Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Joanna Olive Connell 1866 - 1924

My eighth post in a series on the descendants of Johanna Cussen and George Connell of Lodi, Wisconsin.

Joanna was born in Lodi in 1866. She, too, headed to Chicago.  In about 1897, she married Edward H Kerrigan, son of Irish immigrants.  Their only child, Edward N, was born in 1901 in Chicago.  I'm not sure how specialized Edward's (dad's) work skills were.  In 1910, he is a "foreman in a plumbing supply house"; in 1920 a brass worker in a manufacturing plant. Joanna was a dress maker working out of the house in 1920, and they had bought a home on Gladys avenue, not far from where United Center is now. Joanna passed away in 1924 and is buried at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Their son married Helen (don't know her last name) in about 1926. Edward H (aka Dad) passed away 1928 and is also buried at Mt. Carmel.

In 1930 Edward and Helen lived in Detroit, where he was an "ice machine" salesman, which is probably those new iceboxes. By 1940 he is selling refrigerators and they have bought a house. They had no children.  They probably retired many years later to Florida.  Helen died in 1987 and Edward in 1988.  They are buried in Largo, Florida.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mary Connell 1865 - 1937

My seventh post in a series on the descendants of Johanna Cussen and George Connell of Lodi, Wisconsin.

Mary Elizabeth Connell is the only Connell who remained in Lodi. By 1895 she was a servant living in the home of Dr. George Irwin, a physician/surgeon in Portage.  The Irwin family moved to Lodi in the late 1890s and Mary stayed with them until at least 1910.  The 1920 census shows Mary as a 53 year old live-in nurse in the home of Mary Palmer and her unmarried sisters, they between the ages of 65 and 79. By 1920, Mary Elizabeth is renting a room in Lodi and has become a visiting nurse. She passed away in 1937 at the age of 72 and is the last to be buried (as an O'Connell!) with other family members at St. Patrick's Cemetery.

Monday, January 23, 2017

George Henry Connell 1865 - 1902 (part 2 of 2)

Going back to 1915 to follow up on the other kids ...

George and Mary married in about 1914.  Their first child, John, lived only two weeks.  Little George arrived in 1916, Helen in 1918 and Anna in 1920. George had also been working at Wells Fargo, but by 1920 he had found a new job as a foreman in a steel mill. (Read the Chicago Historical Society's excellent article about the history of steel mills in Chicago.) Something didn't work out between George and Mary, ending in divorce. In 1927 George remarried Melba Larsen, stenographer daughter of Norwegian immigrants. In 1930, George was doing clerical work for a machine factory, and by 1940 he and Melba were running a business, a "working man's supply store".  George and Melba had no children of their own. He died in 1963; she in 1980. They are buried, and I presume were living, in the Wisconsin Dells area, a popular outdoor vacation spot (fishing, camping, boating, etc., and in recent years water parks).  Meanwhile, Mary Sedlak Connell raised (or based on their presence in the census at least had primary custody of) the kids. In 1930, the kids aged 9 to 13 and in school, Mary was not working, so I wonder how she supported the family. She did have a boarder, and perhaps some help from ex-husband George or her own family. By 1940, Anna was no longer there. I was not able to find her again.  Mary and Helen worked packing candy, Mary part time and Helen full, though even Helen had only worked forty weeks in the past year.  George had completed high school and was working nearly full time as an accountant in a life insurance office.  They also still had a boarder. That's the last I know about their lives.  Mary was a factory worker at the time of her death in 1957, at the age of 63. I could not find Helen again. I think I found son George buried in Brooks, Wisconsin, just a mile and a half from where his father was buried. Social Security records show a last known address in Chicago, so I have some uncertainty.  Assuming for now that our George is buring in Brooks, he was married to Joanne who died in 2002 and is buried there with him.

That brings me to the John, the third of George and Ellen McCabe Connell's children. In part 1 I mentionned that John married Josephine Huntscha, daughter of German immigrants Emanuel and Agnes Huntscha, in 1917 and was living in an increasingly crowded house with Mom and sister Theresa's family. At that time he was working for the US Army in a Chicago supply depot. By 1920, John and Josephine had found an apartment of their own, John was selling electrical supplies and their daughter, Ruth was a year old. Jack, jr. was born in 1921, Marian in 1921, Chuck in 1924, and Nell in 1931. I couldn't find the family in 1930, but by 1940 John and Josephine had started a "lunch room" restaurant. Josephine and the kids (once they were in high school) waited tables there. Sometime in the late '40s, John and Josephine acquired (don't know whether they purchased or built it) the Parker Lake Resort in Oxford, Wisconsin, in the Wisconsin Dells. I imagine these were rental cabins or a motel on the lake with a swimming area.  They had been operating the Resort for about 25 years when John passed away there in 1972. He appears to be buried by himself near Oxford, so I imagine that Josephine sold the Resort and moved away. (On the other hand, free online burial records are far from complete, so she be buried nearby, too.) Having little information, I can't tell the the order of events in the kids lives. And I don't want to mention the grandchildren as many of them are probably still living.  Ruth and Chuck operated a couple of restaurants: Connell's in Chicago and Murphy's Romeo Cafe in Romeoville.  I can't tell when and for how long they operated the restaurants.  Ruth married John Regan.  She died in California in 2003.  Chuck was living in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, having completed college, when he married in the early '50s. He passed away in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2000. I believe Jack, jr. was living in Chicago in the early '70s, but have no information on marriage or family. I know only that Marian was married with the last name of Healy when she passed away in the Chicago area in 1967.  Nell married in the early '60s, also after completing college. I believe they raised their family in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.  The youngest of John and Josephine's children, she was the last to pass away, in 2015.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

George Henry Connell 1865 - 1902 (part 1 of 2)

A fifth post in a series on the descendants of Johanna Cussen and George Connell of Lodi, Wisconsin.

