho Los Amigos was a facility for those that had polio. Henry was the only African American working at the facility in that capacity at the time.

Henry Hodge (Orderly & Attendant) and the Rancho Los Amigos Nursing Staff in 1953


Henry Hodge (Orderly & Attendant) and the Rancho Los Amigos Nursing Staff in 1953

The Puzzle is Becoming Clearer: Henry Hodge

Henry Hodge
13 years old

     After I completed the other post Puzzling History, I went into Henry’s room and told him what I knew based on the 1930 Census.  I shared with him that John Wilson could not be the boy in the photo because he was 18 when Henry was born.  I also told him that John Wilson was the grandson of the Sam and Sarah Hodge, and that John Wilson, Sr. was the Son-in-law.

Henry’s brother (unk name for now) and Henry

      I said that the mother is not on the 1930 Census, and wanted to know if she had died.  When I shared with him what I knew he opened up and told me that  John Wilson Sr.’s wife was his mother and had seen her a few times and that she ran off with the man that was Henry’s father, and left him with his grandparents that raised him as their own son (they adopted him).  Mr. John Wilson was not his biological father and Mr. Sam Hodge would not ever say that he was Henry’s father or even give him that emotional support.  Apparently there were negative feelings towards the situation so the environment was not good for Henry’s upbringing.

     Months ago I asked Henry about Sam Hodge and he would say oh, that’s my dad.  He would not tell me anything more even though I tried.  He would tell me he was a man, and he was unemployed for many years, but he did not talk to him.  Of course this made me sad for his home situation when he was a child.

     Henry left St. Louis when he joined the military and only went back to bury each of his parents.  In due time, I will get more stories from Henry, but seeing that there are deep-rooted negative feelings that he has not dealt with, I will need to do a little at a time so I have a complete picture.

     So the boy in the photo above is Henry’s brother. Apparently she took his half-brother with her when she left St. Louis, MO.  I will get more info as time goes on.

Puzzling History: Henry Hodge

     I have known Henry Hodge since I could even remember.  I have been his care taker for about 6 or 7 years  now, and have called him Uncle since forever.  He was my father’s best friend and they had known each other for over 60 years.  Henry Hodge was born November 22, 1929 and will be 82 years old this year.  Henry has a good memory, but for some reason he is blocked when it comes to his family in St. Louis, Missouri.  
     The story I was told from my mother, is that he was left on the porch by his mother, and he was adopted by the Hodges.  Henry confirmed this to me, but whenever I ask him about the Hodges that raised him, he doesn’t want to talk about it, and everything is jumbled, and he just shuts down.  If I try to push him to talk about his life in St. Louis, he gets irritated if I bring up family.
     About a year ago, I found Henry’s scrapbook in the garage, and brought it into the house so he could identify the people for me.  Henry wrote on the back “Me and my brother.”  I asked him this morning was this his biological brother or his brother the Hodges had.  Henry stated that he had two older brothers that died before he was born and that he did not remember if the older boy in the photo was his biological brother but that he was his brother.
Poss. Henry’s Biological Brother & Henry Hodge
(l to r)

     I have seen the 1930 Census and Henry Hodge is listed as Norris Henry.  It is obvious that this is him, but he stated that he did not know why the name on the census had Norris.  “I was thinking that Norris may be his biological families surname. (of course I need to do further investigation)”

     I asked Henry what his brother’s name was and he could not remember at first and then he said I think John.  So looking at the 1930 Census below, I know that this could not be a photo of John Wilson as the Census states that John Wilson is the Hodge’s grandson and that the older John Wilson is their Son-in-law.  

     I believe that there is more to the story that I am being told and due to difficult feelings surrounding Henry’s birth and family life, I am going to have to slowly help him to remember.  Over the next few months, I will be looking at the Census reports of any Norris or even Henry families in the area.  I will also investigate the Wilson’s on other Census Reports and see what I can discover.

Update:  Go to this Blog The Picture is Becoming Clearer.

Sports Center Saturday: Barstow U.S Marine Corps Football Team 1952 & 1953

My “Uncle” Henry Hodge tried out and played football for the United States Marine Corp Football Team in Barstow, California in 1952 & 1953.  The fortunate aspect of him playing for the team allowed him to not go on the front lines of the Marine Corp during the Korean War.
Henry Hodge was born November 22, 1929 and living in San Diego, CA.
Henry Hodge #83 & Ed West #86
Starting Defensive Ends
February 23, 1953
Barstow Marine Football Team
September 8, 1952

Henry Hodge & Players
Barstow Football Team

Coaching Staff
Barstow U.S. Marines Football Team
September 8, 1952

Amanuensis Monday: There’s REAL Progress in San Diego

     A few years ago, the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database was offering free access for a week.  I took advantage of it and inputted family and close friends of the family names to see what articles I would find.  I had found about 80 articles that I felt were relevant to my family and historical research.
     The article below had my father “Wally Porter” and my Uncle, “Henry Hodge” along with some of the community leaders of San Diego that I knew, of which I bolded their names.

Wash’s Wash
Col Leon H. Washington Jr.
Los Angeles Sentinel (1946-2005); Feb 11, 1971
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Sentinel: 1934-2005
pg. A6

Wash’s Wash
       There’s REAL Progress in San Diego
                                Col. Leon H. Washington. Jr.
     Several days ago I rode down to San Diego to see some old friends and to get a firsthand view of the growing city and its community activities.  Accompanying me on the trip was my assistant, Bill Robertson.
     I was amazed at the building program now under way.  In practically every commercial area of the city you will find ultramodern facilities going up.
     The recently built 1-1/2 mile toll bridge is a sight to behold,as the beautiful man-made island that has several famous-name restaurants on it.  The new airport is practically in the heart of the city.  There is no doubt that San Diego is fast becoming one of California’s most progressive cities.
     Many years ago when I used to go to San Diego there were few Negroes in the city.  Now, I am told, there are more than 60,000 Negroes residing in the town.
     My longtime friend, Atty. Al Montgomery, told me Negroes are really advancing and obtaining better paying jobs than ever before, in spite of the tight job situation.  Like in most places in recent years they had to do a bit of protesting and voicing their demands.
     Montgomery, according to a reliable source, is reported in line for a judgeship.  The longtime Republican is one of the most prominent attorneys in the state.  I hope the governor appoints him very soon.
     Leon Williams, a very likeable young man, is the only Negro city councilman there.  Report on him is that he is doing a commendable job as a lawmaker.
     We saw Wally Porter, a former Angeleno, who now lives there and is with the San Diego Adult School System.  Also learned that Henry Hodge is making his home there and is holding a big county position.
     Understand there are quite a number of young lawyers, teachers and administrators there now who formerly lived in Los Angeles, Porter and Hodge are said to be among the top young men of leadership in the city.
     While at Montgomery’s law office, my old friend H.W. Ragsdale came in.  He is the owner of the Anderson-Ragsdale Funeral Home.  He was looking fine and is still active in the progressive community programs.  He told me that confirmation for approval of San Diego’s first black bank had recently been made.
     The proposed directors and organizers of the Community Bank of Sand Diego are: Richard A. Bland, who is also president of the Logan Heights Realty Board; George Walker Smith, member of the San Diego School Board; Charles T. Robinson, captain of the San Diego Fire Dept.; Hartwell W. Ragsdale, Atty. Alpha Montgomery, Mrs. Valleta Linnette, San Diego faculty member and Hayward Bland, real estate investor.
     The trip was most delightful and I was pleased to see some of my old friends and spend the day looking at progress being made in the border city that will benefit the majority of its residents and visitors.
     The community progress campaign continues!