Monday, July 4, 2016

Elmer Earl Pattillo (1895 – 1925) My Granduncle on my Father’s Side

Elmer was the eighth child born to Carrie and James W. Pattillo. Their first two children – Wirt W.
and James H. both died as infants. Wirt and James were born in Tarrant County, Texas as were Jo and Mary Pattillo - the next two children who lived to adulthood. Next was Lewis Wood, my grandfather and then the twins Maude and Ruby. Elmer was born on November 13, 1895. Elmer, Lewis, Maude and Ruby were all born after the family had moved to Los Angeles, California.

Elmer with his father James William 
Elmer was four years old on June 1, 1900 when the census was taken. At that time they were living on Jefferson Street in Los Angeles. Ten years later in 1910 they were at 1176 West 37th Place, Los Angeles. Elmer’s father was supporting the family as the owner of JW Pattillo & Company – a business that laid and finished concrete. In 1914, City Directories gave Elmer’s address as 1309 W. 51st Place in San Pedro and noted that at 19 he was working as a contractor – it is likely we was working for his father in the concrete finishing business, as his older brother Lewis was. Years later Lewis’ son Bert adopted the same profession, so we have three generations of concrete finishers in our family. 
Elmer with his brother Lewis Wood

On June 15, 1917 when Elmer was 21, he filled out his draft registration for WWI. At that time he was living at 3919 South Vermont Avenue in Los Angles. He listed his occupation as a farmer, which is odd. Though many of Elmer’s ancestors were farmers and tobacco growers he and his father and siblings were all tradesmen – not farmers. Presumable in an effort to avoid the draft he claimed he was the sole support for his father on his draft registration. It was probably true because his father James was 69 and had retired. The claim did not work though - Elmer did serve in the Navy for a short time though I know no details of his military service.

The 1917 directory showed Elmer’s occupation as a clerk  but it does not provide a business name or address. Elmer was still living on South Vermont in 1918, but by 1919 he had moved to Fresno and was living with his sister Maude and her husband Otto Baty at 3406 Nevada Street.

When he was 24, Elmer married Winifred Augusta Lutz on December 15, 1919.  Winifred was the daughter of Nellie Ruth Miller and John Edward Lutz.

Winifred’s Family
Nellie was the daughter of William E. Miller and Augusta May. She was born in the town of Auburn in Placer County, California in 1863 or 1864. Her family moved to San Francisco when she was 7 and two years later to Oakland. On December 18, 1890 she married John E. Lutz. Nellie was described as “a good wife, a sweet, gentle mother and the one who took up the burden of a little community and household…. Nellie Lutz was a heroine of the home”. She was a member of the Christian Science Church. She died of pneumonia on November 25, 1940. At that time she and John were living at 516 31st Street in Oakland. 
Winifred A. Lutz & Elmer

Nellie’s father, William E. Miller was a native of Baltimore who arrived in California in 1949, so he was considered a pioneer.  He owned the Oakland Bank of Savings that was located on Broadway at 10th Street in downtown Oakland. Nellie’s mother Augusta was born May 12, 1836 in New York. Her family arrived in California in 1851. William and Augusta were married in Sacramento on April 20, 1853.   Nellie had two older sisters Lillian and Mary. Lillian married Henry C. McPike and they had 3 children – a daughter Hazel and sons Belden and Grayson. Mary was an invalid and may not have married.

When William died in 1895 he left his estate to his three daughters. That included the property at Broadway and 10th Street where the Oakland Bank of Savings was located. It also included two other parcels – one that fronted on Webster and had a residence on it, and the third was on Franklin near 14th Street.
Oakland Bank of Savings at
Broadway & 10th Street
Lieutenant John Lutz was born October 27, 1857 in Circleville, Ohio. At one time he had been employed by the government in Revenue Services. At the time of their marriage John was a Superintendent and major stockholder in the Port Crescent Improvement Company which had large property interests at the Port of Crescent, Port of Angeles and Port Townsand – all on the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington. After they married, John and Nellie lived in Port Cresant. They moved to Oakland after the death of Nellie’s parents in 1895. John and Nellie had two daughters – Winifred Augusta and Eulila.

On January 11, 1902 John and Nellie Lutz and Nellie’s sister Lillian and her husband Henry C. McPike sold the Broadway and 10th property that the sisters had inherited from her father, to the Oakland Bank of Savings for $46,000. In February of the same year they took out a loan for $10,000 from Oakland Bank of Savings using the building as collateral. A February 26, 1902 headline claimed “They Want To Divide the Miller Estate” – the 3 parcels described above. Another news article dated June 18, 1902 reported that the bank at Broadway and 10th was then known as the First National Bank. On February 4, 1906 The First National Bank announced plans to build a five-story building on the gore lot at Broadway and San Pablo Avenue, near 14th Street. The site at Broadway and 10th was sold to Laura M. Taylor for $130,000 “subject to a mortgage of $65,000 held by John E. Lutz, so somehow Lutz had sold the property but still owned it – he probably sold it to the Oakland Bank of Savings which he owned. 
First National Bank of Oakland at gore of Broadway,
San Pablo Avenue & 14th Street - Oakland's 100% intersection

Another interesting business transaction of John E. Lutz was his involvement with the Oakland Home Telephone Company. John and five other directors raised $200,000 in capital and had a franchise to operate an independent telephone system. This was before AT&T monopolized the phone system.

