Willie Ann Burgess Krickbaum

Willie Ann Burgess Krickbaum front

Above is Willie Ann Burgess (1866-1932), a daughter of Egbert Ransom Burgess (1830-1984) and Martha Ann Jones (1835-1933). She was born in Albemarle County, VA and lived all her life there.

She married Baltimore native John George Krickbaum (1866-1948) in 1890. John’s parents were John C. Krickbaum (1843-1911) and Lena Elizabeth Lewis (1845-1930), both of whom were born in Germany.

Willie’s family were mill workers and lived in the section of Charlottesville, VA known as Woolen Mills. John followed this family tradition and was a mill worker into his 70s.

Willie and John had three children. Ena Maude Krickbaum (1894-1981) married a baker named James Richard Holloway (1891-1969) and they lived in Richmond, VA. Frederick Lewis Krickbaum (1896-1950), also a baker in Richmond before moving to Baltimore, married Nora Belle Hoover (1899-1988). Lula Mae Krickbaum (1898-1935) married a truck driver named Charles Edward Chisholm (1906-1962) and they resided in Charlottesville.

I was disappointed to be unable to discover how Willie from Charlottesville and John from Baltimore got together or to accurately date the photograph. Could it be a wedding photograph taken in 1890?

Willie Ann Burgess Krickbaum back.jpg


Willie Ann Burgess Krickbaum

The Langhirt Boys

I purchased this batch of five photographs at an antique store on The Avenue in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. They’re beautiful portraits and the names match. It doesn’t take much to get me interested.

Let’s start with the following photograph which has on its back the following inscription: Louis Langhirt 12 N. Dallas St., Baltimore, MD. I started with this one because it has the full name and address of its subject.

Louis address front

detail Louis Langhirt back

Next up is a photograph apparently taken the same day as the photograph of Louis. The only difference in the studio setting is that the prop table was swapped out for a chair. The caption on its back appears to say James Langhirt. I think there was some confusion on the part of the person who captioned these photographs. The subject looks like it could actually be Louis’ younger brother John rather than Louis’ older brother Andrew James.

Jimmie ? front

Jimmie ? back detail

Next is a photograph inscribed John Langhirt. It is obviously earlier than the previous two photographs.

John front

John back detail

The next one is captioned Bostie Langhirt. It seems that Bostie could be a nickname for Sebastian, the oldest brother.

Bostie front

Bostie back detail

The final photograph is captioned simply Langhirt. I think this must be the father of the boys, Martin.

Dad ? front

Dad back detail.png

Martin S. Langhirt (1853-1940) married Anna Catherine Zeller (1853-1923) in 1878 and they owned 1211 North Dallas Street from 1882 to 1919. The house was purchased for $400 with a ground rent of $25 payable to the previous owner. I suspect Martin’s middle name was Sebastian. Martin was born in Germany to Andreas Langhirt (1805-1869) and Katherina Megner (1819-1893). Anna was born in Maryland to German born parents Adam Joseph Keller (1815-1865) and Barbara Josepha Keller (1821-1866). Martin’s ancestry is fairly well documented by family genealogists but I could not independently confirm a lot of the details. Martin was a tailor early in life. Here is a screenshot of Martin’s immediate family’s entry in the 1884 edition of Wood’s Baltimore City Directory, and bear in mind that the house numbers on Dallas Street changed in 1887:

18841111 detail of Woods' Baltimore city directory (1884) p. 642.png

The given names Andrew, Martin, and Sebastian appear over and over again in the Langhirt family down through the years, and in every imaginable combination.

The five Langhirt brothers were (oldest to youngest):

  • Sebastian Peter Langhirt (1881-1941)
  • Andrew James Langhirt (1885-1941)
  • Frank Charles “Dutch” Langhirt (1887-1975)
  • Louis Martin Langhirt (1889-1973)
  • John Joseph Langhirt (1892-1971).

Sebastian Peter Langhirt married Blanche Lillian Shelley (1882-1910) in 1906. At his death Sebastian “had been in the Street Cleaning Department for the past five years, having had charge of one of the North Avenue divisions.” His pallbearers were members of the Eutaw Conclave of Improved Order of Heptasophs of which he had been a member for more than ten years.  Two of their four children survived infancy; Louis Martin Langhirt (1908-1978) and Martin Sebastian Langhirt, Sr. (1909-1971). Blanche’s death came nine days after the death of her daughter Helen L. Langhirt (1910) who lived only a few days.

