A genealogy rabbit trail that was fun to go down. After dinner tonight (lobster roll, mmmm good) we took a quick trip up to Bradford, Maine where my genealogy records had some history of the Blake family. Our plan was to just get a picture of the sign for the city (which was hard to find as there is really not a city to speak of) and as we drove past the one intersection in the town we came to the “Corner Cemetery”. So we stopped to look at the headstones to see what we could see.
We did not find any Blakes, but we did find one headstone with the inscription of “Mary wife of James Speed”. Those names definitely rang a bell, so I took a few pictures and I checked out what I had on those names. It turns out that this Mary is my 4th great grandmother. First, the headstone.
The death date matches exactly with the death date in my records. I also had her birth date as November 19th, 1799 which agrees exactly with the information on the headstone with her age as 81 yrs. 11 mos. & 8 ds. This headstone is probably the source of the information as I did not have a good source for this date, just information from some other persons tree.
Her headstone was way in the back of the cemetery with none others nearby.
From Ancestry I was also able to get pictures of Mary and her husband James Speed, which I show below.
The family connection is as follows:
James Speed (b. 1803, d. 1892) and Mary Elizabeth Reeves (b. 1799, d. 1881) (married 6 Feb. 1823 in Bradford, Penobscot County, Maine, USA) Parents of: 3rd Gr. Grandmother – Harriet (Hattie) Speed (b. 1828, d. 1897) Hattie married Alonzo Blake (b. 1835, d. 1902) in 1855 in Bradford. Parents of: 2nd Gr. Grandfather – Wesley A. Blake (b. 1856, d. 1885) Wesley married Kate (Catherine) Jean O’Melia (b. 1859, d. 1911) Parents of: Gr. Grandmother – Nora O’Melia Blake (b. 1883, d. 1979) Nora married Hudson Dexter Mead (b. 1868, d. 1950) Parents of Hudson Dexter Mead II (m. Mary Esther Magill) Parents of Gloria Jane Mead (m. Frank Davenport II)
And voila, the parents of me. Do you see the resemblance?
I think I just discovered that my great grandfather Louis Thomas and great grandmother May (Fultz) Thomas were the inspiration for the painting “American Gothic”. The painting was done in 1930 and the picture shown below of my great grandparents was taken in 1942. I guess I will let you be the judge. Now I know that the painting was done in Iowa, and supposedly the woman is the daughter in the picture even though we normally assume she is his wife. But maybe the artist took a vacation to Halifax Nova Scotia and was inspired there, took a picture of my grandparents, and then did the painting back in Iowa.
Day 12 saw us off to Nebraska. Our first stop was in Kimball Nebraska, where my mother, Gloria Jane Mead, was born on March 12, 1931. Kimball is about 50 miles east of Cheyenne or a couple hours northeast of Denver.
Once in Kimball we were able to take a few pictures of the house where my Grandpa (Hudson Dexter Mead II) and Grandma (Mary Esther) lived when our mom was born. The address was from a 1930 census. They were married in 1927 in Chadron, Nebraska but later moved to Kimball. Sometime before 1936 they moved to Oklahoma where my mom’s brother Hudson Dexter Mead III was born.
We also stopped at the offices of the Western Nebraska Observer, a paper that has been around since 1885. They were kind enough to bring up all the archived editions of the paper for the year 1931 and allowed us to look through them. We found a birth announcement and an announcement of a trip they made to Chadron after the birth. The coolest thing I learned is that my mom was born at home!
Then off to Chadron, with a stop to see Chimney Rock on the way there. Chimney Rock was used as a sign post for the travelers heading across country in the 1800’s.
Once in Chadron, Nebraska, (where I was born) we went house hunting. I had the house number of 601 Ann Street which was listed on my birth certificate, and 259 Chapin Street from the 1920 census listing where Grandpa Mead lived (14 years old) and also just a street, Shelton, from the 1910 census when Grandpa was 4 years old.
I was born in Chadron during the time my dad went to college there, at least for the fall semester in 1951. He went to what was called Chadron State Teachers College, but is now called Chadron State College. They are a division II school (go Eagles!) and they compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
Today was all about our visit to Bismarck North Dakota. But our first encounter of the day was a visit to Frontier Village in Jamestown ND to see the worlds largest Buffalo.
