Our family’s roots go centuries deep into the history of one small village, the commune of Trondes in the Meurthe-et-Moselle region of Lorraine, France.
A branch of the family has preserved remnants of paperwork, most handwritten in French, dating as far back as May 1832. Among these papers are signed copies of official records documenting the marriage of Nicolas CHENOT and Marie Anne GAGNEUR, and the birth of their son Joseph. Nicolas obtained these records, no doubt, as part of his preparations to start a new life in the United States of America.
Related families include these surnames: CAHILL; CARHART; CLAUDE; COYLE; FARRELL; FERCHLAND; GAGNEUR; LARCHER; LAURENT; LAVERY; Le CLAIR; McCANN; MERRILL; PATTERSON; POWERS; SPANKUCH; STOVER; WINES; and WINTER.
Table of Contents
Immigrant Ancestors: Nicolas and Marie CHENOT
First Generation: Louis SHENOT
Chapter 1 – Louis & Hannah
Chapter 2 – Louis & Rosalie
Chapter 3 – Louis’s Last Years
Chapter 4 – Widow Rosalie and the Shenot Children
NICOLAS CHENOT was born December 6, 1801 in Trondes, 54, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lorraine, France. He was the son and probably the youngest child of Augustin Chenot and his second wife, Françoise Larcher. Augustin Chenot, a farmer, was born around the year 1745; Françoise was born on March 21, 1758. When Augustin married Françoise on May 7, 1781, it was a second marriage for her also. (For more information on the ancestors of Nicolas Chenot, visit the website of family historian Christine Collin of France, L’ Arbre de Christine Collin, to find Christine’s impressive family tree tracing multiple generations of families from Trondes.)
Both Augustin and Françoise had died by the time Nicolas Chenot married Marie Anne Gagneur (also spelled Gagnieux) on May 7, 1822 (Françoise and Augustin’s wedding anniversary). Marie Anne Gagneur was born March 23, 1804, the daughter of Joseph Gagneur (born circa 1769) and Marguerite Laurent, who died when Marie was a baby. Joseph Gagneur married again on July 23, 1805, to Marie Mercier, so we assume that little Marie was raised by this stepmother.
In late spring of 1832, Nicolas and Marie Chenot and their 8-year-old son Joseph left Trondes and journeyed to Havre on the coast of France. There, with another adult named Martin Chenot (probably a relative), they booked passage on a ship named Marengo and sailed to America, arriving in New York City on August 13, 1832.
The Chenots did not travel alone. Friends from Trondes – Jean Vanier, his wife Marie Jeanne (Drone), and their two children, Elisabeth, age 5, and Etienne, age 3 – made the same voyage, the Vanier family’s names appearing immediately after the Chenot family on the ship’s manifest. The occupation listed on the manifest for the Chenot and Vanier families was that of farmer. Except for a few soldiers, most of the people on this voyage were French farmers.
Christine Collin tells us that Jean Vanier and his family lived in Albany, New York, moving later to Montreal, Canada. It’s possible that Nicolas Chenot may have lived for a time in upstate New York: An undated letter, handwritten in French and addressed to Nicolas via the postmaster of Morehouseville (Hamilton County), NY, is one of the aforementioned documents preserved by his descendants. However, the few formal records we’ve found regarding Nicolas Chenot and his family were created in New York City, in what is known today as the borough of Manhattan.
The Chenot household appears in the 1840 census in New York City’s 6th ward, with Nicolas’s name recorded as “Nich’s Chinott.” According to this census record, Nicolas’s household consisted of one female aged 30 to 40 (Marie) and four males. Nicolas would account for the male aged 30 to 40; son Joseph would be the male aged 15 to 20. Two boys under the age of five also resided in this household.
Family lore supported in part by other records tells us that one of these little boys was son Louis. That the aforementioned French documents were passed down through Louis’s family validates the oral history naming Nicolas and Marie as Louis’s parents. To date, no formal birth record for Louis has been found in New York City. Further research may someday locate the record of Louis’s baptism in one of the city’s Roman Catholic churches.
For more about Nicolas Chenot and his family, please click here.
First Generation –
Chapter 1: Louis & Hannah
LOUIS SHENOT was born in New York City, probably around August of 1838. Louis’s primary language was French, the language of his parents and older brother. It is apparent, from various records and from family lore, that people often assumed Louis was born in France. Perhaps this is why he generally anglicized his birth name, Louis Chenot, to “Lewis Shenot.” Family lore also tells us that Louis’s son Joseph F. Schenot always spoke his father’s given name with the French pronunciation – “Lou-EE.” Because we have come to know him in this way, we will refer to him as Louis, while honoring his preferred surname spelling of Shenot.
