Sunday’s Obituary – Catherine (Smith) Repsher – Died 30-August-2007

Relationship to me: wife of paternal grand-uncle

This obituary was published the New Jersey Herald, 31 August, 2007, page A-8.

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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.

 

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Sunday’s Obituary – Anna Marie (Karthaeuser) Repsher – Died 23-September-1970

Relationship to me: paternal great-grandmother

I have a couple of undated, unsourced obituaries for Anna K. Repsher, one is most likely from the Newark Star-Ledger and the other from the New Jersey Herald. Both were clippings in Beatrice’s collection which I inherited.

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“Mrs. G.A. Repsher Of Stanhope, 81” – Stanhope – Mrs. Anna M. Repsher of 19 Hill Road, widow of George A. Repsher, died Wednesday in Dover General Hospital. She was 81.

Mrs. Repsher was born in Port Richmond, N.Y., and had lived her 58 years.

She had retired as an employee [sic] of Dover General Handbag Co., Netcong. Mrs. Repsher was a life member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Musconetcong Post American Legion of Stanhope, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Stanhope Fire Department and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lakeland Post of Netcong. She was also a member of the Legion of Mary of St. Michael’s Church, Netcong.  She leaves four sons, G. Arthur of Morristown, and Adam O., Robert W. and Henry A., of Stanhope; two daughters, Mrs. Beatrice Strait of Newton and Mrs. Helen Struss of Stanhope; a brother, Charles Karthaeuser of Stirling, and 21 grandchildren and 11 great great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be tomorrow from the Pichi Funeral Home, Main Street, with a Mass at the church.

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“Mrs. George A. Repsher” – Mrs. Anna M. Repsher of 19 Hill Road, Stanhope, died yesterday at Dover General Hospital.  Born in Port Richmond, Staten Island, N.Y., she was 81.

The widow of George A. Repsher, she was a retired operator for the Dover Handbag Co., Stanhope. She had lived in Stanhope for the past 58 years.

She was a lifetime member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion, Musconetcong Post 278, a member of the ladies auxiliary of the Stanhope Fire Department, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lakeland Post 2347, Netcong, and the Legion of Mary, St. Michael Roman Catholic Church, Netcong.

Mrs. Repsher is survived by four sons, G. Arthur of Morristown, Adam O., Robert W. and Harry A., all of Stanhope; two daughters, Mrs. Beatrice Strait of Newton and Mrs. Helen Struss of Stanhope; one brother, Charles Karthaeuser of Sterling, 21 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Services will be 9:15 a.m. Saturday from the Pichi Funeral Home, Stanhope, to the St. Michael Roman Catholic Church fo [sic] a 10 a.m. requiem mass.

For an interesting story on the “brother” Charles Karthaeuser please see me post here.

Sepia Saturday #355: Seeing Double

The Sepia photo prompt for this week shows a pair of photos that have been double exposed. The first one is supposed to be paranormal in nature in that the “ghost” image in the back is supposedly the subject’s father. The second has a woman’s face superimposed on the gentleman’s left shoulder. Again, there’s supposed to be some supernatural explanation for this. Just plain double exposure though.

sepia355001sepia355002This week, I’m featuring cards from Aunt Sadie’s Shirley Temple Scrapbook that have duplicates; the same card sent by two different people. It’s a good jumping off point to highlight some twins found in my family tree.

The first card is lovely, flower-laden cottage and the card celebrates the birth of a baby. The poem inside reads:

A stranger’s come to your house, a baby, wee and new,
I’m very glad, for well I know what joy it brings to you.”

Falling even more into the double theme is the fact that both cards were sent by two women with the same first name (or nickname), one named Kitty Irwin and the other named Kit. Kit is most likely Kitty Smith, friend of Sadie’s mother Beatrice and wife-to-be of Sadie’s uncle Adam.  Kitty Irwin was most likely a friend or neighbor.

sepia355003sepia355004The second card was sent for Aunt Sadie’s 6th birthday in 1942. It features two children sliding down the banister while their dog chases them down the staircase. An embellishment on the card is a bit of lace attached as a frilly slip under the little girl’s dress. Here’s hoping that there’s not some big newel post waiting for them at the bottom of the steps! Either the selection of cards in 1942 was slim or Beatrice and her sister Helen think alike. Either way, they both sent the same card to Sadie. It was most likely the only one available that was 6th birthday specific. sepia355005

The poem inside reads, “School doors open now to you, Books and many joys quite new, Lots of playmates, games and tricks… Aren’t you glad that you are six?”

Looking into the family tree, I find a number of sets of twins. (I could’ve sworn that my Grandma Westra told me that she had triplets as siblings, but nothing I’ve found in my research has confirmed that.) The earliest set of twins I have right now occurred on 25 July 1743 when fraternal twins Phebe and Ezekiel Day were born to father Samuel Day.[1] They are not closely related to me in that they’re my 1st great uncle and aunt of the husband of a first cousin. It’s better not to think about that one too hard. Twins ran in this family because Samuel Day and his wife had another set of twins just 10 years later. Abraham and Samuel Day were born on 07 April 1753.[2] The source doesn’t say whether they were identical or fraternal twins.

Another set of 18th century twins occurred in my Repsher line. Johann Georg and Georg Wilhelm Rebscher were born on 25 January 1793 to parents Catharina Margaretha (Willenbucher) and Georg Niclaus Rebscher.[3] Johann and Georg are my 2nd cousins seven times removed. Unfortunately, these poor twins did not live very long. Johann died at two months old and Georg died at seven months old in 1793.

Moving into the 19th century turns up six sets of twins:

  1. 26 September 1824: Jacob and Abraham Pollison – sons of Elizabeth (Mowerson) and Isaac Pollison – They are uncles of the husband of my 1st cousin 5 times removed.[4]
  2. 17 August 1831: Phebe and William A. Kimble – children of Elizabeth (Vanderhoof) and Abraham Kimble – Phebe is the sister-in-law of the nephew of the husband of my 5th great aunt and William is the husband of the niece of the husband of my 5th great aunt.[5]
  3. 26 January 1847: Charles and David Henderson – sons of Charlotte (Pollison) and James M. Henderson – David is the husband of my 1st cousin five times removed and Charles is the brother-in-law of that same 1st cousin 5 times removed.[6]
  4. 25 February 1849: Phebe Ann and Charles Augustus Benjamin – children of Susan Breese (Day) and William Benjamin – They are the niece and nephew of the husband of my 1st cousin five times removed.[7] Phebe only lived to be seven years old.
  5. 28 May 1850: Sidney and Samuel Kimble – sons of Anna M. (Dunn) and John Nelson Kimble – They are the nephews of the husband of my 5th great aunt.[8]
  6. 24 November 1899: Lillian May and William Frederick Repsher – children of Caroline (Bonser) and John Joseph Repsher – They are my 2nd great aunt and uncle.[9] Lillian passed away in 1952 and William in 1970.

