February 7th, 2011


Agnes Troeller leads to Celia Weiss Klindt

I wrote about tracking down Clara Weiss, my second great aunt, in Upland California. I didn’t really know what had happened to her sister, Cecilia Celia. Turns out she was just down the road.

Finding a girl through the census records is hard, because they usually changed surnames when they got married. Celia shows up in 1860, 1870, and 1880. Then she disappears. She got married and doesn’t show up anywhere. Ancestry.com tells me the most likely entries are: Cecilia Garthwaite, Cecilia Lindsey, Cecilia McCready, etc. All of them born about 1858 in Wisconsin. Ancestry seems to rank them in terms of how close they are to Celia’s birthplace of Cassville, Wisconsin. In fact, Celia doesn’t show up at all in the first five pages of possibilities for censuses after 1900. I checked a lot of them, and most didn’t match up. Some could have been Celia, but I had no way to know via the census records.

So I kind of sat on that for a bit and pursued other Weisses. I got to Clara. She appeared only in 1900, and later I figured out why she wasn’t in 1910. Before I’d done that though, I started looking for her children. Her third child, Agnes Marie showed up in 1910, but not with Clara or Clara’s husband Conrad. She was part of the Henry J. and Anna C. Klindt household in Ontario, California. Her relationship to Henry was listed as niece.

1910 United States Federal Census Record for Henry J Klindt

Agnes is listed as the niece of Henry Klindt. So either Conrad Troeller is the brother of Henry or Anna, or Clara was the sister of Anna. There were no daughters of Anton Weiss listed as Anna in the 1860 through 1880 censuses. However, it was possible that Cecilia was a middle name. Among my grandparent’s family, George Archibald went by Arch, Florence Marie went by Marie, Richard Glenn went by Glenn and Laura Ann Francis goes by Francis. Perhaps that was common in their parent’s family as well, and Anna C. is Anna Cecilia.

Anna C.’s other stats matched up: born in Wisconsin around 1858, with both parents from Germany. Not enough to confirm it, but enough to start digging more. Luckily a few other things turned up. One other person had listed the wife of Henry Klindt as Anna C Weiss in their family tree. Still tenuous, but looking better. Around then I found Frank Smitha’s biography, and his page about his grandmother Clara.

My mother’s sister, Agnes, four years and three months older, was sent to live with Clarissa’s sister, Celia Klindt, whose husband, according to my mother, owned the main grocery store in Upland. Celia and husband were the family members on a path to wealth. They were putting their spare cash into buying property and in a few years, according to my mother, “Aunt Celia’s family owned flats as they called them, on Lake Street in Los Angeles. I think the property has been absorbed into McCarthur Park, as near as I can figure.”

The weight of the evidence was enough for me to put it in a confirmation column, even though some of the other facts on Smitha’s page are wrong.

The Klindt’s lived in South Dakota and Iowa for a bit, then went overseas to Germany for a couple of years. When they returned, they moved to Ontario. Henry’s passport application gave birth dates for his children as well as his intention to return in a couple of years. That’s awesome, because the census only gives approximate birth years and was generally transcribed as told to the census taker by the head of the house. The head of the house might not remember birth dates as well; the transcriber could mishear; the transcriber could miswrite it; the transcriber could have a bad sense of policies about first names vs. middle names. Some of them are really bad spellers.

I’m not sure the Klindts were wealthy, even though Smitha’s mother seemed to think they were. There were five children. Pauline, who married one Fred Jacobs. They moved back to Iowa where Fred died about 1916. Pauline moved back to California, and as best as I can tell never remarried or had more kids. Daughter Agnes married a George Bunker, then divorced him just a couple years later. She never appeared to remarry and the Bunkers had only one child George Jr. Daughter Mildred died about 1916 without marrying. Robert married Jessie Hermes around 1916, and by 1930 they had not had any children. The youngest child, Irving, married Edith Smith and they had a couple of daughters by 1930. None of the Klindts appeared to have lived in particularly wealthy neighborhoods, and I haven’t found any of them among the movers and shakers of southern California. But perhaps they were quietly wealthy. Who knows?

