Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Another Painting by Gretchen Reis Pape, circa 1906

painting by Gretchen Reis Pape, 1906, courtesy Margaret Williams
Recently a lady named Margaret Williams sent me a message through my blog: 

In researching a painting my husband's grandmother Rose Weiland Gorman left after her death, I came across your blog about the artist Gretchen Reis Pape [1886-1947].  The painting we have is signed only G. Reis, and a note on the back reads "from Gretchen Reis, September 5, 1906".  We think it might have been a wedding gift to Rose Weiland Gorman's parents.  She was born outside of Chicago, and moved to Denver as a child...she was born in 1908 and passed away in 2006.

As a child, my husband thought this was a picture of Santa Claus after a hard night delivering gifts, getting ready to finally go to bed!  We have always wondered who the subject in the painting was, if it was based on a real person or just from the artist's imagination.

It was a blessing to find your blog, and we are happy the mystery of the painting has been solved.

Best wishes to you,

Margaret was kind enough to photograph her painting and take a close-up of the signature, and to give me permission to use both on this blog:
enlargement of the signature "G Reis 9/1/06" in the lower right corner of the painting - photo  courtesy Margaret Williams

I suggested to Margaret that perhaps the painting's subject might be a member of Rose's family (maybe a grandparent or uncle?), and she might want to compare to any photographs her husband or Rose might have had.

Rose's parents were Henry Weiland and Mary Bugner, and they did marry in Chicago on September 5, 1906 (per  Henry was born in 1882, Mary was born in 1884, and Gretchen was born in 1866.  Based on some of the names I see in the family trees on (such as Didier), I think they probably met each other through church, likely St. Nicholas in Evanston.  Perhaps Gretchen was friends with Henry's and Mary's younger sisters, both named Anna, born 1885 and 1887 respectively.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mystery Monday, Part 4: H. Jay Hanchette's Brother-in-Law, Dr. Edgar M. Griffith

This is part 4 of my series on the mysterious disappearance of H. Jay Hanchette in 1891.  My research uncovered some - interesting - things about his brother-in-law, Dr. Edgar Milton Griffith.

According to the 1900 Census, Edgar Milton Griffith was born in September 1855 in California, the son of Milton Griffith, who had died by 1880, and of Aurelia Conant Griffith, a highly respected educator in San Francisco public schools. The 1860 and 1870 Censuses indicate he was born in 1858 or 1859, but by the 1880 Census, he is indicating that he is 25.  He may have aged himself in order to graduate at age 21 from the Medical College of the Pacific in 1876:

from the November 3, 1876, San Francisco Bulletin, page 2, via Archive of Americana

In 1878 and 1880, he was practicing in San Francisco, according to voter registration records, the city directory, and the 1880 Census.  According to an entry on his mother on pages 196-197 of Daniel Webster's The Bay of San Francisco: The Metropolis of the Pacific Coast and its Suburban Cities: A History (Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1892, found in the HeritageQuest Online subscription database), Edgar was a "surgeon in the United States Army, then for three years surgeon in charge of St. John's Hospital, Shanghai, China," (not St. Paul's Hospital as indicated below) with that three years ended by January 1888, with his settling in Los Angeles:

from the January 15, 1888, Los Angeles Daily Herald, page 12, via Chronicling America
Dr. Griffith bounced between Los Angeles and San Francisco over the next few years.  His 1888 voter registration puts him in Los Angeles, as does entries in the Los Angeles city directories for 1888 and 1890.  However, his voter registrations for 1890, 1892, and 1896 put him back in San Francisco, as does an 1896 entry in the San Francisco city directory.

In between, though, in October 1894, the doctor gets some very negative publicity:

from the October 13, 1894,  Sacramento [CA] Record-Union, page 1, via Chronicling America

from the October 13, 1894, San Francisco Morning Call, Page 12, via Chronicling America
from the October 13, 1894, San Francisco Morning Call,
page 12, via Chronicling America

According to a story (excerpts above and left) in the October 13, 1894, San Francisco Morning Call, Edgar Griffith was married at one time and had a child, but I could find no record of these anywhere else but this newspaper.  (He was, however, listed as single in the 1880 Census, divorced on the 1900 Census, and widowed on 1910.)

Stories in this newspaper also indicated that the abandoned baby was adopted by the matron of the foundling home where she was taken, and named Phoebe Hearst Henderson.  Despite knowing her date of birth (October 1, 1894), I could find no further information about her, either.

