In Loving Memory of Our Mom
Rev 15, Jan 19 , 2011
The History of Our Mothers Ancestors
The 1844-1944 History of Homewoods
Kress, Hauck, Crowe, Messer & ODonnell Families
By Hugh Owen ODonnell and Martha ODonnell Arnold
The purpose of this memorial is to tell the very interesting story of our mother, Margaret Kress and her mother Anna Kress. The project also attempts to tell the complex history of the Hauck, Crowe, Kress, Messer and ODonnell extended families living in Homewood section of Pittsburgh (zip code15208) between the years of 1844 to 1944. The way these families interacted with one another is a story of a late 19th century, early 20th century American extended family, unlike any family in this modern day of easy travel and rapid communication.
In the weeks following our mother's death, we set out in search of her roots, roots that would bear the beauty of her life's story, roots that would inform our own. We set out in search of ancestry, of genealogy, of heritage, of relationships. We set out in search of truth. Uncovered was the extraordinary, 93-year journey of a woman whose astonishing childhood inspired a deeply ingrained strength, whose life became passionately devoted to faith and family and whose extraordinary legacy may now be fully known.
One of the most extraordinary facts about our mothers life is that our grandmother, Anna Kress, never formally acknowledged Margaret Kress as her daughter until very late in Anna's life. It is our intention to highlight in this research our understanding of why our grandmother would wait 60 some years to reveal to her daughter that she was indeed her Mother.
Although we always assumed that our grandma was our mother's mother we never called her grandma. We called her Gangie as did our Mom. However, in the last years of our grandmothers life she did acknowledge, for the first time, in a birthday card to Margaret, that she was her mother. She did so by signing the card Love Mother. Anna died a few years later in 1979. Our mom saved the card, tucking it away in her silver box of valuable papers.
In the paragraphs ahead, we will try to explain why the birthday card with its signature of "Love Mother" was such a poignant event for both these women in the context of the complex historical details of their lives.
Let us begin our memorial by giving thanks to all our ancestors. We are here today because of their history, the sweet, the sour, and the bitter of it. May we be guided in its telling.
Our journey into the past began January 2006 when we traveled the once tree lined neighborhood that encompassed Apple, Lincoln, Homewood and Larimer Avenues; Hermitage, Idlewild, Pineridge and Collier Streets. We got a feel, a flavor for the people who walked and talked on those streets; lived in those houses, one room arrangements, third floor spaces; shared those churches, alley ways, school steps, classrooms, blackboards and corner stores. We imagined the joyous bonds formed and the hearts broken, the stories and secrets shared, the holidays and traditions that bind and separate us as individuals and as families.
This neighborhood tells a story and if the trees and the sidewalks and the blue sky above could speak well, we might have spent our time hanging out with them. We have instead history from research, documentation, census, word of mouth memories, and our own sensibilities that provide a glimpse into these families and a hint of why our mother was as dynamic and devoted to faith and family as she proved to be in her 93 years.
We will tell our story using a year-by-year timeline of significant events in the life of our mother and our mothers mother, Anna Mariam Kress. The time line will start in 1844 with the birth of Anna Kresss parents in the Hessen region of Germany and cover the next 100 years. The timeline will focus on the relationship of Anna Kress with her two sisters, Mary (Kress) Hauck and Catherine (Kress) Crowe, as it relates to the life of our mother.
The timeline will also include significant events in the life of Maurice John ODonnell, our father, and his ancestors, as they might relate to our story, beginning with the immigration from Ireland of our fathers grandparents, Bridget (Campbell) and Neil ODonnell.
1. In 1844, our maternal great grandfather, William Kress, is born in the small rural German town of Neuhof, Hessen, located 40 miles NE of present day Frankfurt, Germany. William is the son of John Kress and Eva Kelm. We believe William immigrates to Pittsburgh around 1865.
2. In 1845, our maternal great grandmother, Augusta Kress, is born in Dorfborn Germany. Augusta is the mother of our grandma, Anna Mariam Kress. Dorfborn is located one mile north of Neuhof. Augusta Kress is the daughter of Petrus Kress and Agnes Jahn. Interestingly, Augustas maiden name, Kress, was the same as the man she married. We suspect Augusta and her future husband, William Kress, immigrated to Pittsburgh at the same time.
3. The immigration of our mother and fathers ancestors to America starts just after 1850.
4. The first immigrant is John Jacob, our maternal grandmother's future in-law, who came from Hessen Germany to Pittsburgh around 1850. John Jacob (born 1832) and his wife, Margaret Jacob (born 1828), came to Western Pennsylvania from Darmstadt, Germany. Darmstadt is located 10 miles south of Frankfurt. The Jacob family worked a farm near Jeannette PA and had at least 7 American born children.
5. Sometime around 1850-1860, a Frederick Hauck, another future in-law of our maternal grandmother, immigrates to Pittsburgh from Hessen, Germany. Frederick Hauck was born in 1841 and had lived in Hauenstein, Germany, located about 50 miles south of Frankfurt. After Frederick Hauck arrived in Pittsburgh, he marries John Jacobs oldest daughter, Mary Jacob (born 1855).
Frederick Hauck 1841 -1919 1892 Photo
6. Interestingly, Frederick and Mary Jacob Haucks grandson, Carl Hauck Sr, will later marry our dads sister, Grace ODonnell Hauck, connecting these German families through both our mom and our dad's sister. The Jacob, Hauck, and Kress 1850 German ancestors will soon meet and intermarry with 1860 Irish immigrants named ODonnell setting the stage for both our mother and father's German Irish ancestral story.
7. On June 5, 1861, the ship South Shore arrives in New York carrying immigrants from Ireland. The poor immigrants Neil and Bridget (Campbell) ODonnell climb off the boat from County Mayo Ireland with their two infant sons Michael and Owen ODonnell. They settle in Cleveland, Ohio with many other 1840-1860 Irish immigrants from the same region of west County Mayo. The western part of county Mayo is centered on Clew Bay and the major areas of Newport, Westport and Achill Island. Later in our story, Neil and Bridget ODonnells grandson, Maurice John ODonnell, will become our father after marriage to Augusta and William Kress granddaughter, Margaret Kress.
Neil and Bridget O'Donnell 1874 Photo
8. On Jan 10, 1866, a Margaret Long, our mother's future paternal grandmother, is born in Kilderry, Londonderry, Ireland, located just east of County Donegal where the great Fighting Prince of Donegal, Red Hugh ODonnell, once lived in his grandfather's 15th century castle. Margaret Long was born to Henry Long and Elizabeth Murray. We believe this is the same Margaret Long that later married Robert R Messer, who also immigrated to Pittsburgh, setting the stage for the very interesting story of just who was our mothers father.
