Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Death of Joseph Zimber

I recently found out how Joseph Zimber my great-grand-uncle died. I knew he died in an accident in Montreal on 1st February 1905 only a few months after arriving in Canada (see here).

I have just found the reports below in the Montreal paper "Le Canada". The first report from the 2nd February edition does not name him but the second report from the following day's paper does.

For the benefit of those who cannot read French, he died in an explosion at the Gohier Tannery alongside a Russian Jewish immigrant named Lewis Schoff (or Schoss). The report also indicates that the explosion may have been caused by a barrel of gasoline left too close to the furnace.

Fred Zimber Photo

I recently got a copy of this photo of Fred Zimber my great-grand-uncle from the National Library.

Fred died in the First World War and you can read more of his story here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Richard Quinn - Gold Rush Miner?

For a while now I was intrigued by an entry in the registration of the marriage of my great great grandparents Tom Reale and Mary Ann Quinn in Waterford in 1867.

In it Mary Ann's father Richard's occupation is given as 'gold digger'. Initially I thought it might be 'gold dipper' relating to some role in an electroplating factory. But I could find no reference to that type of factory in the Waterford area and a close inspection of the entry indicates that it more than likely reads 'digger'.

It then occurred to me that the California Gold Rush took place in the years between Mary Ann's birth in 1846 and her marriage in 1867. So I looked in US censuses for California in those years and found a number of references to a Richard Quinn a miner living in the Gold Rush town of Poker Flat in Sierra County, California. This Richard Quinn was Irish and married though not living with a family.

Further references have Richard Quinn buying the "Waterford Tunnel" claim in Poker Flat in 1867 and selling it again in 1884 with a store and half a cabin for $1,500 to Thomas Roach. In the period he was there he also was a Delivery Man delivering meat and other supplies to nearby mining camps and ran a General Merchandise Store in Poker Flat. He became a US citizen in 1867.

Co-incidence? Possibly..... but I think not. I think it entirely possible that either the aftermath of the famine or news of the Gold Rush prompted him to leave Waterford for California. Possibly his wife had died and he left his young family with relatives. Indeed the fact that Mary Ann was aware in 1867 that her father was a 'Gold Digger' would indicate that he remained in contact with Waterford maybe even sending money home.

Poker Flat is now one of many Gold Rush era Ghost Towns in Sierra County, California.  The abandoned house in the picture is all that remains of the settlement.

These links here and here give some more info on the place.

I know that this Richard Quinn lived in Poker Flat from  1860 until at least 1886 though I don't know either when he arrived or when he died.

I hope some day to prove that he is my great3 grandfather but for the moment will have to settle for the balance of probabilities.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vitus Zimber

- "A True Original"
My Great-3-Grandfather Vitus Zimber, who was father of the Zimber Brothers who emigrated to Ireland, appears to have been something of a local character and appears in many folk tales and stories of the region of the Black Forest around Neukirch/Furtwangen. Some of these are detailed below.

The following is from "Löcher und Döbel um Dreistegen" (Furtwangen 1979) by Max Braun and was provided to me by Paul Dold :
"In the furthest Hexenloch house, about 1851, lived Zimber-Vitt. This man was an original. He delighted in playing pranks. One day when he was fishing, gendarme (policeman) came along. The Vitt moved away from the stream as though headed for the other side of the mountain, so the policeman followed. Some way further on, the Vitt stopped, and when the policem an caught up, pointed out to the disconcerted man his legal fishing licence.
Another time, he wanted to draw attention to the damage being done to the forest. He said: “I have been getting wood from this forest for thirty years, and after this law is passed I’ll have the right to do it”.
Also, because of poaching, once he pointed out that in his garden he had a snare against rabbits. Vitt said; “The rabbits always eat the cabbage in my garden. Now when one is in the noose, I hit it with a stick full on its hide, and then let him run away. He never comes back.
Thereby he observed the same thing when a deer was caught in his noose; he had a cord from the garden to the main room in the house (Stube) with a bell on it at the hous e end, to hinder the deer, which of course strung the deer up."

He also appears as a character "Der Königenhof" a play performed by Jostäler Freilichtspiele. (The pictures on this page are of actors playing the part of "Zimper-Vit" in the play.)

The pictures of the clocks above are of a clock that came up for sale recently that he made.  The mechanism is signed by Vitus, apparently a mark of one of the better craftsmen.  The clock is a 'moving-eye' clock ie the eyes of the man in the picture move from side to side and was for sale for over €2,000.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Joseph Zimber

For some time now I knew that my great-grandmother Albertina Zimber had two younger brothers. The youngest Fred was killed in the first world war but I was never able to find out what happened to Joseph.

However a few months back a search of the Irish Times archive turned up a death notice telling that he was killed in an accident in Montreal on 1st Feb 1905.

Then last week I found not only his arrival in Canada from Liverpool on 4th August 1904 but that, 6 days after landing, he married Bridget Coady, who had accompanied him from New Ross, in St Patrick's Catholic church, Montreal. His death in a tannery fire, 6 months later, tragically cut short their married life.

Bridget not surprisingly married again to Frank Moore and moved to Australia where their descendants still live.