Sunday’s Obituary – John Bender “Found Dead In His Bed”

John Bender is my third great grandfather on my mother’s side.
(William H. Lawbaugh -> Effie Bender -> William H. Bender -> John Bender)
FOUND DEAD IN HIS BED
Another Pioneer in the Person of John Bender Has Been Taken.
John Bender, one of the old settlers in Lakin township, where he had lived since 1876, or for the past forty-nine years, has answered the final summons, he having been found dead in bed by members of the family about seven o’clock Sunday morning.  The end had come peacefully, as he was lying in a natural position and it was thought he was asleep as the son tried to awaken him at the usual hour.
While he had not been in good health for many years, being a sufferer with stomach trouble and its attendant ailments, it was only a month ago that he had a severe attach of neuralgia of the heart and it was another spell that kind which took him away, according to the decision of the attending physician.  He had been up and about the house the day before and after eating a hearty supper retired at the usual hour with no indication that the early morning would record the time of his death.  It is thought he must have passed away about four o’clock from the condition of his body when he was found.
 John Bender was born in Lyconing County, Pa., Feb. 28, 1845 and died at his home Feb 15, 1925, at the age 79 years, 11 months and 14 days.  He was married to Miss Matilda Sherman[sic] on August 8, 1867.  To this union 8 children were born, four of whom preceded the father to the other Land.  Those surviving are Mrs. Nora Bastin, Irvan [sic] and Lewis Bender, who lived at home and Oliver Bender, of Sedgwick.  He is survived also by the widow, one sister, Mrs. Maggie Garnhart, of Williamsport, Pa., eight grand-children and six great grand-children.
At an early age he united with the Lutheran Church and upon his coming to this vicinity in Feb. 1878 he united with the United Brethren Church at Pleasant Valley and where he had been a regular attendant all of those years when health would permit.  Upon coming to Harvey county he located on a farm five miles south of town and had continuously lived within on half mile of the original home for forty-seven years.
He was one of the oldest and most highly respected residents of Lakin township and his taking away from the scene of an active career is deeply mourned by all who came in close contact with him during that period.
The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon from Pleasant Valley Church and was largely attended by old friends and neighbors.  The service was conducted by the Pastor, Rev. Sill who paid a fine tribute to his memory.  Burial was made in Pleasant Valley Cemetery, where so many of his old friends are taking their last long sleep.  The close relatives have the sympathy  of their many friends over the grief which has entered into their lives.
John Bender Obituary, Halstead Independent, Halstead, Harvey County, Kansas, Volume XLV, No. 8, 19 February 1925, page 1, column 6.

Amanuensis Monday – Martin Strickler’s Will

Martin Strickler is my 4th great grandfather (Roberta Mitchell -> Opal Strickler -> Abraham Strickler -> David Strickler -> Martin Strickler)

