Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Heinrich Christian Menge My 2nd Great Grandfather on my Mother's Side

Photo of Goslar from Google showing buildings set in a heavily
wooded countryside
Heinrich Christian Menge was born on January 29, 1809, in Alfeld, Germany. He was the son of Christian Wilhelm Menge and Johanna Sophia Vos. Heinrich likely attended school for both religious and academic training through the eighth grade after which he probably trained with his father who made high-quality leather. Ultimately Henrich became a glove maker. On his son, Heinrich Friedrich Menge’s birth certificate Heinrich Christian was identified as a “master” glove maker. Master indicates that he owned his own business that employed at least twenty workers.

Heinrich was born at a time before there was a nation recognized as “Germany”. Prior to 1871 what is now Germany consisted of “about 350 independent entities – large, medium, and mostly quite small – kingdoms, duchies, principalities and such – existed, but with no umbrella government covering them.” Between 1871 – 1918 these independent entities were merged into the Second German Empire. So, this dramatic change began when Heinrich was 62 and may not have significantly impacted his life but it certainly would have impacted the lives of his children.
Original marriage record for Heinrich Christian Menge and
Joanna Prelle found by Thomas Henze who sent it to me, 1840

When he was thirty-one Heinrich Christian married Johanna Louisa Prelle, the daughter of Johann Christoff Prelle and Johanna Elisabeth Kratzenstein. That was on October 27, 1840. The wedding took place in Goslar where Louisa was born. Alfeld, where Heinrich lived, was a small village about thirty miles west of Goslar – a slightly larger village.

After the marriage the couple established their residence on Breite Street in Goslar, where Heinrich remained for the rest of his life. I have records for two different street numbers on Breite Street. In Heinrich’s son’s personal journal, from about 1930, he wrote that his parents lived at No. 4 Breite Street but the birth records for all of their children show that they lived a No. 88. In 2019 the street number was 4, so apparently the street addresses were changed at some point, which is not uncommon – my parents street address was changed from 8450 to 4570 sometime after 1950.

Heinrich and Louisa had twelve children between 1841 and 1863. 
Birth record for Heinrich Friedrich Menge, Henrich and
Joanna's 7th child, showing their street address at
88 Breite Street in Goslar, 1852

Prior to the 1840s most workers were part of trade guilds. According to Wikipedia, “Guilds operated on the apprentice, journeyman, and master principle. A young man was assigned to work with a master for several years. During this time, he learned the basics of the trade. After the apprentice attained a certain level of knowledge and skill, he was promoted to journeyman. At this time, he was to travel the land in search of masters in his field for whom he could work and from whom he could learn the requisite skills to become a master himself. When he completed his journeyman time with appropriate skill and knowledge, he would be promoted to master. This was an important step. He could then set up his own shop and work in his field. The guild system ensured that learners attained a certain level of competence in their fields, as they had to pass certain levels with an accomplished master.” 
Glove making shop from the TipperLive website
Guilds were an important component of social life at that time but in 1848 there was a worker revolution, and the differences between classes of workers intensified. Fewer journeyman were given lodging and board in their master’s household, and gradually the relationship between journeyman and master evolved into a less personal one. Workers filed protests and went on strike, which led to social conflicts. Gradually the journeyman gained protections. These hostile relationships impacted the workers and small masters. Heinrich would undoubtedly have been directly impacted by these changes, though to what extent I do not know. 

Heinrich Christian Menge died in February of 1880 at the age of 71 and is buried in Goslar.
Map of Germany showing the location of Goslar in
relation to Hannover
Google Earth map showing Alfeld west of Goslar and south
of Hildesheim

No. 4 Breite Street, Goslar, Germany
Sources for the Post: Marriage record for Heinrich and Joanna, birth records for their children, family history records recorded by Heinrich's son Heinrich Friedrich Menge, and online research.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

James William Pattillo 1848-1926 My Paternal Great Grandfather

James William Pattillo as a young
man
James is the last of my eight great grandparents that I have to write about. Like both of my maternal great grandfathers, he owned his own business, so there is a lot to write about. James is also one of my connections to the south which fascinates me – a life so different from mine. This is the man my father was named after. In many ways, he looms large though in reality he died a pauper and is buried in the potters field at the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery. James is an interesting tale.

