Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Mysterious Josephine

One of the mysteries in my more immediate family tree centers around this lady named Josephine. Josephine was the sister of my great grandfather whose wife was pictured in my last post and was the aunt to my still living grandfather. You wouldn't think she would be a mystery but she is. Whenever I ask my grandfather about her, all he will tell me is that she was married lots of times, possibly around seven times, and lived down in Arizona or New Mexico somewhere until she died. I always got the impression that my grandfather thought she was kind of loose with her morals.

Thanks to genealogy records found online, I have begun to piece together some of her past on my own and perhaps one day might find why my grandfather doesn't want to talk about her. So far, I do know she was married to two men in her past, the first one and the last one. I doubt that there are five more in the middle as my grandfather suggests but one may never be too sure. I've also found numerous newspaper articles on a near drowning incident involving her. Evidently her and a friend got swamped by boat waves and went under. A nearby fellow rescued her friend first and by the time they got to Josephine, she had already gone down a third time and not resurfaced. They finally found her and were able to revive both her and her friend.

She lived with her parents in Iowa until she was married sometime between 1930 when she was living with her parents, my great great grandparents, and 1935 when she appears in a Denver, Colorado directory married. I wonder if the picture taken below is her in her wedding dress, the only other picture I have of her.  In 1940, when the next census came out, she was still married and living to her husband in Denver, Colorado. The last record of her in Denver was in a 1943 when she was listed as a survivor in her father's obituary and she still retained her first husband's surname. Thirteen years later, she is married to a different man living in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she remained even after he died in 1973. When she died in 1988, she was buried in the same town.

Although there are large gaps in the records, there isn't anything to suggest much of a mystery. When her brother, my great grandfather died in 1985, I was at his funeral but I'm pretty sure she wasn't. Of course she was 78 years old at the time and may not have been physically able but I don't know that for sure. I guess where the real mystery lies is why my grandfather won't talk about her and when he does, it is anything but flattering. Did she and my great grandfather have some sort of family split where they didn't talk to each other and he passed that split down to my grandfather? Perhaps someday I will find out.


Vince said...

You haven't thought of TB have you. Families reacted very badly to that disease. The mountains and the desert were used by those with it and more importantly by those who recovered. The lungs could be very badly scared.
And it is possible you grandad is taking his cue from a fear he took from his father. The dates work, and her photo does also.
You could ask the town and State taxation authorities about her place of habitual abode.

warren said...

I love the last pic! It seems like such an elegant time!

Ed said...

Vince - You may have something. It will take some more research on my part to find out.

Warren - I like that picture too for the same reason!

Murf said...

I like her! That seems like a long time and kind of strange for someone to still be mad at their aunt as he seems to be. Father-daughter, sure. Nephew-aunt seems weird.

Vince said...

And of course there is always the depression. She might have had money and didn't give a helping hand. That type of thing can sour families. Mind you how much could she have had at 23 in 1930 one of the bad years.
It could even have been the other way. She and her husband may have borrowed and couldn't return it causing untold damage. A bit like if someone went guarantee at a bank in 2006 for someone doing a housing development.