Much of our knowledge of Louis comes from a thick federal pension file obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. Information from the 1870 and 1880 federal censuses confirm that we have the right man, and that the family lore fits with the records.
Louis Shenot was a soldier during the Civil War. He served three separate tours of duty, all of them short and during the summer, always as an infantryman at the rank of private. Louis’s discharge papers tell us that he was five feet, four inches tall, with a dark complexion and black eyes and hair. His occupation at the time of enlistment was “mechanic.”
And Louis was a husband and father. He married twice and fathered seven children before he died early in 1890.
Louis’ first wife was Hannah Powers, born circa 1846 in New York, the daughter of Irish immigrants. We estimate that they wed circa 1865, because their first child was born in June 1866. Louis and Hannah had two children:
- Louisa Adele (30 June 1866 – aft 1930). On July 2, 1892, in Manhattan, NY, Louisa married Louis Legrand Mundy, Jr., the son of Louis and Margaret Mundy. The 1910 census reveals that Louisa (then 44 years old) had given birth to one child who, by that time, was deceased.
- Joseph Francis (1869-1943)
Daughter Louisa was born on June 30, 1866 at 143 Thompson Street in New York City (in what is now the Soho area of Manhattan). On Louisa’s birth record, Hannah’s and Louis’s birthplaces were both given as New York, and Louis’ occupation was listed as Boiler Maker .
Son Joseph (likely named for Louis’s brother) was born January 20, 1869 at 187 Spring Street in New York City, not far from Thompson Street where Louisa was born. (The several Manhattan addresses we have for Louis Shenot are all within New York City’s 8th Ward.)
Joseph’s birth record also tells us that Louis was then working as a “tobacco manufacturer.” On the 15th of July, 1870, when Louis and his family were enumerated in that year’s census, he was listed as working in a tobacco factory. But by January 10, 1871, when the Shenot family was enumerated again in the “second 1870 census” taken in New York City, Louis’s occupation was noted as “boiler making.” And the family’s home address was identical to that listed on Joseph’s birth record, 187 Spring Street, noted on the census page as “Spring Street between Sullivan and Thompson.” The number of families listed at this address indicates that it was a tenement.
By spring of 1876, Louis and Hannah Shenot and their two children were living in a two-family dwelling at 76 Grand Street in New York City. At that address, on the 28th of March 1876, Hannah died of phthisis pulmonalis (tuberculosis) and exhaustion. Her death certificate listed her as thirty years of age, and noted that her (unnamed) parents were born in Ireland. At the time of Hannah’s death, her daughter Louisa was not quite ten years old; her son Joseph, only seven.
Louis bought a grave at Calvary Cemetery in Queens on March 30, 1876, the day his wife was buried there. Hannah (Powers) Shenot is buried in First Calvary, Sec. 1W, Avenue E, Plot 34, Grave 7. [Coordinates for this gravesite are 40 44.108N, -73 55.685W; also expressed as: 40° 44′ 6.47″N, 73° 55′ 41.09W; and 40.735133N, -73.928083W.]
First Generation – Chapter 2: Louis & Rosalie
Louis wasted very little time in remarrying. That summer, on the 29th of July 1876, Louis wed young Rosalie Le Clair, born December 26, 1859 in New York, the daughter of French immigrants Louis Charles Le Clair and Marie Jeanne Claude. Louis and Rosalie were married by the pastor, Fr. John Morris, at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic church, 516 West Sixth Street, Plainfield, Union county, New Jersey.
A record of the Chinôt-Le Clair marriage on July 29, 1876 appears on page 32 of the “Registrum Matrimoniorum in Ecclesia” of St. Mary’s church in Plainfield, NJ. Typical of the time, this record is written entirely in Latin. Louis is recorded as being “filium Francisci Chinôt” (the son of Francis Chinôt) and “ex loco Gallia,” from France. The entry records Rosalie, “filiam Caroli Le Clair” (the daughter of Charles Le Clair) as also from France. One of the witnesses was Rosalie’s sister, Frances (“Francisca”).