On September 12, 1912, John Lutz was arrested for embezzling money from a Mrs. E.J. Evans but he was acquitted on October 10, 1912. John was a real estate and insurance broker who seems to have amassed a sizeable estate – first in Washington and then in Oakland, through his wife’s inheritance. Sometime after Nellie died, John married Ruby Smith.

Before their marriage Winifred was living in Oakland and Elmer was living with his older sister Maude and her husband Otto Baty in Fresno. Maude and G.E. Troxell from Los Angeles were the witnesses. Troxell was probably a friend of Elmer’s who served as his best man. Elmer noted that he was working in concrete construction on his marriage license. Winifred was working as a clerk in an office. One wonders how it is that Elmer, a concrete finisher, was able to successfully woo the daughter and granddaughter of two very successful, wealthy and influential Oakland entrepreneurs.
Elmer at the beach dressed for dancing

After the marriage Elmer and Winifred returned to Fresno and lived with Maude and Otto which is where they were when the 1920 census was taken. At that time, Elmer was working as a foreman for Kaufield and Thompkins - a concrete construction company located at 220 Collage in Fresno.

Elmer and Winifred had two children – a daughter Barbara Winifred Pattillo was born May 10, 1921 and a son, Wayne “Bud” Sherwood Pattillo born May 11, 1922.  Barbara Pattillo married William “Bill” Richardson. They had five children – Robert, Patrick, Pam, Robyn and Patti. Wayne served in World War II, he never married, and died prior to 1996.
Whayne "Bud" and Barbara, Elmer's children

On December 11, 1920 the Oakland Tribune published this headline, “Hotel Guest Arrested on Bad Check Complaint.” The story tells quite a tale about Elmer and Winifred. Apparently, Elmer established seven checking accounts in different cities between Oakland and Los Angeles. He deposited between $50 and $100 in each account. Sometime later her purchased a car in San Francisco and used a check to pay for it. According to the news article Elmer manufacture auto polish on a small scale. He drove the car from San Francisco to Los Angeles and used it to demonstrate the polish which he sold to customers. Along the way he wrote several checks that bounced. Elmer was arrested in Los Angeles for writing bad checks. He was charged with insanity but later released. From there he went to Fresno where he opened two checking accounts. Next Elmer and Winifred returned to Oakland and booked an expensive room at Hotel Oakland paying with a check for $110 and another for $5 from a Los Angeles bank. The hotel swore out a complaint for his arrest. Strangely, the police said, “that Elmer had twice made complaints against persons who had given him bad checks”.
Elmer, Winifred, Barbara & Whayne

Elmer was charged with insanity and sent to the insane ward of the Stockton asylum. He escaped February 6, 1921 and fled to Winifred’s stepmother’s home at 184 Santa Rosa Avenue in Oakland. Ruby Lutz, Winifred’s stepmother turned Elmer in to the police.

Despite knowing about Elmer’s past as a thief I was surprised to find a mug shot from the time he served in San Quinten Prison on the Ancestry website. Elmer was convicted for passing bad checks while in San Diego and was sentenced to 1 to 14 years in prison – a long sentence for a nonviolent crime. He began serving his sentence on June 2, 1923, was paroled on June 6, 1924, and discharged on October 6, 1925.
Mug shot from San Quinton

Elmer died on September 30, 1925 in a Veterans hospital in Palo Alto less than a year and a half after he was released from prison. He was only 29. He is buried in Fresno at the Liberty Veteran’s Cemetery which is within a larger cemetery called Mountain View Cemetery on West Belmont Avenue - a few blocks from Roeding Park, one of the places his family enjoyed when they were living in Fresno, and where my father Ed Pattillo took his fiancĂ© Lottie when they were courting. It is also where I worked to prepare a HALS (Historic American Landscapes Survey) short form for Bruce and Sandy Roeding in 2015.

Elmer's headstone
Veterans Liberty Cemetery, Fresno, CA

Sources Include: My Mom's photo albums, US Censuses, draft registration, city directories,, Google images for bank buildings, and numerous newspaper articles available from

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rose Mary Thornally (1887 – 1977) My Grandaunt on my Mother’s Side

Rose Mary was the youngest child of William and Mary Thornally. She was born May 20, 1877. Rose had four older brothers – Will, Harry, John and Sam and an older sister Charlotte. Charlotte died in 1899 when Rose was eleven. Rose appeared on the 1900 census with her family – she was 13 and was listed as Rosie. At that time the family was living at 288 Bray Avenue, Fruitvale Precinct in the Brooklyn Township. This was before Brooklyn was annexed into the City of Oakland.

The 1906 Oakland City Directory listed Rose and showed her occupation as a stenographer. She was 19 years old and already working outside the home – this would have been unusual at that time. But Rose grew up in a family of boys who were all working tradesmen. She must have been an independent woman herself. She continued to work as a stenographer for many years. The 1910 census tells us that Rose was working for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Six years later, payroll records for the NorthwesternPacific Railroad Company tell us that she was earning $70 a week working in the general freight and passenger office.  By December of 1917 her salary had risen to $80 per week. Northwestern Pacific was a railroad company that serviced northern California. In 1916 in ran from Sonoma to Somoa - a small town north of Arcata. 
Northwestern Pacific train at the Santa Rosa Station

In 1910, Rose was still living with her family at 1707 Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland.  Thomas Brothers Block books for 1914 and 1917 show Rose Thornally as owning a lot within the Thornally Tract, next door to her brother Harry. I don't know if she simply owned the lot or actually lived there. After that she spent much of her adult life living in San Francisco. In 1919, she was living in a rooming house run by Ethel F Jackson. That was at 1040 Bush Street. The 1920 census listed 102 other women including Rose living at the same address. By 1926, Rose had moved again but was still in San Francisco and living at 2230 Pacific Avenue. When the 1930 census was taken Rose was living at 634 Powell also in San Francisco.
This house occupies the lot at 1650 35th Avenue that Rose
 owned. It was part of the Thornally Tract.

