A Fun Day with Cora Kuehn Sheddy and Ben Craig

Yesterday I published a blogpost about William Hayden Kuehn. Today I write about her fun auntie Cora Sheddy née Kuehn. And later I will explore who the other person, Ben Craig, might have been. But let’s start with Cora.

Cora Kuehn and Hayden’s father Charles Kuehn were siblings. Cora Ann Kuehn was born on September 19, 1878, in Philadelphia. In 1880, the head of the family, Charles Kuehn, Sr., was a carpet weaver. He had come to the United States with his parents and siblings in 1854. Cora’s mother Anna née Bode had emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1867 on her own as a 21-year-old servant.

In 1900, the siblings were living together with their parents and younger brother William at 2336 East Sergeant Street in Pennsylvania.

On June 9, 1903, Cora married Francis “Frank” Marion Sheddy. Frank was from Cora’s own neighbourhood, his family lived just a couple of blocks away from Cora’s.

By 1910, Cora had given birth to their son Gordon, and Frank had taken up the profession of a machinist in an iron foundry. For the next 20+ years, Cora and Frank lived in Philadelphia (Ward 31). There is a photo of them added to FindaGrave.com:

There are two more photos of Cora on Findagrave:

By 1940, Cora and Frank had moved in with their son Gordon in Collingswood in Camden, New Jersey. Those photos of Gordon are accessible on FindAGrave:

Cora died in March 1960 and was buried at the North Cedar Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. I wish her obituary shed any more light on her fun character:

Now to the other identified person in this photo – Ben Craig. Of course, this is a very common name, but I gave it a try anyways. I concentrated on Ben or Benjamin Craigs from Philadelphia. It is hard to say how old the man was in this photo, as he was wearing shades, but he could have been about the same age as Cora and the others. The photo must have been taken after WWI, late 1910s/early 1920s. The fake wedding gown and veil and cap speak for the wedding fashion of the 1920s. I say “fake”, because as we know from Cora’s story, Cora and Ben did not really get married.

I came across one Benjamin Craig, who had been born on July 4, 1876, in Prestwich, Lancashire in England and emigrated to the United States in 1888. This Ben, together with his parents Samuel and Margaret Craig and 6 siblings were living in 2806 Jasper Street in Philadelphia (Ward 25), which lies just a mile away from Cora’s parents’ house in 2336 E Sergeant Str. And in 1900, Ben was a carpet weaver, like Cora’s father Charles had been! Perhaps this is how the two families befriended each other.

In 1910, they also lived just a mile from each other: the Sheddys in East Sergeant Str and the Craigs in 2767 Helen St. And in 1920, they lived about 2 miles from each other: the Sheddys in 2301 Memphis Street, and the Craigs in 3468 Hartville Street.

Ben married Isabelle Howell in 1903, in the same year that Cora had married her Frank. The couple had to endure some very tough times together. Ben and Isabelle had 4 children, but only one survived into adulthood: Benjamin Charles Craig (1907-1995). Their other children, Samuel (1904-1904), Isabell Getrude (1905-1906) and Margaret (1908-1909) all died before or just after their 1st birthday… Just heart-breaking!

Ben worked in the textile industry all his life. He started out as a carper weaver and later his position was titled twister in a textile mill. Ben passed away too soon, at just 57 years of age, on July 26, 1933.

I wish I knew who the other persons in the photo were. The man with the glasses smoking a pipe was Cora’s husband Frank Sheddy.

There are some fun photos of him on FindaGrave to compare with:

Perhaps one of the ladies was Ben’s wife Isabelle. I hope not the one not looking very amused on the very left 😊.

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