Martin Strickler 1781 – 1852 

Martin Strickler Will
Page County Court House
Book D, Page 208-209
Photos taken 20 November 2007 of Will Book D by Sierra Pope.
I Martin Strickler of the County of Page and State of Virginia do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say.
1st: I give and bequeath unto to my wife Anna Strickler during her life all of my house hold and kitchen furniture of every due scription (sic) and after her death I direct that the said property be sold at public sale and the money rising from the sale of said property is to be equally divided between my two daughters Rebecca Keyser the wife of Reuben Keyser & Nancy Foltz the wife of George Foltz.  I also give and bequeath unto my wife Anna for and during her life one third of the farm I now reside on.
2nd: I give and bequeath unto my son David Strickler and his heirs for ???? the farm I now reside on subject to the third I have allready (sic) given to my wife Anna during her life after her death, my son David Strickler is to have the whole farm containing three hundred and fifty acres by survey be it the same more or less being the land I purchased of I Strickler by my son David Strickler paying out to my daughter Nancy Foltz the wife of Geo. Foltz five hundred dollars to be paid in two annual payments two hundred and fifty dollars to be paid in and one year after the death of my wife Anna and the remainder in one year after as ???? the above named five hundred dollars is intended to make my daughter Nancy  Foltz equal with my daughter Rebecca Keyser which I have heretofore give my daughter Rebecca Keyser eighteen hundred dollars and my daughter Nancy Foltz thirteen hundred dollars.
3rd: I desire and direct that my land lying on Stony Run shall be sold on the following conditions.  Each tract shall be sold separate One tract I purchased of Jacob Aleshire containing on hundred acres be it the same more or less.  One tract I purchased of George Aleshire containing forty eight acres bit it the same more or less.  One tract I purchased of Emanuel Comer containing twenty five acres be it the same more or less I direct that my Executor hereafter mentioned shall sell as soon as convienent (sic) after my death the above named tracts of land on the following condition. One third of the money on each tract to be paid down and the remainder to be paid in three annual payments.  And the money arising from the sale of the above named tracts of land it is my desire shall be divided equal between my two daughters Nancy Foltz & Rebecca Keyser.
4th: I give and bequeath unto Martin Propts the farm purchased of James Hollensworth containing one hundred and forty acres be it the same more or less I give the above named farm to Martin Propts even for a bond he holds against me for six hundred and sixty dollars (or perhaps over that amount) But if the said Martin Propts is not willing to take the above named tract of land for the above named bond I then direct that the land shall be sold by my Executors hereafter mentioned upon the same terms of the  other above named lands. And after paying all of my just debts & expenses of settling my estate should there be any bonds left I desire and direct the remainder to be equally divided between my daughter Nancy Foltz and my daughter Rebecca Keyser.
5th: And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my son David Strickler and Wm M Dorrough Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other former wills made by me in witness  whereof  I here unto set my hand and seal this 4 day of September 1857.
                                                                                                                                Martin Strickler
Signed sealed and delivered by the aboved (sic) named Martin Strickler as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who at his request has hands subscribed our names as witnesses:
Moses Hent???, Henry Comer, Daniel Kite
Page County Court
At a court here foresaid county on Monday the 27 day of October 1857.  The last will and testament of Martin Strickler was presented to the court and proved by the oaths of Moses Hent?? And Daniel Kite two of the witnesses thereto and is ordered to be bound and on the motion of David Strickler and Wm M Dorrough the Executors therein named who made oath thereto and together with James Kibler and Chesebim (sp?) Hershman as their securities entered into and acknowledged on bond in the penalty of $5000 conditioned according to & in a certificate is granted the said David Strickler and William M Dorrough for obtaining a probate of the said will and testament. 

An American Dream

Today is the 4th of July.  The day to celebrate the independence of this great country.  The most common ways to celebrate are barbecues, fireworks, and parades with lots of American flags.  I would also like to celebrate by telling you a little about my paternal grandfather.  Celio “Jay” Gordon Capelli lived the American Dream.

 

Jay Capelli, March 1942

Jay was born in Cassano Canavesse, Turino, Italy on December 31, 1914.  His parents were Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.  On March 22, 1920, Celio (5 years old) and his father, Matteo Ciardonei, arrived in the United States on the SS Dante Aligheri.  According to the ship’s manifest, Matteo was deported March 31st because he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.  Matteo was a strong man because he left his young son in the United States with his sister-in-law, Mary (Siletto) Capelli.

Jay grew up in the Capelli household in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his 3 cousins, Mabel, Bruno, and Elsie and his aunt and uncle, Mary and Alfredo (Fred) Capelli.  Jay became a citizen of the United States on February 25, 1937 when he was 22 years old.  He also changed his name at this time to Capelli.  My grandfather attended Duquesne University, majoring in accounting.  He also served as a Quartermaster in the Army during World War II.

My grandfather met my grandmother, Mary Dempsey in Pittsburgh and they married February 15th, 1947.  Later that year,  they migrated out west to California with my grandmother’s brother.  They settled in Los Angeles and had three children.  The oldest boy being my dad.   The kids grew up in Anaheim and my grandparents moved to Mission Viejo during the 1970’s.

