My Mom’s Memories of her Dad, Henry Mangen

I think it is important to write down some memories of what a person was like so that they don’t become a name and dates for future generations. I did not know my Grandfather, Henry Mangen as he died well before I was born. But my mom supplied me with stories and so I will relay them here.

This was one of my mom’s favorite photos of her dad. This was a prop car for photos and it shows my grandfather in the driver’s seat and his mom, Eva. It was taken around 1912.

Henry grew up without his dad, George as he died in 1903 when Henry was 2 1/2 years old. Eva did not remarry so the kids were raised by a working mom. Eva’s mom, Katherine Revenig, lived with them. She spoke German but according to my mom, Henry refused to learn the language. He wanted to only speak English.

Henry graduated from a 2 year Vocational High school and worked as a bookkeeper and then an accountant. My mom remembers he could add up a column on numbers by simple running his thumb down the page. She remembers feeling intimidated by him when he helped her with her math homework.

Henry was born in 1900 and was too young to be in World War I but tried to enlist. The recruiters told him to go home to his mother. There were 3 drafts in WWI. The first one was on June 5, 1917, for men between the ages of 21 and 30. The second one on June 5, 1918, for men who were age 21 after June 5, 1917. Third was September 12, 1918 for men age 18 through 45. Henry was born in 27 October 1900 so was just 6 weeks too young for the last draft. He isn’t in the World War II draft which is called the Old Man’s Draft and included men born between April 28, 1877 to February 16, 1897.

He married my grandmother, Florence Bostwick in 1920. Henry’s mom was against the marriage and at the time in Illinois, men under the age of 21 couldn’t marry without the consent of a parent. Eva wasn’t going to consent to it and Henry told her he would run off and get married if she didn’t sign the paper. She eventually agreed. I don’t know for sure why she was against this but I think a factor was that Henry was raised a Catholic and Florence wan’t raised with a religion. Another thing that my mom remembers hearing about the day they were married was that Henry’s grandmother, Katherine was buried that morning. Grandma Flo’s grandfather, John Bostwick, was there from California and said about Henry ” Poor guy, he goes to his grandma’s funeral in the morning and his own in the afternoon.”

The picture looks like it may be the summer after they married. There were no kids in any of the photos near the lake and they look very young. My mom was born 10 months after they married. It also looks like they enjoyed going out on adventures.


Shortly after they moved into their house on Indiana Ave in 1925, they had a housewarming party. My mom couldn’t identify many people in the photo but there were a lot of them in the basement of the house. Henry is on the bottom of the photo in front. I’ll try to dissect this photo in more detail at a later date. What my mom did identify all involved Grandma Flo’s family. I don’t know how close Henry was to his own family. Mom knew her maternal Aunt’s and visited with them well into her adult years. She would hear from her cousins if one of them died. In contrast, she had no idea about when her paternal Aunt and Uncle died and didn’t stay in touch. What she does remember is seeing her dad and his brother, Nick fighting with each other on the front yard of this home. She remembers seeing them rolling on the ground and her mom whacking them with a broom. She was trying to only hit Nick but at times landed a blow on her husband, Henry. Mom remembers that Henry said that getting hit by the broom hurt! My mom also said that it looked silly, two grown men rolling around on the lawn fighting.

Also, there was a ping pong table in the basement that provided many hours of entertainment for the family.

My mom remembers babysitting for a family in the neighborhood and the couple didn’t tell her how long they would be gone. Well it turned out to be all day and she watched the kids for around 10 hours. By the time she came home, her dad asked her how much money they paid her. My mom remembers crying and replying 50 cents. Her dad took the money, marched over to the house and handed the money back. I’m sure he had a few choice words for them also. But, my mom remembered that he stood up for her and she and her sisters never watched those kids again.

Below are a couple of photos of Henry hamming it up. It looks like he is holding a ukulele and Grandma is banging on a drum. The other photo is of Henry celebrating one of his daughter’s high school graduation. The graduation photo would be around 1944 so the Christmas photo is probably in the 1930’s.


