Wednesday, August 18, 2021

John Timothy O'Connor, Katherine Jean Bruce, and their children

John O'Connor and Katherine (Bruce) O'Connor were my great-great-grandparents. Their daughter Emily (O'Connor) Thielen was my great-grandmother, and her son William Thielen was my grandfather.

John Timothy O'Connor
born March 9, 1863 in Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky
died July 30, 1924 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Katherine Jean (Bruce) “Bema” O'Connor
born January 31, 1872 in Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota
died July 4, 1960 in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin

John O'Connor was born to Irish immigrant parents Timothy O'Connor and Mary O'Reilly and baptized at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Maysville, Kentucky during the Civil War. His family moved to Minnesota in 1867, where he grew up. He spent his career at J. I. Case Company in Racine, where he worked in the steam engine shop.

Katherine Bruce was the daughter of Franklin Bruce, a disabled Civil War veteran, and Anna “Annie” (Connor) Bruce. She grew up in Mankato before moving to the Twin Cities, where she met her future husband. She received the nickname “Bema” from a grandchild who struggled to say “Grandma.”
John and Katherine were married in about 1890 and had nine children. They lived in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, and Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, until 1898, when they moved to Racine. Their oldest four children were born in the Twin Cities and the youngest five in Racine. John died in 1924 and was buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Racine. Katherine lived 36 more years, dying in 1960 at the Racine County Hospital. She was buried with her sons Bolivar and Jack Tim and daughter-in-law Birdie at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant.

Their nine children:
  1. Charles Edward “Charlie” O'Connor (1890-1974)
  2. John Timothy “Jack Tim” O'Connor Sr. (1893-1965)
  3. Anna Katherine “Annie” (O'Connor) Novine Glidden (1894-1977)
  4. Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen (1897-1974)
  5. Robert O'Connor (1899-????)
  6. Dorothy Alice “Toots” (O'Connor) Sullivan (1903-1994)
  7. unnamed infant son (1905-1905)
  8. Kathryn Jean “Mike” (O'Connor) Brush Baker (1910-1992)
  9. Franklin Dan “Bolivar” O'Connor (1912-1930)

1. Charles Edward “Charlie” O'Connor
born December 16, 1890 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
died May 20, 1974 in Seal Beach, Orange County, California

Charlie grew up in the Twin Cities like his siblings before moving to Racine. He worked as an auditor for J. I. Case Company and later for Air Research Manufacturing Company in Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California. Charlie served in the Balloon Corps of the U.S. Army during World War I, although the war ended before he finished training. He again served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Charlie married Margaret Frances Van Wormer in 1924 in Janesville, Rock County, Wisconsin, and they had one daughter, Shirley. Margaret died on July 30, 1968 in Los Angeles, and Charlie died in 1974. They were cremated and their ashes placed inside a book-shaped container in the Library of Golden Memories at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.

2. John Timothy “Jack Tim” O'Connor
born March 27, 1893 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
died January 22, 1965 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Jack Tim, who lived in Racine his whole life after moving from the Twin Cities as a child, worked at J. I. Case Company and later as a salesman for Progressive Dairy. He married Bertha J. “Birdie” Larsen in about 1917. They had one son, John Jr.. Jack Tim died in 1965, and Birdie died in February 1980 in Racine. They are buried next to Jack Tim's mother and brother Bolivar at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant.

3. Anna Katherine “Annie” (O'Connor) Novine Glidden
born December 7, 1894 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
died July 20, 1977 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Annie spent her first few years in the Twin Cities before moving with her family to Racine, where she lived for the rest of her life. She worked as a packer at a candy factory, a waitress, a clerk, and finally worked for Nevins Foods for over twenty years. Her first husband was Donald Garth Novine, an employee of J. I. Case Company, who she married on April 19, 1921 in Racine. They had two sons, Patrick and Richard, before divorcing. Donald died on February 7, 1964 at Saint Luke's Hospital in Racine and is buried at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant. Annie's second husband was Warren Chancy “George” Glidden, who she married on May 20, 1943, after his divorce from his first wife was finalized less than three weeks prior. George was an inspector at J. I. Case Company. He died on May 7, 1956 in Racine and Annie died at Westview Nursing home in Racine in 1977. Annie and George are buried together at Graceland Cemetery in Racine.

