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Monday, June 13, 2011

Charles Page and The Home

In 1903 Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, Hardie Street and Margaret Kennedy married and started their lives together in Phillips, a town just south of Coalgate. They had six children, with a seventh on the way, when Hardie died suddenly of a stroke on December 8, 1917. Hardie was buried near his mother, Nancy (who had died just two years earlier), in Rose Hill Cemetery in Wapanucka. As harsh as this was, times were to become much more desperate for Margaret and her family. On February 13, 1918, her new son William Hardy was born.

Charles Page, a man building a fortune in oil, had planned and built the city of Sand Springs and was sharing his wealth with the orphans of Tulsa County. He had built a dormitory, called 'the home', where the children he rescued from a failed orphanage could be raised with many of the same opportunities as more fortunate children. Aside from the dormitory, he built a widows colony in 1912 to provide shelter and aid for widowed and divorced women with children to support.  The colony had a chapel and nursery and provided for free rent and utilities and a quart of milk per child per day.

Margaret learned of the home and made the decision to travel north to Sand Springs where she and her family would find a new start and have hope of staying together.  However, the sorrows did not end as Margaret's toddler son, William, died in 1919.  Margaret did all she could do to keep her children safe and fed, but how she could keep her six children together without the help of Charles Page and the colony is uncertain. She worked as a laundress to make her way while the 'Charles Page Home' provided for the additional care and education of the children, the oldest of which, Dreada, was fifteen.  She did not give up and the children would grow up healthy and ready to venture on to their new lives.

Margaret's second daughter, Nancy Lou, or 'Nanny', was my grandmother who, from all accounts, was a most loving and caring soul who gave her all for her family.  Perhaps some of that love was grown from knowing the generosity of another caring soul like Charles Page.

Sand Springs Home is going strong still today, nearly 100 years later, providing hope for desperate and divided families. The legacy of Charles Page lives on in not only in the city he built, but for the many lives given hope.

1 comment:

  1. This New York Times article from 1915 helps explain the history of the home, and Charles Page, in greater detail.