Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Charles' Widow -- Rosina (Rose) Becker Gross

Charles C. Gross died at age 37 leaving his wife with four children to raise on her own.  In the 1910 Census, Rose is listed as the mother of seven children, with four still alive.  (Two children, Charles and Katharina, died before the age of two.  I've not been able to identify the third child).  So what is known about Rose Becker?

Rose was the daughter of Nicolaus Becker and Anna Marie Butro.  She was born in Lorraine, France.  The Alsace-Lorraine area of France is very confusing for genealogists.  The region was largely comprised of ethnic Germans.  This website does a great job of summarizing the political changes that have taken place over the centuries.

Table Credit: Website Linked Above in Narrative

When the Beckers emigrated to the United States in the 1860s, they were citizens of France (and Census records reflect this fact).  In the 1910 Census, their ethnicity is listed as German (French).  When I speak of my own ethnicity, I do not include a French component, even though the region is currently part of France.

Rose was older than her husband, Charles.  Despite inconsistent age listings for Rose, her Death Certificate lists her date of birth as May 2, 1832.  (Most other documents say she was born in May, 1831 and I believe this to be true).  That would mean that Rose was 33 years old and Charles was only 22 when they married in Cincinnati on June 21, 1864.  Charles, a veteran of the Civil War, was working as a baker.

Over the next year, the couple had seven children.  The youngest, Alice (Eliza) was born in 1874.  It was shortly after her birth that Charles became an "invalid" and was unable to work for the next four years.  We know that he died on January 3, 1879 at the age of 37.  Rose was a widow and mother of four surviving children at the age of 48.  She was a first-generation immigrant in a country where English was a second language, her husband was incapacitated living in an age when there was no such thing as Social Security.  So how did she survive?  In a word -- family!  We'll discuss this in the next post.

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