Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chapter 17: James Henry -- Waiter, Used Car Salesman, Liquor Dealer

James Henry, sometimes known as just Henry or Harry, born in Illinois about 1877, was the eighth child of James and Julia Fawkner. Little is known of his early years, but like several of his siblings, he made his way to the head of Lake Superior. His sister, Elizabeth, and Frank Ehlenbach had moved to Duluth, Minnesota, by 1892 (see Chapter 16). By 1895, Henry was  at 1316 Tower Avenue in Superior, Wisconsin. He seems to have bounced back and forth between Superior and Duluth before settling into a restaurant waiter job in Duluth. 

The 1896-97 Duluth city directory found Henry “Faulkner” rooming at 318 6th Ave. W.  He was a waiter at Boyle Brothers Saloon and Restaurant. An 1898 newspaper article reported that "Mr. Barnidge, formely of the Hotel Northern, and Mr. Fawkner, late of Boyle Bros., Duluth have purchased the Hopkins restaurant [in Superior], and with their extensive experience are conducting a first-class house" (The Labor World, 1 October 1898, p. 3, viewed at

In any event, Fawkner seems to have soon returned to Boyle Brothers, where the 1898-99 directory listed him as head-waiter. Frank Ehlenbach had also been a waiter at Boyle Brothers. A young, single man, he stayed close to family. In 1896-7 he lived with the Frank Ehlenbach family. The following year, the city directory listed him at the same address as his brother-in-law George Watson. In 1900, was still a waiter; his brother, Fred, the recent graduate of the Illinois Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, was rooming with him at 120 W. 4th. St.

He did not stay settled. A short newspaper story reported that James Henry Fawkner, “formerly in business here, but now in Eveleth, Minnesota,” married Ernestine Sampson at Sacred Heart Church in Superior, Wisconsin, 23 August 1899. The couple planned to live in Eveleth after a short trip “south." (Duluth News Tribune, 24 August 1899, p. 8, col. 6).

Henry has not been located in the 1900 census, and is not listed in Duluth directories after 1900. However, he was still in northeastern Minnesota. James H. Fawkner declared bankruptcy in December 1900. By 1904 he was employed as a waiter in Minneapolis.

The Fawkner-Sampson marriage may have already foundered.  Ernestine Fawkner Sampson married Frances M. McAdams in Detroit in 1908. Henry may have already been in California. He was probably the James Harry Fawkner, a waiter, who was registered to vote in San Francisco in 1908. He might have gone to the Bay Area to be near an aunt who had moved there from Minnesota after her husband, George S. Fawkner, died in San Francisco. It's a long story, and can't be told here -- at least not, now.

As a resident of Oakland, James Harry Fawkner applied for a license to marry Mae Kehoe 12 April 1909 in Solano County, California. Was this the man from who married Ernestine Sampson in Minnesota? Yes, the marriage license stated that he was 33 and born in Illinois. By 1910, the couple had slipped down the coast to Los Angeles where James H. Fawkner was enumerated with a wife, Mayme, born in Canada. The told the census-taker they had been married eight years. Hmm?

Ironically, Ernestine Sampson and Mae Kehoe were possibly both born in Canada. Mae was probably the Mae F. Kehoe, 20, reported born in Michigan, daughter of Thomas F. and Mary Kehoe in 1900 in Detroit -- where Henry's first wife had remarried in 1908. Perhaps, Henry/Harry had followed Ernestine to Detroit, where instead of reconciling with Ernestine, he made the acquaintance of Mae.

The Fawkners lived at 611 W. Pico in Los Angeles in 1910. The city directory listed Mayme Fawkner as a milliner. The 1912-1915 directories listed James H. Fawkner engaged in the Cameron and Fawkner garage on W. Pico. His World War I draft registration stated that James Henry Fawkner was a machinist.. By 1921, he was in the used car business.

James Henry's second marriage probably had ended by 1930, when the U.S. Census enumerated May Fawkner as a widowed head of household in Los Angeles. She was not a widow. James Henry continued to appear in city directories through the 1930s. Several directories listed him as a salesman. The 1940 and 1941 directories placed him in "liquors." Indeed, a  niece who died recently in Hawaii told of going west from Minnesota less than a week before her uncle's death to care for him. James Henry Fawkner died 25 April 1942 in Los Angeles. He left his liquor business to the niece. As best is known, James Henry had no children. Mae Fawkner died 23 March 1937 in Los Angeles.

LESSON: When something doesn't seem right in a marriage, track down both parties. People, especially women, did not always tell the truth about their marital status.

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