The Family Mystery
One of the greatest family mysteries surrounds my adopted Grandmother Shirley. It was always clear that she may be an unreliable narrator of her own story which makes it hard to do research on her family. She has been known to fudge her age. There is a story that her family had a connection to the triangle waist factory fire in NY. The location of her birth is somewhere in Poland, Ukraine, or Russia depending on where the borders were when she was born and died. There is a possibility that the mother or father is from France and the other spouse is from Poland. The family story is that she and her family went through Ellis Island and that my grandmother Shirley, nicknamed Billie, nearly did not get in for she had some signs of illness. Shirley had brothers, Charles and Max and sisters, Edith and Rose.
Another family story is that her family had diamond earrings and two of the sisters including my grandmother got an earring, while her other sister got money instead. Her sisters, Edith and Rose. My grandmother made the earring into a ring, and during the depression, living in Skid Row in Los Angeles, she used to hock and buy it back from a pawn shop to pay rent while she was a waitress and single mother. That ring was my engagement ring.
Another family story is that Shirley or "Billie" went cross country to Los Angeles in the 20s to become a movie star and ended up becoming a single mother instead.
So, the mystery has been my adopted mother's father. My mom and I actively tried to find a Mack A. Carr. The only marriage record between a Mack Carr and Shirley Silver I could find was July 6th, 1929 in Dallas, Texas, but there is nothing in family lore that says that Shirley was ever in Texas. There is a Social Security claim for a Mack A. Carr with a spouse Shirley Silver and Colette Arlyne Carr. There is a marriage record in December 27, 1937 where she is Shirley Carr. Mack has been a dead end for over 29 years. Any other tidbits I remember is that Mack was from somewhere in the Midwest, but also was called a cajun. My mother has some Scottish and Irish from her father. He just disappeared.
Then, just recently, I came across an article about a Joseph L. Carr who was born sometime in 1870 who owned the Montrose Theater from 1924 to 1930. His wife Shirley M. Carr worked at the theater. Joseph was 60 years old on July 18, 1930 when he pinned a suicide note on himself and drank poison.
The 1929 crash was not good for Mr. Carr, who thought he was a failure. He wrote everything goes to Shirley his wife. There is no record I can find between a Joseph L. Carr and a Shirley. So were they really married or just putting on a rouse? Would a suicide be enough to change the name of the father? Would that explain how there is no record of a Mack A. Carr anywhere and how we cannot find a father anywhere. If I could prove her father is indeed Joseph L. Carr, the story would have an ending.
I found Shirley and my adopted mother in a city directory in 1934 living in Skid Row at 826 East 7th Street in Los Angeles.
It doesn't help that my grandmother, Shirley's family is one of the countless families named Silver or Silverstien or Silverstein who came from Poland/Ukraine/Russia in the beginning of the 20th Century as Jewish gypsies who have some members who are Catholic.
So this has been a frustrating line of ancestry for sure.
Partying in the Grove
Celebrating the anniversary of Salome’s family’s arrival from Illinois to Santa Cruz, California. In Salome’s handwriting: October 23, 1910 Picnic my Gum grove. 19 in all S.F. Written on 1-12-70 in Grandaunt Phyllis’ handwriting: This, written by Grandma Salome Morgan Fridley. Her hand is raised. October 23, 1852 was the anniversary date. The arrow points to Grandpa Alonzo Fridley. Another arrow points to Uncle Elmer (seated on ground on the left).
In Salome’s writing: Oct. 23, 1910 Picnic in eucalyptus grove.
The guy holding the dog at the end could be Philip Fridley’s cousin – Al Weeks Father. Salome’s sister Margaret married a Thomas J. Weeks.
Ike and Martini Meyer
“Ike” and “Martini,” the two very interesting monkeys which have attracted so many visitors to Meyer Bros. Billiard hall, have left the city. They were purchased by Gentry for his dog and pony show and in the future will delight patrons of that aggregation of educated animals. That they will be an attraction no one who has even seen them will doubt. With no special training they amused everyone who ever saw them. Martini by his exclusiveness and Ike by being a good fellow with everybody. Martini was a born aristocrat while Ike was a common person. The first was a Republican and the last a Democrat. Martini was for expansion while Ike wanted the Philippines permitted to govern themselves. Martini was a total obtainer while Ike liked a drink once in a while. The could do anything but talk and came very near knowing how to do that. They sold for $150 and all the rounders cried when they were taken away. The old party who tips cues was all broken up and Charlie and Herman look as if they wished they hadn’t done it. So grieved was the former at the loss that he has wired for two more of the same breed and says it will be a cold day he goes to bed without a pair of monkeys again.
Ike and Martini were the monkeys of my husband's great grandfather and his great granduncle and twin, Herman and Charlie Meyer. At the time they ran a grocery, billiard hall, and saloon in Salt Lake City circa early 1900s.
California Diamond Jubilee
These pictures of the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park comes from the Meyer family collection of photos. My husband's grandfather spent a lot of time in Golden Gate Park in the 1920s.
In San Francisco, there were celebrations of the Seventy-Fifth anniversary of California entering the United States (1850-1925). During the celebrations, it was noted that California entered the Union a free state free from slavery. It's wealth from the Gold Rush was responsible for helping the union funded.
The progenitor of the Blackburns came from England in colonial times according to the History of San Luis Obispo (1883). Joseph Blackburn was born at Charleston, Kenawa County, Virginia in 1788. Joseph married Margaret Drew in 1807 in Maryland. Margaret Drew was born on February 06, 1782 in Washington Co., Maryland, and was the daughter of Michael Drew and Elizabeth Woolfe. They moved to Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, Virginia. Biographies of his sons list him being born in Virginia, but may have been West Virginia at the time of his birth. Joseph served in the War of 1812 (the year his eldest daughter and my great-great-great grandmother, Mary Ann was born) and was wounded at the battle of Fort McHenry, in the desperate defense of the city of Baltimore in 1814 (the year his son, Judge William Blackburn, was born), when the British were repulsed and their invasion thwarted. Joseph was a butcher by trade. In 1822, Joseph and his family moved to Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. The Alt family story is that he drowned in St. Mary’s River, Michigan abt. 1825. Margaret Drew Blackburn Bell’s obituary says that he died in 1824. Per Patricia Boswell, there is a will on file in Clark County for a Joseph Blackburn.
Family lore has us related to the RIppon Lodge family, but we have no proof as we have no information about Joseph Blackburn's parents.
Samuel Morgan was my great-great-granduncle who was the brother of my great-great grandmother, Salome Morgan.
MEYER BROTHERS SALOON
My husband's great-grandfather Henry Meyer was a twin with Charles Meyer. They went into business together running grocery stores, a billiard hall, and a saloon. Their saloon was in Salt Lake City with its laws against selling alcohol on the sabbath.
Denise is a family historian and fourth generation Californian.