When Rose was in her 20s her name appeared in the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Call newspaper’s Society columns when she attended engagement parties and weddings of her personal friends Gertrude Frost, Maude Kuester, and Ellen Desmond Valentine.

At some point between 1930 and 1935 Rose started working for her cousins the Ogilvie Sisters and moved to New York City. Rose’s mother Mary McGowan had a sister Catherine who had immigrated to the United States shortly before Mary. Catherine married John Ogilvie and they had seven daughters and one son. All of the sisters – Elizabeth, Anne, Mary Gladys, Jessica, Clara, Mable, and Georgiana as well as their brother William were actively involved in founding and running a very successful cosmetics business. The company was based in New York City and Paris, France. Ogilvie products still exist in 2016 – a hair conditioner for straightening hair. One can purchase an Ogilvie conditioning treatment from Amazon for $10.99. The Ogilvie sisters also developed, produced and sold hair coloring products, shampoos and home permanents. In the 1920s, they had patents for dry and oily hair tonics, a tonic for whitening gray hair, a freckle lotion, blackhead lotion, wave lotion, scalp pomade and Henna shampoo powder.
An Ogilvie sisters ad found on Google

According to the book “War Paint – Madame Helena Rubinstein and Miss Elizabeth Arden” in the early years the Ogilvie sisters rented salon space from Elizabeth Arden but after having a disagreement with Miss Arden they left. Later the Ogilvie Sisters “were the first importers of European pharmacist Eugene Schueller’s innovative hair dye called L’Oreal Compound Henna.” In War Paint the author refers to the Ogilvie Sisters as “an enterprising group of young women … two were skilled hairdressers already making a name for themselves in New York”. 
Castile soap - an Ogilvie sisters product

 According to “Becoming American in Paris: Transatlantic Politics & Culture Between the World Wars” by Brooke L. Blower published in 2011 there was a tremendous increase in the number of American’s traveling to France between World War I and World War II. Before WWI only 15,000 Americans travelled to France. By 1919 that number had grown to 30,000, 100,000 in 1921 and 400,000 in 1925. This no doubt was a key reason why the Ogilvie sisters established a branch of their enterprise in the Paris office of the Equitable Trust Company located at 23 Rue de la Paix on the inner Right Bank. In 1924 the Ogilvie Sisters authored a 24-page book titled “Beautiful Hair by Common Sense Methods” published by Vreeland Press, New York.
This book, published in 2011, mentions
the Ogilvie Sisters

 My second cousin Sue Tucker wrote about our grandaunt in an email, “When I was a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in the late 60's I used to visit Aunt Rose in New York City. She was living at AllertonHouse on 57th and Lexington, a hotel for business and professional women.  Rose provided clerical and other administrative services to her cousins.”
The Allerton House where Rose lived
in the 1960s.

In 1937, Rose accompanied Gladys Ogilvie on a trip to Europe. They travelled on the Queen Mary to Southampton, England on May 10th and returned to New York on June 23rd.  On another trip they sailed on a ship called Paris from Le Havre, France to New York. The ships passenger list noted that when they returned to New York they would be staying at 399 Park Avenue, which is very close to where Rose and her cousins were living at that time. 
A menu from the Queen Mary provided by
Ann Brurud, Rose's neice

In 1935, Rose was living with her cousins in an apartment building at 375 Park Avenue. They were at the same location when the 1940 census was taken. Rose listed her profession as the accountant for the Ogilvie Beauty Salon. Her cousin Anne was the company manager, Mabel the assistant manager, Jessica was the executive for merchandising, Clara was the executive of manufacturing, and Gladys was an instructor. The household included two servants Mary Puzzeller and Eana Helbig. In 1935 it is hard to imagine a more glamorous or exciting place to be working. Even today women executives are comparatively rare. Though Ann’s husband John was identified as the general manager these women each held positions of power and authority. They were running a multi-national corporation. It is no wonder that my mother spoke of Rose with a sense of awe.

