Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Fearless Female Minnie Ursula "Soulah" Gresham Stricklin and husband

The woman in the picture is my husband's great aunt, Minnie Ursula "Soulah" Gresham Stricklin (1881-1918).  Here's what I have been able to find out about her.  Most of this information, including the picture, comes from Descendants of John Anderson Stricklin (1854-1927) : Ala. - Ark. - Texas - Okla. by Opal Frances Vaughan, who was married to one of Soulah's grandsons.

According to that source (as well as her tombstone for the date), Soulah was born April 13, 1881, in Arkansas, probably in Ozark.  The month of birth is confirmed on the 1900 Census, and Arkansas as birthplace on both 1900 and 1910.

She was the oldest child (of four who survived to adulthood) and only daughter of John L. Gresham and Lucinda Vina "Lula" Self Gresham. Her parents had married in Ozark, Arkansas, on July 1, 1880, so it is possible Soulah was born there.  However, on a death certificate for one of her children where she was supposedly the informant, she says she was born in Mississippi.

Sometime before 1900, John L. Gresham died, as the 1900 Census as of June 1 has Lula remarried (for less than a year) to Robert Granville Young and living with him in Dallas County, Texas.
Marriage license for J. O. Stricklin and Soulah Gresham, May 12, 1900, Dallas County, Texas

Soulah married John Oscar (called J. O. or Oscar) Stricklin in Dallas County on May 12, 1900.  The 1900 Census finds them living with his parents and his five younger siblings.

When their first child, son Walter Cleo, was born in September 1901, Soulah and Oscar were living in Kiowa, Oklahoma, according to some sources.  Other sources say Cleo was born in Texas.  Family stories also say another son, Thaddie Jay, was born in Oklahoma sometime between 1902 and 1904.  He died in an accident and is supposedly buried in Oklahoma.  According to Vaughan, "while being rocked in a cradle near an open fireplace the cradle overturned and he was very badly burned."

By the time the next child, Bonnie May Stricklin, was born, on February 22, 1905, Soulah and Oscar were living in Denton County, Texas.  Bonnie was supposedly born in Krum and the next daughter, Lois Louise, on March 9, 1908, in Bolivar.  The 1910 Census shows the family (with Soulah having given birth to four children, three surviving) living in rural Denton County, where Oscar is a blacksmith.
Death certificate for John Oscar Stricklin Jr., Jan. 25, 1915.  Note this shows Soulah as born in Mississippi.

Oscar and Soulah had four more children, but only two of those lived to adulthood.  Son John Oscar Jr. was born September 23, 1912, in Sanger, but died January 25, 1915, in Sanger, of "membranous croup" or diphtheria.  Son Marvin Elton was born March 29, 1915, in Sanger.  Twins Howard Layne and Herman Edward were born August 12, 1917, in Valley View, Cooke County, Texas (which is just a bit north of Sanger).  Howard had a weak heart and died February 19, 1918.

Sadly, Soulah died just a few months later, on October 28, 1918, at age 37.  The Denton Record-Chronicle of October 30, 1918 (section 1, page 2, column 5, in "News from Sanger,") says the death was "sudden" but provides no other details, and I have not yet been able to locate a death certificate. However, Spanish influenza was rampant that year.  Soulah was buried the next day in the Sanger Cemetery.

With five children ranging from ages 1 to 17, it's understandable that Oscar remarried within a year, to a divorcee with three children.  Oscar and his second wife then had five more children.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Fearless Female Sara Melzina Wolfe, ABT 1925-6

This is a picture of my maternal grandmother, Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997) that I am guessing was taken in late 1925 or early 1926, when she was 18 or 19.  A note on the back in my handwriting says she was 17, but a stamp on the back of the photo puts it on the same roll of film as a couple pictures of my maternal grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967) - in fact, the same tree and fence are visible in one of the pictures, and they all have the fogging in the bottom half from inadvertent exposure of the film to light.  Since my grandparents married in July 1926, I think the photo was taken sometime in the year prior to that.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Matrilineal Monday: Guokas Family, early 1940s

In the photo above are my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape, with her family of origin:  her mother Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas [Archibald, 1907-1997), her brother Charles Peter Guokas III (1926-1999), her father Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967), and her sister Jo Ann (Sister Jean Marie) Guokas.  Based on how old my mother and aunt look, I think this was taken in the early 1940s.