9. On Oct 31, 1866, a Robert Robson Messer, our mother's future paternal grandfather, was born in Hawick, Roxburgh, Scotland located 20 miles SE of. Edinburgh. Robert was the son of Henry Messer and Janet Wemyss. Henry and Janet were married June 7, 1866. Henry Messer was born Aug 3, 1847 to Henry Messer and Betsy Robson, all from the same part of Scotland as Robert. Margaret Long and Robert R. Messer would later give birth to the man who was named on our moms 1912 birth certificate, our maternal grandfather, John Messer.
10. On Aug 6, 1867, Augusta and William Kress, our grandmother Anna's parents, are married in Allegheny Citys St. Marys Catholic Church. Allegheny City is located on what is now Pittsburghs north side. Allegheny City became part of Pittsburgh in 1907. Their first home was at 17 Long Alley. This alley is now called Lovitt Street and is located between Madison and Chestnut streets on Pittsburghs north side near the H J Heinz plant but about three blocks toward Allegheny General Hospital.
11. The Kress' have several infant deaths. On Sep 28, 1868, Augusta and William Kress first child, John, is born. Another child is born Oct 29, 1870. On April 20, 1872, the twins, William and Mary Caroline, are born. Apparently, none of these 4 children survived beyond infancy. A fifth child, Fred (Ferdinand) is born Aug 14, 1873 at 43 Long Alley (zip 15212) and baptized in St Marys on Aug 18, 1873. Freds godparents are Ferdinand Hohmann and his wife, Maria Margaretha. Fred survived as the Kress oldest son.
12. The 1870 census shows many Kresss living in Pittsburgh. We suspect the reason Augusta and William immigrated to Pittsburgh from the Hessen region of Germany was to join relatives already living here in Pittsburgh. The following people were listed in the 1870 census as possible Hessen born relatives of William and Augusta Kress.
o Franz Kress (b 1818) stone mason
o Nicholas Kress (b 1822), blacksmith
o Leopold Kress (1842), Lawrenceville tavern owner
o George Kress (1838), teamster
o Andrew Kress (b 1832), butcher
o Blasius Kress (b 1843), plasterer, and
o Rinehart Kress (b 1833), blacksmith.
13. The 1870 Census shows all the above Pittsburgh Kress immigrants were born in the same part of Germany (Hessen) as William and Augusta Kress. We believe William had at least two brothers, Blasius (born 1843) and Fabian (born 1841). Blasius Kress seems to have been the more established of the two having perhaps immigrated before William or Fabian. Fabian never married and lived with William and Augusta at several times during their life in Pittsburgh.
14. We believe the 1870 Kress knew the Pittsburgh German families named Hauck and Jacob. We know that William Kress, John Jacob and Frederick Hauck were all from Hessen, Germany. The Hessen region was centered on the large city of Frankfurt, Germany. All of these German immigrants most likely knew each other in Pittsburgh because people from the same area of their mother country usually socialized together here in the US. Additionally, all of these German immigrants were strong Roman Catholics as was traditional of Germans from Bavaria/Hessen part of Germany.
15. On August 15, 1874, Frederick Hauck and Mary Jacob, age 19, are married in Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, PA (zip 15208.) Around this same time, Frederick Hauck started a shoe store business at 407 Larimer Avenue located only two blocks from Sts Peter and Paul Church.
16. In 1874, Sts Peter/Paul church was the only Roman Catholic Church in Pittsburghs east end, Homewood, district. Later, three additional RC churches, Holy Rosary (1893), Corpus Christi (1902) and St Walburga (1928) RC churches are built in this predominately Irish and German neighborhood. The Irish people attended Holy Rosary and Corpus Christi parish. The German people attended Sts Peter/ Paul and St Walburga.
17. In 1875, Frederick Haucks oldest child, John A. Hauck, is born. John A. Hauck later married William and Augusta Kress oldest daughter, Mary Kress, in what we suspect was an arranged marriage.
18. In 1875, William and Augusta Kress move to Butchers Run (north side) where their daughter Mary Kress, is born on Aug 23, 1875. Williams brother, Blasius, is the sponsor at Marys baptism in St Marys Catholic Church located on Pittsburghs north side.
19. In June, 1876, John Maurice ODonnell, our dad's father, is born to Bridget Campbell and Neil ODonnell in Cleveland Ohio. John is their second child named "John." Their first John was born in 1865 but died as a young child.
20. On Aug 21, 1882, Catherine Duffy, our dad's mother, is born to James Duffy and Catherine Gibbons in Sheeaun townland, Islandeady parish, Co Mayo, Ireland, located 2 miles east of Westport and 5 miles south of Newport, near the banks of Clew Bay. Catherine immigrates to Cleveland, marries John Maurice ODonnell in Cleveland, and becomes our dads mother. Catherine Duffy immigrated to Cleveland between 1901 and 1911. Her sister Mary Ellen (May) was the first to immigrate a few years before Catherine. Catherine Duffy lived several blocks ( Detroit Ave in Clevelands west side ) from John Maurice ODonnell before their marriage on May 20, 1908.
21. On Sep 27, 1877, Leonard Kress was born to William and Augusta. We do not know much about Leonard Kress or his brother Frederick, as it relates to our mom and grandma's story. Fred and Leonard apparently had no interest in being part of the family stone business.
22. Stone cutting was important to the Kress family. In 1877, Blasius Kress, Williams brother, is found working in a stone quarry. A Magdalene Kress, widow of a George Kress, is living at 53 Spring Garden Ave, located about 2 blocks from Longs Alley on the north side. William Kress is found working in a quarry as well. We suspect the Kress family either had relatives here who were in the stone business or they came from Germany with stone quarry experience.
23. On Feb 25, 1880 Joseph Kress, our grandma Anna's dear brother, was born. We know Joe Kress later inherited William Kress stone quarry business and he lived with our mother and our grandmother during the early years of our moms life at 6910 Apple Ave. Joe Kress remained single until the age of 44 and lived with our mom and Anna for 12 years.
24. In 1880, William Kress' family moves to the Lawrenceville-Morningside section of Pittsburghs east end. William and Augusta Kress now had only 4 living children: Fred, Mary, Leonard, and Joe. Their first four children had died.
25. In 1881 Margaret Long immigrates to the USA. Margaret will later become our mothers paternal grandmother. We even suspect she may be the reason our mother was named Margaret.
26. Between 1883 and 1886, two more Kress children died as infants. The children were named Blasius, born Apr 1, 1882 and Fabian, born May 13, 1883.
27. In 1883, William Kress is shown living near 54th St and Butler, in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. A Leopold Kress is a tavern person/owner at Butler and 37th street nearby. William is shown working as stone quarry laborer.
28. In 1885, Frederick Hauck, father of John A. Hauck, is shown working or owning a shoe store at 407 Larimer Ave. A Wilhelm Kress is shown living at 54th street and Butler. Our great grandfather, William Kress, sometimes is listed on various records with the first name Wilhelm, Wilhemus, Wilhelmo, Gulielmum, Gulielmo, Guililemo, or Guillelmo Kress.
