Good-Bye, "Mom"

This is our first anniversary issue.

It’s been a rough summer for the family. My grandmother Dorothy Hauschild-Burgoyne died on 11 Jun 1995 at Lawnwood Nursing Home in Ridgefield, CT. She had turned 80 last 22 Nov and, as many of you knew, had been in declining health for some time. Widow of "Pop" Burgoyne, "Mom" is survived by her three daughters: Barbara (Bobbie); Ellen (Sunny); Dorothy (Mike); her son Arthur, Jr.; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Mom was the last of my grandparents to pass away. There were three things she loved: a good laugh, chocolate donuts and a well-made daiquiri. Her laugh was a kind of hearty giggle, and sometimes, much to my surprise, I hear it coming out of my own mouth. Maybe Mom was looking over my shoulder recently when I finally found her grandfather Hugh Grinnon’s death certificate . . .

As many of you know, Uncle Buddy has had a terrible struggle with diabetes this summer. Aunt Pat e-mails me to say that he is being fitted for a prosthetic leg and is doing well. I think of you often, Buddy, and wish you all the best.

My brother Tom took his research into genetic diseases just a little too seriously and suffered a heart attack on Saturday, August 5th. I’m greatly relieved to say that he has undergone a series of angioplasties, is doing fine and has just celebrated his 39th birthday.

I’ve also had word that my grand aunt Rita Dreizler-Lindell has been ill recently (and better soon I hope), and my hat’s off to step-grandma Margaret McCleary, who, even though she’s recovering from cataract surgery, sent in rewrites of her article last week (way to go, Maggie!).

I had the pleasure of spending some time with my third cousin once removed Isabel Wolfe-Frischman, who lives here in L.A. with her husband Bill and their two daughters. Isabel is descended from the Coeymans Wolfes, and not only did she give me a copy of her grandma Laura’s poems (written under the pseudonym "Helen Worth" when she worked at the Brooklyn Eagle), she also lent me a diary written by her great-grandma "Annie" Colvin back in 1902, which included these passages:

Wednesday, January 1, 1902

New Year clear and cold. Did not get around till 8 o’clock. Winne called to finish up boat acc. Came again in the evening and I gave him check in full for his acc.

Wednesday, March 5, 1902

Barent and Charley had wood to [move] to Poughkeepsie in boat—Charles goes at 4 o’clock.

Charley is, of course, great-grandpa, Winne is his dad, and the boat is the Susie/Annie. Just as Frank and I thought, Charles apprenticed with his dad and uncle. The diary was set down about six months after Annie’s husband Andrew had died of stomach cancer, and is such a bittersweet document . . . I greatly appreciate Isabel’s sharing it with us.

I’d like to formally welcome my fifth cousin once removed Ted Overbagh to the newsletter (Ted is descended from Teunis Wolf and Catherine Wolfrom). Hello to cousin Lorine Shulze, an avid genealogist from Toronto who shares many of our colonial Dutch lines. Hi to cousin Tom Applebee, who has been kind enough to send along a big ole genealogy of his family. I should print a standing "thank you" to my cousin-in-law John Hulse, because he also has been filling in great-great grandma Louise Applebee’s ancestry. The Applebees were some of the first English settlers of Rye, NY back in 1660. Before they moved north to Albany County in the early 1800s they managed to add several distinguished families to their pedigree, including the Tompkinses, an English family that traces its lineage back to the Norman Conquest, and includes a crusading knight who died in the Holy Land. (I guess when we went Catholic we were returning to our roots).

John also uncovered the surprising news that descendants of John T. Wolf and Phebe Cary (the entire Southern New York Wolfe branch) are not as Caucasian as they thought—Phebe’s fourth great-grandma was Catoneras, a Montauk Indian who married a Dutchman named Cornelius van Tassel. Catoneras’s father is said to have been a sachem, or chief of his local tribe. I’ll be looking into it.

