Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Are Henrietta Bahle and Rachel Bahle one and the same?


        Jacob Bahle was a German immigrant to the Pittsburgh area who fought in the American Civil War and worked as a general laborer for much of his life. He married in 1860 and raised at least nine children in the Deutschtown neighborhood, an enclave of working class Germans on the north shore of the Allegheny River. Jacob and his wife spent many of their years at 832 Perry Street.[1] A search of available record groups revealed census schedules, probate indexes, Civil War pension files, Pittsburgh city directories and death certificates for Jacob and his wife. Many of these documents include the same address, informant, surname or list of children. While Jacob Bahle’s name appears almost universally in these sources, the name of his wife is listed variously as Henrietta or Rachel. Never are both used together as if one is a middle name or nickname. Are Henrietta Bahle and Rachel Bahle, who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from approximately 1860 until 1921, one and the same?

      The earliest identified source that includes Jacob Bahle and his wife is the 1870 U.S. Census. Jacob Baily [sic], aged 37, worked in a cotton mill while his wife Henrietta, aged 26, kept the home. Henrietta was born in Ohio to foreign-born parents.[2] Ten years late the 1880 U.S. Census would likewise indicates Jacob Bali [sic] and Henrietta were living in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. While this census would indicate Henrietta was born in Pennsylvania, it is consistent with the enumeration ten years prior in that her parents were born in Württemberg. She again kept the home while her husband Jacob remained employed in a cotton mill. By now they had five children, including George, John, Charles, Jacob and Annie.[3]

       On 22 June 1898, Jacob completed a form as part of his Civil War pension application that asked the question, “Are you married?” Jacob’s answer reads, “Yes, wife maiden Rachel Schauffer.[4] This is the earliest known record that names Rachel instead of Henrietta. The informant writes that Victor Scriba, a Justice of the Peace, married Jacob and Rachel on 22 October 1860. The form names their children, including George, John, Jacob and Annie as seen in the 1880 Census. Additional children named include Joseph, Mary and Anthony [Andrew?]. Without the date of marriage, it would be simple to assume that Jacob’s wife Henrietta was deceased and that Rachel was a second wife. However, knowing that they had been married for 38 years at this point helps build the case that Rachel and Henrietta are the same person.

       Two years after filing for his pension, Jacob Bahle’s family was enumerated in their home at 832 Perry Street in Pittsburgh for the 1900 U.S. Census. This time, it wasn’t Rachel living with Jacob but Henrietta. She and Jacob were enumerated as being married for 40 years. She was born in Ohio and as in 1880, her parents were born in Germany. In the household are 12 people, including two sons, Joseph and Andrew, daughter Annie, her husband Jacob Mauer, their children and three boarders. [5]

       The 1900 Census would be the last in which Jacob and Henrietta were enumerated together. On 14 September 1908, Jacob Bahle died of uraemia at the age of 76.[6] The informant on Jacob’s death certificate was Mrs. Henrietta Bahle of 832 Perry Street. He was buried in Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Ross Township, just north of Pittsburgh.[7] His obituary, appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette a day later, likewise names his wife as Henrietta Bahle (nee Shauffer).[8] This surname is similar to that listed in the 1898 pension application, with a spelling variation of Schauffer (note the “c” missing in 1908).

       Just one week after Jacob’s death, on 21 September 1908, a request for a widow’s pension was filed. This time, the name on the record was Rachel Bahle. In an affidavit sworn before a notary, Rachel indicated that Victor Scriba, a justice of the peace, married her to Jacob on 22 October 1860. The name Henrietta does not appear in the document. However, consistent with other documents is the address at 832 Perry Street and Jacob’s death date of 14 September 1908.[9]

        Pittsburgh city directories are universal in accepting Henrietta as the wife of Jacob, such that the 1909, 1916 and 1918 directories include her as the widow of Jacob and the address of 832 Peralta Street.[10] In 1920, the census enumerator found Henrietta and not Rachel living alone in the rear apartment of 832 Peralta. Her daughter Annie Mauer was living in the front apartment. Again, she’s enumerated as being born in Ohio to parents who were born in Germany.[11]

        The elderly woman who lived at the rowhouse at 832 Peralta Street died at the age of 78 on a cold and rainy Sunday, 6 March 1921.[12] The name on the death certificate reads Henrietta Bahle.[13] No middle name or initial was used and no mention of Rachel. Her daughter Annie Mauer served as the informant of her death, indicating Henrietta’s father was John Schnauffer and her mother name unknown. Her obituary appeared in the Pittsburgh Press the next day under the same name, the wife of the late Jacob Bahle, nee Schuaffer, with no survivors listed.[14]

       While Henrietta had died, this was not the end of Rachel in available records. The probate record of Jacob’s wife names her as Rachel. Incredibly, it includes an alternative name, but not the one this search expected. “Rachel (or Rachael) Bahle”, as printed in the Allegheny County Proceedings Index, included her date of death of 6 March 1921. The executor William Rosemeier filed his account of her assets with the probate court on 10 November 1921. It was Rachel’s name in the filing.

