Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Workday Wednesday - Nurses


In 1926, my great-grandmother Elizabeth Linnemann Speck graduated from the Memorial Hospital Training School for nurses, located in Monongahela, just north of Monessen. The Charerloi Mail (left and The Monessen Daily Independent (right) both ran articles about the commencement ceremony. Elizabeth was 29 years old and her children were 11 (Agnes) and 8 (Frank).
This is the only time I find any mention of her nursing background. In both the 1930 and 1940 census, Elizabeth has no occupation listed. In 1942 when she married her second husband, her occupation is listed as "Manager, Specks Transfer". This was her first husband's business. I don't know if Elizabeth ever worked as a nurse, or did and it was never recorded anywhere. In 1931, the newspaper reported that a nursing student from the Cannonsburg Hospital was recuperating from surgery at the home of Elizabeth and her husband Frank.

In 1963, Agnes Speck Cubbage (Elizabeth's daughter) became a nurse at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ. Agnes and her family had been living in New Providence for about 10 years. She was 48 years old and both of her children had graduated from high school.
Here is Agnes receiving her nurse's cap at Overlook Hospital.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Church Record Sunday - Sunday School Certificate

This is a Sunday School Certificate for my grandmother from the Methodist Church in Monessen, PA in 1929. Agnes Speck was 14 years old and was "hereby promoted to the Intermediate Department". The certificate is signed by Rev L.S. Elliott. Ten years later, Agnes and Art Cubbage would travel to Connellsville, PA to have Rev. Elliott preside over their marriage ceremony.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fearless Female - Elisabeth Barbara Nilkowski

I have written and posted pictures about some of the Fearless Females on the branches of my family tree. Another of these strong women was Elisabeth Barbara Nilkowski, my great- great-grandmother.

I don't know too much (yet) about Elisabeth's childhood. From her marriage record I have learned that she was born on 15 April 1865 in Alt Muensterberg which was at the time in West Prussia in Germany (that area is now in Poland). Her parents were Johan Nilkowski and Maria Schild.

On 4 November 1886, Elisabeth married Christian Fasel in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Her first son, also named Christian, was born on 24 August 1887 also in Gelsenkirchen. His birth record states that his father Christian had died on 8 June 1887 (I do not know how, but he was a miner). So Elisabeth was widowed at age 22, just a few months before her first child is born.

Sometime before January 1889, Elisabeth married Gerhard Linnemann. Between 1889 and 1899, Elisabeth and Gerhard had six children in Gelsenkirchen. Two of their children (both named Rudolph) died as young children.

Gerhard Bernard (1899)
Wilhelm Julius (1890)
Rudolph (1893-1896)
Georg Adolf (1895)
Elisabeth Maria (1897)
Rudolph (1899-1891)

In 1904, Elisabeth travel from Bremen to the America to meet her husband (who left in December 1903). The picture above was probably taken in the year before they left. I don't have many details about the Linnemann family during their early years in the America. They spent time in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and settled in Monessen, PA.

By 1915, her son William had moved to Chicago, and the remaining Linnemans had moved the Monseen. Children George and Elisabeth had married. In 1918, her husband Gerhard committed suicide while the family was out for a walk. This strong woman had to endure yet another tragic loss and was widowed again at age 53. The newspaper article stated that he had been injured in a coal mining accident years ago and had "seemed irrational as a result" and would "take to spells of anger and brooding".

Elisabeth Barbara with her daughter Elisabeth and grandchildren Agnes and Frank in Monessen

In 1920 she was working as a Stuart at Turner Hall in Monessen, as was her son Christian. Elisabeth (who also went by Barbara) lived with her sons Christian and Gerhard, both never married, for the next 17 years. She died in her sleep of a heart attack in 1935 at the age of 70 and was buried next to her husband in Grandview Cemetery in Monessen.

