Audrey Ottilie Lieberknecht 1908-1962

A short story about My Mother, Ottilie Audrey Lieberknecht  

Audrey Jones at stone wall
Audrey O. Jones 1930

Ottilie Audrey was born September 20, 1908, in Jersey City, New Jersey to Florence Sarah Wenzel and William Carl Jacob Dickhaut Lieberknecht. Dickhaut was William’s father’s name, and Lieberknecht was his stepfather’s name.  William went by “Lieb” and that was what Florence called him.

When Ottilie was about two years old her mother and father had traveled to Detroit, Michigan where her father was working in a print shop.  That was in 1910. By 1916 they had traveled south and had ended up in El Paso, Texas where William’s half-brother Henry Lieberknecht was living. William found a job in a print shop because he had learned the trade of printing with his stepfather George Lieberknecht in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1918 William and Florence had sent little Ottilie Audrey on a train by herself to stay with her grandmother in Oxnard, California. There were some newspaper articles written about Ottilie when she was living with her grandmother in Oxnard; one said that she had traveled by herself from El Paso, Texas, and another reported she had pneumonia.

In 1917 in Los Angeles Ottilie’s grandmother, Annie Sarah Taylor Wenzel, had remarried and was living with a man in Oxnard, California whose name was Thomas Adams. Thomas Adams was a photographer and together with Annie they ran a boarding house. By 1920 William and Florence with their youngest daughter, Barbara, had just arrived from El Paso, Texas, and were living in the boarding house with Ottilie, Annie, and her husband Thomas.

In 1920 William and Florence with Ottilie Audrey and Barbara had settled in Santa Barbara. William was working at The News-Press along with Florence who was a proofreader. By that time Ottilie was 12 years old. Also in 1920, the family moved to another location in Santa Barbara on Palm Ave.

William traveled a lot and was away from home much of the time. This upset Florence and they soon parted and went their separate ways. Next door to the Liebs, who had moved to Palm Avenue, a Scotsman named David McLean was living and took up a friendship with Florence. They married in 1926 in Ventura. Ottilie and Barbara virtually grew up without a father in their early formative years, but their stepfather, David McLean, stepped in and became a steady influence in the girls’ lives.

In high school, five-foot Ottilie was pictured in the 1924 Santa Barbara High School yearbook as the basketball captain. Ottilie did not finish high school and instead went to business school where she learned typing, shorthand, and other office skills. She worked for a while at Seaside Oil Company as a clerk. Here she met her future husband, Philip Jones.

Ottilie was interested in acting. She was in several local stage plays but never as the featured star or character. She was a watercolor artist, and two watercolor paintings and pencil sketches reside with her daughter, Dorothy.

When Ottilie was 21 in 1929, she inherited a house and adjoining lot on Clearview Road from a co-worker of Florence’s at the News-Press. This man must have been very enamored with Audrey as the words in his Will indicated.

Ship's Bell Clock
Chelsea Ship’s Bell Clock

Shortly after making his Will, he committed suicide in the garage by hanging. He had left all his possessions to Audrey in the house, including a Victrola, and he willed his car to Florence. His brass ship’s clock now lives with Philip Conway Hirschberg.

Photo of Audrey standing in front of her house 1930
Audrey at her own house 1930

When she married Philip Jones in 1930, she was an independent woman and owned her own home debt-free. It was around this time that she decided to use the first name “Audrey” and discarded the Ottilie name given to her by her father who had named her after his mother, Ottilie Schultz Dickhaut Lieberknecht.

Audrey worked as a legal secretary for 25 years in Santa Barbara.  In 1950, Audrey, having divorced Philip, sold the house on Clearview Road and built a new house on La Colina Road. In 1953, she married Homer Golden and moved the daughters, Phyllis and Dee Dee (Dorothy), to Fresno where Homer worked at Standard Oil Company. Audrey and Philip, and Homer and his wife, Marghuerita, had been friends when Philip and Homer worked at Seaside Oil Co. in Santa Barbara. The two families were close at that time.