He was born on May 15th in 1848 in the small town of Boydton, Virginia which is just a smidgen north of the North Carolina border. His mother, Susan C. Land, died the same month – most likely in childbirth or due to complications from the birth – I don’t know which. He had an older brother Robert Henry Pattillo who was shown as being one year older on the 1850 census. So, his widowed father, James Henry Pattillo had two young sons and no wife and did what many did at that time – he married his wife’s older sister Louisa sixteen months after Susan died. James William, my great grandfather, never knew his mother and was raised by his stepmother. Susan and Louisa were the daughters of Robert C. Land and Sarah (maiden name unknown). I wrote a bio for Robert Land and posted it on October 20, 2017, and there is a two-part bio for James Henry Pattillo posted on June 14, 2015.
Another portrait of James - one I got from
my cousin Joyce
The James Henry Pattillo family was recorded on the1850 census living in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Decades later a woman named Melba C. Crosse published a book titled Patillo, Pattillo, Pattullo, and Pittillo Families. James H. Pattillo appeared on page 106 along with his wife Louisa J. age 35, Robert age 3 and James age 2. James H. was listed as the Superintendent of the Poor House. All four family members were born in the state of Virginia. Crosse added in the text, that the name of James’s first wife, mother of the two boys, needs to be researched. With this information and the rest of what is in the Crosse book, I began my research into this branch of the family. It would take me several years to identify and confirm the name of James Henry’s first wife. James and Robert had two half-sisters Sarah Zeralda was born in 1851 and Ada Pattillo who was born on November 4, 1857. I’ve often wondered where they came up with the name Zeralda.

The Pattillo family next appeared on the 1860 census still living in Boydton in house number 868. James was eleven years old and his father was listed as a farmer. By the 1870 census, the Civil War had taken place and severely impacted the Pattillo family. Robert and James had both left home. Robert had moved to the adjacent town of Christianville (now Chase City). He was 22 and working as a clerk. I have yet to find James W. on the 1870 census – possibly because he was traveling cross country to Texas. I have no hard evidence of where James was or what he was doing between 1860 and 1879 when he married Carrie Brooks Stover on April 5, 1879 – that is a 19-year gap at a critical time of his life.
A photo of the stockyards in Handley taken by F. L. Utley.
Found on the Portals of Texas History website. James would
have spent time there as a Cattle Dealer.

Time in Texas
James and Carrie, their infant son Wirt and Carrie’s mother, Joanna Gaines Stover appeared on the 1880 census living in the Village of Handley in Tarrant County Texas. James’s profession was recorded as a Cattle Dealer. I also found James on the 1880 Agricultural Census that showed that he owned ten acres of tilled land valued at $200 and $710 worth of livestock – presumably mostly cattle.

The Texas State Historical Association describes Handley as having developed “when the Texas and Pacific Railway arrived there in 1876 (shortly before James and Carrie had arrived); a post office opened that year and was named for Confederate major James Madison Handley. By the mid-1880s the community had a church, a school, and a half-dozen businesses. Handley's population in 1903 was 156, and by 1915 it reported 905 residents and forty businesses. Its population continued to grow rapidly, as did that of nearby Fort Worth, and by the mid-1940s Handley had more than 3,000 residents. Fort Worth's growth, however, outpaced the railroad town, and in 1946 it annexed Handley.”
One of my photos of one of the commercial buildings in
the Handley National Historic District, 2017.
I visited Handley in 2017 and looked for buildings that appeared old enough to have survived from that era but did not find many.  I did find a concrete stamp by Frank Black dated 1868. A portion of Handley that includes the commercial district on Lancaster Street and a few other private homes and commercial buildings were placed on the National Register as a Historic District in 2002. These properties were constructed between 1910 and 1933 so were built after the time that James and Carrie lived there.