More contemporary sets of twins within the family were born in the 20th century and some are still living so their specific birth dates won’t be posted here.

  • Robert M. and Roberta Otto Predmore were fraternal twins born to Florence (Heller) and Luke Predmore.[10] Robert passed away in 2003.[11] Robert was the husband of my 1st cousin two times removed and Roberta is the sister-in-law of my 1st cousin two times removed.
  • Keith Edward and Kenneth Repsher were the sons of Agnes (Filan) and Carlton Thomas Repsher.[12] Keith passed away in 2013.[13] They are my 3rd cousins one time removed.

Now we move into twins that my father and I actually know within my family tree. Judy Lynn and Sharon Lynn Repsher are first cousins to my father Bill and his sister Sadie. They are the daughters of Bill and Sadie’s uncle Art and his wife Margaret. The twins are shown in this photo with their brother Ronald (Ronnie) and Mercedes and Bill. Ronnie was the boy on the right, Sadie was squatting and Billy was leaning over with his hands on his knees in the back. We still see Sharon (and her family) at the annual Repsher family reunions that take place each July.

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Twins Sharon and Judy in white dresses

Bill and Sadie had another set of twins as first cousins, Timothy and Thomas Repsher, sons of Bill and Sadie’s uncle Hank and his wife Eleanor. While they were attending grammar school in Stanhope, a newspaper article ran showing all the twins going to school there in 1959.[14] Please excuse the quality of the photo, it’s a photo of the original article not a scan.

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The caption reads:
Seeing Double… Stanhope – Teachers in the Stanhope Elementary School should certainly be having trouble this year telling students apart with nine sets of twins currently attending the school. Another problem for school officials to keep straight is that two sets of twins, the Chanda boys and girls are from the same family. They are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Chanda, of Main street, Stanhope.
The pairs of twins are rather evenly distributed in school classes with three sets in kindergarten, one set each in the first and third grades and two sets in the fifth and eighth grades.
The children are, first row, left to right, Clark and Mary Best, age 5, Tom and Tim Repsher, 5, and Mickey and Bob Chanda, 5. Second row, left to right, Eric and Charles Kranz, 11; Jerry and Larry Lewis, 7, and Karen and Richard Chanda, 8. Third row, left to right, Barbara and Sandra Leavy, 13; Bob and Art Beckwith, 13, and Bill and Janet Tick, 10. (Poots Photo)”

The newest set of twins in the family come from the Westra (maternal) side of the family. My 1st cousin one times removed, Becky, has a set of twins that were featured in the newspaper as they were the 5th generation within their family.[15]

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The caption reads:
Five generations of the Sutton family recently celebrated the birth of twin daughters to Michael and Rebecca (Sutton) Holt of Hampton. Standing, from left, is grandfather Richard Sutton and Rebecca Sutton Holt, mother. Seated are Arthur Sutton, great-grandfather, holding Maura Grace, and Florence Sutton great-grandmother, holding Bronagh Li.”

I suspect that Florence should be listed as the 2nd great-grandmother, as that would make her the fifth generation in the picture.

So, there you have it. No double exposure photos, just some sets of twins in the family tree for seeing double.

The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo (originally #304, 07 Nov 2015): Seeing Double

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[1] J. Percy Crayon, “The Day Family,” Rockaway Records of Morris County, N.J. Families (Rockaway, NJ:  Rockaway Publishing Co., 1902), 281-285.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Donald R. Repsher, Repsher Origins (Knoxville, Tennessee: Scribes Valley Publishing Company, 2004), 110.
[4] J. Percy Crayon, “The Pollison Family,” 152-153.
[5] 1850 U. S. census, Passaic County, New Jersey, population schedule, West Milford, p. 169 (stamped), dwelling 168, family 168, Abraham Kimble; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 461.
[6] J. Percy Crayon, “The Pollison Family,” 152-153.
[7] J. Percy Crayon, “The Day Family,” 281-285.
[8] J. Percy Crayon, “The Kimble Family,” 139-140.
[9] 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. 114.
[10] Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, p. 132.
[11] “Robert M. Predmore,” obituary, Morning Call, 07 June 2003, online obituaries (www.legacy.com/NS/ : accessed 07 September 2013).
[12] “Keith E. Repsher,” obituary, Times Leader, 31 May 2013, online obituaries (www.legacy.com/NS/ : accessed 28 July 2013).
[13] Ibid.
[14] “Seeing Double,” article, Sussex County Independent, 02 April 1959.
[15] “Five generations,” article, New Jersey Herald, May 2005.

Sepia Saturday #342: Bea’s School Portrait

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This young girl is sitting pretty with a frame around her face. It is one of Aunt Sadie’s Valentine’s Day cards found in her Shirley Temple Scrapbook. A little, piebald dog is waiting patiently by her right leg. The tilt of her head reminded me of the Sepia prompt photo and both reminded me of a picture of Sadie’s mother (my grandmother) Beatrice Irene (Repsher) Strait.

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This school photo of Beatrice is from Stanhope Public School in Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey, taken around 1920. (The squareness of the smock she’s wearing is also reminiscent of what the woman is wearing in the prompt photo.) Beatrice would be around eight years old at the time. Her soft, light hair was pulled back away from her forehead and the rest fell around her shoulders. She was wearing a bulky, knit sweater rolled up around her wrists.

I am fortunate to have three of Beatrice’s report cards from Stanhope Public Schools from grades 1 to 3.

Grade 1
Her grade 1 report card shows that she was enrolled for the 1918-1919 school year. Mr. Joseph McMickle was the superintendent/principle of the school. The teacher was L.W. Davison although there’s no indication if the teacher was male or female. Beatrice was eligible to be promoted to 2nd grade at the end of the school year. The signature of the parent is George Repsher, her father. It gives a very nice sample of his handwriting and a signature to use if I ever need to compare it to another document.Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.02.40 PM

The back of the report card shows that Beatrice got Fs (for fair, grade 75 -85) and Es (for excellent, grade 85-95) on most of her lessons. She took the basic 3Rs (Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic) along with Grammar/Language and Physical Training. She got Es for her deportment scores. It was noted on the report card that any grade less than F (Fair) would not be honored for promotion.

