Tuesday, February 25, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #10: Typhoid Fever Fells William M. McClure

Hubby's great-grandpa William Madison McClure (1849-1887) had been married to Margaret Jane Larimer for only 11 years when he died following six weeks of suffering from typhoid fever. As noted in his obituary from the Wabash Plain Dealer, above, "Will" was a Mason. According to the 1880 Census, he was a worker on the railway.

Will left four children under the age of 10 at the time of his death:
  • Lola A. McClure, born in 1877 in Goshen, Indiana
  • Brice Larimer McClure, born in 1878 in Little Traverse, Michigan
  • Lucille Ethel McClure, born in 1880 in Millersburg, Indiana
  • Hugh Benjamin McClure, born in 1882 in Wabash, Indiana
Luckily, the Wabash Plain Dealer reported that Margaret (known as Maggie) had some financial cushion, thanks to his advance planning and his Masonic connection: 
Will McClure had his life insured in the Masonic Mutual Insurance Co for $3,000. The policy was made payable to his wife.
What caused Will and Maggie to move from Elkhart, Indiana, where they married in 1876, to Goshen, then to Little Traverse, then back to Millersburg and finally to Wabash? I know a number of McClures lived in the Little Traverse area, which was in the midst of a farming, tourism, and lumber boom. But why leave to return to Indiana so quickly?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Military Monday: Band Sergeant of H.M.S. "Goliath" at Age 11

Hubby's great uncle Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) was the renowned bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders of Canada for nearly 50 years. Thanks to the kindness of the head of the Canadian Band Association, which published a biographical sketch of Capt. Slatter in 1943, our family now knows a lot more about his early career.

Slatter must have been one heck of a musician and a dynamic personality to achieve so much, starting at the tender age of 11 (yes, you read that right).
  • At age 11 (in 1875), he was Band Sergeant and solo cornet of the Boy's Band of the H.M. Training Ship Goliath.
  • Before he was 13, Slatter joined the British Army and at 14, he was the chair of Solo Trombone and chair of Euphonium soloist in a regimental band.
  • At 18, he became Euphonium soloist in the H.M. Life Guard's Band.
  • Next, he joined Patrick Gilmore's Band in America, a NY-based wind band famous throughout the world. Gilmore died in 1892.
  • Slatter moved to Canada and became part of the Band of "A" Battery, Canadian Regulars.
  • Next, he moved to Boston for a position with Ellis Brooks' Marine Band (which, if I have the correct article, played engagements at expositions and other big-city events.
  • For three seasons, Slatter served as first trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
  • Despite offers from John Philip Sousa and Victor Herbert, Slatter joined the 48th Highlanders as Bandmaster in 1896.
  • For decades, Slatter and the 48th Highlanders Band toured the world. He even arranged the Royal Tattoo musical program for the Quebec Tercentenary celebration.
  • As Bandmaster, Slatter composed and arranged military music that is still in use today.
  • Slatter was a founder of the Canadian Bandmasters' Association, its first president, and then honorary president. 
  • A portrait of Capt. Slatter, in full Highland regalia, was presented to the Armories in Toronto (a beautiful building that is now, alas, gone). Wonder what happened to that portrait? I'm going to try to find out!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #9: Brice S. Larimer, Elkhart Pioneer

Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906), hubby's great-great-granddaddy, was a pioneer settler in Elkhart county, Indiana and the son of a pioneer couple of Fairfield county, Ohio (Robert Larimer and Rachel Smith Larimer). Most probably, Brice's full middle name is Smith, in honor of his mother's maiden name.

His father brought Brice and siblings to Elkhart in 1835. As the oldest of nine, Brice helped his father with the farm and family after Rachel died at age 38, in 1838.

In 1847, Brice married Lucy E. Bentley (which is why I've been hunting her elusive ancestors, William Tyler Bentley and Olivia Morgan Bentley). They had four children: Atta, Emma, William, and Margaret (hubby's great-grandma, who married William Madison McClure). Wonder what happened to Atta? Maybe she died young, because I've found nothing about her.*

Brice had a series of careers, including family farming, Lake Shore agent, and notary public.

He was not the first Brice in the family. Brice Smith (1756-1828) was Brice Larimer's grandfather, the father of Rachel Smith. And the family has had other Brices since then, keeping the name alive for generations.

* The Larimer family book says Atta died young, sad to say.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mystery Monday: Family Stories + Family Trees = Margaret Roth Mandel

My "unknowns" box of photos includes two of this lady, both with the name "Margaret Mandel" handwritten on the back (not in my parents' or grandparents' handwriting). She was a mystery--until today.

Margaret Roth Mandel and Herman Mandel, 1946
My cousin from Boulder and I have lately been on the trail of the Roth family, trying to connect them with our Farkas or Kunstler lines. We began with a couple of family stories and then . . . here's how we teamed up with a fellow family history enthusiast to solve the mystery of Margaret Mandel AND advance our Roth research.