Then on to Bismarck where we were very fortunate to meet up with Tom and Sharon Tudor who are members of and local historians of the St. George Episcopal church in Bismarck. We met them at St. George’s and got a tour of their current building. It is a beautiful church and designated as a memorial church for various reasons, but the main reason is all the stain glass windows, each of which include a border of stain glass pieces from various churches in England that were destroyed during WWII.
Fortunately for us, the original church now stands on the historical Camp Hancock site in downtown Bismarck. We may have missed this fact all together if it wasn’t for Tom and Sharon. They drove us to the location and provided a guided tour for us. All in all we spent about 3 hours with them and had a great time viewing this preserved church, as well as some sight seeing in Bismarck.
Grandpa Frank served from 1924 to 1928 according to the plaque on their wall. My records document that aunts Barb (b. 1922) and Marion (b. 1925) were born in North Dakota, so I am not sure what he was doing for the first couple of years he was in North Dakota. Perhaps he was an assistant to the current pastor at that time.
Last but not least, as we left Bismarck for our stay in Dickenson North Dakota, we had a view of “Salem Sue”. North Dakota has more than it’s share of oversize animals and sculptures. To see what I am talking about, just google “the enchanted highway”.
Today was a day spent in White Bear Lake Minnesota. Dad was born here in 1929 and he lived here until he went into the Navy in 1945. His dad lived here from 1928 until his death in 1945. He served all of those years until 1944 as the Minister of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal church. This church is located about two blocks from the actual White Bear lake, the source of all of my dad’s big fish and adventure tales.
We had an address for the family of 708 1st Street from the 1940 census information. But that address could not be found, until we went to the City Hall of White Bear Lake. They had a hand written book listing the old 1st street numbers and the current numbers. 708 1st street is now 2168 1st street. And 2168 1st is the rectory for the church (or parsonage as I would call it) today, as it must have been when my dad was growing up.
We were able to pay a visit into the church and were directed to a wall with pictures of most of their past Ministers, including Grandpa Frank.
After the visit to the church, we went around to the other side of the lake and found the church cemetery and the gravestones for Grandpa Frank, Grandma Muriel (Gaga) and also for Uncle Don and Olive McArdell.
On to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Birthplace of my famous brother Thomas Davenport and also where Hank Aaron first started playing baseball for the Eau Claire Bears. Not sure which person is the most famous.
We started the day at the public library and dug up some good information. We have a copy of the birth announcement of Thomas. Along with that we got the address at the time of 136 1/2 Niagara Street. We also found an address in the city directory from 1954 for Frank and Gloria (Tom’s parents) on 2594 Birch Street.
Ted was born in Sacred Heart Hospital. The buildings that he was born in are now the Eau Claire Academy. There is still a Sacred Heart Hospital but it is in a different location and much larger and newer.
Our father was in Eau Claire to finish his education at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. The campus appears to be growing and vibrant with most buildings that we could see probably new since he went to school there. The school is only a few blocks away from where he first lived on Niagara Street.
All in all, we had a great day in Eau Claire. Eau Claire is a beautiful city with lots of bike paths and walkways everywhere we went it seemed. I would recommend it as a place to visit (ahem, Ted??).
UPDATE: Added a fifth child, Phillip, born in 1875 but have no other information.
Agatha Schneble, Max Laskowski’s wife and grandmother of Mary, came from Dayton, Ohio. Her parents were Fred “Fredolin” John Schneble and Victoria Schwartz. They are buried in St. Patricks Cemetery in Bay City, Michigan.
Fred was born January 1846 in Germany and arrived in the United States shortly after in 1849. The arrival date is based on information from a census and I have not found a passenger list for him yet.
He appears to have lived for most of his life in the Dayton, Ohio area until 1900 when he appears on the census in Gaylord, Michigan. He lived out his remaining years in Gaylord where he passed away on January 7th, 1908.
Fred and Victoria were married in 1870 in Ohio (presumably Dayton area).
Victoria (maiden name Schwartz) was born in Dayton on November 6th, 1848. As mentioned above, she married Fred in 1870 and they moved to Gaylord some time before 1900.