Native American blood might explain something my father Tom once did: in Pound Ridge we had some noisy squirrels nesting in the attic right above my parents’ bedroom. One day my father was toweling off from a shower when he heard the squirrels making a big racket (again). He must have snapped, because he ran out into the front yard wearing nothing but a turquoise terrycloth wrap around his waist and carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows. I stood in the front yard, my mouth agape, watching my father, great chief Pooh Bear, shooting arrows at a squirrel hanging, inverted, on the corner of the house. By the time he was finished, there were three arrows sticking out of the cedar shingles of the house and one very confused squirrel, staring blankly at my father and no doubt thinking, as I was, that he must have been nuts. But now, of course, I know he was just in touch with his ancient genes.

Then again, he may have just been nuts.

I hope to send out a questionnaire in the coming months for our formal genealogy—simple questions about what you’d like said about yourself and your family. I’m warning you—I will follow up on tardy contributors with phone calls. It’s time for you to pitch in.

If anybody has a good idea for an article or any suggestions/questions about Wolfsbane, please give me a holler. I’d love to hear from y’all about what you’d like to see in the newsletter.

In this issue we’ve got an interview with my Aunt Betty and an article about the Dreizlers, but here first—an article by my step-grandma Margaret McCleary about grand-pa Vincent.


By Margaret McCleary

My remembrances of Vincent’s childhood are very few—he did not talk about the past very much. I learned he grew up in upstate New York and many times accompanied his father on his ferry boat rides. He recalled that he had a strep throat infection, which may have affected his heart and thus his rheumatic fever with its consequent damage to the heart.

When he was about 8 years old, the family moved from Poughkeepsie to New York City where he was baptized and attended school. According to one of his schoolmates (Joe, who was also a Knights of Columbus member), Vince was a quiet boy, not as mischievous as he (Joe) was. He went on to Xavier High School. He did not go to college although he mentioned an uncle who was willing to put him through (and regretted not going). Never heard who the uncle was—on father's or mother's side—nor did I ever hear of any relatives alive anywhere (except for a half-brother, James, by his mother’s first marriage, by the name of Shields).

He started working in an office but left in about a year because he couldn't see any future there. He eventually went to Railway Express as a driver. He was a driver of all kinds of trucks, but not long haul as far as I can recall. He was made an instructor for new drivers, particularly the 40-footers.

During this time he played semi-pro baseball. Don't know what position he played. He was left handed but wrote right handed, probably because schools in those days made it compulsory.

Vince (as most people called him) joined the Knights of Columbus (Wethered J Boyd Council in the Bronx) in the early 1950's (I'm not sure of the exact year). He was active on many committees and was elected to the 326 Corps (the owners of the Council building and the group responsible for its upkeep). He also joined the 4th Degree and became the Faithful Navigator of the Archbishop Hughes Fourth Degree (in our district). The Alhambra is an unofficial offshoot of the "K. of C.," organized for special charities and good times. He was elected Grand Commander of the Giralda Caravan (the Bronx), then appointed District Commander. We had many good times with friends in neighboring Caravans in New York and New Jersey. There were many close friends among the members.

Vince was a two gallon donor of blood to the Red Cross. It was in January 1958, when he tried to donate that he was told to see his doctor because of irregularities in his heartbeat. He was told to give up truck driving and was transferred to the office as a dispatcher.

He was well liked by all who knew him. I met him at the K. of C. where we were both active. In June of 1958 we met at a "grand opening" of the local restaurant bar & grill opened by parents of the members. We started dating and eventually married, and thus started his second family.

He was a very meticulous, everything just so—socks and ties had to be arranged by color since he was color blind (but not completely). He loved the country house particularly since he never owned any property before and loved puttering about—hanging things, fixing doors, building shelves, painting the whole house inside and out. He loved to look out the back corner of the porch where if you stood just so, you couldn't see any other house.

I remember many wonderful visits with the family—Yorktown Heights, Dobbs Ferry, East Bronx with Buddy or Marie. One visit from all the Maranos to Highland Lakes for a weekend. It was this weekend that made us realize our "little" cottage doubled the size of the "porch" and enclosed it so we could have company. Vince put in the windows in place of screens, so that it would be livable. Unfortunately he didn’t live to see this happen. Heat was to be the next year’s project—but I never did get to tit as Tom, Barbara and kids can attest. The next Memorial Day weekend they visited, but it turned quite cold and we had to return to Yorktown Heights for the latter part of the weekend.

