Part 2 by Donna RAU
In the winter issue
of GTHS journal, my German cousin, Gisela LAUDI, started the story of the move
west by the German families MAROWSKI , JUNGE and ROEMMELE.
I had met Gisela through an inquiry she had posted looking for descendants of Aurora MAROWSKI, which I happen to be.
With the help of Gisela and an editor of GTHS, Liz HICKS, we have found what amounts to the entire story of my German family heritage. So, in this issue, I am going to write about the lives of those families after the move to Texas.
Murder, Betrayal, and
Saga of the JUNGE (Yunge, Young ) sisters,
and the MAROWSKI
( Morousky, Marasuky, Meroski )
and ROEMMELE (Rommel, Rimmel, Romel) Families.
After the failed revolution
of 1848 many Germans, disappointed with the lack of democracy,
and the newly installed police state, left Germany to emigrate to the U.S. The first family to do
so from the town of Oderberg in Prussia was the family of Wilhelm (William) MaAROWSKI.
In 1850, William left for Baltimore with his wife Wihelmina (Junge) MAROWSKI (Minnie), and
his 3 week old daughter Aurora. They sailed from Bremerhaven on the ship "Ocean". Minnie
had been ill on the way over, but the young Aurora arrived in the new world strong and healthy.
Passenger list for Wilhelm MAROWSKI, Wilhelmine (Minnie) JUNGE-MAROWSKI and baby Aurora
arrived in Baltimore Md, 1 June 1850 and in the fall of that year. William wrote
a letter to his family back in Oderberg saying that though they had not intended
to stay in Baltimore, he was so delighted with the city
that they had decided not to leave it. You can hear his enthusiasm for
this new country in his letter, he is so excited by what he sees in Baltimore.
He bought a house, and then opened a starch manufacturing
plant and a general store that sold fancy vinegars.
Minnie was employed by a
woman on an estate out in the country, where she worked as a needleworker/seamstress.
She said the woman on the estate was like a mother to her and it is
assumed she took the young Aurora out to the estate with her when she worked.
However, in 1855, Minnie wrote to
her family that she was ill again and it had cost her her job. She was homesick and longed
for her mother and younger sister.
Minnie may or may not have wanted to move to America, perhaps her husband
decided they should move. Leaving
Prussia tore Minnie away from her
mom, two sisters, and her brother, Wilhelm. She had no friends in this new country, did not speak the
language, was faced with a different culture and customs, and had no one to help
her care for her newborn daughter.
I think we can safely assume she was distracted from this by the birth of her second daughter Elizabeth (Lizzie) in early 1856.
At about this same time, unbeknown to Minnie, her mother had died and her younger sister, Amalie JUNGE (the one for whom Minnie had been homesick), was sailing toward New Orleans, on the ship "Mississippi". She travelled with a companion, Florentine Lange, and stated in her emigration application that her final destination would be Nacogdoches Texas, where two of her brothers lived. She arrived in New Orleans on 3 Nov. 1856. We have searched tax rolls, deeds, and censuses, but so far, we've found no trace of Amalie in Nacogdoches, so we don't for sure whether she spent time there.
However, we did find a marriage certificate for Amalie in Collin Co, TX. On 15 Dec 1857, Amalie married a Geman man named Karl Franz (Frank) ROEMMELE in McKinney,Collin County Tx. According to Amalie's obituary, she came to Collin County from Germany with her husband, so we don't know whether Amalie met him on the ship, knew him prior to leaving Germany, or met him in Nacogdoches, as we have no way of knowing whether the obituary was accurate. There is a ten year paper trail of ROEMMELE 's in Nacogdoches prior to Amalie's arrival, and it is possible that she met Frank here. It's quite a mystery why Amalie left Germany for Nacogdoches, but wound up in McKinney. Amalie and Frank ROEMMELE had a son, William Franklin Charles, in 1859.