That is the short version of the life of Ottilie Audrey Lieberknecht by her daughter, Dorothy (Dee Dee) Jones Oksner.

Ship's Bell Clock
Chelsea Ship’s Bell Clock 1900

DNA Matches with Dickhart and Deckhart

There must have been a name change somewhere down the DICKHAUT line. It may have started in the descendant line of William Dickhaut’s brother, Herman. Even William didn’t use his own father’s surname, Dickhaut, but used his step-father’s surname, Lieberknecht. 

LIEBERKNECHT is my mother’s paternal line as William Dickhaut Lieberknecht was her father. Her birth name on her certificate is LIEB, as that was the nickname William used and the name he was known by with friends and even his partner, Florence, called him LIEB, not Bill or William. 

Was William ashamed of the Dickhaut name? He did use it on one marriage record stating that was his father’s name. His sister, Agnes, also used it on her marriage record as the surname of her father. His brother Herman used the surname Dickhaut most of the time. 

I do have DNA matches with both Dickhart and Deckhart. Dickhart is a confirmed descendant of Herman’s. Deckhart’s match is sketchy and not confirmed. 

William Carl Jacob (nee Dickhaut) Lieberknecht

My Maternal Grandfather

He isn’t missing any longer, but his history is compelling enough to relate to my family. My mother’s mother, Florence, called him Lieb as did his friends and associates. Sometimes he used Lieb or was referred to as Lieb in city directories and US Censuses.

From the beginning:
1869:  William was christened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Salem Zion United Church of Christ on June 26, 1869. His christening name was Wilhelm Carl Jacob Dickhaut. William thought he had been born in Trenton, New Jersey, but in 2017, I discovered the baptismal record from the church in Philadelphia. His parents were Karl Dickhaut and Auguste Wilhelmine Ottilie Reinecke. The sponsors were Jacob and Johanna Oesterle, the same Jacob Oesterle who was the witness to the marriage of William’s parents in the same church in 1867. I believe the name “Jacob” was given to him because of the sponsor, Jacob Oesterle.

Baptism record for Wilhelm Carl Jacob Dickhaut
Dickhaut, William Carl Jacob bap 1869 Philadelphia

1870:  William and his parents were listed in the 1870 US Census of Winslow Township, Camden County, New Jersey. This township is right across the river from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are listed as
Charles Dickhout 26, laborer,  Germany; and
Oteliee Dickhout 22, wife, Germany; and
William Dickhaut, 1, New Jersey.

1872: Brother Hermann was born. No record was found. He says born in PA
1875: Sister Agnes was born. No record was found. She says born in NE
1878: Omaha, Nebraska. Mother Ottilie married George Lieberknecht. Her maiden name is listed as Schultz.

1880: US Census, Omaha, Nebraska. Family of George Lieberknecht:
George Lieberknecht, 31, compositor
Otillie, 31
William, 11
Herrman, 8
Agnes, 4
William, 2
Henry, 6/12

