Monday, January 28, 2019

The Mysterious Rose Etta (Poole) Von Briesen Taylor...

I am so fortunate to have a research buddy when working on my Semple line. Due to the time difference between New Zealand and New York, we are able to "tag-team" the research 24 hours a day. Lately, we have been researching James Taylor, my second cousin three times removed. His grandmother was the sister of my three times great grandfather, Peter Semple (1822-1904). James Taylor's first wife, Rose Etta (Poole) Von Briesen, has been a difficult research subject and we have several questions:
  1. Where did she and her two older siblings, Noah Cornelius and Bessie Viola live in 1910?
  2. Where did Rose live with her two children in 1920 after her first husband died?
  3. Why was Rose in Chicago when she married James Taylor in 1921?
  4. When did they divorce?
  5. Did Rose marry again after 1940?
  6. When and where did Rose die?
  7. Where was she interred?
Here is what we know about Rose to date:

Rose (Rosa) Etta Poole was born on 9 November 1893 (or 1894) in Maryland, to William A. and Martha E. (maiden name unknown) Poole. Rose was the fourth of five children. In 1900 her family lived in Laurel, Maryland, where her father worked as a day laborer.

I suspect her parents died before 1910 or her father was deceased and her mother could no longer care for her children as I have only found two of her siblings in the 1910 census. Older sister, Susan "Susie" Mabel Poole boarded at the farm of John and Elta Stevenson in Carroll County, Maryland; and younger brother, William Ashby Poole, was enumerated as an orphan living with Adelaide Hatton on her farm on Fort Washington-Accokeek Road in Prince George's County, Maryland.

Marriage to Robert Von Briesen

On 6 October 1913 Rose Etta Poole and Robert Von Briesen, son of Oscar and Susanna (Wagner) Von Briesen, applied for a marriage license in Washington, DC. They were married in the same city the next day. He was a widower, who was 28 years older than Rose. His first wife, Roberta (Campbell) Von Brisen died seven months earlier on 9 March 1913, leaving him with ten known children ranging in age from 22 years old to 5.

Rose and Robert had two children during their marriage, both born in Baltimore, Maryland:
  • Dorothy Von Briesen born 20 June 1914
  • Oscar Von Briesen born 5 December 1915
Rose's husband, Robert, died on 2 November 1916 in Baltimore at the age of 51. Rose was 23 years old at the time of his death.

Robert Von Briesen (1865-1916) death notice as published in The Baltimore
; courtesy of

I think it is likely that after the death of Rose's husband in 1916, she moved to Chicago because her elder sister, Bessie Viola (Poole) Baugher lived there. Bessie had married Gideon Gilbert Baugher in 1911 and they were living in Chicago by 1915. I have been unable to find Rose or her children in the 1920 census. However, her ten step-children, the children of Robert and Roberta (Campbell) Von Briesen, have all be found in the 1920 census. They remained in Baltimore.

Marriage to James Taylor

On 29 October 1921 Rose married James Taylor in Cook County, Illinois. James was the son of John Taylor and Agnes Miller Morgan and had been born on 7 August 1896 at Carstairs Junction in Carstairs, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He arrived in the United States on 8 May 1920 in New York, having sailed on the White Star Line's RMS Celtic. He told immigration officials at Ellis Island his destination was Springfield, Massachusetts, where a paternal aunt, Margaret McNair (Taylor) Isbister, lived, as well as a paternal uncle, Robert Semple Taylor, the two youngest sibling's of James' father.

James Taylor filed a declaration of intention with the Naturalization Service in 1924. He and his family lived at 6319 Keeler Avenue in Chicago. He worked as a factory hand at the time and listed Rose as his wife. When his filed petition for naturalization in 1927, the family lived in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, and James worked as a factory foreman. He listed his step-children as his own children on his petition. In 1930 Rose, James, and her two children continue to live in Clarendon Hills. They owned their own home at 81 Chestnut Avenue, which was valued at $7,000.

Rose's marriage to James Taylor did not last. Sometime between 1930 and 1936, they divorced as James married again 10 May 1936.

Wedding announcement for James Taylor's
second marriage as published in the Dixon
Evening Telegraph
; courtesy of

Son's Death

Rose's son Oscar, who was named for his paternal grandfather, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 30 November 1937. He completed his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and by January 1938 had been assigned to First Signal Company in Quantico, Virginia, as a student at the Radio School. He was absent without leave (AWOL) from 6:00 a.m. 28 March to 9:00 p.m. 31 March. Oscar was tried on 1 April by a disciplinary court and sentenced to 10 days of confinement in the post prison with bread and water rations, with a full ration every third day and two months loss of pay, which amounted to $12.

On 25 April 1938 Oscar Von Brisen committed suicide by a self-inflicted rifle shot to the head in Rockbridge County, Virginia. His maternal aunt, Bessie Viola (Poole) Baugher and her husband had moved to Buena Vista, which at the time was a city in Rockbridge County. Her husband, Gideon, died in 1935. I have been unable to locate Bessie in the 1940 census but perhaps Oscar had gone to visit her and that is the explanation for his place of death?

When the 1940 census was enumerated, Rose and her daughter, Dorothy, lived in Chicago. Rose did not work and Dorothy worked as a computer operator. That is the last record I have been able to find for Rose Etta (Poole) Von Briesen Taylor.

Her daughter married Pedro G. Raz, who was born in the Philippines. She died on 26 December 1976 in Chicago. Her husband died the following year.

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