Sepia Saturday #341: Kitty (Smith) Repsher

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This little girl is clutching her dolly tightly as the puppy with a polka dot bow is trying to pull the doll away. It is a card that was in my Aunt Sadie’s scrapbook. The girl holding the dolly is reminiscent of the woman holding the boy in the boat in the photo prompt. Both of which reminded me of a lovely picture of Sadie’s aunt and my great aunt Kitty and her son Jeff.

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Kitty (Smith) Repsher

Kitty didn’t get a 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posting since she’s not one of my direct ancestors. This is her biography.

Catherine “Kitty” Smith was born on 15 July 1920 in Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey, to parents Arthur and Ellen “Nellie” (Riedinger) Smith.[1]

Kitty was born too late in 1920 to make the 1920 U.S. census. However, Kitty’s grandparents, parents, and sister, Margaret, are found on this census. They were enumerated in Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey, on 09 January 1920. Dwelling #92 held both the Jacob and Carrie Smith family (#102) and his son Arthur’s family (#103).[2]

Kitty’s grandparents were married couple Jacob (39), a locomotive engineer on the steam railroad, and Carrie (42). Both were born in New Jersey as were their parents. They could read and write and both spoke English. An item of note is that the enumerator got Carrie and Ellen’s names mixed up; Ellen was listed as Jacob’s wife and Carrie as Arthur’s wife. Jacob was renting the house on what the enumerator, Thomas J. Grogan, called “Macadam Road.” It would be interesting to know if this was the first paved road in Netcong.

Kitty’s parents were married couple Arthur (19), a laborer on the steam railroad, and Ellen (19). Both were born in New Jersey as were their parents. They could read and write and both spoke English. Arthur was listed as renting the house that he shared with his parents. It is unclear whether Jacob and Arthur were both contributing to the rent payment or whether Arthur was paying Jacob. Arthur and Ellen had a daughter named Margaret (10/12) who, due to her young age, was marked as not being able to read, write or speak English. Her age of 10/12s would put her birthday around March of 1919.

Kitty (9) first appeared in the U.S. censuses in 1930 with her parents Arthur (30) and Nellie J. (30) who were still living in Netcong.[3] Kitty’s mom was using her nickname of “Nellie” instead of Ellen by now. Arthur was still working in the steam railroad industry but this time as an engine inspector. The “classified index of occupations,” according to the census bureau, was later filled in (not by the enumerator) as 8577 which was “boiler washers and engine hostlers” relating to Arthur’s occupation.

Kitty’s parents were both married when they were 17 which means they were married about 1918. Older sister Margaret (11) was attending school as was Kitty. Younger brother Roger C. (5/12) was born around November 1929 based on the enumeration taken on 23 April 1930 by enumerator Earl S. Wemple. Everyone was listed as having been born in New Jersey as were their parents. The family (#313) was living in dwelling #354 (not street number) on Allen St. very close to the southern shore of Lake Musconetcong. They owned a radio and were paying $24.00 per month in rent.

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Arthur’s parents Jacob (49) and Carrie L. (52) were listed in the previous dwelling #353 and as family #312. This might indicate a duplex house or that Kitty’s parents and grandparents share the house. Jacob was also paying $24.00 in rent.

Kitty (19) appeared in the next census taken in 1940.[4] She was still living with her parents Arthur (39) and Nellie J. (40) and her siblings Margaret (21) and Roger (10). The family was living on Dell Avenue in Netcong. This was the same house that they were living in 1935 and just a block over from Allen St.

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The census indicates that Arthur had completed 7th grade and Nellie had completed 5th grade. Both Kitty and Margaret had graduated from high school as indicated by H-4. Younger brother Roger was still in school but had completed 3rd grade.

Kitty’s father Arthur was working as a machinist at the railroad’s roundhouse. He worked 48 hours during the week of March 24-30, 1940. He was employed 52 weeks the year before and earned $1,800 for his labor that year. There was no other income coming into the household. Nellie was laboring at housework. Both Kitty and Margaret were looking for work but had been unemployed for 104 weeks indicating they’d been looking for work since April 1, 1938. This census was supposed to indicate who provided the information with a little x with a circle around it. However, for the Smith household, there was no such mark made.

It should be noted that the country was just coming out of the Great Depression (1929 – 1939) and that the Social Security Act had been enacted in 1935. Thus all the questions on the 1940 census about employment and wages from the previous year.

Kitty Graduation

Kitty is on the left.

Kitty may have already known future husband Adam Repsher’s family since her sister-in-law, Beatrice Irene Repsher, had a photo of Kitty in her high school graduation cap and gown.