4. Emily Etta (O'Connor) Thielen
born November 3, 1897 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
died July 1, 1974 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Emily made the moved from the Twin Cities to Racine when she was very young. She married Mathias John “Matt” Thielen on May 2, 1917, at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Racine. They had two sons, Charles and William. After Charlie's death in World War II, Emily was active in the Gold Star Mothers. She also was active in the Navy Mothers Club. Matt worked at J. I. Case Company, starting as a timekeeper in the blacksmith shop and rising to the position of foreman. Matt died of rectal cancer at Saint Mary's Hospital in Racine on February 12, 1960. Emily died of breast cancer in 1974, also at Saint Mary's Hospital. Emily and Matt are buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin, with their granddaughter Mary Beth Thielen and their daughter-in-law's mother.

5. Robert O'Connor
born December 25, 1899 in Racine County, Wisconsin
died ????

Robert lived in Racine until at least 1910, but goes missing from the records after that. He may have died or left Racine.

6. Dorothy Alice “Toots” (O'Connor) Sullivan
born June 9, 1903 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died July 24, 1994 in Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida

Toots spent most of her life in Racine. She married Daniel Michael “Danny” Sullivan Sr. in about 1925. Danny had served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and worked as a newspaper printer for the Racine Journal Times. Toots and Danny had two sons. Danny died on February 14, 1980 in Racine, and Toots died in Florida in 1994. They are buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, near to Toots' sister Emily and brother-in-law Matt Thielen.

7. unnamed infant son
born August 23, 1905 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died August 23, 1905 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

John and Katherine had an unnamed son who was either stillborn or died the same day he was born.

8. Kathryn Jean “Mike” (O'Connor) Brush Baker
born November 21, 1910 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died June 5, 1992 in San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California

Mike worked as a bookkeeper and payroll clerk at J. I. Case Company. She spent most of her life in Racine, later moving to Running Springs, San Bernardino County, California. She married her first husband, Roy Lester Brush Sr., on October 28, 1939 in Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa. They had one son, Roy, before divorcing. Roy Sr. worked as an automobile repairman. He died on February 21, 1966 in Kenosha, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, and is buried at Sunset Ridge Memorial Park in Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Mike's second husband was Vernon Harry “Vern” Baker, a World War II U.S. Army veteran. Mike died in 1992 and Vern died on November 21, 1994 in Riverside County, California. They are buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, Riverside County, California.

9. Franklin Dan “Bolivar” O'Connor
born November 28, 1912 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died November 27, 1930 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Bolivar's given name, Franklin, was the same as his maternal grandfather Franklin Bruce. He died at his mother's home when he was only eighteen years old. Bolivar was buried next to his mother, brother Jack Tim, and sister-in-law Birdie at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant.

Peter H. Thielen, Mary Anne Kurten, and their children

Peter Thielen and Mary (Kurten) Thielen were my great-great-grandparents. Their son Mathias Thielen was great-grandfather, and his son William Thielen was my grandfather.

Peter H. Thielen
born April 5, 1862 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died October 15, 1935 in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin

Mary Anne (Kurten) Thielen
born July 26, 1869 in Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin
died March 22, 1941 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Peter Thielen was the oldest of eleven children born to Henry Thielen and Gertrude (Thelen) Thielen, both German immigrants living in Racine, and was baptized at Saint Mary's Catholic Church. He worked as a bricklayer and mason for his entire life.

Mary Kurten was the daughter of John Hubert Kurten and Theresa M. (Becker) Kurten, who were also German immigrants. The Kurten family first lived in Racine, briefly moving to Appleton before returning to Racine. They were early settlers of both cities, and Mary's nephews Russell and Louis Kurten founded the Kurten Medical Clinic in Racine. Before her marriage, Mary worked as a sewing machine operator and shoe vamper.