Some time after Fred passed away, Victoria moved to Bay City and appears on the 1910 census with two of her daughters (Cecilia and Julia) living with Max and Agatha at 917 21st street. (Hmm, where I have heard of that address before…)
Her parents appear to be Max and Cecilia, who immigrated from Germany also. I have a request in to the Dayton Public Library for a copy of Cecilia’s obituary who passed away in 1903, if one exists. If this information is good, then Max and Cecilia Schwartz would be Mary’s 2nd great grandparents.
Victoria passed away February 13th, 1912 in Bay City, Michigan.
Fred and Victoria had five children I could find:
Phillip Jacob Schneble, born May 1 1875 Matilda P. Schneble, born September 1878 Agatha Cecilia Schneble, born 15 Sep 1880, died 9 Nov 1962 Cecilia A. Schneble, born Dec 1883 Julia A. Schneble, born Nov 1889
Max and Agatha (or Agnes) Laskowski are the parents of Louis Francis Laskowski and the grand parents of the Mary Laskowski clan (my wife). I have uncovered some good stuff on Max and have only a little on Agatha at this time.
For starters, I have found a birth registry record for Max as shown below. It appears he was born in an area called “Rathstube, WestPrussia, Prussia, Germany” on March 1, 1879. This information agrees as best it can with census records and the birth date noted in his obituary. Rathstube is now known today as Radostowo in Poland, a city about 80 miles east of Danzig (German), or Gandsk as it is known in Poland. I also have a passenger list that lists him at the age of 5 with his parents coming over in 1884. The children on that list as well as the parents name for the most part agree with the census information and the birth registry information, so my confidence level is high on this information.
Unfortunately, the 1890 census records in the United States were destroyed in a fire in January of 1921, so I do not have that record available. Notice that his middle name is shown as Franz, the same as his dads first name. Franz appears on the US information as Francis. I have also seen Max’s name appear as Max J Laskie on his Railroad Retirement board card and as Max J Laskowski in his obituary and Max John Laskowski on his WWI registration card.
Perhaps the most interesting information is a passenger list from the ship “Fulda” that arrived at Ellis Island on April 19, 1884. On that list are the following names (with ages): Frz Laskowski (46), Elise (41), Anna (20), Maria (18), Johann (15), Sophia (4??), Conrad (7), Helene (6) and Max (5). We know that Franz Laskowski married Elizabeth Nitkowski, so those names match up. I also have a list of names from a family reunion back in 1971 that for the most part agrees as follows (in descending order by date I presume from the family reunion doc): Anna (vs. Anna), Mary (vs. Maria), Josephine (maybe Sophia??), John (vs. Johann), Cora (vs??), Helen (vs. Helen), Max (vs. Max) and Barbara who was born later in 1884 in the United States. To me the match is too close not to be the correct one. On the census records it was noted they immigrated in 1884, which also agrees. Here are the passenger list documents and the family reunion document.
Maybe, at some point, I can get more information to corroborate. I am not sure yet about Cora and Conrad. It is possible the person recording the passenger list just made a mistake. If only I had the 1890 census record.
More updates on Agatha (Schneble, born in Dayton, Ohio), and also on the Stanchak side in the future.
Time now to add some genealogy research about the Laskowski family line. This will be about Mary’s family which appears to almost exclusively trace back to Poland and Germany.
For starters I have a great wedding picture of Mary’s parents.
Anna Stanchak (no middle name) was born November 9th, 1918 in Piney Fork, Pennsylvania and passed away on September 3, 2007 in Bay City. Piney Fork is now mostly just a memory located in South Park Township in Allegheny County a little south of Pittsburgh. Mary and I actually made a stop there but all we could find was a road named Piney Fork. Her father was Peter Daniel Stanchak (Stanczak?) born February 6, 1886 in Austria/Poland and her mother was Mildred (Millie or Mylana) Gabuza born January 6, 1888 in Austria/Poland.
Louis Francis Laskowski was born September 14, 1911 in Bay City and passed away on June 2, 1990. His father was Maximillian or Max J. Laskowski (still need the middle name) born March 1, 1879 in Poland. His mother was Agatha Cecilia Schneble born September 15, 1880 in Dayton, Ohio. More about them all in the future and their family tree as I can get verifiable information about them. Below are a couple more pictures of Mary’s parents.