Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ethel Clark & Fanny Snow

Upon getting from Jerry more specific dates of birth and death for Ethel Clark, Ancestry provided me with an automated "hint" about where Ethel actually died...and lo and behold, she died in Contra Costa County, California....right across the Bay from me in San Fran.

It was shocking to me to learn that I wasn't the first to go west. Not that I wanted to be, but I assumed the family was so well contained in New England, with a very few people having moved to Florida and Mississippi.

I have no idea why she moved out west, but she died here in 1981. Anyhow, I learned about this while Mom was still here. She had only heard a little about her Aunt Ethel, being one of Grampy Clark's sisters. Grampy Clark grew up in an orphanage, but that's another story...

Another great thing about Ancestry is that it also has searchable databases of a variety of public records. I was able to find Aunt Ethel's actual street address. Further research pointed me to the fact that Grampy Clark's sister Emma had a daughter named Fanny Stoll (married name Snow), that moved out west to live with Aunt Ethel.


Fanny's husband Richard Snow had died in Hartford in 1962. Shortly thereafter, she moved out west to live with her Aunt Ethel. Fanny worked at Woolworth's in San Pablo as a salesclerk from around 1970-1985. The 1930 Census had her working as a sales girl at the local five and dime in Ulster Town, New York. In 1940, Fanny and Dick were live-in caretakers at the Curtis household on Curtis Road in Brookfield, CT, just before they had their two children, Dick, Jr. and Albert.

ABT 1940

Fanny battled diabetes all her life, and renal failure put her in the Brookside Nursing Home in San Pablo (now Creekside). She died four months later, on New Year's Eve, Dec. 1995. Her son Richard Jr was the informant on her death record. He was living at the Snow residence in San Pablo at the time. He died 18 months later in Clearlake, up in Lake County, California. Fanny was laid to rest in Kingston at St. Mary's Cemetery, at the Snow/Stoll family plot. Her other son, Albert, lived in Kingston all his life, and was also buried near his mother. The confusing thing is, her social security records had the last payment address as Fort Dodge, Iowa. I wonder if that was the headquarters for the nursing home?

Mom, my friend Emily (another Ancestry dork) and I all piled into the Zipcar for the Napa valley, and stopped on the way to see Aunt Ethel's house, which is in San Pablo, on the border of Richmond.

SNOW RESIDENCE (Lovegrove Avenue)
San Pablo, CA

The neighborhood is slightly ghettoized at this point. This didn't stop Mom, who started to get out of the car and walk over to the front door of the house, hoping she could get an interview with someone who knew her old aunt. I was all like "Mom, get back in the car!!" Richmond is notorious for its crime rate, and I didn't want to take any chances on Mom having some trouble. Besides, Ethel died 30 years ago at that address...what are the chances of anyone knowing anything about her? Apparently, during the time Ethel and Fanny lived there, the town was in a boom because of a Ford plant, which was later relocated, hence the poor economy there, and high crime. Ethel battled ovarian cancer, had her ovaries removed, and ultimately died from the disease in 1981, at Brookside Hospital (now Doctors Medical Center). I can't seem to find out what happened to Cyril after she died.

We also went to Rolling Hills Cemetery, where I happened to locate a burial site for Ethel and her husband, Cyril Adams. There was no grave marker. Only a sad grassy knoll.

The dude who brought us there looked exactly like Lurch from the Addams Family:

Lurch was very nice, and was also very embarrassed at the possibility that Ethel and Cyril's grave was covered over with dirt and grass (due to 30 years of weather). He got on his walkie-talkie and ordered two gravediggers to come over in their tractorette, and start digging up the site!!! WTF???

Suddenly a guy in a cookie monster hooded sweatshirt is at the gravesite, pickaxing and shoveling away at the knoll, looking for any sign of a grave marker. Lurch ordered them to stop when it was clear that there was, after all, no marker. Phew! I'm sure my mom would have loved to have met Aunt Ethel, but not just her skeletal structure!

The Clarks have always been "no fuss no muss" so it doesn't surprise me that old Ethel opted not to get a fancy grave marker. I have to take Lurch's word for it...she's buried there.

Fanny and her husband Richard, however, are buried in Kingston at St. Mary's Cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. LOL omg, that guy looked SO MUCH like Lurch! Amazing.