Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Matilda Jipp and Hermann Keppen

Matilda Jipp and Hermann Keppen met in Prussia when Hermann was serving in the Franco-Prussian War. In 1872, the married couple emigrated to the United States in search of a better life in Iowa. Within a couple of years they moved to Michigan City, Indiana believing that they could start a living on a sand farm near the Indiana Dunes. The had 9 children - our Great Grandmother Lucia was their second child and Anna was their seventh. All of the children had to drop out of school before eighth grade in order to help with farm.

Hermann realized that he needed to find another source of income for his large family and moved to Chicago to try find opportunities. Most of the family joined him in 1896 but the move didn't improve their financial conditions and Hermann got himself into some financial difficulties. On November 16, 1896, early in the morning, he was found hanging on a wire fence with a clothesline with a bottle of carbolic acid on the ground next to him. Hermann was 52. The family then returned to Michigan City and shortly after the family had another tragedy - Matilda Jipp died at 47 years of age due to consumption. After their mother died - the children had to find any kind of work they could to keep the family together. According to the 1900 census, Anna, Lucia and their sisters were house servants in Indiana.

Anna was a determined woman before her time - in the early 1900s she moved to Chicago where she found an exciting and glamorous lifestyle as a model and stage actress. The famous actress of the time - Lillian Russell noticed Anna's striking beauty and encouraged her to further her acting. Anna chose a stage name of Anita King and moved out to California.

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