My mother says this family photo was taken at Aunt Lizzie's (Elizabeth Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers, 1901-1980) and Uncle Phil's (Philip Edgar Sayers Sr., 1901-1972) place in "east Texas, north of Houston."  I wonder, though, if it might have been their home with a rural route address on Westfield Road in Harris County, Texas, on the censuses of 1930 and 1940.  Westfield Road could be today's Aldine-Westfield Road, which runs north from the Eastex-Jensen area and along the west side of today's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, all the way up into Spring, Texas.  Or, it could be today's Humble-Westfield Road, which runs east-west roughly from its intersection with Aldine-Westfield Road near the northwest corner of the George Bush Airport eastward to Humble, Texas.  In either case, this would have been a rural area in the early 1940s.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Cousin Tom and Kids in the Cockpit, May 1994

Recently I got a message in LinkedIn that said my first cousin, Tom Streff, "is having a work anniversary.  29 years this March at American Airlines."

Wow!  I know Tom always wanted to be a pilot, and I'm so glad he achieved his goal.  I'm not too fond of flying myself, but when I do have to fly, I try to stick to American, and pretend Tom is flying the plane I'm in to calm my nerves. :)

Here is a cute picture from May 1994, almost 21 years ago, of Tom in the cockpit with daughter Katie and son Andrew.

Congratulations Tom on your work anniversary!  And thanks to Tom's beautiful wife Karen (who celebrates a birthday tomorrow) for sending this picture to my parents so many years ago (and to Mom & Dad for saving it!).  Tom and Karen are wonderful Christians who kindly opened their home to me nine years ago when I was finishing up library school at the University of North Texas and needed a place to live for a few months.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Archie and Millie, ABT 1946 - Using an Ad to Help Date a Photo

The photo above is of my step-grandfather, Wallace Franklin "Archie" Archibald (1896-1970), and my grandmother, Sara Melzina "Millie" Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997).  I'm not sure where it was taken (although it's pretty likely it's Houston), or when - but the poster visible in the right of the photograph gives a clue.

I did a search using phrases that I could read on the poster:  "happy birthday," "we know," and "always buy," and came up with this ad from the April 1946 Ladies Home Journal:

The poster in the photograph looks like a simpler version of the advertisement that could be placed in store window displays.  In this case, it helps me feel pretty confident the photo of "Archie and Millie" was taken about 1946.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

(Almost-) Wordless Wednesday: Fearless Female Sara Wolfe Guokas on Her Honeymoon, Galveston, Texas, July 1926

The photo at left was taken, probably by my maternal grandfather, Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967) of his wife, Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas (Archibald, 1907-1997), during their honeymoon in Galveston, Texas, in July 1926.  This is the companion to another photo of my grandfather (probably taken by my grandmother), in the same area on the beach next to the Galveston Seawall.

If my grandmother was still alive, today, March 18, would have been her 108th birthday.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Matrilineal Monday: Fearless Females Gerrie, Sara, and Jo Ann Guokas, ABT 1945

The photo at left is of my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape; her mother, my grandmother Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997), and my aunt, Jo Ann (Sister Jean Marie Guokas).  I think the photo was taken in the spring of 1945, when Mom was 16 and graduating from high school, and Jo Ann was 14 and about to enter the convent.

I've written about my grandmother a little before, but here is a longer biography:

Sara Melzina Wolfe was born March 18, 1907, in Winn Parish, Louisiana, the second child and oldest daughter of Louis Henry Wolfe (1872-1929) and Addilee Shelton Wolfe Odom Harris. (1890-1977). Although Sara was her first name (and she was probably named for her maternal grandmother, Sarah Ann Spikes Shelton,1871–1935), many people called her by her middle name, which came from her paternal grandmother, Margaret Melzina "Maggie" Carroll Wolfe (1846-1911) or the nickname Millie.  (I got this photo from my mother's first cousin, and on the back of it, she had written "Aunt Millie.")

Sara's parents moved with her and her older brother Lloyd L. Wolfe (1906-1993) to Shreveport in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, where they can be found on the 1910 Census at 1204 Sprague Street.  Younger sister Edith Elizabeth Wolfe Smith Murff Brown Gould Knox (1910-2006) was probably born here.

The family next shows up in the 1912 Houston city directory, living at 1433 Cortlandt in the Houston Heights.  The next year, they moved a few blocks over to 924 Ashland, according to the 1913 city directory.  Youngest sister Neva Marie Wolfe Ely (1912-1995) had joined the family by that time.  City directories for 1915 show Louis has moved again, this time to 2006 Clark.

A few years later, the lives of my grandmother and her siblings got tougher.  Their father Louis was a bricklayer, and his work often had him away from home for long periods of time.  His wife Addilee was 18 years younger than her husband, only 15 when they married and 16 when she had her first child, and had four children by age 22.  The story goes that during World War I, Addilee volunteered to roll bandages for the Red Cross, met a military man, and abandoned her family to run off with him.