Andrew James Langhirt married Minnie Alberta Woody (1883-1963) in 1908 and they had one daughter, Mildred Catherine Langhirt (1909-1972). He held several positions with the Henry B. Gilpin Company, a drug wholesaler. He was killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street.

Frank Charles Langhirt also known as “Dutch,” worked with automobiles all his life, variously described as a mechanic, tow truck driver, and chauffeur. He worked for Walter Scott, “one of Baltimore’s pioneer automobile dealers,” before he opened his own business on East Lexington Street in 1923 offering towing and a “full line of accessories, tires, and lubricating oils.” He married Clara Virginia Cavey (1878-1943) in 1910 then Bessie Victoria Mummert (1906-1974) in circa 1945. He had no children.

Louis M. Langhirt seemed to do some real estate investment in the 1920s and 1930s, but lived with his siblings in later life. He never married.

John Joseph Langhirt married German-born Margaret C. Eckl (1889-1955) whom he met while they were attending St. James Parochial School and married in St. James Church. They had one child, Catherine Muriel Langhirt (1914-2000). After Eckl died he married Helen V. Backus (1907-1988). John retired in 1957 after a 45-year career in the Baltimore transit system that included 25 years as a conductor on the No. 15 streetcar line that traveled Belair Road.

Three of the photographs appear to have been taken on the occasion of the subjects’ First Communion. A visit to the The Archdiocese of Baltimore Archives housed at St. Mary’s Seminary and University would probably yield exact dates of the boys’ first communions and thereby date the photographs. Update: The records for St. James Church are also available online for a price at findmypast.com.

Harry Alexander Plumley (1871-1936) operated the “Balto Photo Co” at 588 North Gay Street in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as a photographic supply company and portrait gallery at 506 West Lexington Street in partnership with George C. Mueller.

Photographicus Baltimorensis, a wonderful blog about “Archeology of Maryland photographers of the 19th and early 20th centuries,” tells us that Julius Christian Friedrich Bernhard Hebbel (1853-1905) operated a photography studio in Baltimore beginning in the late 1870s and that the business continued in his name after his death.

We don’t have photographs of the two girls in the family, but we know stuff about them. Margaret Mary “Maggie” Langhirt (1879-1945) married Peter Faust (1875-1914) in 1900 and they had five children. She married Andrew George Reichert (1870-1949) in 1918. Catherine Anna Langhirt (1883-1935) married Michael Kilian Schellenberger (1879-1924) and they had three children.

An coincidence: Martin and Anna’s children were first cousins to Frank Zeller (1897-1979). I posted about Frank here and about his wife Jenny Kornick (1894-1982) here in July 2017. How’d that work? Martin’s sister Margaret “Maggie” Ursula Langhirt (1860-1941) married Anna’s brother Charles Francis Zeller (1859-1932). Frank’s dad was Louis M. Zeller (1864-1926) who was Anna’s and Charles’ brother.

This was a fun project but I spent too much time on it. There is a lot of genealogy left to do for this family and many interesting things to learn. Here are a couple of newspaper articles of interest:

19030515 Langhirt Zellers wedding anniversary The_Baltimore_Sun_Fri__May_15__1903_
Langhirt-Zeller 25th Wedding Anniversary, The Baltimore Sun of 15 May 1903
19130202 Sebastian Langhirt's horse in Jones Falls The_Baltimore_Sun_Wed__Apr_2__1913_
Sebastian Langhirt’s horse fell into the Jones Falls; The Baltimore Sun, 2 April 1913



The Langhirt Boys

The Long Siblings

Harry S Long front

Hattie Maria Long front

Above are photographs of Harry S. Long (1868-??) and his sister, Hattie Maria Long (1869-??). The photographs were taken in Greenfield, OH by E. J. Price (1843-1906) who served that city from 1868-1906. Both were born in Ohio and both died in Camden, NJ.

