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Bertha Elizabeth Dunn- Fourth Daughter of William and Louisaof


Last week I wrote about Bertha’s three older sisters, Martha, Mary, and Sarah.  This week I’ll write about Bertha, and then next week about her two younger sisters Clara Frances, and Ida Flora.  I’ve decided to keep my winter essay project going until the Spring Equinox, because I have found some interesting tidbits about the next generation of Dunns in Blair and Cambria Counties.

Bertha Dunn was born in Hollidaysburg on 24 May 1870.  She was baptised at St. Mary’s on 17 April 1870, and her god-parents were Henry and Catharine Mantel.  Bertha is listed in the {1870US} as “3/12 years old” in her parents household.

In the {1880US} I have found, perhaps another foster family for the six young daughters whose mother Louisa died, and their father was retired and too old to care for young daughters.  Old William was living with his son John, in Duncansville, by this time.

“Bertha E. Dunn” is listed as living with George and Margaret Kaisley, in Millville,  in neighboring Cambria County.  I have no proof for this being the same 11 year old girl, but by this time two of Bertha’s half-sisters (Lucretia Irwin in Millville, and Susanna Saly in Johnstown) were indeed living nearby.  And soon, her sister Martha Wills would be living in nearby South Fork with her family.  My next research will be to investigate if any of these family members were lost in the Johnstown Flood of 1889.

The next reference to Bertha is in the 1893 and 1896  Altoona Directories; she is listed as a domestic, as were her older sister Sarah and younger sister Ida.  In the {1900US} Bertha is listed in Altoona working as the servant of John C. and Mary R. Albert.  In this listing (and Albert Family Trees)  I found the clue that proved this Bertha was indeed of the Hollidaysburg Dunns.

John C. Albert had married Mary Regina Dunn, daughter of William’s eldest son Joseph Milton Dunn, and his wife Susanna McLaughlin Dunn.  John Albert’s brother Michael married Bertha in November of 1903.  As was all to common back then in the smoggy air of this  industrial town, powered by coal.  By {1910US} widowed Bertha is listed as renting an apartment and supporting herself.  In the {1930US} Bertha is employed by the Joseph Lynosak (sp?) family in Altoona.

Soon afterwards, Bertha re-married to Lorenzo Brioni (Lawrence Bryan), a widower after Mary Catherine Pfieffer died in 1920, leaving him with 5 children.  I guess she was a governess again, who againmarried her employer.

In {1940US}, Bertha is counted with Lawrence in Logan Township, and some of his children live nearby.  Lorenzo’s obituary was printed in the Altoona Mirror on 27 May 1944.  The 1945 Altoona Directory lists”Bertha Bryan (widow of Lorenzo)”.  Bertha’s Pa. Death Certificate confirms that William and Louisa were her parents.  Lawrence’s son Sylvester was the informant on her document.  She is buried in Calvary Cemetery, where many other Dunn family members are buried.

Bertha lived until 23 Dec 1948.  Within a year of Bertha’s death, I was born.  This was a close as my life came to living in the times of any of William Dunn’s children.  Next week I will complete this first part of my family essays with the few facts that I have learned about Bertha’s 2 younger sisters, Ida Flora Dunn, and Clara Frances Dunn.  I’ll also present an introduction to my upcoming essays on the next generation of Blair County Dunns.                                                                   Thom Dunn Marti

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