Louis and Rosalie had five children (surname SHENOT). All but their youngest daughter were born in New York City:
- Mary Rosalie, also known as Mary Rose and “Mamie.” Mary Rosalie’s birth on June 4, 1877 was recorded in New York City under the surname Chenot. Mary Rosalie married Charles B. McCann on November 30, 1896 in Manhattan, NY. Charles, born April 21, 1874, was the son of Charles and Catherine (Nugent) McCann. Charles and Mary Rosalie (Shenot) McCann had one child, a son named Francis “Frank” Patrick McCann, born September 26, 1897. Mary Rosalie died on July 16, 1899 at age 22. Charles eventually remarried. The last record we can find for Frank McCann is his World War I draft registration, dated September 14, 1918. At that time Frank was residing in the Bronx with his uncle James McCann.
- Frances S. Born November 25, 1879, Frances never married. She died at age 49 on August 9, 1928, at the home of her Aunt Frances (Le Clair) Morris.
- Agnes. This child was born circa 1883 and died at one year of age. She was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, NY, on October 13, 1884, in First Calvary, Sec. 1W, Avenue E, Plot 34, Grave 7. Calvary’s interment record notes Agnes’s last name as “Chenot.”
- Louis Charles (1885-1950)
- Jennie was born in Hoboken, Hudson county, New Jersey, on January 16, 1888. An extracted civil birth record gives Jennie’s first name as “Elizabeth,” while an extracted baptismal record from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Hoboken names her (in Latin) as “Joannam” (both records were obtained at the familysearch.org website). We suspect that Jennie’s given name probably was Jeanne. Documents in her father’s pension file mention that Jennie suffered from a young age with a crippling hip disease. While living with her aunt Frances Le Clair, Jennie died of pneumonia and tuberculosis on January 2, 1900, just a couple of weeks shy of her twelfth birthday and ten years to the day after her father’s death. Three days later, Jennie was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, 25th Street and 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, Lot 7639, Section 121.
Louis, wife Rosalie, and children Louisa, Joseph, Mary, and baby Frances appear in the 1880 census in New York City. Louis was still working as a boiler maker; the family was living in a tenement dwelling at 209 Spring Street in New York City.
First Generation – Chapter 3: Louis’s Last Years
Twenty-five years after the First Battle of Bull Run was fought on July 21, 1861, Louis applied for a soldier’s pension on the basis of an injury sustained in that battle. (To obtain a pension, a man had to prove he’d been partially or completely disabled by injuries sustained during his war service.) In his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, dated January 29, 1886, Lewis testified that in the line of his duty “near Centreville” in the State of Virginia ... [in] 1861, he “received injury of [his] left knee by jumping into Bull Run, striking a pole.”
Doctors administering Louis’s physical exam did find evidence of scar tissue but no disabling condition. On the day of Louis’s exam (March 3, 1886), he was listed as five feet, three-and-one-half inches tall and 143 lbs. Investigation of Louis’s military medical records revealed that he’d been treated only once, on June 14, 1861, during his first tour of duty, for primary stage syphilis. Louis’s application was rejected.
The Shenot family was still living in New York City, at 145 Thompson Street, when Louis applied for the pension in 1886. By mid-January 1888, when his youngest child Jennie was born, Louis and his family were living across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Louis probably was in poor health by October 1889 when he signed a document giving power of attorney regarding his pension claim to lawyer Charles E. Milroy of New York City. There are no other documents to suggest that Louis anticipated a reversal of the rejection he’d received in January 1887. More likely, he anticipated his own death and was taking steps to ensure that Rosalie would be able to apply for a widow’s pension.
Louis died at age 51 on January 2, 1890 at 13 Clinton Street in Hoboken, a street address different from that given the previous October on the power-of-attorney document. A transcript of Louis’s death record lists Bright’s Disease (kidney disease) as the cause of death and notes that Louis’s occupation was “packer.” This document provides the single occurrence of Louis’s last name spelled “Schenot.” Perhaps his son Joseph, who later adopted this spelling, was the informant for his father’s death record.
Louis was buried on January 5, 1890 in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, NY, in First Calvary, Sec. 1W, Avenue E, Plot 34, Grave 7, where his first wife Hannah and his baby daughter Agnes also rested.
Chapter 4: Widow Rosalie and the Shenot children
Rosalie Shenot, also known as Rosa, did indeed obtain a widow’s pension based on Louis’s Civil War service. This pension included stipends for her own four children, all of whom were minors at the time of Louis’s death. Rosa probably supplemented the pension income by working as a “feather curler” (the occupation listed on her death record).
