Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Wife of the 1920s

In the prior post, I featured the divorce records for Howard Lutter and Laura Ethel Winterton, 1926.  Laura was cited for not cleaning, cooking, caring for the children, and for working outside the home.

Today, we may find such expectations quaint, but this was the world in which Howard and Laura lived.

I found some modern-day sentiments that could have expressed Laura's disdain over her situation.  Underneath are quotes from the divorce record.

"A man expects his supper on the table after working all day."

Howard:  "She wasn't going to waste her life taking care of kids."

"She was a woman that didn't take care of her home."

"I don't like housework.  I don't care for it.  I don't want to do it."

"I am doing my half.  I am working."
"I am doing my duty supporting you and my children and you have to do your part."

"Mrs. So and So doesn't have to do it.  They have a maid.  I don't see why I have to do it."

"She had a nice position . . . and didn't want to come back."

"I scrubbed floors, I gave the kids baths.  At night went to the store, washed dishes."

Wife:  "I was born to be a lady and I don't like housework."
Husband:  "You were not born to be a lady."

Monday, September 29, 2014


I obtained divorce records for a set of my great grandparents, Howard Lutter (1889-1959) and Laura Winterton (1891-1962), from the years 1926 and 1927.  So much information!

Laura Winterton married Howard Lutter in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey on September 17, 1910.  Howard worked as a musician.

I suspected that these two may have divorced because Laura was recorded as "divorced" in her 1930 and 1940 census entries.  Howard was listed with another wife, Fiorita, in 1930 and 1940; as well as his death certificate and burial place.  I have not yet found a second marriage record for Howard.

Through the New Jersey State Archives, I previously obtained divorce records for Howard's parents, Hermann Lutter and Clara Uhl, dated 1895.  The information was scant- only Hermann's account of his wife abandoning him and refusing to return.

Thirty years later, Howard's divorce records contain so much more to work with.  (I posted the entire record in DropBox, if you would like to read them.)  Divorces from this time period are not kept by the New Jersey State Archives, but rather by the New Jersey Superior Court Records Management Center in Trenton.  There is no online service for these records.

The records include depositions from Howard and his witnesses, but nothing from Laura.  The general tone is that Laura did not clean the house, take care of the children, or cook meals, instead preferring to socialize or work full-time outside of the home.  The papers are worth reading as first-hand accounts of the role that women were expected to fulfill during this time.  Howard needed to establish that he was not living as a family unit with his wife, Laura, and that she had abandoned him, their children, and her housekeeping duties.
Deposition of Howard Lutter
The name of the "dizzy blond" was not revealed.

According to Howard, Laura's defense was that she did not like housework and wanted to hire a maid to take care of the house and children.

The movements of the family were specified, providing more locations to search for records.  They lived not only in Newark, New Jersey, but in New York City and Philadelphia.  Their son, Clifford (my paternal grandfather), was born in 1915 in Philadelphia.  In the divorce records, this is explained:  Howard was working at the Adelphia at that time.

Howard's mother, Clara Uhl, offered her recall of events, mentioning a time when Laura was in the hospital with the flu, and the children, Clifford and Beryl, got measles.  This is a nice little family story embedded in the divorce record.  Clara mentioned her sister, Lillie Uhl, as well as Laura's brother, William Winterton.

These records gave me an important piece of information that I did not know.  Howard's address in the 1930 census in Bloomfield, New Jersey was 171 Ampere Parkway.  This was a new street name and numbering system; the house was 453 North Eighteenth Street in the 1920 census.  This is a connection to the Winnie family that I had missed.  Mrs Fiorita Winnie (nee Lorenze) became Howard's next wife.

Who was living in this house in 1920?  The Winnie family: James, Fiorita, and their two daughters.

And in 1930?  Howard and his wife, Fiorita, and their three (!) children.

In 1930, Fiorita's husband, James H. Winnie, was also living with a new wife, Laura, and a stepson, Clifford C. Yunker.  I need to look for a divorce record for James Winnie and Fiorita.

