A Biography Of
C. Earl and Hazel Hulburd
By Grandson Edward K. Hine, Jr. ("Ted") - August, 2004


     
   
Clarence Earl Hulburd ("Dutch")

    Born:  May 12, 1888 in Moberly, Missouri
    Died:   February 2, 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri
   
Age At Death:  63
    Cause of Death:  Heart Attack
    Buried:  Oakland Cemetery, Moberly, Missouri
    (GPS N 39 25.176, W 092 25.189  17 feet - WGS84 Datum)

    Father:     Henry Ernest Hulburd (1863-1945)
    Mother:    Ella Knowles-Hulburd (1868-1943)
    Siblings:  2 sisters that both died in infancy
 


Hazel Elizabeth Caroline Coudy-Hulburd

Born:  May 15, 1893 in St. Louis, Missouri
Died:   February 22, 1944 in New York, NY
Age At Death:  50
Cause of Death:  Brain tumor
Buried:  Likely
Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO
(GPS N 38 41.784, W 090 13.787  10 feet - WGS84 Datum)

Father:  Horace Resley Coudy (1862-1949)
Mother: Harriet Varner Shipley-Coudy (1865-1938)
Siblings: Norman, Harold, Elmer, and Raymond
 

 

 

Married:     July 3, 1915 in St. Louis, Missouri
Divorced:  December, 1940

Children:
      Harriet Nan Hulburd-Erstein-Nalley
         (1916-1985)

      Elizabeth Seward Hulburd-Hine-Alderson
         (1917-1996)

      Earl Seward Hulburd
         (1928-1950)


               C. Earl Hulburd's Birth Certificate

 

      C. Earl Hulburd at age 19 (1907)

 


Introduction

Until recently I knew very little about my grandparents, Clarence Earl ("Dutch") and Hazel Hulburd.   Hazel  passed away in 1944, a year before I was born, and "Grandpa Dutch" died in 1952 when I was not quite 7 years old.   I've been told that he periodically traveled from St. Louis to visit my family in New Jersey when I was very young but I have almost no recollection of him.   I thus really never knew my grandparents and my mother, Betty Hulburd-Hine-Alderson, never talked about her parents much, at least partly because they were not around to be part of our lives as I grew up.

In recently going through family information stored for years by my deceased mother I came upon a wealth of information regarding my grandparents which I didn't know existed including photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, etc.    The letters in particular, which were mostly written by Dutch, provide a treasure trove of information about the Hulburd family.   From this recently discovered material along with what was already known from the limited oral history passed down in the family and from recorded family history discussions with mother I have been able to put together the following biography.


 
Dutch Hulburd in 1892 Hazel Coudy with her mother
 Harriet Shipley-Coudy around 1895
   

About Hazel Coudy-Hulburd

Hazel in the mid 1930's

Little is know about Hazel's childhood.  She was born May 15, 1893 in St. Louis Missouri, the daughter of Horace R. Coudy, an accountant for a railroad, and Harriet Varner Shipley-Coudy.   She grew up in St. Louis along with her brothers Norman, Harold, Elmer, and perhaps Raymond (who is mentioned in surviving papers by my mother but who shows up in no other family records).

In a 1986 recorded oral history interview my mother refers to her mother as being 4'10" tall and having red hair.  Mother indicated that Hazel did not attend college.  I have no information on what her hobbies and interests were and don't recall her having a nickname (mother always called her "mother") so I presume she was known to her friends as Hazel.   My mother never had a bad thing to say about her mother but also didn't mention her much.

Photos in a surviving album containing images of Hazel as a teenager and/or young adult before her marriage suggest that she was likely social and outgoing and had a number of friends.
 

Photo Album Pictures of Dutch and Hazel As Young Adults


 

A young Dutch Hulburd - date unknown

 

About C. Earl Hulburd

Clarence Earl Hulburd was known as "Dutch" to his close friends and used the formal name "C. Earl Hulburd".  He was born on May 12, 1888 in Moberly, a mid Missouri railroad town, where his birth certificate indicates that his father, Henry E. Hulburd, worked as a machinist.