29. On May 1, 1886, Catherine Kress, our moms dear Aunt Katie and Anna's dear sister, was born. She was baptized in St Augustines Lawrenceville RC Church on May 9, 1886, with sponsors Clemens and Maria Melania Kress. Clemens was probably a very close relative of the Kress because he is shown living with William and Augusta in 1889. Catherine Kress was a very supportive sister to our grandmother, Anna Kress, her entire life. Catherine Kress would later marry the son of Thomas Crowe. Tom Crowe was an Irish immigrant who started a grocery store business at 539 Homewood Avenue. The marriage would be the first to commingle the German and Irish families.
30. Thomas Crowe (born 1852) emigrated from Ireland in 1886. He was naturalized a citizen in 1892. He married an American born wife named Mary Agnes Hanlon who was born in Pittsburgh in 1870. Thomas Crowe's son, John, would later marry Catherine Kress. The Crowe family and their Irish neighbors, the ODonnells, become significant people in the life of our German grandmother, Anna Kress, and the life of our mother, Margaret Mary Kress ODonnell. The Crowe family was to become close friends to our dad, Maurice J. ODonnell, even before the German Kress and Irish Crowes intermarried.
31. In 1887, the William Kress family moves to McCandless and Butler Street, not far from 54th Street. Williams brother, Blasius, is now a plasterer and no longer a quarryman. Blasius remains living on the north side at 46 Raymond Ave even though his brother William has moved across the Allegheny River to Lawrenceville and still works in a quarry. Surprisingly, Blasius house at 46 Raymond Ave still stands today. The house is located on the east side of the Parkway North (I-579), one house among a narrow row of about a dozen houses, up the side of a steep hill, just to the right of the Gerst St over walk that crosses I-579, about ¼ mile south of St. Boniface church.
32. On August 29, 1888, our maternal grandmother, Anna Mariam Kress, is born. She is baptized in St Augustines (Lawrenceville) Church on Sep 9 1888. Annas godparents are Joe and Anna Becker who had emigrated from Germany. Anna Kress was the last-born Kress child.
33. In 1888, Robert R. Messer, our moms paternal grandfather, emigrates from Scotland to the USA to marry a Margaret Long. Robert Messer worked as a slate roofer in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh all his life. One can imagine that the remaining slate roofs in the area today might very well be his handy work.
34. On Sep 29, 1890, the father of our mother is born. He is John Messer, the son of Robert and Margaret (Long) Messer. John Messer is born and baptized at Sacred Heart RC Church. Significantly, Johns father was non-Catholic. Margaret (Long) Messer was Catholic.
35. In 1891, William Kress is living at Haights Alley near Stanton Ave. Haights Alley is a now defunct road that used to run parallel with Serpentine Street that goes up the hill from Butler Street past the Pittsburgh Zoo. The area where the road existed is now part of the Zoos parking area. Haights Alley, or Haights Run as it was sometimes called, was located in the Morningside section of Pittsburgh, halfway between the Lawrenceville and Lincoln Ave sections of Pittsburgh.
36. Soon the Kress family and Hauck family meet. In 1891, a John Kress is shown in the Pittsburgh directory living on Lincoln and Lemington Ave, near the shoe store run by Fred Hauck. This John Kress might have been the source of how William Kress and Frederick Hauck came to know each other in Pittsburghs Homewood area. A John Kress will later appear living with William Kress.
37. In 1892-1893, a Frank C. Kress is living with Blasius Kress at 46 Raymond Ave. A Clement, Fabian, Thomas C, and John J. Kress are all shown living with William Kress at Haights Run and Dunn Streets near Morningsides Stanton Ave area. We suspect these Kress were close relatives of Blasius and William Kress. They may have recently emigrated from Germany.
38. In the 1896 Pittsburgh Directory, William Kress is living at Haights Run and is still working in a stone quarry. A Paul Kress is listed as a stone contractor at 298 East Street on the North Side. We wonder if this Paul Kress was a relative and the source of the Kress connection to the stone and quarry business?
39. In 1897, William Kress is shown living at Haights Run. He is listed living with his brother Fabian Kress. Both William and Fabian are listed in the Pittsburgh directory as quarrymen. A John Kress, painter, is now listed living with Blasius Kress at 46 Raymond Ave.
40. In 1897, John A. Hauck (now age 22) is shown working with his father, Frederick Hauck, at the shoe store at 407 Larimer Ave in the Pittsburgh Homewood-Lincoln Ave district. A Thomas Crowe is shown living at 3420 Ligonier Street in the Lawrenceville section of the city. Shortly after this a Thomas Crowe family will be found on Bennett Street in Homewood.
41. In 1898, four Hauck sons; Frederick Jr., John A., Lewis, and Joseph W. are shown either living/working at 407 Larimer Ave with their father Frederick Haucks shoe business. Joseph W Kress is shown working as a tinner or sheet metal worker. Lewis and John A. Hauck are working as clerks in the shoe store.
42. Around the turn of the century, the Kress family and Hauck family seem to be achieving wealth. In 1898, William and Augusta Kress are doing well financially and make their first of several real estate purchases. Interestingly, their first real estate purchase is located near the corner of Apple Avenue and Lincoln Ave in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Real Estate Records are listed by Volume and Page number at the County Recorder of Deeds Office. On March 14, 1898, V1326Page44, George Jenkins sold 5 lots, the lots that now are still found at addresses 6902, 6904, 6906, 6908 and 6910 Apple Avenue, zip 15208. William Kress paid $4,200 for this 2 story row of 5 house units which will later house our mom during the first 6 years of her life.
43. On August 28, 1900, Frederick Haucks oldest son, John A. Hauck, marries William Kresss oldest daughter, Mary Kress. The wedding is held in the Haucks St Peter and Pauls Church. The Kress may have transferred to this parish by now since the church is as close to Morningside as is St Augustine Church.
44. The 1900 Pittsburgh City Directory shows William Kress working and/or living at two addresses: one address is Apple/Lincoln Avenue; the second address is Sandy Creek, PA. The first address is at or near the property they purchased in 1898 on Apple Ave. The dual address makes us believe William Kress was either working or starting a stone supply store at the corner of Lincoln Ave and Apple Avenue while at the same time working in a stone quarry located on Verona Road near Sandy Creek Road in what was then called Penn Township.
45. In 1900, William Kress is now clearly working as owner of a Penn Township stone quarry. The stone quarry, now abandoned, exists today located near the intersection of Verona Rd and Nadine Rd (also called Lincoln Rd, an extension of Lincoln Ave) in Pittsburghs Penn Hills section. As we have already mentioned, this stone quarry probably had an associated building supplies outlet store located at the corner of Apple and Lincoln Avenues.
