Emma Cecilia <I>Bachmann</I> Price

Emma Cecilia Bachmann Price

Oldenburg, Franklin County, Indiana, USA
Death 27 Sep 1963 (aged 82)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Rowland Heights, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section E, Row 25, Grave 212
Memorial ID 25907326 · View Source
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According to a letter written by Emma to her children in the 1930's, Emma was the daughter of Magdalena Bachmann, who was the daughter of Gervais Bachmann and his wife, Magdalena Weiderle (or Wiederle).

Gervais and his wife came to the United States from Germany in 1846, landing in New Orleans. They had 5 children, born in Ohio and Indiana: Rosina, George, Mary, Anna Elizabeth and Magdalena.

The younger Magdalena had a son out-of-wedlock, Albert Louis. His father was a neighbor, Monroe Gloshen.

My grandmother, Emma, was her second illegitimate child. I don't know who Emma's father was. It could have been Monroe Gloshen again or someone else. For some reason, Albert stayed with his mother and grandparents in Franklin County, Indiana. However, when she was about 2 1/2 , Emma was sent to St. Ann's Orphans' Home in Terre Haute, to be raised and educated by the Sisters of Providence, from St. Mary-Of-The-Woods. Whether she lived with her mother up until that time is unknown.

The records from St. Ann's, from Catholic Charities, sent to me by the Diocese of Evanston, says that Emma was admitted on June 29, 1883. The records also state that on June 10, 1885, Emma was placed with a Mrs. Miller from Terre Haute, who had no children and would "adopt Emma as her child." Mrs. Miller brought her back on January 3, 1886. These records also state that Emma was placed with Miss Frances Howe* on May 16, 1894. This corresponds with what Emma told me when I was a child...that she lived with the Sisters until she was 13 years old.

Miss Frances Rose Howe was the niece of the Mother Superior at St. Mary's and on one of her visits, she took a liking to Emma. Emma eventually spent time at Miss Howe's home, the Bailly Homestead in Porter County, Indiana. (The Homestead is now part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and on the U.S. Register of Historic Buildings.) Emma also accompanied Miss Howe to Europe. She bought Emma a violin and paid for lessons. When Emma was 23 years old, Frances Howe formally adopted Emma.

The only description I have of Emma as a young lady comes from an article by Mrs. Florence Busse Smith, published in the Duneland Historical Society newsletter in April, 1956. Titled, "I Remember Miss Frances Howe, Emma Bachman and George Blagg", it says of Emma, "Who was Emma Bachman? Some people said that she was Miss Howe's own daughter, who had been kept away at school and has now at about sixteen years of age come home. But mother told me that Emma was Miss Howe's adopted daughter. The story generally accepted was that Emma was a member of a large orphaned family in South Bend and Miss Howe had adopted her. She was a most attractive girl, about five feet seven inches tall, lithe and merry with beautiful wavy chestnut hair and lovely brown eyes. She had a warm and gracious personality. She was a little younger than I but we were understanding friends."

Mrs. Smith continues, "Miss Howe bought a beautiful race horse for her and she drove to our house often in her racing cart. She brought me a picture of herself and horse one time. I wonder where that picture is? One day, she came beautifully dressed in an exquisite chiffon blouse. 'Emma', I said, with my seventeen years of wisdom, 'you shouldn't be wearing that pretty blouse to drive in.' 'I know it," she replied, 'but I wanted to wear it and this was the nicest place I know to wear it.' Poor dear, she was lonely for the companionship of young people. Often she would drive over to the Chesterton Bakery and bring back a sack of Mr. Hoham's good macaroons for me which she knew I especially liked.

It must have been in the fall of 1906 when Emma, unable to gain Miss Howe's consent to her marriage with their Swedish-born groomsman, slipped out of the house early one morning, to elope..."

Emma did indeed run away with her groomsman/coachman, Gustave Christianson, which caused quite a scandal...all the way to Chicago. As reported in the Lake County Times, the couple eloped on a Saturday. They spent the day driving from town to town in their buggy. Emma hesitated to get married at that time, as she was waiting for permission from Miss Howe.

Emma and Gustave arrived in Hobart, about fifteen miles from the Bailly Homestead and stabled their horse at Duffy DeFrance's livery. They then took a room at the Hobart House. Around midnight, Emma decided to return home. She recovered her horse and buggy from the barn, but after a few miles, she became lost and returned to Hobart. She asked Bert Pierce, of Shearer Livery, to take her back to the homestead.

Meanwhile, Gustave had found the town Marshal, Fred Rose, and asked for his help in locating Emma. He told the Marshal that she had robbed him.

Marshal Rose and Gustave found Emma at the Shearer Livery and instead of accusing her of theft, Gustave pleaded with her to marry him. Emma refused, and left to return home.

As reported in the newspaper, Gustave also returned to the homestead, asking Miss Howe to see Emma. When refused, he left.

It is said that Emma and Gustave were not married during their elopement.

In 1908, Emma married James Huston in Kansas City, Kansas.
Their license application states that they were both from Los Angeles, California. That is something that I don't understand. I never knew Emma was in Los Angeles prior to her marriage to James. And, if they were both from Los Angeles, why were they married in Kansas City, Missouri? Did she elope for a second time? I need to go back through the letters I have both to and from Miss Howe to see if the answer lies there. I'm not sure if Miss Howe would have approved of the marriage. James was from a family that had once been wealthy and were important members of the town of Maysville, Kentucky. However, during the marriage, he is listed on the Census as a traveling salesman, at one time selling shoes. This doesn't sound like the kind of suitor for Emma that Miss Howe would welcome. At the time of their marriage, James was 39 and Emma 25.