Meanwhile, Minnie and William MAROWSKI had moved to Nacogdoches, probably near the end of 1856. We have no written record as to why they left Baltimore, but it was probably because Minnie wanted to be near her brothers, Ferdinand and Fritz JUNGE, and Fritz's familiy, who were living in Nacogdoches, as well as Amalie, if indeed she spent some time in Nacogdoches before moving to McKinney. In 1859, another daughter, Pauline, was born. After Pauline's birth, they decided to join Frank and Amalie ROEMMELE in McKinney, Tx. William bought land near the Frank ROEMMELE on the Wm Davis survey from a man named Phillip ROEMMELE who is probably related to Frank R ROEMMELE. We have found army records that show both Frank and Philip R ROEMMELE serving in the same company in McKinney Tx. William bought an addtional piece of land in downtown McKinney, where he opened a store. Frank Roemmele also had a retail store and 'eatery" in downtown McKinney. In researching old newspapers, we came across an article that reminisced about Frank ROEMMELE 's little eatery shack where he sold very tasty ginger cakes, and very flat, warm beer. Frank's eatery was on the east side of the McKinney town square and so was William's store, showing us the MAROWSKIs and ROEMMELEs lived and worked near each other. In 1862, the MAROWSKI's last daughter, Henrietta, was born.
Life was indeed looking good for the MAROWSKI family. They had four healthy daughters, a thriving business in a growing town, Minnie and her beloved little sister lived in close proximity, the tax rolls and land deeds showed them to own quite a bit of land and be worth a fair amount of money. By all accounts things were going well. However, in Feb 1865, tragedy struck our happy immigrant family. William MAROWSKI was killed. The family story is that he was killed by "Night raiders", but we were not able to find any news articles or documents of his murder. We only found out his date of death through court records regarding his estate. He was an enthusiastic immigrant, excited by his life in this new world, and he had worked hard to make a good life for his young family, so it is quite tragic that he died so suddenly, leaving his widow in a very difficult situation. She did not speak English well, and had 4 minor children to raise, needing to keep her husband's businesses running as best she could. She was a woman alone trying to raise four girls as well as run a store in a society that was run by men.
In 1866, a brother of Minnie JUNGE- MAROWSKI, as well as
William's dad, died back in Germany
leaving some monies to William and Minnie's children.
Since the girls were minors,
a guardian was needed to oversee the dispersal of these funds , and Frank ROEMMELE,
their Uncle, was duly appointed. I think we can presume that Frank had stepped in after William's death and helped Minnie as much as he could, and the official guardianship was merely a legal formality.
But once again, tragedy struck our German immigrants. Frank ROEMMELE died in 1869, and the two sisters , Minnie MAROWSKI and Amalie ROEMMELE, were on their own, in a foreign land, with 5 children between them.
Both women tried to run their late husbands' respective businesses, with varying degrees of success. The JUNGE sisters were hampered by the fact that they did not speak English well, as well as the fact that neither of them was likely raised with the knowledge of how to run a business, and they were raised to be quite trusting of others. Not long after Frank ROEMMELE 's death, a German man named Charles MAHAR swindled Amalie ROEMMELE out of a large portion of her land. He told Amalie that a judge had issued a lien against her lands to satisfy a debt she owed on behalf of her store, and that as her friend, if she would sign the land over to him, he would hold it for her so that it could not be confiscated. However, after she did so, he claimed that he had paid her for the land and he owned it free and clear. We read testimony in a court case where a witness told the court that Charles MAHAR had waved the signed deeds in front of him and told him he had just gotten a thousand dollars' worth of land for nothing at all. The same court case states that no judge had signed a lien against her land, Charles MAHAR had completely lied to her. Amalie fought him several years and had to go all the way to the Texas Supreme Court to regain title to her land. While testifying in court, Amalie often had to use a translator. She claimed she could not explain her business dealings in English, but seemed to understand the questions she was asked in English.