       It’s not uncommon for someone to have a nickname or use a middle name, but it’s rare for it to be unexplained through most of one’s documented life, switching back and forth in legally binding documents with little rhyme or reason. Regardless, there is sufficient direct evidence to state that the woman who lived much of her life at 832 Perry (or Peralta) Street with Jacob Bahle used both names. Was she Rachel Bahle or was she Henrietta Bahle? She was both.

Sources:
[1] Perry Street north of the Allegheny River was renamed Peralta Street shortly after the 1907 annexation of the City of Allegheny by the City of Pittsburgh and the creation of duplicate street names. The addresses of 832 Perry Street and 832 Peralta Street refer to the same house. For a discussion on street names and naming in Pittsburgh, see George Thornton Fleming, Pittsburgh, how to See it: A Complete, Reliable Guide Book with Illustrations, the Latest Map and Complete Index (Pittsburgh : William G. Johnson Publishing, 1916), 47, “Streets and Street Names”; digital images, Google Books, (https://goo.gl/EMlVX3 : accessed 22 Mar 2016).

[2] 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny, p. 32 (penned), family #249, Jacob Bahle household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 March 2016); NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1290.

[3] 1880 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny, p. 44 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 24, household #426, Jacob Bahle household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 March 2016); FHL microfilm 1255087, image 553.

[4] Jacob Bahle (Pvt. Co. H, 6th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Civil War), pension no. 931,333, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Record Group 15 Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[5] 1900 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny, enumeration district (ED) 33, sheet 14, family #318, Jacob Bahle household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 March 2016); NARA microfilm publication T623, Roll 1355.

[6] “Jacob L. Bahle,” The Pittsburgh Press, 14 September 1908, online index and digital index (https://www.newspapers.com/image/142146533/ : accessed 25 March 2016), citing print edition page 3, column 1.

[7] Jacob Bahle, Saint Mary’s R.C., Troy Road, Ross Township, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1777–2012 (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 March 2016); Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History, Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1929-1990, Series 1.

[8] “Jacob L. Bahle,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 15 September 1908, online index and digital index (https://www.newspapers.com/image/86157218/ : accessed 25 March 2016), citing print edition page 6, column 2.

[9] Declaration for Widow’s Pension, 21 September 1908, Rachel Bahle, widow’s pension application no. 904,770; combined with Jacob Bahle (Pvt. Co. H, 6th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Record Group 15 Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[10] R.L. Polk, compiler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory (Pittsburgh: R. L. Polk & Co. and R.L. Dudley, 1909), 139; also subsequent years by the same title: (1916) 485, (1918) 469; U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com ; accessed 25 March 2016).

[11] 1920 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Pittsburgh, enumeration district (ED) 694, sheet 5A, family #133, Henrietta Bahle household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 March 2016); NARA microfilm publication T625, Roll 1526.

[12] “The Weather,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6 March 1921, online index and digital index (https://www.newspapers.com/image/85516420/ : accessed 25 March 2016), citing print edition section 1, page 6, column 5.

[13] Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1963”, No. 22419 (stamped), Henrietta Bahle entry, died 6 March 1921; indexed database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2016); citing “Pennsylvania Death certificates, 1906–1963”, Series 11.90, Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/).

[14] “Henrietta Bahle,” The Pittsburgh Press, 7 March 1921, online index and digital index (https://www.newspapers.com/image/145649602/ : accessed 25 March 2016), citing print edition page 24, column 5.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Who Was New Castle's Oldest Resident in 1925?

Just who was New Castle, Pennsylvania's oldest resident in 1925? It was none other than my 3rd great grandmother Esther Callahan Rogan. Grandma Rogan was born in Liverpool, England on April 23, 1832 and arrived in the United States in 1851. After living in New York and briefly in Ontario, she was living in New Castle by 1870 with her husband James and children. Many of her later birthdays, including her 84th and 90th, were featured in the New Castle News. The blurb below, written as an answer to a newspaper trivia question, tells us that 93 year old Esther Rogan of 467 Blaine Street is the 'most aged' lady or gentleman in the city.