Kitty and Adam married in Netcong on 28 June 1942 at St. Michael’s Church. The ceremony occurred at 3 p.m. and was officiated by Father Lange. Adam’s brother Art Repsher and Margaret Ward served as attendants.[5]

Son Jeffrey (pictured above with Kitty) was born before Adam joined the army to fight in World War II from 1943 to 1945.[6]

After the war, Kitty and Adam had three more children, two boys, Michael and John, and a girl named Ann.

Adam and Kitty lived in the Stanhope/Netcong area (really the same town with a county line running through it) for years. They were both very active in the fire department and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and their respective auxiliaries. They were also very active in senior citizens activities as they got older. Adam received an award in May of 1980 for Senior Citizen of the Year.[7]

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Adam receives an award while Kitty looks on

Kitty passed away on 30 August 2007 and was buried in the Stanhope Union Cemetery next to her husband.[8]

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Find A Grave’s photo of Adam and Kitty’s gravemarker

Her full obituary reads:[9]

“Catherine Repsher” – HACKETTSTOWN – Catherine Repsher, 87, died peacefully Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007 at House of Good Shepherd, where she had been a resident since May.  Born July 15, 1920 in Netcong, she was the daughter of Arthur and Ellen Riedinger Smith. Her husband of 61 years, Adam, died in 2004. She was a lifelong resident of the Netcong-Stanhope area.  Mrs. Repsher was a parishioner of St. Michael’s Church in Netcong. She was a past president and life member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 278, past president of Sussex County American Legion Auxiliary, a member of Stanhope Hose Co. No. 1 Auxiliary, a life member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Firemen of the State of New Jersey and a life member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary.  She is survived by three sons; Jeffrey of Mt. Bethel, Pa., Michael of Charlestown, N.H., and John of Bradford, Vt.; a daughter, Ann Moyer of Mt. Bethel; four grandchildren, Leah Repsher of San Francisco, Calif., Jason Repsher of Reno, Nev., and Adam Moyer and Carrie Moyer of Mt. Bethel.  Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 8:30 a.m. from the Morgan Funeral Home Inc., 31-33 Main Street, Netcong, to St. Michael’s Church for a 9:30 a.m. Liturgy of Christian Burial. Interment will follow at Stanhope Union Cemetery. Visiting hours are Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home, with American Legion services at 7 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mrs. Repsher’s memory to the American Legion Auxiliary Education & Scholarship, c/o 67 Whitebirch Court, Lumberton, N.J. 08048.


The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo:

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[1] Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr. and Caroline Repsher nee Bonser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Netcong, New Jersey, 1911-1970), p. 90; copy privately held by held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2011
[2] 1920 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 41, p. 5B (penned), dwelling 92, family102, Jacob Smith; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 May 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1061.
[3] 1930 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 55, page 16A (penned), dwelling 354, family 313, Arthur Smith; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 May 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1374.
[4] 1940 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 14-86, sheet 8B, family 164, Arthur Smith household; digital image, Ancestry(http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 May 2016); citing NARA microfilm publicationT627, roll 2372.
[5] Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr. and Caroline Repsher nee Bonser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Netcong, New Jersey, 1911-1970), p. 90; privately held by held by Jodi Strait-Shutts, 6961 W. West Arrow, Tucson, AZ, 2011.
[6] “Adam O. Repsher, 87, WWII Veteran, Hercules retiree, Legion commander,” obituary, undated newspaper clipping, ca. 2004,The Star-Ledger [Newark, NJ]; Strait family newspaper clippings, privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2011.
[7] “Senior Citizen Award,” news article, newspaper clipping, May 1980 (penned), unidentified newsaper [most likelyNew Jersey Herald ]; Strait family newspaper clippings, privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2011.
[8] Tipton, Jim, compiler, “Stanhope Union Cemetery,” digital image, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 13 May 2016), entry for Catherine Repsher, memorial #57466197.
[9] “Catherine Repsher,” obituary, New Jersey Herald, 31 August 2007, online obituaries (http://www.njherald.com/link/521612/herald-historical-archives: accessed 20 March 2012). Print edition has the obituary on page A-8 for 31 August 2007.

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Sepia Saturday #340: A Rose by Any Other Name is Sid

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Audrey Romine (Hunt) Strait sent this card to her granddaughter Sadie for her 2nd birthday. The sunlight shines in rays through a classical arch like the kind normally found in a church. Blue bonnets and roses brighten the card in the foreground.