They were the first two of the four children of Henry W. Long (1843-1917) and Kate Brott (1848-1911). I can narrow down Harry’s death date to circa 1927 because that’s the first year that his wife Eva D. Anderson (1868-1951) was listed as a widow in the Camden, NJ city directory. I can narrow down Hattie’s death date to circa 1829 because she appeared in the Camden city directory in 1928 but her husband Ethelbert David Stone (1870-1941) was enumerated as a widower in the 1930 Census. Sometimes it is difficult finding exact dates when subjects lived in urban areas and had common names. Obituaries in big city newspapers often do not name surviving children or parents. Harry and Kate’s other children were George W. Long (1875-??) and Samuel Stewart Long (1881-1963). Not every fact can be discovered from the luxury of one’s home office and Camden is too far away for a hunting expedition.

It was pretty easy to find out via ancestry.com that Henry and Kate were married in Marysville, OH on 29 October 1866, but they didn’t show up in Ohio in other searches, possibly because of an indexing error. I went page by page through the 1870 Census to find the family of four enumerated in Greenfield that year. Harry was a characterized as a huckster and born in Pennsylvania. Kate kept house and was born in New York. Henry and Kate were still in Ohio when their son George was born in 1875, then they were living in Camden for the 1880 Census.

Why were they in Ohio? I’m not altogether certain of the story but there are clues. Kate was the daughter of John Brott (1825-??), a railroad passenger agent in Buffalo, NY in 1860, and Adaline Ogden (1827-1909). Kate had a sister named Mary Frances Brott (1845-1917). The sisters came “from a family of professional stage people” and were cousins of Mrs. George H. Primrose, a famous minstrel. Mary married Marysville native Colonel Noah B. Orr (1836-1882) in 1864. At a height of nine feet in his uniform with boots and hat, and a weight of 550 pounds, Orr was known as the “Union County Giant”. Orr toured the U.S. and Canada with various companies. He was part of P. T. Barnum’s museum in New York City when he met John Brott, himself purported to be a champion prizefighter though I could not confirm this. Presumably Kate followed her sister to Marysville and met and married Henry there. Connecting Kate with Mary Frances seemed natural based on their shared name and the fact they both married in Marysville. I found the 1860 Census record for the Brott family of four in Buffalo even though their surname was misspelled “Britt”. The connection was confirmed when I discovered that Mary and her son Louis Orr (1879-1942) attended Samuel Stewart Long’s wedding.

Henry and Kate were still in Ohio when their son George was born in 1875, then they were living in Camden for the 1880 Census. Colonel Noah Orr died in 1882 and by 1887 Mary Frances Brott Orr and five of her children had also moved to Camden.

Harry’s wife Eva D. Anderson was the daughter of William Harold Anderson (1847-1907) and Joanna Wescott Peak (1850-1931) of Mount Holly, NJ. They had one child, Jennie A. Long (1890-1966). Jennie married Albert Pierson (1890-1954) and they had one child, Edith A. Pierson (1910-1984). Edith married Charles A. Fisler (1912-1988) and they had one child.

Hattie married Ethelbert David Stone, Sr. (1870-1941) in 1890 and they had five children: Harry W. Stone (1893-??) married Martha A. Shiding (1898-1953); Katie E. Stone (1897-??) married Charles Raymond Adams, Sr. (1889-1985); Ethelbert David Stone, Jr. (1899-1948) married Carmella “Carrie” DiBarolomeo (1901-1963); Hattie Maria Stone (1903-1973) married Samuel S. Potts (1897-1975), and Sarah A. Stone (1909-2003) married Chester Levock (1902-1937). Their descendants were multitudes.

There is a story about Ethelbert that a history nerd cannot pass up even though newspaper accounts contain a few minor errors of fact. At around 8:00 AM on the morning of 6 September 1901 two employees of a the New York Shipbuilding Corporation plant in south Camden were painting a roof and talking favorably about President William McKinley when Ethelbert walked up and offered a wager of five dollars that McKinley would be shot by 8:00 PM that night if he hadn’t been shot already. McKinley was shot at 4:07 PM that day. The painters told the story and Ethelbert was arrested on 10 September 1901. Ethelbert did not deny he offered the bet and explained that it didn’t mean anything, he was arguing with the painters and “made the statement thoughtlessly” and “it had no significance whatsoever.” Ethelbert’s house was searched and initial reports indicated that “incriminating items” were found. At a hearing on the morning of 11 September 1901 Ethelbert was ordered released after it was determined that Ethelbert could neither read nor write, that nothing incriminating had been found in his house, and that “nothing could be found in the present or past of the man indicating in any way that he knew of a conspiracy to kill the president.” The story of suspicion and arrest got nationwide coverage, though Ethelbert’s exoneration did not.