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She was tardy seven times during the school year and absent from class quite a few days, 50.5, possibly more given that February is smudged and illegible. In the section labeled “ATTITUDE TOWARD SCHOOL WORK,” she was marked in December, May and June as “Wastes Time” and marked in May and June as “Copies; Gets Too Much Help.” But to counter that, she was marked in January, March and April as “Shows Improvement” and marked in September and November as “Very Commendable.” In the section labeled “RECITATIONS,” she was marked in November, December, May and June as “Capable of Doing Much Better” and marked in December as “Work Shows a Falling Off.” However, she did get marked in September, January, March, April, and June as “Showing Improvement.” In the section labeled “CONDUCT,” she was marked in June as being “Restless; Inattentive” and marked in December, May and June as “Whispers Too Much.” Her conduct was marked as “Shows Improvement” in September, November, January, March and April.

Reviewing some of the other categories that Beatrice was not marked as deficient in shows categories such as Indolent, Work is Carelessly Done, Gives Up Too Easy, Inclined to Mischief, Rude; Discourteous at Times, Annoys Others, Seldom Done Well (relating to recitations), and Appearing Not to Try.

The Method of Grading (for all 3 grades in this school) was:

  • A – Admirable, Grade from 95 to 100.
  • E – Excellent, Grade from 85 to 95.
  • F – Fair, Grade from 75 to 85.
  • P – Poor, Grade from 60 to 75.
  • M – Very Poor, Grade below 60.

Quite a bit different from our modern grading of A (top scores) through F (failing). I can imagine some students going home and hang-doggedly standing in front of their parents, having to admit to getting mostly Ms and being Inclined to Mischief!

Grade 2
Her grade 2 report card shows that she was enrolled for the 1919-1920 school year. Mr. Joseph McMickle was still the superintendent/principle of the school. The teacher was again L.W. Davison. Beatrice was eligible to be promoted to 3rd grade at the end of the school year. The signature of the parent is George Repsher, her father. His signature is done in a beautiful blue ink from September to March, black in April and May, and absent from the report card in June. It was noted that Beatrice was “Especially Good in Writing.”Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.03.02 PM

The back of the report card shows a marked improvement from the prior year. Beatrice again got Fs (for fair, grade 75 -85) and Es (for excellent, grade 85-95) on most of her lessons. In addition to Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic, Grammar/Language, and Physical Training, Beatrice was now working on her Spelling, getting all Es in that category. Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 5.44.35 PM

She was only absent 22 days in this school year and tardy only three times. In the section labeled “ATTITUDE TOWARD SCHOOL WORK,” she was marked only once in November as “Wastes Time.” She was marked as “Very Commendable” in September and knocked it out of the park with “Shows Improvement” in all months except September and May. The teacher still felt that Beatrice was “Capable of Doing Much Better” and marked her as such in November, January and April in the section labeled “RECITATIONS.” Beatrice must have liked to talk because she got dinged in the “CONDUCT” section as “Whispers Too Much” for September, November, February, March and June. However, her conduct “Shows Improvement” from October-December, March, April and June.

The parents were warned that:

“Special attention is called to the serious consequences of Irregular Attendance. It is important to remember that the loss of even a portion of a school session often proves to be a serious interruption to progress, and tends to produce a lack of interest in the school work. Excuses showing good cause for the absence or tardiness should always be sent promptly to the teacher on the return of a child to school. Neglect of this may cause the child to be sent home after the excuse.”

Parents were also encouraged to “show their interest in the child and school by occasional visits” and these visits would “prove a great source of inspiration and help to both the pupil and teacher.”

Grade 3
Beatrice’s grade 3 report card shows that she was enrolled for the 1920-1921 school year. Mr. Joseph McMickle was still the superintendent/principle of the school. The teacher for this year was one G.D. Best, who had impeccably neat cursive handwriting. Beatrice was eligible to be promoted to 4th grade at the end of the school year. The signature of the parent is George Repsher, her father, and all the signatures are present except for June.

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The back of the report card shows that Beatrice’s curriculum was starting to fill out. She was studying Reading, Spelling, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography, Grammar/Language, Physiology, and Physical Training. She was also now required to take exams at the end of each half and those grades were recorded at December and June. Again, she was receiving nothing less than Fair (Fs) and Excellent (Es) scores but this school year she received solid As in Writing except for February and March when she got Es. Her best score was a 97 on her December Physiology exam.

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She was absent 42 days in this school year but tardy only three times. Beatrice was the oldest of eight children. All seven of her siblings had been born by 1920 and it is probable that her absences from school had everything to do with her being expected to help out with the raising of her siblings. If any one of her younger siblings was sick, she would have stayed home to care for them.

The teacher was very sparing in her marks in all of the various categories. Beatrice got a “Shows Improvement” in May and June and a “Very Commendable” in September and March within the “ATTITUDE TOWARD SCHOOL WORK” section.  She was marked as “Capable of Doing Much Better” only once in March, marked as “Showing Improvement” in November, May and June and marked as “Very Satisfactory” in September and October in the “RECITATIONS” section. In the “CONDUCT” section, she received only one “Restless; Inattentive” mark in January. She must have been able to contain her urge to whisper and this teacher made no comment about that particular trait in this school year. She received a “Very Good” in October, November, and April-June.

Further Schooling
I believe Beatrice then transferred over to St. Michael’s Roman Catholic School in Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey, after 3rd grade. It would seem the family made a move during that time but Netcong (in Morris County) and Stanhope (in Sussex County) are practically the same city, just with a county line running right through the town.

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The absence of a report card for her 4th grade year points to this and her 8th grade diploma is from St. Michael’s.

I have noted an incongruity in the timing of her schooling. The chronology of her promotions would have run as such using the Grade 1 through 3 report cards as a basis:

1918-1919 – Grade 1
1919-1920 – Grade 2
1920-1921 – Grade 3
1921-1922 – Grade 4
1922-1923 – Grade 5
1923-1924 – Grade 6
1924-1925 – Grade 7

But her diploma shows that she graduated from 8th grade on 21 June 1925. Perhaps she skipped over a grade when she made the shift from Stanhope Public Schools to St. Michael’s School in Netcong.

BeaDiploma

Beatrice completed the 8th grade and was the first person in her family to graduate from grammar school. She also picked up a love of vocabulary from her schooling and was quite good at the Reader’s Digest WORD POWER® vocabulary quiz that ran regularly in that magazine.

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

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Sepia Saturday #336: Rock-a-bye Baby

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This card was sent to my grandparents, William Charles and Beatrice Irene (Repsher) Strait shortly after the birth of their daughter, Mercedes Marie Strait in 1936. It is signed by a person named “Mrs. Booth.”

Who is this Mrs. Booth to the Beatrice and William Strait family?

Turns out Mrs. Booth was a friend and neighbor to William Strait. She was a woman who had a very interesting first name of “Chatty.” Chatty J. Booth (42) and her husband George W. (39) were living at 46 Pine Street in April of 1930.[1] They were renting the house in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, for $20 per month. They were married around 1909-1910 when George was 19 and Chatty was 21. They had two single daughters living with them in 1930, Hazel E. (20) and Beatrice A. (14). All were listed as being born in New Jersey as were their parents.

