Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review of All the Players

For the benefit of those who are new to Big Paw Paw, I thought I'd give you a run-down of those related to Big Paw Paw [blood-related & those unfortunate enough to marry who married him].  Because I can get even more blog posts outta Big Paw Paw what I found at the courthouse will make a whole lot more sense.

Players [or if you're Big Paw Paw, Playa']
John Marschall - was Big Paw Paw's dad and a Prussian immigrant who was born 6 Jun 1856 in Gorszewice, Kreis Samter, Posen, Prussia. [Saying that 5 times real fast won't be harder than it was for me to find the name of that dang village.]  John passed 20 Sep 1927 in Hitchcock, Galveston County, Texas.

Emma (Schleicher) Marschall - was Big Paw Paw's mom who was born to Prussian immigrants on 14 Feb 1856 in either Guadalupe County or Comal County, Texas.[You'd think it'd be easy to find the Schleicher family in Texas back then. And you'd think it'd be easy for me to get to those counties for research. No. On both counts.] Emma passed 30 Jun 1928 on Galveston Island, Galveston Co., Texas.

John Jr. - Big Paw-Paw's big brother & eldest child of John & Emma's. (1880-1943) Had several occupations including being a dairyman before settling on being a realtor in Galveston.  Married Josephine Ballou and was an "Islander" (Born, lived & died on Galveston Island) [I wonder if he was called Big John? *snort*]

Robert - Another older brother of Big Paw Paw's born in 1883 but died as a young child, so Big Paw Paw never knew him.

Jane - Big Paw Paw's oldest sister (1884-1954); married Otto Rosin; After the Storm of 1900, Otto and Jane moved to higher ground in San Antonio, Texas.  Otto was the son of Wilhelm and Caroline (love her name) Rosin, who brought their family to Galveston Island from Prussia.  Otto had a younger sister named Emma who was born after the family came to Galveston.  Otto and Jane go into the same business as Big Paw Paw in San Antonio after a stint with a dairy farm.  So, family & business competitors.  [That always turns out well.]

Antoneta "Nettie" - Another older sister of Big Paw Paw's (1886-1953); married Nikolas Pericles Legatos/Legate (but they just called him Pete), son of Greek immigrants; It's probable that Pete taught Big Paw Paw to fish, but whether that's true or not, they did fish together for a living back when Big Paw Paw was 17 yrs old in 1910.  Also, Nettie died in Rusk State Hospital [mental institution] under mysterious circumstances. [More detective work needed.]

Laura Ellen "Ella" - (1890-1962) )Another older sister of Big Paw Paw's married first Miles Breen. Then when he passed, she married Thomas Cobb.  My aunt remembers visiting her once.

Rolland or Roman (but probably Rolland - long story) - (1891-1912) Another older brother of Big Paw Paw's, Rolland died as a young adult from a massive heart attack.

Mary - (1895-1922) Big Paw Paw's younger sister, Mary married Harry, who owned a dairy. [True. Can't make this stuff up.]  She and her husband passed early in their marriage in San Antonio- Harry from diabetes and Mary a couple of months later from Strep. [Thank God for modern medicine, eh?]

Child - Name Unknown - John & Emma had another child but it must have died before they could christen him/her.

So, Big Paw Paw was the baby brother to all except Mary.

Emma Rosin - In 1917 in San Antonio Big Paw Paw married Emma Rosin, his older sister's (Jane's) husband's (Otto's) baby sister.  I know this because I have their marriage record.  She also appears in various land records that Big Paw Paw and she were involved in due to what he called Burnett Wrecking Company that included wrecking homes but also buying them first and the land and re-building and he sold and rented homes and he had lumber yards.  So it really wasn't just a wrecking company, but more like real estate development.  Big Paw Paw's business transactions involving land and homes are well-documented in Bexar County's historical land records. [Hallelujah.]

These land records, though, left a lot of clues about his personal life.  Suddenly in the transactions, Emma just isn't there.  Did she die? Did they divorce? Big Paw Paw was born and raised a Catholic, and perhaps Emma was too?  I dunno.  But Big Paw Paw couldn't have divorced her, right? I mean, he'd be in trouble with the church and his family, especially his mother.  But I do know there was something that happened in the family that caused a "break" between Big Paw Paw and his family. Could this be it?

Further along in his land  transactions, Big Paw Paw files an affidavit concerning some land that basically says that a particular piece of property located in San Antonio was his before he married Oveta Marshall and that she had no interest in it whatsoever.  AND that Oveta had not lived with him for 6 months and that she abandoned him.  It's dated 5 Dec 1927, but it wasn't filed until 7 Mar 1928.  Funny, that.

Hold the presses!  Who the heck is Oveta?  Is this Emma? Was this a second wife? If so, what happened to Emma?  No matter, I'm guessing someone was gearing up for a divorce, and Big Paw Paw was bound & determined to not lose that land.