1. Our Farkas family minutes mention the Roth family twice:
  • Bela Roth sent his condolences and regrets after my great-grandma (Lena Kunstler Farkas) died and her gravestone was unveiled in the 1930s.
  • Alex Roth's death was noted, with sadness, in the minutes of October, 1949.
2. My Boulder cuz remembers--definitely--that the lady above, who attended my parents' 1946 wedding, was named Margaret Roth. She also remembers a number of family stories about the Roths, who were cousins in some undefined way. And she remembers a cousin known affectionately as "Uncle Bela Roth." All of these people lived in the New York area.

3. I began a private family tree on Ancestry to experiment with different family configurations of the Roths I was finding via manifests, Census data, and obituaries. As soon as I had four Roths connected in a stand-alone family tree, Ancestry waved its green "hint" leaf at me. There was exactly one hint: A family tree that included my Roths. BINGO! 

4. I sent the tree's owner, D, a note via Ancestry. He invited me to see his tree. There, I found more clues to my Roths--and the two of us took up the hunt, locating obituaries and adding more details to our Roth trees, day by day.

5. This morning, D sent me a note that solved the mystery of Margaret Mandel. In the obit of "cousin Alex Roth," he saw Margaret Mandel's name listed as a sibling. I added Margaret and her family to my Roth family tree--and up popped the naturalization paper of Herman, whose photo is at left, showing a younger version of the Herman in the photo with Margaret, above. I'm also contacting other relatives to ask for more stories and documents. In addition, another Ancestry hint sent me to someone whose family tree includes Margaret and her husband, Herman Mandel.

If I can connect with Margaret's descendants, I want them to have her portraits to pass down through the generations. March UPDATE: I'm meeting with a descendant in two days and will happily give him the two portraits, which belong in his family! Plus I found another Roth researcher (another D) looking at a related branch of this family. We're all cooperating and having a fun time discovering passenger manifests and more. It takes a village to trace a tree :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #8: Great Aunt Ada (Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter)

The bandmaster Slatter brothers, hubby's great uncles, had two sisters. The youngest was Mary Slatter (who married James Edgar Wood and became hubby's grandma). Mary's older sister was Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter (1868-1947), called "Aunt Ada" in the family.

This family apparently adored the name Mary, which was passed down from Mary Shehen (Ada's grandma) to Mary Slatter (Ada's mom) and then to both Mary and Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter. That's where the reign of Mary ended, however.

Born in Whitechapel, London, Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter moved to Ohio in the 1890s and married James Sills Baker in 1896 in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). Ada and James relocated to Toledo for a time, then back to Cleveland. I haven't found James's death date/place. Ada was widowed, later died in Cook County, Illinois--what was she doing there?

Ada and James Baker had 2 children, Dorothy Louise and Edith Eleanor. The photo at left shows my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood, in Cleveland, with these cousins  (we think).

The second marriage of Edith Baker (1901-1989) was in 1948 in Cleveland to Charles C. "Buck" Wise (1895-1963). He had a daughter from his first marriage, Janice Wise (1927-1988). Dorothy Baker (1897-1981) married Alfred Henry Nicholas (1899-1986) and they had three children.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #7: The Roth Family, from Nagy Bereg to New York

My great-grandma Lena Kunstler Farkas wasn't the only member of her family to leave their hometown of Nagy Bereg, Hungary and move to New York City. She set sail from Hamburg at the end of November, 1900 and arrived at Ellis Island 20 days later, joining her husband, Moritz Farkas.

Her mother's in-laws (?), the Roth family, also set sail from Hamburg. According to the manifest of the S.S. Kaiser Auguste Victoria (above), which reached Ellis Island in October, 1907, Bela Roth left behind his mother, Anni Roth, in Hungary and was bringing his second wife and his children to join his brother in New York City.

The Roths who made this 1907 journey were:
  • Bela Roth, age 42, occupation: "dealer"
  • Bertha Roth, age 30
  • Sandor (Alexander) Roth, age 15, occupation: shoemaker
  • Jozsef Roth, age 11
  • Imre Roth, age 6
  • Hugo Roth, age 1 year and 6 months
  • Tibar (Theodore), age 6 months
By January, 1920, the Roth family had settled into an apartment on East 19th Street in Manhattan. Bela and his son Alex were working as "operators" in a factory (typically, that meant working commercial sewing machines). Joseph was working in a garage, and the other children were in school.

According to family stories, the Roths (possibly Bela's brother) owned or managed a necktie factory. They gave my grandma Hermina Farkas a job sewing silk ties so she could help support her parents and siblings. I wonder whether Bela and his son Alex were also "operators" in a Roth-owned factory?