I do not know when the relationship started between Howard Lutter and Fiorita Lorenze/Winnie.  As a landlord and acquaintance of both Howard and Laura, Mrs. Fiorita Winnie testified about Laura's lack of housekeeping and child care.

In the Ampere Parkway house, the housekeeper/provider of childcare to the Lutter children was Mrs. Anna Ley.  "Like one of the family," described by Howard.  "A distant relative," according to Fiorita.  (I do not know how they are related.  Anna Ley was born around 1857 in Ohio to Jacob Bauer and Stephany Metzer, but lived most of her life in New Jersey.)
Fiorita's statement

Mrs Ley also testified.  Note that Fiorita worked outside the home and this is why Mrs Ley cared for Fiorita's home and children.  (Yet Laura was denied a maid or child care so that she could work outside the home.)  Fiorita was a performer and worked at places such as the Hippodrome in New York City.  "She does the wire act on a bicycle."  This is one of the more unusual occupations.

Laura's landlord, Mrs. Catherine Wormold, testified that Laura lived with her as a boarder, and not with Howard, her husband, and children.  Mrs. Wormold showed us a different side of Laura, describing her as "a beautiful character."  She also mentioned a physical disability:  "Mrs. Lutter walks decidedly lame and I was very much afraid that in a few years from now she would not be able to earn a living."  She was concerned that the divorce would preclude Laura from receiving financial support when disabled.  On her death certificate, Laura's cause of death was multiple sclerosis and diabetes.  She was showing symptoms at the time of the divorce.  We can wonder how much this affected her ability to clean the house and care for the children.
Testimony from Catherine Wormold, the landlord of Laura.

A few years later, in 1930, Laura was still boarding at the Wormold residence.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Common and Uncommon Surnames

Searching for a Johnson ancestor is not easy, so I turned to Winterton, the related and less popular surname.  I found an older will from 1785 in New York City for William Winterton.  William is a popular given name in my Winterton tree.

The will provided some great information.  William Winterton was a mason in New York City.  His wife was Ann.  His children were William Winterton and Jane Winterton, wife of John Johnston.  The surname Johnston jumps right out at me because in my documented tree, Sally Ann Johnson (1802-1882) and Samuel Winterton (1800-1877) were my 4X great grandparents.

I googled Jane Winterton and John Johnston and came up with a few sites with their transcribed marriage record:  June 21, 1773 in New York.  This fits the time frame, but I can't rely on transcribed records.

The New York Marriages collection at FamilySearch.org provided a slightly different date for the marriage of Jane Winterton to John Johnson:  July 8, 1773.  The church was provided:  Trinity in New York City.

Trinity Church offers its records in transcribed format for free on their website.  There is an entry for John Johnson marrying Jane Winterton on July 8, 1773 by Samuel Auchmuty.

Within the Trinity Church website, you can search for baptismal records of possible children of this couple.  I found three potential children of John Johnson and Jane Winterton:  John Harriot Johnson, born 1789; Jannett Clark Johnson, born 1791; and Henry Johnson, born 1797.  The given names and sponsors should provide some leads to help determine if these are indeed children of John Johnson and Jane Winterton.

In the newspapers, I found another mention of a lawsuit, one year prior to the Winterton versus Johnson suit in 1855.  Here we have Joseph Riddock suing Samuel Winterton, his wife Sally Ann [Johnson], John Johnston, and his wife Anna.  Is Anna really Jane Winterton, the aunt of Samuel Winterton?  Or is Anna actually Sarah, the mother of Sally Ann?

So I have two questions to be answered at this point.
1- In the will of William Winterton, probated in 1785, he mentions a son, William.  Is this son the same person as my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, William Winterton (1767-1814)?
2-  Is there a relationship between John Johnston/Johnson, the husband of Jane Winterton, and Sally Ann Johnson (1802-1882), the wife of Samuel Winterton (1800-1877)?

Using Cemeteries to Track Moves, Part Two

This post expands on the prior piece about using cemeteries to track the movement of ancestors across generations.

In this blog post, I focus on one of my great-great-great grandfathers, John R Winterton,
his parents, and his four grandparents.

