Greetings

Front of postcard, which reads “Greetings”. (Author’s collection)

Mr. Leon Homer
North Java
New York.

Nov. 1. 1912.

Hello Leon:-

I am still alive You see. I heard you looked about all in Isn’t this a lovely day? I thought I would send this to surprise you. Will look for you this eve if not to [sic] stormy. I am having a splendid time. We may come over town tomorrow. Bye Bye. You know who from.

Back of postcard. (Author’s collection)

Leon Elmer Homer was born on April 7, 1893 in Batavia or Alexandria, New York (depending on the source) to Elmer Homer and Eva Hyde. His parents were both born in the Java area.

By 1900, the Homer family was living in Alexander Township, Genesee, New York. The census lists 7-year old Leon with his parents; older sister Nellie, 12; and younger brother Howard, 4.

Census information for the Homer family, 1900.
Source: “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSXY-XNC : accessed 31 December 2021), Leon Homer in household of Elmer G Homer, Alexander Township Alexander village, Genesee, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 2, sheet 10A, family 243, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,037.

At age 17, Leon was a hired hand in Wethersfield, residing with William and Dora Harris and their newborn son. The year was 1910. Like his father, Leon worked as a farmer early on.

After he had gone off on his own, Leon still made visits home. The July 11, 1912 edition of the Wyoming County Herald reported:

Leon Homer of Attica spent Sunday with his parents Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Homer.

The Wyoming County Herald, 11 July 1912, Page 11.
The Wyoming County Herald, July 11, 1912, Page 11.
Image provided by the Java Historical Society.

And on July 26, 1912, in the social section for North Wethersfield:

Mr. Leon Homer of Attica was in town Wednesday evening.

The Wyoming County Herald, 26 July 1912, page 7.
The Wyoming County Herald, July 26, 1912, Page 7.
Image provided by the Java Historical Society.

On June 25, 1915, he married Marjory Jennie Fancher; they had one child, Darwin Walter Homer, in August that same year. Sadly, Marjory died about two weeks after the birth of her son, at the age of 21. She is buried in Wethersfield Cemetery, Smiths Corner, Wyoming County, New York.

Marriage record for Leon Homer and Marjory Fancher, 1913.
Source: “New York, County Marriages, 1847-1848; 1908-1936,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KL7Q-7W1 : 9 March 2021), Leon E Homer, 25 Jun 1913, Wyoming, New York, United States; citing ref. ID , county clerk offices from various counties, New York; FHL microfilm 989,420.
Grave of Marjory Fancher Homer. Source: findagrave.com.

The widower did find love again, a year later marrying 18-year old Sadie Alice Walker on October 25, 1916 in Rochester. Leon, 23, was a railroad trainman while Sadie worked at a collar factory. The marriage record lists both as living at 162 Alexander Street; the Monroe High School was built on the site in 1923 and is still there today.

Marriage record for Leon Homer and Satie [i.e. Sadie] Walker, 1916.
Source: “New York, County Marriages, 1847-1848; 1908-1936,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XVGP-CT8 : 9 March 2021), Leon E. Homer, 25 Oct 1916, New York, United States; citing ref. ID 492, county clerk offices from various counties, New York; FHL microfilm 831,344.
James Monroe High School on Alexander Street, Rochester, NY.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

According to his WWI Draft Registration card from 1917, Leon had at that time a wife and two children to support. He worked as a farm labourer for a Martin Mosher.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KXB7-863 : 26 December 2021), Leon Elmer Homer, 1917-1918.

Sometime after his father Elmer Homer died in 1918, Leon’s mother Eva moved in with her son and his family. The Attica News of March 7, 1918 published Elmer’s obituary notice:

Elmer Homer, a Wethersfield farmer, and son of Mr. John Homer of Main street, died at his home Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock of apoplexy. Several weeks ago he suffered a shock and had been out of health since that time.

Mr. Homer was born and had always resided in the town of Wethersfield. He was 58 years of age and besides his father is survived by his wife, five children, Roy Homer of Rochester, Leon Homer of Batavia, Howard Homer of Bason, Mrs. Frank Saulsbury of Batavia and Mabel Homer at home; a brother, Charles Homer of North Java and three sisters, Mrs. L. J. Hall, Attica, Mrs. H. H. Charles, Warsaw and Mrs. Henry Pfeiffer of Wethersfield.

Funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock at the house and at 2 o’clock at the church at Union Corners.

Source: findagrave.com

The 1930 census records Leon, Sadie, their 6-year old daughter Gertrude, and Eva as living together on Crestwood Boulevard, Gates Township, Monroe County, New York. Leon had made a career change: “Carpenter – House”.

Neither Gertrude nor Eva are named in the 1940 census; but daughter Doris, aged 9, is; the whereabouts of Gertrude and Eva at that point are unclear. Leon was still working in the construction industry as a contractor. The family lived at #10 Geneva Street, Bath, Steuben County, New York.

Google Street View of 10 Geneva Street, Bath, Steuben County, New York. Screenshot captured 30 December 2021.

It seems the union with Sadie didn’t last, however; she later became Mrs. Otto L. Drews. Though the circumstances and exact timing of the split are undetermined, we do know that Leon married a third time. Wife Florence S. Dye had married Kenneth Miller in 1927; the couple had planned on making their home in Bath, New York. How she came to be with Leon is unknown.

Leon Elmer Homer died the day after his 80th birthday, on April 8, 1973 and is buried at Nondaga Cemetery, Bath, Steuben County, New York. He shares a headstone with his third wife, Florence.

Grave of Leon and Florence Homer. Source: findagrave.com.

Leon’s son Darwin, from his short first marriage, went on to serve in the Second World War as a Hospital Apprentice, Second Class. He died in 1980, aged 64; and his half-sister Doris died in 1997, aged 66. Interestingly, some records reference another sibling: Carl Melvin Homer (1914-1996). If the birth year is accurate, he would have been Leon’s eldest child, born a year before Darwin. The identity of Carl’s mother was not confirmed during this research.

As to the sender of the postcard on November 1, 1912 — “You know who from” — that person remains a mystery.

Are you a descendant of Leon Homer? Do you have more information or images to share? Use the form on the Contact page to connect. I’d love to hear from you!

Published by Sonia Nicholson

Sonia Nicholson is an archivist, executive assistant, and writer. She was born and raised in Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada and studied French and Spanish at the University of Victoria. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia with her husband, two children, and two rescue dogs. Follow her on Twitter @nicholsonsonia_

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