A letter (preserved in the pension file) inquiring about the status of her claim points to the possibility that Rosalie wasn’t fluent in English. Rosalie’s signature appears on this letter in handwriting that does not match the body of the letter. Someone else, whose own command of English was barely sufficient, composed the letter for her. Some of the correspondence hints at a family struggling to stay afloat, though this may simply have been a way of wording requests for pension fund increases. The family moved around a lot; documents created during Rosalie’s years of widowhood list a variety of street addresses in Hoboken.
In the years after his death, Louis’s older children began to marry – Joseph in 1891, Louisa in 1892, and Mary Rose in 1896.
In a twist of fate, Rosalie Shenot and her daughter Mary Rose McCann died on the same day, in the same place, at Mary Rose’s home in Kings Bridge, New York City. Their death records are similar – the same doctor attended both women three days before they died. Rosalie passed away about 12:30 a.m. on July 16, 1899, of dysentery, with tuberculosis as a contributing cause. Her parents were named as Mary and Louis Charles Le Clair. Mary Rose died at 3:45 p.m. on the same day, of gastroenteritis and, doubtless, grief.
Rosalie (Le Clair) Shenot and Mary Rose (Shenot) McCann were buried three days later in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, NY, in First Calvary, Sec. 1W, Avenue E, Plot 34, Grave 7, with Hannah, Agnes, and Louis. The only tombstone marking the five burials in this gravesite has Mary Rose’s name on it.
For a time, Frances Shenot assumed guardianship for her two younger siblings, Louis Charles and Jennie. Their maternal aunt, Frances Le Clair, took the three of them into her home in New York City. At some point prior to 1900, guardianship of Louis C. and Jennie Shenot passed to a man named Frederick Seiler. Mr. Seiler and his wife Minnie lived in Hoboken; they had appeared as witnesses on Rosalie Shenot’s behalf when she was seeking her widow’s pension. Jennie Shenot died in early 1900, leaving Louis C. Shenot as the sole surviving minor child of Louis Shenot.
The 1900 census shows Louis C. and Frances Shenot sharing living quarters in New York City. Louis worked as a messenger boy, while Frances worked as a feather curler. Documents indicate that Frederick Seiler continued to administer the pension funding. On August 23, 1901, Louis C. reached his sixteenth birthday and was officially dropped from the pension rolls.
The 1910 and 1920 censuses show Frances Shenot living with her godmother and maternal aunt, Frances (Le Clair) Morris, in Bound Brook, NJ.
Per her obituary in the Courier‐News (Bridgewater, NJ), Frances died on August 9, 1928, at her aunt’s home at 920 West Front Street. She was laid to rest two days later in Holy Redeemer Cemetery, South Plainfield, NJ, in section F, plot 484, grave 6. Frances Schenot’s newspaper obituary listed her as “Frances S. Shenot,” giving her a middle initial for which we don't know the name. Per the Wills for Probate notice listed by the New York Times’ October 5, 1928 edition, Frances’ estate was worth $52, which was left to her brother Louis Charles Shenot.
Second Generation: Joseph F. Schenot
JOSEPH FRANCIS SCHENOT, the second child and only son of Louis Shenot and Hannah Powers, was born January 20, 1869 at 187 Spring Street in New York City. On March 12, 1891, Joseph married Mary Louise Winter, the daughter of Richard Herbert Winter and Sarah Louisa Wines, born in New York City around May of 1874. The wedding took place at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic church, 155 Sullivan Street in New York City.
Joseph and Mary had four children (surname SCHENOT):
- Louis Herbert (1891-1917)
- Esmeralda Elenora. This daughter, born 30 September 1894 in Brooklyn, Kings county, NY, lived for only a couple of months. She died on 10 December 1894 in Brooklyn and was buried the next day in Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn.
- Joseph Lawrence (1895-aft 1921)
- Anna May (1899-1927)
- Robert Charles (1901-1946)
Mary and Joseph Schenot appear to have resided in New York City during the early years of their family life; their first three children were born in New York. Joseph is listed in Lain’s 1897-98 directory for Brooklyn, NY, renting at 144 22nd Street. Daughter Anna’s 1899 birth record gives the family’s address as 140 22nd Street in Brooklyn. By June 12, 1900, the day the census taker came calling on the Schenot family, they were living at 112 Monroe Street in Hoboken, Hudson county, New Jersey. Mary’s father, Richard Winter, Sr., lived nearby at 123 Monroe Street.