As the story was picked up by other newspapers, such as in The Dalles, Oregon (below), it seemed to be embellished, turning Dr. Griffith into a monster.
from the October 15, 1894, The Dalles [OR} Daily Chronicle, page 1, via Chronicling America

from the October 15, 1894, Los Angeles Herald, Page 8, via Chronicling America

As can be seen from the story at right, the Los Angeles newspaper sort of remembered H. Jay Hanchette (mistakenly referred to as Charles in this article) and Dr. Griffith's relationship to his sister, Hanchette's wife Emma.  More pain for her, especially since the story was apparently exaggerated.

Despite the accusations of addiction to morphine and cocaine, it came out in court that Griffith was actually tattooing the baby with gunpowder, apparently so it could be identified later, perhaps if the birth mother had second thoughts.  On October 23, Dr. Griffith was acquitted of the charges of cruelty, and there was no news of any further charges against him.

from the October 24, 1894, Los Angeles Herald, Page 2, via Chronicling America

Poor Dr. Griffith just couldn't seem to escape being involved in scandals, though.  Less than a year later, in May 1895, he treated the victim in the Jennie Matthews murder case in San Francisco .  A Mr. Winthrop was accused of poisoning her:

Both illustrations above, and the excerpts below, are from the May 20, 1895, San Francisco Call, page 5, via Chronicling America.

from the June 2, 1895, San Francisco Call, page 11,
via Chronicling America

Perhaps because of the baby branding case, the police were quick to suspect Dr. Griffith of being responsible for Jennie Matthews' death, even inadvertently. However, later testimony in the case, as reported in the June 2, 1895, San Francisco Call, showed that there was enough strychnine in her stomach to kill her.  However, there was not enough proof that Mr. Winthrop had given her the poison, and he was acquitted of her murder.

By 1897, Dr. Edgar M. Griffith has moved back to Los Angeles, based on listings in city directories and the 1900 and 1910 Censuses.

His name appears once more in the newspapers, in connection with the case of the wealthy Griffith Jenkins Griffith (no apparent relation) shooting his wife.  Apparently the two Griffiths were friends, and G. J. "spent the day at the residence of Dr. E..M. Griffith," according to a story in the September 7, 1903 Call (page 3, via Chronicling America., below):

from the March 19, 1904, San Francisco Call, page 16, via Chronicling America 

Edgar also provided an affadavit on Griffith's mental state at a hearing in June, 1904.  Although G. J. Griffith was acquitted of attempted murder due to "alcoholic insanity," he was convicted on a lesser charge of assault with a deadly weapon, and spent two years in prison.

Dr. Edgar Milton Griffith died on September 11, 1911, in Los Angeles, according to the Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 (Arthur Wayne Hafner, editor, Chicago: American Medical Association, 1993).

It's likely Dr. Griffith had nothing to do with the death of his sister, Emma Griffith Hanchette, during surgery in San Francisco in 1898.  He was living in Los Angeles at the time.  However, the private hospital where it happened was Lane Hospital, a successor to his medical school alma mater and precursor to Stanford Medical School.  

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Happy Birthday, Mark! (tomorrow)

Mark's 2nd birthday, August 24, 1943

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mystery Monday, Part 3: H. Jay Hanchette's Wife Emma Griffith - and Her Brother

Harry Jay Hanchette married Emma A. Griffith in Marin County, California, on March 25, 1876.  He was 20 and she gave her age as 23 in the marriage record, but census records indicate she was actually 25 or 26.  She was born in Ohio, the daughter of Milton Griffith, who may have been related to H. Jay's mother Nancy Griffith, and of Aurelia Conant Griffith, a highly respected educator in San Francisco public schools.

According to an entry on Aurelia on pages 196-197 of Daniel Webster's The Bay of San Francisco: The Metropolis of the Pacific Coast and its Suburban Cities: A History (Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1892, found in the HeritageQuest Online subscription database), Milton had gone west in 1853 (when Emma was age 4) to try his luck in the gold rush on the Klamath River.  The 1860 Census shows the family (now with Emma's brother Edgar Milton, ten years her junior) at Yreka Post Office, Humbug Township, Siskiyou County, California.  By 1863, they had settled in San Francisco.

