21 February 2014

"Barking up the wrong tree"

So back to family history . . .

My grandpa called me last night to ask me what I new about Mary Dwyer.  I said, "not much" and promised I wasn't hiding any kind of secret information from him.  My aunt Lori has done lots of research on Mary Dwyer and I have read some of what she's found, but that's it.

I spent an hour or more last night and then some time today seeing what I could find (even though he did call Lori and got copies of what he was looking for).  I showed him what I found and, honestly, it did bring up a few new thoughts that I need to run by Lori (about Mary Dwyer and some other Huber ancestors).  I took notes while we talked.  I will follow up.

During our conversation, though, Grandpa stopped and said, "maybe we are just barking up the wrong tree."  Huh?  From the look on my face, he sort of laughed and said, "you know, maybe we're looking in the wrong place or looking for the wrong things."  He then recalled one time when he went to visit his aunt Helen and asked her about Mary Dwyer (who would have been the mother to her half brothers) and she got a little upset and said she wanted nothing to with Mary Dwyer.  Without Mary Dwyer, my great grandpa Huber and therefore my Grandpa Huber would not exist.  He agreed that we need to keep looking and wasn't implying that we're doing something wrong.  I don't really know what he meant, though.  At least I have a new phrase to use . . . "barking up the wrong tree."


So, for the record, what do we know about Mary and Clara Dwyer?

  • Mary is of Irish descent and lived in Chicago.  She came to Utah shortly after Clara was born.  Conflicting sources say that Clara was her niece or her daughter.
  • Mary met and married my great-great-grandpa Albert Huber around 1900 and they had 3 sons - Albert, Edward and Harvey Dwyer (Dee)
  • Mary died in 1906 and shortly thereafter Albert married Lenora (Nora) Peterson and they had 2 daughters - Gladys and Helen.
  • Mary is buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.  Albert and Nora are buried in Bluffdale.  Clara is buried at Mount Olivet.  
  • There are no records of Mary Dwyer anywhere.  The only way we know her parent's names are because my Grandma Ethel Huber had an old Bible that she had written a sort of pedigree in and on that chart had written the names of Mary's parents.
  • What we do have is a couple of newspaper clippings (that Lori found) which stated that a wealthy doctor in Salt Lake had hired Mary as his housekeeper and had made her neice, Clara, his ward.  Upon his death, Clara recieved $2000.  Mary married Albert shortly after this doctor died.  His funeral was a big to do at the Masonic Temple on South Temple.
  • No one knows who Clara's father was.  No one knows if Mary was her mother or not, though we think she probably was.  Mine and my grandpa's theory is that she told the doctor that Clara was her niece because having an illegitimate child may have been unmentionable and could have compromised her job.  Clara referred to Mary as her mother.
  • Once before she died (in 1962), my Grandpa took Clara home from something and remembers her saying that Mary had red hair the color of my Aunt Cindy's.
  • Albert was a bartender, a miner, prospector, gambler.  He was such a small man that he always carried a pistol on his belt for protection.  There were stories that he would chase guys out of the bar by shooting at their feet all the way out and up the street.
  • Clara was married twice - first to Frank Leonard and then to Ilet B. (I.B.) Powell.  She's buried next to I.B. at Mount Olivet.  There is a census record as well as a newspaper article) that indicates a third man - Fred Hoffer - was also living with Clara (while she was married to Frank and to I.B.).  Who is this guy?  No one knows.  He's listed on the census as a brother-in-law, but there is about a 40 year age gap that debunks that story as well as not ideas about who the sister or sister-in-law may have been.

So, the biggest mysteries are that we have absolutely no information about Mary's line.  Though we have what we think are her parent's names, it stops there.  Second of all, who was Clara?  Was she really a niece or was she a daughter and who was her father and who in the world is Fred Hoffer (this guy, my grandpa does vaguely remember as a white-haired guy who lived with Clara and I.B.  He also remembers Ethel searching for his grave at City Cemetery and not being able to find it.  Lori and my grandpa did find it on this last Memorial Day.