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William Hamilton Storkey, IV
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Birth: Dec. 22, 1867
Death: Jun. 20, 1937
Montgomery County
Pennsylvania, USA

My great grandpa William Hamilton Storkey was the husband of Rosena "Rose" Kimpel, and father of William Hamilton Storkey V. Still being studied, however, was that she was not his only wife.

As family, we know of the unit of this William, his wife Rose and son William, but there is an earlier census listing that suggested our William had been married before Rose. There is also the then-unspoken family suggestion he had another family with children (supposedly daughters) and they may have lived in Norristown.

I found evidence Rose may have planned to or may have actually married someone else later. Was my great grandpa married twice in succession, or perhaps a bigamist? It is a serious tangle, all involved are dead, and my grandpa did not speak of it while he was living. My grandpa did not speak much of either of his parents, and at age 15 lied about his age to get work on a ship that went through the Panama Canal. One really has to wonder what was going on at home, and why such a young boy was allowed to or driven to go so far away at so young an age. Was it just an adventure or was he escaping something? I go back over what I can recall him saying about family, about his mother spending her last dollars to buy supplies so he could go to a special high school for drafting... why was it her last dollars and not his father's? Was his father gone, or was it just that his mother was expected to use her funds for the boy's needs? I struggle on with this.

Back to our shady subject, my great grandpa. Unless William Hamilton Storkey IV was buried alive, the above date of death must remain uncertain. Family records show his date of death as June 24, 1937, while family cemetery records indicate he was interred June 20, 1937, aged 68 years. Even his date of birth has been a question, but recently a record of his birth in Philadelphia came to light, and it states his birth was December 22, 1867, which differed from some previously done family genealogy that had the date as December 21, 1868.

His parents were William Storkey and his second wife Mary. He was the last child born to his father who was by then age 47. He also had three half-sisters from his father's first marriage to Barbara. The date of birth above is from family knowledge, while the Mormon IGI records show him as being born December 22, 1867, parents Mary and William. The Mormon records appear to be correct, as evidenced by information found by kind fellow contributor Donna Elliott. That data comes from baptism records of the Ridge Avenue Methodist Church which shows my great grandpa's date of birth the same as the Mormon record. Further, the data shows he was baptised December 1, 1872, just shy of his fifth birthday. The Rev. George S. Broadbent performed the baptism at the church by sprinkling.

The church he was baptised at, founded 1847, had just had a new second story put on the year before. Located at Ridge and Shawmont Avenues in Roxborough, it was within probable spitting distance of the family farm.

The 1870 census shows the family indexed as "Starkey" and young William at home with his parents and sisters and an older man named Christoph in Philadelphia. My grandfather had referenced the original owner of a muzzle loading musket handed down in the family as an "Uncle Chris who came up from down South" though he did not know where "down South" - the southern part of the US or south of Philadelphia in Chester or Delaware County where our family seems to have its US roots. In any case, the family is compromised of William (49), Mary (35), Anna (20), Elizabeth (18), Ella (14), William (2), and Christoph (69). Father William is a farmer, and all the kids but William are working in a paper mill.

The 1880 census lists him as a boy born in Pennsylvania like his mom, but his dad born in Delaware - a probable misunderstanding of his having been born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The family is living on Ridge Avenue in the Roxborough or Manayunk section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is 13; his parents are William (age 58, a laborer) and Mary (age 47, keeping house). There are borders with the family, John Smaltz, a Ms. Spence, and Sallie Cramer. This census is of note because it is the first time any William Storkey is listed ith a middle initial or name - my great grandpa is listed as "Willie H. Storkey". That's the first time I have seen the Hamilton middle name come into play, and I suspect it was because Willie's sisters and father worked for W. C. Hamilton - the girls in the paper mill, and his father farming for Mr. Hamilton.