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Chatty’s husband George was working as a weaver in the fabric mills and he was not a veteran. The industry code of 7759 later assigned to George’s occupation (not by the enumerator) was designated as an operative for an industry that had a lot of descriptions:

“Artificial leather; Bags (except paper & leather); Bedding factory; Braids; Comforts & quilts; Elastic woven goods (weaving); Flags & banners; Grass carpet or matting; Haircloth; Hat & cap materials; Horse blankets, carriage robes, etc; Linoleum; Mats & matting (from cocoa fiber or grass); Millinery factory; Narrow fabrics (not specified); Not specified textile mill; Oakum; Oilcloth & linoleum; Quilt mill; Regalia, badges, & emblems; Shade-cloth factory; Shoestring factory; Trimmings (not elsewhere covered); Upholstering materials; Waste; Yarn (not specified)”

Chatty’s daughter Hazel was working as a student nurse. Hazel’s assigned industry code of 5594 was a little less complicated and fell neatly into trained nurses within the college or university industry.

The Booth family at 46 Pine Street in 1930 was living right next door to William Strait and his mother. Audrey (42) and her sons William C. (19) and Karl H. (16) were living at 44 Pine Street along with Audrey’s older sister Belle (60) and Belle’s husband William Knox (62).[2] I’m sure they shared cups of sugar, gossiped on the back porches, and worried about the depression together.

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By 1940, the Booth family had moved to 83 Sparta Avenue, Newton.[3] Chatty (52) and George (49) were living alone; their daughters most likely had married. Chatty was the informant for this census as indicated by the little circled x next to her name. They are renting the house for $23 per month. For their education, Chatty had finished 6th grade and her husband 7th grade. They were both born in New Jersey. They were living in the same place (indicating Newton) as they had been in 1935.

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Neither were working in a private housekeeping industry and at this time both Chatty and George were working as weavers in the textile mill for wages. An interesting item to note is that George only worked 26 weeks in 1939 while Chatty worked more weeks showing 48 weeks of work. However, for those 26 weeks George earned $1,100 while Chatty earned $1,014. Translation: George earned $42.30 per week while Chatty earned less than 1/2 that at $21.13 per week!

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They most likely moved from Pine Street to Sparta Avenue sometime between 1939 and 01 April 1940. Their vacating the house allowed William and Bea to move into it. This can be deduced from where William and Bea were located later in the 1930s.

Beatrice and William were married on 12 October 1935 in Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey, in St. Michael’s Church by Edwin E. Lange who officiated the ceremony.[3] When William applied for his Social Security number on 03 December 1936 he listed his address as Brooklyn Road, Stanhope, New Jersey.[4] Since Bea grew up and lived in Netcong/Stanhope, they were most likely living with Bea’s mother at this time (1936).

My grandmother always said that Audrey was upset that Bea had married her son and I’m sure there was much agitation on Audrey’s part to get Bill to move closer to her! It must have worked since Polk’s 1938-39 Newton city directory shows that William and Beatrice were living at 71 Sussex Avenue.[5]

Since William and Beatrice were listed as living at 71 Sussex Avenue in 1938-39 then living at 46 Pine Street per the 1940 census, the Booths must have moved to their house on 83 Sparta Avenue sometime between 1939 and April of 1940 when the census  was taken.

The Mrs. Booth from the card was a neighbor and friend of William Strait’s family. Looking into how she interacted with the family also helps to highlight the benefits of a genealogist’s research into a family’s FAN club (friends, associates, and neighbors). The Booths are not a family of interest to me. But someone researching them could narrow down the timeframe of when they moved from Pine Street to Sparta Avenue by researching my Straits too.

Oh! And this marks the halfway through 2016 point! Looking forward to the rest of the year with my fellow Sepia Saturdayists. Or is it Saturdians?

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

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[1] 1930 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newton, ED 20, page 6B (penned), dwelling 149, family 154, George W. Booth; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publicationT626, roll 1384.
[2] 1930 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newton, ED 20, page 6B (penned), dwelling 148, family 153, Audrey Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publicationT626, roll 1384.
[3] 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. 84. Privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2016.
[4] William Charles Strait, SS no. 146-10-5034, 03 December 1936, Applicaton for Account Number (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.
[5] R. L. Polk, compiler, Polk’s Newton (Sussex County, N.J.) City Directory 1938-39 (New York: R.L. Polk & Co., 1938), 95.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #18 – George Arthur Repsher

Relationship: Great-grandfather
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George Arthur Repsher, like my other paternal great-grandfather, Ora Simpson Strait, did not live to a ripe old age. George was only 45 when he passed away.

George’s story starts in the picturesque rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania. He was born 02 October 1890 in Mountainhome[1] which is about 12 miles northwest of Stroudsburg and lies in modern day Monroe County. His parents were John Joseph Repsher and Caroline Bonser.[2] He was born smack-dab in the middle of a passel of 14 children of which 12 lived to adulthood.  Siblings Emma, Lizzie, Letitia, John, James and Lewis preceded him. Ella, Robert, Lillian, William and Jennie were born after him. No small families in the Repsher clan!

The 1900 census[3] shows him in his parent’s household as a 9-year-old boy. Along with his brother Lewis and sister Ella, he is attending school.  He is still in his parent’s household in 1910[4], but now he has a young wife. George had married Anna Maria Karthauser earlier that year on the 18th of January in Stroudsburg at St. John’s Lutheran Evangelical Church.[5] He was 19 years old and working as a stone crusher.

George registered with the draft board on 05 June 1917[6] in Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey. According to the registration form, he has a wife and four dependent children by then.

George and Anna Repsher

George and Anna Repsher, circa 1930

George and Anna wasted no time in starting their family. Shortly after their marriage in January, their first daughter and my grandmother, Beatrice Irene (Bea), was born on 18 August 1910 in Analomink, Monroe County, Pennsylvania.[7] Another daughter, Helen Hildegard (Toots), followed shortly after on 10 September 1911.[8]

At 23 years old, George’s wife Anna suffered a tragedy. She gave birth to a son on 04 September 1913 and they named him after her father John Adam. The baby was not stillborn, but he was sickly and only lived for six days, passing away on 10 September 1913.[9]

Between 1911 and 1913, George and Anna moved their growing family from Analomink, Pennsylvania, over the Delaware River and approximately 40 miles east to Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey, which is located on the picturesque shores of Lake Musconetcong. It is here in New Jersey that son Arthur George (Art) was born on 08 September 1914.[10] Three more sons followed like clockwork every two years: Adam Otto, born 06 October 1916;[11] Robert William (Bob), born 05 August 1918;[12] Henry Allen (Hank), born 03 October 1920.[13]

Slightly less than three years later, Anna gave birth to another baby girl on 08 January 1923, but unfortunately this daughter was stillborn.[14] There was no recorded name for this baby girl. This event brings Anna’s child bearing years to an end. With husband George Repsher, she now has had eight children in total over the course of thirteen years: five sons, four of which survive to maturity, and three daughters, two of which survive to maturity.

