Pop Moe was a bird and bug guy. He would listen to records of bird calls (asking: “Did you hear it?”) and medicine bottles filled with insects were in the freezer next to the popsicles. When he passed, there were five bird prints in their Ashland house…one for each of his grandchildren.
On March 23, 1917, Charles H. and Bertha Newkirk were living in New Albany, Indiana. Bertha was across the river in Louisville shopping, leaving Charles at home with Edith Iona (age 5), Charles (age 4), and Maurice (my grandfather, age 3). A massive tornado hit. The story goes that the chimney fell on Edith, killing her instantly. Charles was blown into a tree, but survived. Charles H. was impaled by a fence post and died a few days later.
After this we know very little. Bertha and the two surviving sons were still in New Albany in the 1920 census, but by 1930 Maurice and Charles are living in the Missouri Cottage with 21 other boys at the Junior Order United American Mechanics' National Orphans' Home (Tiffin, Ohio). In 1933, there were 1096 children living at this massive orphanage.
On the rare occasion Pop Moe spoke about his childhood, he was positive about his time at the Junior Home. There he received an education that would have been unlikely if he grew up in New Albany. He became a teacher, met my grandmother, raised two sons who became doctors (one MD and one PhD), and quizzed his grandchildren about bird calls.
– Abby Newkirk