Uncle Herb, and a very descriptive photo ID!

The back of this cabinet card provided me with some great information, and without it, it would have been much harder to identify the right Mr. Herb Smith. It reads: “Uncle Herb Smith, Blanche Myers brother, 6 child of the … Continue reading

Velma Cook, lots of info, little proof

For a change of pace I’m going back to the Willaimsville Township High School class of 1934. There we find Velma Cook. A great smile AND coif! Williamsville Township HS was in Williams, Illinois, part of Sangamon county. Only one … Continue reading

Melvin Beckett, a Macon boy to the core

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

An Illinois boy through and through. This 1935 graduate of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois was a veteran like his classmate. He served his country for 5 years beginning in 1941. But at the time of this photo, Melvin was 18 years old, born on June 23, 1916. He lived with his parents (Alvin Ray and Icephenia Grupp Beckett) in Macon, Macon county, Illinois. He was the oldest child, with 2 younger sisters and 3 younger brothers.

The whole family was born in Illinois, including his parents. His father, Alvin, worked as a farm laborer and a Railroad carpenter. Melvin distinguished himself in Macon through the Post Office, serving ultimately at Post Master. Thanks to his obituary we know he married in 1947 and had children and grandchildren to surround him.

Melvin died in November of 2004 in Macon and is buried there as well. More surprisingly his mother, Icephenia Beckett, was born in 1894 and died in 1995. She lived to be 100 years old! Her obituary states that she married in 1915 at about age 20 and was preceded in death by her husband in 1975. What amazing changes she must have seen in her life! I wish I had a photo of her to go along with Melvin.

William Chynoweth, if only ALL the obituaries were this helpful!

William Chynoweth, one of the 10 in the 1935 class of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois. From his obituary in 2006:

William was born Oct. 2, 1917, in Macon, the son of Ray and Irene Chynoweth. He received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1940 from the University of Missouri. Bill was a member of the Army Air Corps serving the Pacific Theater in World War II as squadron flight engineer to the 879th Bomb Wing. During his service, he was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. Bill attended the University of Illinois where he received his master of science in electrical engineering. After receiving his degree, he lived in Chicago, where he met Ruth Oakes of Summit, N.J. They soon married and, in their 52 years together, raised four children. During his career as an electrical engineer, he was instrumental in developing new technology for General Electric and Honeywell and was directly responsible for three patents. His sharp and inquisitive mind, his continual spirit of giving and his quiet, nurturing soul have been a help and inspiration to his family and friends. He was a resident of Good Samaritan Village and formerly lived in Fort Collins, Colo.

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

I was going to write a full article on William, but his obituary is so complete it seemed redundant! Such rich genealogy detail in an obituary. Here’s an interesting tidbit though: if it weren’t for the 1940 census stating where someone lived in 1935 (the year of this photo) I may not have found him at all! William and his family moved around a lot. Luckily the lived in Macon, Illinois in 1935, because by 1940 they were in Columbia, Boone, Missouri where his father Ray was a traveling Salesman. And travel he did.

William’s youngest sister Virginia was born in South Dakota in 1931, where the family was registered in the 1930 census as well. They has been in Macon before in 1920. Ray was born in Arkansas. And, as you can see from the obit, William eventually resided in Colorado.

I hope this photo makes it’s way to willing descendants.

Aldyth Gregory, looks don’t lie, she was remembered kindly

Aldyth Gregory, 1935 class of Macon High School in Illinois

Aldyth Gregory, 1935 class of Macon High School in Illinois

Aldyth Gregory, a great name, one you don’t hear anymore. Aldyth was one of 10 graduates in 1935 from Macon High School in Macon, Illinois. It’s a wonderful class photo; I can’t wait to share all the graduates with you.

Aldyth was born April 20, 1917 in Zion, Illinois to Luther Carl Gregory and Anna Jones. Carl and Anna were married almost 10 years before their first daughter was born, so it would seem. Robert followed Aldyth 4 years later, and Gertrude one year after Robert. Carl Gregory was a dairy farmer.