How the heck did this card get matched to the prompt? Well, if you look very closely at the Sepia Saturday prompt picture, you can see blue bonnets, along with other flowers, reflected in the mirrors and painted on the wall behind the headboards. Also, in the alcove is a mirror with flowers with sun rays emanating from behind them.

While roses were Gram Strait’s favorite flower, I’m going to talk about a different Rose. Sidney Rose to be specific. No, it’s not a variety of rose. Sid Rose was one of my dad’s closest friends when they were growing up in Sussex County, New Jersey.

Sid was born in Andover, New Jersey on November 28, 1935.[1]

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.27.09 PMHis full obituary published in the New Jersey Herald on 23 April 2006, page A-6, column 2:

GREENVILLE, N.Y. — Dr. Sidney Rose, 70, a dedicated chiropractor to many residents throughout the tri-state area, passed away on April 20, 2006, at his home.

He was dedicated to his profession, always finding time during the day, night or even during blizzards, to meet the needs of his patients for the past 46 years.

He was a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He was a true professional, a gentleman and a loyal friend with a wonderful gift of making people laugh. He served two years in the U.S. Army at Fort Devans, Mass. Mr. Rose was born in Andover on November 28, 1935. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Jean. They were married October 4, 1963.

He was predeceased by his brother Dr. Harold Rose, his brother Joseph Rose, two sisters, June Mitten, and Marion Lewis.

Mr. Rose was devoted to his family, and is survived by a sister, Mary Bernice Haegele and her husband Ernie, of Davenport, Fla.; a sister, Charlotte Wilson and her husband Billy of Fort Worth, Texas; two brothers, George Rose and wife, Ida Mae of Andover, and John Rose of Sparta. In addition, many loving nieces, nephews, and their families throughout the tri-state area survive him.

For 20 years, Mr. Rose was a resident and “gentleman farmer” of Greenville, N.Y. Even with his busy office schedule, he found time to enjoy the animals, haying, restoring old tractors, and participated in the tractor pull contest. Prior to moving to Greenville, he lived in Montague for 18 years, and served as mayor of Montague for eight years.

His outgoing personality, infectious smile and witty nature inspired all those fortunate enough to know and love him. His family feels blessed to have had his sunshine throughout these years and the opportunity to share in his energetic hobbies. He was always there for his family and friends in every way, and he will never leave their hearts.

He was a member of the BPOE Port Jervis Elks Lodge No. 645; a 32nd Degree Mason (Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite), and past patron of the Caleb Butler Lodge of Masons, F & AM, Massachusetts; a member and past patron of the Melchoir Chapter No. 131, Order of The Eastern Star; a member and past patron of the Pocono Chapter O.E.S.; a member and past officer of Mongaup Rod and Gun Club and the Metauque Falls Sportsman Club; a member of the National Rifle Association and a member of the board of directors for the Port Jervis Deerpark Humane Society.

A funeral service will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Port Jervis, N.Y. The Rev. Richard Hotzler will officiate. Interment will take place at Andover Cemetery, Andover. Funeral arrangements are by Knight-Auchmoody Funeral Home, 154 E. Main St., Port Jervis. For information, directions or to send a condolence note to the family, please visit http://www.knightauchmoody.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his name to the scholarship fund at Palmer College of Chiropractic, 1000 Brady St., Davenport, Iowa 52803, or The Port Jervis- Deerpark Humane Society, Route 209, Port Jervis, N.Y. 12771.

Even after his death, Sid continued to influence those in his community. His dedication to animals inspired the construction of two barns and fenced paddocks. According to an article published online entitled “Sid’s barn” in the Times Herald-Record by Sherry Mohan who posted Aug. 8, 2008 at 2:00 AM:

“Sunday afternoon, scores of people gathered at the Port Jervis-Deerpark Humane Society for the dedication of two small barns and their accompanying fenced paddocks in the green field behind the shelter and its offices at 199 Route 209.

Dubbed “Sid’s Barn,” the project was carried out in memory of Dr. Sid Rose, a Port Jervis chiropractor who for many years opened his Greenville farm to care for livestock left in the care of the shelter, as well as serving on the shelter’s board of directors, and who was serving as its vice president when he died April 20, 2006.”

A touching line in the article sums up the dedication of the barn: “No finer tribute could be made to Sid Rose; he would be very proud.”

The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo:

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[1] Knight-Auchmoody Funeral Home, obituary listing, http://kaobituaries.blogspot.com/2006/04/dr-sidney-rose-greenville-new-york.html, accessed 30 May 2016.

Sepia Saturday #339: Usher Me In

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Giving a salute and spiffy in his red uniform with blue epaulets, this little usher brings a bouquet of flowers to Aunt Sadie from her Uncle Hank and his first wife Laura.

