Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ellen 1861 - 1931 and Alice 1875 - 1966 Connell

Like her older sister, Ellen Connell also left for the Windy City. Since I have no information about them in the sixteen years from 1880, when they were both living at home in Lodi, to 1896, when Katie's first child was born in Chicago, it could be that they went to Chicago together.  When I first find Ellen in Chicago, she is 39 years old and living with her youngest sister, 24 year old Alice.  Both of them are dressmakers and seem to have plenty of work. In 1910, Ellen is still making dresses but living on her own. I can't find any record of her in subsequent years, until her death at the age of 69, still a dressmaker living in Chicago, in 1931. She is buried with her parents in St. Patrick's cemetery in Lodi, Wisconsin. (Her tombstone uses the name O'Connell.)

Alice seemed to live a whirlwind next 10 years. In 1904 she was married to Alfred Feiss in Denver, Colorado.  I haven't extensively researched this, but I believe that Alfred was the son of Adolph Feiss, the founder of San Francisco's Emporium Department Store. In 1910 I find them in Charleston, South Carolina, where Alfred's occupation strangely says just "Income". In 1911, Alfred was buried in Toledo, Ohio, next to Adolph and Laura Feiss, his parents. Alice and Alfred had had no children.  When Alice next appears in public records, she in a 57 year old widow, living in Portage. She remained in Portage until her death in 1966. (Death records say she died in Baba, but I haven't been able to figure out what this might mean.  There is no Baba, Wisconsin.  Perhaps nearby Baraboo?) She is buried by herself - at least, not with her family in Lodi, and not with husband Alfred - in St. Mary's Cemetery in Portage.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Only the Good Connells ... and the Common Connells

There must have been some sort of sickness in the Connell house in 1873. On March 13, 15-month old Frances passed away.  Just 6 days later, her 6 week old little brother, William, died. If not a sickness that afflicted the children, perhaps this was a tragedy related to the recent birth - a post partum depression or an inability to provide adequate care for the infants.  The next Connell born, Daniel in 1874, would also die young.  He was about 14 years old in 1888 when he passed away.  All three of these children are buried with their parents in St. Patrick's cemetery in Lodi. (As with the other family members buried at St. Patrick's, all their headstones say O'Connell.)

Although chronologically out of order, there are two other children about whom there is little to say.  John is 18 years old and in school when last seen with the family in Lodi in 1880. James is a 12 year old school boy that year, then seen just once more as a 31 year old unemployed salesman living with his mother in Portage in 1900. It is likely that they are in census and other records that I have seen, but their names are so common that I can't tell which ones are our family unless I find a mention of a mother's maiden name. For now, they remain unknown.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Katie Connell 1859 - 1944

Katie Connell was the oldest of George and Johanna's children, born in 1859 in Lodi. It's curious that per the 1940 census Katie had an 8th grade education, while the 1880 census says that 20 year old Katie was attending school. She moved to Chicago where she met Henry Heseltine, a recent immigrant from England. They probably married in about 1894, the year he became a US citizen.  Their daughter, Elizabeth was born in March of 1896 and Henry died just three months later.  The census says Catherine was a "compositor" - a typesetter for a printer - until at least 1910. I assume that Catherine struggled financially, since they moved from town to town, always near Chicago - Cicero, Oak Park, Harvey, Chicago, Villa Park - and her work changed to housework/servant/janitor. Elizabeth attended two years of college and became a public school teacher, living with her mother until her marriage in about 1921.

Elizabeth married Herman Kaehler, a Chicago cab driver.  Herman was a military veteran, though I don't know which conflict, if any.  He was a widow with four children - Ruth, Hazel, Marjorie and Patricia - aged 11 to 4 when he married Elizabeth.  They had all been living with his parents in 1920, and the kids were not with him in subsequent censuses, so I wonder if they were raised by their grandparents. I may have found Hazel (married name Miller) living in Deerfield with her husband and about four kids.  I believe she passed away in 1998.  I could not find the other kids as adults.

Herman Kaehler and Elizabeth Heseltine married in about 1921 and by 1930 had four children.  I'm not posting their names since some of them may still be living.  I think that life was hard for Herman and Elizabeth, too, though this may have been the norm during the Depression.  I can't find the family in 1930 in the census.  In 1940, Herman claimed a profession of brick layer, but had not worked in over a year. He was receiving some income, perhaps from a veteran's pension.  Elizabeth had a public works job as a nursing (?) school director.  Their 17 year old daughter was still in school, but their 16 year old son was not.  With an occupation of "new worker", not having found work in 13 weeks, with a 9th grade eduction, and being only 16 his prospects were probably not good. I was not able to find the kids as adults, nor death information for Herman and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth's mother, Katie Connell Heseltine, passed away at the age of 85 while living in Villa Park, near Elmhurst.  She may have been living with the Kaehlers. She is buried in Mt. Carmel cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

George and Johanna Cussen Connell in Lodi, Wisconsin ca. 1870

I sat down for a few hours to gather more information on the children of Johanna Cussen Connell.  Four days later, I'm posting some articles about these families.  As usual, dates and places only tell me where they lived. If you are related to any of these families and can share stories or more information, please contact me (find my e-mail in my "profile" link) or post a comment.

Johanna Cussen was born in Galbally, Ireland in 1836, travelling with her family to Newfoundland, Boston, and Fort Winnebago by about 1848. In about 1858 she married George Connell/O'Connell, I believe a recent immigrant from New Brunswick, Canada, and they settled in Lodi, about 25 miles south of Fort Winnebago. They were farmers. From 1860 to 1876 they had thirteen children in Lodi.  George died in 1877, leaving Johanna with 11 children between the ages of 1 and 18. Information is sparse, but I assume that life was difficult. Usually, someone stays with the elderly parent and works the farm, but by 1895 Johanna had moved to Portage, presumably having sold the farm, where she remained until her death in 1923. She is buried in the Catholic cemetery there with her husband, George, the three kids who died as children (Frances, age 2, William, age 1 month, Daniel, age 14), Mary, the lone daughter who remained in Lodi as an in-home servant and nurse her entire life, and Nellie, the only child to be returned to Lodi for burial.

I initially thought this family name was O'Connell.  Indeed, I stumbled across Johanna on, where volunteers post inventories of cemeteries, usually with photographs. Johanna Cushing O'Connell's grave marker is shown there, in St. Patrick's cemetery in Lodi, Wisconsin, as are five other members of the O'Connell family.  Having just extensively searched for George and Johanna's descendants, however, I now know that the cemetery is the only place where the name O'Connell was used. All appearances in the census, newspapers, birth, marriage and death records, etc., use the name Connell. The use of O'Connell in the cemetery is a mystery to me. I would suspect that a well-meaning descendant just got it wrong when they replaced headstones, but the stone for George appears to be an original (at least it looks very old), and it does say O'Connell.

I'll trace their descendants in the following posts.