Great-great-grandparents: Lula Mayfield Knowles & Antonio "Tony" Cruz, Jr.
Lula was the daughter of Sarah Ann Russell and Oscar Washington Knowles. She was one of eight children, and the first generation in the Knowles line to be born in Key West. On the Russell side, she was a second generation conch. She was born on October 1, 1877. She marries Tony Cruz, son of Mary and Antonio Cruz, at the age of 18 on May 30, 1896. Tony was born in April, 1874, making him 22 when they married. Their first son, Oscar, was born in '97, and a daughter, Florine, in '98.
In 1900, they rented a house on Southard, close to Tony's mother Mary. Tony is a cigarmaker and was educated. Lula could also read and write.
The next decade would bring three more sons: Albert Bernard in 1901 (my great-grandfather), Hubert (1904), and Frank (1907).
In 1910, they rented a house on Flemming. Antonio was still a cigarmaker. The only other point of interest in this census is that Antonio spoke English and Spanish, proving that it was possible his parents never learned English, or if they did, Spanish was spoken predominantly in the home.
Their last two children were born in 1913 and 1915: Doris Melrose and Leo Jack.
By 1920, at the age of 44, Tony has made a big change in his life--he's now a fireman. His son, Oscar, age 23, is also a fireman. He still lives at home and isn't married. At 18, Albert, my great-grandfather, is a laborer at the US Air Station. Hubert, 15, is a helper in the lunch room. Which lunch room I'm not sure--perhaps at the high school? Florine, 21, still lives at home and doesn't work. She is married but her husband does not live with them. Frank is 13 and is in school. Doris and Jack are 6 and 4.
1930 shows Tony is still a fireman for the city, and everyone has left home except Doris and Jack, who are 16 and 14. 1930, however, will be a tragic year for the family.
On August 1st, Lula dies at age 53 of an infection in the heart, known officially as myocarditis. How she received this infection is not known, but apparently myocarditis is difficult to detect even with today's medical advancements. According to a public health web site, there may be no symptoms at all. Some symptoms may be similar to the flu. If symptoms occur, they may include:
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Chest pain that may resemble a heart attack
- Fever and other signs of infection including headache, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, or rashes
- Joint pain or swelling
- Leg swelling
|Lula's burial card. Cause of death myocarditis|
|Lula's mother would die 18 days later of a brain hemorrage.|
Tony eventually married his deceased brother's wife, name not known at this time, and moved with her to Lake City, Florida. He died in September, 1939 and is buried there. (Photo of headstone forthcoming.)
Lula and Tony's family:
Oscar Brian Cruz was born September 15, 1897. He married Mary Elizabeth Brady (also another relative of mine through another branch, though she and Oscar wouldn't have been related.) They married in 1920 and had three sons: Robert, Oscar, Jr., and John. (It is through John that I'm related to a close high school friend, Marissa.)
Oscar died in 1954 and his wife died three years later. They are buried in the same grave.
Albert Bernard Cruz, my great-grandfather, was born October 3, 1901. At 24, he married Marie Nelson. The marriage did not very last long at all. In 1927, he married Mary Elizabeth Knowles and they had three children: Albert, Jr. (my grandfather), Betty Jean Cruz, and Donald Ray Cruz. In 1930, he worked at the power plant. He then worked as an electrician on the Navy base. After being severely injured on the job, he retired in the 1950's. He died on March 27, 1974. (Much more about he and Elizabeth later.)
Hubert Cruz was born on November 8, 1904. He married Ruth Griner in 1927 at age 22. Together, they had five children: Flora, Hubert, Jr., Ruth Rose, Kenneth, and Doris. Hubert was a general laborer. He died just a few days shy of his 65th birthday in 1969.
Frank Cruz, b. Oct. 27, 1907, was also a general laborer. He married Ruby Carey around the year 1930. They had one child, Betty Marie, and lived in Miami the majority of their lives. Frank died in January, 2009 in Miami.
Doris Melrose Cruz was born Oct. 10, 1913. She married a captain of the police department, Everett R. Rivas. They had one son, Everett, Jr. Doris died May 22, 1987 at age 68.
Leo Jack Cruz was the baby of the family, born June 19, 1915. He married a woman named Doris and they had four children together: Leo Jack, Jr., Barbara, Claudia, Tony. Sadly, in 1943, Jack Jr. pulled a pot of boiling oil down on himself. He died shortly thereafter and is buried near his grandma Lula.
I never had the chance to meet my great-grandpa Albert, but I remember Uncle Jack well, as he died at age 82 the summer I graduated high school, in 1997. He and Aunt Doris were very sweet people. They lived in Lakeland, FL and died there.