1889: Marriage to Mary A. Carter Oct. 16, 1889, in Omaha, Nebraska.
1890: William lived in South Omaha, Nebraska
1891: Daughter, Olive M. Lieberknecht, was born 18 Oct. 1891 in Omaha, Nebraska.
1893: Pressman at Omaha Printing with his step-father, George Lieberknecht,
1894: son William born 6 Jan 1894 in Omaha, Nebraska
1895: Divorce from Mary A Carter
1896: Cordova Alaska. William’s business card.
1897: Kidnapped Olive from Omaha, Nebraska, according to a newspaper article and a story written by Olive when she was in high school in New Jersey.
1898: Marriage to Cornelia A Allen, 33. June 7, 1898. Council Bluffs, Iowa. Groom: W C Lieberknecht Dickhaut, 30. Groom’s father, Chas. Dickhaut, mother, Ottelia Schulz
1900: US Census Jersey City, New Jersey:
William Lieberknecht, 30, machinist
Cornelia Lieberknecht, 35
Olive, 8
Margaret, 6
1903: William filed a patent 9 Sep 1903 New York City, New York
1904: William assigned a patent 8 Aug 1904 in New York City, New York
1905, 6, 7: William hand wrote a consent to Mrs. Smith to be the guardian of Olive.
1908: Daughter, Ottilie, was born 20 Sep 1908 in Jersey City, New Jersey, mother was Florence Wenzel.
1910: US Census Detroit, Michigan:
William C. Lieb, 40, job printing
Florence S. 27
Ottilie, 1-7/12
1911: daughter, Barbara, was born 9 Sep 1911 in Santa Barbara, California
1914: Arizona. WC Lieberknecht helped with mine drilling. An article in the Arizona newspaper mentions it. 
1915: El Paso city directory
1917: El Paso, Texas
1918: William and Florence return to Oxnard from Texas
1920: US Census Oxnard, Ventura County, California
1920: US Census Santa Barbara, California
1921: Voter Registration, Santa Barbara County
1929: Marriage to Anna Weis Urban 29 Jan 1929, Oakland, Alameda Co., California
1930: US Census, San Jose, California:
William C Lieberknecht, 61, Machinist, printing press
Anna Lieberknecht, 50
1938: San Jose, Santa Clara County, California
1945: William Lieberknecht died in Santa Clara Hospital, San Jose, California, and was buried in the Santa Clara Mission Catholic Cemetery.

It’s really William’s father, Karl Kaspar Dickhaut, who is missing.

Annie’s Marriage Record to Thomas Adams Found

Miracle of miracles! Look what dropped into my lap the other day.
Transcription of Annie’s 2nd marriage to Thomas W Adams

There’s an image of the certificate I will post when I can find it again.  This brings up a lot of questions about Annie’s name. Why was she using the name “Crawford?” It was nice of her to get married on my birthday. More to come later.

Annie is Still Missing in Action

Nothing has been found on any of the previously posted missing ancestors of mine. It has been a while since the last post, so I thought I’d better post something.

I thought I’d post the photo I described before for Annie Taylor Wenzel. It was taken at the breakwater in Oxnard or Santa Barbara in about 1916. I think I’d better check to see when the breakwater was built, as it may have been after 1916. If the woman is Annie, she would have been only 57 years old. She does look older in this photo. She does look like her daughter, Florence, at the same age, though. The two girls are her granddaughters, Audrey (Ottilie) and Barbara. The year of 1916 is a guess as Audrey looks to be about 8 and was born in 1908. Her sister, Barbara, was born in 1911 and looks to be around 5. Annie’s grandfather was MIA James R. Walker, and her father was MIA (Harrison?) Taylor. Annie is still MIA and so are her two ancestors. It must run in the family.

Annie Sarah Taylor Wenzel Found! Hallelujah

A few years back, I had found an article that mentioned that Mr. & Mrs. T. W. Adams had visited in Santa Barbara with Mrs. Flora Lieb, who had been a former resident of Oxnard.  In the article it said,  “Mrs. Adams is Mrs. Lieb’s mother.” This was printed in the Oxnard Courier sometime in 1920. I never could find that article again and so gave up on it, until I found several more articles recently about my mother, Ottilie Lieb, and her sister, Barbara Lieb, attending school in Oxnard and being on the “high grades” list.

An interesting item of note is that Florence’s birth record name is “Flora.” Her mother must have called her Flora rather than Florence, so I believe it was Annie who had given the information to the Oxnard Courier’s stringer. Who else would have called her Flora?

That got me to thinking about the 1920 Census again. William and Florence Lieberknecht were listed in Santa Barbara on W. Ortega St., without their two daughters, and also in Oxnard in a boarding house, this time with both girls. At a closer look at the Oxnard census, an Adams couple were in the same house. They were Thomas W. Adams and Annie S. Adams.

