Wednesday, May 13, 2015

There's A Way (52 Ancestors #19)



For this week’s challenge the topic is “There’s a Way”.  I thought that I would look at how my ancestors arrived in the Midwest by examining my maternal and paternal grandparent’s heritages.

On my mother’s side, her maternal grandparents (Charles Seeber and Ingrid Olauson) both came to the United States from Sweden.  Grandpa arrived in 1892 and went to Hobart, Indiana upon arrival. Grandma left Sweden in 1894, went to Chicago, then Peoria, Illinois.  Both had relatives that they stayed  with when they arrived in the United States.   They met at a Swedish dance hall in Rantoul, Illinois, and settled in Peoria. 

My mother’s paternal grandparents (Edward R. Murphy and Katherine Hanauer) were both born in the United States. Grandpa’s family had come from Ireland (County Kilkenny in 1849 and County Down in 1830). Grandma’s family had come from Alsace Loraine (in 1847) and from Bavaria (in 1858).  The Murphy family had settled in Peoria Illinois in 1850.  The Hanauer family came to Peoria in 1893 from Indiana.

My father’s grandparents were all born in the United States.  His paternal grandparents (Moses Thompson Adamson and Lydia Bullard) were from families who had come from England around the 1750’s. 

My father's maternal grandparents (Samuel Erskine Gray and Cora Ferrel) came from families who had come from Ireland and Scotland.  The most recent of my father’s family to come to the United States was in about 1830 when the Gray family came from Scotland to New York, to Chicago for a short while, then settled in Vigo County, Indiana. It is not known at this time when the Ferrel family arrived in the United States from Ireland, but it has been speculated to be as early as 1637.

It’s interesting to me that all of my family arrived in the United States and settled in the Midwest before 1900.  And here I am in 2015, born and raised in Peoria, Illinois!  I guess my ancestors chose wisely when they decided where to settle all those years ago!

Harry Oliver Seeber 1907-1987 (52 Ancestors #20)



This week's topic for the challenge is "Black Sheep".  I always heard stories about my great-uncle Harry Seeber, and , although he seemed to be well-loved by the family, he also was a bit of a "black sheep".

Harry Oliver Seeber was born on the 8th of June in 1907 in Peoria, Illinois to Charles (Karl Segh) and Ida (Ingrid) Olauson Seeber.  He was the fourth of six children.  He had one older brother, one
younger brother, two older sisters, and one younger sister. The picture above shows Harry with all of his siblings. Harry is standing in the middle of the top row.

He was listed with his parents and siblings in the 1910 Peoria, Illinois Census.  However, the 1920 Peoria Census only lists Harry’s parents and his younger brother.  The other children have not been located in 1920.  Harry would have been twelve or thirteen years old at that time.

In 1926 Harry was listed in the Peoria City Directory, living in his parent’s home and working as a laborer.  His parents divorced in 1926 when Harry was nineteen years old.  In 1929, Harry married Mildred “Midge” Aldridge, probably in Peoria. Harry was twenty-two years old and Mildred was nineteen years old when they married. 

Harry and Mildred were listed as living in Peoria with Mildred’s parents in the 1930 Peoria Illinois Census.  Harry was listed as a salesman for a yeast manufacturing company.  Harry’s father died in 1933.  Harry and Mildred were listed together through 1935, living in Peoria. They divorced sometime between 1935 and 1940.  They may have been living in Iowa during that time period.

The 1940 Waterloo, Black Hawk, Iowa Census shows Harry living there with the Gabriel Kokotan family.  The census shows that Harry had not worked for the past fifty-three weeks.  He was listed as age thirty-two and single.  He married Gabriel’s daughter Helen sometime between 1940 and 1943.  Helen was about seven years younger than Harry. 

By 1943, Harry was employed by the US Employment Service in Pekin, Illinois. He may have served in the Navy between 1940-1943, but records have not been found to prove that.

From an undated newspaper article (probably from 1943) found in family papers was the following: 

"Harry Seeber was given the petty officer rating of storekeeper third class upon graduating from recruit training with the Navy at Farragut, Idaho. He came to Peoria to spend a leave with his wife at 513 Ravine Ave and his mother, Mrs. Ida Seeber, 339 Howett st.   Seeber served a previous enlistment in the Navy.  Up until leaving for further service Nov. 11, 1943, he was employed by the US Employment Service in Pekin.  His brother, Pvt, Earl Seeber, is undergoing basic training with the Army at Camp Wolters, Texas.".
Harry sailed on the US Navy Aircraft Carrier Lexington on 24 Feb 1944.

Harry and Helen were listed as living in Pekin until 1947, when they moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Harry was working for the State Employment Service.  He was listed in Phoenix, Arizona city directories with Helen until 1957.  In 1957 Harry was listed as a clerk.  It is not known what became of Helen after 1957. 

Harry married Wygtle “Maxine” Ackerman Siefen in 1959 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Maxine died the following year in 1960 and in 1961, Harry married Julia Twardy Miller.

In 1962, a newspaper article from the Tucson, Arizona newspaper Tucson Daily Citizen reported the following:

“Mr. and Mrs. Harry Oliver Seeber of Phoenix were indicted on four counts of making telephone threats to injure William Hubert Weese of Norton Village, Ohio, unless he paid them $10, 000.  Police said the calls made to Weese apparently were intended for another party.”

Harry was found guilty on three counts.  Julia was found not guilty.  It is not known what Harry’s sentence was.

Harry's mother died in 1974.  Harry and Julia remained living in Phoenix.  He and Julia were together until her death in 1978.  After her death, Harry lived with a woman named Rosalie, but it’s believed that they never married.  He was taken care of by the Phoenix Veteran’s Hospital as he got older.

Harry Oliver Seeber died on the 19th of July in 1987 in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of eighty.  He had outlived his two brothers, and one sister.  Two sisters survived.  Harry had no known children.

Harry was remembered by family members as a good-looking, charming man.  He drank a lot and ran around with women a lot.  Interestingly, I have no memory of him, although I was about thirty-seven years old when he died.  I only remember hearing stories about him.  I think that he would have been and interesting and entertaining fellow to have known!