 

Jay & Mary Capelli, 40th Wedding Anniversary, February 1987

Jay was ninety four when he passed away just over 2 years ago.  He was a hard working man who loved his family deeply.  I remember being in high school when he finally retired from being a CPA at 80.  He loved to go bowling and did so until his late 80’s.  There are many family photos of Jay camping with his family.

He was hard of hearing in his later years.  I will never forget the first time I visited him after he got his hearing aids.  There was a look of astonishment on his face when I spoke to him.  I realized that my voice had been out of his hearing range for years and he was excited to hear what I sounded like.

One of my most favorite memories of my grandfather is from Christmas about 7 or 8 years ago.  I had found the passenger manifest for his arrival in the U.S. on EllisIsland.org and ordered a copy of the manifest and a photo of the ship to give to him for Christmas.  He was so amazed by the gift!  It made me so happy to be able to bring a piece of his past to him.

It is amazing to think that my grandfather did it all in this country.  He immigrated here as a young boy, learned a new language, grew up in a loving family, attended university, became a U.S. citizen, served his country in war, found the love of his life, followed his dreams out west, and raised a family.  He really did live the American Dream.

Tombstone Tuesday – Charles F. Dempsey & Josephine A. Gamble

Charles Francis Dempsey was born September 1, 1894 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Josephine Amelia Gamble was born May 18, 1894 in Pennsylvania.  They married about 1920 in Pittsburgh.  Their marriage produced a son, William James, and a daughter, Mary Elizabeth (my paternal grandmother).

The family lived in Pittsburg for a time before moving to California in the late 1940’s.  Josephine passed away in Burbank, California on September 26, 1976.  Charles died in Burbank, California on February 13, 1986.

They are buried together at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in San Fernando, California.

Wedding Wednesday – The many husbands of Agnes Mattson

Agnes Mattson is my husband’s paternal great-grandmother (Shirley Gingg -> Agnes Mattson).

From the stories I have been told, Agnes Mattson is one of those people you wish you had the chance to know.  She was born May 1, 1909 in San Francisco, California to Charles Mattson and Wendla Botmaster.  She was the middle child of five, having two older brothers and two younger brothers.  The eldest son died an early death and Agnes never knew him.  She worked in the Talmage State Hospital for many years and also owned 1000 acres in Hopland at one time.

Agnes is a woman who never gave up on love and kept trying her had a marriage.  She has 7 documented marriages and a deathbed confession of an 8th marriage.  We have not located any information about the 8th marriage.

Here is a peek at Agnes’ many husbands:

1.  Charles Frank Gingg.  Agnes and Charles married September 5, 1925 in San Francisco.  Charles was 22 at the time of the marriage.  The marriage certificate indicates that Agnes was 19 but she lied.  She was only 16 when she married the first time.  They had one daughter, Shirley Marie Gingg.  Shirley would be Agnes’ only child.  Charles and Agnes were divorced October 10, 1934.  The reason for the divorce was Charles having been sent to San Quentin Prison for his involvement of a burglary/murder in Santa Rosa, California in 1933.

2.  William Earl Hines.  Agnes married Bill Hines June 15, 1936.  The wedding was witnessed by Edwin and Sylvia Mattson, Agnes’ brother and his wife.  They lived in Napa, California.  Bill died in 1945 of a heart attack.

3.  Andrew A. Hooks.  Agnes married a third time to Andy Hooks on November 3, 1950.  Andrew was in the Air Force and stationed at Travis AFB in Fairfield, California.  There is a family story that this marriage ended in a quickie divorce in Mexico.  I do not know if this is true or not.  But I have no other knowledge of how the marriage ended.

4.  Daniel M. Williams.  Dan and Agnes married March 3, 1953.  Their marriage was annulled in the first two weeks of February 1955.

5. Donald Edward Frazier.  As soon as her previous marriage was annulled, Agnes married Don Frazier on February 14, 1955 in Reno, Nevada.  They lived in Talmage, Mendocino, California.  Don was Agnes’ favorite husband and they are buried next to each other in Colma, California.  He died in May 1958 from lung cancer.

