Thomas Joseph McAdams and Louise Wertz, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Thomas Joseph McAdams and Louise Wertz

Louise Catherine Wertz was born on Cedar Street on August 27, 1882. Her mother, Mary E. Kline Wertz was born in Pennsylvania in June 1855. Her father, Jacob Wertz Jr., was born in Kate and Fred Reinecker with Louise Wertz McAdams Pittsburgh to Jacob and Katrina Wertz about 1854. In 1870 Kate Wertz was living in the 16th Ward of Pittsburgh and was listed as the head of the household. I presume that she was a widow at that time. Her birthplace was listed as "Prussia." With her were James, 21, Jacob, 16, Amy, 16, Kate, 10, who later married Fred Reinecker, and John, 5. Fred was the son of Frederick Reichenecker. I know his nephew, Bill who explained, "At some point, Fred had changed his name to Reinecker from the family name Reichenecker." This picture, courtesy of Janet Dietz Madden, shows Kate and Fred Reinecker with Louise Wertz McAdams and the McAdams boys, "Howdy," Tom, and Charles.

"Jakob Werz" was 23 years old and was living at Cedar Street in Bloomfield, in the 16th Ward when he married Mary Klein in 1876. Their Marriage License was recorded in the Minister's Marriage Returns - Allegheny County. Mary Margaret "Mae" McAdams may have been named for her grandmother.

Mary Klein was the daughter of Charles and Catherine Kline, both born in Germany. In 1860 Thomas McAdams and Louise Wertz 1906they are living at 417 Penn Avenue. Mary's brother, George, was 9 years old at that time. Both Mary and her brother were born in New York. Charles' occupation was listed as "scissors grinder." I have a quaint picture in my mind of a little German scissors grinder!

Jacob Wertz was living at 4413 Calvin Street, under the present St. Francis Hospital, at the time of his death in November 1894. His occupation was listed as "roller," meaning that he was a steelworker working in a rolling mill. The 1900 census shows
Jacob's daughter, "Louisa" living with her mother, and her three sisters, Kate, Lizzie, and Mamie, two brothers Jacob and John Edward, and a brother-in-law, Mamie's husband Alfred Bridge. Louise's brother John Edward "Ed" was still living at the Wertz home at 4413 Calvin Street at the time of his death in 1940.

Thomas Joseph McAdams married Lulu Wertz as she called herself on their marriage license in 1906. Thomas listed his residence as 319 Ella Street, and his occupation as draftsman. "Lulu" listed her residence as 4413 Calvin Street. The High Mass was conducted at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 16 at St. Augustine's Church on 37th Street by Rev. Father Raphael. Louise was 24 years old at the time. This picture, courtesy of Janet Dietz Madden, shows Thomas Joseph McAdams on the left, next to his bride, Louise Wertz.

Also in the picture are Louise's friend M. Molinar, [her first name might be Margaret] and the best man, Charles Vincent McAdams, Thomas' half brother. Scotch-Irish men traditionally named the first son after their father and the second son after themselves. This certainly held true for the way that Thomas named his children.

McAdams ChildrenThomas Joseph McAdams may have been named for his grandfather, Thomas Sullivan. The groom's younger brother was James Emmett McAdams Jr., or perhaps James Emmett McAdams III and is better known as "Uncle Emmett." His father listed his own name as "Emmett McAdams" on his 1880 marriage license to Catherine Sullivan. James and Catherine also had two daughters. Lydia died in January 1900 at the age of 16. Catherine Gertrude McAdams Doering may have been named after her grandmother, Catherine Welsh Sullivan.

Thomas supported his family working as a draftsman at American Bridge and at Pittsburgh Plate Glass. Thomas and Louise had six children. The three oldest children were born at 317 Ella Street, not far from the Bloomfield Bridge. Their grandfather, James McAdams had died at 319 Ella Street in 1898, and Grandma Mac continued to live there for many years. Ella is a narrow street. There are still a number of brick row houses with no front yards, the front walls of the houses come right up to the sidewalk. The houses in which the McAdams lived may well be the same ones that are standing now.

Catherine Gertrude McAdams, born on December 13, 1907, may have been named for her grandmother and great-grandmother, Catherine Sullivan McAdams and Catherine Welsh Sullivan. Mary Margaret, "Mae" McAdams, born May 7, 1909 may have been named for her grandmother, Mary Kline Wertz. James Howard "Howdy" McAdams, born December 2, 1910, was the first born son and was named James in memory of his grandfather and great-grandfather, both named James McAdams.

Two more sons were born on Milgate Street. Thomas Joseph Junior, born August 7, 1914, was named after his father. Charles Vincent McAdams, born June 6, 1916 was named after his father's half brother. This picture, courtesy of Janet Dietz Madden, shows the oldest children: in the top row, left to right are Mae, "Howdy" and Gert. The second row shows baby Charles and Tom. Louise McAdams First Communion Picture

The youngest daughter, Anna Louise, possibly so named in honor of her mother, was born on November 8, 1920 on Hermitage Street in Homewood. The lower picture, courtesy of Janet Dietz Madden, shows Anna Louise at her first communion in 1927.

Life must have been hard for working people at that time. With no Unemployment Compensation, health insurance or Social Security, I can imagine the family living from paycheck to paycheck.

Louise died on December 17, 1921 of "rheumatism turned tuberculosis." The baby, Anna Louise, was 13 months old at the time. Louise was too ill to even hold her baby daughter. According to her obituary, Louise died "at her home, 7310 Hermitage St., Homewood. Mrs. McAdams was a former resident of Lawrenceville, where she attended St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church. Besides her husband she leaves her mother, Mrs. Mary Wertz, six children, three sisters and two brothers, all of Pittsburgh." Louise is buried in Section W of St. Mary's Cemetery near her brother, John Edward. She has no marker.

The Depression was a hard time for Americans, and the McAdams family was no exception. Thomas lived in a number of places, including Ella Street with his mother and brother Emmett. He shared a duplex with Emmett and moved to South Highland after Emmett died.

Thomas died at Shadyside Hospital on December 28, 1957 at the age of 76. He is buried in Section H, lot 281 of St. Mary's Cemetery, Lawrenceville, with his parents, James and Catherine, his brother Emmett, and his sister Lydia.

Thanks to Janet Dietz Madden for sharing the family photographs.


Copyright 2000 Nancy McAdams
April 27, 2000
Updated September 12, 2001

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