Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Mont Mettie Munger and Lucy Wilma Stark Munger


     This blog was originally written as a Tombstone Tuesday entry back in 2009 for the GeneaBloggers.  I have been focusing on my Stark family this past month and need to upgrade my Munger blog as much new information has been found.  

     Mont Mettie Munger and Lucy Wilma Stark Munger are my maternal grand uncle and aunt. I never had the good fortune to know either of them, although Mont died when I was seventeen. My mother did not talk about her extended Stark family while I was growing up. Even as an adult, when I asked about her family, her response always was, "My family is very small." After doing years of genealogy work I have found that her statement is untrue. Granted she was an only child, however the Stark and Frederick components of her background did amount to a large number of folks and they all lived in the same area in and outside Pittsburgh.


     Lucy Wilma Stark was born on November 2, 1886 in the family house, 357 East Street, Allegheny City (now called the North Side), Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Her parents were Charles Stark and Wilhelmine Catherine Schwarz Stark.  Wilhelmine has a second blog following the death of Charles.


     Lucy probably had next to no memory of her father.  When she was four he was declared a lunatic and sent to the City Home.  He died there in 1895 when Lucy was nine.  Following his death, her mother moved the family to Avalon, a borough of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River.  

     Lucy had four siblings; Charles Edward Stark, born 1880 (my maternal grandfather), Emily Beatrice Stark, born 1882, Alfred Walter Stark, born 1884 and Dorothy Maria Stark, born 1888.  

     
1900 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Avalon Borough, Allegheny County
June 5, 1900

      The Stark family lived in a house on Center Avenue in Avalon that Wilhelmine owns free of mortgage.  Lucy is age thirteen and attending school.  Her oldest brother, Charles Edward, is employed as a clerk and helping to finance the family.

     There is no knowledge or records for Lucy from 1900 until her marriage to Mont M. Munger in 1908.

     Mont Mettie Munger was born on July 16, 1884 in Frankfort, Clinton County, Indiana.  He was the son of George G. Munger and Angeline "Angie" May Baum Munger.  Following Mont's birth, the family relocated to Creston, Union County, Iowa.  Three siblings joined Mont; Clarence Bruce Munger, born 1891, Hazel Ethel Munger, born 1894 and Edgar Oscar Munger, born 1897.  Mont's mother lists that she had two children die.  Perhaps they were born between Mont and Clarence.

     Mont and Lucy shared the loss of their fathers.  Mont's father was involved in a fight, was struck in the head and sustained a fractured skull.  He died in 1898, when Mont was fourteen.  

1900 Iowa Federal Census
Creston City, Creston Township, Union County
June 15, 1900


     In 1900, Mont was home with his mother, Angie Munger and his siblings, living in the city of Creston at 309 North Cedar Street.  Angie owns the house free of mortgage.  She is listed as a landlord.  Interestingly, Mont's name is listed as Martin M. Munger.

     Between 1900-1910, the Munger family moved back to Mont's birthplace, Frankfort, Clinton County, Indiana.  I assume that Mont moved back with his family and then moved on.

     Recently I found out that Mont was a vaudeville entertainer.  I was able to locate a couple of articles that mention him in 1907 and 1908.  

The Billboard
July 13, 1907, page 9


     Very poor resolution.  Mont M. Munger appeared at the Shelbyville City Opera House, Shelbyville, Indiana on Friday, July 19, 1907.


     The cast contains many well known artists, Mont M. Munger, famous Baritone soloist, member of Hasty's All Feature Vaudeville Company performing at the Crystal today, Tuesday, August 27, 1907.  


     Mont M. Munger performed at the Crystal Vaudeville Theatre, Elkhart, Indiana during the week of Monday, September 16-Friday, September 20, 1907.


     Mont was making his way eastward traveling from Indiana to Ohio.  I continue to look for additional performance notices between September 1907 and June, 1908.  Note that Mont was featured as a "moral" and "refined" vaudeville performer, a singer and dancer.
     
    Sometime between June, 1908 and October, 1908, twenty-three year old Mont Munger made his way to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, met and married twenty-one year old Lucy Wilma Stark.  I have not found the marriage record to know the actual date and place of the wedding.  Did they meet at a place of employment?  Had Lucy attended one of Mont's vaudeville shows locally and they fell in love?  The story is lost to the ages.

1909 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 1096

     This is the first and only time I have seen Mont listed as Montgomery.  He seems to have given up his vaudeville days and is employed in Pittsburgh as a stenographer.  

1910 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
April 18, 1910

     Mont and Lucy are renting an apartment in a duplex, 224 Euclid Avenue in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  Mont is employed as a stenographer with a steel company.  They have been married for one and a half years.  Lucy is days away from delivering their first child.


     Wilma Angie May Munger was born on April 21, 1910 at 4:00 a.m.  The birth was attended by Dr. W.C. Allen at the Munger's home, 224 Euclid Avenue, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  The baby girl was named for both of her grandmothers.

Granny Wilhelmine Stark, Lucy Stark Munger
and Wilma Angie May Munger
circa 1910

     Mont's mother died on September 30, 1911, in Frankfort, Clinton County, Indiana.  She was the owner of numerous pieces of property in Frankfort and her will allows for the division of said property between her four children.

