Category Archives: Family History

Luigi “Louis” Bravin and Thecla Melosso

Luigi “Louis” Bravin was born in 1884 in Italy. He was a brother of Anibale Bravin ( the great grandfather of my children.)

Louis married Thecla (or Tekla or Cecelia; Meloso or Melloso) on November 15, 1909. They had five children in 12 years.

He died in 1936 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, at the age of 52, and was buried there.

Luigi Louis Bravin

 

 

portrait of Luigi Louis Bravin.jpg

Louis immigrated to the U.S.A. from Udine, Italy when he was 22 or 23 in approx. 1906/07. When he was 25 years old (November 15, 1909) he married Tecla.

By occupation he was a stone mason.

8a7e5a5a-0884-46c5-9472-d88f82b5bedf

Tecla Melosso wife of Louis Bravin

1936 death certificte of Louis Bravin

Together, Louis and Tecla had these children: John Edward 1910-2003/ Mary “Sister M. Yolanda” 1912-1996/ Rose E. 1915-2006/ Yolanda Madeline 1918-2011/ Evelyn Louis 1923-2014. (These children were the Bravin great, great Uncles and Aunts to my children.)  

Bravin siblings

My family and the Salem Witch Trials: Wildes and Bishop family

 

My 8th great grandfather was John Wildes, Sr. who was born in Lanchashire, England in approx. 1620.  His 1st wife and my 8th great grandmother was Priscilla Gould.  She also had been born in England in approx. 1628.  They emigrated and settled in Massachusetts.

My 8th great grandfather, John Wildes, Sr. was married 3 times.  His first wife and my direct ancestor was Priscilla who died in 1663 at the age of 34.  In the year of Priscilla’s death, John married a second wife Sarah Averill.  This second wife would be wrongly accused of witchcraft and was hanged in 1692 along with other Salem citizens: Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Elizabeth How, and Susannah North. (In the book The Salem Witch Trials: A day by day Chronicle of a Community Under Seige- page 186, this quote is made about John’s 2nd wife Sarah Averill: “…most evidence came from the family of her husband’s first wife, Priscilla Gould.  For their sister was not even seven months dead when John Wildes married Sarah, who, they knew, had once been whipped for fornication and yet had the brass to flaunt finery above her station…”

John’s 3rd wife was Mary Jacobs ( a widow) and he had no children with his 3rd wife.

John Bishop, Sr. would have to suffer terribly during the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials. Not only had his second wife been accused of witchcraft and hung, but also his daughter (also a Sarah) and his son-in-law (Edward Bishop) were accused and imprisoned for witchcraft.

Sarah and Edward Bishop (my 7th great grandparents) were able to escape jail after 37 weeks! Once they escaped, they went to Rehoboth where Edward became an inn keeper. Later, they would be exonerated.  Why had Sarah Wilde and Edward Bishop, wife and husband, been accused?  Well, Sarah and Edward  ran an unlicensed tavern in their home.  In addition to serving drink, they also allowed the patrons to play games that included gambling at shovel board.  (See the book The Salem Witch Trials: A day by Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege- April 1692, page 95)  Townsfolk were indignant and sought to have them called out as witches before their “loose ways” affected others.

Here is a photo of me (Linda Claire Hess) in the play the Crucible. Funny that at the time that I played the lead, I did not even know about my family connection to the story!

Linda Claire Hess with Jim Greiner in the Crucible

 

 

 

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. 1891-1969

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. was my paternal grandfather.  I only met him a few times. I was 15 years old when he died.  Perhaps, not “knowing” my own grandfather has piqued my curiosity and given  me ample reason to delve into the history of this direct ancestor. Although I spent little time with this Grandparent, I was frequently told of his intelligence and some of his accomplishments especially those to modernize the Hess family orchard/farm. In other words, while there was some type of “distance” between my nuclear family and my grandparents, there was also an acknowledgement by my father of his parent’s better attributes. I heard they were brilliant, avid readers, liked ham radio, they were ahead of their times in farming technology, and were staunch Baptists. I have a few presents that were sent to me by my grandfather that included an elf doll and a book on animal footprints.   My grandfather has long since passed away from this life and I am trying to understand some of what made up his life story and in some sense “meet him.”

When George Kellogg (W) Hess was born on September 6, 1891, in Benton Harbor, Michigan, his father, Juan, was 41 and his mother, Dorothy, was 34.  If you read my blog about Robert de Montel Hess (George’s brother), http://wp.me/p7gsef-kJ you can get information about George’s siblings and better understand some of the losses my grandfather had as a boy and youth.