Grandma Esther died in New Castle February 19, 1927 at the age of 94.

Source:
"Are You Familiar With Your City?", New Castle [PA] News, 11 Jun 1925, page 2, col 5; online index and digital image, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jan 2016), Newspaper Archives, 1700s-2000s.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Tree of Life wasn't your family tree

What a lot of people don't realize is that Noah built the ark not for animals, but for saving early census records and birth certificates. Do you have any idea what flood waters do to genealogical records?



I found this comment on the Irish Genealogy Facebook page and couldn't help but chuckle. If only tracing your family history back a few thousands years accurately was that easy (or possible!).


Sunday, January 3, 2016

My Genealogy Database in 2015

I maintain all of my genealogical information using a software application called Family Tree Maker. Here's the current snapshot of my database:

People: 2,335
Marriages: 658
Places: 768
Media: 2559 (photographs and document images)

Repositories: 14
Source Groups: 268
Source Citations: 4313

4,313 citations equals 1.85 citations per person, just shy of two. As many ancestors have many more citations, it's safe to say that there are people in my family tree for whom I have no proof. Hopefully over the next year I can get that number much higher.

By documenting this information at the start of the year, I hope to be able to track the growth of my family tree year to year. Since this is the first time I've done this, I have nothing to compare, but next year should prove interesting.

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Edward Lowry, Lawman

I've previously written about my great grand uncle Edward Lowry, wondering what happened to him after 1904 and what he did in the last few years of his life. In the 14 months since I wrote that piece, I've discovered quite a bit. At the turn of the 20th century, Edward was living in Republic, Ferry County, Washington. He went to Washington to seek work and perhaps a fortune as a miner, but by 1900, he was was the Democratic candidate for sheriff of Ferry County in what was the first election since the county separated from Stevens County. No doubt utilizing the same skills of politicking that he used as a labor organizer in Colorado, he won the 1900 election for sheriff by a count of 677 to 593, beating Republican A.E. Stewart.

Click to enlarge
Lowry took the role well, as various newspaper accounts from the early 1900's depict him chasing after escaped inmates, seizing sheep due to a failure to pay taxes, rounding up murderers and investigating robberies, as was the case in October 1901 as reported by the Spokane Spokesman-Review. As it turns out, Republic resident and rancher Frank O'Brien's wife was keen on leaving the family fortune in the hen house instead of the bank. While employee Michael Smith was cleaning out the chicken coop, he discovered the O'Brien fortune and pocketed it, setting off by hired carriage and then train. Sheriff Lowry took the complaint and directed that a wire report be sent before setting off in search his fugitive. That wire report made the difference as a train was stopped by Canadian lawmen in British Columbia with Smith aboard. With some of the gold still in his possession upon arrest, Smith was brought back to the Republic jail to face his accusers.

 

Just two and a half months later, Sheriff Lowry had the dubious distinction of losing several of his inmates who escaped by sawing through the wooden jail bars. The Spokesman-Review and San Francisco Call both depict the tale of how Lowry recaptured the fugitives. Not realizing they were gone for several hours after the escape, he was quick to pick up their trail. He located two in the town of Wauconda, 16 miles to the west, while two more were reported to be in Curlew 20 miles to the north. It was the two in Curlew who were up to no good, committing their second felony of the day (the first being their escape from jail). When Lowry entered the saloon in which the two men were reported to be, he found the barkeeper and patrons lined up along the rail being robbed!



The warm Washington summer of 1903 saw Lowry climbing Gibraltar Mountain, just a few miles outside Republic. Someone had discovered a grisly scene, with the bones of a man and cougar lying near one another. From the evidence at the scene, it appears to have been a terrible struggle that occurred over a year prior. The gun was quite rusted and the remains very much decayed. Lowry's role as sheriff was to identify the victim. The San Jose, California Evening News found the story so terrific that they carried it on their July 31 front page.

 

Lowry's final appearance as a man of law and order in readily available newspapers is February 24, 1904. Again, he was doing what he had done several times before in bringing back a fugitive, Everett Wilson. Wilson shot a man named Dan Bethune, although for what cause we aren't certain. Of interest to the reader, Wilson was to await the result of Bethune's wound in jail. Translating the parlance and with the medical knowledge of 1904, Bethune was probably a dead man walking.

