Friday, 25 November 2016

Pearl Cassell Gerow

Thelma "Pearl" Cassell was born on June 13, 1906 on the family farm to parents William and Agnes. She grew up on the farm with Randy's Grandpa Russell who was three years older than her.  Pearl must have decided to make her way back east to her parents' families after she completed school because her marriage license from 1928 gives her residence as Napanee, ON.

At age 22 on August 8, 1928, she married Wilber "Grant" Gerow in Toronto at 22 Delisle Avenue according to their marriage registration found online at Ancestry. Grant was 39 years old and described as a machine operator who had been born in the nearby township of Fredericksburgh.  The newlyweds planned to make their home in Cleveland, according to the document.  Grant's father was Wilbur Freeman Gerow who was a cheesemaker and declares himself to be of French origin on the 1901 census.  His mother was Mary Maria Fraser and he had 4 older siblings - Frank, Allen, Olive and Donald. Grant left home to work in the U.S. in 1910 at the age of 20.

Grant and Pearl lived in Cleveland for 58 years but their nieces remember their annual driving trips back to Manitoba and area in the summers and driving around the streets of Elkhorn and waving to their friends from their Uncle Grant's fancy cars.

Merle Cassell with one of the Gerow cars
Isobel Cassell and Gerow's Cadillac 
Draft cards online from WW1 show Grant was working for the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester New York in 1917 and for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland in 1942.  The 1930 and 1940 US Census list his occupation as a Pressman, operator of the printing presses for newspapers and other publishing companies. For many years they lived at 7309 Hough Avenue, just blocks from the Lake Erie shoreline.  Grant and Pearl did not have any children but they had his brother Donald Gerow's family nearby. Pictures below show Pearl and Grant and with Pearl's sister Gertie on the right in the 50's and 60's.

A few years after Grant's death in May of 1981, Pearl moved east to Elmira, New York where she died one day after her 90th birthday on June 14, 1996. She was the last remaining Cassell siblings.
Russell and Pearl in front of the  Cassell house in Elkhorn at 107 Kildare Street

Pearl and Russell Cassell - siblings and friends- pose for the camera, side by side over 80 years apart.


  1. My name is Victoria Grant Ramey. My parents, Eugene and Donna Ramey were good friends with Grant and Pearl. Grant is actually the reason I acquired my middle name. Greta (my twin sister) and I grew up calling Pearl, Grandma Pearl, and she was a very important part of our childhood. We have many fond memories of her visits. Thank you for sharing her story and images. I have been thinking about her often of late, and it was a pleasant surprise to find information about her on your blog. Thanks

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Victoria! I do feel it is especially important to record the lives of family members who didn’t leave direct descendants as their lives touched others and need to be remembered too. Are there details about Pearl that you think I could add to this post? My email is if you or any of your family can think of anything.