A Glamorgan Family History
Sarah (Morgan) Zankert cont.
Just over 3 years later at
5.13am on Wednesday 18th April, San Francisco was shaken by a severe earthquake (measuring 8.25 on the current Richter Scale) which caused the outbreak of a devastating fire that raged for 4 days.  At least 500 lives were initially lost, 497 city blocks - covering 5 square miles - were destroyed, 28,188 buildings were demolished and the cost of the damage was estimated at approximately 1 billion dollars.  Market Street, the home of many department stores, was badly damaged and by implication of it's proximity and the evidence of contemporary photographs, Stevenson Street was also badly affected.

If she was present in San Francisco that day, Sarah
survived the earthquake and we can only guess at her experiences in the days and weeks that followed.  Like many residents, she was possibly homeless for a period of time.  Edward also apparently survived and must have been in demand when the call for bakers went out as the City officials struggled to feed the homeless.   After the earthquake and fire came torrential rain to add to the damage and the city found itself under martial law.  Until damaged gas mains, electrical wiring and chimneys could be repaired, even those who could return to their homes struggled to make do without any form of lighting and were forced to cook on makeshift stoves in the streets.

Gradually the city recovered and the
City Directory of 1907 again shows entries for Edward as a cook and Sarah as a dressmaker.  Their address at this time is recorded as 1796 Webster Street, which lies on the intersection of Webster St. with Bush St., in the "Western Addition" to the original city layout.  However, by the federal census of 1910, 3 years later, Sarah is described as widow who is now living at 1126 Filmore Street, San Francisco (which runs parallel to Webster Street).  The California Death Index of 1905-1929 records that Edward died on 26th March 1910, just a month before the census was taken on 30th April.  His short obituary in the next day's edition of the San Francisco Examiner described him as being aged "50 years  8 months and 4 days" and a member of Western Addition Camp No. 306, W. O. W..   W.O.W. or Woodmen of the World, was a fraternal organisation which gave assistance to the families of members after their deaths.  Edward's funeral  was arranged under the auspices of WOW, for 1.30pm on Monday 28th March at Mount Olivet cemetery.  His address at the time of his death was given as 1796 Webster - indicating that Sarah must have moved very soon afterwards to be enumerated at 1126 Filmore Street just a month later.

Filmore Street was one of the few areas left relatively undamaged by the quake.  As a result, many department stores from Market Street and personnel from the damaged
City Hall had quickly relocated there in the early days following the disaster.  This raised the profile of the area, which was also situated in the Western Addition. In order to accomodate as many people as possible in the aftermath, many of the Victorian residential homes on Fillmore became boarding houses.  In 1907 the first streetcar to operate after the earthquake ran along this thoroughfare.  Later, in 1909, it became famous for the 14 arches of brilliant illuminations erected over each street intersection by the merchants of the Fillmore Street Improvement Association.  These arches were later scrapped to make steel for the war effort in 1942.  The 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition (a World's Fair commemmorating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific ocean and the opening of the Panama canal) was hosted by San Francisco to celebrate the city's regeneration and was sited in an area just off Fillmore Street.
2nd marriage:
finds Sarah working as a dressmaker on her own account and providing a home for 4 male "roomers": Richard Wermer, Fred Hinn, Stewart Edsell and Jess Russ.  Their respective occupations are recorded as being an attorney, 2 furniture polishers and a painter.  One of the furniture polishers, Stewart Edsell, was later to become Sarah's 2nd husband.  Their marriage occured sometime between the 1910 census and 1916 - when she was named as Mrs Sarah Edsell in her father's obituary.  Sarah's father, Daniel died on 15th March 1916 in Osage City, Kansas, aged 80 years.  His very detailed obituary mentions Sarah and states that both she and her elder brother, David were unable to attend their father's funeral in Kansas on 19th March

Stewart Edsell, who was
13 years younger than Sarah, had an entry in the 1915 City Directory which described him as a furniture polisher residing at 1126 Fillmore Street. He was the son of Harry Edsell, an Ohio school teacher of Irish parentage and his English born wife, Elizabeth.  In the 1920 census, Stewart is enumerated as a lodger working in a hardware store in his home state of Ohio.  Also lodging with him, in the household of carpenter, Newby Brownfield is Stewart's younger brother, John - who appears to be a detective.  54 year old Sarah is meanwhile enumerated back in San Francisco at 1126 Fillmore Street.  She is described as the head of the household and is apparently living there alone.  Not much more information can be gleaned from this census as the page relating to Sarah is badly torn across her entry.  Perhaps Stewart was working on a contract in Ohio?  2 years later, the 1922 City Directory lists "Stewart A Edsell (Sarah) r 1126 Fillmore" suggesting that Stewart was back in San Francisco by this time.  They are similarly listed in 1923 and 1924, but not from 1925 onwards.  Neither Stewart or Sarah Edsell are to found in the 1930 census or in San Francisco's telephone directory of 1933.
3rd marriage:
According to the
California Death Index of 1905-1929, Stewart died, aged only 47 years, on 7th April 1927 in Humboldt County, California.  I can find no entry for Sarah in either this index or the following ones of 1930-1939 or 1940-2000.  Perhaps she did not die in California or (less likely) she may have married again.  In fact, from her older brother, David's obituary (dated 2nd Oct. 1930), I now know that Sarah did marry again sometime between 1927 and the census of 1930.  Her brother's obituary describes how his sister, Mrs Sarah Zankert of San Francisco travelled by "airplane" to Kansas City, then by train to reach Neosho, Missouri for his funeral.  Armed with this information Sarah can be found on the 1930 census of San Francisco living with her 3rd husband, Paul Zankert (or Zarkert as transcribed by ancestry.com) at 1653 Golden Gate Avenue - which the couple owned. Her new husband, described as a stevedore, was born in Pomerania, Germany (now in Poland) and was 24 years younger than Sarah - having been born on 1st April 1891.  In this census Sarah gives her age as 50 - presumably to narrow the gap between her husband and herself.  She was actually aged 63 at the time.  From the details given on his World War 1 draft card dated 1917, Paul had apparently been married before and had at least 1 child from that marriage, aged 4 years old at the time of the draft record. 

Also enumerated in Paul and Sarah's household in 1930 are 4
"roomers" - demonstrating that she was continuing to supplement her income by offering accomodation in her home.  These roomers, 1 female and 3 males are variously employed as a floor lady, salesman, labourer and mechanic.  Paul Zankert is listed in the 1933 San Francisco telephone directory at the Golden Gate Avenue address.  With the new information about Sarah's last marriage, I have now found the record of her death in San Francisco on 11th September 1938, aged 71 years. Again, thanks to the help of the California Genealogical Society, I now know that she is also buried at Mount Olivet cemetery - possibly with her 1st husband, Edward.  Her obituary in the San Francisco Examiner of 12th September 1938 read:

ZANKERT - In this city, Sept. 11. 1938. Sarah Ann, dearly beloved wife of Paul
                 Zankert and loving sister of Harry Morgan of Muskogee, Okla.; Roy Morgan of
                 Kansas City, Mo.; Mrs Mary Morgan of Albuquerque, New Mexico and May
                 Morgan of Topeka, Kan.; a native of England (sic), aged 71 years.
                 Friends are invited to attend the funeral services Tuesday at 1 o'clock at the
                 Chapel of Halsted-Dierks & Co. corner Divisadero and McAllister Sts.
                 Interment, Olivet Memorial Park.

Her 3rd husband, Paul Emil Louis Zankert lived to be 90 years old - dying on 9th September 1981 in San Mateo, California.
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Copyright © 2006 Rina Callingham