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Joseph Ralph Smiechowski was my great-grandmother’s (Mae Moore Oakes) second husband. They were married in 1916 in Detroit, Michigan. I have found his last name spelled a few different ways, including Smiechowsky and Smilchowski.

 

jrs_mdo_marriage

Smiechowski / Oakes Marriage Registration, 19 June 1916 (Click image to enlarge)

 

Joseph was born 6 September 1893 in Detroit to Wladyslaw (Walter) Smiechowski and Eva Wolff. He had one brother Edward (born 1895) and two sisters, Amelia (born 1898) and Anna (born 1900). In the 1900 census, the family was living on St. Joseph St. in Detroit.  In the 1910 census, they were living on Theodore Street. Joseph was 16 and employed as a shipping clerk at a tannery. On 19 June 1916, Joseph and my great-grandmother, Mae, were married in Detroit.  One of the witnesses was her brother, Earl Moore.  Mae had a daughter, Helen, who turned four years old on their wedding day. On his World War I draft registration card, dated 1 June 1917, Joseph is described as medium height, stout, with blue eyes and light hair.  He lists his dependents as a “wife and child 5 yrs old.” In various documents, his occupation is listed as decorator or painter.

 

jrs_wwi

 

In the 1920 census, the little family was living on Sheridan Street in Detroit.  My grandmother Helen was listed as Helen Smiechowski, instead of Helen Oakes and as Joseph’s daughter instead of step-daughter.

 

1920 census (Click on image to enlarge)

1920 census (Click on image to enlarge)

 

Mae filed for divorce on 17 December 1924 and the divorce was granted on 11 May 1925. Causes listed were extreme cruelty and non-support. Mae went on to marry her third husband Alfred Johnson in July 1925.

In the 1930 census, Joseph was living with his parents on Pressler Street in Detroit.

I recently found his death certificate on the SeekingMichigan.org site.  Joseph died 21 Sept 1936.  His place of death is listed as Motor Boat Lane, Detroit, Michigan. This road appears to be next to a marina or an inlet of the Detroit River near the Manoogian Mansion.  His cause of death was “asphyxiation by suffocation drowning.” His father Walter is listed as the informant.  His address was 6629 Burns, and I assume Joseph was living there at the time of his death, but the certificate lists his address as unknown. Burns Street was only about 5 or 6 blocks over from Motor Boat Lane. I had no idea when I started looking for his death date, that Mr. Smiechowski had come to such a tragic end.

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Image citations:

“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N3TS-CLW : accessed 5 January 2016), Joseph R. Smiechowski and Mae D Moore Oakes, 19 Jun 1916; citing Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, v 6 p 443 rn 131966, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,342,718.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6XQ-4NM : accessed 5 January 2016), Joseph Ralph Smiechowski, 1917-1918; citing Detroit City, Michigan, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,675,371.

“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZW1-7LF : accessed 5 January 2016), Joseph Smilchowski, Detroit Ward 17, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing sheet 20A, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,816.

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Helen, Mae and Earl Moore

Mae Moore, at right, c1897

My great-grandmother was married three times, which surprised my mother who always thought she was the sweetest lady and how could she have married three men?  Third times a charm, I think, because she was married to her third husband, Alfred Johnson, for 46 years until her death.

Mae Dillon Moore was born in Plymouth, Michigan on May 18, 1892 to Fred and Mina (Bolt) Moore.  She had two brothers, Glenn and Earl and a sister Helen.  On December 23, 1908 at the age of 16, she married William E. Oakes.  In the 1910 U.S. Census, she and her mother, Mina, are living as lodgers in the home of Alta Fisher on W. Elizabeth St. in Detroit.  I haven’t found her husband William yet in the 1910 census, but obviously they were living apart.  However, my grandmother, Helen Dorothy Oakes, was born on June 19, 1912, so we know it wasn’t a permanent separation!  Mae filed for divorce from William on August 31, 1914 for cruelty and non-support.  The divorce was final on July 13, 1915.  William died in 1928.

Mae and Helen, c1913

Mae and Helen, c1913

Mae married Joseph R. Smiechowski on June 19, 1916, her daughter Helen’s fourth birthday.  Mae’s brother Earl was one of the witnesses.  In the 1920 U.S. census, Joseph, Mae, and Helen are living at 1521 Sheridan Avenue in Detroit.  My grandmother was listed as Helen Smiechowski.  Joseph was a painter whose father was from Poland.  Mae filed for divorce from Joseph on December 17, 1924 for extreme cruelty and non-support.  The divorce was final on May 11, 1925.  Joseph died in 1936.

Alfred and Mae

Alfred and Mae

Coincidentally (or not), Mae’s third husband Alfred was married to Cecelia Martin and their divorce was finalized on December 8, 1924, just days before Mae filed for divorce from her second husband.  Hmm.  Mae and Alfred were married July 3, 1925 (less than two months after her divorce).  They lived at 14810 Parkgrove in Detroit for over forty years.  They had no children.  Mae died on June 6, 1971 of colon cancer and Alfred died January 27, 1975 of spinal cancer.  They are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.

Mae and Alfred, c1950s

Mae and Alfred, c1950s

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Fountain of Youth, Saint Petersburg, Florida

Fountain of Youth, Saint Petersburg, Florida

4/12/59 Hi Mary, Its another hot day its 83 degrees out now.  We will start home next Friday night Will get home sometime Sunday.  Love Grandma + Grandpa

4/12/59
Hi Mary, Its another hot day its 83 degrees out now. We will start home next Friday night Will get home sometime Sunday. Love Grandma + Grandpa

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3-28-1959_front

Bandshell in Bayfront Park, Miami, Florida

Here is an interesting article titled “Caesar LaMonaca: A Remembrance of the Bayfront Park Band Shell Concerts, 1929-1977” about the bandshell with what looks like the photograph that this postcard is based on.

3-28-1959

3/28/1959 Hi Mary, This is where we go every Wed. + Friday night to hear good music. We are having some hot weather. We received Easter cards Will write letter later. You will be all dress up for Easter Hope it don’t rain. Love, Grandma

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maeobit

This is the obituary of my Great-Grandmother who sent my mother all those postcards in 1959.  She died June 6, 1971 at the age of 79.  The three great-grandchildren mentioned in the obituary are my three brothers.

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3-16-1959_front

3-16-1959

3/16/59 Hi Mary, Talk about warm its 81 degrees now 2:30 going to 85 before night. Theirs always a breeze that’s cool. Hope all are well. I will write a letter to Mama later. Love Grandma + Grandpa

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3-9-1959_front

Front: Airplane view of business section, showing part of Lake Eola Orlando, Fla. “The City Beautiful”

3-9-1959

3/9/59 Hi Mary, We went to an Orchid Show Sunday. It was beautiful all colors you would want to see hundreds of them. We enjoyed it very much. Love Grandma + Grandpa

 

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