On December 30, 1884, James executed a contract with S.W. Rudd and his wife A.L. Rudd to purchase five acres in nearby Shackelford County – in the town of Albany, Texas. James paid $550 for these five acres. Albany was one of my favorite towns while on my genealogy trip. I met several very friendly and helpful people who were a tremendous help in finding the graves of our ancestors.
Handley Feed Store - also part of the historic district, 2017

Texas, and particularly Fort Worth was known for cattle during this time period. They had huge stockyards that processed millions of horses, mules, cattle, sheep and hogs that were raised in southern Texas and shipped out to Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico and Colorado. The boom years of the cattle industry ended in the late 1880s which is probably the reason James and Carrie decided to continue moving west. Their daughter Jo was born in Texas in 1885 and Mary was born in 1887. Then falling cattle prices and two severe blizzards that killed many cattle ended the boom era in 1886. By 1887 our Pattillo ancestors were living in Los Angeles.
Historic remnant stamped into the Handley sidewalk by
Frank Black in 1868

James and Carrie sold their property in Albany in 1893 but they only got $343 for it, losing over $200 after owning it for nine years. This seems hard to believe today but the loss of the cattle industry would have devalued land in the Fort Worth area – given that this makes sense.

James’s older brother Robert Pattillo died on July 13, 1889 at the age of 41. He is buried in Woodland Cemetery next to his son Robert Watkins Pattillo 1879-1957. Woodland is in Chase City – just one town away from Boydton where Robert H. and James were raised. I have not found a death certificate for Robert but the most common cause of death in the 1880s was consumption now known as tuberculosis – a highly infectious lung disease. I wonder how Robert’s death affected James?
James and an unknown man
from Joyce's album.

A New Life in California
By 1890, at the age of 42, James had reinvented himself. He had started a concrete finishing business in Los Angeles, California and had formed a partnership with a man named James A. Lovie. The name of the company was Pattillo & Company so James must have started the business and then Lovie joined him. The business was located at 9 North Main Street. According to his voter registration on August 1, 1890 the family home was at 3443 Del Monte. I found an interesting piece of information about James that was published in the Los Angeles Herald newspaper on October 23, 1890. They reported that James served on the election board as a Judge in the 26th Voting District of the Third Supervisor District. The voting place was in a store owned by John Maskell and was located on the southeast corner of Main and 13th Street in Los Angeles. So, I guess I was mistaken when I wrote in my previous post that Anna Vetter Pattillo started the tradition of serving on election boards. It seems that Anna was emulating her father-in-law.

In May of 1891, the Herald again published an article about James’s activities. On May 26th he and a man named Osborn “spent a few days beautifying the town of Santa Monica by installing concrete paving on the grounds of Dr. Elliott”. Sounds like a lucrative contract.
The Los Angeles Herald article is about
James and Lovie's contract

Later that same year James was recommended for a contract to pour the sidewalks on 24th Street between Main Street and Grand Avenue in Los Angeles. Two weeks later on November 24th the Herald wrote that J.W. Pattillo’s bid to construct the concrete sidewalks on the west side of Pearl Street between 10th and Ottawa was accepted. His bid price of 12.48 cents per square foot just beat out David Mulrein’s bid of .13 cents. On December 5th the paper wrote that J.W. Pattillo’s protest was accepted. Apparently, the Street Superintendent had threatened to not accept the work that James had installed. James filed protest No. 700 which led to a second inspection after which acceptance of the work was recommended.