Sometime after Dutch's birth the Hulburd family moved to Ferguson, Missouri, a close-in suburb of St. Louis.   The exact time of the move is not known but the family is known to be living in Ferguson by about 1904 (according to an obituary for Dutch's grandfather, Fernando Knowles).  Cryptic handwritten notes taken by my mother from a conversation with Ernie Hulburd (Dutch's uncle) regarding the family read: "went to Ferguson for dad's health, frail baby" suggesting that perhaps the family moved shortly after Dutch's birth.  In 1889 Dutch's father became employed as a clerk for the Railway Mail Service and this new job could have been a result of the move.  In any case, my best guess is that Dutch spent most of his youth in St. Louis (Ferguson).  He grew up as an only child thought he apparently had two sisters, both of whom died in their infancy.

Dutch in 1907 at age 19.
 

According to oral history passed on from my mother, Dutch attended Washington University in St. Louis and later "business school" at the University of St. Louis (perhaps night school).  It is not known whether or when he graduated nor what degrees were earned.  Other then what I was told by mother, I have found no evidence that he attended college though from his surviving writings it is clear that he was well educated.

I recall mother once mentioning that her father was an accomplished amateur Ragtime piano player.  In the early 1900's Ragtime was a popular form of music with roots in St. Louis.  Dutch knew how to use a typewriter, a talent that most men of his day didn't have, as evidenced by his numerous typed letters which have survived.  He was also apparently an amateur poet and some of his typed poems to his son and mother survive.  Certificates included with his surviving papers include one documenting his induction on April 21, 1923 as "Master of the Royal Secret of the 32 Degrees and Accepted Scottish Rite" (I believe this organization was referred to as "Masons")  and on February 12, 1931 he became a member of the National Society of the Children of the American Revolution.

Photographs of Dutch as a young man suggest that he was likely very social, had a lot of friends, and took part in sports and other outdoor activities.  Surviving notes suggest that he may have played high school football in Ferguson.  All evidence suggests that Dutch through out his life had great wit, was very outgoing, social and likable, was active in community and political affairs, was a good communicator, and had many, many friends.

About the Hulburd Family                Wedding Announcement

Hazel, Betty, and Harriet about 1920

Dutch and Hazel were married on July 3, 1915 in St. Louis.   Mother recalls on her recorded family oral history tapes that her family had lived with Dutch's father and mother (Henry and Ella Hulburd) for a time in Ferguson when she was about 6 months old.  This would have been around 1917.  Later her family lived at 721 Limit Ave, University City (another St. Louis suburb) and 7629 Wydown (St. Louis) when she was about 8 years old (circa 1925).  Sometime around the mid to late 1920's the family moved into the very large home they would occupy till 1939 at 78 Vandeventer Place in a very exclusive St. Louis neighborhood.

An announcement of the birth of Hazel and Earl Hulburd's first child, Harriet, appears in a worship service publication of the King's Highway Presbyterian Church (St. Louis) dated April 16, 1916.   This, along with records showing that their second daughter, Betty (born in 1917), was a member of this church as she was growing up suggest that Hazel and Earl were Presbyterians.  The Hulburds had a third child, Bud, born in 1928.

 

 

Date and location unknown but could be the 1920's or early 1930's at Dutch's Collier
 Estate office.
 

Dutch, after working several jobs, the specifics of which have been lost, obtained the position of the Secretary of the Collier Estate which cared for the financial assets of the estate of a very wealthy St. Louis resident of the 19th century.   A 1938  newspaper article indicates that Dutch had held this position for 22 years suggesting that he was first employed in this capacity in about 1916 when he would have been about 28 years old.

