Monday, May 9, 2016

Genevieve Frances Murray

Genevieve Murray in 1912.  This may have been an engagement portrait.

Genevieve Frances Murray was my great-grandmother.  Her eldest son, Glenn Murray Smith, was my maternal grandfather.

Genevieve was born in July 4, 1888 in Oakland, California.  She was the daughter of John Bernard Murray, an Irish immigrant from County Down and Catherine "Kate" Daly of Massachusetts.  John Murray had previously been married to Mary Lyons and together they raised eight children in San Francisco.  Upon being widowed, he moved to Oakland, married Kate Daly and fathered another nine children, so he was the patriarch of a very large family.  My great-grandmother Genevieve was the second-youngest of his seventeen children, but her younger brother died an an infant, so Genevieve was really the baby of the family.  Her parents were advancing in years by the time she was born.  John was 54 and Kate was 37.  Her father owned a tailor shop, and the family lived in Oakland throughout her childhood.

Genevieve as a young woman

Known for her independent spirit, one story of Genevieve's youth remains, passed on by my grandmother, and tells us something of her nature.  When Genevieve about eight years old, the circus came to town.  She was walking home from school and saw the tent and decided she wanted to go inside and see it.  She did not have the ticket fare, so she snuck into the tent and then sat through the whole afternoon circus show, enthralled.  She loved it so much she stayed for the next show and didn't come home until nearly ten o'clock at night.  Needless to say, her family was very worried, but Genevieve had been so carried away by the circus that she couldn't think of anything else.

Genevieve's teenage years were marred by a series of tragic occurrences.  In 1904, when Genevieve was sixteen, her elder sister Julia died of Tuberculosis.  Julia was just twenty-three.  By all accounts, Julia was a bright and charming young woman, much beloved by her family.  She was very close to her sister, and Genevieve mourned her loss greatly.  Two years later, Genevieve's mother, Kate, died on May 24, 1906, just a month after the great San Francisco earthquake destroyed the city across the bay.

Genevieve's beloved sister, Julia Murray.  She died at age 23.

I don't know much about the period between 1906 and 1913 in Genevieve's life.  During this time, she completed school and moved to Los Angeles, but the details of these milestones have been lost.  I believe that Genevieve may have followed one of her siblings or half-siblings to Los Angeles, but there is no written record of it.


I also don't know for sure how Genevieve met her future husband.  She worked as a secretary in an office in Los Angeles, and she may have met him in the course of her job, but none of our living family members remember the details.

Glenn Alvin Smith, husband of Genevieve Murray

Genevieve married my great-grandfather, Glenn Alvin Smith, in Los Angeles on June 5, 1913.  The wedding mass was held at St. Vincent's Church.  After their marriage they lived for several years in a home at 3925 West 28th Street in Los Angeles.  They later settled in a home at 1744 Buckingham Road, in Mid-City Los Angeles, where my grandfather and his siblings were raised.

Genevieve and Glenn had seven children together:

Virginia Kathryn Smith (b. 1914)
Glenn Murray Smith (b. 1916)
Barbara Frances Smith (b. 1917)
Patricia Anne Smith (b. 1920)
Shirley Mary Smith (b. 1922)
Joan Yvonne Smith (b. 1924)
Kevin Anthony Smith (b. 1929)

Genevieve with two of her children.

Link to Part 2 of this story

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