Peter and Mary were married on October 21, 1890 at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Racine and had thirteen children together. They made their home at 814 Jackson Street. Peter died at the Wisconsin General Hospital in Madison, where he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. Mary died at Saint Mary's Hospital in Racine. They are both buried at Old Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Racine, alongside their grandson Richard Thielen, Mary's parents, and several of her siblings.

Their thirteen children:
  1. John Hubert “Jack” Thielen (1891-1965)
  2. Henry Thielen (1892-1960)
  3. Peter Thielen (1894-1967)
  4. Mathias John “Matt” Thielen (1896-1960)
  5. Anna M. (Thielen) Campbell (1898-1988)
  6. Marie E. Thielen (1900-1974)
  7. Michael William Thielen (1902-1988)
  8. unnamed infant daughter (1904-1904)
  9. Cecelia Elizabeth Thielen (1906-1907)
  10. Viola Elizabeth “Vi” (Thielen) Atkinson (1908-1990)
  11. Charles Patrick “Chuck” Thielen (1910-1981)
  12. Eugene Henry Thielen (1912-1985)
  13. Jerome Joseph “Jerry” Thielen (1913-1989)
1. John Hubert “Jack” Thielen
born March 22, 1891 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died November 3, 1965 in Racine County, Wisconsin

Jack, who lived his whole life in Racine, worked as a trunk maker for Racine Trunk Company for many years, then for Greene Manufacturing Company. He married Pearl Paula Olson, a Danish immigrant, in about 1913. Jack and Pearl had two sons, Robert and David. After Jack's death in 1965, Pearl moved to Union Grove, Racine County, Wisconsin. She died December 2, 1973 at Saint Mary's Hospital in Racine. Jack and Pearl are buried at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin.

2. Henry Thielen
born September 16, 1892 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died December 19, 1960 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Henry worked as a trunk maker for Racine Trunk Company, just like his older brother Jack. He later worked for the North Shore Railroad and Walker Manufacturing Company. Henry married Helen Emelia Phillip on September 28, 1914 in Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois. They had six children: Norma, Raymond, Eileen, Henry Jr., Jack, and James. After their son Henry Jr.'s death in World War II, Helen was active in the Gold Star Mothers along with Henry's brother Matt's wife, Emily. Helen was visiting patients at the Wood Veterans Hospital in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, with the Gold Star Mothers when she became sick and died there on August 19, 1949. Henry lived another eleven years until he died in 1960 at the Racine County Hospital. Henry and Helen are buried with their son James at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Racine.

3. Peter Thielen
born August 17, 1894 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died November 15, 1967 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Peter worked as a machinist for J. I. Case Company and as a steamfitter for Feichter & Netzinger. He married Mable Anne Pedersen in about 1916, and they had one son, George. They lived in Racine for their entire lives, Peter dying in 1967 and Mable dying on November 18, 1986 in Racine. Peter and Mable are buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Racine.

4. Mathias John “Matt” Thielen
born February 23, 1896 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died February 12, 1960 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Matt was named for his mother's brother Mathias John Kurten. Like his siblings, he grew up and lived in Racine his whole life. Matt worked at J. I. Case Company from the age of twenty until his death, starting as a timekeeper in the blacksmith shop and rising to the position of foreman. He married Emily Etta O'Connor on May 2, 1917, at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Racine. Matt and Emily had two sons, Charles and William. After Charlie's death in World War II, Emily was active in the Gold Star Mothers along with Matt's brother Henry's wife, Helen. Emily also was active in the Navy Mothers Club. Matt died of rectal cancer, for which he was being treated by his cousin, Doctor Louis Kurten, at Saint Mary's Hospital in Racine in 1960. He continued to work at Case Company until one month before his death. Emily died of breast cancer on July 1, 1974, also at Saint Mary's Hospital. Matt and Emily are buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin, with their granddaughter Mary Beth Thielen and their daughter-in-law's mother.