Vincent’s heart condition continued to worsen and in January 1963 (after Frank was born) he underwent closed-heart surgery at St. Clare’s Hospital (53rd Street & 10th Avenue). It was called a "finger fracture" to loosen the valve that was causing his problem, but it wasn’t enough. After a few trips to Westchester Square Hospital for a hernia operation and an emergency trip for fibrillation, he was transferred to Miserecordia Hospital (in the Bronx) via police ambulance (thanks to Buddy). He was put in the ICU where they defibrillated him on Holy Thursday 1966. In the fall the condition became worse and the hospital performed a heart catheterization. It was then that open heart surgery was recommended. This was done at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. The doctor replaced the faulty valve with a new one, but the heart was so badly damaged over the years that he did not survive.

To me, Vince was a wonderful, kind, outgoing husband and companion. He never raised his voice, much less his hand, to me or the children. He disliked any kind of argument or disagreement. He loved affection and displays of tenderness. The children sat on his lap in the evening reading books while I cleaned up in the kitchen, then we all knelt at the bedside to say prayers each night.

"Try to Better Yourself"

An Interview with
Betty Wolfe-LaCoste

Where and when were you born?

As far as I know, 162nd Street in the Bronx. July 5, 1928.

You were in Fordham Hospital, or . . ?

No. I have no idea if I was born in a hospital or not. Mom told me it was in back of the "Y" at 162nd Street—now whether that was where they moved me after I was born or if I was born in a hospital I don’t know.

I know you started off at 1 Governeur Place and 3 Governeur Place . . .

As far back as I can remember, it was that little house which, as I was told, was near Iona [College]. But that’s as far back as my recollection goes, and the only reason why I remember that is because running barefoot I got bad splinters—in my foot. And then I guess they lost that house.

They were probably renting?

I have no idea. Then my next recollection was the basement apartment on Governeur Place which was where Margaret was brought home. And then Marie and I developed whooping cough and the mumps, and we were taken to Bellevue Hospital. In those days I guess that’s what they did—you were put in quarantine. We were in cribs and this baby was crying a lot—it was down diagonally away from us and for whatever (a day or two—I don’t remember that much) that baby was Margaret. She developed pneumonia. She was only—I don’t even know if she lived eight months. That part I don't remember. And then the next move was [3] Governeur Place, next door, into the apartment. I don’t know how long that was. I did go to St. Augustine’s school.

You went to elementary school there?

We went to elementary school—the school from hell. Eight years, Marie and I. Maybe Bud had some schooling there—they had some separate Jesuits that taught the boys.

You had the nuns with the rulers?

You better know it. And they boxed kids’ ears and I wonder how many kids wound up with brain injuries from those gals. They were really tough. There would be children who wanted to go to the bathroom, and they’d raise their hand, and they’d tell them "no." They’d wet their pants right there and get sick right in the classroom. They had (if the kids were really bad) a dunce hat and gum—they would put the gum on your nose. I was so petrified. I was such a ninny. I would never do anything that would upset them—I was petrified of them, and that’s why I call it the eight years from hell. And do you know to this day any acquaintances that I have ever made from there—there isn’t a person or an adult who didn’t go through parochial school (and I’m talking people that are my age or maybe five years younger or twenty years younger) all say the same thing: that it’s a wonder that (if we could have afforded it) that we didn’t make psychiatrists millionaires. Because what we came away with, the fear that we developed (with a few exceptions here and there—people that were very strong and that could stand up to it). And it turned me against parochial upbringing of any kind. Not against religion, but I did switch to Episcopalian, simply because you were not allowed to question. And you had to go to church and you were marked if you didn't go to church and it didn't matter how sick you were you didn't leave church and on and on and on all those shenanigans and to me it was just a bunch of garbage. Now I can say that, you know, but I think it's just not right for children to have to go through or for now as an adult for what the children had to go through in those days. I think they're a little more with the times now. A parochial education is a good education, but the disciplinary thing was very, very difficult.

Did the nuns make their usual attempt to turn you into one of them?

Oh yes, oh yes. You do think along that line, and like the black habit and the long black gown and you think that that would be wonderful, but that passes very quickly. Whatever happens (I think God is watching over you and gives you a reality stroke) and thank you God that wore off pretty fast.

You’ve told me about your grandfather Charles chasing you around with a dead mouse on a string?

That was [3] Governeur Place.

Why did he do that?

Because he was weird. He’s another one that didn’t know how to deal with children. You know, when you think about it—that was his idea of something funny. That wasn’t in the basement apartment. That was in the first floor apartment of the house next door, the ground floor apartment. My father was handy with a belt. You erase those things from your mind. I vaguely remember him running after Mom. When it was done I don’t know, because generally I think it was done after we had fallen off to sleep. You’d hear a disturbance or something, but you’d turn over and go back to sleep again. Once or twice I didn’t, and I remember hearing my mother crying, but I didn’t connect the two, because we were kids. The big thing for us was being able to listen to the radio under the covers.

What did you listen to?

We’d talk about all those radio programs. If you were lucky you could stay up late and listen to the Lux Radio Theater on Monday night, The Green Hornet, The Shadow (Lamont Cranston was The Shadow, I think at that time). And then there were so many of the actors went into the early movies from radio, so it got so you knew the voices. When you heard their voice in the movie you would know, "Oh. That was the same person that was on the radio." Fibber McGee and Molly and Jack Benny, Bob Hope. All those people had their radio programs. Walter Winchell—it was Sunday night everybody listened to Walter Winchell. You didn’t have much say on what was listened to on a Sunday evening. And then if we were very lucky we got a dime to go to the Blenheim. We walked up there on a Saturday, and you could spend all day Saturday from 12 to 4 at the movies. They had double features, they had cartoons, and the chapters (that’s what they were called in those days, chapters). Like Tarzan or Flash Gordon—cliffhangers was another expression for that kind of movie.

Did you have a favorite movie star?

I think Gary Cooper was a good actor. And any of those film stars of that generation. I can't say Clark Gable. I don't think he was a great actor. He was all right. Henry Fonda. Katherine Hepburn no two ways about it—they were and she is still great. The other movie theater was the Tower up by St. Augustine’s.

So where did you move next?

From Governeur Place we moved to 3416 Park Avenue. And then Robert was born. So I was nine. And mom of course was very sick with the varicose veins, and that was when Marie and I had to carry up the cans with the ashes and bank the fire and haul the garbage and clean the whole five floors and the whole nine yards, and that was when Vincent took off. Didn’t see him for another nine years. And he did not help or support in any way. So we were on "Home Relief" it was called.

It’s funny how they’ve had different names for it.

Welfare. Home Relief. Now I guess it’s more sophisticated. I don’t know what it’s called nowadays. But it’s still welfare. There was a place where you would go, and they would give you a shopping bag with the dried milk and macaroni and rice, staples—like that. And then for holidays we depended upon the church—you’d either get a small turkey or a large chicken—the basket would be left at the door. Things like that. My mother had good friends. Gertrude and Al Hebrank. They were just the nicest, nicest people. Al worked for the A&P. Used to bring us home donuts. He worked the night shift in the A&P baking. A tall, stringbean man. He was so skinny. And of course, in those days you called your mother’s best friends "aunt" or "uncle." It was Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Al.

Tell me about Lottie Skinner.

My grandmother, you mean? I remember her from Edson Avenue. She and Bill had the house there. I don’t know when it was my mother decided to go back to the family. I was probably about 15 or 16. But they were all home. I don’t know if any of us understood the relationship between the fact that these people that we called uncles and aunts were my mother’s brothers and sisters because we didn’t know from relatives.

Oh, because friends were called aunt and uncle? So you made your own family?