Elisabeth was known as "Mem" to her grandchildren (her daughter's children). Below are a few snapshots of Elisabeth from our family memorabilia. I have yet to find a picture of her smiling, but thinking of her life and losses, she may have become one tough woman.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Agnes Speck

I love this picture of my grandmother, Agnes Speck. I think it was taken by my grandfather (Art Cubbage) before they were married, probably around 1937 or 1938 in or near Monessen, PA.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Talented Tuesday - Agnes' Many Talents!

I mentioned a few weeks ago how thankful I am for local newspapers ... especially The Monessen Daily Independent. Through searches for my grandmother Agnes Speck, I learned about her many talents! 

I first found Agnes listed in a piano recital program for the Sherwood Music School in 1926. She was 11 years old and she played "Under the Mistletoe." In 1927 she played "Gypsy Song." Above is part of  the program from 1927. The students were under the instruction of Edgar E. Drake.

In 1932 and 1933, Agnes's talents were also mentioned several times in The Gazette, a publication of Monessen High School. She placed second in a humorous reading contest in her junior year, and went to the "Pennsylvania elimination" of the National Speech Competition at Bucknell University in her senior year. A newspaper clipping from our family collection (below) states that she won first place and was going on to the national competition in Wooster, Ohio! Another article in The Gazette speculates that she won the first three rounds. I don't believe that Agnes ended up winning though. I can find no other mention in either newspapers, and there was an article in The Monessen Daily Independent about midwest states sweeping the competition I confirmed that on the National Forensic League website). Even so, it is still very impressive how far she went in the competition!

The Gazette also listed her as a member of an upcoming high school operetta in March of 1933. After high school, Agnes' talented continued to be mentioned in local newspapers. She did a reading and played the piano to accompany a solo a the Ladies Auxiliary of the local fire department, was a judge at a humorous reading tournament, and acted in a local play.

This cast picture was found with old family photos and memorabilia. Agnes is on the far left, sitting in a chair. From the article below, I was able to match the date and the name of the play, and the ticket stub with the picture!

This was the last mention in the newspaper of Agnes' many talents. These wonderful articles helped me to understand more about my grandmother and who she was growing up as a young woman in Monessen. Below is one more cast picture that was found with old family photos (I haven't been able to determine a date or name of the play). Agnes is sitting directly in the center, to the left of the woman in the black dress and black hat.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fearless Females - Girlfriends!

A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future,
the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~Lois Wyse

In honor of Women's History Month and our Fearless Females, I decided to post a couple girlfriend pictures! (click on any image to enlarge) Above is my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Linneman Speck, circa 1920. She is flanked by two friends and they appear to be dressed up for something. At the top her daughter wrote "cowgirls? or cowboys!"
Girlfriends and sisters, Marian and Minnie Cubbage, circa 1935. These great-aunts had three other sisters: Leah, "Babe" and Marge. 

Agnes Speck mugging for the camera with girlfriends, circa 1937.

Elizabeth Linneman Speck (left) and Agnes Speck (3rd from left), my great grandmother and grandmother. The back of the photo has "Neptune Cottage 1939" written on it.

Agnes Speck Cubbage with neighbors Irene and Virginia, New Providence, NJ, 1955.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Elizabeth Linneman Speck

This is a picture of my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Linneman Speck in Monessen, PA. She was  probably in front of her home on Donner Avenue. We can see the train tracks and trains behind her. My grandmother, Agnes, wrote on many of the Speck family photos ... not the best, but it has helped me to identify some people.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Elisabeth Maria Linnemann

Elisabeth Maria Linnemann is my great-grandmother on my paternal side. She was the only grandparent that my father knew - his other grandparents died in 1938, 1939 and 1940, shortly before he was born.

Elisabeth was born on 12 June 1897 in Schalke, Germany which is a part of Gelsenkirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Elisabeth was the fifth of six children, and the only daughter born to Elisabeth Barbara Nilkowski and Gerhard Linnemann. Two of those children, both named Rudolph, died in Germany. Elisabeth Barbara also had another son with her first husband who died before the baby was born.

In 1904, when Elisabeth was seven years old, her mother and five children boarded the SS Cassel in Bremen and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on August 31st. This photo was probably taken in the year before they left Germany.