This is a link to a book about Juan Hess (George’s father)

https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/16860/dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1/1084?backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3fdb%3dgenealogy-glh19225593%26so%3d2%26pcat%3dFLH_FAMILY%26rank%3d1%26new%3d1%26MSAV%3d0%26msT%3d1%26gss%3dangs-

Here is a link to a blog I created on Juan Hess (George’s father)

file:///Users/lindagroshans/Downloads/Story%20of%20Juan%20Hess.pdf

George’s parents seemed to have had a successful life.  I understand that they were farmers, but had a city and country home. Dora, George’s mother, was accomplished in social graces and many news articles of that era spoke of her love for the arts, music, sleigh rides, buffets and social gatherings. (The articles below are only samples of many articles that appeared in the news)  The orchard successfully sold and supplied Chicago markets and other large city markets with their very fine fruits.

sSleigh RideArt League

George was a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.  Both of his sons, George Kellogg Hess, Jr. and Robert Lawrence Hess would also graduate from the U.of M.  Henrietta had attended and graduated from the Chicago School of Music.

graduationSigma Xi Quarterly from Dec 1, 1921

George married Jane Ellen Agens on April 21, 1917, in Benton Harbor, Michigan.   My father had not been told that his father had been previously married. But, my father had told me that his father had been in love with a young woman who became ill and was moved to a sanitarium with terminal tuberculosis. According to these legends, my Grandfather would sit on a bench outside of her window and read to her. He was not allowed to be with her for fear of infection.   It was only because of  the internet that I found proof that a marriage had in fact occurred.  Jane Ellen Agens died in March of 1919.  Following her death, George moved to Cook Co., Chicago, IL.

Mrs. Agens Hess dies from News Palladium 7 March 1919 part 1Mrs. Agens Hess dies from News Palladium 7 March 1919 part 2funeral of Jane Agens Hess from 10 March 1919 News Palladium

jane agens and george kellogg hess, sr..png

Note that George registered between 1917 and 1918 for the WWI draft and stated that he should be exempt because his wife was an invalid.

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. 1917 1918 WWI draft registration

It was in Chicago, that George married Henrietta Spruhan (my grandmother) on June 29, 1921. At the time of the marriage he was 29 years old and Henrietta was 27.  They would go on to have two children together.  Their sons were George Kellogg Hess, Jr., my Uncle and Robert Lawrence Hess, my father.  This is a link to my blog on Henrietta Spruhan Hess  http://wp.me/p7gsef-2P

In 1930 the the George Hess Sr. family was living in a rented apartment in Chicago on N. Neva Ave.  The census states that they owned a radio!  George’s occupation is listed as Electrical Engineer. I don’t know how to figure this into my information, but in the same year 1930, there was also a published city directory that lists George and Henrietta living at a conflicting address of 832 S. Maple Ave. At this time, George was 7 years old and my father was 5 years old.  The 1930 census must have been taken just prior to my father’s health crisis and burst appendix.  The doctor’s cautioned George and Henrietta that my father’s only hope for recovery was to move from the city to the country.  Although this advice seems quite odd from modern day perspective, it was the advice given and my father did survive!  Therefore, it was also in 1930 that the George Hess, Sr. family returned to the farm of Juan Hess recently deceased.

As a farmer, George was also quite active in political affairs pertaining to grower’s rights, taxes, labor camps, and pipelines.  (See a few examples- there are so MANY news articles on George K. Hess, Sr. that I have not begun to gather all of them!) N

George Hess, Sr. from 30 Dec. 1939 News Palladium Benton HarborNews Palladium Benton Harbor 31 Oct. 193925 March 1949 opposes pipeline

George and Henrietta lived on the Hess Farm pictured here: (note: my father told me many times how his father had sold the horses in order to use tractors on the farm- not generally a practice in this area at this time)

 

George and Henrietta moved to St. Cloud, Florida as their retirement residence in approx. 1958.  I visited there once.  The home was modest but set on land that had whispering pines and the lake.  One of the curious things that I noted there was a full fledged underground bomb shelter!

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. died on January 10, 1969, in St Cloud, Florida, at the age of 77, and was buried in Kissimmee, Florida.  His wife Henrietta did not die until 1984 and was never remarried.

George Hess Sr. on window sillGeoge Hess Sr. with arms crossed

There are only a handful of photos with me and my grandfather pictured together.  This photo was taken at my home in Ann Arbor, MI.  I remember that he had visited us there prior to getting his cataract surgery at the U of M Hospital which is located in Ann Arbor.

Mary Ann and Linda Claire Hess with their grandfather George Kellogg Hess, Sr.

