#19 Finding Marnell’s

A while back I wrote a blog about Mary Charlotte Cobine, my paternal great grandmother.

At the end of my blog I throw a question out regarding Mary’s obituary and the reference of three names with the surname Marnell. The obituary was read by a few family members and some of us read it as the Marnell’s were Mary’s uncles and some of us (me included) read it as though they were Mary’s brothers.  Ok, but, how,  I knew that Mary’s mother’s maiden name was Guilfoyle, unless she had been married before and had three sons with the surname Marnell.

All resources were exhausted trying find a connection with the surnames Marnell to Cobine and Guilfoyle.

 

SF PUBLIC LIBRARY 

June 28, 1921 (pg 6) 

FENNELL – In this city , June 27, 1921 Mary C , beloved wife of Martin M Fennell, loving mother of Marion, Martin Jr., Paul and Edwin Joseph Fennell, and sister of Mrs. Howard P Anderson and John, Michael, James Marnell, a native of New York City. (New York paper please copy)

Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend the funeral tomorrow (Wednesday June 28th, 1921 at 8:30 o’clock a. m. from her late residence 56 Parnassus Ave , thence to St. Agnes Church, where a requiem mass will be offered for the repose of her soul, commencing at 11 o’clock.  Intermit to Holy Cross Cemetery. 

So here I am two years later and I’m randomly searching in the Newspaper archives of the San Francisco Chronicle (such fun) and there is answer to my question.

May 12, 1893 SF Chronicle page 5 

Court Notice:

John & Kate Cobine granted permission to adopt Mary 12 & Annie 6 Marnell.  Parents Michael & Annie are both dead.

Michael Marnell & Ann Guilfoyle, both from Ireland, married in Manhattan, NY and had five children. Michael died in 1888 and Ann died in 1892.  The boys were sent to Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Mt Loretta Orphanage, Staten Island, NY.  The two girl were adopted by they’re mother’s sister, Kate Cobine (nee Guilfoyle).

Michael Marnell   –                   Annie Guilfoyle

b.1830 Ireland                            b. 1843 Ireland

d. 11/2/188 Manhattan, NY     d. 1892 New York

 

John b. 9/1879

Mary Charlotte b. 1881

James Joseph b. 1883

Michael b. 1885

Annie b. 1887

#13 Uncle Paul

Paul John Fennell

b. 8/14/1909 San Francisco, CA
d. 11/1983 Napa, CA

Paul was your typical Irish San Franciscan bachelor. My first memory of my Uncle Paul was that he lived with my grandpa (Martin Fennell), whom he called, “Bud”.  I asked my uncle why he called my grandfather “Bud” and his reply was that they were ” buddies”.  In fact, my grandfather thought his name was Bud until he started school and the Nuns sternly informed him his name was Martin and that was the name he was to respond to and no other.  Uncle Paul also had a tattoo of a hula dancer that read U.S. Navy under her.  I was fascinated by this tattoo and remember always wanting to get a peek of it.

When I say typical Irish San Franciscan, I mean; never married, drank often, spent time at the neighborhood bar and always lived with a sibling for a time then would live with another.  He loved and spoiled all his nieces and nephews.

The third of four children of Martin Fennell and Mary Cobine, living in a beautiful house on Parnassus Ave, along with his maternal grandmother Kate Cobine and Aunt Anne Cobine until she married.  At the age of 12 his mother died and at that time my grandfather 14 had to quit school to drive a milk wagon to earn money for the family and stay home to be with the younger children.  Their father unfortunately was consumed with grief and ran his mason and building business to the ground and lost the house they were living in.  The children were cared for by aunts and uncles in the city, however, they “had each other” as my uncle used to say.

In 1941 WWII – Paul enlisted in the Navy and served throughout the war in the South Pacific.  Five months of service were with the Commander 1st Group Thirteen Amphibious Forces – Iwo Jima.  Also Participating Flotillia Five campaigns in New Guinea.

Uncle Paul & baby Kathleen at baptism in SF

Uncle Paul holding my Aunt Kathy (baptismal pic w/godfather 12/1941) – Kathleen Ann Fennell

Paul must have loved being at sea because as soon as the war was over he signed up with the Merchant Marines for many years.  When he was home for leave (San Francisco) he would stay at my widower grandfather’s house with my dad and aunt.  My aunt told me he would drive her to her dancing lesson, it wasn’t until years later the rumor of his affair with her dance teacher was revealed.  As my mom would say, “still waters run deep”.

In 1965, Paul was out on a ship somewhere and a wire was delivered simply stated –   “Baby Boy Fennell”, born March 15, 7 pounds exactly.  The shipmates surprised my uncle by throwing a party and breaking into the mess for the ice cream.  He didn’t have the heart to tell them the child was his great nephew, not his own.

My Uncle died in Yountville Veterans Hospital in Napa California in 1983.  He is buried in the Veterans Cemetery in San Bruno, CA with his brother Edwin whom also served in WWII Navy.

