Family of Augusta Victoria Fleck

I don’t have very much information on the line of #1, Augusta Victoria Fleck, who married Charles Francis O’Malley, but I do know that her parents were both immigrants from the region of Thuringen in Germany.  Augusta herself was born in 1883 in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where she lived her whole life, although she did travel quite a bit. More on her in another post sometime.

Her mother was:

Augusta Kranich, and all I know about her is that she was born in July of 1855 in Meuselbach, Thuringen, Germany and came to New York in early 1877 with her husband of three years (according to the 1900 census),  Franz Wilhelm Fleck, who was born Feb. 7, 1851 in Geisa also in Thuringen, Germany.

The following is paraphrased from a December 2, 1991 letter from Ray N. Fleck about his trip to Germany and what they found there.: Geisa is quite an old town (800 years or so), it is 6 miles from the modern town of Rasdorf. There are a lot of Flecks in Geisa.  FW probably began his study for the priesthood in the monastery (“Kloster”) in Geisa.

According to my uncle Tom R. Wyles, III, FW lived with his parents in Berlin, and attended a seminary there.  He was one year away from ordainment when his father died and FW returned home to care for his mother.  He never returned to school, but he was learned in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German and English, and was a Shakespeare scholar as well!

Franz Fleck came to America in about 1877, I have not yet found his immigration and/or naturalization records, but this is the time he listed in the 1900 census.

In New York, F.W. and Augusta Fleck adopted Henry Anton Henning, the son of close friends who had died.  Then they migrated from New York City, to Joplin, Missouri, and to Colorado, where FW worked in Leadville while Augusta and Henry stayed in Canyon City because Leadville was too rough for women and children.

Finally, they came to Las Vegas, San Miguel, New Mexico Territory. The Flecks supposedly arrived on the first train into Las Vegas on July 4 1879.   However, F.W. wrote to Joplin from Leadville about August 1879 to say that Henry had not died as had been previously reported in the local paper. The Optic (Las Vegas newspaper) began publishing in late 1879, i.e., after the arrival of the first train. . . . The Optic lists the presence of Fleck at an Odd Fellows’ Ball (IOOF) in December 1879. Cousin Ray’s guess is that the Flecks arrived in Las Vegas sometime shortly after August 1879.

The Flecks got going fast in early Las Vegas. Henry was enrolled in school (one of 35 students). The Flecks built a home in a new area (Zion Hill). They had an open house in the new house. One person held a dance in the “new Fleck building”; I think this was a new commercial building. F.W. joined the IOOF. F.W. had run a tailoring shop in Leadville, and he advertised himself in the Optic as a tailor in Las Vegas. Apparently he did repairs and alterations. Later he also did cleaning.

Augusta Fleck paid a whopping $450 in property tax in Las Vegas. This may reflect the fact that Augusta’s money was used to buy the real property. It may be an indication that F.W. and Augusta were not yet married; each had been previously married to another. In any event, there was a significant amount of property in Augusta’s name. … FW pitched in $1 per month to help pay the salary of a second town policeman. … FW organized a fund for a widow without means, and contributed to it himself.

FW donated the land for the first Jewish cemetery west of the Mississippi through the organization of Oddfellows and Rebekkahs.  It is still in Las Vegas in the center of a larger cemetary where FW and his wife, Augusta are both buried.  FW had enough money to open a tavern in Las Vegas where for 5 cents you could get a beer and food from a “groaning” board.  Unfortunately, sometime in 1893-4, the tavern caught fire one night, and all the family managed to escape injury except for the baby, Juliette who was badly burned.  They had no insurance, and all was lost.  After this, FW went to work as a laborer for the railroad.

It may have been after this that the eldest daughter, Augusta, who was a musical prodigy, quit school after 4th grade to help support her family by teaching music lessons.  Juliette bore the scars of her burns for the rest of her life — she was missing several fingers and half of her face was badly disfigured.  She never married, but lived all her life with Augusta and her husband Charles O’Malley, helping to raise their children.  She was called Auntie, and I met her several times.

FW died in 1901.  His widow, Augusta Kranich Fleck, remarried briefly to a man her children thought was a charlatan, whose name I have not discovered, and she died the next year in 1902.  Her daughter, Augusta Fleck O’Malley, always believed the new husband had married her, cooerced her into buying a large life insurance policy, and killed her with ground glass so that he could claim the money.  My grandmother told me this story, and I have no idea if it is true or not.

The information I do have about this family comes in great part from the research of my grandmother’s cousins, Ray and Irene Fleck, who went to Germany in the 1980s, I believe, and searched through records there.  I also have heard stories about them from my mother’s siblings and my grandmother, Augusta and Charles O’Malley’s oldest daughter, Josephine.

We do not know the names of Augusta Kranich’s parents.  Maybe some day I can find them.

Franz Wilhelm Fleck was the son of
Sabina Kramer, about whom I know nothing more than her name; and Kaspar Adolf Fleck, b. 1806 in Geisa, Thuringen, Germany, where he also presumably died.  Kaspar Fleck was Catholic, and he made his living as an Innkeeper — as his son did in Las Vegas.  Family lore holds that it was his final illness or death that forced his son, FW to abandon the seminary and return home to care for his family.

Kaspar Adolf Fleck was the son of  Catharina Vogt, born in Borsch, Thuringen; d. 1850 in Germany; and Joannis Adam Fleck, 1760-1842 in Geisa, Thuringen.  Joannis Adam Fleck was also a Catholic, and he made his living as a Master Butcher. Catharina had 5 daughters and 6 sons!  I don’t know any more about Catharina.

Joannis Adam Fleck was the son of Elisabeth Moller and Kaspar Fleck.  I don’t know anything more about them besides their names.


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