Death Notice:

George K. Hess death notice

 

 

More articles:

26 July 1939 – A Mad Apple Grower

26 July 1939 A Mad Apple Grower

From 3 March 1949

Big Little Inch by George Hess, Sr.

25 March 1949 News Palladium (Benton Harbor)

25 March 1949 opposes pipeline

 

 

Robert de Montel Hess 1882-1907

f9946953-5a7d-439d-b095-a41d3347b793

When Robert De Montel Hess was born on April 8, 1882, in Benton Harbor, Berrien Co., Michigan, his father, Juan Hess, was 31 and his mother, Dorothy (Dora Bishop), was 25.

Robert de Montel and my grandfather, George Kellogg Hess, Sr. were brothers. They had two other siblings (also children of Juan and Dora) that had died as very young children.  According to Michigan death records these two Hess children died in 1880 of diphtheria.  They were Hattie (4 years old) and Perry Hess (2 years old).

Hattie and Perry Hess death records

I do not know why an obituary for Juan Hess written many years later on January 15, 1929, states that he only had 2 sons.  Perhaps, it was the “fashion” at the time not to mention children who died in their youth?

This is the 1929 obituary (below)  for Juan Hess (father of Robert de Montel Hess)

death of Juan Hess from Jan. 1929 obit

I chose to write this blog because I was intrigued that Robert de Montel may have been a namesake for my own father. There were 2 generations of the Hess family that had a child “George” and a child “Robert”.  My father was Robert Lawrence Hess and his brother was George K. Hess, Jr.  My father did not recall much about his Uncle Robert de Montel Hess, (the subject of this blog), because his uncle had been deceased for many years before my father was born in 1924. Even so, my father did believe that this was the relative that may have inspired the name “Robert.”  If this is true, it also makes me wonder why my father was called only by his middle name “Larry” (short for Lawrence) as a child.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Quick reference review of the names George and Robert:

Juan Hess and Dora Bishop’s children included  Robert de Montel Hess and George Kellogg Hess, Sr.

George Kellogg Hess , Sr. and his wife Henrietta Spruhan then had George Kellogg Hess, Jr. and Robert Lawrence Hess.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

The deaths of Hattie and Perry had happened before my Grandfather’s birth in September of 1891.  But, sadly, my grandfather George Kellogg Hess, Sr. would know death of loved ones (other than these two older siblings) again soon being only 13 years old when his mother, Dora Bishop Hess, died and only 15 years old when his only remaining brother, Robert de Montel Hess, died.

Robert de Montel Hess, married Alice Susanne King on October 19, 1904, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They had one child during their marriage. He died on January 18, 1907, in Berrien, Michigan, at the age of 24 from a liver abscess due to appendicitis.  He was buried in Berrien County, Michigan.  As stated, his death, was in part attributed to appendicitis.  This is interesting to me as my father had a burst appendix at the age of 5 years old and made a rather amazing recovery.

At the time Robert’s marriage to Alice he was 22 years old.  More surprising, is the fact that Alice was a mere 16 years old when they wed.  This would make Alice only 19 years old when she became a widow.  There seems to be a date conflict.  All census records indicate that Alice was born in 1888.  However, the News article pictured below, states that she was a graduate of Benton Harbor College in 1904-shocking considering that she was only 16???  Or…was someone trying to make Alice “older” than she really was??

So, Robert’s mother Dora died on October 15, 1904.  He married Alice 4 days after his mother’s death on October 19, 1904.

22 Oct. 1924 Robert Hess marries Alice King 20 years ago

https://books.google.com/books?id=E8VRAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=alice+king+and+hess+higbee&source=bl&ots=I9_szOmwoV&sig=r7SPS7YZ041R2_4S-kQBVstEjSE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid0bvWzdzUAhVJ7GMKHemzAZoQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=alice%20king%20and%20hess%20higbee&f=false

The news photo below is from 8 May 1929 – It highlights events from”25 years ago” and tells how Mrs. Juan Hess and son Robert (a college senior) entertained the Juniors at the Hess farm.  Printed in 8 May 1929 in the News Palladium.  This party took place 6 months before the wedding of Robert and Alice and 6 months before Dora’s death.  08 May 1929. 25 years ago Mrs. Juan Hess and son Robert

 

The child born to the marriage of Robert de Montel Hess and Alice King Hess was Hattie Lenore Hess.  (Her first name being the same as Robert’s sister who had perished as a child).  She was born on 17 September 1905.