I also found a long article about an upcoming election where they were selecting delegates to attend the Democratic City Convention to elect the Mayor. The article gave a detailed narrative of how each candidate fared in each of ninth districts. James was listed as one of ten members of the “Regular Democratic Taxpayers Ticket” in the Fifth Ward. They were opposed by the “Regular Democratic Caucus Ticket”. The ticket that James was part of prevailed. They supported T.E. Rowan who was running against four other candidates for Mayor. Later in life James registered as a Republican.
Article about the Pearl Street
contract. Click on the article
to enlarge

James’s successful business efforts continued the following year when on February 13, 1892, he won the contract to pour the sidewalk on Flower Street from the south line of 23rd Street to the north line of Adams Street. 

I found an article about James being delinquent on paying his property taxes on their Del Monte Street home in 1893. He owned property taxes and poll taxes totally $18.58 which is equivalent to $543 in 2020, so it makes you wonder why he hadn’t paid it. 

On May 23, 1893, the Herald wrote that Pattillo & McCombs bid 16.40 per square foot for sidewalks and .31 cents per linear foot for new curb for a new project in Pasadena. In the article they wrote that the specifications called for a Portland cement base, an asphalt topping, and granite block gutters. James’s firm was one of three that submitted bids – not sure if he ended up winning the bid.

Between 1893 and 1906 I found no additional news clips that mentioned James or his business but on February 26, 1906 there was an article announcing that Pattillo, Pattie and Huddleston won the contract to install the improvements on Dominquez Avenue. The scope of the contract included grading, laying a gravel base and pouring new curbs, gutters and sidewalk. This was in the town of Redondo Beach. In November of 1906 a Herald headline said “New Building Added to List for the Improvement of the City”. The article was about several new building projects and James was mentioned in reference to a new building to be built on South Figueroa Street. It was to be a two-story building designed by A.C. Smith. The builder was listed as Pattillo & Pattie. So, it appears that James was expanding beyond just doing concrete flatwork.
An excerpt from the Los Angeles Directory listing James's business
 J.W. Pattillo & Co. and his nephew's business - the Pattillo Contracting Co. Inc.
In June of 1908 James’s company was referenced in the article Commercial Strength – All Testify to Prosperity. I found James listed in the 1909 Directory as J.W. Pattillo & Company but then was surprised to see that James was shown as “unemployed” on the 1910 census. He was 62 in 1910 so I guess he had a right to retire after twenty years of running a construction company. It seems that his primary business entity was J.W. Pattillo & Company but for larger projects he teamed up with other small firms to compete for contracts. He was listed as a contractor in the 1914 directory but I’m not sure he was doing much work, if any. At that time, he and Carrie were living with their son Elmer and daughters Mary and Ruby at 1309 W. 51st Street in San Pedro - a town in Los Angeles County.

One of the interesting things about James’s contracting career is that he had to compete with his nephew James Nelson Pattillo, Robert’s son. James Nelson first appeared in Los Angeles in 1896 when he registered to vote. At that time, he was living with his uncle and working as an employee of J.W. Pattillo & Company. But by 1908 James Nelson had formed his own concrete construction company. An article in the Herald reported that he had submitted a bid to build the sidewalks on Sunset Boulevard. His business name was Pattillo Contracting Company. The story of James Nelson Pattillo’s career is very interesting …. But I’ll save that for a future blog post.

Home Life in Los Angeles
James and Elmer seated in the middle. Carrie and Lewis
standing behind him. The twins Maude and Ruby in front,
Mary and Jo seated and standing by their bikes.
When the 1900 census was taken James, Carrie and their six children were living at 212 Jefferson Street. James was actively engaged in community affairs. On June 5th, 1902 the Herald reported that James was a member of the Labor Day Committee and that the group was considering hosting a July picnic to raise funds for a Labor Day event. By 1909 the family had moved to an upscale neighborhood known as West Adams District. Their street address was 1176 W. 37th Place. They were still at that address when the 1910 census was taken.

The rest of James and Carrie’s children were all born in Los Angeles – Lewis in 1890, twins Maude and Ruby in 1893, and Elmer in 1895 when James was 47. James William lived to see each of his children get married and he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren while retired and living in Los Angeles.