During the late 1920's and the 1930's the Hulburds became a well-to-do and very prominent family in St. Louis social circles.  Dutch and Hazel belonged to the best clubs and organizations and knew and socialized with the most elite residents of the city.  Their children grew up in a life of privilege and prestige, attended the best private schools St. Louis had to offer, and spent summers away at east coast camps.   Daughters Harriet and Betty each spent a year after high school "coming-out" socially as debutants, took escorted trips to Europe aboard fancy ocean liners, and attended college on the east coast.  In 1936 daughter Betty was selected as a Maid Of Honor for the annual Veiled Prophet Ball , St. Louis' most prestigious annual social event of the day.  The family also took extended vacations to ritzy hotels in New Hampshire and traveled to Bermuda and the Caribbean.  The Hulburds regularly made the society pages of the St. Louis newspapers during the 1930's.

   
 

78 Vandeventer Place, St. Louis.  1930's newspaper photo.

The family home at 78 Vandeventer Place could better be called a small mansion.  Mother described her childhood home in her 1995 tape recorded oral history interview as having 16 rooms including a ballroom upstairs.  Built in the 1870's or 1880's it still had gas-lights on the walls from the days before electricity.  It had 6 fireplaces, 3 downstairs and 3 upstairs and a rifle shooting range in the basement.  The family employed 3 full-time live-in servants which included a cook, a maid, and a combination driver, gardener, and butler.  The Great Depression which swept the U.S. in the 1930's apparently didn't effect the Hulburd family.

During the summer of 1936 19 year-old daughter Betty traveled to Europe for a month and a half and saved the letters Dutch and Hazel wrote to her for pick up at various American Express offices in European cities.   At the time Hazel was vacationing in New Hampshire with her other daughter, Harriet, son Bud was at a summer camp, and Dutch was home in St. Louis working.  The letters written by Hazel are believed to be the only samples of her writings to have survived and provide a glimpse of the life of leisure the Hulburd family had come to enjoy.

Letters From Hazel and Dutch To Daughter Betty (PDF)
 

Dutch (Undated) Dutch, Betty, Hazel, and Harriet (c. 1925) Hazel (mid-1930's)
 

A Major Change

Life had treated the Hulburd family well throughout the 1930's until late 1938 when all their lives were suddenly, significantly, and forever changed:  C. Earl Hulburd was caught embezzling money from his employer and would end up in the state penitentiary.  I have always been vaguely aware that Grandpa Dutch had spent some time in prison but never knew why, when, or for how long.  My mother never really talked about her father's imprisonment unless asked and then was vague on the details and downplayed it.  I've only recently learned exactly what happened and come to understand the clearly devastating effect it had on the family.

When going through my mother's effects (in 2002, 6 years after her death) I ran into a large manila envelope containing perhaps 100 letters and documents Dutch had saved relating to his investment in Illinois oil wells.  The letters cover the period from about 1930 to 1948.  Reading these suggested that Dutch had been an active part-time investor in these wells and I noticed that some of the letters were written from the Missouri State Penitentiary and contained his inmate number.  With this number and a reference in one letter that he had entered prison around January of 1939, I contacted the Missouri Department of Corrections and the St. Louis Courts to see if they had archived any documents relating to Dutch's imprisonment.  The St. Louis Courts provided me with complete copies of his court records.  Having now obtained the exact court dates I was able to obtain copies of St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper articles relating to Dutch from the St. Louis Public Library.  The court records along with the newspaper articles provide an very detailed picture of exactly what happened.

The following is a short summary of events.  More details including scans of all the documents I obtained can be found by following the links which appear below.

On December 23,1938, while visiting a hospital to check on his son Bud who had just undergone an appendectomy, Dutch confessed to a St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter that for the past 10 years he had been systematically embezzling approximately $2,000 per month from his employer, the Collier Estate, and a related estate which he did work for.  The accumulated amount taken was in excess of $200,000, a small fortune in those days and at a time when his normal annual salary was about $3,200.  For 4 of the 5 days between Dec. 24th and Dec. 28th of 1938 the St. Louis Post Dispatch (the major newspaper in town) ran large "above-the-fold" front page stories about Dutch's embezzlement, primarily I suspect, because of the family's high profile social standing in the city.

