Stardust Stories: John Charles Weaver – Part 2
John Charles Weaver (1884 – 1969) was my wife’s paternal grandfather. Fortunately, he left us with an autobiographical sketch, richly filled with family stories and genealogical information. Recently my wife re-read her grandfather’s story of his life. She had remembered him as a somewhat stern and aloof person. But that is not what comes through in his writing. “I wish I had know these aspects of him,” she mused. In order to preserve and share the multi-textured person that was John Charles Weaver, I am sharing his writing in 6 posts.
MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY BY JOHN CHARLES WEAVER (Part 2)
There is little that I know about my baby and childhood days. I know that I was born, because I am here. So must have had a father and mother who would be my parents. And they too a father and a mother who would by my grand-parents. That’s as far back as I intend to delve into posterity. So I’ll begin my autobiography from there.
John Fitzmaurice came to this country from Ballyduff County, Kerry, Ireland about 1850. Landed in New York and migrated west to Florence Ohio where he set up a boot making shop. Here he met Margaret McCarthy, fell in love and they were married in the Church of the Visitation in the nearby town of Eaton, Ohio March 11, 1858. They had ten children: Hannora, Ellen, Mary, Rose and Lucy (wins), Margaret, James, Elizabeth, Theresa and Johanna. What did the future have in store for them? Here is a brief resume:
Hannora married Jack Manley who drank too much. Ellen married George A. Weaver a carriage maker. Mary married C.D. Wetzel a saloon keeper who died and she then married Jack McFadden an electrical worker. Rose married Joe Kernan a laborer. Lucy married Clarence Willson a last maker. Margaret married John Baker a saloon keeper. James never married and died at age 30. Elizabeth never married and died in her twenties. Theresa married Timothy Larkin a core maker. Johanna died at the age of four years. Ellen who married George Weaver became my mother. There were five children born of this marriage: Margaret, who died at the age of three, John, Eva, George, and Leonard who died at the age of three.
All of my aunts and uncles on both sides of our family have passed away. So I have no living aunts or uncles. So my mother was Ellen Agnes Fitzmaurice and my father was George Anthony Weaver better known as Chick, the life of the party. According to the ethics of that period for an Irishman to marry other than an Irishman was treason and my father was a German and for a German to marry an Irish girl was VERBOTEN.
My grandfather, Charles Weaver, came from Germany and was as dutch as sauerkraut. He came to this country to escape service in the German army, for every male twenty-one years of age had to serve for three years. My own father says that he then changed his name from Weber to Weaver so as to conceal his identity, since the German monarchy considered every German of any country still one of its citizens and subject to German discipline and army service. There were eight boys and two girls in my father’s family: Edward, Andrew, Frank, George, Philip, Louis, Albert, William, Katherine and Clara. All have passed on.
My father was called “Chick” Weaver and was generally the life of the party since he could play the piano and sing. He also played the bass viol. He was also an actor in the Cathoia Gezeklen Verien – a German organization on Montgomery Street in east Dayton near Trinity Church. So my yen for dramatics must have been inherited from him. He was organist and choir director of Emmanuel Church for many years.
My mother was a good but proud woman – proud of her family and carried herself in a queenly fashion. “She reminds him of the queenly bearing of the Astors and Vanderbilts of Fifth Avenue, New York.” She was her own dressmaker. She was a cook par excellence; a master of the cooking art. My mother said that when she first saw my father she thought he was the homeliest man she ever met.
When the Weaver clan got together, which was at least once a year, especially at picnics in Ebby’s Woods along the Miami River for birthdays, etc., it was a regular German bill – singing German songs as they guzzled a glass of beer.
Now that I have established the authenticity of my ancestors and the fact that my parents were George Anthony Weaver and Ellen Agnes Fitzmaurice and that on January 22, 1884 a son was born to them and was given the name of John Charles Weaver, I am ready to begin. At the time of my birth they were living at 47 Costello Street in that section of Dayton, Ohio named “Brown Town”. I was their second child – the first a girl named Margaret died in early childhood about three years old.
I was baptized by Father Charles Hahn in Emmanuel Church. My godparents were my Uncle Edward Weaver and my Aunt Mary Fitzmaurice (my father’s brother and my mother’s sister.) My Aunt Mary was married twice, first to C.D. Wetzel who died and then to John McFadden – all are now deceased.
Speaking of Emmanuel Church, Germans went to German churches and schools. You had to learn both English and German. The pastor would preach a Sunday sermon in German and then follow it with a sermon in English. World War I settled that and the people were told to learn to accept English or else. When necessary confessions ere heard in German. During World War I a mammoth American flag was flown between the spires of Emmanuel church. Father Seabird was the all – American pastor.