Wilma Angie May Munger
Baptism October 1, 1912
Bellevue Methodist Church



Lucy Wilma Stark Munger

Wilma Angie May Munger



     Lucy and Wilma Munger have been cropped from a group photograph. I am guessing that it is from my grandparents wedding in 1914. The photographer was, Walter Stark, Lucy and my grandfather's brother.  The little boy behind Lucy is not her child.

1917 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 1855

     Sometime between 1910-1917, the Mungers moved from Pittsburgh to Avalon.  Mont was employed as life insurance agent.

507 Marie Avenue
Avalon, Pennsylvania

     The Mungers house on Marie Avenue had three bedrooms and one bath.  The house was built in 1902.  There are photos on Zillow of what it looks like today.  Although updated, it gives a good look at the inside space.

World War I Draft Registration Card
September 12, 1918


     The Mungers were living at 507 Marie Avenue in Avalon, probably before 1918.  Mont was no longer a life insurance salesman.  He was employed with McCoy Brandt Machinery Company, Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh.  Mont is listed as a man 5 feet 8 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes.

Fleming, George Thornton, History of Pittsburgh and Environs,
Volume 5, 1922, page 208-209

     This is a snippet of a biography on Walter E. Brandt, owner of McCoy-Brandt Machinery Company. The company stocked machine equipment and carried a huge supply of machines for various enterprises. Mont was either on the selling side or employed as a stenographer or clerk.

1920 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Avalon, Allegheny County
January 2 & 3, 1920

     The Munger family was renting their home at 507 Marie Avenue.  Mont was employed as a clerk in an office.  The Munger's nine year old daughter, Wilma, age nine, was attending school.  Lucy's sixty-six year old mother, Wilhelmine Stark, was a member of the household.  

     On April 6, 1920, the Mungers welcomed a baby boy, Mont Mettie Munger, Jr.  To date I have found no birth records for Mont, Jr.  I have seen his birth listed as Avalon, Bellevue and Pittsburgh.  Whatever baby pictures there may have been are lost to the ages.

Lucy, Junior and Wilma Munger

     These photos I call, "A Day ay the Beach". I am ballparking them to be summer 1922. The Munger and Cooper (Lucy's married sister Dorothy)  families enjoyed the day together. The Mungers had an automobile. I have no idea where the beach was located. It could have been a trip to Erie, Pennsylvania or perhaps they drove out to the Jersey shore.
 
Ready for Sunday School
1923



     Mont, Jr. was referred to as Junior.  I have a few photos of him with my my mother who was one year younger.  


     This is a day journal in my Mother's baby book.  The Munger's attended the same church as my Grandparents and Mother.  I love how my grandmother refers to Mont's car as a "machine".

Cousins sitting on the running board of Uncle Walter's car
Mont Munger, Jr., Martha Jean Stark (my Mother), Wilma Munger
Lois Cooper and Dorothy Cooper

421 Florence Avenue
Avalon, Pennsylvania


     Sometime between 1920 and 1927, the Mungers moved from Marie Avenue to Florence.  This property today is listed as a condo, perhaps it was a two family apartment when the Mungers lived there.


Death Certificate
Lucy Wilma Stark Munger


     Lucy Stark Munger, age forty, died on January 27, 1927 at Bellevue Suburban Hospital, Bellevue, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  She probably had suffered from heart disease for some time before her death.  Her children, Wilma Angie May Munger, age sixteen and Mont Mettie Munger, Jr., age six, suffered horrendous mental grief with the passing of their mother.  


     Lucy Wilma Munger was buried on January 31, 1927 at Uniondale Cemetery, on the North Side of Pittsburgh (formerly Allegheny City).  Her father, Charles Stark, was also buried in Uniondale Cemetery.

1930 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Avalon, Allegheny County
April 12, 1930


     Picking up the pieces of family life following his wife's untimely death, had to be a struggle for Mont.  This census shows that Mont owned the house at 421 Florence and is renting a section of it to a family of four.  The value of the house in 1930 was $8,000.  Wilma, age nineteen, is living with her father.  Oddly, Wilma's first name is missing from the enumeration.  Mont is employed as a road (traveling) salesman for a paste cleaner supplies company.  Wilma may also be traveling with him.  She is enumerated as a demonstrator for cleaner supplies.  

1930 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Adams Township, Butler County
April 17, 1930

     My question when I saw this census was, where was eleven year old Mont, Jr.?  I found him enumerated at a Children's Home in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  It would make sense that Mont might send his son to a home, since he was on the road for his job.  Still, a very sad outcome for Junior.  To lose his mother and then be sent to a children's home miles away from Avalon where his family and extended family lived.


     On July 5, 1930, Wilma Munger, now known as Billie Munger, married Rolland Larnard Schmucker in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.  Rolland, called Rollie, was the son of John George Schmucker and Ledah Larnard Schmucker, of Avalon, Pennsylvania.  Did Billie and Rollie know each other in Avalon? Did she reacquaint with him, while traveling with her father, in Chicago where he was living and working in 1930?  A story lost in time.