My 3X great grandfather, John R Winterton, was born in New York City around 1831.  He had removed from New York City by 1855, when he married Sophia T Walling in Raritan Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  When John Winterton died in 1896, he was buried at Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, New Jersey.

John's parents, Samuel Winterton and Sally Johnson, also lived in Keyport, but were buried in Brooklyn, New York at Green-Wood Cemetery.  So we must look in New York for their records.

Death certificate for Sally Ann Winterton.  She died October 1, 1882 in Keyport, New Jersey.
Burial at Greenwood Cemetery, New York.  Parents- Johnson.

Burials at Green-Wood can be searched on the cemetery's website.  A search for Winterton burials produces several people in two different lots.

I organized the burials by lot.

Samuel Winterton and his wife, Sally Johnson, are in lot 10313.  Joseph was a brother of Samuel.  Caroline and Mary were daughters of Samuel and Sally.  That leaves us with three people, Ellen, Samuel, and Sarah, all "buried" on the same date, April 29, 1857.  I do not know who these people are at this point.  This date may be when the lot was purchased or when the record was created.

Lot 6558 contains the mother of Samuel Winterton, Mary, buried in 1862.  This is Mary Bartlett, born about 1769.  Buried with her are three of her children, Mary, Ruth, and William.  We can use the dates of burial to locate death notices in the New York papers.

Before living in New York City, William Winterton and Mary Bartlett resided in Newburgh, Orange County, New York.

1810 United States Federal Census
Newburgh, Orange County, New York

William Winterton, the husband of Mary Bartlett, is not buried at Green-Wood.  He predeceased her by almost 50 years in 1814.  His burial record is not online on FindAGrave or a cemetery's website.  Instead, a mention of his headstone can be found in older books online under the topics of Newburgh, New York or Baptist churches.

"Adjoining the deserted church is a cemetery lot. . .  Only a few of the stones bear inscriptions. . .  Deacon William WINTERTON. . .  Feb. 15, 1814, aged 47 years."

Google Maps- Leptondale section of Newburgh, Orange County, New York
I think that the church and cemetery were located in this area, by Orange Lake.
If anyone has knowledge of this area, please let us know!

FindAGrave.com mobile app
Nobody has entered any graves for the probable location of William Winterton's 1814 burial

Letters of Administration were issued in 1814 for William Winterton in Orange County, New York.  This is an additional source for his death.

The family relocated to New York City after William Winterton's death in 1814.  In the 1820 federal census, Mary Winterton is head of household in New York City.  Other members of the household are not listed by name, but rather by age group.  The numbers work out for the number of children that I have found so far, but we can never be certain who was actually represented by the enumeration.

Males, aged 10-15:  1 (Joseph)
Males, aged 16-18:  1 (Samuel)
Males, aged 16-25:  2 (Samuel and William)
Females, aged 10-15:  1 (Ruth)
Females, aged 16-25:  1 (Sarah)
Females, aged over 45:  1 (Mary herself)
Total free white persons:  6

Household of Mary Winterton, 1820 New York City

In 1822, Samuel Winterton married Sally Ann Johnson.

In 1822, people married on a Tuesday morning and a Monday evening.

This marriage notice provides a useful clue, the person who performed the ceremony, the Reverend Mr. Archibald Maclay.  He serviced the James Street, or Mulberry, Baptist Church in New York City from 1809-1838.  The church morphed into the Tabernacle Baptist Church and then the Laight Street Baptist Church.

Johnson is a common surname, so we need to significantly narrow down our search to find anything useful and plausible.  Sally Ann Johnson was likely a member of the same Baptist church as Samuel Winterton, in Newburgh or New York City.

A possible connection between Winterton and Johnson is in a newspaper announcement from 1855 of a lawsuit in New York City:  Samuel Winterton versus John Johnson and Anna, his wife.  These could be relatives of Sally Ann Johnson, wife of Samuel Winterton.

An interesting tidbit about the children of William Winterton and Mary Bartlett:  in 1836, they purchased land in Conway Township, Livingston County, Michigan.  Nobody appears to have moved to Michigan.  I do not know, at this point, why they purchased the land.