Clark Gable would be a spritely 116 years old if he was alive today. Born in a simple duplex on a snowy morning in Cadiz, Ohio, it is hard to imagine that the dark haired boy would one day be the King of Hollywood.
William “Bill” Gable and his new wife Adeline “Addie” Hershelman Gable left their home in their native Meadville, Pennsylvania and traveled by train to Cadiz in early 1900. Cadiz at that time was quickly drawing new residents because of a new oil field erected there. Bill Gable always went where the oil was, and so on to Cadiz it was. Booming with oilmen, rental space was hard to come by, but the Gables soon rented a house near Charleston Street, which was not far from the center of town. Addie was described as “odd” by many of the townspeople and the local doctor, Dr. John S. Campbell examined her for diagnosis of a “behavioral disorder.” His prescription? To have a baby (I’m serious.) Addie heeded his advice and soon became pregnant. After heading back to Pennsylvania to spend a few months with her parents, she returned home to Cadiz.
In the fall of 1900, the landlord of the Gables’ little home decided to re-plaster the walls. Rather than endure the hassle of that process, the expectant parents decided to move. Tom and Jennie Reese, friends of the Gables, told them that the apartment above theirs on Charleston Street was vacant. So in the Gables moved, to the top floor of a charming two-family house. To reach their apartment, one had to navigate a rather steep outdoor staircase, which was especially hazardous to pregnant Adeline in the icy and wintery months, so she hardly left the house. The apartment was quaint, with a kitchen, a walk-in pantry, bedroom, nursery and sitting room.
On January 31, 1901, Adeline asked the iceman to make sure to bring ice for the icebox the next day as her baby would be arriving. And right she was. She was in labor for over 15 hours, but at 5:30am the following day gave birth to William Clarke Gable, who tipped the scales at ten and a half pounds.
Adeline never recovered from Clark’s birth and could not care for him very well. Modern biographies list her terminal condition as being everything from epilepsy to schizophrenia to a malignant brain tumor. She suffered convulsions and exhibited psychotic behavior. As her condition deteriorated, the new family of three moved to another home on Lincoln Ave, then eventually back to Meadville, Pennsylvania, so the ailing Adeline could be with her parents and siblings. It was there that she died, on November 14, 1901, leaving behind her husband and ten month old son.
Over the years, I’ve done quite a few posts to celebrate Clark’s birth, here’s a few of them:
2013: Quotes About Clark Gable
Happy Birthday, Clark!