Hidden In A Letter

Five years ago, I blogged about my great-grandfather, Mathias Paul Stephanz, Jr. (Stephanz Family). In it, I posted a letter he wrote to his sister, Mary.

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The postmark and what he wrote on his letter says “Detroit, Mich”.  I can only assume he was visiting.  In his letter, he refers to his adventures in “Toledo”.  He starts it with what must be her nickname, (written as he wrote with punctuation and spelling.)

“Dear Squib,

I got your letter all ok.  I spent the 4th in Toledo and went to Toledo Beach sure had a good time.  I am going to tell you something that I don’t want the old folks to know.  I think I’ll marry in Toledo.  I’ve got the girl at last I believe and I found her myself too.  Her name is Bessie Jacobs.  Tell you how I met her Elizabeth’s old friend Frances (can’t read last name) has been trying to land me “ha ha” the old fossil she got me to come over and meet her cousin from Detroit and this little girl happened to be there too and she didn’t introduce us but I made up my mind that I didn’t need any and the funny part of it Bessie told me later that she had her mind made up to know me too but Frances kept on her tail so much that I couldn’t talk to her alone until the next day.  She is a telephone operator and I’ve got the job taking her home when I am there now there’s another fellow but his name will be mud before I’m done.  Sis, you can talk about fast work, but listen to this I met about 2 o’clock Monday and Wed night about 12 I proposed (she would not give me a final answer yet) She didn’t know me well enough yet but I think my chances are good.  I wish you or Leah could come here on a visit and meet her  I wonder if she is a big as Joe’s girl she weighs 103 pounds and reaches about to my arm pit and she wears glasses but she can look nicer in them than any girl I ever saw she 19 years old and she can cook and do housework too she’s not a fancy cook but she can put up a meal so I should worry. I’ll think I’ll move to Toledo and go living Alice’s husband is trying to land me a job there and I can be making 100 (word looks like “bones”) in a short time and I know I’ll like it better he’s got 2 uncles that are engineers too so it will all be in the family and I can save more money there too.  What’s the matter with the King (Joe’s nickname maybe?)  I thought he was going to be a candy maker he better try something where he can learn to be something so he won’t be a common laborer when he is my age  I wish you all would move to Toledo you could all get jobs here easy enough and we could all have a dandy time better than in KC I believe.  Well sis I guess I told you all I could so I will close now hoping to hear from you soon and tell all my friends hello for me Leah and Joe too (Leah must have been Joe’s sister, Lizzie- maybe a nickname) Tell that King to get a job dam quick and tell the Belgian hello too I almost forgot her.  

                                                                           With Love,  Mat

P. S. I repeat I would like picture of the bunch as soon as possible. ” 

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A few days ago, my 1st cousin, 1x removed (my mom’s 1st cousin) instant messaged me asking. “The Ohio connection is still a mystery, right?” She found a person on Facebook that lives about 20 minutes from her who has a maiden name of Stephanz and has connections to Toldeo, Ohio. I had to refer back to this letter to re-familiarize myself with the details.

So, with her name and the names of her uncles and her half-siblings, I decided to create an Ohio Stephanz family tree to see what I could find. Sure enough, I was able to build her tree. I was able to trace it back to another Mathias Stephanz, born in Austria. The kicker is that he was born the same month and year as my great-grandfather and he married a Clara. However, this Clara’s last name was Latour. About a month later, he married Marie (maiden name unknown) in Wyandotte, Kansas! This has to be our Kansas connection! But, I need proof.

And why did he marry again only a month after Clara died? Well, see this article for the reason.

There were other connections. In the letter, he mentions Alice and that her husband’s uncles are engineers, “keeping it all in the family.” The Toledo Mathias’ sons work with the railroad. And, his daughter Francis had a daughter named Alice. She is only a couple of years younger than the Kansas Mathias. Could this be the Alice he was staying with when he wrote the letter?

We now know that Mathias and Marie had a son before he came to the states, according to the news article. What was his name? We know Marie came to Kansas after they separated, did she bring her son?

How is the Ohio Mathias Stephanz connected to the Kansas Mathias Stephanz?

That, my friends, is the million-dollar question. I am hoping by blogging this story, someone connected will contact me. I also hope my cousin’s meeting with the Ohio Stephanz baker will shed some light.

Stay tuned.

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