Henry was an avid baseball fan and rooted for the Chicago White Sox. My mom rooted for the Cubs. They would listen to the games on the radio and read the box scores in the newspaper. Once, my mom wrote a letter to the editor of the Chicago American detailing how the White Sox could improve if only they had some of the Cubs players. She didn’t tell her dad she was doing it and much to his surprise, he opened the sports page and saw the headline  “Florence Nightingale”. It was good for a chuckle but I have not been able to track that article down yet. He would also go to American Legion games in the area. My mom met my dad, Harry Rice after the war ended in 1945. When she introduced him to her dad, Henry, he said “I know who this young man is.” My dad played baseball in the American Legion league and Grandpa Henry remembered seeing him play. When my mom was preparing to marry dad, Henry spoke to her and said you didn’t come to me for my approval. Would you marry him even if I didn’t give it? My mom told him yes. Does this sound vaguely familiar? He did approve of the marriage but remember, he told his mom he was going to marry Florence even if he had to run off.

To the right is a family photo around 1940. They had 4 girls and 2 boys. Most are still alive so I won’t identify them.  Looking at the photo, my mom is to the right of Henry.

A few more memories include not liking pork because he got sick one time after eating it. They had a car and he would let the kids jump onto the running board for the last little bit of his drive home. They had a feud with the neighbor over a presidential election. The other family had one poster up in the bedroom window of their home. That window faced Henry’s front door which was located on the side of the house. Well, Henry took the poster of his candidate and placed it over the neighbor’s photo on the outside of the window. My mom can’t remember how long it took the neighbor to figure it out but eventually it was taken down. She also can’t remember which candidate they backed but it was an election in the 1930’s. There is a Lurie index of people living in Chicago as well as the voter registration from 1937. I need to find that record which may lead me to who they would have preferred in elections. Henry read the Chicago Tribune in the morning and the Chicago American in the evening. My mom gave him a book called The Robe on Christmas in 1942. This leads me to believe he enjoyed reading. We had the book in our home while I was growing up but I don’t know what happened to it. Mom held onto it for at least 50 years but it wasn’t in the house after she died. Maybe she gave it away when she did a major clean out 2 years before she died. I know she purged her supply of books around that time. He carried a pocket watch and one of my cousins has it now. When I saw my aunt, the second daughter of Henry a few years ago, she told me a story. She was a dancer and left home at 16 to tour with a dance company. Henry told her  “Don’t do anything you would be ashamed to tell me about.” I told that to my mom and she said it sounded like something their dad would say.

Henry died 29 May 1947. He was 46 years old. He died of a Venous Mesentery Thrombosis. He had also had a cardiac infarct 5 years earlier. My mom, dad and sister were driving up to Chicago the night he died. My mom remembers seeing a shooting star and she looked down at her watch and the time was 9:15pm, the time that is listed on his death certificate as the time of death. He is interred at St Mary Cemetery, Evergreen Park, IL. I visited his grave when my parents took me to Chicago when I was 10.  I have not heard back from the person who took the photo of the grave to get permission to use it here. So here is the link to the photo.

This is probably one of the last photos taken of Henry, 3 months before he died. He only met these 2 granddaughters. His children went on and had a total of 25 grandchildren. I have no idea how many great-grandchildren or great great grandchildren there are now.

His obituary revealed he left his wife Florence Bostwick, 6 children, 2 grandchildren, his mom, Eva Mangen, his sister, Catherine Hoffman and his brother Nicholas Mangen. The funeral was Monday 2 June 1947 at 9:30 from the chapel at O’Hanley Funeral home, Mass was held at St Clotildes church, and internment at St Mary’s cemetery.



Genealogy Line

Henry Mangen – Grandfather

Florence Mangen – Mother


Henry Mangen Illinois Death Certificate 1947. From personal papers.

Photos from family collection.

Memories are from conversations with Henry’s daughter, Florence (she is also my mom).

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 01 December 2018), memorial page for Henry Mangen (27 Oct 1900–29 May 1947), Find A Grave Memorial no. 166450219, citing Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, Evergreen Park, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by K Rice (contributor 48729621) .

Chicago Tribune, 1 June 1947. Mangen, Henry Obituary.

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