46. Between the years 1890-1906, Augusta and William Kress made additional real estate purchases. The most significant purchase after the Apple Ave purchase was the stone quarry. On November 28, 1899, William Kress purchases a 15-acre stone quarry from a C Fenton Harvey for $5,200. The stone quarry had been previously bought from a Wm. McKnight, a prominent 1895 Verona Road major landowner, on February 24, 1899 for only $3500 (V1050Page429.)
47. On Feb 24, 1904, Augusta Kress bought (V1305Page291) property described as lot 28, Pittsburgh City Plan Book Vol 9, page 132. The property was located on Ella Street, Lawrenceville and cost 3500$.
48. In Sep, 1904, William Kress purchased (V1358Page43) property described as Lot #19, Pittsburgh City Woolslayer Plan of Lots, Plan Book Volume 5, Page 238.
49. On Dec 3, 1904, Neil ODonnell, our dads grandfather, died at 138 Gordon Ave (now W 65th ) in Cleveland, Ohio. His death marks the first death of a family patriarch or matriarch stemming from the 1850-1890 immigrations.
50. In Aug 1906, Augusta Kress purchases (V1464Page437) property costing $1600 and described as lots 362 and 363 on what is now Witherspoon Ave, near Butler Street in Morningside.
51. A 1905 picture of the William and Augusta Kress family was taken at their new Penn Township home on Verona Rd. We believe the home was located next to Sandy Creek between the creek and the south side of Verona Road. The house was located between the intersection of what are now Sandy Creek Road and Verona Road and the stone quarry. We suspect the exact location of the Kress family home sat on property now containing a newer house having the address 4618 Verona Rd, 15147.
52. The stone quarry had a building that was used to form and cut stone taken from the quarry. A part of this building still stands today housing the ACE junkyard of 4550 Verona Rd, 15147.
53. On April 27, 1907, William Kress, family Patriarch, dies from peritonitis. He appears to have contracted appendicitis on April 17, 1907. He made a simple two paragraph Will on April 23, leaving $4000 worth of goods and $8000 worth of property to his dear wife Augusta. Over the next two years all the property owned by William and Augusta Kress will be transferred for 1$ by Augusta Kress to her children.
54. On Sep 25, 1907, in Sts Peter Paul Church, John M. Crowe, the oldest son of an Irish born Homewood Grocer, Thomas Crowe, is married to Catherine Kress.
55. On May 20, 1908, John Maurice ODonnell, our paternal grandfather, married Catherine Duffy in Cleveland, Ohio. The marriage was to be short lived, as John Maurice ODonnell died 6 years later leaving behind our 5-year-old dad and 3-year-old aunt, Grace ODonnell. We believe John died from respiratory complications following a fire he fought as a Cleveland fireman.
56. On Nov 21, 1908, Augusta Kress transferred the Apple Ave lots to John M. Crowe and his wife, Catherine Kress Crowe, who, up until this time, had lived on Fluery Way.
57. In 1908, Augusta Kress transfers the stone quarry property to her son, Joseph Kress, for $1. The transfer is not made to the two older brothers of Joseph, Fred and Leonard. Joseph Kress becomes an active member of the Verona Businessman's Association between 1907-1910.
58. On July 4, 1909, Maurice John ODonnell, our dad, is born in Cleveland, Ohio, on 4621 Tillman Street, near Clevelands west side Flats. Our Dad's sister, Grace C. O'Donnell (later Hauck), was born in Cleveland Nov 23, 1910. For more details of my Dad's Story see
59. The1910 Census lists Augusta Kress, now age 65, as head of household and living at 6910 Apple Ave. She is head of household to the following people in the same house:
Joe Kress (28) son
Anna Kress (21) daughter
Fabian Kress (69) brother or brother in law
60. In 1910, the house at 6910 Apple Ave had a spectacular view of the surrounding Lincoln Ave-Homewood neighborhood, being a geographical high point. Interestingly, our mom remembers the Klu Klux Klan burning crosses on the hill above and behind the Apple Ave home. It was indeed a home with a view: a view of a community, which would become the stage for the story of our Moms next 30+ years of life.
61. On October 31, 1912, Margaret Kress (later ODonnell), our mother, is born in the Apple Ave home where her mother, Anna, Annas brother Joseph Kress, and Annas mother, all live together.
62. Margarets birth certificate records her mother as Anna Kress. Her father is listed as John Messer. We always knew our mothers mom was Anna Kress but we were never told about her father. It was as if he never existed. We knew our moms last name would normally be something other than Kress because that had been our grandmas maiden name.
63. On Nov 6, 1912, Margaret Kress is baptized in St Peter and Pauls church. Significant to our story, Margarets godmother was Mary Kress Hauck, Anna Kress older sister by 13 years. Anna Kress was 24 years old. The fathers name on the baptismal certificate matched the birth certificate. The father was a John Messer.
64. As we searched to locate our grandfather, John Messer, we noticed in the 1910 census a John Messer lived at 1217 Montezuma Street. Interestingly, this house is located only two blocks from Anna Kress 6910 Apple Ave home. John Messer is now age 20. Anna Kress is age 22 in 1910. John is shown living with his parents, Robert and Margaret Messer. John is the oldest of 8 Messer children. The other Messer children were: Jeannette (b 1891), Robert Jr. (b 1893), George (b 1895), Charles (b 1898), Margaret (b 1904), Howard (b 1906), and Edward (b 1909). The oldest son, John Messer, is listed working with his father as a roofer.
65. Let us now put aside more details on who our mothers father was and why we were never told he was John Messer. We will come back to John Messer at several places later in our story.
66. During the first six years of our moms life, 1912-1918, she lives with Anna and Annas 68-year-old mother, Augusta, at 6910 Apple Ave. Anna does not publicly claim our mom as her daughter. Our mom remembers being told Anna was her guardian.
67. John Messer is never openly mentioned in the Kress or Hauck families. Without checking our moms birth certificate or baptismal certificate, no one would ever know John Messer was our grandfather. The Kress and Messer family history, as it relates to the father of our mother, went underground until 2003.
68. Soon after 1912, on June 28, 1915, Joseph Kress suddenly transfers the ownership of the stone quarry to his brother-in-law, John A Hauck, for one dollar. John Hauck seems to have become the new operator/owner of the Kress stone quarry business. Perhaps this is understandable in that John A Hauck had business experience from working with his father, Frederick Hauck, as shoe storeowner.
69. But, this may also be understandable if the unmarried Joe Kress was the father of two children during this time period. In 1913, a baby girl, Vera, was born to the widow of a Philip Babilon. The birth certificate lists Joseph Kress as father. Vera's mother is Annie Babilon. Before Philip Babilon died in 1910, Annie Babilon had 4 children with Philip.
70. In late 1915, Annie Babilon had another child with Joe Kress, named Russel Babilon. Both Russel and Vera were given up for adoption in late 1915. Vera Babilon's name later was changed to Gertrude after adoption. Russel became Russel Roach, the father of Linda Spanos.
