These two photos came to me from the United States, and upon receipt I was happy to discover that the young ladies shared the same surname – Emma and Minnie Kline – and both had had their photo taken in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Could they have been sisters?
The answer was not hard to find – yes, they were sisters!
Mamie Minerva “Minnie” Kline and Emma Kline were daughters of tin smith Alfred L. Kline (1868-1954) and Mary Elizabeth née Reppert (1867-1931), who had got married in July 1887 in Lehigh, Pa. The sisters had four older siblings – Bertha J. Kline Heinly (1888-1962), Charles H. Kline (1889-1966), Marcus F. Kline (1892-1953), William C. Kline (1894-1917)), and a younger sister Lillian M. Kline Robbins (1902-?).
In 1900, the Kline family was living at 441 8th Street in Allentown, perhaps in this house:
Now in more detail about the two sisters:
Mamie Minerva “Minnie” Kline was born on February 27th, 1897 in Allentown. When she was 18, she married Albert Erwin Bechtel. Their wedding took place on April 17, 1915, in Allentown.
Albert was a machinist with the Bethlehem Steel Co at the time. On May 13, 1916, they had a son Harrison Alfred Bechtel. In 1917, Albert was drafted to serve in the US Armed Forces because of WWI. After he returned from service, the family was reunited and in 1920, they were living in Allentown in the house of Minnie’s father-in-law Arthur Bechtel.
Sometime between the Censuses of 1920 and 1930, the family changed their surname from Bechtel to Beers. I have not found out the reason for it or when exactly that was decided. Everyone in the family – Albert, Minnie and son Harrison – all went by the surname Beers from then on.
Minnie’s husband Albert passed away in April 1936 of acute pulmonary edema. In August 1936, Minnie married William R. Morris in Manhattan, NYC. She divorced him 3 years later. In the same year, on March 18, 1939, Minnie married her last husband Walter C. Horn, who was a widow and 20 years older than Minnie. Walter was a clerk with a steel company and had 3 grown-up children at the time of his marriage to Minnie.
Unfortunately, Walter passed away in 1945 of hypertension and Minnie was once again widowed. Strangely though, she was not mentioned on Walter’s death certificate as current wife. I wonder why. Minnie’s busy love life has left me very puzzled for sure 😊!
Minnie passed away in 1951 and was buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown.
Minnie’s only son Harrison Beers married Margaret L. née Guth in 1939. In 1940, Harrison was drafted due to WWII. In 1942, his son John Albert Beers was born. In 1945, Minnie’s only grandson John Albert passed away at just 3 years of age. In 1963 Harrison was widowed. He must have made the decision to leave Allentown and move to Puerto Rico soon after his loss. He married Raquel Maria Casas Lagueruel in Puerto Rico. He died at the age of 56 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico of heart disease.
Emma Kline was born in 1899 in Allentown, she was a life-time resident of Allentown. Emma married George Dewey Fenstermacher on July 12, 1919 in Allentown.
Before her marriage to George, Emma was working as a clerk and George was employed as a metal worker with Motor Car Company. By 1930, George had changed professions and was working as a teacher at a public school.
Their son Earl Ronald was born on October 5, 1923. I found a 1942 yearbook photo of Emma’s son Earl “Fensty” on Ancestry:
The photo was taken in the same year that Earl graduated from Allentown High School and was drafted to the Navy. The heartache mother Emma must have felt, sending her teenage son into war. Fortunately, Earl returned in 1943. Shortly after his return from service, he married Frances née Lawrence in 1946 in New Bedford, Pa. His application for veteran compensation states the names of their children born before 1951:
- Gretel Frances Fenstermacher
- Mary Ann Fenstermacher
- Earl William Fenstermacher
After 1951, 4 other children were born: Gregory, Susan, George and Peter Fenstermacher.
Looks like Emma and George martiage ended in the 1940s. In 1948 her ex-husband re-married
Emma passed away on September 27, 1972 and was buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Allentown.
So we know that there are no direct living descendants of Minnie. But I wonder if any of the grandchildren of Emma might still be alive today? They were all born after 1946, so that should be very likely. Please let me know if you are related to any of siblings of Minnie and Emma Kline or to Emma’s children, the Fenstermachers!