Mary (Winter) Schenot died at age 32, from cardiac arrest, in the first week of January 1907. (The state of New Jersey came up empty-handed in a search for Mary’s death record. What little we know about the circumstances of Mary’s death was provided by cemetery personnel.) Joseph bought a plot in Flower Hill Cemetery, 5433 Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen, NJ; Mary was buried in Grave 11, Row 15, Block Q.
After the death of their mother, the two youngest children, Anna and Robert, were taken in by Aunt Annie, their mother’s sister Anna (Winter) Hagerty. Later on, Joseph and the children boarded in the Weehawken, NJ, home of Eliza O’Grady, a widow who eventually became Joseph F. Schenot’s female companion.
Joseph’s three eldest children predeceased him. We know that Louis H. died from tuberculosis; it’s probably what claimed the lives of Joseph L. and Anna as well. At the end of Joseph F. Schenot’s life, he lived with the family of his youngest and only surviving child, Robert, who felt responsible for his father and strove to give him a good home. It was during this time that Robert Schenot, Jr. – Bob Scheno – heard the few stories that “Grandpa Joe” Schenot would tell about his life and family.
Joseph Francis Schenot died November 5, 1943, at 821-12th Street, Union City, NJ – his son Robert’s home, where he had lived for the last ten years. At the time of his death, Joseph was 74 years, 9 months, and 16 days old. The cause of death was given as “coronary thrombosis” due to “generalized arteriosclerosis.” Joseph was survived by his son Robert C. Schenot, Sr.; his half-brother Louis Charles Shenot; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Following a requiem Mass at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Union City, NJ, Joseph was buried on November 9th in Flower Hill Cemetery, North Bergen, NJ, in Grave No. 11, Row No. 15, Block Q, above his wife Mary (Winter) Schenot.
For more about Joseph Francis Schenot, please click here.
Second Generation: Louis C. Shenot
LOUIS CHARLES SHENOT, the fourth child and only son of Louis Shenot and Rosalie Le Clair, was born on August 23, 1885 in New York City. He was baptized at St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church in NYC on the 11th of October 1885. Louis Charles was four years old when his father died in 1890, and not quite fourteen when his mother died in 1899.
We will refer to Louis Charles Shenot as “Louis C.,” to avoid confusion with his father.
On June 26, 1907, in New York City, Louis C. married Mary M. Farrell, the daughter of William and Sarah Farrell. Mary was born in New York City in August 1887.
Louis C. and Mary had two children (surname SHENOT):
- Harold G. (1908-1927)
- Florentine Louise (1911-1989)
New York City directories for 1915, 1916, and 1917 list Louis C. Shenot’s home address as 230 West 146th Street. On September 17, 1918, the day that Louis C. completed his WWI draft registration, he gave the same home address. Louis C.’s occupation was “printer;” he worked for John E. Meyer, Inc., on Sixth Avenue in NYC.
On October 18, 1918, Mary (Farrell) Shenot died in Manhattan at the age of 31, a victim of the influenza pandemic. She was buried in St. Raymond’s Cemetery, Bronx, NY, in Section 12, Range 33, Grave #106-107.
The 1920 census shows Louis C., eleven-year-old Harold, and eight-year-old Florentine still living at 230 West 146th Street. The household listed immediately before the Shenot family was that of Louis C.’s mother-in-law, Sarah Farrell.
Son Harold died at age 19 on November 13, 1927; his death was recorded in Queens county. Family lore tells us that “Harold passed away (they say on his birthday); [the] story is he said good night to Dad and just dropped dead of a heart attack.” Harold was buried in St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx, in the plot where his mother was already interred.
The 1930 census shows Louis C. living alone in Queens, at 4132 53rd Street.
On June 16, 1935, in Massapequa, Nassau county, NY, Louis C. remarried. His bride was Mabel Viola (Merrill) Snider, born in Massachusetts on February 5, 1897, the daughter of Annie Agnes Coyle and Everett Peter Merrill, and the widow of Forrest Ray Snider. Mabel brought along her four children from her first marriage: Edwin, Alfred, Ray, and Ann Snider. (A daughter, Grace Elizabeth, died in 1927 at age 8.)
Louis C. and Mabel had a daughter and a son (surname SHENOT), both of whom are alive today.
Louis C. Shenot died at home at age 64 in Milford, Otsego county, NY, on April 15, 1950. He was buried with his son Harold and first wife Mary in St. Raymond’s Cemetery, Bronx, NY, in Section 12, Range 33, Grave #106-107. Mabel (Merrill) (Snider) Shenot died at age 79 in New Paltz, Ulster county, NY, on December 22, 1976. She shares a grave with her sister, Alice Grace (Merrill) Nichols, in Lloyd Union Cemetery in Clintondale (near New Paltz), Ulster county, NY.
