Where my Ancestors were 100 years ago.

Mappy Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Randy Seaver in his blog, Genea-Musings suggested that we look at where our ancestors were 100 years ago. I thought I’d take a stab at it more from a location perspective. In October 1917, my ancestors were in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota. Just “I” and “M” states. My paternal side are the “I” states; the Roberts were in Illinois and the Scotts were in Indiana. My maternal side are the “M” states; the Browns were in Minnesota and the Montrans (Barbers) were in Michigan, except for my grandmother, Madonna (Donna) who lived in Massachusetts for a short time.

Map of my Ancestor locations in 1917.
My Ancestor Locations in 1917.

Paternal Side:

My paternal grandfather, Bert Allen Roberts, was 14 years old. His father had died in 1908 and he was living with his mother, step-father, brother and two sisters. It isn’t clear if they were living in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana (1910) or in Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois (1920), but I think they were still in Indiana.

Bert’s 71-year-old grandmother, Patience Ann (Marshall) (Dean) Roberts was living in Sesser, Barren Township, Franklin County, Illinois.

Bert’s 34-year-old mother, Clora Dell (Scott) (Roberts) Adams was married to Hosea Adams. It is unclear if they were still in Turman, Sullivan, Indiana, or if they had relocated to Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois in 1917.

Clora’s father, Samuel Vaden Scott, had remarried Lavina Allmend after the death of Amanda Jane Haley. The 57-year old was living in Goode Township, Franklin County, Illinois.

My paternal grandmother, Essie Pansy Barnes, was 14 years old. She was living on the farm near Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.

Essie’s father, Joel Clinton Barnes, was 60 years old and living on a farm near Graysville, Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.

Essie’s mother, Marada A. (Lister) Barnes, was 50 years old and living with Joen on the farm near Graysville, Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.

 

Maternal side

My maternal grandfather, Clifford D Brown, later known as Richard Earl Durand and even later as Richard Earl Brown, (Grandpa Dick) was also 14 years-old. He lived with his family in Backus, Cass County, Minnesota.

Clifford/Richard’s father, Arthur Durwood Brown, was 48-years-old and living in Backus, Cass County, Minnesota.

Clifford/Richard’s mother, Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown, was 39-years-old and living with her husband, Arthur, in Backus.

My maternal grandmother, Madonna Mae Montran, (later known as Donna) was married to Thomas Valentine Rooney (her second marriage). (It does not appear that she ever took his surname.) They were probably living in Wrentham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, although they may have located to New York City about that time.  Madonna’s father died before 1900 and I have been unsuccessful in determining his parents.

Madonna’s (Donna’s) mother, Ida Mae (Barber) (Montran) (Fisher) (Holdsworth) Knight was living with her 4th husband, Harvey Knight in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.

Ida’s mother, Sarah H (Blackhurst) Barber was also living in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. Her husband, Frank Barber, died earlier in 1917.

Thoughts

Thirteen of my direct ancestors were alive in September 1917. That is all four of my grandparents, six of my great-grandparents, and three of my 14 known great-great-grandparents.

Based upon their locations in 1917, I can say my father’s line came from Illinois and Indiana and my mother’s line came from Michigan and Minnesota.  I have a birthplace chart that shows where my ancestors were born that tells a somewhat different story. Grandpa Dick was born in North Dakota but was in Minnesota in 1917. Similarly, my great-grandmother, Mary (Manning) Brown, was born in Kentucky but was in Minnesota in 1917.

My life locations provide some of greatest location distances of anyone I know. I was born in Portland, Oregon; I hail from Minnesota, having lived there during most of my youth and over 35 years total. Over the years, I have lived in Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Montana, California, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Georgia, and Maine. Now, I live about 3,200 miles away from my birth location of Portland, Oregon, in Portland, Maine.


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Schools I’ve Attended – 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade

My Life
Those Places Thursday

By Don Taylor

Parkview Elementary, Fridley, Anoka County, Minnesota

Photo of 5852 NE 2nd St., Fridley, MN
Fridley House, circa 1958

In August 1958, we moved from Anoka to Fridley into a tiny little house on NE 2nd Street. At the time the address was 5853, however, sometime during the ensuing years, the address has changed to 5881. Zillow says that the house was built in 1948 and is a 480-square-foot one bedroom home. My grandmother and my mother had the bedroom. I had the bedroom closet as my bedroom. It was a large closet for such a small house but was really small as a bedroom. As I recall, it was only inches longer than my bed. My clothes dresser blocked the side of my bed by my feet. Boxes under the bed contained most of my clothes and my boy things. I had model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. The Fridley house is the first house I lived in that is still standing. There are still houses that I lived in that were built before the Fridley House, but none of the places I lived before I lived in Fridley are still standing.