71. We recently met Linda Spanos. In discussions Linda has had with Annie Babilons daughter, Gertrude (Vera), she was told Joe Kress two sisters opposed Annie and Joe being married. The two sisters would have been Catherine Kress Crowe and Mary Kress Hauck.
72. In any case, the Pittsburgh City Directory shows Joe Kress remained single and continued to live in the Apple Avenue home with his aged mother, Augusta, his younger sister, Anna, and our fatherless mother, Margaret.
73. After 1915, Joe Kress no longer was involved in the family stone quarry business. Was the family business taken away from Joe Kress? Why did the business pass to Joes sister, Mary Kress Hauck? After leaving or being separated from the stone quarry business, Joe Kress becomes a machinist.
74. The scandals surrounding our mom's birth and the affairs of Joe Kress seemed to have created a huge PR problem for the Kress and Hauck families. If the scandals surfaced, not only would the stone business be affected, but the Hauck shoe business could have suffered as well. With the patriarch William Kress dead, John A. Haucks wife, our moms godmother, seems to have gained a large input into what happened in both the Hauck and Kress families. Augusta Kress could barely sign her real estate papers and had transferred all her wealth to her children right after her husband died in 1907. Augusta, we feel certain, was not in charge. Once Joe Kress dropped out, or was removed from the picture, Mary Kress Hauck seemed to hold the reigns.
75. We are left wondering if Annas guardianship story, promulgated in 1912, was dictated by Mary Kress Hauck. We do not think that Anna would disown her own daughter unless pressured to do so for the sake of family prosperity.
76. We can only imagine how the guardianship story impacted the life of Anna Kress. We think that Gangie had developed a special relationship to Margaret Long Messer. Our mom would have been Margaret & Roberts first grandchild and first granddaughter. Perhaps the only voice Anna could give to the situation was to name her daughter Margaret. Up until now, no one in the Kress family had been named Margaret.
77. In 1914, the Messer family moves from Montezuma Street to Runette Street located on the other side of Lincoln Ave from Apple Ave. In fact, we note the Messer family has now moved 4 times in the last fifteen years, all places within 8 blocks of each other.
78. In 1914, we see Margaret Messer is Catholic and attends the Irish RC parish church, Corpus Christi, located four blocks from Montezuma and Apple Streets. We know the Kress attend the German Catholic Church, Sts Peter and Paul, located 10 blocks from Apple Ave. We know Margaret Messers husband, Robert Messer, is non-Catholic. The non-Catholic father would have been strike one against any consideration of marriage by the Kress toward the John Messer family. The Messer family was financially poor compared to the wealthy stone quarry and shoe storeowners - strike two. Finally, John Messer was Irish/Scotch, not German - strike three.
79. John Messer went on to marry another woman. On February 1, 1915, John Messer, our mother's dad, is married to a Sara (Sadie) Richards in a civil ceremony by Justice of the Peace, Joseph McGee. John (Jack) and Sadie Messer have no children. John Messer becomes an itinerant factory worker and sets up an office/workshop on Bennett Street where he builds a few of his inventions.
80. John Messers nephew, Wayne Messer, remembers tinkering in the inventor John Messers workshop, along with Waynes father, George Messer. Wayne told us that one of John Messers more significant inventions was the Messer Jacket for coal burning furnaces. Wayne said his father, George Messer, financed many of Johns inventions with money from Georges thriving Homewood numbers business.
John Messer died on March 9, 1958. He is buried with his wife Sadie in Spring Grove Cemetery, East Liverpool Ohio. In 1960, Sadie Messer retired after a 40-year career with Sears & Roebuck. Sadie died October 7, 1975 in East Liverpool Ohio.
81. On September 23, 1914, John Maurice ODonnell, our paternal grandfather, dies in Cleveland Ohio at the age of 38. He was a member of Cleveland's Firefighter Engine Company No 4. His family of 4 lived at 4621 Tillman Ave near W 29th Street on Cleveland's west side. Shortly after John M dies, our paternal grandma, Catherine Duffy ODonnell, moves from Cleveland to Pittsburgh with her two small red haired children, our dad, Maurice John ODonnell and our Aunt, Grace ODonnell. We believe Catherine Duffy ODonnell moves to Pittsburgh after marriage to Anthony D. Limpert.
82. Before 1919, Anthony D Limpert had been married to a Julia Slack. We find a record of their marriage in Pittsburgh on Oct 17, 1894. Julia dies in 1919. The 1910 Census shows Anthony, Julia, and two children, Linwood A Limpert ( 1895-1975) and Marie living at 7227 Idewild St, Pittsburgh, PA, 15208. After 1921, Catherine Duffy and Anthony Limpert lived at 7318 Idewild St, one block from Anthony's former residence. The details of Anthony Limpert's former life before he married Catherine Duffy ODonnell were not known until 2010. It seems sharing of family history was not something encouraged on the ODonnell side of the family either.
83. In 1918, Augusta Kress, the family matriarch dies. We find Gangie, our mom, and Uncle Joe Kress now leaving Augusta's Apple Ave home and moving in with Aunt Katie and Uncle John Crowe at 7311 Hermitage St, located only 4 blocks from Apple Avenue.
84. On May 30, 1920, our mom, Margaret Kress, receives her first Holy Communion in Holy Rosary Church, a day she will later describe as the happiest day of her life. Fifteen years later, Margaret would marry Catherine Duffy ODonnell Limpert's son, Maurice John ODonnell.
85. The 1920 Census shows Aunt Katie and Uncle John Crowe had 6 children by then; John M Jr. (b 1904), Tom (born 1911), Catherine (b 1913), Vincent (b 1915), Lorretta (b 1917), and Charles (b 1919).
86. The 1920 Crowe family, despite an already overcrowded house, find it within their hearts to make room for 3 more family members (mom, Anna, and Joe) at their 7311 Hermitage Street home. The house was 2 blocks from Idewild St. Our mom liked living with the Crowes. She was fond of Aunt Katie and Aunt Katie seemed fond of her. Margaret had a close playmate in her cousin Catherine Crowe who was the same age. Catherine Crowe Peters would later become our moms maid of honor at Margarets marriage to Maurice J. ODonnell in 1937. Catherine Crowe would also be the maid of honor for Grace O'Donnell's marriage to Carl Hauck, in 1931.
87. On April 16, 1922, Fredericks widow, Mary Jacob Hauck dies. She is buried in Mt. Carmel cemetery with her husband. The cemetery plot is adjacent to the Kress cemetery plot and the graves of Augusta and William Kress. Interestingly, the cemetery is located half way between the Hauck shoe store near Lincoln Ave and the Kress/Hauck stone quarry on Verona Road.
