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Posts Tagged ‘Oakes / Ochs’

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 and Charles Wilson kissing on their wedding day.  One of my favorite pictures of my grandparents!

Helen and Charles Wilson kissing on their wedding day, June 4, 1932.  One of my favorite pictures of my grandparents!

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MinnieTo find out about my great-great grandmother’s beginnings, I had to look at her end.  According to her death certificate, Minnie Oakes was born September 8, 1857 in Germany. Her parents were listed as John Schroeder and Sophie Marlin.  I’ve only been able to look at an index of the record, so I’m not sure if her mother’s maiden name was indexed right.  I haven’t looked at any German records yet.  In the 1880 U.S. Census, her birthplace as well as that of her parents was listed as Mecklenberg.  The 1900 census lists her year of arrival as 1872.

According to the marriage registration, Wilhelmina (Minnie) Schroeder and Heinrich Ochs (Henry Oakes) married April 8, 1877 in Dearborn, Michigan.  Henry had served in the 24th Michigan, Company F from 1864-1865.  In the June 1880 U.S. Census, the couple, listed as Ochs, was living in Taylor, Wayne County, Michigan.  Henry was 33 and was a farmer, while Minnie was 23.  In this census, Henry’s birthplace was listed as Hesse-Darmstadt, while Minnie’s was Mecklenberg.  They had two children, Frank, aged 3 and Tillie (Matilda), aged 4 months.  Frank Henry Oakes had been born February 16, 1878 and Matilda was born January 9, 1880.

Another son (my great-grandfather), William E. Oakes, was born July 8, 1888.  Another daughter, Emma Oakes, was born in Wayne, Wayne County, Michigan on July 19, 1890.

In the Friday, October 13, 1899 Wyandotte (Mich.) Herald, two real estate transfers stand out.  “Henry Loss to Minnie Oakes, lots 28 and 29 of blk. 2, village of Wayne, $600. Henry Oakes to Henry Loss, same land, $600.”  In the 1900 census, Henry Loss was listed as the Post Master.

In the June 1900 U.S. Census, the family is living in Nankin Township, Wayne Village, Wayne County, Michigan.  Henry was listed as 52 and a day laborer and Minnie was listed as 43.  Frank was 22, Tillie was 20, Willie was 11, and Emma was 9.  Minnie filed for divorce on October 16, 1900 for drunkenness and cruelty, but it is listed as pending and I can’t find a record granting the divorce.

In the 1910 census, Henry was listed as an inmate and Commissary Department assistant at the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  His marital status was married.  I have been unable to find Minnie in the 1910 census.  Between 1916 and 1918, he lived at the Soldier’s Home in Dayton, Ohio, then after 1918 at the Soldier’s Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In the 1920 census, Minnie was living with her daughter Tillie and her husband Lee Brice in Detroit.  His mother was also living with them.  Minnie’s marital status was separated.  At the same time,  Henry was an inmate and dish washer at the Disabled Soldier’s Home in Wauwatosa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He was 74 and listed as married.

On February 19, 1922, Henry died at the home in Wisconsin of peritonitis and intestinal obstruction.  His effects ($6.10 in personal belongings and 17 cents in cash) were shipped to his widow, Minnie, living at 1616 Hurlbut Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.  Henry was buried in Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee.

In the 1930 census, three widows were living on Hurlbut Avenue in Detroit.  Tillie was 50.  Her husband Lee had died the previous year.  Her mother and mother-in-law were still living with her.

Minnie died March 9, 1936 in Detroit.  She is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dearborn near her son William who had died August 31, 1928.

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Helen Dorothy Oakes Wilson, 1912-1988

Helen Dorothy Oakes Wilson, 1912-1988

This is a picture of my grandmother Helen.  Her birthday was a few days ago.  She would have been 101 this year.

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Helen and Charles Wilson on their wedding day, June 4, 1932

Helen and Charles Wilson on their wedding day, June 4, 1932

Standing (l to r): Clarence Colwell, Charles Wilson Seated (l to r): Violet Frost Colwell, Helen Oakes Wilson

Standing (l to r): Clarence Colwell, Charles Wilson
Seated (l to r):
Violet Frost Colwell, Helen Oakes Wilson

Helen and Charles Wilson kissing on their wedding day.  One of my favorite pictures of my grandparents!

Helen and Charles Wilson kissing on their wedding day. One of my favorite pictures of my grandparents!

Helen and Charles in their backyard on their 50th anniversary in 1982

Helen and Charles in their backyard on their 50th anniversary in 1982

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While researching my maternal grandmother’s surname, Oakes, I discovered that the original name was actually spelled Ochs.  Her grandfather’s name was Heinrich Ochs (or Henry Oakes).  He had a son named William Oakes, who is my great-grandfather.

Heinrich had a brother named Conrad, and Conrad also had a son named William, but he went by the last name of Ochs.  William F. Ochs is the focus of this blog.  He was born January 28, 1880 in Michigan.  He married Amelia Hartwig Hamilton on August 14, 1911.  Amelia (born 1871) had previously been married to Herman Hamilton and had 7 children with him.  Herman died in 1903. 

According to a January 15, 1913 Detroit Free Press article titled ‘See Stepfather Slay Wife; Then End His Own Life,’  Amelia’s 2 youngest children, Florence and Ella were at home with their mother when William came home to their farm in Dearborn after a two-week bender.  He had a shotgun and shot Amelia in the head as she was trying to escape out the back door.  He then went out on the front porch and shot himself in the head.  The two girls ran to a neighbor who then notified the sheriff.

Here are images of their death certificates from the Library of Michigan.  The inquest ruled it a murder/suicide.

http://cdm16317.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p129401coll7/id/44789          william_f_ochs

http://cdm16317.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p129401coll7/id/44789 – Link to Amelia’s certificate

http://cdm16317.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p129401coll7/id/44790 – Link to William’s certificate

Daily Blogging Prompt: Thriller Thursday

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