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The 1920 census shows that George, along with his wife and family are living in Stanhope.[15] He is now working as a fireman on the steam railroad.

Because of his daughter Beatrice’s persistence to attend St. Michael’s Catholic School, he was baptized later in life on 20 April 1924 when he is 33 years old in Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey.[16]

The last time George Repsher family is found intact in census records was 1930.[17] They were living in Netcong and George was working as an engineer in a sand pit. His daughters Beatrice and Helen (Toots) were also employed as quillers at the silk mills.

George was not found in the 1940 census because he starts feeling poorly on 30 March 1936. He went to the doctor’s office and while there suffered a fatal heart attack.[18] He left a young family behind and Anna never married again.


[1] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 August 2011), card for George Arthur Repsher, no. 46, Local Draft Board 0, Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1754441.
[2] 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. 84.
[3] 1900 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, ED 139, p. 7A (penned), dwelling 131, family 135, John J. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 06 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1442.
[4] 1910 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, ED 49, p. 4A (penned), dwelling 70, family 73, John J. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1376.
[5] “Pennslyvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 February 2012), marriage entry #350 for George A. Repsher, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; citing Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
[6] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 August 2011), card for George Arthur Repsher, no. 46, Local Draft Board 0, Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1754441.
[7] Pennsylvania Department of Health, birth certificate 1234010-1910 (1910), Beatrice Irene Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[8] Beatrice (Repsher) Strait Guirreri, compiler, “Family George Arthur Repsher and Anna Repsher nee Anna Karthaeuser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Newton, New Jersey, 1971-1995), p. 9.
[9] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[10] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 88.
[11] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 90.
[12] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 95.
[13] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 96.
[14] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[15] 1920 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Stanhope, ED 127, p. 12B (penned), dwelling 113, family 123, George A. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1068.
[16] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[17] 1930 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 55, page 15A (penned), dwelling 329, family 290, George A. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1374.
[18] Personal recollections of his grandson, William Charles Strait, Jr. William recounted the story as told to him.


 

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #9 – Anna Marie (Karthaeuser) Repsher

Relationship: Great-grandmother
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Sit back, relax, and enjoy. This is a long post…

“My mother was a great big fat woman,” Grandma Strait would blurt out. “And once I was old Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 6.42.36 PMenough, I did all the work taking care of my younger brothers and sister. Since I was the oldest, my mother would let me feed and bathe and change them while she slept for days on end.”

I heard this statement any number of times while sitting on Grandma Strait’s living room couch. She was the oldest daughter of Anna Maria Karthaeuser with her husband George Arthur Repsher.[1] While Gram Strait did speak plainly, I’m not sure that my great-grandmother Anna would want to be remembered that way: fat and lazy. There had to be more. Who was Anna Marie Repsher nèe Karthaeuser, really?

In exploring the life of my great-grandmother, it turns out that Anna and I have a shared passion. After Anna married George Repsher, she became interested in family history. She began collecting information for hand-written family group sheets. At each of the Repsher yearly family reunions, held first in 1938, she would update the sheets for all the births, deaths, and marriages that had occurred during the preceding year. The handwriting is consistent throughout these records and my grandmother, her daughter Beatrice, told me that it was her mother’s handwriting.

Anna Karthaeuser was born to parents John Adam (alternately seen as Adam John) Karthaeuser and Anna W. Mergenthaler.[2] There is some discrepancy on her birth year. On Anna’s family page* with her husband George Arthur Repsher, she records her birth date as 31 March 1889.[3]

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*No, Anna did not fill in her own death date. Careful comparison of the capital “S” and the “9” to other samples show that it is her grand-daughter Elaine’s writing. Elaine took over as scribe in 1970 when these particular reunion records end.

The 1900 census, which specifically asks for birth month and year, has her listed with her parents and born in March of 1890.[4] While in most cases a Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 6.48.46 PMdiscrepancy of one year might not seem significant, it will become important later in this discussion when she is around 16 or 17. According to her obituary, she was born in Port Richmond, Staten Island, New York.[5] The 1900 census also shows that she and her parents were living at 21 New York Avenue, Richmond Borough, Richmond County, New York.[6] Her father’s occupation is listed as hotel keeper. Also living in their household are two boarders and a workman.

The 1900 census indicates that Anna’s parents immigrated to the United States in 1887.  A passenger manifest shows them listed together and that A. Karthauser and Anna Mergenthaler arrived on 21 April 1887 in the Port of New York on the ship Westernland.[7] Adam is 30 years old and his calling/occupation is clerk. Anna is listed with her maiden name and is 27 years old. They are both traveling from traveling from Germany and list their native country as Germany. The image quality (see below) is poor and their intended destination is difficult to make out. They are carrying one piece of luggage each and Adam was berthed in Fore Section G and Anna was berthed in Aft Section A.

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Another date discrepancy pops out upon continued inspection of the 1900 census. According to the census, Anna’s parents have been married for 15 years, which would put their marriage date sometime in 1885. That would indicate they were married for two years before immigrating to America. However, on the passenger manifest which is dated 21 April 1887, Anna’s mother is listed with her maiden name of Mergenthaler. Adding to the confusion is a marriage certificate which indicates a marriage date of 25 February 1892.[8] This would mean that Anna’s parents were married in New York almost two (or three) years after Anna was born in 1889/1890, thus making her born out of wedlock. It would also mean that Anna’s Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.10.53 PMparents were in America almost five years before they were married. Could it be that they were married in Germany before immigration? If so, then why is Anna W. listed with her maiden name on the manifest? Were they married once in Germany and then married again in New York State? Further investigation is needed to resolve these questions.

Anna seems to have been raised in a well-off household. There are some early pictures of her, taken by professional studios, which indicate that her family could afford to keep her well-dressed.

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Anna Marie Karthaueser is next found in the 1910 census living in the household of her father-in-law John J. Repsher.[9] Not a surprise here since getting married seems a normal step for a young lady. Records indicate that, when she was 19, Anna married George Arthur Repsher in Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The wedding took place shortly after the New Year on 18 January 1910 at St. John’s Lutheran Evangelical Church.[10] But wait. This brings up the questions of why is she now living in Pennsylvania and how did she get there?