It's not clear exactly when H. Jay moved to California, but he and Emma and their two children, Rex (born 1877) and Earl (born 1879) are living at 824 Lombard in San Francisco on the 1880 Census, with the widowed Aurelia and Edgar Milton, now a surgeon.  "Henry" is the proprietor of a stationery store.  He was at this address through at least October 16, 1886 (according to his voter registration in the California, Great Registers, 1866-1910, collection at, and by then edited the commercial columns of the San Francisco Examiner.

Two years later, his voter registration of March 17, 1888, indicates he is living in Los Angeles' Fourth Ward, and his September 22, 1890 voter registration gives an address of 425 South Broadway, an apartment building in that city.  Hanchette had been serving as the city editor for the Los Angeles Herald, but in late 1890, he became secretary of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, Emma had followed her mother's footsteps and become a teacher (Zimena Conant in the article below is Emma Hanchette's grandmother):

from the Los Angeles Daily Herald, June 25, 1887,
page 10, via Chronicling America

A little over a month after arriving in Los Angeles from San Francisco, Emma had secured an assistant principalship at the Garey Street school:

from the Los Angeles Daily Herald, August 3, 1887,
page 9, via Chronicling America

And just a month later, a resignation resulted in her promotion to principal at the San Pedro Street school:
from the Los Angeles Daily Herald, September 16, 1887,
page 9, via Chronicling America

The following year, Emma was moved back to the Geary Street school, but this time as principal:

from the Los Angeles Daily Herald, September 12, 1888, page 1, via Chronicling America
The following spring, she was chosen as president of the primary section (the younger grades) for all schools in the Los Angeles district:

from the Los Angeles Daily Herald, March 20, 1889, page 3, via Chronicling America

In 1890, Emma became principal of the (then) new Ninth Street School, where she remained the rest of her life:

from the Los Angeles Herald, July 28, 1890, page 6, via Chronicling America

She continued to serve in other leadership rolls, such as on committees for the School Teachers' Alliance:

from the Los Angeles Herald, March 16, 1898, page 10, via Chronicling America

Sadly, though, just a little over six months after this committee appointment, Emma Hanchette was dead under mysterious circumstances:

from the Los Angeles Herald, September 27, 1898, page 5, via Chronicling America

A memorial to Emma Hanchette appeared in the Annual Report of the Board of Education and the Superintendent of City Schools of Los Angeles for 1897-1898:

What was Emma Hanchette's "last illness," and what kind of surgery was being performed from which her death was "an immediate result," at only age 49?  Could it have had anything to do with her surgeon brother in San Francisco?  Stay tuned for next week's report to see why I'm suspicious!

 © Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Wolfe Houses in the Houston Heights, 1912 and 1913

When my maternal great-grandfather, Louis Henry Wolfe (1872-1929), moved to Houston, Texas, from Shreveport, Louisiana, sometime between the 1910 Census and 1912, he lived in a couple of houses in the Houston Heights.  The first, according to page 744 of the Directory of The City of Houston for 1912, by Morrison & Fourmy Directory Company, was at 1423 Cortlandt:

Note that the household has five members.  That would be Louis, his wife Addilee Tennessee Shelton (1890-1977), son Lloyd L. (1906-1993), and daughters Sara Melzina (my grandmother, 1907-1997) and Edith Elizabeth (1910-2006).  Youngest child Neva Marie (1912-1995) was born in November of that year, likely after the directory had come out.  Or it could be five family members besides Louis.  That would be the case for his brother James Shannon (1868-1949) in this directory; his four family members were wife Annie Volce (1875-1936), daughters Edna Viola (1896-1931), Thelma Mary (1900-1923), and son Joseph Shannon (1902-1983).  Shannon had been at 1405 Allston in the Houston Heights since at least 1905.

Here's what the house at 1423 Cortlandt looked like in 2000:

The pier-and-beam house was originally built in 1910, and was originally about 1300 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom.  It's been remodeled since them, but in May 2011 looked much the same as this from the outside on Google Maps.

