(William H. Lawbaugh -> Effie Bender -> William H. Bender -> John Bender)
(William H. Lawbaugh -> Effie Bender -> William H. Bender -> John Bender)
Martin Strickler is my 4th great grandfather (Roberta Mitchell -> Opal Strickler -> Abraham Strickler -> David Strickler -> Martin Strickler)
Martin Strickler 1781 – 1852
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
An analysis of the census records is not clear either:
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.
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.
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.