May 11, 2012

Family Photo Stories: Aunt Rox A Difficult Life

I am very fortunate to have many old family pictures (boxes and boxes actually!).  It is one of the perks of coming from a long line of pack rats on my Dad's side of the family.  But I have quite a few from my Mom's side also.  So I thought I would start sharing them with others who may love old photos and stories like I do.

I am lucky to know who many of the ancestors in my photos are but I have just as many where I do not know who they are---and that just haunts me.

Today's post is about my Great Aunt Ida Roxanne Lammay Bartz Lambert Gruber.  (Uh, yah  she was married a few times!).
Ida Roxanne about 1915-1925 est
Aunt Rox is one of those favorite Aunts who I don't actually remember but have heard countless stories about.  She was born in 1884 and died in 1966.  My Mom says she was a very happy woman who loved to joke around as well as strong willed and very opinionated.  From stories and my research she had a very interesting but also very difficult life.  It has been said her, um bust, was so large she could stack the dinner dishes on them to clear the table in one sweep--which she did for laughs.  I now cannot remember which Presidential candidate it was that she hated, but she supposedly would spit on the TV when he appeared.

She worked outside the home for most of her life, not common for a woman of her time.  But I suspect this was mostly out of necessity.  Many of her sisters worked also, quitting school by the 8th grade,  to help support their mother because their father had abandoned the family.  Her first marriage to Herman Bartz ended in divorce in 1912.  Her second marriage to Henry Lambert was not a happy one.

Apparently Henry drank quite often and would become very mean and violent resulting in beating Aunt Rox.  One night in 1923 during one of these drunken beatings her teenage son, Carl Bartz, had enough of the abuse of his mother.  He retrieved a gun and shot Henry dead.  This had to be a terrible ordeal for her.
Aunt Rox, son Carl Bartz, & pet dog about 1915
By 1930, according to the census data, I found her two youngest boys Howard and John Lambert living in an orphanage.  I can only assume she put them there because she could not afford to support them.  How awful for any mother.  But I know by 1940 they were back with her so she did not lose them permanently.

Tragedy struck her again in 1940 when her son John Lambert age 18 drowned in the river when a boat he made with friends went over the dam.  For a second time her family had made front page news in the local paper due to an awful event.
Aunt Rox, sons John & Howard Lambert about 1928
Aunt Rox married again in 1945 to Samuel Gruber (widower of her sister Anna).  It appears this was finally a happy marriage for her.  Bless her for keeping a sense of humor in her life through all the difficulties.

No comments:

Post a Comment