I tried to find a certain link to Baltimore to explain how these 4 inch X 2.5 inch photographs ended up in an antique store on The Avenue in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden. The best I could find was that Ethelbert David Stone, III (1928-2016) and his sister Catherine M. Stone (1924-2004) lived in Maryland for a while before moving to Sarasota, FL in 1982. There is a genealogist working on this branch of the family who has posted several photographs of Ethelbert, III on ancestry.com; perhaps she’ll come across these photographs when I post them.

Below are the reverses of the photographs. Can you understand why I first thought Hattie’s and Harry’s surname was “Song”?

Harry S. Long back

Hattie Maria Long back


The Long Siblings

Ruth and Roy Collier

Ruth and Roy front no back

Above we have Roy Frank Collier, Jr. (1922-1972) and Ruth Louise Carey (1920-2004). I don’t know the date or location of the photograph. Could it be their wedding day?

Roy was the son of Roy Frank Collier, Sr. (1896-1930) and the grandson of George W. Collier (1865-1934). George was a prominent Baltimorean who served as “Market Master” in the office of City Comptroller of Baltimore. In 1921 he managed the following public markets: Belair Market, Canton Market, Centre Market, Cross Street Market, Fells Point Market, Hanover Market, Hollins Market, Lafayette Market, Lexington Market, Northeast Market, and Richmond Market. You can read more about the public markets here and here. President Harding appointed George as Baltimore’s U.S. Marshall in 1923 and he served in that office for ten years. Roys’ mother was Helen Marie Gritz (1902-1968) whose father Anthony Gritz (1876-1917) was born in Poland. The name Gritz apparently derived from Gryczkowski, and both the long and short versions were spelled every which way.

Ruth was born in Newport, DE, the daughter of Charles Wilson Carey (1888-1951) and Lydia R. Ivory (1895-1921). After Lydia died in 1921 Ruth and her siblings were sent to live with relatives. In the 1930 Census Ruth was enumerated with her mother’s paternal uncle, William Thomas Ivory (1874-1938), his wife Florence Isabelle Packard (1876-1931), and their son Wilson Thomas Ivory, Jr. (1903-1979) in Wilmington, DE. Lydia’s father, George Henry Ivory (1872-1943) and his brother William Thomas Ivory were born in Kent County, MD to William Ivory (1831-1878) and Sarah Catherine Tucker (1844-1884). In the 1940 Census we see Ruth in Baltimore working as a precision equipment finisher and a lodger with the family of Edward Linton Kelley (1909-1976), his wife Rose Marie Borleis (1914-1984), and their two daughters. I couldn’t find a familial connection between Ruth and the Kelley family.

Roy was in the U.S. Marines from September 1942 until November 1945. During at least December 1943 to February 1944 Roy was stationed on the island of Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the Republic of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. I’m sort of convinced that Roy served in the Marine Photographic Squadron 154 (VMD-154) which arrived to the island in November 1943. By July 1945 Roy had redeployed and was part of VMD-954 at Stallings Air Base in Kinston, NC, a squadron which absorbed VMD-154. In 1958 Roy was employed as an engineer with what is now known as AAI Corporation, which leads me to believe he was an aircraft technician while in the Marines.  When Ruth sent photographs to Roy he usually wrote the dates he received them on the back. Here are some of those photographs, each one followed immediately by its reverse:

Ruth Collier 1 front

Ruth Collier 1 back

Ruth in Coat frontRuth in Coat back

Ruth Collier bathing suit frontRuth Collier bathing suit back

Ruth wrote “grandmother and mother” on the back of the following photograph which is dated 23 January 1944, so this must be Roy’s mother Helen Marie Gritz (1902-1968) and her mother Lena M. Dietz (1875-1965):

Grandmother and Mother front

Grandmother and Mother back

Below is a uncaptioned photograph of grandmother, mother, and Roy and Ruth:

Ruth and Roy and Grandmother and Mother front no back

Below is “Uncle William” who is apparently Roy’s maternal uncle William Alexander Gritz (1911-2001). Ruth was married to William at the time of his death but I don’t know when they married. William had not married before he married Ruth.