6.  Peter Klick.  Agnes went back to Reno for her next marriage to Pete Klick.  They were married may 18, 1963.  They lived in Hopland, Mendocino, California.  Pete died June 4, 1975 of cancer.

7.  Patrick O’Malley.  Pat O’Malley was Agnes’ last husband.  They were married in Reno, Nevada (do we see a pattern here?) on March 31, 1978.  My mother-in-law remembers being pregnant with my husband as she traveled to Reno to witness the marriage.  Agnes had met Pat in the mobile home park she was living in Cloverdale, California.  The story is that she broke many of the other single women’s hearts when she married Pat, one of the only single men in the neighborhood.  Pat outlived Agnes.  She passed away March 22, 1982 in Cloverdale.

Agnes did have a family bible that she kept written notes about births and deaths in her family.  She wrote information about Don Frazier’s family in the back pages of the bible.  On random pages, she wrote the first names of all of her other husbands in the bottom margins except for Frank Gingg and Dan Williams.  Her many marriages were “hidden” inside of the bible.

Unfortunately, we do not have any information about the name of the mystery 8th husband or the year she may have married him.  I am considering doing some searching in the Reno marriage registers to see if any of her married names show up.  The time frames which Agnes could have married an 8th time are limited as the time periods between marriages were generally only a couple of years apart.

Twice Related

Lawrence Elliott has the special distinction of showing up in two different family lines in my family tree.  Here is how:

Lawrence was born Feb 26, 1892 in Hoyt, Kansas to Lewis Elliott and Melinda Mitchell.  On December 12, 1912 he married Ruby Strickler in Fall River, Greenwood, Kansas.  Ruby Strickler was born May 28, 1894 in Narka, Kansas to Abraham Strickler and Effie Amner Flock.

Ruby was the middle daughter in a family of 1 son and three girls.  The brother died as an infant. Opal was born second on March 1, 1891. Emerald was born last on April 1, 1902.  After Lawrence and Ruby were married, Ruby set her older sister up with her husband’s uncle, Dudley Moses Mitchell.  Dudley Moses is the younger brother of Melinda Mitchell, Lawrence’s mother.

Despite a fifteen year age difference, Opal and Dudley hit it off and were married on December 20, 1916 in Topeka, Kansas.

After the marriage, Lawrence became twice related.  He shows up in both the Strickler family line and the Mitchell family line.  Lawrence was related to Dudley Moses as his nephew and brother-in-law at the same time.  He is my 1st cousin twice removed and the husband of my great great aunt.

Black Sheep Sunday – My Dad lived in San Quentin

About 30 years ago, my mother-in-law took a ferry ride from Marin to San Francisco with her young son, husband, and in-laws, John A and Shirley Pope.  Shirley, my husband’s grandmother, pointed to San Quentin as they passed by and casually remarked “My dad lived there.”

I heard this story for the first time about 3 years ago and was amazed.  It was one of those stories that people knew but don’t talk about much.  I have since researched the story and found out that it is very important to pick your friends wisely.  This is the story of Charles Frank Gingg and his time “living” in San Quentin.

Charles Franklin Gingg taken June 1920 Pacific Heights Grammar School.
Charles Gingg was born Charles Franklin Padgitt on October 5, 1905 to John A Padgitt and Carrie Belle Wells.  His mother divorced his father and remarried William Carl Gingg.  Charles took William’s last name after his mother remarried.  All family stories have Charles using his middle name.

Frank Gingg married Agnes Mattson  September 5, 1925.  On the marriage certificate, Frank is listed as 22 and Agnes as 19.  In reality, Agnes was only 16 at the time.  She had lied to get past the age restrictions for marriage.  They had one daughter, Shirley Marie Gingg on September 16, 1927.  The 1930 census shows the young family living in Santa Rosa, California.  At the beginning of 1933, Agnes left Frank and took their young daughter to live in Santa Rosa.  Frank was living in an apartment in Santa Rosa with Ralph Thatcher.  Apparently, they both worked together as printers in Santa Rosa.

