The Benz Family

Helen, Hazel, and Alma Benz, circa 190

Pictured above are the Benz sisters. The baby in the chair is Helen M. Benz (1902-1970). Standing behind her is the next oldest sister, Hazel Benz (1897-1970). Big sister Alma Barbara Benz (1891-1909) is sitting. They were born and raised in Newark, NJ.

Their parents were George Benz (1866-1927) and Flora C. Hillert (1872-1953). All four of their grandparents were born in Germany and died in New Jersey.

Below is Alma as a younger girl. According to an obituary on her memorial, Alma died suddenly at home at 326 New York Avenue in Newark after being “in failing health for a long time . . . a faithful member of St. Stephen’s German Evangelical Church, its Society of Sunday School Teachers and Christian Endeavor Society, and the church choir . . . employed in the novelty department of the Celluloid Company.”

Alma Barbara Benz

Here is a photograph of Alma later in life:

Alma Benz, courtesy of Frank and Silvia McDonald

Hazel worked as a clerk and a seamstress and never married. Here she is in adulthood:

Hazel F. Benz, courtesy of Frank and Silvia McDonald

Below is a photograph of Helen as an adult. Helen married Roy Morgan (1891-1986), a mechanic born in Texas, and they had one daughter, Gladys Morgan (1936-1952), who died after a long illness at the age of 15. From the “In Memoriam” page of the Bloomfield (NJ) High School yearbook of 1954: “A vivid picture of Gladys’ small, quiet countenance can be recalled, curled up with a good novel or hiking on a brisk afternoon.”

Helen M. Benz Morgan, courtesy of Frank and Silvia McDonald

Below is a photograph of the girls’ mother, Flora. Identifications written on the photographs in this batch and the available records cause some confusion about Flora’s maiden name. In official records of her marriage to George and Hazel’s birth her maiden name is listed as Leitlein. All other available records, including some memorials created in modern times by relatives, show her to be the daughter of Ernest G. Hillert (1855-1937) and Anna Shubert (??-1907).

Flora C. Hillert Benz

Ernest and Anna had one other daughter, Frieda B. Hillert (1886-1947) who married Ferdinand H. Ehret (1884-1951). This batch includes three photographs of her:

Frieda B. Hillert Ehret
Frieda B. Hillert Ehret
Frieda B. Hillert Ehret

My head started spinning when I came across the following two photographs of Anna C. Leitlein (1870-??) who married a machinist named Maxmillian Joseph Eberle (1870-??) in 1891. They lived many years at 349 Walnut Street in Newark. Her parents were apparently G. Leitlein who was born in Württemberg, Germany around 1843, and his wife Anna. I could find very little information on the Eberle and Leitlein families.

Anna C. Leinlein Eberle and Mrs. Kunz
Anna C. Leinlein Eberle

I’ve spent enough time on this post. hasn’t made any Newark papers available and without obituaries it is just too difficult to get to the real truth from the comfort of my home office command center. I’ll just post a few more of the photographs contained in this batch and leave it to the Internet to fill in the blanks as time goes by.

Here are Albert Benz and Jessie Benz. I suspect these are Albert Russell Benz (1866-??) and his mother Jessie G. Howe (1866-??) who married Martin Benz (1855-??). I could not connect them to our known Benz family members.

Albert Benz
Albert Benz
Jessie Benz

Here is Christina Volz. Three people named Christina Volz died in Essex County, NJ during 1894-1895 and I was unable to determine which one of them this is.

Each of the following three photographs has a caption on the back rather than the front, and the handwriting is different from the handwriting on the other photographs. These might not be associated with the others for any reason other than I found them in the same box.

Samuel Yobe, brother of Uncle Will, is a mystery to me:

Samuel Yobe

Below we have Rebecca Miller and her husband James Connell.

Frank and Silvia McDonald are genealogists and memorialists who allowed me to use the photographs they put on the memorials for the Benz sisters. Thank you! I provided the memorial number for Alma above. Hazel Benz’s memorial is #84386396, Helen’s is #74553594 and Gladys’s is #74554704. From there you can link to their parents and other relations.

Doris Cecil Dinwiddie Crawford

Doris Cecil Dinwiddie 1893 front

Doris Cecil Dinwiddie was born in 1893 in the town of Jordan Valley, OR, and died in Austin, TX in 1968. On the back of this photograph, which will be displayed at the bottom of this post, someone wrote some helpful biographical information. She married Graydon Clemson Crawford (1893-??) in 1919 and they had two children. We’ll learn more about Doris and Graydon’s journey in upcoming posts.

Her father was Joseph Milan Dinwiddie (1851-1918). He moved to OR from Indiana with his parents in the early 1850’s and eventually farmed a “section” of land (640 acres) adjoining the town. He also operated a “first class hotel and livery barn” in the town.

There were three photographs of the Dinwiddie Ranch in the dozens of photographs I picked up at an antique store in Baltimore. Each one had a description written on the back.

Dinwiddie Ranch 3

“D Dinwiddie, Jordan Valley, Ore x Grandfather Dinwiddie, Dinwiddie Ranch” Grandfather Dinwiddie, identified by the “x” over his head, must refer to Doris’ father.

Dinwiddie Ranch 2

“Haying on Dinwiddie Ranch, Jordan Valley, Ore”

Dinwiddie Ranch 1

“Dinwiddie Ranch first feed in morning taken about 22 mch south side only 1/5 cattle in sight”

Here are two photographs of Doris’ brother, Rufus Milan Dinwiddie (1896-1974):

Rufus Dinwiddie

Rufus Dinwiddie_0001

Rufus spent April 1917-May 1919 in the U.S. Army. In the U.S. Census of 1930 Rufus was enumerated as “widowed” in the household of his father-in-law Charles H. Catlin in Kelso, WA. He married Catlin’s daughter, Florence J., in 1925 and she died in Portland, OR in 1929. He later married a woman named Margaret Edith whose maiden name I have not yet discovered.

Zora Elinor Dinwiddie (1888-1965) was Doris’ and Rufus’ big sister. In the undated photograph below she does not look someone to be trifled with. Her history is confusing. She was married to George W. Spencer in 1906 and they had three or four children before he died at some point before the U.S. Census of 1920. She married a man named Hutchinson and they had a child who was named Milan after her father. She married Robert Lantz in Reno in July 1942 and divorced him in October 1944. She married Theodore C. Baland in August 1952 in San Fransisco and that is where she died. A note on her memorial page, #87841940, states: Cemetery Records indicate that Zora was cremated at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, San Mateo County, California. However, her ashes were released to relatives. The location of her ashes is unknown.

Zora Dinwiddie.jpg

Doris had another sister, Elsie Lenore Dinwoodie (1890-1983), and two siblings who did not survive infancy.

The following is the reverse of the portrait of the lovely Doris Cecil Dinwiddie. The handwriting looks masculine, so I am guessing it was written by Doris’ son, Joseph Clemson Crawford AKA Joe Clem. We’ll learn more about him in an upcoming post.

Doris Cecil Dinwiddie 1893