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It turns out this incongruity shows the dangers of relying strictly on census information to build a person’s life story. There is a chapter of Anna’s life that the census information completely glosses over. It has to do with how she ended up in Pennsylvania and a little snippet of information found in the hand-written family group sheets mentioned earlier.

We know that Anna’s father changed professions and moved sometime between 1910 and 1920 because the 1920 census shows him as a store clerk in Kings County, New York.[11] Kings County is located at the southern end of Long Island and Richmond County is on the northern end of Staten Island which is just across the Gravesend Bay separating the two islands.

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In 1910, Anna’s parents (aged 53 and 48, respectively) are living with eight boarders, one of whom is Charles Gruber known to be the brother of Anna W. Mergenthaler. There are no children listed in the household. This census is one that asks how many births and how many children are now living. The census indicates that Anna W. has one living child.

Anna herself is now 21 and living 76 miles to the west of New York City with her husband, George Arthur Repsher, in Stroud Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania.[12] As stated previously, the couple is living in the household of her father-in-law, John J. Repsher and his wife Caroline. Again, how did a New York City girl end up in rural eastern Pennsylvania? Given that one needs to meet someone to marry them (the principle of propinquity) how did she and George Arthur meet?

Before trying to answer these questions, let’s look at her parents’ household in the 1920 census records. John Adam and Anna W. Karthaeuser (aged 62 and 57, respectively) were living in Kings County. But the interesting thing is that they now have a 13-year-old son, Charles.[13] Working backwards from this age, suggests Charles would have been born around 1906 or 1907. According to a birth certificate issued by the state of New York, Charles was born in NewScreen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.08.58 PM York City on 14 February 1907 to parents Adam Karthaeuser and Anna W. Mergenthaler.[14] This birth certificate would seem to corroborate the information found in the census record.

Even more questions are generated from this interesting birth information. If Charles was born in 1907, why was he not listed as a three-year-old in the 1910 census with his parents? And why would the 1910 census say that Anna W. had only one living child when, if Charles is truly their son, it should read as two living children since he was born before the 1910 census was enumerated? How did Charles end up in the household of John and Anna W. Karthaeuser?

In order to answer these questions, the story now turns back to those hand-written family group sheets mentioned earlier. Page 82 of these records[15] provides a couple of clues. Here is the family group sheet for Charles Ludwig Karthaeuser:

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According to this record, Charles’ parents are not John Adam Karthaeuser and Anna W. Mergenthaler but a man named Peter Le Grande and Anna Karthaeuser. At the bottom of the document we find out that Charles Karthaeuser was born out of wedlock in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The top of the document lists his birth date as 13 December 1906, a full two months before his “official” birth certificate. These little tidbits of undisclosed family information provide answers to many of the previously raised questions. Let’s look at each one.

How did a New York City girl end up in rural eastern Pennsylvania? Anna was 16 years old in 1906 (maybe 17 if her birth year truly was 1889) which is young but sufficiently old enough to become pregnant. Her father was a hotelkeeper (1900) and boarding house keeper (1910) so it is likely that she knew any number of men coming and going from the hotel or boarding house. Perhaps one of the hotel guests, boarders or working men was the Peter Le Grande named in the family group sheet. Given the stigma of out of wedlock pregnancy in the early 1900s, Anna would have been sent away with the excuse that she was “visiting” friends or relatives. There is no record of a listed unwed mother’s home in Stroudsburg. It may be that there was no home or there may have been one but nobody talked about it or listed it in public records as such. Most likely she was shipped off to family friends or acquaintances in Stroudsburg to save her parents the shame of having an unmarried, pregnant daughter.

Given that one needs to meet someone to marry them (the principle of propinquity) how did Anna and George Arthur meet? Since Charles was born in Stroudsburg it can be assumed that Anna spent most of her pregnancy in or around this town. This provided the opportunity for George to meet Anna either during or shortly after her pregnancy. They were married in Stroudsburg on 18 January 1910[16] less than four years after Charles was born.

If Charles was born in 1907, why was he not listed as a three-year-old on the 1910 census with his parents? And why would the 1910 census say that Anna W. has only has one living child when, if Charles is truly their son, it should read as two living children since he was born Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.14.38 PMbefore the 1910 census was enumerated? Charles was still with relatives or close friends in Stroudsburg during the 1910 census since he is not listed with Anna and her new husband George or with Anna’s parents John and Anna W. This photo shows a very young Charles at Sheller’s Farm in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Perhaps the Shellers were close friends and this was where Anna spent her time during and after the pregnancy.

How did Charles end up in the household of John and Anna W. Karthaeuser? As is the practice today, it is not uncommon for grandparents to raise illegitimate issue as their own. If Anna W. was Charles’ mother, she would have been 45 years old when she had Charles. While this is not out of the realm of possibility, it is highly unlikely that she got pregnant again especially after having her last child more than sixteen years earlier. John Adam’s change in occupation and residence between 1910 and 1920 may have been precipitated by the bringing of Charles into the household as their own child. The move across Gravesend Bay may have been done to avoid the questions raised by the sudden appearance of a child. Anna and George Repsher probably wanted to start a family of their own without bringing the complication of another man’s child into the equation. Thus, Charles was sent off to New York City to be raised by his grandparents as their son and an amended (or falsified) birth certificate was issued by the state of New York for his “official” birth date of Valentine’s Day in 1907.  This allowed Anna to start a new chapter in her life.

George and Anna wasted no time in starting their family. Shortly after their marriage in January, their first daughter and my grandmother, Beatrice Irene (Bea), was born on 18 August 1910 in Analomink, Monroe County, Pennsylvania.[17] Another daughter, Helen Hildegard (Toots), followed shortly after on 10 September 1911.[18]

At 23 years old, Anna suffered a tragedy. She gave birth to a son on 04 September 1913 and they named him after her father John Adam. The baby was not stillborn, but he was sickly and only lived for six days, passing away on 10 September 1913.[19]

Between 1911 and 1913, George and Anna moved their growing family from Analomink, Pennsylvania, over the Delaware River and approximately 40 miles east to Stanhope, Sussex County, New Jersey, which is located on the picturesque shores of Lake Musconetcong. It is here in New Jersey that son Arthur George (Art) was born on 08 September 1914.[20] Three more sons followed like clockwork every two years: Adam Otto, born 06 October 1916;[21] Robert William (Bob), born 05 August 1918;[22] Henry Allen (Hank), born 03 October 1920.[23]

Slightly less than three years later, Anna gave birth to another baby girl on 08 January 1923, but unfortunately this daughter was stillborn.[24] There was no recorded name for this baby girl. This event brings Anna’s child bearing years to an end. Including Charles, she now has had nine children in total over the course of thirteen years: six sons, five of which survive to maturity, and three daughters, two of which survive to maturity.

