Julianna Gertrude Ingram Posluszny

Feb 19 1888 – Feb 9 1967

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On February 19th 1888 in Padew which was part of Galacia, Julianna Gertrude was born to Gertrud Karl (which we’ve known as Kahl) and Ludwig Ingram.  She was their first born child.  Her birth was followed by her sister Mary in 1891, Elizabeth in 1894, Sophie in 1898 and Christine in 1901.  Family stories were that there was a brother Walter who was born after she immigrated to the United States but I can’t find any proof of that and he’s not listed in her obituary.  I have pictures that Aunt Tootsie claimed were of him but again – have no proof!

These are two pictures of the Ingram Family taken in Galacia.  Although the one on the left had been been labeled with the help of Aunt Tootsie, I find it hard to believe Julianna would look so mature at 10 years old!  The photo on the right shares the same two older people and I’ve been told it’s Julianna and family but I no longer am 100% sure. And there’s more mystery….

There is no logical record of Julianna on a ship manifest in the Ellis Island records.  I’ve searched my brains out over the years.  I have an index card of Judy Behme’s search and she ran into the same problem — the age and the year of arrive just doesn’t match up.  There is one record of Julianna Ingram in 1896.  Great! Found her!  Oops – if she was born in 1888 (or even 1887) would she really have come over on her own at 8 years old?  1910 and 1920 Census records say she immigrated in 1903  Great!  Only problem – can’t find any record.  A 1903 immigration would make her 14 at the time – which makes more sense.    Julianna’s sister Mary followed her to the United States in 1907 and Elizabeth in 1912.  They stayed close throughout their lives.  Elizabeth and her husband Ben lived in California but traveled to Connecticut every other year to visit family.

Mary and her husband Paul lived on Long Island and had two daughters, Pauline and Katherine.  They were both close in age to my mother, Betty, and we knew and visited Katherine and her family on Long Island and in Vermont growing up.

In one of my conversations with her daughter, Judy, she shared the following:

  • Julianna said she was 18 in order to travel but was really 16  (again, age doesn’t match travel year);
  • She had no sponsor so Judy doesn’t know how she was able to come here;
  • A rich woman took her in and enrolled her in night school to be a servant (?) and taught her the niceties of life;
  • She was German-Russian and understood Polish but her ethnic background was German;
  • She was ahead of her time – “liberated” was the word Judy used!;
  • She performed in plays at the Polish National Church (St. Casimer’s) a couple of times a year – Aunt Mary Posluszny Biega produced and Julianna acted;
  • There was nothing she couldn’t do.  When family members would complain they couldn’t do something, she would get so impatient;
  • “Grammy had more balls than Grampy”.

Julianna met Konrad in Yonkers NY where they both lived and they were married in 1908.

Julianna_Konrad_license

This marriage license was a great find for me years ago when I first started my searching.  But – her mother’s maiden name!  We always knew it to be Kahl (actually Karl) so Roupa? Sigh….

posluszny family cropped
The Posluszny family – Julianna and Konrad back row right side.

Julianna and Konrad lived in Yonkers where they had Antoinette, Conrad, Louis and Judith. While living there, Konrad worked at a hat factory and on weekends they would go to visit an Ingram relative who had a farm in the Bronx in the area of Pelham Parkway to help out.

They moved to Easthampton Massachusetts very briefly around 1920-21 while Konrad looked for work but Grammy hated it there and her daughter Judy said she didn’t unpack.  In 1922 they were living on Derby Street in New Britain where my mother was born and by 1925 they were living at 121 Clifton Street in Wallingford.  In this home of her own she had her vegetable and flower gardens and her chickens.  Her love of gardening and being outdoors definitely was born in her son Louis and Lou’s grandson Jim!

 

Judy Posluszny Behme who was the first born daughter of Louis and Irene Posluszny wrote her own family memories in 1995.  She had this to say about Grammy:

“Grandma Posluszny was always a busy woman she was a stern no nonsense woman and you knew who was the boss.  She was an extremely creative woman who’s hands never seemed to be idle and I imagine that was from being brought up on her family’s farm where she worked like a man in Germany.

Grandma did the most beautiful needlework, embroidery work, crocheting and tatting.  She loved flowers and plants and there was nothing she couldn’t grow.  In the spring through fall her yard was a glorious riot of color.  Even as a small child I remember running into the back yard just to look at the flowers.  Every shade and variety of tulip, zinnias, daisies delphiniums, poppies, mums and asters every variety you could think of.  In the house she had an infinite variety of african violets in every color and type.  I don’t believe there was a variety of flower she couldn’t grow.  She once took a leaf from a gardenia, started a plant that eventually became a large tree that was planted in a big tub which was brought out in the year in the summer and when it bloomed you could smell the scent all over the neighborhood.  At one time she had her picture in the local news about a plant called the Night Blooming Cereus or “The Century Plant” – it only bloomed once in its lifetime, at midnight, and it would be gone the next day.  The scent was heavenly.  Every downstairs room of her house had masses of plants of every variety – orchids, cactus, gloxinias.  Another of her hobbies was doing crossword puzzles – the harder the better – and she loved the Sunday ones.  Considering that she spoke no english when she came to this country, this was quite an accomplishment.  She had great pride in becoming an American and was always thankful for this country and what it gave to her.”

In December 1944, her husband Konrad died.  She was 56 years old and now a widow.  Louis and Judy were both married and out of the house.  Her son Conrad and daughters Antoinette were both in their 30s and Betty the youngest was 20.  Antoinette took over as the breadwinner in the family and they carried on.

Julianna, Connie and Konrad Posluszny
Julianna, son Connie, Konrad

Grammy had a heavy german accent, which for a little kid like me was very scary!  Given the option to go with my mother and Aunt Tootsie or stay with Grammy – I usually chose to go!  My sister Janice I’m pretty sure stayed.

She was proud of all her grandkids.  My first cousins, 10 to 20 years older than me have much richer memories of her than my sisters or I do.  But with a quick think I know that we all have many of her qualities in us today – Jim with his gardening; Janice with her sewing skills and gardening to name a couple!

She suffered from some form of cancer towards the end of her life and I remember she was in Skyview Convalescent Home.  She passed away on February 9, 1967 after suffering a stroke.  The Christmas picture with me, my sisters and the Behme cousins was the last picture we have with her.

The more I learn of her, the more I think about what a strong person she was.  FIERCE is the word that comes to mind.  I don’t think she put up with much and she told it like it was. Smart, independent, brave – I think every female in our family has a bit of her in them.

 

 

 

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