Neither Henry nor Celia lived to see 1930.

crossposted from King Rat.


Stephen Parker is insane, and paths crossing

So here’s an interesting one. My third great uncle was one Stephen Parker (me → George R. Weiss, my father → George A. Weiss, his father → Frances Ryan, his mother → Mary Parker, her mother → Stephen Parker, her brother). Like all the Parker kids he was born in Canada. His birth was likely in Ramsay Township near Perth about 1937. Father Patrick Parker and mother Mary Murphy took the kids to America sometime shortly before 1860. The family shows up in Glen Haven, Wisconsin in 1860, and in nearby Patch Grove in 1870. However, Stephen isn’t with the family in 1870. He enlisted with the Union Army on 16 May 1862.

US Army Register of Enlistments 1798-1914 Record for Stephen Parker

Stephen Parker's enlistment record

In that record, you’ll see that he enlisted with his brother Patrick. But Stephen was discharged not even 3 months later on 2 August because of injury. He shows up in the 1870 U.S. Census in Clarion, Iowa as a single man, farming. By 1880, he’s married to Margaret Burk, and they have two daughters, Mary and Agnes. But he’s no longer listed as the head of the family and the column for insane is marked!

1880 United States Federal Census Record for Stephen Parker

Stephen Parker marked as insane

By 1895, he’s been committed to the Independence State Hospital for the Insane and is not longer living with the family. I haven’t been able to dig up anything that shows what his symptoms of insanity were. I thought perhaps alcoholism, but that doesn’t seem to fit with this news report filed shortly after his death, that appeared in the Waterloo (Iowa) Courier on 16 Jun 1897.

Report on Stephen Parker autopsy

Report on Stephen Parker autopsy

An autopsy over the body of Stephen Parker at the Independence hospital has explained the cause of insanity in what physicians pronounced one of the most remarkable cases ever brought to the asylum here. Parker was insane for years, all attempts to account for the malady failed. The autopsy showed that during the war he suffered a fracture of the skull, from which minute particles of bone pierced the brain. Around these osseous matter formed, which affected the sufferer’s mind and caused his death. During the many years of his confinement in the asylum, the existence of the fracture was unsuspected. Had it been a simple operation would have restored him to sanity and perfect health.

So far this is the only madness I’ve found in my family tree, but there’s plenty more people to check out.

The Stephen Parker family story doesn’t quite end there though. Margaret Parker and her two daughters moved to Seattle in 1906 where they became employed by the Seattle School District. I love it when they live in Seattle, because I have so many more tools to find them. The Seattle Times used to list who was teaching where every year. Margaret died in 1924. Mary taught elementary, mostly at Longfellow School, which I believe was across the street from what’s now Miller Playfield. She died in 1932, at 615 Bellevue Ave. According to King County, it’s the same building there now.

Obituary for Mary Parker

Obituary for Mary Parker (Seattle Times, 11 Nov 1932)

Agnes taught high school mostly. She first taught at T.T. Minor. For several decades she taught at the Broadway School which used to be where the Broadway Performance Hall is now. But in the 1942 school year, she taught history at Ballard High School. Unfortunately, the paths between the Weiss side of my family and the Hathaway side did not cross; my grandfather graduate in the spring of 1942 and joined the merchant marine in May for the war.

Agnes Parker retired in 1947. She was very involved as a supporter of the Seattle Art Museum throughout her time in Seattle. In addition to listing the teachers every year, the Time also listed who bought season passes for S.A.M. every year. And you think you give up privacy with Facebook! Agnes became friendly with the Considine family, local vaudeville and theater promoters until they moved to the burgeoning entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles. It was on a visit to Hollywood producer John Considine Jr, that Agnes died.

Obituary for Agnes Parker

Obituary for Agnes Parker (Seattle Times, 12 Jan 1949)

Neither Mary nor Agnes had any children, so that branch of my family is not running around locally. I had hoped at first though, when I first found them in Seattle.

crossposted from King Rat.