Which bring us back to my Grandmother Strait’s comment that once she was old enough, her mother Anna expected her to do a lot of the work while her mother slept all day. Given what we now know about post-partum depression it is entirely possible that Anna suffered from this malady and, as Beatrice would have it, not just simply work adverse. It also must have been exhausting to be pregnant or nursing almost constantly for thirteen straight years! (see post-script * below)

Despite all the hard work raising a family, the Repshers had an opportunity to get out and about and have some fun. Located nearby, the family frequented an amusement park called Bertrand Island on a peninsula that jutted out into Lake Hopatcong. According to LandingNewJersey.com, the park was:

“first developed as a Picnic Ground around the time of World War One, it was enlarged by owner Louis Kraus and ultimately included a wooden roller coaster, the “Wildcat”, [which] opened in 1925, an aeroplane swing, a cafeteria, picnic groves and a dance hall as well as an attractive bathing beach, a diving tower and boat docks.”[25]

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In a world where television and computers didn’t dominate entertainment, Bertrand Island was fun for the entire Repsher family and one visit to the park prompted a family portrait. Here is seen the entire George Arthur Repsher family on the Bertrand Island midway probably circa 1925. I especially like the short pants and striped socks on my great uncle Hank and that dressing for a day of fun included suits and ties. The other interesting item to note is all of the boys’ ears. Beatrice’s son, William, certainly inherited the ears, of all the things to inherit!

The family would also picnic along the banks of Lake Musconetcong on summer days. The picture at the right shows Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher and her daughter Beatrice enjoying the Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.16.44 PMweather and relaxing. In the winter when the lake froze, the kids would skate from one end of the lake to the other and would watch the local workman cut and store great big blocks of ice in the ice house.

One of Anna’s favorite things to do was to collect wildflowers. According to Beatrice, “My mother would go out for a walk and come back with great big bunches of them. It drove my father crazy. He thought they were just weeds.” She would pick Queen Anne’s Lace, black-eyed Susans, chicory, Goldenrod, daisies, and foxtails. She didn’t discriminate; she just picked them all.Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.17.07 PM

All of the children attended St. Michael’s Catholic School in Netcong, Morris County, New Jersey. The driving force behind this choice of schools was Beatrice. She was so enamored with the nuns, she convinced her father George that, even though they lived in Stanhope, she should attend the school in Netcong. In actuality, Netcong and Stanhope are the same town with the Sussex/Morris county line running right through the middle along the Morris Canal.

Soon, all of the siblings were attending St. Michael’s and everyone was being baptized and confirmed into the church. At 34 years old, Anna was baptized on 19 April 1924 in Netcong at St Michael’s Church.[26] One day later, George was also baptized.[27] Shortly after, in May of the same year, she was confirmed into the faith, again at St. Michael’s Church.[28]Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.35.06 PM

This baptism later in her life brings up another question about Anna. Was she baptized twice? There is a photo of a young Anna dressed in the classic first Holy Communion garb. It was taken at a photographic studio in New York City. Following the progression of the Catholic sacraments,Anna was most likely baptized by her parents early in her life so that she could become eligible to receive the Eucharist. There is nothing found so far that indicates if this Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.21.27 PMhappened when she was an infant or sometime later. Later in life, it could be that as Beatrice wrapped the family into Catholicism, Anna felt the need to renew her faith in the church and was re-baptized in order to be confirmed into St. Michael’s church in New Jersey.

The 1920 census finds the George and Anna Repsher family living in a rented house on Bedford Avenue in Stanhope.[29] George (29) worked as a fireman on the steam railroad. Anna (30) had no occupation listed, but managing the household must have kept her busy. Their children Bea, Toots, Art, Adam and Bob were all shown in the household. Since the census was taken on 08 January 1920, Hank was not listed because he wasn’t born until October later in the year.

According to the 1930 census, the Repsher family was living just across the Sussex/Morris county boundary on Ledgewood Avenue in Netcong, Morris County.[30] They were renting the Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.21.37 PMhouse for $30 per month and they owned a radio. George (40) was working as an engineer at the sand pit. Anna (41) was again listed as having no occupation. Bea and Toots were old enough (20 and 19 respectively) to have jobs and were working as quillers (handlers of bobbins of silk) in a silk mill. The boys, now including Hank, were listed as having no occupation but were most likely attending school at St. Michael’s.

Domestic life seemed to be going smoothly for Anna until the 1930s when some major changes occurred. Besides having to deal with the hardships of running a full household during the Great Depression, Anna started to lose family members. It began when her mother, Anna W. Karthaeuser, passed away on 03 July 1935 in Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey.[31] Her daughter Bea was married to William Charles Strait on 12 October 1935.[32] Next, husband George passed away on 30 March 1936.[33] He was only 46 years old at the time. Within nine months, she had lost her Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.21.55 PMmother, had a daughter marry, and had seen her husband pass away. Additionally, the threat of the United States being involved in another World War was looming large on the horizon in the closing years of the decade. Her sons were all of age to be drafted into the service or to enlist and this most likely added stress to her life.

The census enumerated on 27 April 1940 shows that Anna (51) was living on Maple Avenue in Netcong which is the same place where she was living in 1935.[34] Daughter Bea was not in the household; she had moved out to set up her own housekeeping with her new husband, William, in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey.[35] However, Toots (28) was still living at home and was employed 24 hours a week as a winder in the hosiery industry where she made $390 in 1939. Two of Anna’s three boys still living with her were also employed. Adam (23) had finished high school (indicated by H-4 on the census) and was working 40 hours a week at the ammunition plant in transportation where he took home $534 in 1939. His younger brother, Bob (21) is working 42 hours a week as a bagger at the mineral wool (plano) factory and brought home $564 in wages in 1939. He had only finished his junior year of high school and did not graduate (H-3). The youngest in the family, Hank, was still attending school and wasn’t employed.[36]

The questions about wages on the 1940 census had a lot to do with the recently implemented Social Security program. Starting in 1937, employers were

“required by law to deduct regular sums from the pay envelopes and pay checks of the great Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.47.11 PMmajority of employed persons. These deductions are for taxes levied by the Federal government in order to finance that part of Social Security programs which includes a plan of regular payments to aged workers and, in some cases, their dependents.”[37]

As the 1940s progressed, all four of Anna’s sons joined the service. Bob joined the Army in 1941 and served until 1945.[38] His older brother, Adam enlisted in 1943 and served until 1945 as a CB.[39] Both Art and Hank joined the Navy.[40] The picture at the left shows the Repsher family in mid-1940s with some of the boys in uniform. Luckily, all of the boys served out their tours of duty and returned home safely to the United States.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.46.50 PM

As her children left the household one by one and took their incomes with them, Anna needed to find a way to support herself. The type of work that George labored at before he died wasn’t the type of job that left a pension for Anna. Like many women during World War II, Anna found the opportunity to join the work force. When she was about 55 years old, she secured a position as an operator at the Dover Handbag Company in Netcong. According to her obituary, she worked there until she retired.[41]

The 1950s and 1960s were busy for Anna. Her sons and daughters had married and started their own families in the early 1940s and were now bringing numerous grandchildren, and then great-grandchildren, to her doorstep for visits. She also became involved in various clubs. Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 4.29.38 PMBecause of her sons’ military service, she served as a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Musconetcong Post of the American Legion of Stanhope and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars with the Lakeland Post of Netcong. As a member of the Legion of Mary, she stayed involved with St. Michael’s Church where she and her family worshipped for many years and where her children went to school.