For more about Louis C. Shenot, please click here.
Third Generation: Louis H. Schenot, Sr.
LOUIS HERBERT SCHENOT, the son of Joseph Francis Schenot and Mary Louise Winter, was born in New York City on July 11, 1891. We will refer to Louis Herbert as “Louis H.,” to avoid confusion with his grandfather and uncle. Louis H.’s World War I draft registration tells us that he was 5 feet 7 inches tall, had grey eyes, brown hair, and a slender build.
Twenty-one-year-old Louis H. Schenot was working as a clerk and living in his Aunt Annie’s Hoboken home at the time of his marriage. His bride was 19-year-old Clara Katharine Lavery, born September 2, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Irish immigrants Hugh and Catherine “Kate” (Patterson) Lavery. It was a double wedding with Aunt Annie (his mother’s widowed sister, Anna [Winter] Hagerty), who at age 30 married 24-year-old Frederick Clarence Ranich, a long-term boarder at Annie’s house. The ceremony was performed on Sunday, November 10, 1912, at Trinity (Episcopal) Church in Hoboken, NJ.
Louis H. and Clara had two children (surname SCHENOT):
- Louis Herbert, Jr. (1913-1987)
- Malcolm Robert (1915-2006)
Son Louis Herbert, Jr., was born in Hoboken on September 20, 1913. Nearly two years later, the family was living at 213 50th Street in Brooklyn, NY, where their second son, Malcolm, was born. Malcolm’s birth record notes his father’s occupation as “machinist.”
When Louis H. completed his World War I draft registration on June 5, 1917, he listed the family’s address as 201 Ogden Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. Louis H. was working by this time as an instrument maker for Keuffel & Esser Co., manufacturers of surveying instruments, at Adam & 3rd Streets in Hoboken.
Louis H. Schenot did not live a long life. On Monday, August 13, 1917, after ten days in a Secaucus, NJ, hospital, Louis H. died at age 26 of tuberculosis. Louis, Jr., was not quite four years old; Malcolm was almost two. Clara Schenot buried her husband in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York, in the part known as “Second Calvary,” section 42, range 6, plot D, grave 4. [Coordinates for this gravesite are 40 44.083N, -73 54.717W; also expressed as: 40.734716N, -73.91195W; and 40° 44′ 4.98″N, 73° 54′ 43.02W.]
For more about Louis H. Schenot, please click here.
Third Generation: Joseph L. Schenot
JOSEPH LAWRENCE SCHENOT, the son of Joseph Francis Schenot and Mary Louise Winter, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 29, 1895. His brother Robert (and probably his other siblings as well) called him “Joesy.” We will refer to him as “Joseph L.,” to avoid confusion with his father. Joseph L.’s WWI draft registration says that he was tall, had grey eyes, blonde hair, and a slender build.
We know little about Joseph L. Schenot, primarily because he lived most of his short life in New Jersey, a state notoriously tight-fisted with its records.
The 1910 census shows 15-year-old Joseph L. working as a clerk in a store. He had not attended school “anytime since September 1, 1909;” Joseph L. probably was educated through the eighth grade.
Joseph L. was single and living at 519 Willow Avenue, Hoboken, NJ, when he completed his draft registration in early June of 1917. This is the same address as written on a postcard sent in 1916 by Clara (Lavery) Schenot to Joseph L.’s sister Ann, who also had not yet married. (This is the same address where the Schenot children boarded with the family of Eliza O’Grady after the death of their mother Mary (Winter) Schenot.) Joseph worked as a contract clerk at Public Service Gas Co. at 538 Washington Street, Hoboken. When Joseph L. signed his draft registration, he spelled his surname with a T at the end; later on, he may have dropped that final T.
Military records from the First World War indicate that Joseph L. served in the “National Army,” with Battery E of the 309th Field Artillery. When Private Joseph Lawrence Schenot shipped out of the port of Boston on May 29, 1918, he gave his wife’s name as next of kin. By the time Joseph L. returned from Marseilles, France, arriving in Hoboken, NJ, on May 10, 1919, his rank was Private First Class.