George continued the Connell exodus from Lodi to Chicago. Last recorded in Lodi as a 15 year old school boy in 1880, he married Nellie McCabe in about 1890 in Chicago. I had a hard time finding any information about Nellie. She (10 years old) and three of her siblings - Anastasia (8), Owen (8) and John (6) - were living in St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum in Chicago in 1880. (This is now the Cardinal Meyer Center.) One historical account of such institutions claims that most children in orphanages in the 19th century weren't actually orphans, but rather from single parent families in financial crisis. (Read the Chicago Historical Society's excellent article about the history of Chicago orphanages.) One record indicates that Ellen's father was Pat McCabe, but I haven't found any records of their family.  Nellie and George had three children in Chicago: Tessie (b. 1891), George (b. 1894) and John (b. 1897). In 1900, George was operating a saloon. [This may be a clue to Nellie's family. A Pat McCabe who ran a saloon in Chicago died in 1890, the same year that Nellie married George.  Perhaps they took over her father's bar? Perhaps his wife passed away in the late 1870s and a single barkeeper could not take care of four children under the age of 5, and brought them to the orphanage, expecting to remarry and retrieve them? I'll need more information to figure this out.]  George and Nellie and family lived near the stockyards. In 1902, George passed away.  Spouses dying and leaving widows/widowers with young children to raise seemed to be a macabre pattern in the family: George's father in 1877, one or both of Ellen's parents in the late 1870s, Catherine's husband in 1896, Maggie's husband in 1898, and now George.

Nellie raised the kids in Chicago. It looks like they moved into a smaller home in the Chicago stockyards area, south of the city, shared with meat workers.  The kids were working in 1910: 19 year old Theresa was getting paid to play the piano in "the park" (don't know if this was a park, or the name of a bar?), and 15 year old George was an office boy in a meat packing plant. 13 year old John was still in school. In 1913, Theresa married Daniel Bross, a clerk at Wells Fargo recently transferred (?) from New York City.  In about 1914, George married Hungarian-born Mary Sedlak. And in 1917, John married Josephine Huntscha, daughter of German immigrants Emanuel and Agnes Huntscha. By 1917, George and Mary had moved to their own apartment, but the grandchildren had been arriving at home. The family needed more space and, probably with the help of Daniel's while collar pay, could afford to move down the street.

By 1920, the kids were all raising their own families. Daniel was now keeping books for a meat business. Big changes had taken place in the "express" business (I "express" means fast transportation of people or things, a major part of Wells Fargo's business in the early '20s.) I don't completely understand,  but the US government forced the consolidation of the many express businesses in 1918, for some sort of war-related need. I believe that Wells Fargo had to close many, perhaps thousands of express business offices across the country, and Daniel may have lost his job there.  Nonetheless, their still fairly new quarters was now principally the Bross home, housing Theresa and Daniel, their three children - 5 year old George, 3 year old Helen and nearly 2 year old Bernadette - and Mom/Grandma, 49 year old Nellie. Sadly, young George passed away later that year. Three more kids arrived in the '20s: Daniel, jr. (b. 1921), June (b. 1923) and Loretta (b. 1928). By 1930 Daniel and Theresa had bought a house in the rapidly growing suburb of Homewood. Daniel was now doing clerical work in a dentist's office.  Whether working in the suburbs or riding one of the many new commuter trains into the city, I don't know. Two days shy of her 62nd birthday, in 1931, with 12 grandchildren, Nellie passed away. The Depression hit Homewood very hard, many losing their jobs and some their homes. Many lost their savings when the local bank closed suddenly in 1932. With few passengers to transport, the commuter trains to Chicago dwindled to just a few a day. The Bross family had moved back to Chicago and was renting a home there when Daniel passed away in 1938. In the last available census record, 1940, Theresa and all five kids, ages 11 to 23, are together.  The older kids were probably helping to pay the bills: Helen, Bernadette and Daniel, Jr. were all working in dental offices. Mom/Theresa took care of the home and June and Loretta, (16 and 11), still in school. Theresa passed away in 1978. I have little detail, and don't wish to post names of living children on line, but I do know that all five Bross kids married and have passed away.  All but Daniel, Jr. remained in the Chicago area.  Helen Bross Hattendorf passed away in 1981; Bernadette Bross Kissel in 1989, Daniel in 1995, June Bross Kosmos in 1989, and Loretta Bross McCaffery in 2004.

To be continued ....