Lovely Valentine’s Couples

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I honor of this day of love, I searched around my family (and hubby’s) for Valentine’s records, marriages or pictures … nothing! Lots of marriages in December and January, but not much happening in February! I did find this clipping in the Cubbage Family Bible … I wonder which family member clipped it from the newspaper?

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So no Valentine’s marriages or love letters, but here are some of the oldest pictures that I have of family couples:

c. 1902, Jackson “Jack” Draper and Sarah Pierce in Bedford, Virginia, married in 1894.
1915, Elizabeth Linnemann and Frank Speck, Monessen or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, taken around the time of their marriage.
mary michael
1934, Mary Simko and Michael Petrun, Male Zaluzice, Slovakia, taken around the time of their marriage.
c. 1939, Elise Gegenheimer and Adolf Haberkern, on a date near Stein, Germany, married in 1942.
Agnes & Art
1938, Agnes Speck and Art Cubbage in Monessen, Pennsylvania, married in 1939.

I wish that I had more older pictures, but I am very thankful for those that I do have of our families. Do you have any Valentine’s marriages in your family? How about your oldest family pictures?

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Sentimental Sunday – Playing “Hearts” Through the Mail

Easter Sunday 1952
I love to play cards – poker, hearts, canasta … you name it. This is because I was raised by some serious card-playing Cubbages. Family favorites included hearts, poker and “aw $hit” (also known as “oh hell” or ”aw pshaw”). If there were Cubbages gathered together, there was always card game. I think of my grandfather – Art Cubbage, known to us as Pop-Pop – whenever we play. We even had an honorary game of “aw $hit” after Pop-Pop’s funeral.

My grandfather was an avid card player. I can remember being too young to play, but hearing the laughing, and occasionally yelling, when they played cards. As we kids got older, we learned the games and started playing with my parents and my grandfather. And I distinctly remember him getting frustrated at times with how we played (“I wonder what the hell that call means?”). These wonderful memories make me smile when I see my extended family and we get a game of hearts going after dinner.And when we play with my kids, I often tell them two of my favorite card-playing stories about Pop-Pop …

Story #1: Pop-Pop’s favorite card game was Hearts. And he was good. He played regularly with his friends Bob and Ralph. They would get together every year or so for a Hearts Tournament, where they would meet and play for the weekend. They had a flag with a heart on it, a medal for the weekend champion (who kept it until the next tournament), and some years even had matching shirts! It sounds like such a fun weekend away to me!

I have a few pictures from their card-playing adventures:

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“Easter Sunday 1952”

Easter Sunday! This was when Pop-Pop was living in New Jersey and my grandmother and the boys were still in Pittsburgh. I wonder how he got away with that one!

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“Hearts Tour April 1953”

 

Hearts Tour April 1954
“Hearts Tour April 1954”
hearts tour 1958, zanesville, oh
“Hearts Tour 1958, Zanesville, OH”

Story #2: This is my favorite card-playing story about Pop-Pop and his buddies … and how much they loved playing cards. In between these tournaments they played cards by mail! Yep, good old snail mail – no online hearts like we can play today. It’s hard to imagine, and to explain, but here are the basics …

One of them would deal out the cards and mail them to the other two players (each person would get his 17-card hand, and I’m guessing that he held onto the “kitty” until the first hard). Then the person who was to the “left of the dealer” would mail his card that he “played” to the next player, who would add his card and mail both to the next. The dealer would mail the “trick” to the winner, who would then play a card to his “left” and so on. These games would last months. Those were some serious card players! In this day and age of instant gratification and immediate results, it’s hard to imagine a game going on for that long. But I can envision how excited they were when they received an envelope of cards in the mail!

In the 1960s and 1970s, my grandfather hosted a poker game in his cellar twice a month with some friends from his neighborhood in New Providence. This picture is probably from the mid-1960s. My grandfather is in the middle … with all of the poker chips! The young fellow to the left is my father, who was probably sitting in for one of the guys.

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At some point in the mid-1970s, my Dad brought me and my sister along when he went to play one Friday night. And you can ask my sister … we still remember listening to their chatter in the cellar through the heating ducts from upstairs!

Fast forward another 20 years and the weekend card playing returned! This time Pop-Pop played “aw $hit” (notice the matching sweatshirts for the occasion!) near the Poconos with his sons Jeff and Corky, and his friend Willie.

aw shit tourn. poconos

Both of my sons are good card players, and we enjoy playing a few hands over school breaks or with the rest of the Cubbage clan. This family tradition will be passed down to another generation of Cubbage descendants!

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Wedding Wednesday – Piecing Together Details About a Marriage

On Saturday, January 12th, it will be the wedding anniversary of my second great-grandparents, Charles Schwenk and Marian “Mary Ann” Burd. They were married in 1871 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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This photocopy of the marriage certificate is from a file of family records and images that my grandfather had with his pictures.[1]  I do not know who has the original image, but my father believes that several family heirlooms and records were photocopied in the 1970s and given to my grandfather by one of his sisters.