On the 1870 census, Amalie ROEMMELE and her son Charlie were living in a house with Minnie MAROWSKI, since Charles MAHAR had evicted them from their own home. Not long after that, Minnie lost some of her land to foreclosure, due to unpaid bills from the store. Both women, who only 5 years before had been very "upwardly mobile" were suffering a huge financial slide. Before Frank had died, the ROEMMELE s bought and sold and bought again, several hundred acres of land where they had several hundred head of cattle and some horses. The MAROWSKIs too had bought and sold land around McKinney and at one time had a couple of hundred acres, some horses, cattle, pigs, and some mules. But both women had only a fraction of their original lands within 10 years of their husbands' deaths.
In 1869, Minnie MAROWSKI 's oldest daughter, Aurora, married a local man named Amos Chancellor BATES. The new BATES household was near the Roemmele's and MAROWSKIs. Aurora probably stayed near to help her mother as best she could. The BATES' hired a young farm hand named Henry LEE, and in 1870, Aurora's sister, the 14 year old Elizabeth (Lizzie) married Henry.
Aurora MAROWSKI-BATES and Amos BATES
By the time Minnie MAROWSKI died in 1879, Lizzie (Marowski)
LEE was a widow with no children.
In Nov of 1879, Minnie's daughter Pauline MAROWSKI married JT KING, and
in Dec 1879, Minnie's daughter
Henrietta (Rettie) MAROWSKI married JT's brother,
WS KING. Minnie MAROWSKI 's will
left her house and the five acres surrounding it to the widowed Lizzie (MAROWSKI)
LEE, with the rest of the land being split between all four sisters.
Lizzie stayed in her mother's house and did not remarry.
Pauline and JT KING ended up
in Nelda, Ok, where he worked a farm and also worked with a doctor. We cannot
find them on censuses after 1890. Rettie
and WS KING ended up in
Ardmore, Ok., where WS opened a jewelry store.
Rettie (Marowski) KING died in 1895 of a very painful stomach ailment at
the young age of 36, leaving behind a grieving husband and 14 year old daughter
(on an earlier census, Rettie and
WS had two sons, but we find no further record
of them). Shortly after Rettie's death, WS KING's jewelry store was
burned to the ground when the downtown area of Ardmore caught fire.
Frank and Amalie ROEMMELE 's son Charlie ROEMMELE married Flora Cameron in 1885, and built a house on land near his mother's house. Charlie and Flora had a son , William Frank, who died as an infant, followed two years later by a sister, Ida, who also died in her infancy. Theirs was not a happy household, even without the tragic deaths of their children. In 1889, Flora (Cameron) ROEMMELE left "bed and board" and sued Charlie ROEMMELE for divorce, claiming that Charlie mistreated and humiliated her. She claimed he grabbed her by the ankle "in a vulgar manner", and dragged her around the yard, as well as calling her vulgar and perjurative names. She asked for financial support as well as some of Amalie ROEMMELE 's land. In an interesting side note, while Mr. Mahar had held fraudulent title to Amalie's land, he had sold part of that land to Flora's father (Amalie tried to recover this land also, but the case was decided in favor of Mr. Cameron). Amalie asked the court to excuse her (and her lands) from the divorce suit as it was not really her business, and her request was granted. Charlie's cousin -in -law, Amos BATES, testified during the hearing that he had been there when Charlie ROEMMELE dragged Flora around by the ankle.
Charlie ROEMMELE filed a countersuit in 1890. He claimed that
Flora had been sneaking out of the house at night to go streetwalking.
She had been seen being "fondled by men both married and unmarried".
He testified that she was
pregnant by a "negroe man" (sic)
and that he would not support the child.
She had attacked him with a knife with the "intent to kill him".