88. The years 1920-1923, living on Hermitage Street, were good years, according to our moms 2003 memory. Margaret remembers the Crowe family vacations to Ligonier and stays at their Ligonier cottages. She remembers her Uncle John bringing a night cap to her and cousin Catherine before their going to sleep on many nights. She wondered if Aunt Katie was getting one as well.
89. By 1924 the situation in the Crowe household was changing for reasons our mother chose not to describe further. Suffice to say, Gangie instinctively knew it was time to move and they did. Joe Kress was no longer living with Anna and Margaret. The three had lived together since Margaret's birth in 1912. Joe Kress married Adella Conrad May 6, 1924.
90. Margaret and Anna now begin to live with Annas sister and our mother's godmother, Mary Kress Hauck. Around 1924, our mom and Gangie are found living with Aunt Mary and Uncle John A. Hauck at 424 Lincoln Ave. Aunt Mary and Uncle John had 3 children living at home in 1924; Marie (b 1903), Carl W. (b 1908) and Larry (b 1913). The Hauck's had another son, John F Hauck (born 1902), but he lived on his own in 1924. Mom and Gangie lived on the third floor. Our mom remembers not feeling at all comfortable with these new living arrangements.
91. In 1924, our mom is 12 years of age. At this age she still did not know who her father and mother were. Margaret remembers feeling very uncomfortable answering questions at school about her living arrangements and family background. Our mom was reluctant to make close friends at school because she knew she was different not having a mom or dad...just a guardian. She remembers feeling that people were having a good laugh over her background. She had two good friends, however, in classmates Irene Neff and Catherine Hauck (a distant relative.)
92. For the first time since Margaret was born, she is told Anna is her mother. During the 1924-1925-time period, our mom is seeing Father Andrew J. Pauley (1896-1972), assistant pastor of Sts Peter and Paul Church, for confession on a weekly basis. He was regarded as an important figure in our mothers life. He is friend, confidant and confessor. As she would put it he was like a father to me." What happens next is a remarkable story about the Catholic sacrament of confession and perhaps the key to the why Anna did not tell Margaret she was her mother.
93. Following one weekly confession, our mother remembers (in 2003) Father Pauley inviting her to the rectory to talk. To her shock and surprise, Father Pauley tells Margaret that Anna Kress is in fact her mother and that John Messer is her father. Father Pauley goes on to explain that the Messer family offered marriage but that the Kress family refused. Without our mom revealing these 2 secrets to us in 2003, secrets she had held inside her since she was 12 years old, we could never begin to comprehend the relationship between Anna and Margaret.
94. Our mom never divulges these 2 secrets to anyone, choosing not to confront Gangie (her guardian now revealed as her mother) with the information shared by Father Pauley. The secrets would remain silent, inside the hearts of these two women, until the Love Mother birthday card five decades later.
We can only speculate why Father Pauley saw fit to reveal these secrets to mom at this time. Not knowing ones mother and father during adolescence affects not only your self-image but also your interaction with others. Remember mom is reluctant to make friends and shes feeling like people are making fun of her. Father Pauley, knowing mom as well as he did, was sensitive to this.
95. We can only wonder if Gangie is having the same concerns and shares them with Father Pauley. Anna, most likely sworn to secrecy at the birthing of Margaret, sees Father Pauley as a vehicle with which the secret can be revealed to her daughter, under the sanctity and confidentiality of the confessional.
We will never know for sure but we can marvel at what possibly occurred and imagine the significance and impact this had on our mothers life. Perhaps this was the only way Anna could get around her vow of secrecy.
Remarkably, it was a vow Anna would later free herself of in a birthday card signed Love Mother given to her daughter Margaret a few years before Annas death in 1979.
96. In 1926, our mom began to draw and sketch at school. One of her very first drawings was of Jesus as a young boy. She seemed to bloom now that she had an identity and expressed herself through her love of art. She began to play the piano as well. Sister Julietta was one of her first art teachers.
97. Over the next 80 years our mother would become a prolific artist with oil and watercolor paintings (religious and landscapes primarily) that will shine on our living room walls for another century. In the later years of our mom's life, she enjoyed painting with Marie (Hauck) Brown, a friend from her childhood at 424 Lincoln Avenue. As will be explained later, our mom lived with Marie between 1924 and Maries marriage to Red Brown in 1931.
98. Marie and our mother would paint pictures together in mom's retirement years until Marie Hauck Brown died in 1988. In 1970, Marie and Margaret traveled to the Southwest together, gathering ideas for the many western scenes our mother painted in the 1970 and 1980's. We can imagine, as they painted, sharing stories about there common relative, Mary Kress Hauck, who was Marie's mom and Anna's sister. Remember Marie's brother was Carl Hauck, the husband of Grace ODonnell Hauck, and our mom's brother- in- law. Perhaps the retirement years with Marie Hauck Brown softened the path for our mom to share the secrets of her past with us in 2003. We will reveal more about Marie (Hauck) Brown when we get to 1931.
99. Somewhere around 1926, our mom remembers being hospitalized with scarlet fever and diphtheria. She was quarantined for 1 month and remembers Father Pauley and her doctor, Dr. Charles Hauck M.D. being the only persons permitted to visit. Charles Hauck was John A Haucks brother and lived across the street from moms new 424 Lincoln Ave address.
100. While living at 424 Lincoln Ave, our mother enjoys the friendship of Rosemary Hauck, daughter of Dr. Charles and Genevieve Hauck, living at 427 Lincoln Ave. Another 1924-1932 close friend of our mother was Helen Hauck, daughter of Uncle Joe Hauck, another John A Hauck brother. Helen lived next door at 426 Lincoln Ave. Helen grew up and became a nurse. Later in life our mother receives her LPN. We think Dr. Charles Haucks wife, Genevieve, a nurse, whom Margaret enjoyed and admired, served as role model. As life would have it, our mom relied on those nursing skills in 1978-79 to lovingly and meticulously care for Gangie in her final dying months at their 1304 Macon Avenue home.
101. On April 25,1927, Margaret was Confirmed in Sts Peter & Paul Church, choosing the name Cecilia, patron Saint of Music. On June 21, 1929, Margaret graduated from Sts Peter and Paul High School.
102. Moms aspiration after her 1929 graduation from High School was to become a nun. Our mom remembers that Gangie could not bare the thought of separation from her and would tearfully plead on many occasions for Margaret to reconsider. Mom finally acquiesced and found employment as a clerk at Frank & Seders, a department store across from Kaufmanns in downtown. For the remainder of their lives, Margaret and Anna live in the same house... as our father insisted.
103. The years 1928-1929 were very good years for the John A. Hauck quarry business. Our dad, now age 20, is working as an apprentice sign painter with Harvey Ringer, but he has time to help at the stone quarry along with his neighbor buddies, John and Tommy Crowe. The quarry provided so many jobs to the community that a trolley line extension was built from Frankstown Rd to the Verona stone quarry. In 1928, the Hauck quarry business donated all the stone to build a new German Catholic Church further east on Lincoln Avenue named St Walburgas. German immigration between 1925 and 1930 in Pittsburgh was so large that a German-speaking priest was brought over from Bavaria to minister at St Walburgas and the many German-speaking immigrants flowing into the Lincoln Ave area and the surrounding East Pittsburgh farms. Times are very good indeed.
