Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: M is for Manspeaker


“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for the Manspeakers, George and Anna Martha. Anna was my grandfather’s first cousin, sister of Ben Davis, and aunt to the girls who also attended my grandfather’s funeral in 1963. In the Guest Book, the Manspeakers’ names appear immediately after Anna’s younger sister, Nora Hart.

When George and Anna married in 1923, he was a widower with two young daughters. He and Anna had three more girls. Even after marriage and having children, Anna continued to work in the garment factory where she had worked in 1920. George was a brick mason by trade. Perhaps he built their home in Martinsburg, West Virginia. While the house is not for sale, you can tour it on Zillow, which incorrectly dates the house from 1956. Another realty site gives a more accurate estimate of 1926.


Manspeaker house in Martinsburg, WV
snipped from Zillow

Probably the most eventful thing that ever happened to the Manspeakers happened to George’s niece Irene. Single and age 31, Irene gave birth to a baby boy in June 1939. Yet a day later, the baby was dead.  And the cause? “Violence at the hands of some person or persons unknown.” Manner of injury:  contusion and strangulation.

Am I the only one who is suspicious? Irene was the informant, yet she claimed not to know the father. This could be one juicy story to ferret out.


Avoid malady and malaise but be malleable to being mesmerized by the maelstrom of magniloquent and mellifluous myths and metaphors offered by the mavens of the blogisphere at the A to Z April Challenge.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

18 comments:

  1. That is sad and yet intriguing. Especially for it to happen in one day after birth! I've been to Martinsburg. I love that area of the country and in fact have found some roots in the area. Love you theme!

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    1. What a small world. It is pretty country. Thanks for visiting.

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    1. Doesn't it though. Nice to see you Rachna!

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  3. Another unusual name in your Cousin Line. Wow, a murder mystery. You will definitely have to dig some more into Irene's background. Bound to be a newspaper article somewhere.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ's wHooligans

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    1. It is indeed unusual - I wonder about the origins of the name.

      I checked GenealogyBank for the story but nada.

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  4. Love the name Manspeaker, and yes, what a "mystery" to ferret out. Great idea for a story, though truly sad. Wonder why she claimed not to know the father. I mean, obviously she would know who he was. I can understand not telling who he was, but to deny she even knew him, well, that's just crazy. Perhaps she was! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. The name sounds perfect for a Victorian novel or even some post-apocalyptic one.
      Thanks for visiting.

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  5. There is something suspicious here - hopefully the police did some investigating.

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  6. Whoa...a very tragic story concerning the baby. It does make you wonder. Probably something you'll never resolve unless another relative has written about it, or there is a police report somewhere. There was a suicide in my family tree that has made me wonder too. Also ....love that last name a lot!
    Inventions by Women A-Z
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. Murder and mayhem certainly add some morbid spark to the dusty details of genealogy.
      Thanks for visiting.

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  7. I too am intrigued about the cause of death for that young infant. You would think there would have been an investigation if that cause of death was listed? These days I'm sure there would have been. Such a scandal back then I would have imagined.

    betty

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    1. I'm sure today Irene would be the #1 suspect. Could there have been a relative "helping" her out of this embarrassing situation of being an unwed mother?

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  8. Yes, I am definitely suspicious.

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    1. You're in good company. Thanks for visiting.

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  9. Yep, that's highly suspicious. I'm surprised it was left at that.

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    1. Whether the baby's death was chalked up to "oh well" or whether there is much more to the story will take more time to investigate than AtoZ allows!
      Thanks for visiting.

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