Emma and James settled in Los Angeles, California. They had two children; a son, James Francis and a daughter, my mother, Geraldine Cecilia Huston. James Francis played the trumpet with entertainer Phil Harris in the 1930's in the Los Angeles area. (If you've ever seen the Disney cartoon, The Jungle Book, you've heard Phil Harris...he was the voice of the bear and sang "The Bare Necessities.")

Unfortunately, James Francis committed suicide in 1937. He died in Malibu from carbon monoxide poisoning from his car. The note he left just said he would take to the grave the reasons for his suicide.

Emma's marriage to James was strained. I have letters from their maid to Miss Howe, stating that James treated Emma badly. He was stingy and wouldn't let her have any money. I believe he also drank some. It's been awhile since I read those letters. I need to go back and do that again.

My grandparents divorced and in 1924, Emma married a man named John W. Price, the son of Thomas C. Price and his wife, Lucinda Norman. Emma and John had no children together and eventually divorced. While they were married, they belonged to the Edgewater Club. This was a fairly prestigious beach club in Santa Monica, California. My mother used to tell me how they would ride from their home on North Beachwood Drive, below the "Hollywood" sign, down to the club in their fancy convertible.

An interesting side note: when Emma met John Price, he was married to a lady named Jennie L. Price. I don't know if the L stands for her middle name or her maiden name. I don't know the particulars of his marriage to Jennie nor do I know if they were living together or estranged at the time John met Emma. On January 12, 1923, Jennie Price filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court (#116059). The defendant was Emma Huston. She was being sued for "wrongfully intending to injury (sic) this plaintiff and deprive her of her said husband's protection, society, aid, and support, willfully, wickedly, and maliciously gained the affections of said John W. Price, and induced him to have carnal intercourse with her, and sought to persuade him and entice him by offers of money, the payment of money, and other things of various kinds and otherwise to leave plaintiff without support and to reside and live with defendant in the city of Los Angeles, county and state aforesaid." The filing ends with Jennie asking for a judgment against Emma for $100,000.

Emma denied it all. The copies I received from the court in 1978 ends with a notice to Emma to appear for a deposition in August, 1923. The last page is a court paper filed on April 30, 1952 which states, "it appearing to the Court from an examination of the record herein that this action should be dismissed...therefore, upon the court's own motion, the above entitled action is hereby dismissed." I don't know what happened to the case...did Jennie drop her suit and somehow it never was dismissed? Did Emma settle out of court and give Jennie some money? Goodness knows, Emma had enough money...at least then...

When Miss Howe died, Emma inherited 3 million dollars from her estate. During the time of her marriage to John Price, they ran through all of that money. I had no idea how much it was until several years ago when I found a Los Angeles Times article about the "Heiress" who regained custody of her children. It said that Emma had inherited 3 million dollars! That article stated that while Emma was back in Chicago dealing with Miss Howe's estate, her husband was taking care of the children. When Emma came back, he didn't want to let her take them because she had been gone so long. Emma prevailed and she was given custody of James Francis and Geraldine.

After the money was gone and Emma and John Price divorced, Emma cleaned houses for a living. She was also a live-in cook for a family in Los Angeles. Can you imagine that? Going from having all that money to being a cleaning lady and a cook. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just it's a big difference in lifestyle!) And, in her later years, we were poor, so Emma's lifestyle never improved; in fact, it went downhill!

When my parents divorced, Emma came to live with us. She took care of my brother, Michael, and I while our mother worked. I have memories of her reading to me and believe that's where my love of books came from. I also remember watching Mitch Miller and his "bouncing ball" on TV with my grandmother. That's where I first heard my second favorite song of all time, "The Yellow Rose of Texas"...sitting with Emma and watching Mitch Miller and the Gang! (For anyone who really cares, and I'm sure most of you don't, but I'm going to tell you anyway...my first all-time favorite song is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic.")

We always lived in Arcadia, a lovely city in Los Angeles County, California. And we moved a lot because my mother sometimes couldn't pay the rent. One of the biggest regrets of my life occurred during one of those moves. We were living in a motel on Huntington Dr, across from the County Park in Arcadia. We had all of our things stored in a garage on the property. When we moved out, we left in a taxi. Unfortunately, my mother never went back to get our things. She owed the landlady $50 and never had the extra money. I was only in 5th grade at the time, so I didn't understand exactly what was happening. If I had been older, I would have called my father and asked for help. He was very interested in family history and I'm sure if he had known my mother had left all of the family pictures, etc in that garage, he would have gotten them for us. That is why I have no pictures of myself as a baby and only a couple of my brother. (Those came from my father after I was an adult and talked to him about our family history.) Emma left a large steamer trunk in that garage and I'm sure there were all sorts of documents that would have been interesting to read, and maybe would have given me the answers to her father's identity. Sadly, that was not to be.

My mother never owned a car, so we walked or took the bus wherever we needed to go. For a time, my grandmother ordered groceries from a "mom and pop" store, Vickery's Country Market, because they delivered. Emma knew I liked peppermint candy, so she always ordered peppermint sticks for me.

Emma passed away at the Los Angeles County Hospital on September 27, 1963. Emma was buried on October 17, 1963 at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Rowland Heights, California, courtesy of the county. Unfortunately, we were poor and my mother couldn't afford a funeral or a headstone for her.

* Miss Frances Rose Howe:

Born 4 Feb 1851
Died 20 Jan 1917 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA at the Clark Hotel, 426 S Hill St.

Find a Grave Memorial for Miss Frances Rose Howe: 23622678

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  • Created by: Cecilia
  • Added: 10 Apr 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25907326
  • Cecilia
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Emma Cecilia Bachmann Price (18 Mar 1881–27 Sep 1963), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25907326, citing Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Rowland Heights, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Cecilia (contributor 46619721) .