Amos BATES testified for Charlie that he had seen Flora walking the
streets after dark, in the company
of men. Charlie stated in court
that Flora had so thoroughly ruined his reputation that no one would visit his
Flora ROEMMELE miscarried the child she was carrying and was very ill as a result. She sent word begging Charlie ROEMMELE to send for a doctor, but he would not. So Flora asked his mother, Amalie, but Charlie told his mother she could not send for one, and Amalie was forced to send word to a neighbor asking him to send for a doctor. We do not know what happened to Flora after this. So far, no death certificate for Flora has been found, nor have we found any evidence that she remarried. The divorce was granted the end of 1890, and that is last we have been able to find of her.
Trying to start a new life, Charlie ROEMMELE married Francis GRASHAM in 1891 in Collin County. Together they had six healthy children, so I think we can assume this was a happier household than Charlie's previous one. Sadly though for Charlie and Francis, the youngest son, Ross, was kicked in the head by a mule on the family farm, and died 2 days later at the age of 8. Charlie's mother, Amalie Junge-ROEMMELE died in 1898, and Charlie Roemmele died on his farm in 1920. He held quite a bit of land and some cattle at the time of his death, and his obituary states that he was much loved by his neighbors and a hard worker, and had become quite a successful farmer/business man.
Aurora (Marowski) BATES and Amos stayed in the same area all their married lives. She sold needlework and was a seamstress, he worked as a farmer for the most part. Their first son, William Henry was born in 1870, when Aurora was 20, and we find nothing more about him other than his birth, and a picture of him as an adult.
The BATES ' daughter, Minnie, was born in 1873 and when she was 14, she married JR KING, a cousin of those KING boys who had married her Marowski aunts. JR KING and Minnie moved up to Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, Ok, and Minnie proceeded to have 12 kids up there in the wilds. If one goes only by the marriage records and censuses, it looks like JR married her while she was still practically a child, moved her away from her family, made her live in primitive Indian territory, and kept her pregnant for over 22 years. However, that was not the case at all. She was not alone up there, her Aunts Rettie (Marowski) KING and Pauline (Marowski) KING lived near them in Ardmore and Nelda, Oklahoma . We have a letter that JT wrote to Minnie BATES ' younger brother, telling them that he was working with J.R KING (Pauline's husband), they were farming and doing well, though it had been a hot summer. Minnie (Bates) KING lived to be an old woman and died at the home of her son Amos in Witchita Falls sometime after 1955.
Minnie BATES-KING and her children
About 18 months after Aurora had Minnie, she had another daughter. We do not know the name of this daughter but our family story says she was born handicapped and died during her childhood. In 1875, Aurora and Amos had another daughter, Ardena. Ardena married a man named John William Cabe, and they remained in McKinney and raised their children there. As an old woman, Ardena still talked about her handicapped sister who died so young.
Ardena BATES and children
Aurora next had a son, John BATES (called Sid by his children) in 1877. He also stayed in the McKinney area, buying property from the Rice land survey, which kept him near his parents. John BATES married a woman named Lela BROWN, who was the daughter of Aurora's close friend, Amanda Kindle BROWN. They had eight children, one of whom died at the age of 11 of scarlet fever. There were two girls and five boys who grew to adult hood. One of the boys was my mother's father.
John BATES and Lela BROWN-BATES
Jim BATES was born to Aurora in 1879 and he too stayed in the McKinney area, marrying a local girl, Harriet Myrtle WATKINS.
Lula Florence was born to Aurora in 1881 and she married Franklin Columbus CABE, the brother of John Willliam who was married to Ardena . Lula (Bates) CABE was a redhead, and her youngest brother, Melven BATES, would talk about how much he loved to watch his mother brush Lula's long red hair at night by the fireside. Her hair was so long that when she let it down at night, it would touch the floor when she sat down. Frank and Lula (Bates) CABE ended up out in Los Angeles with their daughter and two boys, and her family in Texas missed her horribly. Melven was still telling stories about her when he was an old man.
