Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Happy Cousins Day!

Today, July 24, is Cousins Day!  I have 23 wonderful first cousins, all on my dad's side of the family.  Here is a photo of many of them (plus me and two of my siblings, plus the spouses of two cousins) at our grandmother Elizabeth Florence Massmann Pape's 80th birthday party in Chicago on December 18, 1982:

Standing on the table in the background: Tom Streff, me, Beth Streff Malone.
Back row, standing:  Jim Hedger, Ron Dietz, Karen Pape, Rosemary Streff Grandusky, Tom Hedger, Marianne Streff Gustafson, Rob Dietz, Bud Streff, John Hedger, Karen (Mrs. Jim) Hedger, Steve Grandusky.
Front row, standing:  Shelly Dietz Sowinski, Bobbie Pape, Regina Dietz, Ruth Dietz Zidek, Judy Pape, Mary Pape.
Kneeling in front:  Rich Dietz, Dan Streff.

Missing cousins:  Paul Streff, Terrie Pape Zitzelsberger, Donna Pape Jajich, Joe Hedger, Ginnie Hedger Ciesielski, Pete Hedger.
Missing siblings:  Mark and Brian Pape.

Using married names for my female cousins only if they were married at the time of this photo.

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Fordham Family, Maple Grove Cemetery, Wichita, Kansas

photo by Kyle Abbott via; used with permission
A kind FindAGrave volunteer quickly got a photo for me of the tombstone of John Fordham, a former missing person (or runaway) at age 15 in 1890, who died in 1896 at age 21 after apparently falling from and being run over by a train.  The tombstone at the historic Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas, also marks the graves of his parents, Charles R. Fordham, 1843-1904, and Helen Nancy Chafin Fordham, 1848-1917.  In the same cemetery are Charles' and Helen's son Reigh C. Fordham (1876-1927) and his wife Bertha C. Fordham (1878-1953) and son Raymond James Fordham (who, sadly, also died young, born about 1912 and died in 1921),

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mystery Monday: What Happened to John Fordham?

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.  Two years ago, 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:

John Fordham's mother apparently hired a Wichita, Kansas, detective agency to look for him when John left home just before turning 15.  Since John had "a fancy for horses" and "may be found around cattle ranches," it makes sense that the detective agency might have sent this notice to sheriffs in Texas counties.

This missing person notice had a good clue about the missing boy - John Fordham was or would be age 15 on May 9, 1890, meaning he was born on May 9, 1875.  I conducted a search in for a John Fordham born in 1875, and found a record with a matching date of birth for a burial in a Wichita, Kansas, cemetery for a John Chafin Fordham.  That young man died on June 2, 1896, at just 21 years of age, which made me wonder - what happened between the 1890 missing person notice, and his death just six years later?

A search in the Library of Congress Chronicling America website for "John Fordham" between 1875 and 1896 brought up some results from June 1896 issues of the Wichita Daily Eagle.  The first article ("Killed by a Train:  John Fordham Leaves Home to Return a Corpse") was from June 3:
from The Wichita Daily Eagle, June 3, 1896, Page 5, via Chronicling America

John's mangled body had been found near the train tracks in White City, Kansas, which is about 100 miles northeast of Wichita.  He'd been traveling with another young man named T. T. Kell (who does not appear in any later articles) to the Dakotas, and they'd decided to hop the train rather than buy tickets (even though John certainly had the money).  Speculation in the article was that John fell asleep and fell out of the train and was run over.

More detail appeared in an article in the next day's Daily Eagle:
from The Wichita Daily Eagle, June 4, 1896, Page 5, via Chronicling America

John's body had letters addressed to a J. C. Fordham of 522 S. Lawrence Avenue in Wichita, a note for $350 from a Helen Fordham, and a March 12, 1896, deposit slip for a bank in Wichita, all of which helped identify him.

John's father Charles R. Fordham, his mother Helen Nancy Chafin Fordham, John, and a younger brother, Reigh, can be found in an 1880 U.S. Census record in Caldwell, Sumner County, Kansas.  By the 1885 Kansas State Census, the family is living in Wichita.

John's parents were active socially, based on articles in earlier Wichita newspapers, with his mother particularly active in the Degree of Honor, which was originally organized as a female auxiliary to the Ancient Order of United Workmen.  That group, as well as the Daily Eagle reporter, were full of praise for young John:

from The Wichita Daily Eagle, June 5, 1896, Page 5,

But just what happened in 1890?  Young John apparently had some wanderlust - the letters found on his body indicated he owned mines in the Cripple Creek, Colorado area, and he was on his way to Dakota when he died.  He appeared to have a mind of his own, even at a young age, and was rather successful financially, based on his clothing, the contents of his pockets, and the references in the articles.  Obviously, he came back home to Wichita sometime between the early 1890 "missing" poster and his death in 1896.  So far I haven't been able to determine what he was doing all those years.