James’s father James Henry Pattillo, having survived being ruined after the Civil War, died sometime after 1900. Then James’s wife, Carrie Brooks Stover died on January 22, 1916 and is buried in Los Angeles. James was 67 when Carrie died and for his remaining eleven years of his life James seemed to be a bit lost. He moved to Fresno around 1918 and lived in a rooming house with ten other men at 1233 N. Street. He was there until 1926. Later he lived at 1911 Fresno Street, and at 3011 Mackenzie Street.  In between he spent time living with his daughter and son-in-law Maude and Otto Baty, and for a time he lived with his son Lewis and his family in Oakland.

James died in Oakland on August 13, 1926. His cause of death was listed as Uremia which is kidney disease. He was 78 years old. He died at Fairmont Hospital and is buried at the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery in a plot for indigent people. His name is misspelled as “Pattello” on the engraved monument. I found this clue while accompanying my business partner, Cathy Garrett on a consultation at the cemetery. After finding James’s name on the monument I went to the county to obtain his official death certificate and that confirmed the circumstances of his death. In 1892 James was described on his voter registration as being 5’10” tall, with brown hair and blue eyes.
This photo is from when James was living in Fresno.
He is with his son Lewis, grandsons Ed and Bert and
an unknown young woman.

My favorite family portrait. James seated on the right.
Carrie standing behind him and probably one of her sisters.
I believe Carrie's mother Joanna Gaines with her
grandson Lewis in her lap and granddaughters Mary
and Jo.
Handley Bank photo by David Dunnett from the Portal to
Texas History website

Family outing in Handley by F.L. Utley. The clothes the women
are wearing in this photo are very similar to ones worn by
James and Carrie's daughters a few years later.

One of my photos from my 2017 visit to Handley.

James and Carrie Pattillo's Los Angeles home

Another photo of James from Joyce's collection

James's brother Robert H. Pattillo headstone, 2017

Pattillo concrete stamp that belonged to James

James and his three oldest children - Jo, Mary
and Lewis

Names of those buried in the paupers grave in
the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery. My reflection.
Sources For This Post: James and Carrie's marriage record and death certificates, US censues, voter registrations, and newspaper articles from the Los Angeles Herald.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Anna Vetter 1893 - 1985 - My Paternal Grandmother


Anna as a young woman
Anna was born on September 17th in 1893 to Katherine and George Vetter. She was the fifth of five daughters. She was born in Chicago, Illinois the same year that the World’s Columbian Exposition took place in Chicago - a formidable time to experience one’s early life. Her family was living at 409 21st Street in Ward 10 when the 1900 census was taken. Anna was seven years old but for some reason, unknown to me, she was not recorded as being in school as were her older sisters, except Kate who was fifteen and already working.

About 1909 Anna worked at Bullocks Department Store in Los Angeles. She would have been about fifteen or sixteen at that time. Very regrettably I did not record the source for this fact so I have nothing to add.

One of the most interesting aspects of Anna’s life is that she lived in Rhyolite, Nevada – a gold mining town in Death Valley that flourished between 1905-1911. Anna’s mother died when Anna was ten years old so she was raised by her oldest sister Kate. Kate married Ernest W. Cordes in 1909 and they appeared along with Anna on the 1910 census living at 160 Chico Street in Rhyolite. Ernest was identified as a gold miner. Today, Rhyolite is a ghost town with only the remnants of a few buildings remaining.
Anna at about age 17 when she was living
in Rhyolite, Nevada
I inherited eight photographs that were taken during the time Anna was living in Rhyolite. Some of them appear to have been taken over a few days, possibly while family members were visiting. One photo is of a group of people standing in front of a small house. Anna, on the left, is dressed in a dark skirt and a poufy white blouse with a collar and elbow-length sleeves. She is wearing a necklace with a pendant. Her dark hair is parted at the middle and she is wearing a very large, black bow at the back of her head. She has her head tilted down slightly and her expression conveys a mixture of determination and a touch of sadness. She is not smiling. Next to Anna, are two adult men and one cocky-looking young boy, maybe 12 years old, dressed in a double-breasted jacket. He has his arms crossed and a big smile on his face. My guess is that this might be her cousin and two uncles – brothers of Ernest, who is standing next to one of the men with his hand on the man’s shoulder. They might also be family friends. Each of the men is wearing a hat and one has on a bow tie. Earnest is wearing a vest and kerchief – possibly something he wears while mining because of the dust. To Ernest’s right is a woman dressed up and wearing gloves, a poufy blouse, and a black hat. The woman is looking at Anna and has a big smile. My guess is that she is either Earnest’s sister or the wife of one of the other two men. In the background, you can see the landscape of Rhyolite consisting of rocky hills, sparse vegetation – just occasional shrubs but no trees. You can also see three or four small buildings in the background.
This is the photo described above