On April 15, 1916, Sara and her three siblings were placed in the DePelchin Faith Home, then located at 2710 Albany Street in Houston.  They lived there for the next 18 months,  They lived there until September 22, 1917.  City directories for 1917, 1918, and 1920 show Louis living at the home of his older brother Shannon Wolfe and his family at 1405 Alston, and the 1920 Census shows the children there as well.  Louis continued to live there through at least January 10, 1921, but by 1923-4, a city directory shows him, Lloyd, and Sara at 403 Lamar Ave. (Edith and Marie are too young to have separate listings).

On July 10, 1926, Sara married Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967) at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston.  They honeymooned in Galveston, staying at the Hotel Galvez.  A 1927 city directory gives their address as 212 North York, and their first child, my uncle Charles Peter Guokas III (1927-1999) was born that year.  When my mother was born in 1928, and also in 1929 according to a city directory, they lived at 2215 Shearn.  However, on the 1930 Census, and also in 1932 according to a city directory, they lived a few blocks down the street with Charles' widowed father Charles Guokas Sr. (1863-1939) and Charles' younger brother Roy Lee Guokas (1917-1959) in Charles Jr.'s boyhood home at 1717 Shearn.  Sara's last child, Jo Ann, was born in late 1930.

The family moved to Austin in June 1933 when Charles Jr. was appointed secretary to Texas Governor Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson, serving until the end of her term in January 1935.  During that time, the family lived at 1604 Alta Vista Avenue in Austin.

The family moved back to Houston in 1935 and back into 2215 Shearn.  They were there on the 1940 Census and in a 1942 city directory. However, sometime after this, Charles and Sara separated.  I know my grandmother was frustrated by the fact that my grandfather had a hard time holding down a job.  My grandmother got a job with the U.S. Post Office.  She divorced my grandfather, and in 1945, she married a co-worker, Wallace Franklin "Archie" Archibald (1896-1970).

Houston city directories for 1951 through 1955 show Sara and Archie living at 4632 Norhill.  By the time of the 1957 directory, though, they had moved to 1118 Bay Oaks.  This is the house I remember from my childhood visits with "Nani and Po-po," often staying overnight.  Sara lived here until shortly after Archie's death on June 26, 1970.

Sara's sister Edith had lost her husband earlier that same month, so for a while, Sara shared Edith's home at 5514 Windswept, at least through 1974.  The two then purchased a house at 7431 Beechnut, which was not far from my family's home in the Sharpstown part of Houston.  I remember staying with Nani and Aunt Edith on some weekend visits home from college, since I no longer had a bedroom of my own in my parents' home.

Aunt Edith remarried in December 1981, and I believe it was around this time that my grandmother bought her condo, also in Sharpstown, at 6161 Reims, #102.  I remember visiting her there as well.  This is where she lived the rest of her life.

Sara was still working for the downtown post office when I was in second grade, as I remember going on a tour there with my class that she facilitated.  After she retired, she became very active in NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees association, which she had joined in 1961. She was a lifetime member of its Chapter #828, serving on several committees, participating in their social events, and attending many state and national conventions.  After Archie's death, she also traveled a lot with her daughter Jo Ann (Sister Jean Marie).  And of course she was present at so many family activities while I was growing up in Houston, as my siblings and I were her only grandchildren.

Sara developed lymphoma and passed away on November 16, 1997.  She is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Houston next to Archie.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Fearless Female Elizabeth Massmann Pape, ABT March 1962

The photo at right is of my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth "Betty" Florence Massmann Pape (1902-2000).  On the back it is stamped "March 1962," so it was likely taken on or slightly before that date.  I recognize the location; it's their triplex townhome at 2547 Hastings in Evanston, Illinois, at the corner of Central Avenue and across the street from Bent Park, where they lived from 1956 to 1971.  Perhaps my dad, Frederick Henry Pape, took this photo on one of his business trips - maybe even one where he brought me along, as I remember flying with him to Chicago and visiting Nana and Grandpa when I was about the age when this photo was taken.

Elizabeth Florence Massmann was born on December 23, 1902, the second and last child of Frederick Henry Massmann (1875-1948) and Elizabeth Camilla Dienes (1876-1946)  The 1901 Chicago city directory shows the family living at 311 (2047 after 1909) Cuyler Avenue in Chicago, so she might have been born there.  She was baptized at the nearby St. Benedict Catholic Church on January 4, 1903. with her uncle George Hermann Massmann (1877-1963) as her godfather.