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

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sibling Saturday: In New Braunfels, ABT 1965

A New Braunfels, Texas, native e-mailed me today about a post I did four years ago about our family's summers on the Comal River in New Braunfels in the late 1960s.  My youngest sister (too young to be in these pictures) had some photos of us other four siblings from our visit there in 1965 (when she was just a baby).

at Camp Warnecke, New Braunfels, TX, summer 1965
Above and below - at The Stockade Cedar Lodges, Summer 1965
Above are Brian (age 3), Mark (5), Karen (7), and me (8) at Camp Warnecke, known as a great place to shoot the rapids on inner tubes.  In fact, I can remember doing that with one of my brothers, I think Brian, and nearly missing the guy wire strung across the river that you were supposed to catch to keep from winding up in the whirlpool.

At right and below are me, Brian, Mark, and Karen at the Stockade Cedar Lodges, where we stayed for that 1965 summer vacation.  At the bottom of this post is a view of the swimming pool at the resort.

The pool and some of the cabins of Stockade Cedar Lodges might still exist - they, and Camp Warnecke, are now part of the Schlitterbahn Water Park and its Resort at the Bahn in New Braunfels.

Above:  Amanda, Brian, Mark, & Karen; and below, the pool, at The Stockade Cedar Lodges, New Braunfels, Texas, Summer 1965

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

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday's Faces From the Past: Louise Cheney Auer, 1905-1976

Louise Cheney in the 1924
Trinity University Mirage yearbook,
page 66 - available via 
Recently my former supervisor, who is working on some of the archival materials in our library before her upcoming retirement at the end of August (after 45 years!), asked for some help in writing a biographical sketch about a woman whose manuscript collection we have.  Her name was Louise Cheney Auer and we didn't know much more about her beyond the information in a newspaper clipping, which said she had attended Trinity University and Baylor University.

Here is what I was able to find out about Louise Cheney Auer in about two hours:

She was born Emma Louise Cheney on 8 January 1905 in Mount Pleasant, Texas, to William Cheney and Susie Roberts, per Louise’s death certificate.1  Her 11-years-older sister Angeline Cheney McDonald (1893-1976) was the informant, so the information should be accurate.

By 9 May 1910, the William Cheney family was living in Hamilton County, Texas, as I found them on the 1910 Census there.2  William M., age 42, was born in Texas of parents who were born in Georgia.  He is a bank cashier.  Wife Susie M., age 37, was born in Texas of parents who were born in Texas.  She has given birth to three children at this point, but only two are living:  16-year-old Angeline, born in Texas, and 5-year-old Louise, also born in Texas.

On 9 January 1920, they are living in Hico in Hamilton County, and William is now a bank vice-president, according to the 1920 Census.3   Angeline is not in the household – she would be about 26 by now and I imagine she has married.  (I have not had any luck finding her, though.)

Our awesome archives assistant contacted Trinity University and they sent her the link to the photo above. At that time (1924), Trinity University was located in Waxahachie, Texas, south of Dallas - it's now in San Antonio.  Louise was identified by name and pictured with other members of the Class of 1927, but apparently she does not appear named in any other Trinity yearbook, and Baylor has no record of her attending.  The photo above is very similar to one of her in the newspaper article.

Perhaps Louise never graduated because she got married on 5 August 1926,  to John George Auer in Hill County, Texas, the same day they got the license,4  by the pastor of Liberty Temple in Hillsboro, (a picture of the now-gone Liberty Temple is here -

John Auer’s September 1918 World War I draft registration card5 shows him living in Honey Grove in Fannin County, Texas, and working as an auto mechanic for a tire repair company on 6th Street.  His nearest relative is a John Danenbauer who also lives in Honey Grove.  John Auer’s mother (according to his death certificate) was a Marie Dannenbauer.

On the 1920 Census,6 taken on January 7, John was a roomer in Honey Grove, Fannin County, Texas, and working as a gin mechanic.  The 1920 Census also indicates he was born in Germany, was an alien, and immigrated in 1913.

I also found various naturalization documents for John in that provide some of their addresses over the years (and verify things such as dates of birth, etc., for John and Louise).  John was born 9 January 1899 in Obermosbach, Germany.  He left via Bremen and arrived in Galveston on 10 October 1913.  When he first filed his Declaration of Intent, on 3 January 1923, he was living in Paris, Lamar County, Texas. He (and Louise) had lived in Harris County, Texas, since 3 October 1927. As of 9 April 1931, they were living at 2909 Jackson Street in Houston.  On his Petition for Naturalization dated 14 November 1933, they were living at 4018 Almeda Road in Houston, and they had no children.  He took the oath of allegiance on 7 November 1934.

Via, I found them in the 1932 Houston City Directory, on page 232, listed as John G. and Emma L. Auer residing at 4018 Almeda Rd.  He was a manager with Southern United Ice Company.

On the Portal to Texas History,7 I found Louise listed as Louise C. Auer, a new member of the Southwestern Historical Association in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. 58, page 445 (January 1955 issue).  She had a La Porte, Texas post office box address.

We have her original typewritten manuscripts, but images of some of her articles from Desert Magazine of the Southwest as printed can be found online:

“Indian Emily’s Tragedy” – vol. 24, no. 10, October 1961, page 17, at

“Nellie Cashman and Her Lost Gold” – vol. 26, no. 10, October 1963, pages 24-26, at

Louise's husband John died 11 July 1970 in Pasadena, Texas.  At the time of his death, they were living at 303 Crescent View in La Porte.  She was the informant on his death certificate.8  It also states he was to be buried at the La Porte City Cemetery, but there is a marker for him at the West End Cemetery in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas.

Louise's death certificate shows that she died in the Stephenville Hospital on 1 June 1976.  She'd been living in Stephenville for five years, most recently at 1485 Mulberry.  It appears she moved to Stephenville not long after John died, perhaps to be near her older sister Angeline Cheney McDonald.

She’s buried at the West End Cemetery according to the death certificate, but there is no marker.  I am guessing that is because Louise had no children, and her sister Angeline died less than three months later, according to her marker in the cemetery.

I couldn't locate a birth certificate for Louise, but Texas did not start requiring them until 1903, and compliance with the law was spotty until around 1910.  Louise's parents William M. and Susie Roberts Cheney were still in Hico on the 1930 Census,but Susie died in Stephenville on March 7, 1937, where she had been living for two months, according to her death certificate.10 

William returned to Hico and was a lodger in the Midland Hotel in Hico on the 1940 Census.11   He died at the Austin State Hospital in Austin, Travis County, Texas, on June 22, 1943.  He had only been there ten days; Erath County was indicated at his home, and the death certificate12  said he would be buried in Stephenville.  However, he was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Waco, McClennan County, Texas, next to his wife Susie.


1 "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 June 2015), Death certificates > 1976 > Vol 133-138, certificates 066101-069500, Sep, Comanche-Harris counties > image 1349 of 3515; State Registrar Office, Austin.

"United States Census, 1910," Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 June 2015), Texas > Hamilton > Justice Precinct 8 > 0073 > image 39 of 41; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

3  "United States Census, 1920," Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 June 2015), Texas > Hamilton > Hico > 0095 > image 14 of 33; citing NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

4   "Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1977," Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 June 2015), 004820615 > image 738 of 890; county clerk offices, Texas.

5 "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 June 2015), Texas > Fannin County; A-B > image 309 of 1397; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

6 "United States Census, 1920," Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 June 2015), Texas > Fannin > Honey Grove > 0055 > image 9 of 28; citing NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955, H. Bailey Carroll, editor, Journal/Magazine/Newsletter, 1955; ( : accessed July 03, 2015), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association, Denton, Texas.

 "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 June 2015), Death certificates > 1970 > Vol 099-106, certificates 049200-052600, Jul, Harris-Taylor counties > image 871 of 3492; State Registrar Office, Austin.

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 July 2015), Texas > Hamilton > Hico > 0005 > image 6 of 31; citing NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002).

10 "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 July 2015), Death certificates > 1937 > Vol 028-034, certificates 013501-016900, Mar, Cameron-Montague counties > image 1161 of 3601; State Registrar Office, Austin.

11 "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 July 2015), Texas > Hamilton > Justice Precinct 3, Hico > 97-5 Justice Precinct 3, Hico City > image 33 of 34; citing NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012).

12 "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch (,268340501,268355001 : accessed 4 July 2015), Death certificates > 1943 > Vol 060, certificates 029501-030000, Jun, Taylor-Williamson counties > image 161 of 513; State Registrar Office, Austin.

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