 

Lastly, we also now know why records and newspaper mentioned of Edward become more difficult to locate after 1905. In early October 1905, Edward and his son Ralph set off from Republic to Phoenix, Arizona. At some point in his life, Edward contracted tuberculosis and believed that the dry desert air would be good for him. Unfortunately, he died on Monday, October 9, 1905 after just a single night in town. His obituary in the October 12, 1905 Arizona Republican reads:

Funeral of E. LAWRY [sic] - The funeral of E. Lawry will be held this afternoon at 4 o'clock at the undertaking parlors of Easterling & Whitney. Mr. Lawry came here last Sunday, very ill of consumption, and died Monday morning. His home was in Republic, Wash., where his wife and other relatives now are. A son sixteen years old accompanied him here. He was quite a prominent man in his county having served two years as sheriff. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles which society will have charge of his funeral.


Lowry was 49 years old when he died. He's buried in Phoenix.

Sources:
An Illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan Counties, State of Washington, Volume 1, (Washington, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1904), 446; digital images, Google Books (http://books.Google.com : accessed 30 Nov 2015).

"Cash Taken From Cache," The Spokesman-Review, 10 Oct 1901, p. 1, col. 2; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive.

"Sawed To Liberty," The Spokesman-Review, 29 Dec 1901, p. 1, col. 6; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive.

"Fugitive Prisoners Are Captured," San Fransisco Call, 29 Dec 1901, p. 20, col. 5; image copy. University of California, Riverside (http://cdnc.ucr.edu/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), California Digital Newspaper Collection.

"Bones Of Man And Beast Are Found On Mountain," The (San Jose) Evening News, 31 Jul 1903, p. 1, col. 1-2; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive. [Note: The image is indexed for 30 Jul 1903, but the article appeared in the 31 Jul 1903 newspaper.]

"Late News From Republic," The Spokesman-Review, 24 Feb 1904, p. 4, col. 4; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive. [Note: The image is indexed for 21 Feb 1904, but the article appeared in the 24 Feb 1904 newspaper.]

"Funeral for E. Lawry," The Arizona Republican, 12 Oct 1905, p. 5, col. 3; image copy. Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 30 Nov 2015).

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Photo of the Day - November 24, 2015

Click to enlarge.

A family gathering in 1925 is the scene of this image. The adults from left to right are Eda Witt Lucas, Cecelia Witt Morris, Leo N. Lucas, Joseph Witt, Helen Bixler Witt, Francis Witt, Blanche Witt, Mary Governor Witt, and Alvy Thomas Witt. The children in the front are William Witt, Francis Witt, Jr., and Governor Witt. I'm unsure of the location, as the Witts, Lucas' and Morris' lived on Grant and Arlington Streets, two parallel blocks between Ford Avenue and Belmont Avenue in the 1920s. That area of Youngstown would have been relatively well developed, being so close to downtown. It's not impossible to say that this was one of their homes, but the undeveloped land in the background gives me pause.

Source:
Eda Witt Lucas, Cecelia Witt Morris, Leo N. Lucas, Joseph Witt, Helen Bixler Witt, Francis Witt, Blanche Witt, Mary Governor Witt, and Alvy Thomas Witt. The children in the front are William Witt, Francis Witt, Jr., and Governor Witt. Copy of original photograph, original taken in Ohio in 1925; image taken by unknown photographer; privately held by Joseph Lowry, [address for private use], Sterling, VA. Provenance is Mary Catherine Witt Sanders to Joseph Lowry.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Photo of the Day - November 23, 2015


This photo was taken around 1925. The older girl in the center is Blanche Witt, my 1st cousin 2x removed (also known as my grandfather's first cousin) and she's holding Fred Witt, my great uncle. My great uncle Francis Witt Jr. and Dorothy Leffler are the two others, according the image caption. I'm not certain who Dorothy Leffler is. I've located a girl I believe to be her in the 1930 Census, but could not locate a marriage record for her mother to confirm anything more. I also didn't put much effort into it, so there's that too.

Source:
Blanche Witt (1912 - 1978), Frederick Witt (1924-2009), Francis Witt, Jr. (1920-2002) and Dorothy Leffler (unknown), photograph, taken in Youngstown, Ohio around 1925; image taken by unknown photographer; privately held by Joseph Lowry, [address for private use], Sterling, VA. Provenance is Mary Catherine Witt Sanders to Joseph Lowry.

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