Photo of Sylvia Larson by side door of Fridley House.
Sylvia [Larson] in nurse uniform c. 1958 –     Patty Hopkin’s house in distance.
My mother was still working at Anoka State Hospital when we were living there. I have a photo of her in her nurse’s uniform on the steps to the house.

My grandmother’s ledger (From the Donna Darling Digital Collection) says we paid $55/month in rent. I remember life in Fridley as idyllic. A short block away was a huge open field that I played in. Later that field was where I trapped gophers (See “My First ‘Job’ – Trapper.” Down the street was “Melody Manor,” a new development. There was a park where I joined “Little League” and learned to play baseball. I was pretty much a bench warmer and only remember batting once or twice when our team was many runs ahead.

My best friend was a girl, Patty Hopkins, who lived on Main street. (I wonder what ever happened to her.) Her house was across a vacant lot (now Skyline Park) to a house no longer there. A few houses down 2nd Street was where Mark and Rodney Sabo(?) lived. If I was going to get into trouble, it would be with them. There were a couple derelict houses between where we lived that were a source of fun – mostly things like knocking down hornet’s nests and yellow-jacket nests. The derelicts are long gone and a 2-1/2 story apartment is there today.  Also, about a half a mile away was the Mississippi River and Chase Island. There was usually a tree down bridging the distance from shore to the island. Lots of fun playing there. Of course, I wasn’t supposed to go there to play – it was across both a busy highway (without any lights) and across multiple railroad tracks. Sometimes, I’m amazed that I lived through my youth.

My Mom and I with American flag at Fridley house

We lived in the Fridley house for two and a half years, by far the longest I had lived anywhere up to that point in my life. As I recall, we painted that house, fenced it, put on awnings, put up a flagpole, and did many other improvements to the house, yard, and property even though we were renters. My grandmother planted moss roses along the side by the side door – they are still one of my favorite flowers. I love how they open-up to full bloom every morning and close every night.

Parkview Elementary

Parkview Elementary was about six long-blocks away (nine long-blocks in a mile) and I walked. I don’t remember much about third grade. I know the school was new.  In fourth grade, I had Mrs. Peterson as my teacher. She, as I recall, was older and she saw something in me that she encouraged. Fourth grade was the year I shifted from “getting by” to one of the smart kids. She became an “Ancestor of Spirit” for me that year. She helped make me the person I am, today. Maybe it was also because it was the first school I attended two years in a row.  In any event, I excelled that year and carried on into the following year.

Photo of Parkview Elementary c. 1957.
Parkview Elementary – Fridley, MN c. 1957

I wrote about my 5th-grade memories previously. They are at Fifth Grade – Parkview & Spring Lake Park Elementary.

Today, Parkview Elementary is the Fridley Community Center and supports a senior center, adult education, and a youth hang-out center called “The Zone.”

 

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Biography: Frank Xaver Drexl (1856-1929)

By Don Taylor

Absent other sources, I usually trust the 1900 Census as being the most accurate for the date because it provides both a month/year and age for the individual. In the case of Frank Xaver Drexl the 1900 Census record shows his birth as Dec 1857 and his age as 42.

screen shot of Frank Drexl's Birth information i- 1900 Census
Frank Drexl’s Birth information i- 1900 Census

A very close look at his age suggests that it once said his age was 43 and was “corrected” to read 42. I set his birth year as 1857 based upon this record. However, all the other census records I found were inconsistent with that date. In the 1910 Census he was 53; in the 1920 Census, he was reported as 63. Even the 1885 Census suggested the birth year of 1856. After finding every other record I could find for him indicated his birth in 1856, I decided to change my records to indicate an 1856 birth.

Reminder to self: Don’t become so attached to a bit of information and be unwilling to change something when presented with alternate evidence.

Darling/Drexl Project  2017 – Ancestor #12

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Nicholas Edward Drexl
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Frank Xaver Drexl
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Matthias Drexl[i]

Frank Xaver Drexl (1856-1929)

Birth

Frank Xaver Drexl was probably born on 3 December 1856 in Dünzelbach, a municipality in the district of Moorenweis in the Bavarian county of Fürstenfeldbruck.[ii] The 1910 and 1920 Census records both confirm his birth in Bavaria in 1856.

Marriage

Some researchers indicate that Frank Xaver Drexl married Ursula Eggert on 25 Oct 1881 in Petzenhausen, Bavaria. I think an 1879 or 1880 marriage is just as likely. Their eldest known son, Nicholas Edward Drexl was born in November 1881 only a month after the other researcher’s suggested date.  Also, the 1900 and 1910 Census records indicate the couple had been married for 20 and 30 years respectively suggesting an 1879 or 1880 marriage date.