I love this picture, he was always sitting at the Formica table in my grandfather’s kitchen, smoking a cigarette, having drink and looking at the newspaper.

I feel it’s important to write and remember the ancestors that didn’t have children.  My bachelor Uncle was a hero in war time and fought for our country, he was a strong influence in the raising of my father and aunt when his brother became a widower and he traveled more and had experience that we’ll never know.

Uncle Paul in grandpa's kitchenscan0001

 

#11 Mary Charlotte Cobine

Mary Charlotte Cobine

b. 11/1882 New York City

d. 2/17/1921 San Francisco, CA

 When I started my family research, years ago I felt very alone on my fathers.  The only surname I knew was my father’s surname and his mother’s maiden name.  Thanks dad.  Unfortunately, not many relatives on that side of my family are still alive.  First time I saw the surname Cobine was on my great Uncle Paul’s birth certificate, mother’s name, Mary Cobine, born NYC.  So the hunt began. I found only one Cobine family living in Oakland, California (across the bay from San Francisco, where my grandfather was born).  The 1900 US Fed Census reflected Mary Charlotte Cobine age 19, living with her father John Cobine, mother Catherine Cobine and younger sister Anne Cobine 13 years.  Both girls were born in New York City.  This was the first record I found of the Cobine family in California, I did, however, find much on John Cobine living in Oakland & San Francisco from 1875 forward.  It may be possible that John moved out from New York before the family to establish his business or perhaps he was back and forth, but never mind this is about his eldest daughter Mary.

 Unfortunately, I have found no records of this Cobine family in New York City, all California records indicate that both girls, Mary and Ann were born in New York City so the story of Mary begins in Oakland, California at 19years of age.

 Mary and Ann are mentioned often in the Oakland Society pages attending many events, weddings, teas etc.  There is on event in particular that stands out because this is where I believe your Mary Cobine meets her husband Mr. Martin Fennell of San Francisco.

The Summer of 1901 the Cobine ladies, mother and daughters were “summering” in Napa California at Wegner Villa. August 1901 a ball was given by the guest of Wegner Villa, ferns, palms and Chinese lanterns were displayed.  The music and food were wonderful and a grand time was had by all.  Among the guest, Mr.& Mrs. J Cobine (Catherine), Miss Mary Cobine, Miss Ann Cobine and Miss Annie Fennell and Martin Fennell.  It is clear to me that the summer of 1901 my great grandparents met.  There are many other Society Events documented in the Oakland Tribune and Mary Cobine and Martin Fennell are both in attendance, also Martin’s sister Anne seems to be tagging alone at most as well.

 This was an ideal match, the son of a San Francisco Police Officer and the daughter of a San Francisco Saloon owner.  Both tittering on just the right side of the law and the left side of, well, let’s just say, “not the law”. 

 On November 13 1905 a Marriage license was issued in Oakland, CA for Mary C. Cobine age 24yrs and Martin Murray Fennell age 32.  The formal service took place earlier that week at St. John’s Church in Berkeley, CA.

 Martin & Mary moved to San Francisco and had four children – Marion, Martin Murray Jr., Paul and Edwin.  Martin was in a construction business with his brother James and they bought a house on Parnassus Street and sent their children to St. Agnes Elementary, as good Catholics do.

 The 1906 earthquake hit and no damage was done to the house on Parnassus and the Fennell Brothers Construction did very well, after the dust settled and people were ready to rebuild. 

In 1910 Mary’s mother Catherine and sister moved in with them and in 1912, Catherine passed away and Ann married a gentlemen from Kansas, Howard Anderson and moved to Wichita, Kansas to live out her life.

 Mary died suddenly and too soon for both husband Martin and her very young children, the eldest twelve years and youngest 3 years.  On February 17, 1921 Mary died of some sort of heart failure.  Martin never got over the loss of his wife and did not deal with his grief well at all, leaving the children for days alone or with family members.  His business with his brother ended do to “difference”, which was probably his never ending grief and eventually, they lost the house.  The family that purchased the house allowed the children to remain in the lower floor, however Martin moved out and lived with his widowed sister Maggie.  Martin Jr.(my grandfather) had to quit school in the 7th grade and start working to make money for the family. 

I have attached Mary’s obituary because there is a bit of a mystery with the name Marnell, who are they and what relationship do they have with Mary?  OK, anyone can answer this.

SF Chronicle (1869 to current files)

ProQuest Historical Newspapers

 

June 28, 1921 (pg 6)

 

FENNELL – In this city , June 27, 1921 Mary C , beloved wife of Martin M Fennell, loving mother of Marion, Martin Jr., Paul and Edwin Joseph Fennell, and sister of Mrs. Howard P Anderson and John, Michael, James Marnell, a native of New York City. (New York paper please copy)

Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend the funeral tomorrow (Wednesday June 28th, 1921 at 8:30 o’clock a. m. from her late residence 56 Parnassus Ave , thence to St. Agnes Church, where a requiem mass will be offered for the repose of her soul, commencing at 11 o’clock.  Intermit to Holy Cross Cemetery.