The family lived in Mount Zion, Macon, Illinois in 1920 and in South Wheatland, Macon, Illinois in 1930. Mr. Gregory passed away in 1939 and I was unable to find a 1940 census record of Anna and her children. In 1947, at the age of 30, Aldyth married Howard Kiesling. She became a step-mother and eventually had a daughter of her own.

Aldyth died on January 10, 2006 and is buried in Havana, Mason, Illinois where she had been a teacher for many years. One touching flower on her Find A Grave memorial says “my kindergarten teacher and was a very kind lady.”

I hope her name (Aldyth) lived on with descendants, as well as that sweet smile :)

The Short Life of Edward Gibis

Edward J. Gibis, age 18

Edward J. Gibis, age 18

Edward J. Gibis is 18 in this handsome photo. He was the oldest son of John Gibis and Maria/Mary Libich. Born on October 2, 1913 he appears to have had a tragic end to his life.

The family, John, Maria, Edward, and younger brother Julius lived in Chicago from at least 1920-1940. That is where Edward, in 1931, was photographed at St. Michael Central High School here as a Senior. Father John worked mainly as a mail carrier for the US Post office. Edward was still living at home at age 26 in 1940. He worked as a shipping clerk. Younger brother Julius was married with a child, but still in Chicago.

Moving on, Edward enlisted in the Army on June 12, 1942; he was still single. Only one more piece of documentation follows Edward after that WWII enlistment record. A Rockford, Illinois newspaper article titled “Discharged Soldier in Fall from Train Dies.” That appeared on November 2, 1945.  The article states that Edward J. Gibis, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Gibis of Chicago fell from a New York Central Passenger train on his way home. He had been discharged from the army at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. How or why he fell is unknown. He died that evening at a Lafayette hospital. I’ve not found a death certificate or a burial record. The only odd thing is that the article says Edward was 20, when he would have been about 32.

Edward had no family of his own, but Julius lived until 1999 and had a large and loving family. Hopefully some of them will be interested in this long lost uncle.

Dorothy Mills, truly the baby of the family

Dorothy Mills, 1934, about 18 years old

Dorothy Mills, 1934, about 18 years old

Meet Dorothy Mills, 18 in this photo of the class of 1934 from Williamsville Township High School. Born in 1916, she was the last child of John Mills and Lydia Sparks. The year of her birth her father was almost 60 and her mother over 40. Dorothy’s oldest sibling Flora was born in 1890. Then Bertha, Winifred, Mary, Helen and finally Dorothy. The family lived all their live in Williams, Illinois where John and son Winifred were farmers.

In 1928, when her father died, Dorothy and mother Lydia went to live with Winifred and his wife Cecelia and children. They lived with them at least through the 1930 and 1940 census in Williams. Dorothy’s mother passed away in 1947. John and Lydia, and many other members of the Mills family, are buried in Wolf Creek Cemetery in Sangamon county. I did not find a Dorothy Mills there.

I don’t know what happened to Dorothy. In 1940, she was still single and worked in “domestic work” with 4 years of high school. Did she ever marry and have kids of her own? Hopefully family can fill in the blanks.

Roy Clarke, at 15 he already looks like a future accountant

Roy Clarke, Manierre School, 1910

Roy Clarke, Manierre School, 1910

Lest you think I’ve been focusing too heavily on the young ladies, here’s a male student from the Manierre school. Like his classmate, he was about 15 in this photo (born January 9, 1896) and lived in Ward 22. Roy Clarke was actually Leroy Rudolf Clarke, and yes he would grow up to be a bookkeeper (among other things).

Roy never married and had no children so I doubt there are any descendants searching for him, but he deserves a little history nonetheless. Roy was the son of John H. Clarke and Louise Dahnke. Born in Illinois, he had one older brother Harry. I don’t know if Harry ever married. In 1900 and 1910 the family lived in Ward 22 of Chicago where dad John was a teamster. In 1900 his aunt Alta also lived with them.

By 1920, Roy was working as a bookkeeper, still living with his parents, as was his brother. Both dad and brother were chauffeurs. 1930, in Ward 39 now, Roy was keeping books, Harry had moved on, but grandma Dahnke (maternal grandmother) lived with the family. She would die in 1935 and is buried in Montrose Cemetery in Chicago.