On February  20, 1933, Frank met with Andrew Mareck in San Francisco to discuss driving to Santa Rosa to rob a speakeasy in the back of the Buon Gusto Hotel on Adams Street. Frank, along with Tony Cardinelli, F.B. ‘Slim’ Hoyt, Ralph Thatcher, George Jones and Andrew Mareck drove up to Santa Rosa in several cars on February 25 and 26 and met at the apartment of Ralph Thatcher.  During the early evening of February 27th, the ‘gang’ robbed the 101 Ranch.  Frank was not present for this robbery as he was driving up from San Francisco.  He met the men at Thatcher’s apartment after.

Later in the evening, Andrew Mareck and Frank Gingg went to the speakeasy adjoining the Buon Gusto Hotel for some drinks.  They returned to the apartment once again, where they collected their friends and in two cars drove back to Adams Street.  Frank Gingg and George Jones remained in the cars as the get-away drivers.  Mareck, Cardinelli, and Hoyt entered the speakeasy with guns and declared “stick ’em up.”  They stole approximately $17 dollars from the speakeasy patrons and another $100 dollar from the three slot machines in the room.
There was a nightwatchman, C.R. ‘Bill’ Carrick, who made regular rounds in the neighborhood.  One of the victims of the robbery warned that the nightwatchman would be coming soon.  Slim Hoyt went outside to keep watch and ran straight into Carrick in the alley.  He shot Carrick six times.  Somehow, while being shot, Carrick was able to hit Hoyt once in the arm with his own gun.
Meanwhile, George Jones, who was waiting as a get away driver, was spooked by the gunshots and ran back to Thatcher’s apartment.  By the time he arrived at the apartment, both cars with the rest of the ‘gang’ had already returned.  Thatcher and Mareck, an ‘illegal doctor’ (he was on trial for performing abortions the year prior), tended to Hoyt’s wounds.  Gingg, Cardinelli, and Jones all immediately returned to San Francisco.
The cars used in the robbery/murder were quickly identified to police who within hours found them parked outside of Thatcher’s apartment. Police took Thatcher and Mareck into custody.  Slim Hoyt had escaped and was on the run.  After Mareck was interviewed, the Santa Rosa police had the San Francisco police go to his home.  At the apartment in San Francisco, the police found Thatcher and Gingg.  All men were arrested.  Thatcher and Gingg were not immediately transferred to Santa Rosa because the Sheriff had received threats of mob violence.
In the days after the murder, the police ordered that all speakeasy’s in Santa Rosa be shut down.  Apparently, the was not a drink to be found the following evening.
Agnes Gingg and her mother-in-law, Carrie Belle Gingg, visited Frank in jail.  Agnes told the local paper “I have all the faith in the world in Frank and I’ll do everything in my power to help him.  Frank has never been in any trouble before.  I can’t believe that he would do anything like this.  He told me when I talked to him that he wasn’t there when the shooting occurred and I believe him.  But, I can’t understand how he ever became mixed up with that crowd in the first place.”  Apparently, Frank became friends with the ‘gang’ after Agnes left him.
I have not found out if and when Slim Hoyt was arrested.  I have scanned the papers a month after the robbery/murder and he still had not been captured.
All of the ‘gang’ members were convicted of robbery and first degree murder in May 1933.  All of the men were sentenced to life and 5 years to life CS (My best guess is that notation means concurrent sentences).  Frank was processed at the intake center at San Quentin on June 2, 1933.  Mareck and Jones both tried to appeal their convictions.  Both of the appeals were denied.
Charles Frank Gingg, Prisoner Number 54252
While in prison, Frank received divorce papers from Agnes.  I am still trying to find the date that Frank was released from prison.  It was not included in the San Quentin prison records I received from the State Archives.  When he got out, Frank moved to Alaska.  He  lived in Ketchikan where he worked at the local paper as a printer.  I have been told by my mother-in-law that Shirley only told her sons that their grandfather had been in prison when they started to act up as teenagers.  She wanted to make sure that they knew the consequences if they got in trouble with the law.