I had a devil of a time with this prompt photo. The theater that I (and my parents) went to in our younger years was the Newton Theatre which is located at the corner of Madison and Spring Streets in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey.

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First, I thought, let’s explore the role of an usher in a movie theater. The AMC theater chain describes their usher duties as:

AMC Theater ushers spend shifts mostly roaming theaters, ensuring safety, and engaging guests. Employees help maintain clean facilities, such as lobbies, concession stands, hallways, and auditoriums. Many people may identify ushers as ticket takers who direct patrons to theaters. Additional job duties include putting up new movie posters, setting up displays, and tending to any customer complaints and concerns. Applicants looking for employment with AMC Theatres must meet several hiring requirements. Positions require workers to communicate effectively with customers, especially during rushes. AMC also seeks ushers with work schedule flexibility, as some showings play well past midnight.“[1]

And then let’s see how many people describe their occupation as ushers in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, in the censuses in 1930, the first census after the Newton Theatre opened on May 15, 1924. None. Zip. Nada. Zero. At least according to a very unhelpful search of ancestry.com using “usher” or “movie” as a keyword. (Just saying, their search function STINKS.)

Okay, well then, how about tracing who owned the theater over the years through the deeds. Sussex County has those online through their ROAM system. Nothing historical there except the legal description from a notice of settlement document of the theater in 2016 from a survey taken in 2011: [2]

“ALL that certain lot, piece or parcel of land, with the building and improvements thereon erected, situate, lying and being in the Town of Newton, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey:
BEGINNING at a  point on the southwesterly right of way line of Spring Street (60 feet right of way), said point being at the intersection with the northwesterly right of way line of Madison Street (40 feet right of way) and running: thence
1) South 53 degrees 28 minutes 00 seconds West, a distance of 124.10 feet to a point; thence
2) North 37 degrees 07 minutes 00 seconds West, a distance of 104.05 feet to a point; thence
3) North 52 degrees 15 minutes 00 seconds East, a distance of 123.14 feet to a point; thence
4) South 37 degrees 30 minutes 00 seconds East, a distance of 50.19 feet to a point; thence
5) South 37 degrees 45 minutes 00 seconds East, a distance of 56.40 feet to a point and place of BEGINNING.
The above description is in accordance with a survey made by Morgan Engineering, L.L.C., dated April 7, 2011.
FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY: BEING known as 234 Spring St, Tax Lot 10, Tax Block 8.06 on the Official Tax Map of Town of Newton, NJ.”

Then looking up the Official Tax Map of Newton shows the theatre:[3]

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Still not very interesting…. How about what movies were popular in 1924? Some of them were: Peter Pan (not Disney) starring Betty Bronson, Sherlock Jr. starring Buster Keaton, The Thief of Bagdad starring Douglas Fairbanks, Hot Water starring Harold Lloyd, Beau Brummell starring John Barrymore and Mary Astor, and Leap Year starring Fatty Arbuckle.

A listing of movies from 1924 to present could take all day to read. You haven’t the time and, besides, the IMDB does a much better job of it.

So then I did a search online for some historical articles that would have run in the New Jersey Herald about the grand opening of the theater or perhaps some newspaper advertisements that relate to the Newton Theater. Again, it was a bust. Bummer.

The most robust source of information was on the website of the current owners but still not best quality history of the theater.

I do know that the one-screen theater was split into two sometime in the early 1980s to try to compete with the rise of the multiplexes opened in the malls popping up around Sussex and Morris counties. It didn’t work and the Newton Theater was closed and reopened a number of times between 1997 and 2010 as the owners tried to find the right balance to keep the theater open.

In 2011, the current owners restored the theater by taking down the dividing wall and refurbishing the fixtures and plaster walls. It reopened as a music/live entertainment venue on 09 September 2011 to a sold out crowd who came to see Todd Rungren.

I may have to stop into the Sussex County historical society on my next trip home to rummage around their old newspapers to see if I can’t find something a little more interesting for a future post!

The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo: movie theatre

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[1] http://www.job-applications.com/amc-movie-theater-usher/
[2] Sussex County, New Jersey, Land record no.20160616010105420, Newton Theatre Company, grantor, to First Hope Bank, grantee, 16 June 2016; digital images, Jeffrey M. Parrott, County Clerk, Sussex County Public Access ROAM (http://sussex.landrecordsonline.com : accessed 12 July 2016).
[3] http://www.newtontownhall.com/DocumentCenter/View/1101