In another photo Anna’s older sister Kate is standing in front of a very small house. She is wearing a floor length black dress with white buttons on one side of the bodice. Her hair is pulled back away from her face. I estimate the house is eleven feet wide by maybe 20 feet deep with a covered wooden porch that is the width of the house and maybe four feet deep. We see the front door and a window on the front of the house and one more window on the side. There are two vents sticking up from the roof. The exterior is painted shiplap wood with modest trim around the porch, door and windows, that is painted white. The porch roof has some decorative trim that is pretty minimal. In the foreground, we see that their front yard is enclosed by a simple chicken wire and 4x4 post fence. In this photo Anna is dressed in a dark (probably black) floor-length skirt and a dark blouse similar in style as the one in the other photo, i.e. elbow length sleeves and poufy. Anna is hatless and is holding what looks like it might be a rake. An empty rattan rocking chair sits on the left side of the porch and a dark, pressback chair – similar in style to ones I inherited from my other grandmother, is next to Kate on the right. Sitting in the pressback chair is what looks like a Jack Russell dog – no doubt a family pet. Some outbuildings, and other structures, are visible in the background as is a shrub-covered hillside with rock outcrops.
This is the house described here. Anna on the left and her
sister Kate on the right
There are two photographs with Anna dressed in a dark skirt and blouse where she is sitting in a wagon. Two mules are harnessed to the wagon. In both photos Anna is surrounded by her brother-in-law Ernest, the young man from the first photo and one older gentleman who looks like he could be Ernest’s father. This man is wearing a dark suit, dark shirt and a hat. He has a rather distinctive mustache. The young boy is wearing a cap in these photos and the Jack Russell dog appears in both. In one of the two photos we see what is probably the back of their house. Between the wagon and the house there is a fence and it looks like blankets have been draped over the fence to air out. The second of this pair of photos was taken from a different perspective, so we see the town laundry business in the background and more hills. Ernest appears in both photos wearing jeans with rolled up cuffs, a long-sleeve shirt, hat and suspenders. The dog has a clipped tail and is not wearing a collar.
Ernest Cordes, young man, Ann and older gentleman ... and
the Jack Russell dog

There is another photo of Anna standing between the two mules nose-to-nose, ears perked up. One mule is saddled with blankets and gear while the other mule is loaded with wooden boxes likely filled with mining provisions. There is a man in this photo that could be Ernest but I’m certain. He is dressed quite differently from the other photos. In this image the man is wearing knee-high leather spats over his pants, a dark shirt, dark jacket, leather gloves with wide cuffs, and a cap. He is smoking a pipe. The expression on Anna’s face matches the one described above. Every time I look at these photos, I wonder what she was feeling at the time.

The last photo from this collection is funny. It was taken at what is either a construction site or a mine opening. There are sawhorses in the foreground. Two men are standing in the middle of the shot. Each is wearing a suit, tie and hat. I don’t know who either of them is. Anna is between the two men and she is plopped in a wheelbarrow with her skirt draped over the sides. She has on a bonnet and gloves and she wrote the word “Remember?” in red ink on the bottom of the photo.
One of my favorite photos of my grandmother
In December of 1910, Anna and Kate’s father married for a second time. George married Nellie Gregory on December 3, 1910. It was a second marriage for Nellie as well. Anna was living with her father at that time. One evening she went out dancing at the Zenda Club at the Odd Fellows Hall in Los Angeles and that is where she met Lewis Pattillo.