Elizabeth had one older brother, Alfred John Massmann (1901-1964).  She was listed as in school on the 1910 Census (age 7) and the 1920 Census (age 17), when her family lived at 1938 Morse and 1833 Morse respectively, both in the Rogers Park area of north Chicago.

In a December 1996 article in her retirement home's monthly newsletter, Elizabeth (later known as Betty) said,

As a child, Betty was very bashful.  But to her friends, she was called the "Chicago Flapper" because she loved to have so much fun!!!  Betty graduated from DePaul High School for girls, then went one year to business school to learn typing and clerical work.  At the age of 16, Betty took her most memorable trip with her parents, traveling six weeks by train through the Grand Canyon, California, and the Canadian Rockies.
When Betty was 18, she met Paul Pape through a friend and the two started dating. One of her most wonderful dates was when they took a romantic canoe ride on Lake Michigan and he sang "Indian Love [Call]" song to her. [Links to original and later lyrics; 1925 instrumental, 1936 movie, and later recorded versions.]
Four years later, Betty and Paul were married on September 3, 1924, at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Rogers Park where they had a beautiful large wedding and reception. They honeymooned in Woodruff, Wisconsin, where, unfortunately, it poured rain the whole time! So they returned to Chicago and enjoyed the shows and dinners out, "but not fishing!" Betty said. 
Growing up, Betty enjoyed golfing, acting, and being on stage. She and Paul loved to fish and travel often to [Dairymen's County Club in] Wisconsin.

Paul and Betty lived for a while in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while Paul was involved in a business venture there, and their oldest child, Paul Robert Pape Jr., was born there in January 1926.  By October 1927, they were back in the Chicago area, where second child Elizabeth "Betty" Mary Pape Streff was born.  The 1930 and 1940 Censuses show them at the home my father grew up in, at 2093 W. Lunt Avenue in north Chicago.  Two more daughters, Rose Mary Pape Dietz and Marilyn Electa Pape Hedger, were born while they lived in this home.

Sometime around 1955, after all their children were married, Betty and Paul moved to a duplex townhouse at 2027 Lake Avenue in nearby Wilmette.  The triplex townhouse on Hastings in Evanston was built in 1956, so I think they moved into it either that year or the next.  They continued to live there through Grandpa Paul's death in April 1970, and Nana (Betty) was there for at least a few months afterward, as I remember visiting her there in the summer of 1970.

Nana then moved in with her daughter Rose Mary and her family at their home at 305 Bel Air in Glenview, Illinois.  They were there through at least 1980, but by 1986, they had moved to Largo, Florida.  On March 12, 1994, Nana moved into the Royal Palms retirement community in Largo,  She was a member of their "kitchen band," and enjoyed knitting and playing bingo, bridge, and pinochle. I remember visiting her there in December 1999, shortly before she died, on January 13, 2000.

At the time of her death, Nana had 28 grandchildren, 77 (of a total of 78) great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter, with a great-great-grandson on the way.  (Now, there are so many great-great-grandchildren, I can't keep track of them all.)  In her interview, Nana said, "Writing to all of them keeps me very busy too!"  She is buried next to her husband Paul in All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Fearless Females Alyce Frances Salerno and Elizabeth Florence Massmann Pape, ABT 1937

The photo above is of my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Florence Massmann Pape (1902-2000), on the right, with her friend Alyce Frances Salerno (1914-1985) on the left.  I'm not sure where the photo was taken, but on the back, it is stamped "A Richards Photo Print" and "Feb 8 1937," so it must have been taken on or before that date, and around the same time as another of my grandmother and great-grandmother.

I knew my grandmother was friends with the Salerno family, who owned the Salerno Megowen Biscuit Company.  They made butter cookies, famous for their 1935-1967 radio slogan, "Mommy...I want a Salerno butter cookie," and a jingle that went like this:

"You can lookie, lookie, lookie,
But you'll never find a cookie
With a better butter batter than Salerno."

They also made an anise-flavored Christmas cookie (in various holiday shapes) that were originally called Jingles and later Santa's Favorites.  They even made Girl Scout cookies for a while in the 1970s.

Alyce Frances Salerno was born on October 1, 1914, in Chicago, the third and youngest child and second daughter of Italian immigrants Fred George Salerno (1877-1968) and Frances E. Noto (ABT 1878-BEF 1939).

According to a University of Illinois at Chicago history project website, Fred Salerno, who began as a "greasy pans boy" in 1889, went on to become the general manager and vice-president of the Sawyer Biscuit Company, one of the largest baking firms in the country. In 1933, with R. Lee Megowen, he founded the Salerno-Megowen Biscuit Company at 4500 W. Division in Chicago.

