A Hobby, A Heritage
Mary E Taber was born in Rhode Island in 1917 to parents Edward S Taber b. RI and Johanna Donahue b. Mass. By age thirteen Mary and parents relocated to 10 Garfield Ave just off Laurel Hill Rd. and across from the old American Thermos Bottling Company (AmTBCo) in Norwich Connecticut. Her father Edward a painter, her mother kept house.
Ten years later in 1936 Mary E Taber still lived at home on Garfield at age 19. She was employed at the AmTBCo as an assembler. This information was found on the 1936 Price and Lee City Directory. The information transcribed in city directories of earlier days gave a wealth of information. Not only did I find Mary worked at the AmTBCo in 1936, I also found she married David Goepfert a man of German heritage, in 1939. The Price and Lee City Directory simply printed “Mary E married David Goepfert.” She wasn’t listed as living in the same household with her parents, she likely moved on with her new husband David.
Charles Taber b. 1914 in RI, one of Mary’s brothers, also worked at the AmTBCo and lived at 44 Bentley Ave just around the corner from his and Mary’s parents Edward and Johanna. Mary and husband David lived at 40 Bentley in 1948, and then at 44 Bentley Ave. in 1949. It seems Charles Taber and his wife Helen, Mary Taber and her husband David Goepfert lived at the same address. Charles, Helen, David, and Mary all worked at the AmTBCo.
Mary and David had two daughters, Mary and Patricia. Mary’s brother, Howard S Taber a US Marine met and married Clarissa Alwina Fogg, of their children they had first born Barbara Taber who married Steve Collins and had an only son who currently lives in Virginia. Mary was Barbara’s aunt, her father’s sister. Now Mary’s husband David Goepfert gave Steve Collins a handgun, an antique, to Steve Collins who then gave the gun to his son, Barbara’s only child, Bruce.
Searching one’s family tree can introduce many questions, like mine, who is the boy on the porch with me at age one and my great grandmother Johanna. That boy turned out to be Barbara Taber Collins’ only son Bruce. He was a couple of years older than me and we were in New London, New London, Connecticut at 40 Squire Street when the picture was taken in 1962/1963. Where is he now? We lost track of him. This set the motion for the hunt of Bruce. My aunts and uncle made some contacts, phone calls, sent some letters and checked with the courthouse.
On January 15, 2012 me, my mother, and my aunt went to Bruce’s house. He invited us in! He seems to have a vivid memory of the family he hadn’t seen in years and shared what he remembered with us, including that fact that my uncle Chuck use to beat him up. He asked, “Who is David Goepfert?” We said, “Your great Aunt’s husband.” He told us about the gun his father Steve gave to him who had gotten it from David Goepfert.
This is how we found out about the gun. Remarkable, even more remarkable is that Bruce’s’ hobby is with guns, antiques, and aligning them to perfection. A trade his and my 2nd great grandfather August (us) Nadolny b. in Prussia, had while living at 111 North Street, Norwich, Connecticut in 1910. August Nadolny was also German. He was the father of Clara Nadolny, Clarissa Alwina Foggs mother who married Harry Fogg. Clarissa Alwina Fogg Taber’s grandfather.
David Goepfert died on 21 Dec 1963, family sources say of cancer. This was the same year Johanna Donahue Taber died, near the time me and Bruce posed for the picture on the front porch. Mary Taber Goepfert passed on 1 Aug 1971. Charles had a heart attack in a bathroom at the old AmTBCo and died on 10 November 1975. Thermos on the Thames is what they call the building now after it was transformed into condos.
A family tree is priceless. One fascinating fact is how trades or hobby’s can be passed down the tree without ever having met the ancestor before with the same likes or skills. Painters, bricklayers, factory assemblers, farmers, etc., skills passed down through generations, or a love for something as unique as an old man working in a pistol shop in 1910, a gun maker, who’s talent was passed onto a 2nd great grandson who today has a passion and a hobby for guns and an antique handgun passed down through the family.
August Nadolny’s last residence known was in Norwich Connecticut at 111 North St. Anna his wife was still living at the address in 1930 at age 70. August was listed in the 1920 United States Census at age 59 with his wife Anna, but wasn’t in the 1930 US Census indicating he died sometime between 1920 and 1930. Through research I found that August and Anna Nadolny where buried at Yantic Cemetery in Connecticut, along with some other ancestors.
A trip this spring will hopefully reveal August and Anna’s actual death year when I visit the cemetery. He and his parents were born in East Prussia around 1861. On 23 Oct 1896 August petitioned to the United States District Court of Common Pleas in Connecticut for Naturalization. He arrived to the US in 1880 according to the 1900 census, and 1881 in the 1920 census, he was 20 and his wife Anna was 18, Mary E Taber Goepfert’s grandparents from her mother’s side.