Dining on the Queen Mary. Rose in the middle, Gladys
Ogilvie left and Marion Forcada, a friend of Rose's, right, 1937
Like many other American businesses The Ogilvie Sisters Company went through a number of mergers and acquisitions. In 1956 the business was acquired by Lehn & Fink Products Corporation, which was purchased by Sterling Drug, Inc. in 1966, and Eastman Kodak in 1988. That version of the company was renamed L&F Products in 1990. In 1994 L&F was acquired by Reckitt & Colman Ltd. which was purchased by Playtex in 1998, and in 1999 Playtex merged with Reckitt Benckiser.
Sue Tucker found this fabulous photo of the Ogilivie sisters

Anne Ogilvie died June 27, 1942. She was buried in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in New York.  Sometime after that Rose married Anne’s widowed husband John `Jack’ Curry. That was probably in the mid to late 1940s. So far, I have not been able to find a marriage record that would provide the exact date and place where Rose and Jack were married. Rose would have been in her mid to late 50s when she married for the first time. Were she and Jack secretly in love since the 30s or was this a marriage of convenience?  I suspect the latter, but we may never know for sure. 
Rose during a family visit
 Social security records tell us that Rose retired in 1956 when she was 68 – so she worked professionally a long time – nearly 50 years.  
Rose visiting with her niece Dee
Thornally Martin 

I remember visiting Rose with my mother Lottie in the mid-1970s, when Rose was living in a retirement home in Berkeley called Grandma’s. In 2016 the building is named the Rose Garden Inn and is located at 2740 Telegraph. I don’t really have any personal recollections of Rose but I do recall that my mother held Rose in high regard. Mom considered Rose to be – as Mom would say, “A classy lady”. 
Rose was living here on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley
 in the 1970s shortly before she died.

She died a few years later on Christmas day in 1977 – 22 years after her only living sibling John had died. Rose is buried along with her brothers and other Thornally family members in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. Her father, mother and sister Charlotte are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in East Oakland. 

This is the book written
by the Ogilvie Sisters

Rose's headstone in Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Harry Melville Thornally (1879 – 1936) My Maternal Granduncle on My Mother’s Side

Harry Melville Thornally was born in San Francisco on June 8, 1879. He was the third child of Mary and William Thornalley and the second son. When Harry was 5 years old his family left San Francisco and relocated to the East Bay taking up residence in Fruit Vale. Their home at that time was at 1409 15th Avenue. They remained there until 1887 when they moved to “Brey Avenue” near the “County Road.” Today Bray is 34th Avenue and the County Road is Foothill Boulevard.

Fruit Vale School in Oakland where Harry likely attended school
Harry attended grammar school in Oakland and probably attended Fruitvale Elementary School as his younger brother John had. After finishing school Harry went into the trades as his father and older brother William “Bill” had done. Harry’s first job was working as a machinist for F.I. Matthews at Bay City Iron Works – a foundry and machine shop located at Third and Washington Streets in downtown Oakland.  By 1906 he had been promoted to foreman. City directories show Harry as continuing to work at Bay City Iron Works until 1906. Then he went to work for United Iron Works – the same place his younger brother John worked. In 1918 when he completed his draft registration he was a machinery salesman at Berger Carter Machinery Company.  Berger Carter was another machine shop located at 400 Mission Street in San Francisco.

Harry & Blanche on their wedding day
When Harry was 24 he married Blanche Wimble the daughter of Thomas Wimble and Fannie Francis Edwards. Blanche was born on October 24, 1875 in Oakland. They were married June 17, 1903 at Blanche’s sister’s home on Fruitvale Avenue.  Harry’s best man was George Taylor, which is somewhat surprising – I would have expected him to ask one of his 3 brothers to fill that role. An article published in the Oakland Tribune on May 30, 1903 announced the pending wedding and noted that “Harry is the son of the Sanitary Inspector and one of the most popular young men in Fruitvale”.  According to another society page article Harry and Blanche spent their honeymoon in Monterey, Santa Cruz and Catalina Island. These are the same places that Harry’s niece Lottie and her new husband Ed went on their honeymoon in 1939. 

After the honeymoon, Harry and Blanche moved into their first home on Liese Avenue in the Allendale neighborhood of Brooklyn Township. I found a public notice in the San Francisco Call of Harry having purchased a lot on Liese Avenue for only $10. He bought the property from Josephine E. Bruguirre. The parcel was part of the Sather tract in Brooklyn. This purchase was made shortly after he and Blanche were married. 

In 1870, Brooklyn annexed the adjacent town of Lynn. Then in 1872 voters approved the annexation of Brooklyn into the City of Oakland. The 1909-1911 city directories show the couple living at 1315 38th Avenue in the heart of the Fruitvale neighborhood. In 1918, the address shown on his draft registration was 1233 38th Avenue. On the 1920 census, when Harry was 40, they’d moved a whole block and were residing at 1427 39th Avenue. They were still at this address ten years later for the 1930 census. So, Harry and Blanche spent their entire married life living in the same neighborhood of Oakland.

Harry Wimble Thornally
In 1908, Harry and Blanche’s only child Harry Wimble Thornally, Jr. was born on April 21st.  He attended the University of California at Berkeley at the same time as his cousins Ralph and George Thornally who were sons of William Thornally Jr.  Harry Jr. was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He was also a member of the Hammer and Coffin and Pi Delta Epsilon, journalistic honor societies and the English Club. After graduation Harry Jr. married Gladys Pauline “Paula” Leach (1910-1940) who was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is the daughter of Harry Milton Leach and Pauline Hazel Dejarnatt. Harry and Paula were married on June 19, 1936 in Grace Cathedral in San Franciso and lived in Berkeley. From 1937 to 1939 Harry worked as a clerk at his father’s business. The 1941 Oakland directory listed his occupation as “artist”, and in 1944 he was teaching. Harry Jr. and Paula had two sons – Gilliat Leach born in 1942 and Frank in 1944.  Harry Jr. died on June 7, 1944 shortly after the birth of his son Frank. He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.