This certificate confirms the marriage that I found in a complied book of marriage returns from the City of Pittsburgh: Charles Schwenk, age 24, married Mary Ann “Bird,” age 21, on 12 January 1871 in a Civil Ceremony by Samuel McMasters, Ald.[2]  Both Charles and Mary Ann were from Saltsburgh, Allegheny County (a village in North Versailles Township).

While it’s fantastic to find documents and abstracts about our ancestors, there is so much more that I would love to know about Charles and Mary Ann.  I don’t have any pictures of them, or diaries or letters …  but what if I could know a little more about their wedding?

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Charles was a Civil War Veteran who applied for an invalid pension. In the many, many incredible documents that were included in his Compiled Service and Pension records, there is an affidavit that Mary Ann submitted for her widow’s pension. She needed to prove that she was married to Charles. The affidavit was from Isaac and Martha Mason and dated 3 March 1899.[3]

That the soldier Charles G. Schwenk and Mary A Schwenk now a Widow were married on January the 12″ 1871 at Pittsburgh Pa. That said Mary A Schwenk was living with them at Saltsburg Pa at the time of her marriage to the soldier Charles G. Schwenk.
That after the return of the couple from Pittsburgh were the marriage took place, they had the wedding supper at their (Deponents House) and that they the Deponents participated at the wedding festivities held in honor of the said marriage.
That the said Mary A. Schwenk lived with them (Deponents) for about 2 years before her marriage to the soldier and know that she was not married prior to the marriage to the soldier above named.
That they know the facts testified to in this affidavit of their own Personal knowledge, having had an intimate aquaintence with Mary A Schwenk before and after her marriage to the soldier.

Wow! So now I know a little more about Charles and Mary Ann’s wedding. The wedding “supper” was held at the home of Isaac and Martha Mason in Saltsburgh, after they were married in the City of Pittsburgh. In the 1870 census, just a year before the wedding, Mary Ann was living with the Masons in North Versailles Township, and working as a domestic servant.[4]  Charles was also living in North Versailles in 1870 and was enumerated on the same day and only a few pages apart in the census book.[5]  Both were no longer living with their parents, and it appears that they met in Saltsburgh.

There is another interesting item in this affidavit that needs further research. One of the witnesses to this affidavit was Margaret Orris, who was Mary Ann’s sister. When Margaret Orris died in 1922, her obituary listed eight children including Mrs. Harry Mason.[6]  Harry Mason was the son of Isaac and Martha Mason, whom Mary Ann worked for and lived with in 1870. There seem to be some connections between the Burd, Orris and Mason families that need to be explored. Maybe that’s how Mary Ann found work with the Masons and ended up in Saltsburgh? Or maybe Mary Ann introduced Harry to her niece?

In the meantime, I’m happy to know a little more about the wedding of my second great-grandparents and how they celebrated this important event!

Have you found details about a wedding outside of a marriage record?


SOURCES:

1] Marriage Certificate, Charles Schwenk-Mary Ann Burd, 12 January 1871; photocopy privately held by the author’s father, ca. 1975.

[2] Western Pennsylvania Genealogy Society, compiler, Marriage Returns City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA, 1870-1875. Pittsburgh: Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, 1999.

[3] Affidavit of Isaac and Martha Mason, 3 March 1899, Mary Ann Schwenk, widow’s pension application no. 586124, certificate no. 475533, service of Charles G. Schwenk (1st Sgt., Co. C, 82nd reg., Pennsylvania Infantry, Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[4] 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 20 (penned), dwelling 137, family 137, Isaac Mason; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.

[5] 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 23 (penned), dwelling 156, family 156, John Rogers; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.

[6] “Former Creighton Woman Summoned by Death,” The Valley Daily News (Tarentum, PA), 17 February 1922; photocopy, Community Library of Allegheny, copied by library staff, 12 October 2012.

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Thankful Thursday – Art’s Slide Collection

Mom, Cork, Jeff, Christmas 1953
Mom, Cork, Jeff, Christmas 1953

As we research our family, it’s important that we look at all of the records, notes, documents and photos that our family has collected. Family photos can help us identify people and put them in a time and place in our family history. These images also (quite literally!) put faces to the names that we have been researching!

A few years ago, I scanned all of my paternal grandfather’s slides, as well as those of my parents and my maternal grandparents. My grandfather, Art Cubbage, had just under 600 images that he took from 1953 (when they moved from Pittsburgh to New Jersey) through 1974.

While I am thankful for these wonderful images of my father’s childhood and my grandparent’s lives, I am most thankful that he labeled almost every slide. That’s right. Almost. Every. Slide. My grandfather noted the name of the person(s), the location (if it wasn’t at their home), the month and the year! Wow!

As I have researched my family, these slides have been a great reference for me. Even though that are 20th century images, they still help to piece together our family history. They also tell me a lot about the Cubbage family during those years, and about the individual family members, some that I will profile in later posts. There are also some images of older family members that I never met – great-grandparents and great aunts and uncles.

I have also shown and discussed many of these images with my father, as they are of his family. He has helped me to identify the connections of people in the photos with the Cubbage family (friends, neighbors, coworkers), and a few more details on the events or family members.

If you have found photos in your family research, be sure to show them to your older family members – they may have additional information, or it may jog their memories about some stories or details that you don’t know about!