 
Dutch and Hazel in happier times
 

Immediately after the story ran and against the wishes of his employer (who had discovered the embezzlement the previous November but had not  gone to the police), Dutch was arrested and jailed.  The family had evidently known for a month and a half before the news became public and the newspaper indicates that Hazel had spent this entire time sitting and staring mindlessly out of a second story window of their home, seeing and talking to no one.    It's apparent that the Hulburds high standard of living and social status were largely based on embezzled funds.  The newspaper articles indicate that my mother, Betty, who never let on in later years that she knew any of the details of her father's incarnation, was present at some of the police and court proceedings and had intimate knowledge of everything that happened.   Dutch's involvement in oil well speculation was his way of attempting to earn enough to pay back the embezzled funds before being discovered.  There is no evidence that any of his oil well investments ever paid off.

In January of 1939, without even retaining an attorney and after having signed all his financial assets over to his former employer,  Dutch plead guilty to 3 counts of "embezzlement by agent" and was sentenced to 10 years in the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.  According to the newspaper stories he just wanted to get it over with.

The shame must have been unbearable to his family.  There is no record of what happened over the next several months but in a letter from jail to an oil well venture associate Dutch wrote on September 2, 1939 from prison:


"I suppose you know the family is in New York.  Harriet went on about April 1st, Betty the first of August and Hazel left two weeks ago.  Bud spent the summer at camp in New Hampshire and they grabbed him as he arrived in N.Y.  They seem to be temporarily settled and the next step is to find a suitable school for Bud.  I think the move is a wise one, particularly for Hazel and Bud.  As for me, things are not nearly as tough as was anticipated and as soon as the family is straightened out I shall be able to settle down to comparative comfort."

View Letter

I suspect that the move to New York City was made because Hazel's daughters had both attended Finch College there and thus had some connections and knowledge of the area, and not because Hazel knew anyone there.  To the best of my knowledge all of Hazel's Coudy relatives were in the St. Louis area.  I have to assume that the primary reason for the move was not so much the new location as it was to no longer be in St. Louis where the social stigma now associated with Dutch's conviction must have been enormous and unbearable.
 

Follow the links on the right for additional details and documentation regarding C. Earl Hulburd's embezzlement and oil well speculation.

View Oil Well Letters (PDF)
 
View Newspaper Articles (PDF)
 
View Court Documents (PDF)
 

The Final Years

Much of what I've learned about Dutch and Hazel's later years has come from letters written by Dutch which were saved by my mother.

Hazel

Hazel, along with daughters Betty and Harriet and son Bud, took up residence in an apartment in New York City in 1939 (first at 140 E. 46th St and then in the fall of 1940 at 157 E. 46th St.).  Bud, a teenager at the time, attended school in the city and Betty and Harriet took jobs to support the family which was otherwise substantially destitute after having transferred most of it's assets to Dutch's former employer as restitution.   Hazel apparently didn't work nor have any desire to, allowing her daughters to be the bread winners in the family.  Dutch's letters to Betty suggest that Hazel remained somewhat depressed and not much interested in anything during this period.

In 1940 Hazel filed for divorce from her husband.  Dutch didn't contest it and the divorce was finalized in December, 1940.  Apparently Hazel traveled to St. Louis that month for the final court date.  Mother had once told me that the divorce was necessary so that Hazel could sell the home at 78 Vandeventer Place however I find no evidence of this in either the newspaper clippings about the divorce nor in Dutch's letters regarding it.  I suspect that the home, like all the other family assets, was sold or transferred as part of the restitution effort and that Hazel just wanted to put the part of her life involving Dutch behind her.
 

