Little Robert Harry Darling’s
mother, Anna/Hanna, died in 1913. He was only five years old at the time.
Apparently, his father, a railroad man, was either too transient or too ill to
take care of Robert and his six-year-old sister, Elizabeth Grace Darling as the
two of them went to live with their grandmother, Margaret Mary (Lamb)
It appears that Margaret and
her husband Peter were estranged. She was living at 1142 Bellaire Ave.,
Brookline (Pittsburgh) and Peter was rooming at 2237 Salisberry Street. (Some
years later Peter would return to England alone.) Therefore, in April 1915, it
appears that Robert was living, along with his sister, with his grandmother in Brookline
The “unsinkable” Titanic had
sunk only a few years earlier and by the spring of 1915, the Great War (World
War I) was well underway with German wolf packs sinking English vessels. On May
7, German U-Boats sank the RMS Lusitania as she neared Liverpool coming from
City of New York renamed S.S. New York
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia
We think there was a death in
the family, probably Margaret’s mother, Jane Lamb, had passed and that there
needed to be actions regarding the family business, an inn in the Appleby-in-Westmorland
area in Cambria, England. In any event, Margaret took the children to England
aboard the S.S. New York leaving New York City and arriving in Liverpool,
England on August 29, 1915.
Time in England had to have
been stressful for Margaret taking care of the estate. However, family stories
indicate that the time was good for the kids though, as they should be. Margaret
made sure they attended school and were “civilized” in English ways. Margaret
was Anglican, so they certainly would have attended Anglican Church while in
England. Possibly, even St. John’s Church in Workington, where Margaret and
Peter had been married many years before.
USS Yale – Renamed SS Philadelphia
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia – See Alt Text for details
Margaret and the children
stayed in England for about sixteen months returning to the United States
sailing from Liverpool on December 15, 1916, aboard the S.S. Philadelphia, and
arriving at New York City on December 23, 1916.
Any hopes that Robert may
have had regarding being with his father would have been dashed when his
father, Rufus Harry Darling, died in June 1917.
It is often said that when you do research it is imperative that you obtain the actual record and not rely solely upon indexes. Margaret Mary Lamb McAllister is an example of that. I thought I know Margaret’s death. Right name, right place, about the right year, even the right cemetery, or so it appeared. However, when I ordered an actual death certificate I was surprised. Not the right Margaret McAllister. Back to the drawing board to find the right Margaret McAllister’s death information.
Bio – Margaret Mary Lamb (1860-c.1927)
Margaret Mary Lamb was born in April of 1860, in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, England, to Edward and Jane Lamb (or Lambe). Appleby-in-Westmorland is near the Lake District National Park in northern England.
Margaret’s father died when she was young. We don’t know if the family moved to Egremont, Cumbria, England, before or after Edward died. However, we do know that according to the 1871 England Census, her mother was widowed and running a beer house in Egremont . She also had an older sister, also named Jane, who lived with them at the beerhouse. They had a sixteen-year-old domestic servant, Elizabeth Wardle, living with them as well.
St. Michael’s Church in Workington before fire.
Margaret moved up the coast to Maryport and was living there when she married Peter McAllister on 22 August 1878. At the Parish (St. Michael’s) Church in Workington.
Margaret was 18 and Peter was a 26 year-old seaman living in Workington.
The following year, 1879, their first child, Frank, was born. On March 21, 1881, their second child, Elizabeth was born and the young family was living in Workington on High Church Street.
The following year, 1882, their second son, Edward Lamb McAllister was born in Cockermouth. Cockermouth is about 7 miles east of Workington and is where Peter was born. Peter may have had family there when Margaret gave birth or they may have lived there a short time.
In 1884, Hannah was born and the family was back in Workington, living at 8 Lamport Street.
In June of 1885, Margaret’s husband Peter headed for America and left Margaret in England. In June the following year, Sargaret headed to America with her four children, Frank, Elizabeth, Edward, and Hannah, aboard the steamship The British King, which arrived at Philadelphia. She and the children joined Peter in Catasauqua, Lehigh, Pennsylvania.
1887 was a year of both joy and tragedy. In March, their fifth child, John William, was born, but in May their oldest son, Frank, who was only eight-years old, drowned in the Lehigh Canal.
In 1889, their last child, Joseph M. McAllister was born in Catasauqua.
House that Peter built at corner of Vine and Cologne “Vine” was changed to “Berg” and house was numbered 2800 Berg Photo Courtesy: Google Maps.
The family moved to Pittsburgh sometime in 1890 as evidenced by Peter taking out a building permit for a 16×32 two-story house at corner of Vine & Cologne in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh in the early 1890 was a tumultuous time in the steel industry with labor-management clashes regularly. Margaret’s husband, Peter, was in the thick of it, being arrested at the Homestead Steel Plant on 2 September 1892.
On 24 February 1894, Margaret’s husband, Peter, became a citizen of the United States. Due to naturalization laws, when Peter became a citizen, so did Margaret. Vine Street was renamed Berg Street and the family lived there, 2800 Berg Street, which is at the corner of Berg and Cologne. The house that Peter built stands today.