Adulthood

The 1900 Census shows the heartbreak the family had to have experienced. According to the Census, Ursula had had 12 children, only 8 of whom were still living and the 1910 Census indicated 13 children with nine still living.

We know of the following children:

Children: Sex Birth Age Gap
Nicholas Edward Drexl M Nov 1881 Germany Eldest
Christina Drexl F Apr 1882 – Germany 5 Months – Impossible **
Francis T Drexl F Aug 1886 – Illinois 4 years, 4 months *
Katherine Drexl F Oct 1888 – Kansas 2 years, 2 months
Marie Drexl F Nov 1890 – Kansas 2 years, 1 month
Joseph Peter Drexl M 22 Jan 1893 – Minnesota 2 years, 2 months
Charles Mathias Drexl M 30 Nov 1894 – Minnesota 1 year, 7 months
Frank J Drexl M 16 Sep 1899 – Minnesota 4 years, 10 months *
Anthony John Drexl M 18 Apr 1902 – Minnesota 2 years, 7 months
1st Unknown Drexl ? (Probably about 1884) Bef. 01 Jun 1900
2nd Unknown Drexl ? (Probably about 1896) MN Bef. 01 Jun 1900
3rd Unknown Drexl ? Bef. 1900
4th unknown Drexl ? Bef. 1900

* The age gap between Christina and Francis suggests that one of the missing children was probably born about 1884 about the time of their immigration to the United States. Another gap between Charles and Anthony suggests that another of the missing children was probably born about 1896. The other two would be pure speculation as to possible birth dates.

** The 1900 Census indicates that Nicholas was born in 1881, however, the 1895 Minnesota Census indicates that Nicholas was likely born in 1880. If so that would put the cap between him and Christina 1 year 5 months.

Immigration

The family came to the United States from Germany in 1884 and located in Illinois where Francis was born.[iii]

Move to Kansas

By 1888, they had relocated to Kansas where Kate and Mary were born.[iv]

Another Move – This time to Minnesota

By 1892 the family located to Minnesota.[v] Where they lived until his death in 1929.[vi]

Wright DeCoster Ad

The 1895 Census indicates Frank with Ursula and five children living at 258 Custer Street in Saint Paul’s 6th District, Ramsey County, Minnesota.[vii] This location appears to have been renamed because there is no longer a Custer Street in Saint Paul. However, Frank was working as a Cabinetmaker at De Coster & Clark which was at 375-379 Jackson Street, Saint Paul. Frank worked for them, and Wright De Coster until at least 1926 and probably until his death.

The 1900 Census and 1900 city directory show the family still on Custer Street.[viii]

By 1910 the family had located to 46 East Robie.[ix] Again, that location appears to be gone. It is probably now a baseball field that is part of El Rio Vista Recreational Center.

 

35 Isabel, Saint Paul, MN

By 1920, Frank had purchased a house at 35 West Isabel, Saint Paul.[x] Both Realtor and Zillow dot com indicate the house at 35 West Isabel was built in 2001. However, it appears to be a house much earlier than that.  The 1910s seems quite possible based on the architecture.

Frank Xaver Drexl died on 04 Nov 1929 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.  I have not been successful in finding a burial location for him.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find Frank Xaver Drexl’s immigration record.
  • Find Frank Xaver Drexl’s Naturalization record.
  • Research Frank Xaver Drexl’s death records.

Endnotes

[i] Based entirely upon other individual’s public trees. See: Ancestry Family Trees, Ancestry.com, M A Heintz Family Tree – Owner: mavendegna. https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/30918613/person/430043963958/facts.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Frank Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – Sheet 8. Accessed: 26 July 2016. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M93F-NM2.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Minnesota State Census, 1895, Family Search, Drexl, Frank – St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed: 27 July 2016.

[vi] Minnesota Death Index, 1908­-2002, Family Search, Frank K. Drexl – 4 Nov 1929. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4H-V­45.

[vii] Minnesota State Census, 1895, Family Search, Drexl, Frank – St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed: 27 July 2016.

[viii] 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Frank Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – Sheet 8. Accessed: 26 July 2016. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M93F-NM2.

[ix] 1910 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, Frank Drexl – St Paul Ward 6, Ramsey, Minnesota, ED 84, Sheet 2B, Line 70. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2PC-18Z.

[x] 1920 Census (FS), Frank Drexel (Drexl) – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW19-J77.

Cambridge Elementary School – 1957

My Life
Those Places Thursday
By Don Taylor

I attended Cambridge Elementary School for about half of my second-grade school year.