On the 1910 Census, before Alyce's birth, the Salerno family was living at 1013 N. Claremont Avenue in Chicago.  It's hard to read, but it looks like Fred's occupation was journeyman baker.  On his September 1918 World War I draft registration card, he is now superintendent and vice-president of the Sawyer Baking Company at 1029 W. Harrison Street in Chicago, and living not far away at 3500 W. Congress.

I couldn't find the family in the 1920 Census, but by 1929 (based on an England-to-New York City passenger list), they are living in a fine house at 501 Lake Avenue in the north-of-Chicago suburb of Wilmette.  The family is also at this address in the 1930 Census and in Evanston/Wilmette city directories the next few years.  Alyce's mother Frances appears in the 1937 directory but not in 1939; and on the 1940 Census, Fred is listed as a widower.  Alyce is still single and living with him at the family home on Lake Avenue.

The 1940 Census also lists Fred as president of the Salerno Biscuit Company, and Alyce's older brother George Fred Salerno (1909-1970), who lives nearby at 217 Third Street in Wilmette with his wife Sylvia and daughter Gay, is vice-president of a bakery, presumably the same one.  Fred's 1942 World War II draft registration card indicates the Salerno-Megowen Biscuit Company is still at 4500 Division Street.  However, by September 1961, the company had moved to 7777 North Caldwell Avenue in the Niles area, and George was now president of the company.

Sometime between 1940 and George's death in 1970, Alyce had become a vice-president and member of the board of the company.  According to her obituary in the November 24, 1985, Chicago Tribune, she
...became known as the "cookie queen of the United States" for her reign over the Salerno cookie company...In 1971, Miss Salerno was elected chairman of the Salerno-Megowen Biscuit Co. in Niles. She had been its chairman emeritus for several years.  Miss Salerno, 71, of Wilmette, had been with the firm all her life, serving as vice president and as a member of its board, among other roles.  Five years after she took over as chairman, the firm expanded its sales to about 30 states and was selling $40 million worth of sweets and crackers a year.

An Associated Press story dated November 23, 1985, the day of her death, said she "died at Evanston Hospital following a brief illness....Although the family sold the company in 1982, Miss Salerno remained associated with it, frequently representing it at international and national conventions. Miss Salerno was one of the first women members of the Economic Club of Chicago. She also was a member of the Executive Club of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations."

Alyce Frances Salerno is buried at All Saints Catholic Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

(Not-So-) Wordless Wedding Wednesday: More on Frederick Massmann's Second Wife

It was bugging me that I couldn't find any more information about my paternal great-grandfather Frederick Henry Massmann's second wife, Ruth L. Metculf, who he married seven months before he died in 1948. So, I spent $16.75 to download the marriage record from the Cook County (Illinois) Clerk's Office Genealogy Online site:

As I'd hoped, this gave me a little more information.  Her name was, according to this, Ruth L. Metcalf, and she was (supposedly) 49 when the marriage was issued.  Both the county clerk and the priest who married them (at Our Lady of Lourdes [Catholic] Church at 4640 N. Ashland in Chicago, on March 30) list her as "Miss," indicating she's never been married.

So, with that data, I did some searching in,, and, and was able to piece together this biography in just a couple hours:

Ruth Luella Metcalf was born August 31, 1898, in Des Moines County, Iowa (probably in Burlington), the second and last child and only daughter of Iowa natives James Edward "Ed" Metcalf and Louise/Louisa Lofstrom.

Ruth shows up in the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 U.S. Censuses (and the 1915 and 1925 Iowa state censuses) in her parents' home at 1522 Grove Street in Burlington, Iowa.  The 1915 record says she is a Methodist.  In 1920, she is working as a saleslady in a hotel.  The 1925 record shows she attended college for one year.  The 1930 Census shows she is working as a saleslady in a retail drug store.

Sometime between 1930 and 1935, Ruth moved to Chicago.  On the 1940 Census, she is a lodger at 932 W. Cullom Avenue.  She had been unemployed for 13 weeks at the time the census was taken, but had previously worked as a typist at a department store.  That census also showed she was living in the same place (Chicago, but not the same address) on April 1, 1935.

Based on her older brother Raymond's obituary in the Burlington Hawkeye on December 17, 1965, she was still living in Chicago at that time, and had not remarried after my great-grandfather's death.  The Social Security death index says she died in July 1975.  She is buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, Ohio, in the same plot as her parents and Lofstrom grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.