104. A few years later, between 1930-1933, the depression starts to hit. Hard times are coming to Pittsburghs economy like it would the entire country. The demand for stone dropped as building stopped. The Germans of Pittsburgh had survived the hard ridicule of the World War I liberty cabbage years only to get hit by depression in the thirties and the rising scandal of Adolph Hitler.
105. In 1930 the Hauck and Kress families were still quite wealthy compared with the majority of other German immigrants. In December 1929, Margaret Kress receives her Comptometer Certificate.
106. On June 25, 1930, Carl William Hauck married our dads sister, Grace C. ODonnell becoming our Uncle Carl. It was another Irish German marriage. Carl Hauck is no longer living at 424 Lincoln Ave but he was still working as a stonecutter for his father, John A Hauck. In 1932, Grace and Carl Hauck are shown living with our dad and Graces mother, Catherine Duffy ODonnell Limpert, at 7318 Idewild Street. Once the stone quarry business declined, Carl became a machinist in Homestead PA.
Our Uncle Carl W Hauck passed away on Sept 13, 1967 in San Diego, CA. Our Dad's sister, Grace C Hauck, passed away May 14, 2006, in Sacramento, CA. Both are buried together in Holy Cross Cemetery in San Diego CA.
Our Dad's sister, our Aunt Grace C. Hauck, and her Husband , Carl W Hauck, moved to California after 1964. In future years, our Aunt Grace had three children. Her oldest son, Carl Hauck Jr, died in 2009. His wife Betty Jane Schnieder Hauck still resides in San Diego, CA. Betty and Carl have four children, Greg Hauck, David Hauck, Monica Hauck Hamiel, and Pauline Hauck Camp.
Our Aunt Grace's second child was Patricia. She married Kenny McClain. They have 5 children, Chris, Patrick, Kevin, Grace McClain Hanks, and Sean McClain. Patricia (Pat) died in Oregon Jun 2, 2000, after a long illness. Our Aunt Grace's third child is Rita Hauck Hosford. Rita and her husband David Hosford have two children, Tristan and Tara. The following composite family photo from 2002 to 2010 shows the extended Hauck, Hamiel, Camp, McClain, Hanks, and Hosford families. They all live on the west coast but mostly in Sacramento, CA.
107. On January 21, 1931, Marie Hauck marries Red Brown, a protestant. Mary Kress Hauck forbids her daughter to marry the Brown protestant. Marie marries him anyway. After that, Marie was exiled from the Mary Kress Hauck family. Marie went on to have 10 children with Red Brown; one of them is Sister Elizabeth Brown, of St Josephs convent in Baden PA.
108. Sister Elizabeth shared with us the sad story of how her mom was frozen out of her mothers family. She tells us the story of how she would visit her dads sister, Aunt Lucinda, who lived on Meadow Street near Lincoln Ave. Across the street on the porch was her grandma, Mary Kress Hauck. She remembers not being able to visit with her grandma, nor could she even wave as she played on Aunt Lucindas porch. Her Grandma was dying. She was so close yet so far away.
Sister Elizabeth says her family was never again involved with her mothers parents or even Maries brothers, including Maries brother, Carl. Carl was married to our Dad's sister, our aunt Grace ODonnell. However, Sister remembers always visiting her Aunt Annie, Margaret, and the Maurice ODonnell family. The Browns were always welcome at the ODonnell house, but not elsewhere in the Hauck family. Very sad. Apparently, preserving the Hauck family image as outstanding Catholics was more important to Mary Kress Hauck with her business holdings than a relationship with her only daughter, who had married a non-Catholic. We now begin to suspect, even more so than before, that it was Mary Kress Hauck who most likely barred her sister Anna from marrying into the non-Catholic Messer family in 1912.
109. The following story from our dad's side of the family again details how secrecy was not only a problem for the Haucks, it was also a problem for the ODonnells. Our father lived at 7318 Idewild Street from 1921 until his marriage to our mom in 1937. Our dad's sister, Grace, lived at that same address with her husband, Carl Hauck, from their marriage in 1930 until 1952. It was only in 2010 that we discover Anthony D Limpert being previously married to a Julia Slack Limpert. We never knew or met Julia Slacks 2 children, now adults, Linwood and Marie Limpert, even though they lived one block down on the same Idewild Street as did their step- mother, our dad, and the Carl Hauck family. We were not able to reconnect or find these lost in-laws.
Records show on Aug 19, 1921, Anthony D Limpert married Catherine Duffy ODonnell in St Patrick's Catholic Church in Cleveland Ohio. As already mentioned, Anthony had been previously married to Julia Slack from 1894 to 1919. We do not know when Anthony moved his second wife from Cleveland to Pittsburgh. However Catherine Duffy ODonnell and her 2 children from marriage with John Maurice ODonnell must have left Cleveland to live in Pittsburgh shortly after 1921.
110. By 1932, Larry Hauck, son of Mary Kress Hauck and John A Hauck, and our mom are both about 20 years old and living in the same house at 424 Lincoln Ave. Similar to what happened at the Crowe house in 1923, living conditions in the Hauck home for our mom are not what they should be. As we mentioned earlier, Mom and Gangie never felt at ease living with Anna's sister, Mary Kress Hauck and family. A sudden tragedy in 1933 struck the John A Hauck household, causing our mom and Gangie to move away from 424 Lincoln Ave.
111. On July 4, 1933, John A Hauck has a major cerebral stoke. He is dead by July 8, 1933. The stone/quarry business had not been going well in these depression years. John A. Hauck had recently mortgaged the 424 Lincoln Ave home to keep the quarry going. After John A Hauck died, the bank foreclosed on both the house property at 424 Lincoln Avenue and the Verona Road stone quarry property. On October 5, 1933, Mary T. Kress Hauck signs over the entire Hauck estate to the bank for one dollar. See property Transfer Document V2492P484 below.
Mary Kress Hauck died in 1948. Sadly, but not surprisingly, both Mary and John A Hauck are buried in unmarked graves next to her sister, Anna Kress, in the Mount Carmel Cemetery Kress family plot. Sister Elizabeth remembers her grandma had Alzheimers disease and would not have recognized her granddaughter even if she could have waved to her across the street in the years 1945-1948.
Also shown in the below photo is Mary's sons, Larry and Carl W, along with Anna Kress and our moms family. Not shown in any Hauck family photos from 1930 on, is Marie (Hauck) Brown or any of her family. Fortunately, we have many photos of Marie Brown during their close friendship with our mom and Anna, apart from the Hauck family that lasted until Marie died in 1988.
