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