Uncle William front

Uncle William back

Here is Adolph Joseph Gritz (1914-1970), another maternal uncle of Roy’s:

Adolph J Gritz front

Adolph J Gritz back

Below is a photograph of Ruth that appears to be a souvenir from an excursion aboard the S. S. Dixie, the “Steamer of Tomorrow,” a Wilson Line vessel that set sail from Pier 8 on Light Street in Baltimore. As shown in the advertisements to follow, taken from 1939 editions of The Baltimore Sun, the ship made two trips a day. Her dress and the expression on her face suggest to me that Ruth was taking the “Moonlight” excursion.


US Dixie Advert 4 The_Baltimore_Sun_Thu__Jun_18__1936_



The above image of the S. S. Dixie can be purchased here. According to Google Earth, 807 Dundalk Avenue and much around it were replaced by the Kane Avenue interchange on I-95. Go here to read about Seaside Park.

Below is a photograph of a man I suspect to be Roy’s dad, Roy Frank Coller, Sr:

Possibly Roy Frank Collier Sr no back

Tucked within the cardboard portrait holder above was the following photograph of Roy, Jr.:

Roy Collier Jr baby front

Roy Collier Jr baby back

Next we have Roy, Jr. in his U. S. Marine uniform. This must have been taken near or at the end of his military service because he wears Technical Sergeant stripes, the highest rank he obtained.

Roy Frank Collier Jr in uniform no back

Roy and Ruth had three sons. The first was Roy Frank Collier, III who died as 20 months (1946-1947). In the next photograph we see Ruth holding an unidentified baby I suspect to be Roy, III:

Ruth and unidentified baby (no back)

The two other sons were twins born on 1 October 1948. There were dozens of photographs of them, many with the “grandmother and mother” from above, and each was carefully captioned to identify the twins, James Michael Collier, Sr., and Kenneth Lane Collier:

K and J 2.5 years (no back)

This was a complicated project and it took a long time. There are several gaps in information which are bugging me, but perhaps they’ll come to light. Now, at it’s end and after a closer look at S. S. Dixie photograph and others, I realize I should have written this one more from Ruth’s perspective. But it’s time to cut the cord and move on. [Philosophical musings deleted.]


Ruth and Roy Collier

In the Vicinity of 920 North Montford Avenue

Here are two more photographs from the batch associated with the Joseph Drevo family and their residence at 1614 Chilton Street/Avenue in Baltimore and the Rommel family who lived up the street.

At first I thought the people in the photographs were Drevos, then I thought they were Rommels because the mother looks a little like Emma Elizabeth Fahey Rommel. After using Google Earth to discover that the photographs were taken in the vicinity of 920 North Montford Avenue where the Drevos lived from 1912 to 1923, I decided the timing was off for either scenario. The photographs could depict Drevo relatives or friends who also lived on Montford Avenue during those years when the Drevos owned #920.

The only reference I could find to Hellman’s Meat Market was in a 1962 article in The Baltimore Sun which described a market by that name on Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1890s, but that was in West Baltimore and the Drevos were in East Baltimore.

Baby in mother's arms.jpg

Baby in Carraige.jpg

Here are current views taken from Google Earth:

North Montford Avenue.jpg

North Montford Avenue 2.png

Is there a chance the lady and the baby are related to other people from the 900 block of North Montford Avenue? The 1920 Census shows us that the following heads of families lived on the block and were immigrants from Bohemia.

900: Anton Dorl (1866-1920) and his wife, Pauline Dorl (1867-1932)
902: Charles Spaeck (1878-??)
904: Joseph Smith Kolarik (1866-1946)
910: Anthony Jesatko (1895-1973)
912: Thomas Otradovec (1893-1975; born in RI to parents from Bohemia)
914: Joseph Duspiva (1888-1963)
916: John Sochurek (1869-??)
918 Phillip Noha (1874-1945) and his wife Mary Bartos Noha (1875-1949)

In the Vicinity of 920 North Montford Avenue

Eddie Rommel the Knuckleballer

The following photograph depicts Edwin Americas Rommel (1897-1970), his wife Emma Elizabeth Fahey (1897-1971), and their children, Edwin Americus Rommel, Jr. (1924-2000) and Patricia Ruth Rommel (1925). I assess this photograph was taken in 1925.