Yes, and the McGarrys who lived next door to us at 3416 Park—Ben and Birdy McGarry—they had two children also. And they were very good to my mother. Then from there we moved around (the superintendent thing was just too much for my mother) and we moved around down to Washington Avenue (it was about two blocks down) and then from there we moved up to 183rd Street and that was where we were when World War II started, December 7, 1941. My mother must have applied to the telephone company and whatever happened they called her—we didn’t have a phone, but they traced her through the candy store across the street. She went to work that night.

Because they were so short of employees?

Yes. It was such a crisis she went to work that night and I was left in charge. I was 13 years old. We managed.

Did you get along well with your siblings?

We did. You played together. And you had a few friends. . .

And you guys had to stick together cause it was tough times?

Oh, yes. Because we wouldn't do anything to upset Mom if possible in any way. But boys were boys. She was a very hard working woman . . . and I think we all got our work ethic from her. We are all (and have been all our lives) hard working people and there's nothing wrong with that. It would be nice to win Publisher's Clearinghouse but I would still feel the same way as far as the things I do are concerned. There are certain things I do; I love cleaning my house and keeping it in good shape and I like keeping my own appearance nice and I think we're all the same way. Marie has a beautiful home and keeps it immaculate, Buddy and Pat, your Mom and Dad. Your Dad was very work oriented. He thought more about IBM than he did himself, I think. When it came time for him to retire it was so difficult for him to give it up and I remember him saying to me (and this was very shortly before he died) that he was just starting to learn how to appreciate being retired and he said, "You know I'm just realizing so many things I can do now that I couldn't do before."

We lived on 183rd Street for I don’t know how long. And then we moved around the corner to 450 East 184th Street, from whence all our lives took place—marriages, everything, and where Mom passed away from. We of course lived in the basement apartment again, but it was not a "basement" basement, it was just a back apartment.

Was she superintending again?

No, because she was working in the telephone company. And then she came down with pneumonia. And things were really tough. I quit school, and started working in the telephone company. Mom did get better and went back to work.

And that was when Vinny came back?

Vinny came back around my birthday. I was eighteen then. And Mom took him back. I think she did because she felt the boys needed a father, little knowing that the boys were fine. He didn’t know how to deal with kids. He’d not been around kids. They weren’t kids—they were teenagers. And he didn’t know how to deal with them. We were all doing our thing. We had a nice family life. We really did have a fairly decent family life, because by then the boys were old enough they were doing odd jobs and things like that. So by then it wasn’t so bad. Then I met Russ, when I was nineteen—we were together about a year and a half.

Did you party on V-E day?

No, I worked V-E day. I was coming home. Third Avenue "el." I worked on East 56th Street between Second and Third Avenue—the building is still there. The telephone building. I used to take the Third Avenue el down to 59th Street where Bloomingdales was, and still is, and walk down to 56th Street. I worked there for two years. Now it's a pretty area. I was coming home from work and you could see the celebrations from the el—street things going on—they had block parties. Everybody was out singing and dancing. There was no traffic. Everybody was so happy.

Did you have pets?

We had a dog named Skippy. Skippy was a yipper. He was really my mother's dog. When my son Rusty was born I used to walk down from 196th Street to 184th Street to visit with Mom. Skippy nipped Rusty and Mom got rid of him. He was an old dog and he just resented having a kid crawl around his territory. By then of course Vincent was home. They were in the apartment in the front—they were out of that back apartment they were up in the front apartment on 184th Street, right on the street, which was a really nice apartment. Very nice apartment.

How did you meet Uncle Russ?

Baseball team. I was working one Sunday—these were all guys like Ben Marano—everybody was in groups. Just the way they hung out. And Mom and Dad apparently had gone down to Sullivan's which was the bar on Webster Avenue. And I came home—I started dinner and had the table set. They called me (they were down there and they were having a drink) and said all the guys on the baseball team were there (I knew some of them like Bill Flynn and some of the others). "C'mon down and have a beer—just turn everything on low." I said "No, no, no," (it embarrassed me to go into a bar) and finally I went down and I met Russ and he asked me to go to a movie.

Right there?