Bay City Iron Works machine shop

Harry seniors’s mother died in 1912 when he was 32, and his father died the following year on March 11, 1913.

On his draft form Harry was described as being of medium height and build with brown hair and blue eyes. The paperwork also noted that he was blind in his left eye. It did not give the cause of the blindness but one can image an injury while at work in the machine shop.
Letterhead from Harry's business. Note H.M. Thornally at top right. This sketch of the building matches my photo above.
The 1910 census noted that Harry was “working on own account”. On the 1920 and 1930 censuses he was identified as the owner of an iron works. The city directory listings note that he worked at Bay City Iron Works during the early part of his career between 1899-1907. From 1908 to 1921 he was at the United Iron Works. But in 1922 he was back with Bay City Iron Works and remained there until his death. Apparently he purchased the business sometime prior to the 1920 census.

United Iron Works built by Harry's brother Will
Thornally Jr. 3rd & Washington, Oakland
During my research I was given a piece of letterhead for Bay City Iron Works from Ed Thornally dated April 9, 1926. The letterhead shows H.M. Thornally in the company logo. The letterhead includes a drawing of the building and a lot of information about the company. It tells us they were millrights, engineers and machinists. It even lists the equipment they owned which included: Rockwood paper motor pulleys, Dodge wood and steel split pulleys, complete line iron and pressed steel hangers, shaft bearings, couplings, collars, etc. cold rolled steel shafting, etc. and they had leather and rubber belting carried in stock. This particular receipt was for “picking up a steel door at the library at 14th and Grove Street and making adjustments”. The charge for the work was $4.50. This library was Oakland’s second library built in 1900 – a recipient of a Carnegie grant. From 1902 – 1951 it was known as the Greene Library and served as Oakland’s main library. It was heavily damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and was closed for a few years prior to being rehabilitated. The library reopened in 2001 as the African American Museum and Library. My firm PGAdesign was the landscape architect for the rehab.

A news article published December 9, 1905 reported that Bay City Iron Works was destroyed in a fire. According to the article most of the block between 2nd and 3rd Street, Washington and Clay was destroyed. Accusations were made and charges demanding that Fire Chief Engineer N.A. Ball be dismissed. A machine shop owned by Robert Brand at 621 Third Street was also destroyed as was a coal dealer at 620 Third. George E. Randolph who owned the United Iron Works spoke in defense of the Fire Chief claiming the chief “had arrived within seven minutes.” The primary witness was John J. Conlan, battalion chief of San Francisco who testified that Chief Ball had the fire “well stopped” by the time he arrived on the scene.
Snapshot of a Harry Thornally family camping trip from Lottie Pattillo's albums

 In 1924-25 Harry’s Brother William – a local general contractor designed and constructed a new Bay City Iron Works building that is located at 320-380 Washington. It is a poured-in-place concrete structure with industrial sash windows. The exterior has a stucco finish and some ornamentation.  On the interior there was a half-floor mezzanine that was probably used for offices. William included four skylights for natural light. The building was renovated in 1995 and is still in use as of 2016.
Harry's home on 35th Avenue as it looked when
my sister Kathy and I visited in January 2016

The 1930 census shows that Harry and Blanche owned their home on 39th Avenue which was valued at $6000. They also owned a radio. It confirms that Harry was not a veteran. None of the Thornally sons served in any branch of the military.

According to Lottie (Thornally) Pattillo, Harry was badly injured on the job. His doctors advised him to have his leg amputated but Harry could not agree to have the surgery. Regrettably his leg became infected. He developed gangrene and that caused his death when he was only 57 years old. Harry died on October 28, 1936 and is buried with his wife Blanche in the main mausoleum at Mountain View Cemetery, as are his brothers John, Sam and William Jr. and their wives.
Harry Thornally's signature

Harry & Blanche's tomb in the mausoleum at
Mountain View  Cemetery, Oakland

Sunday, December 6, 2015

William Stover (1795 – 1864) My Third Great-Grandfather on My Father’s Side

William Stover's headstone in Drakes Cliff Cemetery, Carter TN
William Stover was the eldest child of Daniel Stover and Phoebe Ward Stover. He was born on June 23rd of 1795 in what was then known as Washington County in the Southwest Territory and what is now Carter County, Tennessee. His siblings include seven sisters and three brothers. In order of birth their names were Mary, Jemima, Isaac, Thurzy, Susannah, Lavisa, Solomon, Delilah, Sarah and Daniel.

When William was 44 his mother Phoebe died on August 6, 1839. His brother Daniel had died the year before. His father Daniel Sr. married a second time to Antoinette Williams on July 19, 1840. They were married in Carter County. Daniel and Antoinette had six more children – five daughters and one son named Lorena, Rhoda, Samuel, Eliza, Elizabeth and Margaret.

When William was a young man – I don’t have an exact date – he was sent to live with his Mother’s aunt Mary and her husband Isaac Lincoln. The Lincoln’s only child – a son had drowned during a rain storm. Mary and Isaac needed help running their farm and William was sent to fill that role.  Isaac was the great-uncle of Abraham Lincoln.
Carter County Courthouse and war monument
Land Ownership
On July 15, 1819 William bought his first piece of property when he was 24. It was a 76 acre and 51 poles parcel on the lot adjacent to his father’s farm. He paid $230. A “pole” is equal to 5 ½ yards and was a commonly used unit of measurement. Two years later on May 10, 1822 he purchased a second parcel. This piece was 154 acres located in the Sinking Creek area of Carter. He paid $1200 and bought the land from Garret Reasoner. The area got the name Sinking Creek because the creek terminated into a hole where the water flowed underground.