One of the stories I distinctly recall my grandmother telling us is that her father would not permit her to get married until she was eighteen, so on September 18th, one day after she turned eighteen, she married Lewis Wood Pattillo in Los Angeles. They were married by F.G.H. Stevens, a Methodist minister. George L. Riehl and Anna’s sister Mary were witnesses at the wedding. According to the marriage certificate Anna was living at 321 N. Catalina in Pasadena at the time. Anna’s sisters Emma and Mary were married shortly after Anna – Emma in December of 1911 and Mary in May of 1912.
Lewis and Anna at John Thornally's
home in Brookdale

The following year their father died on February 18th, 1913 when Anna was only nineteen years old. Sadly, George missed meeting his grandson James Edward “Ed” Pattillo by just three months who was born on May 10, 1913 when Anna was nineteen.

Anna and Lewis were still living in Los Angeles when Dad was born but by 1914, they had moved to Fresno and were living at 1165 Clark Street.  This is where they were living when Bert Lewis Pattillo was born on January 15, 1919 - nearly six years after Dad was born. When the census was taken in 1920, they were living at 3512 Tulare in Fresno. You can view photos of some of these homes on Lewis’ bio that I published on October 1, 2018. I found one more Fresno address for the family on Lewis’ father’s voter registration form in 1927. At that time, they were living at 3512 Iowa Street and obviously, Grandpa’s father, James William Pattillo was living with them.

By 1929, at the start of the great depression they were living in Oakland and Anna started her tenure of working on the election board. Doing so she started a family tradition. She continued to serve on the election board regularly until 1964. Her daughter-in-law Lottie worked for the election board for fifty years, and today her grandson Terry Pattillo carries on the tradition. When the census was taken in 1930 the Pattillo family was living at 1310 49th Avenue in Oakland. They remained there until 1949 when they bought a home at 5632 Hilton – the home I remember having family dinners at. Between these two dates, Anna’s son Ed married Lottie Thornally on August 19, 1939, and her son Bert married Marjorie Anglemyer on October 12, 1940.
L-R Lewis, Bert, Anna and Ed
Another thing I have distinct memories of are hearing my grandmother brag about how she and Lewis would go to each of the dance halls in downtown Oakland and when they arrived Gramma would exclaim, “that every man in the room wanted to dance with her.” One of the most popular and long-lasting dance halls was Sweets Ballroom. She also went to the Ali Baba Ballroom, the California Room on Franklin, and probably the Rose Room – a taxi dancing hall.

When Anna was 40, she served as chair of arrangements for a card party for the Melrose PTA. The proceeds from the event were used to buy milk and shoes for the students. This event made the society page on April 24, 1934 in the Oakland Tribune newspaper.

Anna went to work again to help the war effort during World War II. She was a bandage folder at the Quarter Master Building in Oakland. I’d like to know more about this but alas, I again failed to record my source, so am unable to expand. After the war she returned to being a homemaker.

In 1953, on the day after Christmas Anna’s oldest siter Kate died from a heart attack at the age of 68 when Anna was 60.
L-R Marge and Bert, Anna and Lewis, Emma and Harold Mohr, Mickey
Mohr, John and Lottie Thornally
September 19, 1961 was a special day when Anna and Lewis celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a big party held at the Mosswood Center in Oakland. It was planned by her two daughters-in-law, catered by Lucca delicatessen and attended by some one hundred guests. Of course, dancing was part of the event.