Rommel Family

They are sitting on the porch of 1610 Chilton Avenue (AKA as Chilton Street) in Baltimore, just a few doors down from the subject of my previous post, 1614 Chilton Avenue where the Drevo family lived.

The batch of photographs associated with the Drevo family contained no captions or identities, which caused me to first assume these folks were Drevos. But I could see the above porch is not on an end unit and the stone work doesn’t match that of 1614. I matched the photograph to 1610 using Google Earth’s Street View and that led to the Rommel family. Though there are hundreds of photographs of Eddie online the comparison wasn’t a simple one, so I found a fellow genealogical researcher who is also a distant relative, Bob Rommel, and he confirmed their identities. He didn’t have a name for the dog–and I spent too much time looking for one.

The Rommels bought the house in November 1923 and lived there until their deaths.

Eddie was the son of Frederick A. Rommel (1848-1934) and Louise S. Bennecke (1864-1940). Louise was born in Germany as were both of Frederick’s parents. Emma was the daughter of Bartholomew J. Fahey (1897-1934) and Emma M. Kares (1868-1949).

Here is ESPN’s statistics for Eddies career as a pitcher. It is said that Eddie was the first person to employ the knuckleball in a MLB game, a pitch he learned after the spitball was outlawed.

The following photograph is probably Edwin Americus Rommel, Jr. riding his trike on the sidewalk of 1610 Chilton.

Baby on trike.jpg


Eddie Rommel the Knuckleballer

1614 Chilton Avenue

Joseph Drevo, Sr. (1880-1957), his wife Johanna M. Luk Drevo (1882-1956), and their son William Luk Drevo, Sr, (1905-1993) sailed from Bremen, Germany aboard the SS Chemnitz and arrived to Baltimore, MD on 13 December 1905. They were natives of Pacov in what was then Austria-Hungary but now is the Czech Republic, and their contact in the USA was Joseph’s brother, Frank Drevo, who immigrated in 1903. In the 1910 Census the three of them were enumerated in the same residence as Frank and his wife Mary at 722 North Milton Avenue. Both Frank and Joseph were cabinet makers in a factory.

Joseph and Johanna, who was also known as Jennie, purchased 1614 Chilton Street in June 1923 and lived there until her death in 1956 and his death in 1957. Here are some photographs of that house and the neighborhood. Unfortunately there were no identities associated with the people pictured.

1614 Chilton Avenue 1

1614 Chilton Avenue 2

1614 Chilton Avenue 3

1614 Chilton Avenue 4

Group @ 1614 Chilton

Joseph and Jennie raised three children on Chilton Street: William who married Olga Nenadal (1909-1989); Anna Helen Drevo (1906-1999) who married Emil J. Novotny (1900-1971); and Joseph Charles Drevo, Jr. (1908-1985) who married Dorothy Victoria Jacob (1913-1958).

William Luk Drevo, Sr. was an architect who graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art and George Washington University, which probably explains why this batch contained photographs of buildings. The only building I can identify is the Standard Oil Building on St. Paul Street in Baltimore:

Standard Oil Bldg superstructure

Standard Oil Bldg

Here is the building as of November 2017:

Standard Oil Building

Of the several photographs of people in this batch, the only Drevo I can positively identify is Robert Joseph Drevo (1949), the son of Joseph Charles Drevo and Dorothy Victoria Jacob, whose baby picture is shown below, along with a note from his mother to his paternal grandparents:



You’ll notice there are no last names on any of these photographs, so where did the name Drevo come from? There were four Czech language postcards from Pacov in the batch, and one was addressed to Joseph Drevo at 1614 Chilton Street. Here is a sample:

Postcard 2 front

There are more photographs to examine but it’s time to move on. Next up, photographs of a Chilton Street neighbor family that was a little bit famous.


