Shirley Gingg (1927-2003) is my husband’s grandmother. This is a photo of her taken in 1945.
Frank Gingg and Anges Mattson are my husband’s paternal great-grandparents. This photo hangs on the wall in Grandpa John’s house The notation on the back reads “Frank and Agnes Sept 1925.”
Frank and Agnes were married on September 5, 1925 so this may be their wedding photo. If you think Agnes looks young, it is because she is. She lied on her marriage certificate stating that she was 18 when her real age was 16. Frank was just one month shy of his 20th birthday at the time of their wedding.
Frank Gingg is my husband’s maternal great grandfather. I have written a previous post about the crime that lead him to spend some quality time in San Quentin (Black Sheep Sunday – My Dad Lived In San Quentin).
I have known since a vacation with my husband’s family in 2001 that Frank lived in Alaska. We enjoyed a cruise of the Inside Passage including a stop in Ketchikan. I remember Grandma Shirley pointing out the newspaper office. She told us a story of visiting her dad one summer and coming to the paper where he worked as a printer.
What I did not know at the time of the cruise is that Frank had spent at least six years in San Quentin starting in 1933. I have been wondering since my previous research what was Frank’s life like after prison.
Last fall I was contacted by a new cousin who had read my original blog post about Frank. This cousin is the son Frank adopted after getting remarried in Alaska. For privacy I will call this person Cousin L. Cousin L has been wonderful sharing information about his memories of Frank and a cd full of photos.
The digital files I received included a obituary from the newspaper in Ketchikan. The obituary states that Frank had lived there for 15 years. This puts his approximate date of arrival as 1942. We know that Frank was sentenced to at least 6 years in prison in 1933. It is more likely that he was in San Quentin for 8 or 9 years.
I know that Shirley spent at least two summers with Frank after his arrival in Ketchikan. Shirley married in 1947 so I am guessing these summers took place about 1943-1945.
After Frank arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska he made contact with a childhood friend named Cecil. Cecil was had two children from a previous marriage. Frank and Cecil were married February 26, 1953 in Alaska. Frank adopted both of Cecil’s children.
|Frank, Cecil and the kids 1954|
Cecil and the kids moved to Ketchikan where they resided at 1200 Millar Street.
|View from 1200 Millar Street|
Frank, Cecil and the kids enjoyed life in Ketchikan. Frank worked as the mechanical superintendent at the Daily News in Ketchikan. He was in charge of all the printers. The family used to swim in the summers and ice skate in the winters at Ward Lake. Cousin L has many warm memories from this time in Alaska.
|Frank Gingg circa 1957|
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.
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.