Sunday, January 24, 2016

Henry's Early Years

Henry August Umbach Sr was born about 1861 or 1862, most likely in Evansville, Indiana. In my previous post, Henry's obituary card mentioned he had a half-brother named Ben Dietrich. This was a clue, which helped resolve a discrepancy in the 1870 US Census. In that record, 48 year old Dorota Umbach appears as a widowed washerwoman, with a 10 year old son named Benjamin, 8 year old Henry, 6 year old William and 2 year old Louis.

It took a little digging but I found a marriage record for Wilhelm Umbach and Dorothea Diedrich on 29 September 1864 in Evansville, Indiana. Dorothea was Wilhelm's second wife. Her maiden name was Sophia Dorothea Dahle. Wilhelm's first wife, Henry's mother, was Anna Elizabeth Engelhardt. She died on 15 June 1864 in Evansville, probably in childbirth with son William, who was born in 1864. This makes Louis Umbach the son of Dorothea and Wilhelm, and he was born on 18 December 1867 in Evansville.

Wilhelm, Anna Elizabeth and a 16 year old "C. Umbach" appear on a New Orleans Passenger list, arriving on the ship Neptune from Bremen, Germany, on 31 October 1859.

I have not found Wilhelm in the 1860 US Census in Evansville, but I did find him in the 1865 City Directory.

Wilhelm Umbach died on 12 September 1867, which explains why Dorothea was on her own in the 1870 US Census. In the 1880 Census, Benjamin ("Benny"), William ("Willy"), Henry and Louis appear in Evansville, with Benjamin working as a shoemaker and "Willy" working as a tailor. I think the census taker swapped William and Henry, as Henry was older than William. It also is not clear who "Mary" is in this record, as she is not Dorothea Diedrich Umbach.

Benjamin, William and Louis went into business together in Evansville, with Ben making boots and shoes and William and Louis working as tailors. In the 1893 Evansville City Directory, it shows the brothers working as Diederich & Umbach.

Louis eventually moved west to Los Angeles, where he opened a tailor shop.

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