1614 Chilton Avenue

A Few Hoff Family Members


According to the caption written on its back, the above photograph depicts May, Louis, and Annie Hoff who lived at 1711 North Bethel Street:

Kids pic

The photograph was in a big bunch I bought at an antique store in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore in early 2018. I discovered after I got home that I had also scooped up the the following photograph which, according to its caption, depicts their father, John Hoff.

1 3

Dad's pic

While it is obvious that the captions were written by the same hand, we can also see that John Paul Hoff (1866-1946) and Amelia Achatz Hoff (1871-1947) lived at 1711 North Bethel Street between 1902 and 1910. The children are too young for the photograph to have been shot at this address but I had no success in fixing the photograph’s setting. We learn from the 1910 Census that John was born in Switzerland and was a carpenter whose mother tongue was French. Amelia was born in Germany and was a homemaker. They had been married 19 years in 1910 and 10 of the 12 children Amelia bore were still living.

Mary Anna Hoff (1883-1963) was also known as Mae. She married Francis Kirby McManus (1890-1983) and they had two daughters, Anna Irma McManus (1913-2003) and Mary Althea McManus (1917-2018).

Louis A. Hoff (1896-1969) was a plumber. He married Cecilia Morris (1897) and they had one son, Louis Nicholas Hoff (1925-1970).

The only traces of Annie Hoff (February 1895) I could find were in the 1900 and 1910 Censuses.

Ernsberger’s Photograph Gallery appears to have been located at 501 and 503 North Gay Street, Baltimore, MD in 1891, but the property went for auction that same year. In 1996 J. G. Ernsberger was operating his “photographing establishment” up the street at 588 North Gay Street. This dates the photograph of John to circa 1891.

John appeared with his family in Census records until 1920, but in 1930 and 1940 he was enumerated as a patient at the Spring Grove State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Catonsville, MD. Amelia was enumerated in the Census as married in 1930 and 1940. By 1924 she was listed as single in the city directory and living at 4322 East Eager Street in Baltimore, a house Louis bought in 1923. Starting in 1924 Amelia was listed in city directories as the “widow of John P.”

A Few Hoff Family Members

Anna Sophia Wanecker Schnabel


The above photograph depicts Anna Sophia Wanecker Schnabel (1881-1955). I could find no record of Roy’s photography establishment at 515 South Broadway in Baltimore, but we know Kann’s store was at 509-513 South Broadway from at least 1887 until S. Kann, Sons & Company of Washington, DC sold the property to the Broadway Theater Company in 1913.

The book she is holding appears to be 1890 version of “The Reformed Church Hymnal” which was copyrighted in 1890. You can buy your own copy here. According to an item in The Baltimore Sun on 21 December 1895 entitled “Christmas Music,” Sophia was going to be a soprano in the choir at Faith Reformed Church on Christmas Day. Faith, which apparently was established circa 1887, held “opening services” at it’s new location at the corner of Gough Street and Patterson Park Avenue on 17 November 1888. The building currently at that location, a church building converted into condominiums, was built in 1920 according to some real estate advertisements.

Can we assume this photograph commemorates her confirmation? Do you wonder, as I do, which hymn is marked by her finger.

According to the U.S. Social Security Application and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Sophia’s parents were Gustav Wanecker and Mary H. Gardner. I could find no record of Gustav. Elsewhere, Sophia’s maiden name is given as Waneker, specifically in the above mentioned Christmas music announcement in 1895, an announcement that Sophia and her husband obtained a marriage license in 1899, and Sophia’s and her husband’s obituaries. I make this point so emphatically because it is new information to genealogists of the family who have created family trees on Ancestry.

All other available evidence indicates Sophia’s mother’s name was Mary A. Gardner (1848-1911). We first see her in the 1880 Census entry in which she is enumerated as Mary Wunderlich, seamstress, native of Prussia, either widowed or divorced, and living with daughters Minnie (1863-1947) and Margaret (1870-1946) at 286 Canton Avenue (now Fleet Street) in Baltimore. The name Wunderlich, which Google Translate informs means “whimsical” in English, was sometimes rendered Wonderling. The 1990 Census gives Mary’s immigration date as 1882 and backs that up by showing she had been in the U.S. for 18 years, but that is obviously incorrect given that she appears in the 1880 Census. The birthplaces of Minnie and Margaret are consistently Maryland. Confusion abounds.

