Frank Takeo Flucawa
(1883 – 1974)

A Brief Biographical Sketch

by Barbara J. LaFara
grand-niece to F.T. Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood.  Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship. As a young man, Takeo became a Christian and attended a school founded by missionaries, Meiji Gakuin in Shirokane, Tokyo, Japan.  It is documented that Takeo graduated Futsu-Gakubu or high school in 1902 and Koutou-Gakubu or liberal arts and theology in 1905 from Meiji Gakuin.

The year 1905 was very significant in Takeo’s young life. Besides graduating from college, he also immigrated to the United States. On May 19, Takeo departed from Yokohama on board the Kanagawa Maru, arriving in Seattle, Washington on June 2.  It is documented that he had $100 and his final destination was Chicago with the intention to attend the university.  For reasons unknown, Takeo did not complete his enrollment at the University of Chicago and instead headed to Indianapolis, Indiana with the plan of enrolling at Butler College. Butler was founded and operated by the Disciples of Christ ministry. Takeo worked in service jobs to support himself, including as a bartender and steward at the University Club of Indianapolis. By 1908 he began writing his thesis for his doctoral dissertation, a process he would never complete.

Takeo Flucawa

At loose ends, Takeo lived in a boarding house on W. 18th Street, worked tending bar and volunteered at several missions in 1910. It was at a mission that Takeo met his future wife Grace Osborne, a fellow volunteer. Grace was a young, divorced mother with a six year old son named Glenn. Takeo and Grace married on 30 December 1912. It was at this time that Takeo began using the name ‘Frank Flucawa,’ he believed it was easier for Americans to pronounce.

For awhile, the young couple rented rooms on N. Illinois Avenue, but eventually they got a small farm near E. 16th Street and Pleasant Run Parkway. Frank and Grace engaged in running a poultry farm, raising chickens, geese and turkey. At the time, the United States had laws in place that prohibited Asian immigrants from owning land, but this never seemed to be a problem for Frank. It may be that these laws were not well known in Indiana since they were primarily written for the more ‘xenophobic’ western U.S.

Frank and Grace often played host and hostess to various family gatherings on their little farm. Frank and Grace, along with their good friend Kisaburo ‘Shibby’ Shibusawa had created a charming ornamental garden on the property, perfect for family photos.

Life went on in a very pleasant manner for nearly 30 years for the couple, their family and their friends. Then 1942 came along, the United States declared war with Japan, Grace’s 94-years old father died, two nephews enlisted in the armed services and Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Roosevelt. There was a great deal of sadness at the Flucawa home; so much that the couple decided to move away from Indianapolis to a more rural area, New Castle, Indiana.

Grace and Frank FlucawaExecutive Order 9066 caused the imprisonment of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans, all from western states. The suspension of basic civil rights was frightening to Frank and Grace, fortunately, application of the law was mostly non-existent in Indiana. Frank, and Shibby, did register with the local sheriff, but that was the extent of any action. It was during this time that Frank and Grace became Quakers, giving action to their objection to wars. They were both active in organizing local vegetable gardens, Red Cross fund raisers and writing regularly to their nephews overseas. Sadly, their nephew Carl died in action in Germany. But, nephew Robert returned safely from the south Pacific.

Life returned to a sort of normal after 1946, raising poultry again and now operating a commercial flower garden. First the garden was at Cherry Street and Hawthorne Road in New Castle, but eventually expanded to a larger property on South Memorial Drive. Frank and Grace enjoyed a great deal of popularity because of their beautiful flowers. However, in November 1954 Grace passed away and Frank lost his partner in life of nearly 42 years.

Naturalzation docThe Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 basically repealed the 1924 act that had prohibited the naturalization of Asians, as well as many Europeans. Now that Grace was gone, Frank felt a certain practical need to become a U.S. citizen. So, on 17 June 1955 Frank became a citizen and legally changed his name to Frank Takeo Flucawa.

Frank went on operating ‘Flucawa Flower Gardens’ with the help of his good friend Shibby. But, in October 1964 Shibby left this world at the age of 82, leaving Frank on his own. Frank carried on as best he could, he was well past the age when many men retire, but that was not his nature. He kept active in his garden, judging flower shows around the state, mentoring other Asian Americans in the community and attending Quaker meetings.

Frank FlucawaFinally, at the urging of his nephew Robert, Frank sold his hot house and flower farm property in 1968 and retired to a little house on S. 16th Street in New Castle. It was at this home that Frank passed peacefully from this world to his reward on 29 May 1974. Frank was laid to rest at Mound Cemetery in New Castle between his beloved wife Grace and his best friend Shibby.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Remember Me and I Will Live

David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.

Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.

Sarah Smith: Challenge

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846

Laferre to LaFara: Unusual Name

The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.

Luella Pressell: Surprise!

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.

Rumple Family Photo 1895

For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.

George Lafary and Catherine Landon: Large Family

My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.

In The Paper

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.

Genealogy Brick Walls

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.

Catherine Landon: Out of Place

I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.

William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo

I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.

Close to Home

My grandparents. Earl and Pearl, met at church, close to home, in 1914,

So Far Away

My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away

Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!

Favorite Discovery

My favorite discovery is finding the common ancestors shared by my parents. Don’t be alarmed, the common ancestors are 10 generations removed.