The next generation – My Descendants

It occurred to me very recently that not only do I have ancestors, I have descendants.  The event that sparked this moment of clarity was the birth of my second child, Mia Caitlin on May 15th.  You would think that this would have occurred to me when my first daughter, Julia, was born in December 2008 but it didn’t.  It was a cool realization that there is now another generation added to my family tree, this time down in the roots.

Mystery Monday – Who was Mary Bradley’s mother?

Mary Bradley is my second great grandmother on my mother’s paternal side (William Lawbaugh ->Effie Bender->Mary Bradley).

Mary Eugenia Bradley was born 18 December 1867 in LaSalle county, Illinois.  Her parents are listed on her death certificate as Charles Bradley and Kate Bradley.  The informant listed on the death certificate was her daughter, Matilda ‘Tilly’ (Bender) Case.

Both my mother and one of her cousins remember their ‘Grandma Bender’ (Effie May Bender), Mary’s older daughter & Tilly’s older sister, telling the story about how her mother, Mary Bradley, was born illegitimately to a Jewish woman and forced onto her father’s new bride to raise.  They both also remember a story that Grandma Bender remembers a visit to Mary by the supposed biological mother.

Here are some of the ideas I have researched in my attempt to find an answer to this family story:

Birth Records

  • Birth Records were not kept in the state of Illinois until 1916.
  • LaSalle County, Illinois starting keeping birth records in 1877 but have no earlier records.

Census
An analysis of the census records is not clear either:

  • 1870 Federal Census – living with John and Kate
  • 1880 Federal Census – living with John and Kate and 3 brothers
  • about 1883 – John Bradley dies
  • 1885 Kansas Census – living with Kate and 3 brothers
  • 1900 Federal Census – living with husband, William Bender.  Kate is living in Chicago with her 3 sons.  She indicates that she has had 5 children and only 3 are living.
  • 1910 Federal Census – Mary is living in Kansas with her second husband.  Kate is living with her oldest son and his family in Chicago.  She indicates that she has had 3 children and 3 are living.

It is very interesting that after moving to Chicago, Kate (Cary) Bradley has indicated only 3 children are living when Mary is clearly alive in Kansas.

Marriage Records

  • Mary Bradley’s marriage certificate to William Bender dated 17 December 1877 does not mention Mary’s parents.  There is a certificate signed by John Bender (William’s father) attesting to both Mary and William being of age (18 and 19 respectively).
  • The marriage certificate for John Bradley and Catherine Cary is definitely more interesting.  They applied for a marriage license in LaSalle County, Illinois on November 18, 1867.  The copy of the license I received states that license # 1243 was ‘not returned, missing’.
  • I have also received a copy of the St. Columba Church marriage records (Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois) for Charles and Kate.  The church records indicate that Charles and Catherine were married November 18, 1867.  The marriage was witnessed by William Edding and Mary Noonan.

The marriage date for Charles and Catherine is only 31 days before Mary was born.  I find it very unlikely that a woman in 1867 would wait until she is 8 months pregnant before marrying the father of her child.  Considering the year, I would expect a woman to have gotten married as soon as possible to hide the fact she was pregnant before marriage.

Conclusions
I have not reached any conclusions about who Mary Bradley’s mother is.

I do find the evidence in favor of Kate Bradley being Mary’s mother on the thin side.  The only person who has stated that fact was Mary’s daughter.  She was obviously did not have first hand knowledge of the birth since she was not there.

There is also no proof yet that another woman is Mary Bradley’s mother.

The only clue I have to the mystery Jewish woman is that her last name might have been Udell.  This name was given to my mother’s cousin by Grandma Bender in a conversation.

I am following up on another research idea right now.  I have sent an inquiry to the Catholic Church, St. Columba, in Ottawa, Illinois to see if they have any birth or baptismal records for Mary Bradley.  This is the church that Charles and Kate got married at just a month before Mary’s birth.

I will keep you updated when I receive a response.