Then on the same day, 7 Mar 1928, Big Paw Paw sold this same piece of land to a John Marshall, Jr. of Galveston, Texas for $5000. [Bound & determined.]  I've always been 99% sure that this was his older brother.  Also note that in the land record, John's last name was spelled Marshall and not Marschall.  However, further research suggests that Big Paw Paw is the only one in the family that changed his last name to Marshall.

Next, 18 Jul 1928 John and Josephine Marschall of San Antonio, Texas (but they were really of Galveston, but I guess because their land was in San Antonio?) conveyed this same property & 26 shares of stock that they owned of the Farm & Home Savings & Loan of Missouri to the same for $5 to secure $2600 owed to the Association.  Apparently, if I read all the legalese properly, Big Paw Paw still owed $1600 on his original loan on this property that he originally purchased 15 Aug 1925.  Also it involved a renewal of a $350 loan by John & Josephine to pay an indebtedness of Oveta Marshall's as per a divorce decree filed 13 Aug 1927, Cause No. B-47593 "Oveta Marshall v. Joseph Marshall".

It also goes on to state that John & Josephine's homestead was in Galveston, Tx and not at this property. [Of course, it took them 2 paragraphs, lots of commas, & half a page to say that John and Josephine didn't live in that house, but one in Galveston.]

So, the plot thickens.  At this time, I still didn't know if Emma & Oveta were one and the same, right?

Before I get back to these land transactions [Who knew they could be so interesting?], it's important that you know that I have old photos of my grandma, Paw Paw [I know. We're a creative bunch, aren't we?], and Big Paw Paw together as a couple with the earliest dating 1930, and their hair, dress, & other details in the photos substantiate the date.  Now, back to land.

In 1932, John Marschall, Jr. (and Josephine) sell this same piece of land to Otto Rosin, his and Big Paw Paw's brother-in-law.  [Also, um, a competitor of Big Paw Paw's.]  Now, though, they include the actual names of the streets: corner of Burnett and N. Palmetto Streets.  However, no amount was recorded, just "for a good valuable and sufficient consideration."  [*snort* I bet Big Paw Paw was none too happy about that.  The phrase, "fit to be tied" comes to mind.]

In 1937, Otto Rosin then sells it to his wife Jane (Big Paw Paw's sister) for $3000. [Again. Fit to be tied.]

Then 2 things I found in the San Antonio newspapers that applied to either the land or, um, his relationships with women [Had to clarify because Big Paw Paw was always in the papers selling stuff or suing people or getting sued.] were:

In 1937, Big Paw Paw files a lawsuit against Jane Rosin, et al. for theft of damages of property. [Any guesses as to what property? Anyone? Anyone?]

In May of 1936, Joseph Marshall files for divorce from Ola Mae Marshall. [I discovered this right before I went to the courthouse.]

29 Dec 1936, My dad is born to Rettie Mae Martin, my Paw Paw. [Huh. I wonder why Big Paw Paw needed to get a divorce?]

And Holy Toledo, Batman.  Who the heck is Ola Mae?

So there ya' go.  That's the background and the info which led me to the Bexar County Courthouse's basement and to the purchase of a really cool necklace.

Stay tuned for the next post. It'll help to tie some of this stuff together.
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  1. Oh, my heavens! After reading all that, I need a NAP! LOL!

    Eagerly awaiting the next post! Please know that I'm reading, even if I don't often comment. (I often read from my phone, but it doesn't allow me to make blog comments, for some reason.)

    Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing. :)


  2. This is better than the soaps. Really. And though we think society is overly litigious now (for damages and injuries, at any rate), I'm finding more and more evidence that my and my husband's families spent lots of quality time in court. Which for us family historians is a good thing.

  3. And of have BEEN to N. Palmetto and Burnet (only one t) using Google Earth or Google Maps, yes? Really cool 'cause I just did that and there's a house on all four corners. Was there a house on this land then?

  4. Renate & Greta, thanks! Amy Coffin remarked on Twitter that Big Paw Paw could have his own reality show. *snort* I agree. I was thinkin' maybe Alamo Exploits?

    Lisa - Yes, I've been there. In fact I've been all around the area. That's where all of my family lived - mom's & dad's side. Going back to my 2nd great-grandparents who are buried near this house, but they're on my mom's side. But that's another story. With photos. But as for the rest of Big Paw Paw's exploits, you're gonna have to wait for the rest of the story.

    You're right. It does have 1 "t" but I was using the spelling in the land record. =)


  5. Oh my goodness...and some people think genealogy is boring?!?! Can't wait to hear how this one turns out :-)

  6. i'm on the edge of my seat! I think I need a chart to remember who is who.

  7. Oh my. As soon as I read Ola Mae, I was like who the heck is Ola Mae. LOL Then I kept reading and saw where you said it yourself. I'm looking forward to your discovery of all the answers.

  8. This is like a soap opera, or a Russian novel (I usually have to keep a notebook of the characters so I don't get lost)!


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