Robert de Montel did not live long enough to be part of the 1910 census.  Alice is in the 1910 census living with her parents in Michigan and her 4 year old daughter who is now going by her middle name  Hattie “Lenore” Hess.  In 1910, Alice states that she is a sales lady in a furniture store in Benton Harbor.  Then, also in 1910, Alice would go on to marry a man named Harlow A. Hansley and live in Los Angeles.  She died in 1957 in Los Angeles, CA. Her daughter Hattie Lenore Hess had been living with her mother and step-father in Los Angeles.

In the 1920 census, Alice and Harlow are still in Los Angeles with Alice’s daughter who is now 14 years old and using the name  “Lenora”.

Please write and let me know if you have any other information on Robert de Montel Hess or the Hess family!

 

Jacob Wiesner 1842-1936

In a news article from 16 April 1936, we learn that Jacob Wiesner had 19 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren.  So, now I ponder how many great great grandchildren can also claim a direct ancestry link to Jacob Wiesner, Sr. ? I don’t know the answer to that exact question, but I do know that my son-in-law is one of Jacob’s great great grandsons. What do you know about Jacob?  Are you also a direct ancestor?  Please write and let me know!  Any family photos, documents, links, or stories would be welcomed.

Jacob’s story started in 1842.  He was born in Bavaria and arrived in the US at approx. age 2.  The fact that he had a foreign birth must not have been a popular story for this family and therefore in later accounts (including a 1936 news article) there is a claim Jacob was born in New Jersey.  I don’t think so.  Most of the  U.S. census records point to a different story and a birth in Bavaria.  Why would this fact be “re-written”? That is an open ended question!

According to census records, I believe that Jacob Wiesner was born on June 28, 1842, in Bavaria. At the time of Jacob’s birth, his father, Michael “May”, was 25 and his mother, Margaretha Stehren, was 24.

Jacob’s father Michael “May” is laid to rest in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin. https://billiongraves.com/grave/Michael-Wiesner/15388483?referrer=myheritage#/

I believe that Jacob would have been the oldest of six children.

What can I discern about his childhood? There is so very little information on his family that might help to answer that question.  The 1850 census shows the Michael Wiesner family living in Milwaukee. Jacob would have been 8 years old at the time of this census and he is not checked off as attending school.  I don’t know if this is because he did not attend a school or because the census taker simply did not check this off.

An 1860 census states that Jacob (now 18 years old) is a farm laborer and that leads me to believe that he might have been working his father’s farm. That is only my hunch. This same 1860 census shows that the family now lived in West Bend, Washington County, Wisconsin.  Clearly, the family had moved during the 10 years time from the time of the previous census when they had been in Milwaukee.

In the 1870 census for Michael Wiesner (Jacob’s father), Michael was then age 53. Jacob is not listed in this census record as he no longer lived at his father’s home.  Michael lists his occupation as farmer. Jacob’s siblings George and Catharina were still at home and recorded to be in school. The value of Michael’s real estate was 3,000 (higher than most in the area they lived).  Michael still resided in West Bend, WI.

It is finally from the 1900 census that I am able to tell when Michael immigrated to the United States.  There he lists his date of immigration as 1844 and we know that his son and the study of this blog, Jacob Wiesner, was born in 1842.  Thus, I conclude that Jacob was born in Bavaria and brought to the states at a very early age.

I chanced upon some newspaper articles that help tell a story about Jacob and contain the only photographs that I have found of him.  From an article in 1936 we learn that as a youth, Jacob ran away from home to join forces with the Union army in the Civil War.  His parents found him and brought him back home, but he would later re-enlist and served (mostly with the 48th Wisconsin) until the end of the war.  ” With Sheridan he helped hold Missouri in line with the Union cause”  He was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth.

Jacob Wiesner buried 1936

Jacob Wiesner photo

Jacob Wiesner from 11 Jul 1932 with photo Green Bay

Jacob Wiesner dies on Tuesday from door county news 1936 April.JPG

Jacob and Wilheimme “Minnie” had 8 children.  I have accounts for only 5 of those children.  In Wilheimme’s obituary it says, “five of eight children survive their mother.”  This causes me to think that there may have been child or infant deaths of  the 3 children that I cannot account for in my research. So, to review the relationships to our family, Jacob and Wilheimme were direct ancestors and great great grandparents of my son-in-law.  It was their child Jacob “Jake” Wiesner, Jr. who would be the great grandfather of my son-in-law.  Yes, Jacob was a very popular family name!

