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

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.

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