Minnie’s obituary gives her father’s name as Christian Wunderlich but I dug up no further details about him. Minnie never married and is buried beside to her mother in Saint Matthew’s Cemetery, findagrave.com memorials 188540486 and 75923287.

Margaret, who was known as Maggie, married George A. Slater (1870-1915) and they had two children, Gustav Slater (1897-1991) and Mary (1899-1905). That Margaret named her only son Gustav further substantiates a marriage between Mary and Gustav Wanecker. Margaret, George, and Mary were buried in the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Congregation of Baltimore Cemetery, also known as Trinity Cemetery, but their graves were moved in 1972 to make room for I-95. I did not try to find their current location.

Mary married Nicholas J. Thorn (1820-1901) in 1888. An unsourced document registering the wedding listed her name as Mary A Warnerger which is probably a garble for Wanecker. Their daughter, Nellie E. Thorn (1889-1970), married Joseph Francis Wess (1889-1948) and they had five daughters.

Sophia married George Frederick Schnabel (1872-1947) in 1899 and they had three children, Frederick August Schnabel (1900-1901), William Paul Schnabel (1902-1993), and Nellie Ruth Schnabel (1909-1983). They are all buried together, along with George’s parents, Frederick August Schnabel (1847-1903) and Elizabeth Meinschein (1844-1929), in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Baltimore County, MD. No direct descendants of Sophia and George have survived to the present day.

The following is the reverse of the photograph. I purchased the photograph at an antique store on The Avenue in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden.

1 1

Anna Sophia Wanecker Schnabel

Three Men in a Car


The above photograph depicts Carl Verner Kelley (1891-1969), Carl’s brother-in-law William A. Coutcher (1891-1955), and William’s son Frank William Coutcher (1923-2005), who was also known as Frankie. I’m guessing that’s Carl in the front seat with Frankie sitting on his father’s lap in the back seat.

It took a while to figure things out using the information in the caption written on the back of the photo. To start with, this photograph was in a box that contained a lot of photographs from Michigan (See my previous post about the Morgan Sisters) and that gave me a hint about where to start looking. It turned out Carl and William died in Monroe County, MI where Frankie was born. I arrived at the name Coutcher by trial and error, then connected the Coutchers with the Kelleys. The final bits of evidence were Carl’s signatures on his WWI and WWII draft registration cards (see below) which matched the handwriting of the caption, also proving that the caption was written by Carl. We can suppose the photograph was taken by Ethel Chloe Kelley (1893-1986) who was Carl’s sister, William’s wife, and Frankie’s mother.

Carl and Ethel were two of the four children of Alonzo Caleb Kelley (1846-1914) and Alice Suray Miller (1870-1959). Carl, who never married, was a metal worker by trade. He is buried near where he was born in Hancock County, OH, in McComb Union Cemetery along with his parents and 100 other Kelleys.

William was the son of Frank Coutcher (1870-1947) and Christina Ring (1872-1934). He married Ethel in 1916. William was a WWI veteran and the inventor of a cruise control apparatus for motor vehicles for which he received patent US2503802A in 1950. William was a laborer (1910), barber (1920), and carpenter (1930), but in the 1940 Census was listed as a chiropractor.

Frankie moved to Tampa, FL in 1948 had a career in medicine. He married Ruth Ellen Byus (1927) and they had several children. You can read his obituary here.

All of the photographs I examine have hidden stories, but this one sparks my imagination more than many. In all of the 1920’s William, Ethel, Frankie, and Carl were living in Toledo, OH, much of the time in the Kelley house on Yondota Street where there is now a vacant lot. A trip to Santa Rita, NM must have been part of a grand tour. Santa Rita would not have been the destination of such a trip, only a stop along the way. Obviously this was not the only photograph Ethel took, but perhaps this is the only one Carl captioned. Assuming Frankie is sitting on his father’s lap, what is Carl telling them? William does not look pleased. What is causing that look of alarm on Frankie’s face as he looks down at the ground?

Following are two examples of Carl’s signature. On the left is his signature on his WWI draft registration signed on 5 June 1917. On the right is his WWII draft registration signed on 27 April 1942.

Below is the caption on the reverse of the photograph.


Three Men in a Car