William married Sarah Murray Drake in 1819 on September 23rd.  See my blog post dated July 24, 2015 for a biography of Sarah.  Information about their children and the places they lived is described in that post.

Five years later, William bought 94 acres from John Nave for $840. This parcel shared boundaries with Godfrey Nave and Indian Creek. The Naves were another pioneer family in Carter County. In 2012 when I visited Tennessee I was fortunate to meet with Robert Nave, a descendant of the original family. Robert was an avid genealogist and an archivist by profession. He shared a lot of material with me and took me to see many sites associated with our ancestors.

On February 10, 1823 William sold 76 acres of his land to his brother Isaac Stover for $400. The parcel shared borders with land owned by his father Daniel Stover and with Landon Carter – another prominent citizen for whom the county was named. This was the same parcel of land he purchased from George Gillespie just two years earlier when he had been 21.

William & Sarah lived north of the Watauga River in
Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee
Next he acquired a tract on the north side of the Watauga River. He paid $200 for this parcel but the record I found did not give the size. Two years later in 1835 William purchased a 110 acre parcel of land from Godfrey Nave. This parcel was also on the Watauga River and included “all appurtenances”. This probably means there was a house and some number of farm buildings on the property. He paid $1000 for this lot.

William used the land for farming. In his will he made a note about his blacksmith tools. He may have augmented his farm income by doing blacksmith work.

On April 14, 1852 he executed another contract in which he sold a portion of the land he inherited from Mary Lincoln to each of this three sons – David, Daniel and Samuel. In a separate contract dated April 19, 1852 he sold 195 acres to his son Daniel for $100. This parcel was on the north side of the Watauga River on Green Mountain in Carter County. The deed stipulated that William and his wife Sarah would retain the right to live on the land for the remainder of their lives.

1850 & 1860 Censuses
Studying the Carter County 1850 census tells us a lot about William Stover and his family. There are 42 individuals listed on the page representing 9 families. Five men are identified as farmers, four as laborers and one, William’s son Samuel is a physician. The value of the real estate owned is shown for 6 of the 9 households. William’s property is valued at $6000. His son’s land is worth $1000. Other property ranges in value from $200, $375, $1100 and John Grindstaff, another farmer, $1200.  This same year the Slave Schedule shows that William owned 22 slaves ranging in ages from 1 to 65. His son David owned 7 Negroes and his stepmother Antoinette owned 4. Robert Crow owned 8 Negroes but everyone else on the page owned far fewer, i.e. from 1-3.

By 1860 William had sold many of his slaves to his son Samuel who then owned 15 Negroes and William and Sarah owned only 8. Their home was valued at $3000 plus he listed $11,000 worth of personal property. So, he was a wealthy man.
1850 Slave census

Civic Life
Throughout his adult life William had a variety of encounters with the court system. At 21 he witnessed the sale of Lot #34 in Carter to Godfrey Carriger. In 1821, when he was 26, he served on a jury in two cases. Court of Pleas records show that he was also appointed to serve on the March session in 1823. In February of 1824, when he was 29, he served on 4 cases as a juror. One of the cases was a Grand Jury. In another case John Wright filed a petition on behalf of David Gaines requesting that a jury be charged with reviewing the layout of a proposed road and to assess whether or not the route of the road could be altered to do less damage to Gaines’ property. The jury was asked to report back at the following session of court.

The court records show that William was again appointed to the jury for the January 1826 court session. In 1826 he was a witness for the sale of three Negroes by James P. Taylor to Thomas Johnston in Carter. At the age of 39 William was a witness at the marriage of Isaac L. Carriger and Phoebe Nave.
Robert Nave took me to this old home that was once owned
by a member of the Carriger family

Like many of his neighbors William was called upon to help build public roads. When he was 27 he was appointed as the overseer and put in charge of building a segment of a road that passed through Edward Hendry’s property.

In1824 one of these roads was to be built across land owned by William. The court asked him to provide laborers to help with the construction.  John C. Helm was appointed overseer. William was again asked to provide labor to help build another road in 1826. John Coon was the overseer. The road was to extend from Archibald William’s farm to the Sinking Creek Meeting House. The court ordered that hands from each of the farms that the road crossed through should provide labor to help with building the road.

Speedwell Bloomery Forge
Several years before the Civil War William and his business partner Robert Cass bought the Speedwell Bloomery Forge on Stoney Creek. This was the first forge constructed on Stoney Creek. It was built in 1806 by John Nave and Christian Carriger. The Stoney Creek area was the county's largest industrial area for a century starting in 1796. The iron industry was the second largest industry after agriculture. There were some 80 forges in Eastern Tennessee and several in and near Elizabethton in Carter County. The forge had 2 fires and 1 hammer driven by water. In 1856, it produced about 40 tons of bars from ore mined 2 miles away. To learn more about forges and iron production search Google for "Iron Manufacturer's Guide, Furnaces, Forges and Rolling Mills." William is mentioned in this reference book. Most of these small privately-owned companies went bankrupt during the Civil War.