This prompted me to go to the Ventura County Museum and Library to do some more searching in those Ventura County records. I did find more in the Oxnard City Directories and in the Voter Registrations from 1918 up to about 1926. Another article said that the Adams were leaving the city to go to Texas to visit Mr. Adams‘ son and to recover from rheumatism. Mr. Adams was selling his photo studio.

There were many more articles about the Adams, about my mother traveling alone at age 9 from El Paso, Texas to stay with her grandparents, the Adams, and her subsequent bout with pneumonia. I faintly remember my mother saying she was a sickly child and never got to go anywhere with her family due to various illnesses. In a 1929 voter registration list Annie and Thomas Adams were living in Hueneme. They hadn’t gotten very far on their way to Texas.

But now I can’t find Annie or Thomas W. Adams anywhere in Texas or in California beyond 1929.

I was able to locate a Thomas Winfield Adams who was born in Gonzales, Texas in 1848, the same age as my Mr. Adams. I have followed him and his family to San Bernardino, CA, to San Diego and to Long Beach, CA. This Thomas was married, his wife, Lizzie, died in 1909 in Long Beach, and he had two sons, Arthur and Ernest. This is suspiciously my same Thomas W. Adams. In the 1920 Census in Oxnard, CA with Annie, Thomas is born in New York, Annie was born in Virginia, although she was really born in Pennsylvania. Florence had listed her mother as having been born in West Virginia in one of her records, so it is Florence who must have given the information to the census taker in 1920 about Thomas and Annie. In previous New York censuses and in her children’s birth records, Annie has always said she was born in Pennsylvania. Florence may have guessed at Thomas’ birthplace.

Until I can lay Annie to rest, I will still consider her my missing ancestor.

Annie is Missing from the 1910 US Census

Annie Sarah Taylor is Missing Again (from the 1910 US Census). She’s in the 1920 and 1900 US Census, but not 1910. After she divorced Peter Wenzel about 1892, they were living apart in the 1900 US New York Census in Poughkeepsie; Annie was listed as a widow, a seamstress, with four children: Florence 18, Helen 12, Carrie 10 and George 2. In the same Census, Peter Wenzel is a widower, a boarder and is a stableman. In the 1910 US New York Census, Peter is living as a renter with his son, George 12, and his sister Adelaide. In the 1915 NY State Census Peter and George 18 are living in Hyde Park. Peter is a florist and George is a laborer. Where is Annie Wenzel?

Whatever Happened to Annie Taylor Wenzel?

Annie Sarah (Or Sarah Ann) Taylor married Peter Wenzel in Dutchess County, New York about 1879. Annie was born in Safe Harbor, Pennsylvania about 1862 to Hellen Walker Taylor and the unknown Mr. Taylor (Harrison?).

Annie and Peter Wenzel had about 8 children, at least three survived; my grandmother Flora (Florence Sarah) being one of the first was born in 1882 in Poughkeepsie, New York, and the others were Carrie, who married Patrick Morris, and George.

Florence left home at about age 19 with William Carl Lieberknecht and was living in Jersey City, New Jersey where my mother, Ottilie, was born in 1908. Florence and William, along with Ottilie were in Detroit, MI in 1910 and in 1911 they arrived in Oxnard, California to stay with Annie and her new husband, Thomas W. Adams in the Adams rooming house. Barbara was born in Santa Barbara in September 1911. I have a photo of Ottilie and her sister, Barbara, in Oxnard with a woman who looks like Florence and might be Annie. They are on a breakwater and Ottilie looks to be around 8 years old. The woman must be Annie as she looks very much like Florence had looked at the same age. 

So, did Annie travel to California in 1916 with or to visit her daughter, Florence?

I am unable to find a death record in NY or a burial place for Annie. What happened to her? She does not appear in the 1910 NY Census. Peter is shown as a widower in that NY Census. They had a legal separation in 1892, which might have been considered a divorce.

Annie is my missing ancestor.

Annie with Barbara and Ottilie at a breakwater
Annie Taylor Adams with Barbara and Ottilie Lieberknecht

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