112. In 1934, our mom and Gangie are still both working and are now living with friends of Mary Kress Hauck. They move into the second floor home of the Adam and Elizabeth Stock family at 7141 Hermitage Street.
113. The depression years were not good years for any of our relatives in Pittsburgh. On May 17, 1934, Margaret Messer died of cancer. On December 3, 1934, Robert Messer tragically died of food poisoning. His daughter Jeannette, living next to John Messer at 1202 and she at 1204 N. Murtland Ave, brought Thanksgiving Day pumpkin pie to their father living at nearby 6826 Lyric Street. Robert died several days later from complications of food poisoning believed caused by the pumpkin pie. However in 1934, judging by the size of the main Robert Messer family homestead, they were no longer poor.
114. In 1935-1936, the Pittsburgh City Directory shows the following data.
Anna Kress, a seamstress at David Geier Cleaners, Upland Street.
Larry Hauck, laborer, Fairmont Creamery, living at 1632 Lincoln Ave.
Carl (Grace) Hauck living at 7318 Idewild St
Our Mom and Gangie living at 7141 Hermitage St
A Joe (Anna) Limpert living across from Stocks at 7142 Hermitage
Marie Hauck living with her uncle, Joe Hauck, at 426 Lincoln Ave.
Helen Hauck, Joes daughter, a nurse living at 426 Lincoln Ave.
Joe (Martha) Hauck, working in sheet metal, living at 426 Lincoln Ave.
Helen Limpert, stenographer, living at 7142 Hemitage St.
Claud Limpert living at 7230 Idewild St.
Anthony D (Catherine) Limbert, machinist, living at 7318 Idewild St.
Adam (Elizabeth) Stock, sheet metal, living at 7141 Hermitage St.
Adam J Stock Jr, Mgr Krogers, living at 7141 Hermtage St.
John M Crowe, sheet metal, living at 7242 Bennett St.
Thomas (Nina) Crowe, sheet metal, living at 7151 Race St.
115. On June 29, 1937, Margaret Mary Kress is married to Maurice John ODonnell our mom and dad.
A nice article about my Dad, Red ODonnell, The Sign Painter, appeared in Dec 4, 2011 Pittsburgh Post Gazette
2011 Article about My Dad
They are married in Holy Rosary Church. Their first house is located two blocks from the Crowe familys new home on Bennett Street. The Crowes now live at 7616 Bennett St. Our mom, dad and Gangie live at 7740 Bennett St, at the corner with Hale Street.
116. The next fact represents the first instance of a public revelation, beside the birth certificate, that Anna Kress was connected to John Messer, the father of Margaret. The 1939 and 1940 Pittsburgh City Directory shows Anna M. Kress listed as widowed (John). According to convention, a widowed entry in the Directory lists the spouse's name in parentheses. The 1938 Directory, formulated in 1937, the year Annas daughter Margaret was married, did not show Anna as widowed.
We find it very interesting that only after Annas daughter is married and gives birth, in 1938, to Annas first granddaughter, also named Margaret, does Anna list herself as widowed suggesting a John is her daughters father. Remember, according to Father Pauley, the Kress family refused the offer of marriage by John and Johns mother in 1912. By all public understanding before 1939, Anna was single and the guardian of our mother.
The 1939 and 1940 City Directory entry is the first public hint John is Margaret's father. In fact, the entry suggests John was Annas husband. Up until this time, John's name was never mentioned and Anna was publicly referred to as Margaret's "guardian." The veil of secrecy is lifted, partially, for the first time, and we can only imagine why Anna decided to submit these details for publication in 1939. After 1939, Anna does not mention a spouse in the Pittsburgh Directories.
Remarkably, John Messer, who married Sadie Richards in 1915, lived just two blocks away all this time. Although John and Sadie Messer never had children of their own, Anna is suggesting that John is her widowed husband and the father of Margaret Kress ODonnell. Ironically, John Henry Messer, husband of Sadie, does have a secret daughter, named Margaret, but does not have a wife Anna.
117. On October 18, 1945, Hugh O ODonnell is born, a century after Hughs maternal great grandmother, Augusta Kress, was born in Hessen, Germany, and a century after his paternal great grandmother, Bridget Campbell ODonnell, was born in Curraun, Achill, West Co Mayo, Ireland. Hugh ODonnell and Martha ODonnell, the authors of this story, were born at 711 Collier Street. The Collier home is located 4 blocks from Hermitage, Race, Idewild and Pineridge Streets. The house is only 7 blocks from Lincoln Ave, and one block from Bennett Street. Is this a neighborhood or what! Interestingly, Hugh ODonnell later finds himself teaching chemistry at Westinghouse High School, located between Lincoln and Homewood Avenues, from 1987 to 1997.
118. Margaret and Maurice ODonnell gave birth to four more children on Collier Street after 1944. Hugh is born on Oct.18 1945. Thomas is born on June 22, 1947. Martha is born on Sep 20, 1948, and finally, Russell is born on Oct 17, 1950.
119. Margaret O'Donnell died on Dec 23, 2005. She was laid to rest next to her husband, Maurice J. O'Donnell, who had preceded her in death on July 25, 1964. She was also laid to rest next to her mom, Anna Kress who had passed away in June of 1979. It was not until 2003 that our mother shared the details described here, telling Martha about Father Pauley and John Messer. Mom had also shown Martha the birthday card, letting her know that it was the first time that Gangie formally acknowledged her as her daughter. We finally understand the dynamics between Anna and Margaret and their inability to lay claim to each other as mother and daughter for the better part of their extraordinary lives.
The happiest days in our mothers life, as she ruminated in later years, was when she made her first Holy Communion and when she gave birth to her eight children. This declaration in and of itself defines her life-long devotion to faith and family. She believed in her faith. She believed in her family.
If we look at our lives as fabric or woven cloth one might view the lives of our ancestors in this small community called Homewood as a quilt woven together by the threads of family, survival, hopes and dreams of a better life, blood, sweat, tears, joy and laughter (all the color and textures that give our lives their own uniqueness) we realize that the thread of belief, belief in ourselves, belief in our faith, belief in one another, belief in the possibilities of life itself, is the golden thread that binds us together and moves us into the future.
From the hills, valleys, and cobblestone streets of the mother country to the shores of America, the Hauck, Kress, Crowe, Messer and ODonnell quilt survived and continues to sew itself because they believed and we continue to believe.
The family is the corner stone of our civilization and we hope that in doing this genealogy we have done a small part in honoring our ancestors. We will never be certain why our grandmother finally chose to sign the birthday card "Love Mother," but the facts above give us a hint of what may have happened. We hope you can appreciate our need to tell "Our Story" in light of our love and admiration for these two women in our life. May the truth set us free.
April 25, 2006
Updated March 20, 2009 Rev 11
Updated April 11, 2010 Rev 12
Updated August 29, 2010 Rev 13