Anna M. Pavlosk

The Elizabeth Daily Journal published a story about Anna Pavlosk’s sudden death on page 8 of the February 9, 1912 edition. The headline read: “Heart Attack Fatal in Downtown Woman.”

“Mrs. Ann M. Pavlosk, of 246 Fulton street, while on her way to a store last night shortly before 8 o’clock, was stricken with heart failure in Third street near Marshall street.  She was carried into the office of Dr. George Knauer of 16 Third street, and died a few minutes later. Morguekeeper John J. Engel was called and removed the body to her home. County Physician Westcott pronounced death due to heart disease.”

“According to the story told this morning by Mr. Pavlosk, his wife had not been well for more than a year. About a year ago she was taken to the St. Elizabeth Hospital suffering from kidney disease.  She had not been well since, although she was able to be about.”

“The deceased had resided in this city for twenty years.  She is survived by a husband, Frank Pavlosk, and four children, Anna, Mary, John and William.”

There is no mention of her parents or any siblings in the story, so they were either dead or not in contact.

On Monday, February 12, 1912 a funeral service was held for her at 8:30 am in her home. Afterwards she was taken to St. Patrick’s Church for a Requiem Mass at 9 am.  Anna Pavlosk was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Newark, NJ.  Mt. Olivet, the diocesan cemetery, also served as the parish cemetery for St. Patrick’s. Curiously, it was Anna, not Frank, who purchased the plot for $14. Her gravesite is located at Block C, Lot 250, Letter F.

Anna was also called Ann and Annie.  She was 41 years old when she died. Her children were all young, too.  Anna, my grandmother and her oldest child, was 16 (or 14), Mary 14 (or 8) John 10, and William 7. “Anna” or one of its derivatives, was given as a name to at least one girl in every generation, and is a family name for females on the German side. My middle name, “Ann,” is in honor of my grandmother.  Many of my female cousins have “Ann,” “Anna,” or “Anne” in their name.

I have very little information about Anna Pavlosk. On her death certificate “housewife” was noted as her occupation.  Frank Pavlosk’s sister, Theresa, had the only known photograph of her. The death certificate noted she was born in May 1873.  The headstone and other documents indicate 1871. She lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey for 20 years prior to her death.  Her father was Elias Pitoff and her mother was Anna Rikowsky.  Anna and her parents were all born in Germany. I am not confident we have the exact spelling of their family names.  It is difficult to decipher the handwriting on microfilmed old documents.  Cursive script with a dip pen is often hard to read. Civil servants, especially outside one’s language or ethnic group, may not have been exact with the spelling, or spelled a name phonetically.  Her father’s last name might have been Petoff, Pitcoff, or Piteoff. Her mother’s maiden name – Rikowsky – might have been Rickowsky, Reckowsky, Rakowsky or something else.

According to my uncle, Ernest Andersen, Annie Pitoff Pavlosk lived in or near Bound Brook, New Jersey before moving to Elizabeth.  Her family may have settled there after emigrating from Germany. People from a particular regional area or ethnic group tended to settle together in an area.  German-speaking people were probably more comfortable with others of the same origin.   Frank Pavlosk and his half-sister, Anna, (last name unknown) also settled in the Bound Brook area after immigrating from Prussia. According to my mom, his half-sister was heavyset and taught piano.  She adopted a daughter, who may have been named Audrey. It seems that Frank and Anna met after he arrived in New Jersey. They were in their early 20s when they married in 1894. Bound Brook was a rural community.  The couple may have thought that they would find more opportunity and excitement in a city so they moved to Elizabeth shortly after their marriage. Annie Pavlosk’s first child, Anna Louise (or Margaret) Pavlosk/Paloske, my grandmother, was born on July 19, 1896 and baptized on July 26, 1896 at St. Michael’s Church in Elizabeth, N.J. Three more children followed, another girl and two boys. On some documents her name is written “Annie” instead of “Anna” so perhaps that’s a hint to her character. A lighthearted and warm woman, not a stern German matriarch.  Frank Pavlosk never remarried after his wife died and was a widower for almost 44 years.

Anna’s family names of “Pitoff” and “Rikowsky” sound Russian.  I wonder if her grandparents or great grandparents moved to Germany or Prussia a few generations before they left for America? “Petoff” has Finnish roots. Finland, like Prussia, is by the Baltic Sea.  The Pitoff/ Rikowskys were certainly connected to the Baltic Sea area, and may have originated in the modern countries of Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland or Finland.

One thing I can guess about her character is that she was determined, and carried on through pain and illness to cook, shop and take care of her family.  Her life, like her daughter’s, was over too soon.

1 Comment

By Karen