Ten years later family and friends celebrated Anna and Lewis’ 60th anniversary at another grand party held at the home of Bert and Marge. But, that’s not all in September of 1976 another big party was held at their retirement home to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary!
Anna and Lewis with all their grandchildren at their 50th
wedding anniversary. Kathy, Chris, Terry, Pat and Tom
Anna and Lewis with their two sons and their wives
at their 50th anniversary party
Anna’s sisters Emma and Lizzie died just two months apart in 1965 Emma was 73 and Lizzie was 75. Mary her last sister died in 1970 at the age of 81.

In the mid-70s Anna and Lewis sold their home on Hilton Avenue and moved into a retirement community in Contra Costa County near their son Bert’s home. Lewis died a year and a half after their 65th anniversary so they were married for over 66 years – a record few can exceed.

Anna lived longer than all of her sisters. She died in Concord at the age of 91 on September 4, 1985. She suffered from rheumatism and some dementia. Anna is buried with Lewis, son Bert and daughter-in-law Marge at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette.
The five Vetter sister - Lizzie, Emma, Mary, Anna and Kate
Anna was only 5’1” tall but she had a giant personality. When I was very young, I had difficulty distinguishing my two grandmothers so I always referred to Anna as Polka-Dot Gramma and my maternal grandmother as Green Gramma. These names were based on dresses they each wore – fortunately my parents knew what I meant. I felt much closer to my maternal grandmother – partly because we saw her much more frequently but also because Anna clearly had preferences and she made no effort to hid that her favorite son was Bert and her favorite grandson was Tom, Bert’s eldest son.
Anna with her two sons, Ed and Bert
I inherited photos that Anna had owned which helped with my family history hobby. I also received her sparsely annotated family bible, a few pieces of furniture, and a large collection of crocheted items that Anna made. One year for Christmas, after Anna had died, I stitched some of her crocheted pieces to fabric and framed them as art. Everyone who I gave them to seemed pleased to have them.

My cousin Laine Lawrence shared these recollections of Anna. “I am unable to think of Uncle Lewis without thinking of Aunt Anna.  I think Aunt Ana and Jo (Laine’s grandmother) were best friends.  They would come visit us in Brentwood or we would go to Oakland or sometimes to Ed and Lottie’s to see them.  When Aunt Anna was in the room, she was the center of everything.  When she was telling a story if Lewis wanted to add something she would say “be quiet Lewie”.  Lewis would just smile.  My mother and Aunt Jeannette loved them both.  People used to write letters then and Aunt Anna was one of the great letter writers of her day.  If Jeannette got a letter from her, she came straight over our house, opened the letter and read it out loud.  The letters were long, written over several days, and as the letter was read my mother and Jeannette would laugh and say, “Anna wrote just like she talked.”  And when my mother got a letter she would go to Jeannette’s and the same thing would happen.  It was so fun listening to them reading those letters.”
Anna about 10 years old with sisters Mary and Emma

Anna on the right and unknown friend

Anna August 25, 1920, age 27


Anna and sister Kate

Unknown man, Anna and two mules

Ernest Cordes, Anna and unknown young boy and older man

Anna and I think her sister Mary

Anna and I think her sister Emma

Cook Bank Building, Rhyolite, 1908

Cook Bank Building from Google Earth

Rhyolite Train Station 

Rhyolite Mercantile

Sweets Ballroom - one of Anna and Lewis's favorite dance halls

Anna, Lewis and me, 1950

Anna and Lewis on the right with I think her sister Emma and
Emma's husband Tony De Marco

Christmas 1954 at Ed and Lottie's home. L-R Lewis, Anna
Kathy, Pat, Chris, Tom, Marge. Emma and John Thorally
behind Marge, Bert, Terry and Ed Pattillo in back
Anna on the left and Jo Pattillo on the right. I don't know the fish.
Anna and her sister Mary

Map of Chicago where the Vetter family lived when the 1900 census was taken

The Bullfrog Miner, Rhyolite, Nevada March 29, 1907

Lewis shortly before he died, Bert Pattillo and Anna age 74, 1977