By the following year, 1913, the Louis Wolfe family had moved a few blocks away, to 924 Ashland, according to page 900 of the Directory of The City of Houston for 1913 published by the Morrison & Fourmy Directory Company:

This is how the house at that address looked in 2000:

I'm not sure, though, if this was the same house in which my grandmother and great-grandparents lived.  Property records indicate that the house there today (which was heavily remodeled: "taken down to the studs, expanded, and brought to modern standards") was built in 1920, but obviously my family members were living at this address in 1913 - but maybe a different building.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mystery ( & Military) Monday, Part 2: H. Jay Hanchette's Father, Capt. Hiram Solon Hanchette

This is part 2 of my series on the mysterious disappearance of H. Jay Hanchette in 1891.  One of the articles I found, from The Chicago Herald, May 19, 1891, page 3, via the Archive of Americana database, had this interesting paragraph at the end (at right):

Harry / Henry Jay Hanchette was the oldest child of Hiram Solon Hanchette / Hanchett and Nancy Jane Griffith, who married in Indiana.   H. Jay was born there in Sullivan County on August 16, 1856.  By 1860, the family was living in Dorr township, McHenry County, Illinois.  Here's a brief biography of Hiram Solon Hanchett, from page 638 of The Life and Times of Samuel Gorton* (Hiram was a descendent of Gorton through his mother):

According to A History of Woodstock 1852 - 2002, Sesquicentennial Edition, page 56, Hiram Hanchett was actually president of the town's Board of Trustees in 1862-63, not mayor. Other records show that he was at Camp Butler in Illinois in June, July, and September, 1863.  There are also a number of different versions of just how Hiram Hanchett died.  Here's one, found in the database Heritage Quest Online – Books, from the 1886 Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois** by J. W. Vance, in the section on page 561 about the Sixteenth Cavalry:

That account appears to have been taken verbatim from page 558 of The Patriotism of Illinois***, written by Thomas Mears Eddy in 1866.  Probably a more accurate account can be found in the 1899 Congressional Serial Set, on pages 117-120, 467, 794-795, 834-835, and 951 of Series 2, Volume 8, Part 1 (Prisoners of War and State, Etc.) in The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies****.

The image at left comes from an interpretive sign about Hiram S. Hanchett at Old Cahawba Archaelogical Park in Alabama.  There is a marker for Hanchett in the Civil War - era cemetery in the park (which has the remains of many of the former prisoners of the Confederate jail once there).  However, Hanchett is not buried there - his grave is unknown and unmarked.

A note on on Hanchette in the "U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865" database raises the possibility that a grave found in the 1970s, quite some distance from the 224 known graves, might be that of  Hiram Hanchett, and that DNA testing was a possibility.

H. Jay Hanchett was not quite nine years old when his father died.  His widow and children had moved to Chicago by 1870 and were living with his maternal grandparents on the Census that year.  His mother Nancy died at age 41, in 1877, when H. Jay was 21.

*Gorton, Adelos,. The life and times of Samuel Gorton : the founders and the founding of the Republic : a section of early United States history and a history of the colony of Providence and Rhode Island plantations in the Narragansett Indian country now the state of Rhode Island, 1592-1636-1677-1687 : with a genealogy of Samuel Gorton's descendants to the present time. Philadelphia: unknown, 1907.  Page 638, found on the Internet Archive.

Note that H. Jay is listed as Harris Joy in this book - most other references say his first name is Henry or Harry, and his middle name is Jay.  It's notable that the above-referenced book has separate entries for H. Jay's brother Charles and sister Minnie Estelle, who lived to adulthood, but there is no separate entry for H. Jay -  probably because of all the scandal that had accrued to his branch of the family by the time of the book's publication in 1907.

**Vance, J. W.  Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois.  Springfield, IL: H.W. Rokker, state printer and binder, 1886.

***Eddy, Thomas Mears.  The Patriotism of Illinois:  A Record of the Civil and Military History of the State in the War for the Union, with a History of the Campaigns in which Illinois Soldiers Have Been Conspicuous, Sketches of Distinguished Officers, the Roll of the Illustrious Dead, Movements of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, Volume 2Clarke & Company, 1866.

****Scott, Robert N., Lazelle, H. M., Davis, George B., Perry, Leslie J., Kirkley, Joseph W, et al.  The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. 
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Nana and Grandpa Pape at Trout Lake, August 1969

These are my paternal grandparents, Paul Robert Pape Sr. (1896-1970) and Elizabeth Florence Massmann Pape (1902-2000) in late August, 1969.  According to my cousin Beth Streff Malone, they were celebrating their September 3 anniversary, and are on the porch of a cabin called Shoreview, now gone, at the Trout Lake Club at Diamond Point, New York, in the Lake George area in the Adirondacks. The Streff family (my dad's older sister, her spouse and their descendants) have a cabin (now called Summerset) at Trout Lake Club as well.