The family moved over to Patterson Street sometime between 1894 and 1900.
In 1905, Margaret’s daughter Hannah took up with an older man, Rufus Darling, who was more than twice Hannah’s age. Hannah was 21 and Rufus was 48. In March of 1906, Hannah had her first child, Elizabeth. In December of 1906, she got pregnant again. This time Rufus made an honest woman of her and in February, 1907, Hannah and Rufus were married. In August of 1907, their second child, Robert Harry Darling, was born.
About 1906, son Edward Lamb McAllister married Violet Yellig. They had three children, Edward L., Albert W., and Paul Y. Violet died in October of 1910. And Edward married Therisa Bauckmann. Therisa died in November, 1924 of a cerebral hemorrhage and stroke. The following year, 1925, Edward was murdered in Savannah, GA.
In 1909, their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Harold Lane. They would go on to have three children, James Allen, Frank C., and Katherine Lane.
Family oral history indicates that Margaret sided with Hannah during the events between Hannah and Rufus, while Peter was aghast at the idea of his youngest daughter taking up with a man nearly as old as he was. It is clear that Margaret and Peter were estranged before 1910. The 1910 census indicates Margaret living in the Berg Street house with son Joseph, daughter Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s husband Harold Land and Elizabeth’s son James. I haven’t been able to find Peter in the 1910 Census; however, in 1914 he is living at 2237 Salisbury in Pittsburgh.
On 13 July 1913, tragedy struck again and daughter Hannah died of “pelvic peritonitis due to a ruptured ovarian cyst.“ Hannah’s two young children, Elizabeth and Robert, came to live with their grandmother, Margaret, rather then with their father, Rufus.
About the same time, in 1913, Margaret’s youngest son, Joseph, married Myrtle (last name unknown). They would go on to have four children, Margaret, Jack, Lewis, and Elizabetha.
View of Downtown Pittsburgh Today from
411 Arlington Ave.
Courtesy: Google Maps
The 1920 Census finds the 59 year-old Margaret living at 411 Arlington Ave. Interestingly, she is listed as Widowed, although her husband Peter was living cross town at 2237 Salisberry Street. Peter would get a passport in 1921 and return to England, apparently never to return. Living with Margaret was her 13 year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth, and her 12 year-old grandson, Robert Harry Darling. Also living with Margaret was her son John, John’s wife Emma, and their two daughters, Lillian and Helen. Today, 411 Arlington Ave. is a vacant lot on the side of a very steep hill, but has a great view.
Margaret is mentioned as being alive when her son, Edward Lamb McAllister, was murdered January, 1925, in Georgia; however, I have found no mention of her after that.
There was a Margaret McAllister, who was also born in England and who died in Pittsburgh on 27 Mar 1929. For a while I thought this was my Margaret McAllister’s death date; however, when I ordered and received a copy of the death certificate, I found that it was a different Margaret McAllister, this one was married to a John McAllister and the informant didn’t fit our McAllister family. So, this is one of those cases where I thought I had valid information but once the actual document was received I knew it was wrong.
Continue search for Margaret McAllister’s death and burial. Because she owned the property at 411 Arlington, there should be records of that property transfer and possibly probate records.
Follow other descendants of Margaret McAllister and connect with cousins.
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 – Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
It is just plain fun to research for some ancestors. I found that my wife’s great-grandfather Rufus was such an individual. Family legend said Rufus Harry Darling was a riverboat gambler and something of a cad so researching him would be interesting.
Rufus was born on 30 June 1857 to Rufus Holton Darling and Elizabeth Jane Swayze in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the fifth child of Rufus and the sixth child of Elizabeth.[i] His
father was a prominent businessman and one of the early settlers in Kalamazoo. His
mother had a child from a previous marriage, was widowed and remarried.
Before Rufus was born one of his sisters, Eva, had died and another
was disabled. Less than a month after his birth his father died of consumption. His mother never remarried and it appears that he did not have much of a father figure in his life.
He entered the “First Division” (First Grade) of the Kalamazoo public schools in the 1863/64 school year and live in the family home at the northwest corner of Cedar and Rose Streets. It must have been a large
house and must have had several entrances because the address for the residence changes between Cedar and Rose quite frequently. The house no longer exists.
In 1870, Rufus was 13 years old, was attending school and
living with his mother and sister Emily. Rufus continued in school until at
least 1876 when he was not only a student but also worked as a clerk.
His father had the contract for building the Michigan Central railway from Michigan City through to Grass Lake in 1845 and later worked as an abstract clerk for the Michigan Central Railroad (MCRR). We know
that in 1880, Rufus Harry was living in the 42 Rose Street house and was working as a clerk, but we do not know where. In addition, in 1880, Rufus was “away” during the census taking. We do know that in 1887, young Rufus was working as an abstract clerk for the MCRR, as his father did thirty years earlier and
was living at 207 N. Edwards Street (which is probably the parking lot of the current Kalamazoo Beer Exchange).