Civil War
In are article “Early History of Carter County” published by Watauga Association of Genealogists William was identified as a confederate supporter and advocate for succession. The secessionist felt the southern slave-owning states should secede from the United States and form a separate country. Several states did succeed during the Civil War but rejoined the union once the war ended. William was too old to serve in the Civil War but he did support the confederates by contributing 1000 pounds of hay needed to feed the soldiers' horses. William's stance in support of the Confederate cause was contrary to the majority of citizens of East Tennessee who support the Union Army. William’s middle son Daniel served as a Colonel in the Union Army. This division among family members was not uncommon at that time.

Mary Lincoln, who had raised William as her “son”, died on August 27, 1831 when William was 36. In her will Mary left most of her estate to William. This included 32 of her 38 slaves, all her horses, cattle, hogs and sheep, a wagon, all her farm utensils, her household and kitchen furniture and all the grain she owned at the time of her death. The 1830 census listed Mary Lincoln as the largest slave owner in Carter County. By 1840 that distinction went to William Stover.

A great-granddaughter of Mary’s sister Louise Ward Carriger contributed to an article in the Lincoln Family Magazine. She tells that Thomas Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s father, worked for his uncle Isaac as a farm hand. She muses, “In her will Mary Ward Lincoln gave ten Negro slaves to my great-grandfather Christian Carriger, who was well to do, and did not need them. She gave all her remaining property to her nephew (should be great-nephew), William Stover (son of her sister (should be niece), Phoebe Ward) and Daniel Stover, when poor "Abe" was so very poor and needy. Would it not have changed the history of these United States if Abraham Lincoln had only received what was bequeathed to William Stover? Perhaps Abraham Lincoln was predestined to be poor as was his father before him. Had he been made the heir of Aunt Mary Lincoln, perhaps the illustrious Abraham would not have struggled in poverty, and would never have amounted to 'a row of pins,' Had Thomas Lincoln remained in the employ of his uncle Isaac - how different his life would have been."

William’s father-in-law Abraham Drake died in October of 1840. Records show that William and Abraham’s son Samuel Drake were both charged with doing an inventory of Abraham’s estate.
Driving the Blue Ridge Highway in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Eastern Tennessee

In 1842, when William was 47 he was appointed as a trustee of the Elizabethton Baptist Church. This is the year the church was founded. Its membership consisted of families from the Watauga, Laurel Fork and Sinking Creek areas of the town. An article in the Lincoln Family Magazine talks about how William’s father Daniel was a leader in the Baptist Church. In fact Daniel donated the land that the Sinking Creek Baptist Church was built on. At the end of this article there is a note that says, “Daniel Stover’s son, William, the heir of Mary Ward Lincoln, after his marriage with Miss Sarah Murray Drake, affiliated with the Presbyterians.” This suggests that Sarah was a Presbyterian and that William converted to her religion after he married her. Given how active his father was in the Baptist Church, I would imagine this may have been rather scandalous at the time and possibly have caused friction between William and his father.

William Stover signed his Last Will and Testament on June 25, 1864 when he was 69 years old. In the Will he left his estate to his wife and sons. Here is a transcription of the will.

I William Stover of Carter County, Tennessee being of sound mind and disposing memory, do publish this as my Last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills made by me at any time.

First, my will is that I be buried in a decent and Christian-like manner and that my funeral expenses be first paid out of any estate.

Secondly, that the debts now due and owing to me or any debts that may be due me at my death shall be collected by my Executors herein after named and applied to the payment of any debts I may owe at that time.

Third, I give any bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah Stover all my household and kitchen furniture, also all my parts of the stock such as horses, cattle, sheep, hogs and mules and all my farming utensils which I may be possessed of at the time of death also my Black Smith tools absolutely to be dispersed of as she may see proper.

Fourth, I give and bequeath to my said wife my negroes Delilah, Sam, Dan and Jo to have and to hold said slaves in her separate will and solely for her own benefit and not to be subject to the control of any husband she may hereafter marry to be disposed of as she may wish by deed of gift or otherwise.  I also give and bequeath to my said wife during her natural life the tract of land I now own known as the Mill Tract and a tract of land containing one hundred acres purchased of S.M. Stover situated on the south side of Holston Mountain.

Fifth, I give and bequeath to my son Samuel M. Stover the above named Mill Tract and the one hundred acre tract after the termination of my wife’s life’s estate.  This bequeath is made to my son Samuel M. Stover from the fact that most of the property I gave him was …. and as that kind of property has greatly decreased in value I wish to make up in part that deficit by this gift.

Sixth, I have heretofore given to my son David L. Stover six thousand six hundred dollars.  To my son Daniel Stover six thousand two hundred dollars, and to my son Samuel M. Stover five thousand seven hundred dollars.  It is my wish that my wife in disposing of the property she receives under this will will do it in such a manner as to make it possible for portions for my sons Daniel and Samuel be will equal to that received by my son David L. Stover it being my object to make no difference among my children in point of property.

Lastly, I hereby nominate institute and appoint Samuel M. Stover and Daniel Stover my Executors and J.M. Stover widow of David L. Stover Executrix of this my last will and testament and authorize them to sell such personal property as can but be applied to pay any debt I may owe at my death but this I think will not be necessary as I own but very little.