My family of origin was invited up at this time too, but we were unable to go.  There were seven of us, and we would have had to drive, and school started at home in Texas the day after Labor Day, and we would not have been home in time.  I wish we could have gone, though, because my grandfather died of lung cancer the following April.

Families have been going to Trout Lake Club (aka TLC) for years.  The "season" is June through September.  The Streffs (now including grandkids and great-grandkids) now all try to go there the same week in July.  This year, besides Summerset, they apparently took up 11 other cabins.  Dad says my aunt and uncle will be there through Labor Day.

Here's a map (below) of the facility:

Hoping that I can make it there some day!

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mystery Monday: What Happened to H. Jay Hanchette?

The Dick Smith Library (where I work) serves as a Regional Historical Resources Depository for original and microfilmed records for a number of Texas counties, including Coleman.  Recently, another library transferred to us a fascinating Coleman County Sheriff's ledger from 1887 to 1892 that contained notices about stolen and stray animals, and wanted and missing persons.  This one caught my eye:
I used a variety of resources to try to find out what happened.  I searched old newspapers for "Hanchette" through subscription services and, my university's Archive of Americana database, and the free Chronicling America website sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment of the Humanities.  Most of my links below are to that source, so you can view articles in their entirety.

Henry/Harry Jay Hanchette, secretary of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, left that city and had arrived in Chicago by March 31, 1891, to organize an exhibit of California fruit in the Windy City:
from The Chicago Herald, March 31, 1891, page 10, via Archive of Americana database

The exposition seemed to go well:

from the Los Angeles Herald, May 18, 1891, page 5, via Chronicling America

After the exposition closed in May, Hanchette was supposed to return home via train, but instead disappeared.  About the time the missing person notice went out, articles started appearing in Chicago, Los Angeles, and other newspapers:

from the Los Angeles Herald, May 18, 1891, page 5, via Chronicling America

from The Chicago Herald, May 18, 1891, page 3, via Archive of Americana database
from The Chicago Herald, May 19, 1891, page 3, via Archive of Americana database

from The Anaconda [MT] Standard, May 20, 1891, Page 7,
via Chronicling America

Over the next few months, this was followed by supposed sightings:  as a dead body pulled from Lake Michigan, a debauched man in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a demented man in Janesville, Wisconsin, an organ-seller in Flandreau, South Dakota, and as an insane man in Woodstock, Illinois, where Hanchette grew up.

There was also a lot of speculation:  that he'd sailed for South America, and that he'd been located with another woman - not his wife.  The latter rumor was apparently started by a detective Fred Smith, and rather vehemently denied by Hanchette's mother-in-law, Amelia Griffith.

from The Record-Union, Sacramento, CA, May 21, 1891, page 1, via Chronicling America

from the Los Angeles Herald, May 29, 1891, page 1, via Chronicling America

from The Dalles Weekly Chronicle (The Dalles, OR), June 12, 1891, page 1, via Chronicling America

from The Salt Lake Herald, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 14, 1891, page 14, via Chronicling America

from Riverside [CA] Independent Enterprise, August 15, 1891,
page 3,via

from the Los Angeles Herald, August 20, 1891, Page 8,
via Chronicling America

A couple newspaper stories in the Los Angeles Herald on September 1 and September 2, 1891,  indicated Hanchette may have had a double.  His wife, Emma Griffith Hanchette, and his two sons, Rex and Earl, all thought they saw him in San Francisco while they were staying with Emma's parents, Dr. and Mrs. Edgar M. (Amelia Conant) Griffith.  Two other men who knew him thought they saw him there as well.

Later that month, Robert Farrell, who worked for the Los Angeles Herald when Hanchette was its city editor, claimed to have seen Hanchette, who identified himself variously as Hamilton, H. J. Mitchell, and John Blackman.   Farrell described what he saw in letters to the Herald on September 12 and September 25.

from Los Angeles Herald, September 26, 1891, Page 8,
via Chronicling America

from Arizona Republican (Phoenix), October 03, 1891, page 1, via Chronicling America
After this, things were quiet - for a while.  Come back next week for more of this story!

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.