The 1900 census shows him at home with his parents and a wife Sarah. This name was news to all of our living family. At first I wondered if Sarah was Rose with a nickname, but the birth info for Sarah (September 1871) is not close to Rose's (February 1888) so it certainly appeared he was married to a different woman at this time. The family is on Shawmont Avenue in Roxborough section of Philadelphia so the area is right. Our William and his wife Sarah reported being married 11 years with no children. Our William's age is given as 31, and his birth month of December, which is legible, is correct. He works as a motorman, and his father is listed as an invalid. His father owns the home on a mortgage. This census shows our William as born in PA like his parents reportedly were. I cross checked this with Philadelphia marriage licenses, and he is indexed by his full name, and it is the very first time the middle name of Hamilton has appeared in full on any family documents, though the name is supposed to go back much further. In any case, this is our family - I have seen pictures of William, and in one or two he's proudly in uniform behind the wheel of a Philadelphia streetcar.

This may or may not be him, but how many William Storkeys are there who were age 37 in 1905? There is a record of a 37 year old man of this name arriving in Vancouver, British Columbia by way of the ship "Empress of Japan" which came from Hong Kong. Did our William go a little crazy and take off after he lost both his parents three years earlier? This record from "Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954" says his residence was in New York, so it is hard to be sure it's our man. Could it be a mis-read of his next home, New Jersey? His son certainly had a love of the sea, and in fact also sailed. Further, if it is our William, perhaps he needed to be by the sea, as evidenced by his next census entry.

Our man in 1910 is in New Jersey. There is a William Starkey in NJ, Cape May/Angelsea in North Wildwood with a wife, Alice, our Sarah's middle name. His age is exactly correct as is hers. They both report being born in PA like their parents. William is working as a bartender at a hotel. The only thing off is the number of years they have been married, reporting 18 when it should be 21. They have had no children. Right around this census is when William conceived his son, my grandpa, with Rose. In fact, my grandpa is probably on his way; the census is not dated by the unusually sloppy census taker, but the neighboring area was done in early May - my grandpa was born on Christmas Eve that year, just seven months later.

When I found this census for 1910, it crossed my mind that Sarah Alice and William might have been there on holiday... or worse yet, that William may have fled his pregnant young lady Rose back in Roxborough. Thankfully, that was not the case, as I recently found a 1905 census done in New Jersey - he (age 37) and Sarah Alice (age 34) are in Cape May; also in the home is a Walter Mower (age 29). It makes one wonder how William met Rose. Did her family come visit the shore? I find that doubtful, as the odds of two people from the Manayunk/Roxborough area meeting at the shore are smaller than them having already known one another back in Pennsylvania, or meeting when William may have gone back to see relatives or friends.

More curious... this Walter Mower was from the Roxborough section too, on the 1900 census as a single man, a milkman... he living at 7105 while only a few blocks away on Ridge Avenue, Sarah Alice's parents, the Breys, are at 7519.

So it would seem, with his parents passing in the early 1900's, that William decided it was time to move to NJ and he was there at least 1905 to 1910... though his son, my grandpa's birth certificate claims he was born in Delaware at 3rd and West Streets in Wilmington. It's an amended one, filed in 1945 and signed off on by his aunt (who was 9 years old at the time of the birth) attesting the info to be true, and I find myself doubting it. His mom Rose was alive - why would he not ask her to sign it? And Delaware is just wrong for the family at this time. Are we to believe that William the father went from being a NJ bartender in May 1910 to being a DE ship riveter by December 1910? And why is it that Rose, who was young and not married apparently, is unfindable on the 1910 census, not with her family or anywhere I can find? Rose's mom was widowed and married again between 1900 and 1910, was Rose running away from home literally or figuratively?

In between the 1910 and 1920 censuses, in 1916 when my grandpa was about age 6, an application for a marriage certificate in Philadelphia was made by Rose K. Kimpel and a Mr. Joseph Holmes. Our subject's second wife's maiden name was Rosena Katterina Kimpel, so it seems very likely to have been her. It is unknown at this time if the marriage took place, but a license was applied for. It hardly matters - how was my great grandma free to consider marriage at that time? Was she not yet or never officially married? Was William still married to Sarah, and Rose did this in an effort to give her son a father, or to scare William into marrying her?