1940, maybe because of the depression, who knows, Roy was no long a bookkeeper but doing “odd jobs, house cleaning”. Even on his WWII draft reg card he listed his profession as “odd jobs”. This could not have been very fulfilling for the no-longer-so-young 44 year old Roy. He was still at home and unmarried.

According to the Social Security Death Index, Roy died in Peoria, IL in October of 1975. His brother had died about 10 years earlier in 1964.

Evelyn Klumpp: following the lure of California like many, but missing in 1900

Evelyn Klumpp, 1910 Chicago (age 16)

Evelyn Klumpp, 1910 Chicago (age 16)

Evelyn Klumpp doesn’t look too happy in this 1910 Manierre school picture from 1910 Chicago. That’s right, we’re back to Ward 22 if you’ve followed any of the other Manierre school posts. But Evelyn wasn’t so easy to find. One, although Klumpp seems like a very unique name, the number of misspellings have made her harder to track down (Klemp, Klump, etc.). Two, her parents may have just divorced or her mother died before this photo – hard to know so her world was a bit topsy-turvey.

Here’s what I know: The year this photo was taken, 1910, Evelyn lived with her uncles (her father’s brothers) Albert, Edward, and Gustav Klumpp (spelled Klemp) in Ward 22 of Chicago. They are her uncles despite the fact that she’s listed as a sister rather than a niece on the census. According to her birth record, she was born to William and Mamie Klumpp on January 15, 1894 in Cook County, Illinois. You’ll find William with his brothers, sisters and parents in 1870 and 1880 in Cook county with all the same names and near same birth years listed as the 1910 census. A marriage record has William Klumpp marring Mary O’Brien in 1886.

BUT, we never see Evelyn in a census record with her parents – they seem utterly lost in 1900. The rest of her family (at least on her father’s side) is in – you guessed it – Ward 22 of Chicago. Grandpa Christopher, now a widow lives with son Edward. Christopher would die 2 years later. Uncle Albert and Gustav live together as well. Gustav would die in an Insane Hopstial in 1945, Albert died in 1932. All, including some sisters, are buried in Rose Hill cemetery in Cook co.

Now, based on father William’s parents (Christopher and Caroline Klumpp) we know that William died in Seneca, Ohio of all places in 1923 – he is listed as divorced on the death record. He is also in Seneca in 1920, and thank goodness he was living with daughter Evelyn. She and husband Milo Long married in 1912 (Klumpp/O’Brien are parents) in Indiana. That was just 2 years after this photo, Evelyn would have been 18. At some point, they moved to Ohio and cared for her father before his death. When and where mom went/died is unknown.

Evelyn and Milo with one son William continued to live in Seneca, Ohio at least through 1940. But at some point moved to California. Evelyn Long died on March 27, 1972 in Los Angeles. I’d love to solve the mystery of the location of the family in 1900!

Williamsville Township High School, 1934, with handsome Orlando Viola

Orlando Viola, 1934

Orlando Viola, 1934

Orlando Viola was 18 in this class photo from Williamsville Township High School in 1934. He was the son of Nikolas “Nick” Viola and Maria “Mary” Jannesse, both Italian immigrants. Nick and Mary married about 1911 in Illinois. They would have 8 children in all, Orlando was their second born, and first son. From at least 1920 to 1940 the family lived in Fancy Creek, Sangamon county, Illinois; the same county as the high school. Mr. Viola worked as both a coal miner and a road laborer.

In 1940, Orlando still lived at home and was working as a railroad laborer with his high school education. But on February 18, 1942 he decided to join the army. His mother died the same year. Per his army enlistment record Orlando was married at the time. Younger brother Julio would join him in the army.

Orlando’s parents lived out their lives in Sangamon county (near Springfield). They are buried in Calvary Cemetery there; as are many of his siblings. Orlando’s burial location is unknown to me. According to SSDI he died in 1977 while living in Virginia. He may have been the only one of the Viola children to leave Illinois.

I’m still searching for anyone searching for Orlando!