Lula and Frank CABE
Dugan, Juanita and Bert CABE
Aurora's son, Joe, was born in 1885. He married Lillie McKinney SHORT, who was a cousin of Collin McKinney, the man for whom both Collin County and the town of McKinney were named . Joe too, bought a home near his mother's land.
Earl and a twin brother were born in 1888. Earl's twin died within days, and Aurora could not nurse Earl, so Earl was given to Aurora's dear friend Amanda Kindle BROWN to nurse. Earl BATES lived to adulthood and married Lillie Short's sister, Minnie. They had one child, Earl Jr.
Earl and Earl Jr.
Jesse was born in 1891. He married a woman named Willie, and they raised their children in New Hope, Texas.
Amos, Aunt Sis, Lillie Short, and Jesse
Melven was born in 1894 and was the last of Aurora's children. Melven went by the nickname "Frutti" because he loved Tutti Frutti gum when he was young. By the time I came along, he loved Brach's candies, but the name Frutti had stuck. He was a nice man, and growing up I was always very fond of him and his sense of humor. My mom likes to tell the story of how Frutti could stop people's bleeding. She says neighbors often came to Frutti to get a bloody wound to stop bleeding.
Seven BATES brothers
Aurora (Marowski) BATES was a little whirlwind according to her children. She was small (less than 5 ft) , with a sweet nature and a good sense of humor. She was modest, and wore, according to Frutti, 13 petticoats, one of them being flannel, even in the hottest part of summer. Thirteen may have been an exaggeration, but if so, probably not by much. In the photos of Aurora, you can tell she is wearing alot under her gingham dresses. Aurora was a seamstress and skilled needleworker like her mother, and much in demand in McKinney and surrounding areas. Her boys were fun loving, making up silly songs and playing pranks, full of mischief, but all 7 of them would obey Aurora without arguement when she told them to do something. She was a devout Christian (Protestant like her German parents) and loved to help her neighbors. Her grandson told me she laughed alot and was fun to be around, but that you sure did not want her mad at you.
After 48 years
of marriage, when all the children were grown and married off, Aurora kicked
Amos BATES out of the house. She would not see him nor speak to him for the
rest of his life. Piecing together the family stories handed down by her
children's families, it seems she just got tired of his vulgarity and had had
all she could take, and never backed down once she told him
to leave. Aurora's son Jim had bought his parent's house and land, and when Aurora kicked out Amos, she moved in with Jim. When Amos would come to visit his son Jim, Aurora would leave and go live with another son for a few days. Amos BATES had moved in with their son Joe, and when Aurora wanted to visit Joe, Amos would have to leave.
Aurora loved to visit with her family and neighbors and would ride around in her horse and buggy and go where ever she liked. She was very strongly connected to her community, and really enjoyed her neighbors and children. She remained a seamstress until she lost her eyesight at the age of 80. Her grandchildren say that being blind did not slow her down. She developed her senses well enough that she could tell which grandchild approached her by the way they walked.
She liked to play a
game with her grandchildren called "Hully Gully" that was played with pecans.
She continued to go out in her buggy (she said the horse knew where to turn when
she told it to turn), until she got too frail. She died in 1938 at the age of
88. She was buried at Woodlawn at the foot of her Aunt Amalie (Junge) ROEMMELE.
Amos BATES had died in 1926 and was buried at Wilson Chapel. Aurora insisted she would not be buried in the same cemetery where Amos was laid to rest.
We have not been able to find the graves of Minnie (Junge) MAROWSKI and William MAROWSKI , but Aurora's sons said they were buried at Stiff Chapel. Aurora was survived by 7 boys and 1 girl (Minnie BATES was the only girl to outlive Aurora). Aurora came to this country as a 3 month old, lost her father at a young age, saw her mother's fortunes go downhill, married a man who turned out to be a bit of a scoundrel, but by all accounts was a happy woman, a much loved mother, a valued neighbor, and proud of her children, staying connected to her community until the end of her life. Aurora started life as a German citizen but ended life as a proud, industrious, happy American woman.