 

death of Wilheimme Wiesner door county advocate 04-16-1920

The children of Jacob and Wilheimee “Minnie” Wiesner were:

CHILD 1  (Our direct ancestor)Jacob “Jake” Wiesner, Jr. 1879-1953 married Emma Wilhelmine Caroline Bork

Jacob Wiesner, Jr with Joyce and Dorothy

Jacob Wiesner, Jr. death 195328 May 1940 Emma Bork death

CHILD 2 Christine Wiesner 1873-? (no other information available)

CHILD 3 Johanna Wiesner 1876-1957 married John Sperber

Mrs. Sperber death from Green Bay Gazette 2 May 1957

CHILD 4 William Wiesner 1880- ?  Married Mary Petersilka

CHILD 5 Minnie Wiesner 1884-1948 married Fred Sperber (she married a brother of her sister Johanna’s husband)

Minnie Wiesner

Jacob was 77 years old at the time of his wife’s death.  He lived until age 93 and became one of the oldest living Civil War veterans of his time.

In the 1910 census we find Jacob and wife Minnie living with son William (a farmer) and William’s family in Door County, Nasewaupee, WI.  Jacob was 67 years old at this time and now lists his birth place in the census as New York (in other words, he changed the story).  Perhaps, in the sense of an immigrant, this was a type of “birthplace” for him.  Jacob does say that the birthplace of his parents was Germany.

In the 1920 census Minnie and Jacob are in their 70’s and now reside in a rented home.  Once again, Jacob lists his birthplace as New York while Minnie lists hers as Germany.  At this time, Jacob lists his occupation as “retired.”

In the 1930 census, Jacob is a widower and lives with his daughter Johanna “Hanna” and her husband John Sperber in Door County, WI.  Finding this census was confusing as all other written news accounts say that from the time of Minnie’s death in 1920, Jacob Sr. had lived with his son Jacob “Jake” Jr. Another question to explore…

It does appear that Jacob died at the home of his son Jacob, Jr. with a legacy of being one of the first pioneer farmers and a Civil War veteran of the Union Army.  Also, a direct ancestor of our family line.

It has been a pleasure to explore Jacob’s life.  I hope that this story will reach out to others who share Jacob as their direct ancestor!

Jacob Wiesner death Racine Journal April 16 1953

 

Lyle Schmiling

When Lyle Schmiling was born on March 1, 1938, in Wisconsin, his father, Elbert, was 26 and his mother, Olive, was 22.  He had one brother (Lee Schmiling) and one sister (Joann Emma Schmiling Wiesner).

He married Beverly Maedke on October 4, 1958. They have four children. Their daughters are Jill Rae Schmiling born in 1959, Shelly Jo born in 1962, and Terri Lynn born in 1965.  His son, Steven was born in 1969.

Lyle passed away unexpectedly on June 21, 2016.  His obituary may be found at http://www.schinderle.com/obituaries/Lyle-Schmiling/#!/Obituary

 

 

 

Military career of Dr. Robert L. Hess

My father, Robert Lawrence Hess, was born on 29 September 1924 in Orange, New Jersey. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  He was in sea service during WWII.  Here are some details of his service in the Navy.

Robert Hess attended the V-12 (victory 12 Navy College Training) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This quote is from the link below, “The purpose of the V-12 program was to generate a large number of officers for both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to meet the demands of World War II, far beyond that turned out annually by the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and standing U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School to that point.” program. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-12_Navy_College_Training_Program

In 1945, my father received 2 BSE degrees from the University of Michigan which he had earned in under 3 years time.  One degree was in Engineering Mechanics and the other one in Engineering Mathematics.

He went  on to officer training at Columbia University, New York.

He served as a Junior Division Officer, Main Engines Division, on a heavy cruiser called the USS Oregon City. His rank was Ensign.

Later, he served as an auxiliary Division officer on a pair of light escort carriers the USS Kula Gulf CVE-108 and the USS Manila Bay CVE-12

 

I believe that he received an American Theatre ribbon and a Victory Ribbon WWII.  As I understand it, the American Theatre described the Navy’s desire to secure the home land from the Axis powers.

Other military work:

In 1957 my father was given the title of Technical Director of Project Michigan.  He was instrumental in extending optical data processing to the field of automatic photo-interpretation.  He was able to apply his knowledge of physics and mathematics to research teams who represented them to general officers of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. The Department of the Army awarded him the Outstanding Civilian Service Award and Metal.

In 1964-1965 my father was the personal representative of the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff for Intelligence and led teams of scientists through a comprehensive field review of the Army’s Combat Surveillance capabilities both in Europe and Korea.  The Army implemented over 70% of this technical recommendations for the Korea area.

My father would also become a civilian consultant to the Secretary of the Army, ASA (R&D), Chief of Staff, and the Chief of Research and Development to advise on scientific and related matters to the Army.

1943 Portrait photo in US Navy uniform

Robert Hess ensign winter series 2with text Robert in Navy Khakiswt hess given army award

 

Robert Hess U.S. Oregon City