Right then. And so we went home and had dinner and I went to a movie that evening with him. And that was it. A year and a half later we got married.

Did you have a big ole Bronx wedding?

Yes, the big Bronx wedding. The LaCostes, Russ’s family, lived down on Park Avenue on 182nd Street. Big family, there were nine—seven boys and two girls. And this house looked like a gingerbread house—it was a little bitty house. I don't know how they all lived there. Russ had a brother who died a year before I met him. And Russ's mother was a nice woman who lived in a housedress. Only time I ever saw her get dressed was for my wedding—our wedding—and then when his sister Ruth got married. She always wore big earrings and a house dress and slippers and that was her life. Pop—everybody loved Pop. He was a great storyteller and he had a furniture business down in Harlem, 125th Street. He was an absolute baseball fanatic. Yankees, of course. Pop died of cancer. I liked Pop.

Our first apartment was by Parkchester, in a house. We lived in the apartment upstairs, and then from there we moved up to 196th Street where Aunt Patty and Uncle Buddy lived, so we lived on the top floor right next to Patty’s mother, Fran Starr. And Russ was with General American at that time. He started out in the mailroom, I don't know what exactly, but he started at the bottom and worked his way literally to the top. He had a very good job. Rusty was born in the Bronx, Linda also—well, they were born in Beth David Hospital in Manhattan, but the Bronx is where we lived. And then from there we moved to Long Island and Richard was born in Long Island. The commute was too much for Russ. He’d have to take the subway into the city, and then go back up to midtown Manhattan. So then we moved up to Westchester, Dobb’s Ferry, where Matt was born, and from there to Connecticut. One thing my mother always did was instill "try to better yourself," and I think we all did.

I love you, Betty.

I love you, too. You have a nice day. Tell Susan I said good-bye. Thanks.

The Paper Trail:
Tracking Down Drei[t]zlers (and a Sullivan)

By Michael Wolfe

Members of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) believe it’s their duty to "retroactively" baptize their ancestors, and in pursuit of that goal genealogy is one of the cornerstones of their faith. Their library here in Los Angeles is extensive—I’m told the one in Salt Lake City is immense. Their resources are available to the general public, and since I changed jobs recently (I’m working at night), I’ve had time during the day to visit the "LDS" and track down Dreizlers.

One of my primary sources has always been the NYC Municipal Archives, but it’s been difficult for me to sit down and systematically review their vital records because I live 3,000 miles away. When I have had the opportunity the visits have been rushed, and not very fruitful. A few weeks ago I had a lucky break—I got to talking with one of the genealogists at the LDS when she revealed that the L.A. branch owns copies of New York vital records indices. As soon as my schedule changed I started combing those records, and on the first day I found death certificates for my third great-grandparents Wilhelm Dreitzler and Margaret Motz. A couple of days later, I located birth certificates for some of my grand aunts and uncles who did not survive to adulthood. Here’s what I’ve learned so far . . .

First of all, it was not always spelled Dreizler. The original spelling was Dreitzler, with a "t." I do not know what Dreitzler means yet. "Drei" means "three" in German, but that’s not much of a clue.

Wilhelm Dreitzler (#4 on the chart) was born in 1858, and emigrated to America from Germany @1881 when he was 23 years old. His father was John (Johan) Dreitzler and his mother was Lena (a dimunitive of "Magdalena"). His wife Margaret Motz (#5) emigrated around the same time, so it’s possible that they married in Germany and came over together. I know for certain that in 1889 they were living in Brooklyn, and Margaret was giving birth to great-grandpa Frederick William (#2).

"Bill," as my Aunt Betty called him in her interview, was actually his middle name. His birth certificate says he was born at 268 [Flagg?] Street in Brooklyn on 21 Apr 1889, 6 AM. I cannot make the street out for certain, but I do know that Roberta Hein was Margaret’s midwife—she lived at 255 Park Avenue, which means they lived near the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Fort Greene (I lived in that neighborhood for five years). Wilhelm’s occupation is put down as "Dreiber," and my German dictionary has no such word. I know that when he died in 1902 he was a bricklayer, but that word is "maurer." I’ll keep looking, but if anybody can help with this, please speak up.

