In Climbing My Family Tree I share stories of my ancestors as I discover them, so the posts are sporadic. My family history is a work in progress, and I might have to backtrack occasionally if (when) I make mistakes, so if we share a branch or two I encourage you to double check the research sources rather than accepting mine wholesale. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit often to find new posts. I enjoy sharing them with you!
52 Ancestors: # 16 Christina Belle Snyder Buntz (1911-1942)
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This is my 16th post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”
challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the “No Story Too Small” blog. For
more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating
in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.
I’m not sure where Christina met Warren Buntz (variously
spelled Buntz & Bunts). He was a laborer, son of Mr. Warren J. & Mrs.
Alta Orena (Snyder) Buntz, Sr., who owned and operated a traveling carnival show.
He had grown up traveling with the show
to places like Camden, SC and Citrus County, Florida. But his mother was born and had grown up in
Arcadia, a town near Findlay (I haven't yet found a connection to my Snyder branch although since they were from the same county it might well be there), and the traveling show came to Findlay on
occasion. But Christina and Warren did meet, and fell in love.
On February 16, 1929,
Christina married Warren J. Buntz, jr. were married at 7:30 p.m. at the
residence of the Rev. T.K. Leonard of the Assembly of God Church. Besides the
parents of the bride and bridegroom, there were three witnesses: Naomi Leonard,
Russell Simpson, and Phyllis Snyder (Christina’s sister). The bride and groom were 17 years old.
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Christina and Warren began their married life at the start
of the Great Depression, when it was difficult for anyone to find work. In the
1930 Census, we find Christina and Warren (18), and their one month old
daughter* living with his parents, and his younger siblings, at 1028 Adams
Avenue, in Findlay, Ohio. Warren, jr.
was described as a day laborer (if he was like many day laborers at the time, his days of work were scarce). There were nine people living in the home. But
Warren’s father owned the house so it was probably a more stable situation than
for many who lost their homes in that time, and it might have been easier at
the outset to have experienced help with the baby. According to the 1931 City
Directory, Christina and Warren jr.(20),
were still living with his parents, and Warren was working as a showman in his
family’s carnival, which must have been struggling as people really didn't have much money to spend on frivolous things during the Depression.
By 1933, Warren and Christina had moved to a new address,
down the street from her parents (Christina and Warren lived at 427 Eben Avenue
and her parents lived at 524 Eben Avenue, in Findlay), and Warren had obtained
a job as a “platform man” with the Findlay Ice and Fuel Company. That year
their second daughter*was born.
In all, Christina and Warren, jr. had four children, three
girls and one boy, born in approximately 1930, 1933, 1936 and 1938. *I’m not
going to name the children because I promised at the outset of the blog not to
name living people, and to my (admittedly limited) knowledge, most of the children are alive.*
Over the next decade or so, Warren continued to work for the
same company, next working as a laborer for them and finally progressing to
driver. He was a driver for the company from at least 1937 through 1941 (and perhaps longer but I lost him after 1942). In 1941, they
moved back into the home that had belonged to Warren’s parents. I haven’t been
able to tell yet whether his parents still owned it or whether Warren jr
bought it. (Warren's parents had been living in Camden, SC according to the
census, although that might have been the winter home of the Carnival as Camden had
become a vacation-land haven for rich horse people.) By September 1942 Warren and Christine lived at 1028 Putnam Street, Findlay.
As far as I have been able to tell, Christina did not work
outside the home, so Warren’s career with the Findlay Ice and Fuel Company was
sufficient to support their growing family. Christina had plenty to do as a homemaker
and Mom of four. She also remained
active in her church, the Assembly of God. I found several entries in the newspaper saying that Phyllis
Snyder /Frye (depending on where it was before or after her own marriage) and
Mrs. Warren J. Buntz jr performed a trumpet and vocal duets for church programs
at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and
Easter at a variety of churches in the
area. As her children started going to school, she also became an active member
of the Parent-Teachers Association, also performing in the PTA Christmas program
and plays. My parents have told me several times that she also performed with an All
Woman Brass Band, but I’ve not been able to document that yet.
Then, on Wednesday, September 9, 1942, tragedy struck at 3:30 a.m.
on the Dixie Highway near Bluffton Ohio. Warren, jr., Christina, and Helen
Hoffman were returning to Findlay, driving the Dixie Highway. There was more traffic on the road than I
would have suspected in 1942 in Ohio at that hour. Three vehicles were
traveling toward Findlay, Ohio. A car
being driven by a man from Detroit had gone into the ditch at the side of the
road, and two men in a truck stopped to help him. The car directly in front of the Buntz car
managed to swing wide and went around the truck. Warren evidently didn’t see
the truck in time to go around it. He swerved left, but the right side of the
car hit the left rear corner of the truck. Christine was in the seat to the right of Warren. She received a broken neck,
jaw, and leg and other injuries, and was killed instantly. Her husband received
head and chest injuries, and their passenger, Helen Hoffman, suffered a dislocated right knee
and bruises; both were taken to Bluffton Hospital where Warren was listed in
critical condition and their friend in good condition. No one else was injured.
Funeral services were held two days later on September 11,
1942, at the Coldren Funeral Home and burial followed in Maple Grove Cemetery
in Findlay, Ohio. I’m not certain that Warren was able to attend. One newspaper
article made it sound like he was still in the hospital.
The children were 12, 9, 5, and 4 years of age. Their mother
was dead and their father was too injured to care for them. Initially there
were divided among various relatives across the state. Later on October 3,
1942, all four children were sent to Crystal River, Florida to stay with
Warren, jr’s parents for awhile. I can tell by newspaper articles for Camp Fire
girls, etc, that at least two of the girls were returned to Findlay by the next
I lost Warren, jr after that (no censuses released after 1940 yet), until he died on May
18, 1987, in Crystal River, Florida.
I’d like to be able to find:
Documentary evidence of the
All-Women Band my parents spoke of -- was that why were they out at 3:30 a.m. on a weeknight?
More of what happened
to the children after (I have some…a little - One daughter found me through the
blog/Facebook, and has given me wonderful old pictures of family.)
And what happen to Christina’s husband, Warren, jr, in the missing 44
[Resources: Federal Census for 1920, 1930, and 1940. Findlay
City directories for 1927, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1939, and 1941; The Findlay
Republican Courier, various dates]