 
At the February, 1942 wedding reception of daughter Betty.
From left to right:  Hazel Coudy-Hulburd, Bud Hulburd,
 Harriet Hulburd-Erstein, Ben Erstein

In the fall of 1941 Hazel's daughter Harriet married Ben Erstein and moved elsewhere (but nearby) in New York City.  Then in February of 1942 Betty married Kirt Hine and moved to northern New Jersey with her new husband not far from New York City.   Hazel, Harriet and Bud attended Betty's New York City wedding and Bud gave away the bride.   For the next 2 years Harriet and Betty (presumably with the help of their respective husbands) apparently continued to support Hazel and Bud.  Bud started living with his sister Betty and Kirt Hine sometime in 1942, probably in the fall when he entered Caldwell (NJ) high school (he subsequently attended the near by Morristown School).  It is not known whether Hazel continued to live in the same New York City apartment she had shared with Betty, Bud, and Harriet but it's possible she moved elsewhere.  My mother never mentioned that Hazel had lived with the Hine family and Bud in New Jersey.  Perhaps she lived with Harriet and her husband Ben for a time.

Sometime around the first part of 1943 Hazel became seriously ill and was hospitalized with what mother indicated was diagnosed as a brain tumor (later reported in St. Louis newspapers as a "nervous breakdown").   Hazel spent the next year in a New York nursing home and passed away on February 22, 1944 at the age of 50.

In letters written to Betty from prison between 1940 and 1942 Dutch mentions and comments more than once on a fainting problem Hazel was having in New York which was apparently getting progressively worse.  He mentions in one letter that Hazel had experienced her first mysterious fainting spell about 10 year before and that these spells continued occasionally over the years but were never considered serious.  Looking back at it one can easily conclude that Hazel's brain tumor had effected her for a number of years but went undiagnosed due to the lack of sophisticated medical technology at the time.

Hazel's Obituaries

Hazel's obituaries indicates that she was buried in New York but my mother seemed to think (on recorded audio tape) that her mother was buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis with Coudy relatives.    In a recently discovered letter written by Dutch to Betty in December of 1949 regarding the St. Louis funeral of Hazel's father, Horace R. Coudy,  Dutch writes:  "I had Mother's ashes placed inside the casket so they are adequately cared for."  Dutch regularly referred to Hazel as "mother" in written communications with Betty thus suggesting that Hazel was cremated and the ashes are in fact in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis.

Dutch

Among my mother's possessions I recently came upon approximately 78 letters written by Dutch to her (and some to Bud) during the period from September 1940 through July of 1942.   There is no reason to believe that there were not many more letters written before and after these dates which for some reason were not saved or did not survive 60 years of storage.  From these letters it is clear that Dutch communicated regularly with his family during his incarceration.

The letters are absolutely fascinating and provide an awesome amount of insight into Dutch, his personality, his experience in prison, and the trials and tribulations of the family in New York.   Dutch was clearly a gifted writer and most of these typed letters are easy and fun reading.  He spent his time in prison working in an office as a clerk and apparently had unlimited access to typewriters which he used often to write his frequent letters.

Dutch's Letters To Betty and Bud From Prison (PDF)

The letters reveal that Dutch primarily communicated with Hazel and Bud through Betty.  Apparently Hazel was not interested in communicating directly with her ex-husband and also did not much want Dutch directly communicating with Bud.  So Dutch got around this by exchanging letters with Betty (even though all the New York Hulburds were sharing the same apartment).  Dutch talks about his ongoing plans to get out of jail early which, among other things,  involved a letter writing campaign whereby he got in excess of 65 of his influential St. Louis friends to write and request an early release and commutation of his sentence.  He also discusses some of his childhood antics, his parents, life in prison, Missouri politics of the day, and attempts (not terribly successfully) to help run his family from his jail cell.  He takes responsibility for almost every problem the family faces, provides advice and emotional support to his family, and expresses his deeply felt desire to re-unite with young son Bud after serving out his sentence.

The letters also indicate that Dutch's parents, Henry and Ella Hulburd visited him frequently in prison.  They had moved back to Moberly, Missouri after Henry retired.  Moberly is only about 60 miles from the penitentiary in Jefferson City which would have made visits relatively easy.   Dutch is shown on a list of those attending the Moberly funeral of his mother, Ella, in March of 1943.   It is thus assumed that Dutch was temporarily released in order to attend.   Due to their re-location to New York it is likely that Hazel, Betty, Harriet, and Bud did not visit Dutch during his incarnation except possibly in the first half of 1939 before their move east.

