The Story of Charles Jabez Bostwick

Charles Jabez Bostwick is my great grandfather born October 30, 1878 in Soquel, California. He is the only child of John Day Bostwick (New York) and Ida Shelby (California). His mother died when he was 11 months old and I told her story here. His father remarried one year later to Delphine Valencia and they had six children. Charles is listed on the 1880 census with his dad and Delphine.

Charles Jabez Bostwick circa 1890

Charles ran away from home when he was a teenager and I know for sure he was in Chicago by 1900. Though there is a 1892 New York census that perfectly matches his name, age, and place of birth. This Charles was 14 and living in Dansville, NY. He is listed at the end of a family living on a farm whose surname I don’t recognize. I looked through the entire census hoping to find a surname that makes sense to me. His dad grew up in Walton, NY which isn’t close to Dansville but I was hoping to see a Bostwick family there. His Paternal grandmother was a Chace and there were no families with that surname. Lastly, his maternal grandmother was born in New York but there were no families with the surname of Hinckley either. The one surname that stood out to me was Day. His dad’s middle name is Day but I have yet to find a connection for him with that name. I will delve into to that more when I look for his father more closely. So, this may be my Charles and hopefully someday I will be able to confirm this.

I found Charles in the 1900 census living in Chicago as an inpatient at Mercy Hospital and working as an orderly. I don’t know why he was an inpatient and I don’t know why he went to Chicago. I did find him in the 1901 Chicago City Directory working as an orderly at Micheal Reese Hospital.

At the age of 22, Charles married Alpha Wilkins on June 2, 1901 in Chicago. They had seven children: Florence 1902, Raymond 1904, Marion 1906, Delphine 1911, Virginia 1915, Dorothy 1916, and Lucille 1922.Three notes about the children, my grandmother is Florence, Marion was the only one born in New York, and Delphine’s full name is Ida Delphine Day-she was named after Charles mom, Ida, his step mother, Delphine, and middle name of his dad Day.

We catch up with the family in the 1905 New York census where they are living in Yonkers with Alpha’s little sister Florence Wilkins and their niece Dorothy Wood who is Alpha’s older sisters child. Charles is working as a packer. Then, in the 1910 census, Charles and his three oldest children are living in Chicago but Alpha is not. She is in Massachusetts with her older sister-why I do not know. They are all together again in the 1920 census in Chicago and Charles is working as a chauffeur.

1920 US Census

There is a World War I Draft Registration card from September 12, 1918. In the description, he is listed as having a speech impediment. I asked my mom about this and she confirmed that he had one. His daughter, my grandmother also had a speech impediment.

World War I Draft Registration Card

By 1929, his wife, Alpha died. There were still four children living with them at the time. In the 1930 census, Charles and the four children (3 teenage girls) were living with his oldest daughter, Florence (my grandmother) and her family. In total, there were eleven people living in the house, 3 adults and 8 children all sharing one bathroom.  Sometime between 1930 and 1940, Charles remarried. Her name is Edna born in 1892 and from Indiana. I have no further information on her. She is listed in the 1940 census with Charles in Chicago and there are no children with them. This time his occupation is a truck driver.

Charles Jabez Bostwick

At some point, they moved to California. Most likely because several of his daughters moved there with their families and the weather is nicer. I found a newspaper clipping from 1955 reporting that Charles and Edna Bostwick of Inglewood, California attended a picnic at the Annual Soquel Pioneers Club. The membership for this club included being born in Soquel 50 years prior or lived in Soquel for 50 years. Charles qualified due to being born there in 1878.

Newspaper clipping from Santa Cruz Sentinel August 2, 1955. Arrow points to his name.

At the age of 78, Charles Bostwick passed away on August 20, 1957 in Los Angeles. He was cremated and interred under a tree at the Inglewood Park Cemetery.


Grave Marker in Inglewood Park Cemetery. Photo courtesy BJ Waters.


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