Joseph L. Schenot married Grace Victorina Cahill in 1918, some time prior to the date he shipped out. Grace, born in New York City in April 1898, was the daughter of Patrick Cahill and his wife Catharine Hillicker. By January 9, 1920 – the day they were listed in that year’s census – Joseph L. and Grace were living at 417 Monastery Street in West Hoboken, NJ. In this census record, their surname is written as “Scheno.” Joseph L.’s occupation was listed as bookkeeper for “Public Service Co.”
Joseph L. and his wife had one child, a daughter (surname SCHENO):
- Edith Grace (18 April 1920 -11 October 1989)
Neither Joseph L. nor Grace can be found in the 1930 census. Family lore tells us that Joseph L. died young; we assume he passed away prior to 1930, probably from tuberculosis. Grace (Cahill) Schenot probably also died young, because their daughter ended up being raised by Cahill relatives. Edith Scheno’s name appears in a 1929 city directory for Union City, NJ, right ahead of the names of her uncle and aunt Robert and Florence (Stover) Schenot. (How unusual is it for a nine-year-old to get her own listing in a city directory? Does this suggest Edith was orphaned around that time?) Young Edith’s address was given as 335 Palisade Avenue, the address of her uncle Frank and aunt Lillian (Cahill) Carhart. By 1930 the Carharts were living at 391 New York Avenue in Union City. Edith was listed as living in their household.
Two of her Schenot cousins – Bob Scheno and Veronica Spankuch – remembered that Edith attended Emerson High School in Union City. By that time, Edith was living with her uncle Joseph Cahill and his wife Irene. Joseph Cahill taught Latin at Emerson HS and later was an assistant principal there. Bob and Veronica also recalled that Edith Scheno married a man named “Banks Neumann” (or Newman). It was their impression that this marriage did not endure.
That short‐lived marriage may have been to a man surnamed Brodman. A marriage index for the state of New Jersey recorded Edith's various surnames at the time of her marriage to Eugene L. Greco in 1964. Those names were Schenot; Brodman; and McBride.
As best we can reconstruct the timeline of Edith’s marriages, we find that Edith married someone in 1940, probably the Brodman fellow. In March 1951, she married Arthur F. McBride. By October 1964, Edith was married to Eugene L. Greco. When Edith passed away in October 1989, she was still Edith Greco.
According to the Social Security Death Index, Edith’s last residence was Jersey City, Hudson county, NJ. We have no idea if Edith had children with any of her husbands.
Third Generation: Anna M. Schenot
ANNA MAY SCHENOT, the only daughter of Joseph Francis Schenot and Mary Louise Winter, was born April 16, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. Her birth certificate lists her given name as “Maria Anna May;” she appears in census records as Anna M.; and her brothers called her Ann, which is the name carved on her gravestone.
Ann may have been named for her maternal aunt, Anna Elizabeth (Winter) Hagerty, known in the family as “Aunt Annie.” Ann was not yet eight years old when her mother died. Aunt Annie took the two youngest Schenot children, Ann and her little brother Robert, into her home when Mary (Winter) Schenot passed away in 1907. While Aunt Annie and her family apparently weren’t Roman Catholic, Annie saw to it that her sister’s children were raised in the faith practiced by the Schenot family. Ann Schenot’s prayer book and rosary were passed down to her daughter.
Ann and Robert eventually joined their older brothers and father as boarders in the Weehawken, NJ, household of Eliza O’Grady, which is where the census taker found them in 1910. When Ann’s name arises in family lore, it is always in the context of her brothers’ great affection for her.
In 1918, Ann married Henry Spankuch, born December 7, 1894 in New York City, the son and apparently only child of Charles Spankuch.
Henry and Ann had two children (surname SPANKUCH):
- Henry, Jr. (1918-1987)
- Veronica “Ronnie” (1921-2010)
Both of the Spankuch children were baptized as infants into the Roman Catholic faith.
The Spankuch family lived in Weehawken, New Jersey. In 1925, their home was on Hackensack Plank Road, across the street from a beverage factory. In that year, Ann was photographed with her two children standing in front of the wrought iron fence bounding the factory property. (Henry, Jr., looks like he’s dressed up for a special occasion and not particularly enjoying it.)
Ann (Schenot) Spankuch sewed clothes for her little girl. Some of her handmade dresses were preserved as keepsakes by Ronnie, who was quite young when her mother died at age 28 in Weehawken on May 6, 1927, probably of tuberculosis. Ann was buried in Fairview Cemetery, Fairview, Bergen county, NJ, in Section H, Row 10, Block 11, Grave 80.