Two Roth cousins attended my parents' wedding in 1946, Margaret and her husband, whose name I don't know. Maybe some Roths will get in touch...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #6: The Slatter Brothers, Canadian Military Bandmasters

Hubby's grandma Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925) was the younger sister of three distinguished gentlemen who left their birthplace in England for successful careers as military bandmasters in Canada:
  • Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) moved to Canada in 1906 and became bandmaster and music director of the 7th London Fusiliers in Ontario, Canada. He and his wife Eleanor Marion Wilkinson had 6 children: Maud Victoria, Ada, Albert, Ernest, and twins Glynn Edward and John (Jack). Albert attained the rank of Lieutenant in 1920 and the rank of Captain in 1923. Thanks to the Royal Canadian Regiment, I know more about Capt. Slatter's military career: He served 28 years in the British Army before moving to Canada and joining the 7th London Fusiliers, as shown in the 1914 pay list (above).
  • John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) arrived in Canada in 1884, married Sophie Mary Elizabeth LeGallais in 1887, and had 6 children who survived childhood: Albert Matthew, Frederick William, Edith Sophie, Bessie Louise, Walter John, and Mabel Alice. The photo below shows Captain John Slatter in 1917 at Camp Borden, where he trained buglers during WWI. Capt. Slatter was a world-famous bandmaster, as I've written in earlier posts. In recent months, I also learned that he touched the lives of young men like Thomas Clark McBride.
  • Captain John Daniel Slatter, 1917
  • Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) arrived in Canada in 1911 and became bandmaster of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver. Henry and his wife, Alice Good, had 3 children who survived infancy: Arthur Albert, John Henry, and Dorothy Florence. Alice died on Christmas Day in 1914, and it looks like Henry remarried to Kathleen, and had a son Jackie, according to the 1921 Canada Census. The brief obituary from the Ottawa Journal of July 18, 1942 reads: "VANCOUVER, July 17, Henry Arthur Slatter, 76, one of Canada's leading bandmasters, and brother of Capt. John Slatter of Toronto, died here Wednesday." The Vancouver Public Library is sending me a 1928 article about this youngest Slatter bandmaster. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mystery Monday: Photographed at Sol Young Studios in NYC

A handful of photos in my "unknown" box were taken in Sol Young Studios--no names, no dates.

None of these New York City studios is on the Lower East Side, where many immigrants lived (including most of my ancestors).

However, thanks to the well-researched blog Photo-Sleuth, written by Brett Payne, I learned that Solomon Young had these studios during the 1910-1920 era, which helps me date the photos to that period.*

 First up are two ladies (one with the umbrella and one without) who might be mother and daughter.

They are standing in front of the exact same bookshelf backdrop and are posed in similar ways. Both are wearing huge, eye-catching fashion hats. I wonder whether the hats belonged to the photographer?

At immediate left is another lady photographed against the same bookshelf backdrop. No hat, different clothing. Is she related to the hat ladies?

At right and below left are two ladies with chairs in Sol Young's studio. Both are wearing fairly elaborate clothing and both display rings.

No hats, lots of hair. 
Possibly they're related to each other?

'Tis a mystery. Philly Cuz suspects the photo at left is of my grandma, Hermina Farkas. She has a good eye for faces, so she could very well be correct!

For comparison, see Hermina's 1909 portrait below, taken at the Beldegreen studios in NYC, for the Kossuth Society anniversary. Still, the lady at left might not be my grandma, not just because of the eyebrows but also the clothing--grandma made her own, and the dress at left seems more complicated than her usual home-made attire.

* Brett looked at these photos and believes they're from 1910 or possibly earlier. I have a total of 8 Sol Young portraits in my "unknowns" box and have scanned them for Brett. One, of a child, was taken when Sol Young had expanded to 18 studios in New York city and state, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.

For more about Sol Young, see the NY Public Library's Photographers' Identities Catalog on this page. (updated 2023)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Who's Missing from the Obit of Fannie Lebowitz

Still in pursuit of the two Markell men who married Lebowitz sisters, I've been tracing the Lebowitz family. Why? Because I want to determine how Julius Markell is related to Barnhart (Banna, Barney) Markell, not just as in-laws but also as possible cousins.

Barney and his son Joseph Markell were living with Barney's mother-in-law Fannie Lebowitz in 1910. Joseph's wife Rose Lebowitz died sometime between Joseph's birth in 1894 and the 1910 Census. My guess is she died before 1902, when Barney was naturalized, because Rose's name isn't on the nat papers.

But when Fannie Lebowitz died, her late daughter Rose wasn't mentioned in the obituary, nor was her late husband:

Mrs. Fannie Lebowitz, aged 78 years, died on May 2, 1933 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Joseph Sobel of Rankin, Pa. The deceased was a member of the Daughters of Israel, Jewish Home for Babies, Consumptive Home of Denver and Los Angeles, and others. She leaves two sons, Samuel of Rankin and Morris of Pittsburgh; two daughters, Mrs. Joseph Sobel and Mrs. Ella Markell of Rankin; ten grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. 

Note that Mrs. Ella Markell WAS listed. She was the first wife of Julius Markell, who later married Tillie [maiden name unknown] and had a son, William, in 1923.