Anna passed away on 23 September 1970 at Dover General Hospital.[42] She had been living at 19 Hill Road in Stanhope in a downstairs apartment of her daughter Toot’s house for years before her death. She was 81 years old. She was buried in Stanhope Union Cemetery.

My great-grandmother Anna Repsher was a big, tall woman; that much is true. I would have to refute my grandmother’s claim that she wouldn’t do any work. She raised a family, ran a full household, was gainfully employed by Dover Handbag, volunteered with multiple organizations, and organized family reunions. My great-grandmother Anna was far from lazy!

(*) – recently spoke (22 December 2016) with one of Anna’s granddaughters, a daughter of her son Adam.  The granddaughter said, “Nope, not post-partum depression. She would frequently take to her bed for several days at a time and she did this all her life. Tell her though that you were going shopping and she’d be up and ready in 1/2 hour!” Anna was also overheard to have said that having children one right after the other was “the way to do it.” That way, they could be raised to care and look after each other. Ha! Well, guess that means Gram Strait wasn’t too far from the truth! Maybe Anna isn’t as industrious as I make her out to be. You decide.


[1] Pennsylvania Department of Health, birth certificate 1234010-1910 (1910), Beatrice Irene Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[2] 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. 81.
[3] Ibid.
[4] 1900 U. S. census, Richmond County, New York, population schedule, New York City, ED 611, p. 12A (penned), dwelling 203, family 246, Adam Karthaeuser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1154.
[5] “Mrs. George A. Repsher,” obituary, undated newspaper clipping, ca. 1970, unidentified newspaper [most likely New Jersey Herald]; Strait family newspaper clippings, privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2011.  Inherited in 2010 by Ms. Strait from her grandmother Beatrice (Repsher) Strait Guirreri of Newton, New Jersey.[6] 1900 U. S. census, Richmond County, New York, population schedule, New York City, ED 611, p. 12A (penned), dwelling 203, family 246, Adam Karthaeuser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1154.
[7] “New York, Passenger Lists,1820-1857,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 December 2014), entry for A. Karthauser,  Microfilm series M237, Roll 505, List 436, line 126-127, Image 1024.
[8] New York City, New York, marriage certificate no. 124-1892 (1892), Karthaeuser-Mergenthaler, certificate number is penned; Digital copy with Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ.
[9] 1910 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, ED 49, p. 4A (penned), dwelling 70, family 73, John J. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1376.
[10] “Pennslyvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 February 2012), marriage entry #350 for George A. Repsher, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; citing Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
[11] 1920 U. S. census, Kings County, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, ED 889, p. 9A (penned), dwelling 100, family 201, Adam Karthaeuser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011).
[12] 1910 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, John J. Repsher.
[13] 1920 U. S. census, Kings County, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, ED 889, p. 9A (penned), dwelling 100, family 201, Adam Karthaeuser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011).
[14] New York, Department of Health, Birth Registrations, birth certificate 329 (1907), Charles Ludwig Karthaeuser. Issued in New York City, New York on 06 March 1907.
[15] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 82.
[16] “Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,” , marriage entry #350 for George A. Repsher.
[17] Pennsylvania Department of Health, birth certificate 1234010-1910 (1910), Beatrice Irene Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[18] Beatrice (Repsher) Strait Guirreri, compiler, “Family George Arthur Repsher and Anna Repsher nee Anna Karthaeuser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Newton, New Jersey, 1971-1995), p. 9.
[19] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[20] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 88.
[21] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 90.
[22] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 95.
[23] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 96.
[24] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[25] Landing New Jersey, “Bertrand Island Amusement Park on Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey,” http://www.landingnewjersey.com/bertrand.htm : 2013.
[26] Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr.”, p. 81.
[27] Ibid.
[28] Ibid.
[29] 1920 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Stanhope, ED 127, p. 12B (penned), dwelling 113, family 123, George A. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1068.
[30] 1930 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 55, page 15A (penned), dwelling 329, family 290, George A. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 August 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1374.
[31] Eleanor G. Freeman, Mays Landing, New Jersey, to Jodi Lynn Strait, hand-written group sheet labeled “Paul Karthaeuser, Jr.”, 09 March 2012, Karthaeuser documents and pictures.
[32]Marriage certificate for William Strait and Beatrice Repsher, church issued certificate, family papers collection, 1935.
[33] George A. Repsher Memory Card, 1936; privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2011.  Digital copy of paper memory card created by unidentified funeral home.
[34] 1940 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 14-86, page 1241 (stamped), sheet 11A, family 223, Anna Repsher household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 December 2014); citing NARA microfilm publicationT627, roll 2372.
[35] 1940 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newton, ED 19-23, page 263 (stamped), sheet 14A, family 291, William C. Strait household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com : accessed 07 April 2012); citing NARA microfilm publicationT627, roll 2384.
[36] 1940 U. S. census, Morris County, New Jersey, population schedule, Netcong, ED 14-86, page 1241 (stamped), sheet 11A, family 223, Anna Repsher household.
[37] Old Age and Survivor Benefits Under the Federal Social Security Law (New York: Prentice Hall, Inc, 1939), 3.
[38] Sussex County, New Jersey, probate case files, docket no. 35487A, Robert W. Repsher (1990), record of death, 29 January 1990; Sussex County Surrogate’s Office, Newton.
[39] Sussex County, New Jersey, probate case files, docket no. 45540, Adam Repsher (2004), death certificate, 29 April 2004; Sussex County Surrogate’s Office, Newton.
[40] William C. Strait (Lafayette, NJ), interview by Jodi Lynn Strait, 20 December 2014; interview held by Strait, Tucson, Arizona, 2014.
[41] “Mrs. G. A. Repsher Of Stanhope, 81,” obituary, undated newspaper clipping, ca. 1970, unidentified newspaper; Strait family newspaper clippings, privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2011.  Inherited in 2010 by Ms. Strait from her grandmother Beatrice (Repsher) Strait Guirreri of Newton, New Jersey.
[42] Ibid.