From the records we have so far, we know the Dreizlers moved to Harlem from Brooklyn sometime between 1889 and 1902. I am going to keep combing the Brooklyn records for more clues.

Wilhelm and Margaret died quite young, poor things (he at 44, she at 49). They were living at 2480 Eighth Avenue at @133rd Street in Harlem when Wilhelm contracted acute pneumonia. He was admitted to the Metropolitan Hospital on April 22nd and put into the care of Dr. David Moulton Gardner, but Dr. Gardner could do only so much, and Wilhelm died, exhausted, on 12 May 1902. Margaret was still living at 2480 Eighth Avenue in 1906 when she was stricken with an inflamed gall bladder. She was admitted to the German Hospital & Dispensary on 23 Jul, and died on 31 Jul from complications arising from surgery. Wilhelm and Margaret are buried together at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Elmhurst, Queens, Range 18, Plot 4, Grave 27.

Great-grandpa Bill Dreizler was 13 when his father died and 17 when his mother died. In my last issue I speculated that he and "Lottie" (#3) needed the support of their parents when they got married, but of course now I’ve learned that Bill had been on his own for three years. He was living at 116 Lawrence Street in downtown Brooklyn when he and Lottie got hitched in 1909. Evidently he had moved back to Brooklyn for a while. But just a few months later he and Lottie were living at 446 West 125th Street when my grandma Charlotte (#1) was born. In 1913 they had migrated one block north to 75 Old Broadway. Then in 1914 they had moved north to 545 West 133rd Street, just around the corner from Old Broadway.

I have found death certificates for John and Elizabeth Dreizler, children of Bill and Lottie, whose short lives spanned this time. Elizabeth only lived three months when she succumbed to "gastritis," and John only three months when he died of "marasmus?" [the question mark is the doctor’s]. I’ve also found an index entry for a Jacob Dreizler who died in 1918, aged 3 months, which would bring the total number of children for Bill and Lottie to 15(!). She was amazing.

I don’t know a lot about Lottie Skinner’s grandfather Kieran Sullivan (#14) except what I have learned from what I believe is his death certificate. "Kieran" is a Gaelic name meaning "little and dark-skinned." Kieran had come from Ireland in 1849 (when he was 18), four years after the potato famine had begun. Like most Irish in those times, he probably lived a hard and desperate life. He was a 70 year old widower on 5 Sep 1897 when he died of "nephritis" and asthma at the Sisters of the Poor’s Home for the Aged on West 106th Street. Seven years prior to that his daughter Lizzie (#7) and son-in-law Ed Skinner (#6) had been working at the Cancer Hospital (106th St. & CPW) when they got married. They may have known about the Sisters from working in that neighborhood.

There was one curious thing on Kieran’s death certificate: his occupation. It says "Leibror," which sounded funny for somebody who wasn’t German. Then I pronounced it with an Irish brogue—Laborer. Evidently somebody misunderstood somebody else’s accent.

As always, I will keep digging for more documents. Each document holds more pieces to the puzzle, and each piece builds the picture, and the picture—the puzzle—never ends . . .


Just in case I thought I was being too clever, Jim Selkirk e-mailed me: "You had a note about Elizabeth Henry Selkirk signing her pension application with an X. In grandad's notes he refers to this being a result of her crippled hands, but as usual TKS was not much of one for indicating his sources." That’s okay, Jim—he doesn’t need to. It’s right there on the pension application if only I had read more carefully. So much for my romantic notions.

Wolfsbane regrets the error.

WolfeNet Update

Anne Connelly-Lemieux

Dr. Margaret Dietz-Meyer

John Hulse

Charles Lemieux, Sr.

Charles Lemieux, Jr.

Lorine Schulze

Charles Blake Selkirk

Jim Selkirk

Pat Starr-Wolfe

Susan Sternkopf

Frank Wolfe

Kristin Wolfe

Laura Guyol Wolfe

Tom Wolfe (my brother)

Tom Wolfe (my first cousin)

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