I’ll share more of these images in future posts, but for now here are a few of my favorites …

 

July 1955
“July 1955”  This was their home in New Providence, NJ.

 

Mem & Pap Pittsburgh July 1954
“Mem & Pap Pittsburgh July 1954” My grandmother Agnes’ parents in their backyard on Thelma Street on the North Side.

 

Min's August 1959
“Min’s August 1959” My grandfather Art and his family were enjoying Maryland crab at his sister Minnie’s house in Baltimore.

 

Jeff & Cork Thanksgiving 1954
“Jeff & Cork Thanksgiving 1954” My father and his brother, ages 13 and 10.

 

Harry, Janet, Barbara, Cork June 1959
“Harry, Janet, Barbara, Cork June 1959” My father and friends before the senior prom.

© 2018 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Throwback Thursday – Pittsburgh!

A year ago this week, I spent a some time in Pittsburgh – doing some of my favorite things in one of my favorite cities! It was a wonderful week of research, conference learning, tours and genealogy friends.

I originally started planning this trip when a genea-friend told me that that the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International Annual Conference was being held in Pittsburgh. I had never attended a CGSI event, but it was a good place to attend one. My husband is mostly Slovak (three of his four grandparents are from Slovakia) and his mother was born in Slovakia before immigrating when she was a little over a year old. I attended two days of the conference and attended some excellent sessions on Slovak land records, Czecho-Slovak history, the Slovak language and more.

The conference offered several tours earlier in the week, and my friend and I attended the “Pittsburgh’s Industry of Our Immigrants” tour on Tuesday. I was very excited for this tour, not for the Slovak focus but because it included places that my father’s ancestors would have worked. We went to the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in Homestead during the morning, stopped at Penn Brewery on the North Side for lunch, and ended with a coal mine tour in Tarentum.

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It was a cold morning and the fog on the Monongahela River added an eerie effect to the silhouette of Carrie Furnace.

The highlight of this day for me was the tour at Rivers of Steel, especially the guided tour at Carrie Furnace in Rankin, which had been a part of the Homestead Steel Works. My great grandfather, Charles Cubbage, worked in the blast furnace at Carrie when they lived in Swissvale in the early 1900s. It was an excellent tour where we were able to go into the furnace and learn about the iron making process. I always find it extremely moving to stand in the places where my ancestors stood. And to experience the massive size of Carrie was very powerful (luckily minus insane heat of the furnace). Our tour guide, Susie, was outstanding! If you are in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend this tour.

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The people in the foreground show the scale of Carrie Furnace.

On Wednesday, I spent some time at Homewood Cemetery in the Point Breeze neighborhood. Homewood is an almost 200-acre cemetery which is absolutely beautiful and well-maintained. I had emailed the cemetery ahead of time inquiring about record availability. A wonderful research volunteer, Richard, pulled records for my Cubbage ancestors and had copies of burial books, headstones, plot records, and other cemetery records for me. He even took me around to the locations of the graves (sadly, many of my ancestors didn’t have any tombstones).

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I went back to cemetery after lunch for a wonderful tour led by Jennie Benford. I had read about the tour through a link to a newspaper article on Homewood’s Facebook page. The tour, “Audacious Pioneers: The Women of Section 14”, was about a handful of women who were laid to rest in the section of the cemetery where some of Pittsburgh’s wealthiest were buried. Walking through this section, we saw amazing mausoleums, obelisks and headstones for names like Mellon, Heinz, Frick and more. Jennie researched some fascinating stories about these women, and quite honestly, I’m so jealous of her job! Homewood also offers other tours, and I highly recommend visiting, especially if you have any ancestors who lived in Pittsburgh. The social history around the city and community was so very interesting.

In addition to researching at the Allegheny County Courthouse and the Carnegie Library, I spent most of a day at the Detre Library and Archives at the Heinz History Center. I had been to the museum part of the center years with my family (they have excellent exhibits and awestern Pennsylvania sports museum), but wasn’t able to get to the library. Archivist Sierra Green had presented a session at the CGSI conference about the library, so I changed my plans and went on Friday …  and I am so glad that I did!

The library has an amazing manuscript collection in addition to vertical files, maps, books and more. I did a few searches with their online catalog, so that I arrived with a list of materials to be pulled for research. I found some excellent information including an oral history, school, tax and funeral home records, and town information held in vertical files. The archivists and staff were extremely helpful, and I will be sure to continue my research there on my next trip.

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H. Samson, Inc. Records, 1859-1982; MSS 0260, Order Book, April 1875-1881; Detre Library and Archives, John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh. Entry for Wm. Cubbage, 13 April 1881.

In addition to the conference, research, and tours, I was able to spend some time with my genea-friends Helen and Ellie. We compared research and resources, shared suggestions, and offered ideas for some roadblocks, and I heard about their amazing research trip to Poland! And one of the biggest highlights was having dinner with my dear friend’s son, who is a freshman at CMU.

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Early Sunday Morning at Union Dale Cemetery.

On my way out of town, I stopped at few cemeteries too … it was a full week! I always love visiting and researching in Pittsburgh!

© 2018 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.