No. 8: Our countdown continues. This one is not really spooky like the others, but intrigues me nonetheless. Gilbert Aloysius Farabaugh (1882-1958) was one of the 14 children born to Joseph and Annie (Conrad) Farabaugh. He went West. I often heard this from older Farabaugh relatives, who related it with a sense of wonder, as if he went to the moon. “It was because of his asthma,” they would add.
Enter the much younger half-brother of Gilbert, Cecil Farabaugh (1909-1981), who approached me in the late 70s to offer an alternative explanation. Cecil made clear that he was unhappy and felt excluded from the older first family of 14. Indeed, I observed on at least one occasion at the yearly Duman’s Dam reunion, that Cecil was summarily ignored by virtually everyone. Cecil was the only living child of the second marriage, apparently was not raised with the others and did not live nearby. From this disgruntled perspective, Cecil explained to me (in a conversation I recorded on cassette) that in about 1907 a women in Johnstown by the name of Florence Wax [phonetic] had a baby by Gilbert. Gilbert went west to start a life away from the scandal. Florence then married someone else and on that wedding day visited the Joe Farabaugh residence at Carrolltown. “And Dad had us get acquainted with them,” said Cecil.
Hmmmm. Cecil was not born until 1909 so if this meeting occurred, it must have been several years after the child was born. I decided to bury this in a footnote in the book I published in 1990. Children out of wedlock are part of any family history and should not be excluded from genealogy, so this belongs somewhere. I found the story had a ring of truth because Cecil gave such detail. And when I carefully raised this subject with my grandmother Naomi (Farabaugh) Bender, she would neither confirm nor deny. “But he definitely had asthma.”
So here we are a hundred years later. Can we find this love child lost to time and memory? The folks at ancestry.com have these whiz bang search engines, so I ran Florence through the 1910 Census for Johnstown, married, with children under 5. Possible matches are Florence Aultram (son Clair); Florence Fritz (dau. Margaret); Florence Humbert (Helen, Ray, Chas.); Florence Schrader (1 dead and 1 not living in household – the most interesting lead); Florence Weyant (Alda); and Florence Bach (George, Ulysses). A lot of speculation and assumptions here. But perhaps you the reader can do better?
By the way, once “Bert” got to Colorado, he became engaged but chased off by the woman’s father, citing a belief that Gilbert had tuberculosis; he then married and divorced a beautiful redhead named Wray Slack; and then tried to court Marie Frank, of Lower Turkey Creek (formerly of Upper Turkey Creek). Gilbert must have had charms beyond the value of his looks (Gilbert’s image is below). At the age of 35 he married Marie’s sister, 18-year-old Georgia Frank. Excellent choice. Georgia was an amazing woman with many talents. She was a dynamic civic leader, Mayor of Pueblo, Co., and has a street there named after her. She was a commanding personality and I visited her when she was 90. She drove me to a store to buy razor blades, running several stop signs along the way. I don’t make this stuff up.