     Mont became a grandfather during the 1930's.  Billie and Rollie moved back to Ben Avon, Pennsylvania and had two boys, one born in 1932 and one in 1936.  Ben Avon is located beside Avalon.

Mont, Jr. cropped from Yearbook
1937

     It is unknown when Mont, Jr. left the Children's Home and returned to Avalon.  I found him in my mother's sophomore and junior high school class pictures at Avalon High School in 1937 and 1938.  Cropping such a small sizes picture does not make for even decent resolution.

1937 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 1891

     Sometime between 1930-1937, Mont Munger decided to open a retail stationery store in Pittsburgh.  The building is no longer standing.  Perhaps, opening a store and no longer traveling on the road as a salesman, was the reason Mont, Jr. could come home.


     I was surprised to find that Mont wrote two songs in 1938.  And yet, as a young man he was an entertainer and musician.  The themes seem to harken back to a time when his wife, Lucy, was alive and that eleven years after her death, he continues to miss her.

Granny Stark and the player piano

     This is probably a good place to insert a story my Mom told me about her Uncle Mont.  My mother remembers that occasionally the family would congregate at Aunt Dorothy's house in the 1930's.  Uncle Mont would sit at the player piano with a music roll inside playing and, with great showmanship, run his fingers up and down the ivories of the player piano.  She found him very funny.  Apparently, she was unaware that Uncle Mont, was indeed in his past, a showman.

     On March 27, 1940, Wilhelmine Catherine Schwarz Stark, "Granny Stark", died of pneumonia at her daughter, Dorothy Stark Cooper's apartment in Avalon.  Granny Stark lived with the Mungers in the 1920's.


1940 Pennsylvania Federal Census
April 4, 1940

     Mont and his son, Mont J., are lodgers in a house at 415 North School Street in Avalon.  Mont and Junior were living in the same house in 1935.  Mont is listed as owning a stationery store and Junior is a new worker; however, where he is employed is not listed.  Mont completed eighth grade (not unusual for a man his age) and Junior completed two years of high school.

415 North School Street

     Today this house is listed as a single family home, built in 1920.  There are three bedrooms and one bath.  When I tried to loop around to the back of the house on line, it appears that there may be an addition.  The 1940 census enumerates a husband, wife, four sons and three lodgers living here.  The head of the house is a renter.  Not the owner.

     On February 2, 1942, Mont Mettie Munger, Jr. enlisted in the Army Air Force during World War II.


Mont M. Munger World War II Draft Registration
April 27, 1942

     Mont was still living at 415 North School Street in Avalon and owned his own stationery business at 413 4th Avenue in Pittsburgh.  Both Mont and Mont Jr., use Billie's address in Ben Avon as a person who will know their address.

1940 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 1987


1943 Pittsburgh City directory
page 1046

1945 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 434

     Mont, Jr., separated from active service in the Army Air Force on November 19, 1945.  In 1950, he was living in Denver, Colorado.  At some point in time, he legally changed his name to Robert Mettie Munger.  It is unknown if he stayed in touch with his family.  His cousins that I have talked with, had no idea what happened to him.  My own mother never mentioned that Junior was in her class for two years at Avalon High School.  Robert moved to Florida and was buried there in 2007.

1952 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 240


16 Marie Avenue
Avalon, Pennsylvania

1953 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 1099

     Mont moved his business over near the Allegheny River to 138 9th Street in Pittsburgh.  The building is no longer in existence.  This directory also lists his home at 16 Marie Avenue in Avalon.  It was built as a multi-family home in 1902.  I have no knowledge if he owned the property or was renting in 1953.


     This was a surprise when I google searched Mont one day.  Uncle Mont was an author!  Somehow this was not passed down through the family.  In fact, by 1958, no one knew where he was.  Shockingly, a week ago, this book was for sale on eBay.  I now own it.  


   

     The worth of the book, to me, is the dust cover.  I had never seen a photograph of Uncle Mont and the information supplied under "About the Author", gave me the insight into his days in vaudeville.  The content of the book are rhyming couplet poems on philosophical topics with a religious bent.  I have covered Song of Heaven in another blog on Flipside,  Mont Mettie Munger--Writer, Composer, Musician and Vaudevillian.  Mentioned in the Forward is that it took Mont fifteen years to complete the book.


     Mont Mettie Munger, age  seventy-nine, died on June 7, 1964 at Bellevue Suburban Hospital, Bellevue, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania of cirrhosis of the liver.  The informant for the personal information was his daughter, Billie Schmucker, was then living in Summit, New Jersey.  

302 Fisk Avenue
Avalon, Pennsylvania
     
     Mont was living at 302 Fisk Avenue in Avalon when he died.  The house was built in 1920 and recently was listed as a single family house with three bedrooms and one bath.  It is unknown whether Mont owned this house or was a renter. 


     Mont was buried beside his wife, Lucy Stark Munger, on June 10, 1964 at Uniondale Cemetery, Pittsburgh (North Side), Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
death and burial


On Find A Grave:

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© 2021, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

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