Dutch's campaign for early release from prison apparently worked.  In spite of being turned down at his first hearing for parole or early release in the winter of 1941 he kept trying and was released from the penitentiary on December 15, 1943 after serving only 4 years and 11 months of his 10 year sentence.  Records show that he was granted a "conditional pardon" by the Missouri governor which apparently meant that so long as he stayed out of trouble, he did not have to go through the traditional parole process of having to periodically check in with a parole officer, endure travel restrictions, and deal with other issues usually associated with parole.
 

Dutch's 1941 Parole Hearing Clipping Dutch's 1943 Prison Release Clippings
   

 

This photo of Dutch was labeled 1942.  Since he was in prison at that time the photo is either mislabeled or for some reason the photo was taken while he was incarcerated.

 

 

Dutch (right), my father Kirt Hine (center), and an unknown person (left) having dinner at a fancy St. Louis restaurant.  The photo was taken by the professional house photographer as evidenced by the folder containing it.  It is undated but must have been taken in the late 1940's or early 1950's.   I have no recollection of my entire family ever visiting St. Louis while Dutch was alive so I suspect that father was there on business.

Dutch left prison in Missouri two months before the death of Hazel in New York.  There is no record as to whether Dutch visited his former wife in the nursing home in New York during this period.  World War II was raging and cross country travel was difficult for those not in the military.  This, in addition to the fact that Dutch would have had very little or no money upon his release, suggest that he likely did not see Hazel again prior to her death. 

After leaving prison Dutch took up residence at a St. Louis boarding house (at 5077 Washington Ave.) and went to work as a manager for the Emerson Electric Company, a manufacturer of motors and other electric items.  Mother indicated and letters tend to confirm that in the late 1940's and early 1950's he visited our family in New Jersey "every Christmas and sometimes in between".

His son Bud moved back to St. Louis and attended school there for the 1944/45 school year but evidently didn't like the school much and went back to New Jersey to finish high school at the Morristown School the following school year.  After high school and a 3 year enlistment in the Marine Corps Bud again returned to St. Louis to live with his father in the fall of 1949.  Shortly after taking the entrance exams to attend Washington University (St. Louis) Bud was tragically killed in a small airplane crash along with his flight instructor in March of 1950.   Dutch apparently spent most of the years after leaving prison living alone at the boarding house and the loss of his son who he so much wanted to be re-united with while in prison must have been devastating.

Dutch passed away on February 2, 1952 at age 63 due to a heart attack, a little more than 8 years after leaving prison.  According to correspondence after his death between a St. Louis attorney who handled Dutch's affairs and my mother, Dutch was walking on the sidewalk near his boarding house where witnesses indicated he suddenly fell.  He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  The post mortem examination concluded that the cause of death was coronary occlusion and coronary sclerosis.

The same correspondence between the attorney and Betty indicates that Dutch had had a heart attack about 2 years before his death.  Found among mothers papers was a two page list typed by Dutch and sent to her on May 23, 1950, apparently with a copy of his will (which is missing), in which he outlines his possessions, financial condition, and location of important papers (see the link below to "Dutch's Misc. Surviving Writings" to view the list).   It's clear that he was anticipating his possible death which didn't happen for another year and three quarters.  The list suggests that Dutch had no significant financial assets except for a car he was making payment on.   He indicates that he was financially living day-to-day.

Dutch was cremated and his remains buried in the Hulburd-Knowles family plot with his parents and other ancestors in the Oakland Cemetery in Moberly, Missouri, the town of his birth.
 

Letters Relating To Dutch's Death

 
C. Earl Hulburd's Grave Site
 
Miscellaneous Scans
 

A final note:   Dutch did however leave a small amount of Emerson Electric stock (his last employer) to his daughters.  Mother indicated several times over the years that her father had often said to never sell this stock as it was a good company and the stock would grow significantly in value.   Emerson Electric in fact has done well over the past 50 years and as I write this I still own a few shares of its stock left to me when my mother passed away.

 
 
 

 

 

Copyright 2004, Edward K. Hine, Jr.