In testimony whereof I have heretofore set my hand and seal this 25th day of July 1864.  Signed sealed and acknowledged in the presents (sic) of the testator and each other.
William Stover    Seal
Nathanial Taylor
J.S. Taylor
Drakes Cliff cemetery where William is buried along with
his son Daniel Stover

I have yet to find a record with the exact date of death but I do know that William was buried in the Drakes Cliff Cemetery in Carter. His headstone provides only the year of this death. This is the same cemetery where his son Daniel is buried as well as two of our Drake ancestors. I visited the cemetery in 2012. Unfortunately it was so overgrown by brambles that I was not able to find William’s headstone. The image here was found on the Find-A-Grave website. It was posted by Dale Jenkins, a descendant of Solomon Stover one of William’s brothers.

William Stover's signature from one of the documents
I've found doing research

Watauga Association of Genealogists (WAG) journal, material provide by Robert Nave and Dale Jenkins, Court of Pleas records, land deed records, 1840, 1850 and 1860 censuses, “Historical Reminiscences of Carter County” by Mildred Kozsuch, wills of Isaac and Mary Lincoln and of William Stover, an article written by James D. Jenkins and published August 1, 1915 in The Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Elizabeth Stolte Menge (1854-1895) My Great Grandmother on My Mother's Side

Elizabeth I. Stolte Menge
Elizabeth Menge was born Elizabeth Ingles Stolte on the 21st of October 1854. She is the daughter of Casper Stolte a cooper master (someone who made kegs and barrels) and Louise Bremecke. Elizabeth was born in Hildesheim, Germany which is in Lower Saxony. Lower Saxony is in the northwest portion of Germany. Hildesheim is one of the oldest cities in Northern Germany having begun as a market place in 815 AD. According to Wikipedia “The present market place of Hildesheim was laid out at the beginning of the 13th century when the city had about 5,000 inhabitants. When Hildesheim obtained city status in 1249, it was one of the biggest cities in Northern Germany” The city was heavily damaged during WWII but much of it has been rebuilt. Hildesheim has two churches listed as World Heritage sites.

Elizabeth’s father died when she was 21. When she was 24, she married Heinrich “Henry” Friedrich Menge on August 16, 1879. According to Henry’s family journal they were married in the Catholic Church in Hildesheim which was located at 1057 Am Kohrwieder Street. Heinrich immigrated to the United States two years after their marriage. He travelled on a steam ship named The Neckar that departed from Bremen, Germany on May 1st and arrived in New York City on May 14th 1881.  I have not found a record of when Elizabeth immigrated. She did not appear on the passenger list with Henry. Presumably she arrived in the United States shortly after her husband. I have found no details regarding how or when they travelled from New York to San Francisco, California.
Elizabeth with Henry & Emma ca. 1885
Lower Saxony, Germany from Google

Elizabeth bore three children. The first, Emma Louise Menge who was named after her grandmother was born August 1st, 1883. Emma was my grandmother. Elizabeth’s second child, a son named Henry George Menge was also born in the United States on March 17, 1886. But, her third child, another son, Hugo Friedrich `Fritz’ was born in Hildesheim, Germany on January 6, 1890. No doubt Elizabeth and Henry had returned to Germany to visit their relatives and introduce their children to the family. Three years later Elizabeth’s mother Louise died in 1893.
Hildesheim Town Hall ca. 1895 from Google

In 1884, Elizabeth and Henry were living in San Francisco at 520 Folsom Street. That’s where Emma was born. Today that address is a parking lot. One year later they moved to 909 Buchanan Street, also in San Francisco. Currently, this area of San Francisco has been redeveloped. The Menge home was probably destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.

By 1888 Elizabeth and Henry had moved to the East Bay and were living at 911 Adeline Street in West Oakland. That address has also undergone extensive change and is now public housing. They remained on Adeline until 1892 when they moved to Fruit Vale – a town near Oakland. Their first home was on Fruitvale Avenue between 16th Street and 17th Street. Today, Fruit Vale has merged with Oakland and this block has five multi-unit residential buildings, one single family home, a park and a parking lot. One of these sites may have been where they lived. Interestingly, this location is one block from the home where Emma’s future husband John Roger Thornally lived at Fruitvale and East 17th.  See the post about Mary McGowan Thornally for a photo of that house.
Baker's Guild before WWII as it would have
looked when Elizabeth live in Germany

Elizabeth does not appear on any US census. She immigrated after the 1880 census, the 1890 census was lost and she had died before the 1900 census. So far, I have been unable to find any documents for Elizabeth on either or the FamilySearch site. She died of pneumonia on June 12, 1895 when she was only 40 years old. Her obituary was published in a German language newspaper in San Francisco. It read:  “Death Announcement – On June 12th died at Fruit Vale near San Francisco after 23 days of heavy suffering of pneumonia, my dear wife and my three children’s caring mother Elizabeth Menge nee Stolte. Deeply beloved by the bereaved. H. Menge and Children.” 

Elizabeth is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery on Howe Street in Oakland, California. St. Mary’s which opened in 1863 was the first cemetery established in Oakland. Elizabeth is buried in plot H along with two infants who would have been her grandchildren if she and they had survived. Addie Menge, Friedrich’s second wife, Addie’s mother Katherine Schlotzhauer and Addie's brother George are also buried in the plot.

The new headstone I had made for my great-grandmother
and the 5 others buried with her. It was installed in February of

Entry Gate to St. Mary's Cemetery, Oakland, CA

Plot where Elizabeth is buried, just above the wall