Elisabeth's father Gerhard arrived in Baltimore in December 1903. The family was meeting him in Windber, Pennsylvania. At some point over the next ten years, the family lived in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and settled in Monessen, PA around 1915.

Elisabeth (who was now Elizabeth Linneman) married Frank Friedrich Speck on 18 January 1915 in Pittsburgh. Her marriage license application states that "Lizzie" was 22 (she was 18) and that she was living in Sprigg, WV. I do not know how she and Frank met. This picture was probably taken around the time of their wedding.

Elizabeth and Frank had a daughter just nine months later. Agnes Elizabeth Speck was born on 26 September 1915 in Monessen. A son, Frank Rudolph was born on 2 May 1918. This is a picture of Elizabeth with one of her newborn children. Just six weeks after Frank's birth, Elizabeth's father Gerhard committed suicide.

The Speck family raised their children in Monessen and lived on Donner Avenue for about 20 years. Elizabeth's mother and three of her brothers lived in Monessen as well. Frank owned a moving and storage company and they were active in the community. Their travels, parties and life events were often listed in the "Locals" section of The Monessen Daily Independent.

On 7 April 1940, Elizabeth's husband Frank died suddenly of a heart attack. She continued to run Franks' moving business for a few years until she remarried. On 18 July 1942 she married Charles August Merz, also widowed, in Winchester, Virginia. She moved from Monessen to the North Side of Pittsburgh to Charles' home on Thelma Street.
Elizabeth's daughter Agnes married William Arthur (Art) Cubbage, moved to Ohio and had two children (Corky and Jeff). In 1944, not long after Jeff was born, Agnes and her boys moved to Pittsburgh to live with Elizabeth and Charles while Art was in the Navy. Agnes and her children would move back in with Elizabeth again around 1950 while Art was working in New York and living in New Jersey.
During this time, Elizabeth's son Frank married Elizabeth (Libby) O'Brien. They lived in the the same neighborhood on the North Side and eventually bought the home next to Elizabeth and Charles. In 1953, Agnes, Art, Corky and Jeff moved to New Jersey permanently.
Over the next ten years, Elizabeth and Charles would live for long periods of time in New Providence with Agnes and her family, and then return to Pittsburgh. They had a room upstairs in the Cubbage home and enjoyed being close with their grandsons. This is a picture of Elizabeth and her grandson Corky working on a tree in the yard!
On 30 June 1964, Charles Merz died in New Jersey and was buried at the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in New Providence. Less than two years later on 20 April 1966, Elizabeth died in Pittsburgh. She was buried next to her husband in New Providence. This is a picture of her (far left) at her grandson Corky's wedding in March of 1965 - one of the last pictures taken of her.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Funeral Card Friday - Elizabeth Linnemann Speck Merz

Elizabeth Linnemann Speck Merz was my great-grandmother. She died in Pittsburgh on April 20, 1966, but was buried next to her second husband (Charles Merz) at the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in New Providence, NJ, just a few blocks from her daughter Agnes' house. Her first husband, Frank Speck, died in 1940.

This is a picture of Elizabeth in Pittsburgh, circa 1945.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Agnes Speck

In honor of Women's History Month, I will be posting about my female ancestors this month. This is a picture of my grandmother, Agnes Speck Cubbage, with her sons Corky and Jeff in 1944. I did a post about this Fearless Female last year.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - James and Barbara Cubbage

James Cubbage and Barbara Black Cubbage are my second great grandparents. I recently posted a picture of the tombstone.  James died on 28 February 1906 at his home in Glade Mills, which is a part of Penn Township in Butler County, PA. Barbara died on 9 February 1907, also at home, less than a year after her husband. Barbara's obituary had a lot more information in it compare to James'. Her funeral card has even more details about her life and eight children!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Favorite Photo Friday - James & Barbara Cubbage

My parents have these incredible images of my second great grandparents. I am so happy that these have stayed within our family!  My guess is that they sat for these in the late 1880's or 1890's in Butler County, PA.

James Cubbage (1829-1906)

Barbara Black Cubbage (1837-1907)