Four years later, however, William and Rose are finally together. Initially I could not find our subject in the 1920 census, but finally I did, listed as "Starkey". They rent their home at 244 Hermitage Street. It is the first census I can find where Rose and William are together, with their son (my grandpa) William, age 9. Our subject's occupation appears to be die maker at a box company. I find it odd that among the family pictures, there are none of he and his wife Rose together, and wonder about this marriage, when it might have happened and if it ever were made official. Sarah Alice Brey Storkey would report herself as married on the 1920 and 1930 censuses, though no husband was present with her.

The 1930 census shows William (58), Rose (44) and young William (19) still together as a family unit. Was this, at the time, his sole marriage or did Sarah over in Norristown think she was still his wife? He would die 7 years later, and she not long after.

So who is Sarah and what became of her? A lady matching the age of the above lady shows up in the 1930 census in Norristown where supposedly my great grandpa may have had another family. By that time, Sarah is age 59 and working as a maid for the Fred and John C. Murphy household. Interestingly, she is listed as married, but no husband is shown in the household.

Going back to 1920, there is a Sarah Alice Storkey of the right age living in Montgomery County, with Ashton H. Powell (50) and Marie Powell (16). Sarah's listed as married, and again, no husband is listed. (Mr. Powell, incidentally, appears to have been a motorman, as evidenced by a claim filed by his daughter Marie regarding his death from acute miliary tuberculosis which is shown in "In Transit, Volumes 31-32" where he's cited as a former member of Division 811, Norristown, PA, and later in the same volume a note from the financial secretary of the chapter has kind resolutions in Ashton's memory and says they will be shared with another motoring publication, and that the chapter will be draped in mourning for 30 days.)

My grandmother told her son, my uncle, never to mention my grandpa's father. Why? My grandpa, his son, spoke little of his father so he continues to be an enigma. Was great grand-papa a rolling stone?

If he was, it seems not to have diminished Rose's affection for him. By the 1960's, 30 years after his death, she continued to keep a picture of him on her dresser.

Finally in September of 2011, the truth was found. Though William and Sarah had not lived together since at least as far back as 1920 and probably earlier, and though Sarah would live essentially as a single lady from then on, and though William and Rose were together from 1920 on... William and his first wife Sarah would file for divorce only in April of 1930, and the decree was granted October 9, 1934. One might wonder why they waited so long. Was it shame that kept them from pursuing it, or was facing end of life thinking and property settlement a deciding factor?

So the remaining question is if William ever married Rose, and if so, when? Before or after he and Sarah made their divorce official? He could have married (while already married) in another county and probably have avoided detection since the counties maintained separate records in handwritten books that weren't shared. Was he ever a bigamist? Did he ever seal officially the family he began late in life? A search one day of Philadelphia marriage records will hopefully put these questions to rest.

In the meantime, fellow contributor Donna Elliott has found that my great grandpa died or was interred 6/20/1937 which will help potentially locate an obituary. I have since confirmed with a death index that he died on June 20 1937, so he was probably interred not long after that.

The state index confirms the date and place of death further to Lower Providence, and soon the death certificate should tell us more.

Historical note: William died about a month and a half after the Hindenburg disaster. 
Family links: 
  William Storkey (1823 - 1902)
  Mary Ann Keely Storkey (____ - 1902)
  Sarah Alice Brey Storkey (1870 - 1939)
  Rosena Katterina Kimpel Storkey (1888 - 1984)
  William Hamilton Storkey (1910 - 1987)*
  Mary E Storkey Weir (____ - 1928)**
  Georgeanna Storkey Swaincott (1850 - 1924)**
  Ella Rebecca Lehman Adair (1855 - 1916)**
  Harry B Lehman (1856 - 1940)**
  William Hamilton Storkey (1867 - 1937)
*Calculated relationship
Leverington Cemetery
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Lot 4 Section 6 Division C.
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Jun 21, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14667610
William Hamilton Storkey, IV
Added by: sr/ks
William Hamilton Storkey, IV
Added by: sr/ks
William Hamilton Storkey, IV
Added by: sr/ks
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With love on your Angel Day,
- Arleta💕
 Added: Jun. 20, 2014

- Diane Miller
 Added: Jun. 19, 2014

- Diane Miller
 Added: Dec. 22, 2013
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