52 Ancestors #7: Anna Arnold Focht

Posted for the blog meme 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks hosted by Amy Johnson Crowe of No Story Too Small.

Anna Arnold[1] was born in Hungary on January 15, 1891 to Johan and and Anna (Oberding) Arnold. Undocumented records indicate Johan Arnold died in December 1893.[2] Anna (Oberding) Arnold married Johann Schwartz in about 1896.[3] Mr. Schwartz and Anna’s older sister Maria immigrated to the United States in May 1903.[4] Anna (Oberding Arnold) Schwartz, Anna Arnold, Peter Arnold, and Peter Schwartz arrived in New York in November 1904.[5] Anna was not quite 14 years old when they arrived.

Anna Schwartz and the children were supposed to join Mr. Schwartz in Helena, Montana, where he was working as a gardener at the County Hospital, but they were instead detained at immigration because they didn’t have enough money to travel to their final destination.

The Anna Schwartz group was in very real danger for exclusion to entry. Immigration policy at the time was that aliens had to be in good health and have sufficient resources that they wouldn’t become public charges. Anna Schwartz was in a double bind—she didn’t have enough money to leave New York and she and the children were simultaneously incurring daily costs for food and lodging while they were detained. Someone—Mr. Schwartz or perhaps an immigrant aid society—needed to provide funds fairly quickly to prevent additional costs and, more importantly, before immigration authorities deported the four new arrivals.[6]

28 Mar 1910 - George & Anna Focht marriage certificate

28 Mar 1910 – George & Anna Focht marriage certificate

Family lore is that Mr. Schwartz sent money for his wife Anna Schwartz, his son Peter Schwartz, and his stepson Peter Arnold to travel from Hungary to the United States, but none for stepdaughter Anna Arnold.[7] Anna Schwartz apparently decided to use the money intended for train fare for three people from their port of entry to Helena, Montana, to pay for ship passage for daughter Anna instead, thus creating the shortage of funds issue when they arrived in New York. Anna and the children were released from immigration detention several days after their arrival when Mr. Schwartz (and/or his employer) sent money for both detention costs and train travel. The story continues: after arriving in Helena, young Anna was put to work as a domestic in a private home in Helena so she could pay back the cost of her ship and train fare.[8]

Anna Arnold and George Carl Focht were married at St. Elizabeth’s in Lefor, North Dakota, on March 28, 1910.[9] They were enumerated in that year’s national census in the household of George’s parents, Anton and Katharina Focht, in Township 139, Range 94.[10] In 1920 they were enumerated as a separate household in the Heart River Township (a.k.a. Township 139, Range 94), with five children between infancy and age 8.[11] The couple parented a total of 12 children.[12] Anna and George farmed east of Gladstone for many years; their sons Jacob and Frank each lived and worked on the farm for several years before it was sold in 1964.[13]

 

George & Anna Focht family

George & Anna Focht family

With apologies for poor quality, the image above was extracted from the 1981 Gladstone centennial book. It obviously records an important event for George and Anna Focht. It is also important for the Peter Ernest Arnold family because it is one of very few photos that include Peter and his sisters Maria and Anna and each of their spouses. Peter and Margaret Arnold are standing at the left of the second row from the back, Mike and Mary Hensel are seated directly in front of them, and George and Anna Focht are seated in the center of the same row as the Hensels. The photo was most likely taken in the late 1950s/early 1960s because George Focht died in December 1963, and Peter Arnold died in November 1964.[14]

Anna and George retired to Gladstone in 1951. George died in December 1963 at 76 years of age.[15] Anna moved to a nursing home in Dickinson in the middle 1960s and passed away in Dickinson on March 25, 1969 at age 78. Anna’s obituary reports 27 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.[16] Anna and George are buried at St. Thomas Cemetery in Gladstone.[17]

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
[1] Anna Arnold is the sister of Peter Ernest Arnold.
[2] Dreyer, David. Elisenhain-Josefsdorf-North Dakota Family Register 1872-1990. San Mateo, CA: David Dreyer; draft dated August 2014. http://www.banatbooks.com/FamilyRegister.htm. Accessed 31 January 2015.
[3] 1910 U.S. census, Stark County, North Dakota, population schedule, Township 137, Range 96, p. 6A, dwelling 70, John Schwartz family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 February 2015); citing FHL microfilm 1375161.
[4] Ancestry.com. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1948 and 1954-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006, entries for Johann Schwarz and Maria Arnold, arrived Baltimore, Maryland, 03 May 1903, aboard SS Neckar.
[5] Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, entries for Anna Schwarz, Anna Arnold, Peter Schwartz, and Peter Arnold, arrived New York, New York, 30 Nov 1904, aboard the SS Blucher.
[6] USCIS Hisory Office and Library (2012). Overview of INS History: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/History%20and%20Genealogy/Our%20History/INS%20History/INSHistory.pdf.
[7] Per e-mail exchanges with a family member, August-December 2014.
[8] R. L. Polk & Co.’s Helena City Directory, 1905, microfilm reprint, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, 93, Arnold, Anna.
[9] Family record: certificate of marriage, Church of Saint Elizabeth, Lefor, North Dakota.
[10] 1910 U.S. census, Stark County, North Dakota, population schedule, Township 139, Range 94, p. 13A, dwelling 192, Anton Focht family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 February 2015); citing FHL microfilm 1375161.
[11] 1920 U.S. census, Stark County, North Dakota, population schedule, Heart River Township (Township 139, Range 94), p. 9A, dwelling 23, George Focht family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 February 2015); citing NARA microfilm T625-1339.
[12] Undated/unsourced obituary for Anna Focht, courtesy of Clarice Arnold. Likely source: Dickinson Press, March 1969.
[13] 1882-1982 Gladstone Centennial. Dickinson, ND: Service Printers, 152.
[14] Ibid., 152.
[15] Undated/unsourced obituary for George Focht obituary, courtesy of Clarice Arnold. Likely source: Dickinson Press, December 1963.
[16] Anna Focht obituary, previously discussed.
[17] George Focht and Anna Focht obituaries, previously discussed.

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2 thoughts on “52 Ancestors #7: Anna Arnold Focht

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors #8: George Carl Focht | Tidbits & Treasures

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