Sunday, January 29, 2017

Robert J. Young - Husband of Dorothy Rasmussen

For many years, I have been stumped by what happened to Robert J. Young, who would have been by uncle.  Until recently he remained an enigma.  The only thing that I really knew was that he was Aunt Dorothy’s (Dot) first husband.  My only other connection with him was through an aging wedding picture of my Aunt Lillian Rasmussen with her Groom John White.  John’s son confirmed with me in later years that Robert and Dorothy were the Best man and Maid of Honor at that wedding, all of whom are show in the picture below.

Following the death of Dorothy Parker nee Rasmussen, better known to most of the family as Aunt Dot, my mother (Lois J. Muller nee O’Neal) went to assist my uncle with cleaning out her personal belongings.  At the time of her death, most of her belongings were still with Robert Muller in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As fate would have it, my mom ended up with some odds and ends of Aunt Dot’s, including vintage lace and undergarments.  Found among these items were letters from her first husband Robert J. Young.  Still in good condition, Aunt Dot had saved these letters for over 60 years.  So that the originals may remain intact, I have transcribed their contents so that all may read a little bit more into their lives.  This took place in 2001. 

Click here to view the Robert J. Young Letters

Recently, I took a chance on and requested a certificate of death for a Horatio Young who died in 1930.  In my initial searches years ago, I had a note that Robert might have a possible middle name of Horatio, so I thought I would take a chance.  Robert we know was deceased by 1930 as indicated in the 1930 Census showing wife Dorothy as widowed, so I thought this certificate might show promise.  However, when I received the certificate, I found that this person was listed as single at the time of death, so this ruled out Robert.  But, this re-energized my research on Robert and I revisited those letters that have been preserved by Aunt Dot and started pulling names and information out of them.  I then added this information to my searches on and finally was able to break through to understand a little bit more about him.

This is what has been revealed …

Robert J Young was born in 1901/02.  He was the son of Horatio Nelson and Kathryn Young.  He had 5 siblings; Emily, Marion, Horatio, Maud and Ruth.  Ironically, the death certificate I had taken a chance on turned up to be Robert’s brother’s, Horatio!  In the letters from Aunt Dot, Robert often referred to Maud, Ruth and Emily.  It was these, names of his siblings, that once added to the search, I was able to make the connection.  Other information that surfaced included that Robert and his father Horatio both were police officers, Horatio being a Captain, and that Horatio is buried at the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp, Staten Island. 

In his letter’s to Dot, it becomes quickly evident that Robert was sick with something … most likely Tuberculosis, although he also refers to ’how the Gas affected me” in a later letter, and could not return without police order. His letters contain many references to persons unknown, but others included ‘Ma’ and Jack, which I believe now to be Aaselie Dorothy Rasmussen (Ma) and John Gallagher.   John (Jack) Gallagher would also become Robert Muller’s Godfather.  These insights became clear when I re-examined the 1925 New York Census Record, which shows Dorothy (Ma), Lillian, Robert, Dorothy (Dot), and John Gallagher all living at 70 State Street.

As the letters only span the period of August 20th through September 11th, 1925, Robert must have recovered to some degree in order to participate in and be photographed for Lillian (Rasmussen) and John White’s wedding in May of 1926.  Despite all of this new information, his birth and death still remain a mystery … for now.