1928 photo of the Cambridge State Hospital.
My mom worked at the Cambridge State Hospital in 1957. Photo c. 1928 courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

We moved to Cambridge during the summer of 1957. My mother had gotten a job at the Cambridge State Hospital. We lived several miles outside of town in a place almost ideal for a seven-year-old boy.  It was an old farmhouse, about a quarter of a mile off the road. There was fallow farmland surrounding the house and woods, with a creek, behind the house, maybe an eighth of a mile away. I would go down to the creek and play with the turtles and other critters I found there. We had an electric pump for water indoors, an eight-party telephone line where our ring was two longs, a short, and a long, and an outhouse. An old hand pump was still there for a backup, but we didn’t use it much. We did keep a jug of water to prime it just in case.  We had yellow-jackets in the attic; luckily, they didn’t seem to come into the house too much.

I didn’t have any friends to play with there.  I remember there were a couple of kids who lived in a farmhouse about a mile or so away. So, Cambridge was a place where I learned to play by myself. My mom went to work to bring home a paycheck, and my grandmother did the housekeeping.

Photo of Cambridge Elementary School
Cambridge Elementary School – Photo Credit: Cambridge Isanti Schools

After a summer of being mostly along, I was excited to meet other kids at Cambridge Elementary School. I remember walking a couple hundred feet to the farm parameter road then down to the school bus stop at the paved highway. The school was an old brick building.  I recall it had a huge school-yard for kids to play in.  While there, we were playing tag and some kid tagged me too hard; I fell, hitting my shoulder and breaking my collarbone. The collarbone didn’t heal properly and was growing wrong. As I recall, they said in another few weeks the bone would grow out of the skin. Anyway, a month or so after the initial break I went into the hospital, had the bone rebroken and then set surgically. I think I spent most of my time at Cambridge Elementary in a sling.

That fall, my grandmother, Donna, was sitting in the outhouse when a snake came crawling out from down below.  She freaked out totally.  The yellow-jackets in the attic were bad, but snakes in the outhouse were just too much (even if it was only a garter snake). My mother got a job at Anoka State Hospital, and we moved to Anoka. Thanks to a journal found in the Donna Darling Collection, I learned that we were definitely in Cambridge by June 1957, so I know we spent the entire summer of ’57 there. I also learned that the house rent was $35/month.

 

A Genealogist’s Nightmare or a Census Taker’s Confusion?

Four Mary Stoeger’s in the 1900 Census.

It was hard for me to tell if I was looking at an ‘80s sitcom or if the 1900 Census was true. I kept thinking, “Hi, I’m John Stoeger, and this is my wife Mary, and this is my daughter Mary, and this is my other daughter, Mary. Oh, by the way, this is my other daughter, Mary.  Yes, the 1900 Census shows that John’s wife and three of his daughters are all named “Mary.” Either the census taker got it all mixed up or there are several stories to uncover suggested by this census record. I needed to figure out which.

John Stoeger is my wife’s half-aunt’s grandfather.  Not a direct ancestor to my wife, but still a person of interest.  I wanted to see if I John really had three daughters named Mary.

Other records indicate that John’s children immigrated about 1885, so they aren’t going to be in the 1880 Census (and they weren’t).  The Minnesota 1895 census does show John, but that census shows no information about his children.  I couldn’t find in him the 1910 Census so, I thought that I might be at a wall of some sort.  Then I found him, Johann Stoeger in a 1908 wills and probate records on Ancestry. Sure enough, this Johan had a daughter Hattie Drexel (Hedwig Drexl) and the ages of the other children all fit my 1900 John Stoeger family.

The first “Mary” was Barbara.

The second “Mary” was Marie.

The third “Mary” is still unknown but appears to have died between 1900 and 1908.  That is because in 1900 Mary, the mother, had eleven children, six of whom were living. The 1908 probate records show five of the six children living.

I was a little but surprised to see that John (Johann) and three of his children had all moved to Stillwater. So, I wondered if I had the wrong John Stoeger; however, I became certain that It was the right John Stoeger when I saw that the estate included property on Water Street in Saint Paul, where he lived during the 1900 Census and one of his daughters was Hattie Drexl. Everything fit into place.

Finally, that third Mary child, I suspect was actually John Stoeger, Jr.  I haven’t proven it to my satisfaction, yet, but I’m pretty sure I am right. I need to do a little more research on John Jr. to prove it. I think the Census taker was a bit confused.


Sources:

  • 1900 Census (A), John Hoeger [Stoeger] – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, Ward 6, ED 0105, Page 15B.
  • Minnesota, Wills and Probate Records, 1801-1925, Ancestry.com, Johann (John) Stoeger – Page 1517