Sepia Saturday #341: Kitty (Smith) Repsher

sepiaSat341001

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.19.01 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 5.41.46 PM

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]

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 7.01.10 PM

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]

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 6.50.34 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 4.42.39 PM


[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.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday #341: Kitty (Smith) Repsher

  1. I enjoyed your expansion of census data into a real personal story. I wonder if those census agents of past decades recognized how important their spelling, handwriting, and accuracy would be to future family genealogists.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s