In June of 1889, Rufus married. We do not know her name nor do we know if they had any children. In any event, for the next few years Rufus bounced between Kalamazoo, Chicago, and Kansas City. Back in the late 1800’s,
there were sometimes floating poker games that were on the trains. This may have been where he started the gambling practice. In 1894, Rufus resigned his position with the MCRR and “went to Texas.” I haven’t found anything that places him in Texas during those years, but he does seem to bounce between Kalamazoo and Kansas City.
In 1898 his wife died and the 1900 census finds him alone in
Kansas City. Sometime between 1900 and 1905, Rufus met the young Hannah McAllister. I say “young Hannah” because she was 27 years younger than Rufus. Family legend says they met down on the docks in Pittsburgh. Young Hannah had a daughter, Elizabeth, by Rufus in March of 1906. She quickly became pregnant again, and in February of 1907 the two married in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, (about 40 miles up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh).[ii] In August of 1907 their second child Robert Harry was born. It is interesting to note that there was a family legend that Elizabeth had been born on the “wrong side of the sheets” (out of wedlock), an assertion that Elizabeth refuted. It appears that Elizabeth even doctored a copy of the marriage certificate to indicate that Harry and Hannah married in 1905 instead of 1907 as the state’s copy of the certificate indicates.
It doesn’t appear that Rufus was around much. None of the
surviving photos of Anna (who changed her name from Hannah to Anna when she married Rufus so she could sign things “A. Darling”) include Rufus. In addition, the 1910 Census indicates that Rufus is at the Curtis Hotel, 10th & Broadway, Kansas City while his wife and children were roomer in a house in Pittsburgh.
Anna (Hannah) died in 1913 leaving the children to be raised by her mother. Rufus died on June 8, 1917 and was buried at the Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo. [iii]
In my research, I found nothing to refute the family legend
of Rufus being a gambler and a cad and it certainly appears that he had an
I received Anna White’s (Hannah McAllister’s) Certificate of Death from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. (See my previous blog for details on ordering PA Death Certificates.) The certificate included some interesting information and insights.
Her mother, Margaret (Lamb) McAllister was the informant. She provided Anna’s birthdate of August 15th, 1885 which confirmed the year. Different documents indicated 1885 and 1886. Mother’s seem to remember those kinds of things so I’ll keep to the 1885 date.
Interesting is that Margaret indicated that the place of death was at Margaret’s address of 335 Lincoln Ave. (Ward 12) in Pittsburgh. Anna’s ususal address was 509 Beechwood in Carnegie, PA. Google Maps indicates that 335 Lincoln is now either a vacant lot or a vacant barber shop. Back in 1950, the barber shop building was Fischer Groceries/Confections. I suspect that back in the day the grocery included a residence next to it. In 1917, Barnetta Dumm was the confectioner there at that shop. This may have been one of the many confection shops that Margaret worked at. The photo hints that across the street was Lincoln Elementary School, but the school wasn’t built until 1931. Google maps is inconclusive regarding 509 Beechwood. It appears to be a newer than a 1913 home to me.
Anna died July 11th, 1913, at the age of 27, of pelvic peritonitis due to a ruptured ovarian cyst.
According to the death certificate, she was buried at Chartiers Cemetery on July 14th 1913. I have created a Find-A-Grave memorial for her and have requested a photo of the marker.
Hannah McAllister Darling
aka Anna McAllister White
Hannah McAllister was born in England on 15 August 1886. She was the fourth of six children- four boys and two girls. At the time of her birth, her father, Peter, was probably in the United States establishing himself and preparing the way for his wife and children to come to the States.
By 1889, Hannah’s mother and siblings joined her father in Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. By 1900, the entire family moved to Pittsburgh. Sometime in 1905, she met Rufus Darling. She was eighteen and he was forty-seven. In March of 1906, they had a daughter, Elizabeth Grace Darling. Family history states that there was a rift between Hannah and her father. Certainly, a granddaughter born out of wedlock from a man more than twice the age of his daughter could cause such a rift.
It appears that Rufus and Hannah kept separate households during that time, he in Chicago and Hannah in Wheeling, West Virginia. In December of 1906, Hannah became pregnant a second time. This time Rufus married her, so on 16 February 1907 Hannah and Rufus were married in Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, a small town about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River. Family history indicates that she changed her name from Hannah to Anna so that she would be “A. Darling” and became known as Anna after that. An interesting side note is that Elizabeth appears to have modified a copy of the Marriage Certificate to indicate that Hannah and Rufus were married in 1905, thus legitimizing her. Family history indicates that this may have been a cause of disagreement between her and cousin Katherine Lane.
In August of 1907, their son, Robert Harry Darling, was born in New Kensington (about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River), Pennsylvania.
In 1910, Anna was living with her two children, Elizabeth and Robert, as a roomer at the home of Robert & Emma Hennig at 2219 Ward Street (Ward 4).
Anna and Rufus divorced by 1911 after which she married Thomas White. Anna died on 15 July 1913 at the age of 26. Family memory holds that Hannah was buried where Thomas White was later buried at Chartiers Cemetery. At her death, her name was recorded as Annie White.