The 1930 census shows Henry, Sr., and the children living at 203 Hackensack Plank Road in Weehawken. Henry did remarry, to a woman named Stella who had a mentally-challenged son, Chad, from her previous marriage. But Henry, Sr., also died relatively young, at age 44, on October 1, 1939 in Weehawken. Henry Spankuch, Sr., was laid to rest with Ann in Fairview Cemetery. A gravestone bearing both of their names marks the burial site.
Third Generation: Robert C. Schenot, Sr.
ROBERT CHARLES SCHENOT, son of Joseph Francis Schenot and Mary Louise Winter, was born on the 17th of August 1901 in Hoboken, Hudson county, New Jersey.
Robert was only five years old when his mother, Mary (Winter) Schenot, died in 1907. As mentioned earlier in this narrative, Robert and his sister Ann subsequently went to live with their maternal aunt, Anna (Winter) Hagerty – “Aunt Annie.” Robert was raised in the Roman Catholic faith and received his First Holy Communion while living in Aunt Annie’s household.
By 1910, Robert was living with his father, sister and older brother in Weehawken. Ten years later, when the 1920 census was taken, Robert was the last child left living with his widowed father (and Eliza O’Grady).
In 1921 Robert married Florence Stover, born July 12, 1903 in Hoboken, NJ, the youngest child of Henry Dietrich Stover and Emma Sophia Ferchland. The Stover family was Lutheran. Robert and Florence wed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Hoboken on May 7, 1921; and Robert embraced and practiced the Lutheran tradition for the rest of his life.
Robert and Florence had two children (surname SCHENOT):
- June Claire (13 Jan 1923–4 Oct 2005); married James Henry May (8 Apr 1914–11 Jan 1993). June and Jim had two children, both of whom are living. June (Schenot) May is buried in George Washington Memorial Park, Paramus, Bergen county, NJ.
- Robert Charles, Jr. (4 June 1928–10 Apr 2017); never married. Bob chose to retire the silent T at the end of his surname during his service in the US Navy after hearing it mispronounced repeatedly (and loudly) over the ship’s public address system. He thought he’d go back eventually to the original spelling – until he had been “Bob Scheno” for so long that it would have felt strange to change his name again. Bob did change one thing, though: Raised Lutheran, he later became a Roman Catholic, a faith tradition he cherished to the end of his life. Bob’s ashes are interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia; Court N70, Sec O, Col 33, Niche 2.
Robert and Florence made their home in Union City, NJ. In his early years, Robert worked for the Warnecke rattan furniture company and often traveled in this job, writing letters to Florence en route. When his work took him to Indianapolis, Robert would visit relatives there – a branch of the family we cannot identify, though these people, per family lore, were somehow connected to the Schenots.
The 1930 census shows the family of Robert Schenot, Sr., residing at 3804 Hudson Boulevard in Union City, NJ. Living at the same address (a renovated tenement building) was Florence’s brother William Stover, his wife Catherine, and daughters Anna and Shirley. The Schenots later lived at 821-12th Street in Union City.
Around 1933, Robert brought his ailing father, Joseph, to live with him and his family. Joseph’s presence in his son’s household allowed invaluable information and stories about Joseph’s own father Louis – our family’s French-speaking, first-generation American ancestor – to be passed down to Joseph’s grandson, who has provided them for us to read here.
Robert and Florence Schenot lived long enough to see their daughter June get married in 1942. Florence (Stover) Schenot died at home on October 1, 1943, at age 40, of a cerebral hemorrhage. Florence was laid to rest in Hoboken Cemetery, North Bergen, NJ, in Grave 87, Row 9.
Joseph F. Schenot, Robert’s father, died at home on November 5, 1943, little more than a month after Florence’s passing.
Robert Charles Schenot, Sr., died of tuberculosis on January 9, 1946 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken. At the time of his death, he was 44 years old and working as a manager for the Lackawanna Laundry in Jersey City.
Robert was buried next to Florence in Hoboken Cemetery. A headstone with both their names marks their burial site. [The coordinates for this gravesite are: 40°47′374″ N, 74°01′721″ W; also expressed as 40°53.233333, -74°13.016666; and 40.887222, -74.216944.]
Florence and Robert Schenot, Sr., worshipped at Bethany Lutheran Church in North Bergen. A year after Florence’s death, a stained glass memorial window depicting the Good Shepherd was dedicated to her. A second window, depicting the nativity of Christ, was dedicated to Robert C. Schenot, Sr., in 1946.
For more about Robert C. Schenot, Sr., please click here.
© 2018 Elaine Schenot
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