5. Anna M. (Thielen) Campbell
born November 17, 1898 in Wisconsin
died November 16, 1988 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Before her marriage to Raymond “Ray” Campbell in about 1920, Anna worked as a laundress and as a saleslady at the Duchmann & Son confectioner's shop. They had six children, including Raymond, George, Gilbert, Virginia, and Doris. Anna and Ray were no longer together at the time of their deaths. Ray died on May 4, 1987 in Napa County, California, and was buried at San Francisco National Cemetery in San Francisco, San Francisco County, California. Anna died in 1988 and was buried at Sunset Ridge Memorial Park in Somers.

6. Marie E. Thielen
born November 25, 1900 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died September 28, 1974 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Marie lived with her parents at 814 Jackson Street in Racine until their deaths. She worked at Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Company for several decades. At the time of her death at Saint Luke's Hospital, she was living at Saint Monica's Senior Citizens Home in Racine. Marie is buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Racine.

7. Michael William Thielen
born November 28, 1902 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died May 24, 1988 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Michael lived in Racine his entire life and worked as a tool and die maker for Greene Manufacturing Company. He married Margaret M. Groenke on May 7, 1923. Michael and Margaret had two sons, James and Thomas. Margaret died on March 3, 1984 in Racine, and Michael followed in 1988.

8. unnamed infant daughter
born November 6, 1904 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died November 6, 1904 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Peter and Mary had a daughter who was either stillborn or died the same day she was born.

9. Cecelia Elizabeth Thielen
born May 6, 1906 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died December 7, 1907

Cecelia died when she had just turned 19 months old. Her funeral was held at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Racine, and she was buried at Old Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Racine.

10. Viola Elizabeth “Vi” (Thielen) Atkinson
born July 17, 1908 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died August 22, 1990 in Racine County, Wisconsin

Vi married Clair James Atkinson on June 1, 1929 in Wisconsin, and they lived in Racine. Clair worked as a tool maker for J. I. Case Company and Walker Manufacturing Company. Vi and Clair had six children, including Gerald, Lorraine, Ronald, and Carol. Vi died in 1990, and Clair died at Mount Carmel Care Center in Burlington, Racine County, Wisconsin, on August 28, 1993. They are buried with their son Ronald at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Racine.

11. Charles Patrick “Chuck” Thielen
born January 27, 1910 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died January 11, 1981 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Chuck spent his career at Walker Manufacturing Company as a punch press operator and later a foreman. At the time of his father's death in 1935, Chuck was serving in the U.S. Navy. Chuck took up growing chrysanthemums as a hobby in about 1950, and won many awards for his flowers. He married Tafelia Marcella “Marcie” Norman on July 3, 1937 at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Racine. Chuck and Marcie had three children: Peter, Roland, and Diane. Marcie died on December 19, 1965 at Saint Mary's Hospital in Racine at the age of 49. Chuck later married the recently widowed Margaret Rose (Adzima) Sondergaard on August 4, 1973 in Racine County. Chuck died in 1981 and his second wife Margaret died on September 29, 1997 in Phoenix. Chuck and Marcie are buried together at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia.

12. Eugene Henry Thielen
born January 3, 1912 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died May 2, 1985 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Eugene lived in Racine and worked for Modine Manufacturing. He was engaged to Gladys M. Christensen in 1946, but it's not clear whether they were ever married. Eugene married Goldie (Langberg) Larsen on July 31, 1954, and they had a daughter. They were divorced before 1963, when Goldie remarried. She died on August 20, 1982 in Racine and is buried at West Lawn Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant. Eugene died in 1985 and is buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia.

13. Jerome Joseph “Jerry” Thielen
born November 12, 1913 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died October 29, 1989 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Jerry worked in a number of different positions for J. I. Case Company, including tractor driver, elevator operator, machinist, assembler, and tire mounter. He married Mary Anne Novak and they had nine children, including Daniel, Richard, Jerome, and Mary. Mary died on January 31, 1989 in Racine, and Jerry died later the same year. They are both buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia.