William Herzkey Tombow
William Herzkey Tombow
My Family Tree, by Patrick Tombeau, PhD White Feather
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William Tambo Tombow

Male 1866 - 1929  (63 years)


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  • Name William Tambo Tombow 
    Born 12 Apr 1866  Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Dec 1929  Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I03710  Tombeau Family Tree
    Last Modified 24 Feb 2007 

    Father Samuel R. Tombo,   b. 1839, E. Lampeter, Lancaster Co. PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Jul 1868, Philadelphia, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 29 years) 
    Mother Frances Alwilda Lake,   b. Abt 1842, Susquehanna County, Lenox Twp. (?), PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1890, Olyphant, PA (?) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 49 years) 
    Married 13 Dec 1863  Dandoff, Susquehanna Co., PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1353  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth Fitzsimmons,   b. 5 May 1876, Gilosgate Moor, Co. Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1932, Olypant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    Married 8 Jun 1899  Scranton, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Frances Tambo,   b. 4 Mar 1900, Jessup, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1905, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 4 years)
     2. Ann Tamboo,   b. 9 Apr 1902, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. May 1902, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
    +3. Elizabeth Romayne ("Pearl") Tambo,   b. 19 Jul 1903, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 May 1974, Dearborn, MI (burial: St. hedwig, Dearborn, MI) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    +4. William Tambo, Jr.,   b. 24 Feb 1906, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Jul 1963, Pontiac, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years)
    +5. Leo Thomas Tambeau,   b. 11 May 1908, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jan 1973, Dearborn, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years)
    +6. Margaret ("Peg") Tambo\Tambeau,   b. 18 Dec 1910, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jul 1999, Bradenton, FL (lung cancer) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years)
    +7. Peter Eugene ("Jack") Tambeau,   b. 14 Feb 1914, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jan 1982, Royal Oak, MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
     8. Clarence Tambo,   b. 14 Feb 1914, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Feb 1914, OLyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     9. Thomas Woodrow Tambo,   b. Abt 1915, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1915, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 0 years)
     10. Mary Tambo,   b. 4 Jan 1917, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Oct 1922, Olyphant, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 5 years)
    Family ID F0129  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Speakeasy at the home of Peter Fitzsimmons, Sr.
    Speakeasy at the home of Peter Fitzsimmons, Sr.
    Children of William and Elizabeth Tambo: Eddie, Peggy, Willie, Leo, Jack, and Pearl
    Children of William and Elizabeth Tambo: Eddie, Peggy, Willie, Leo, Jack, and Pearl
    Tambo Family Sites in Grassy Patch, Olyphant, PA
    Tambo Family Sites in Grassy Patch, Olyphant, PA
    William and Elizabeth Tambo with children: Peggy, Leo, Jack, and Mary
    William and Elizabeth Tambo with children: Peggy, Leo, Jack, and Mary
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.

    Documents
    Marriage Certificate of William Tambo, Sr. and Elizabeth Fitzsimmons
    Marriage Certificate of William Tambo, Sr. and Elizabeth Fitzsimmons
    Map of places where William Tambo, Sr. Lived as a Child
    Map of places where William Tambo, Sr. Lived as a Child
    Map of Lackawanna County, PA, showing William Tambo, Sr.'s Carbondale and Olyphant
    Map of Lackawanna County, PA, showing William Tambo, Sr.'s Carbondale and Olyphant
    Death Certificate for William Tambo
    Death Certificate for William Tambo
    Certified Copy of Death Certificate
    Death Certificate for William Tambo
    Death Certificate for William Tambo
    Census from 1879/1880
    Census from 1879/1880
    A census from June 1st 1879 to May 31 1880 in which Nicholas, Johns appears in as does his wife Frances, his 2 daughters Ann and Elizabeth, and his step son William Tombow appear in
    Census from April 1910 in Pennsylvania
    Census from April 1910 in Pennsylvania
    Census from April 15 1910 in which William Tombow his wife Elizabeth and their children Elizabeth, William and Leo appear in, as does William step son Edward Mackrell
    Census Schedlue for William Tambow and fammily
    Census Schedlue for William Tambow and fammily
    William Tombow, certificate of baptism
    William Tombow, certificate of baptism

    Histories
    A History of the Borough of Olyphant Pennsylvania,
    A History of the Borough of Olyphant Pennsylvania,
    A History of the Borough of Olyphant Pennsylvania, the city which William Tombow and inhabited

  • Notes 
    • William Tambo, Sr.

      II-l-l William Tambo was the only child of Samuel R. Tombo and Frances Alwilda Lake. He was born l2 April l866 in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Scranton, in the heart of the anthracite coal mining district of Pennsylvania. Barely two years old, he lost his father while the latter was undergoing surgery to amputate his leg.

      William's mother remarried a year and a half later on Christmas Day, l869 to a coal miner of Welsh descent, named Nicolas Johns. William did not spend his childhood in Carbondale, but in Carbon County, His mother and step-father may have moved there as early as l870 as a search of the l870 Federal Census, noted earlier in this history, does not reveal their whereabouts in Luzerne County.

      The family is found in the l880 Census in Carbon County, Yorktown, Banks Township, dwelling #l08 (p. l3), on l June l880 as follows:

      Nicolas John, white male, age 44, by occupation an engineer, employed during the last five months, born in PA, parents born in Wales, reads and writes English.

      Frances A. wife, white female, age 37, keeping house, born in Pa, parents born in NY, reads and writes English

      William son, l5, white male, laborer, reads and writes, not in school , born in PA, parents born in PA

      Ann daughter, white female, age 8, in school, reads and writes, born in PA, parents born in PA.

      Elizabeth daughter, white female, age 6, in school reads and writes born in PA, parents born in PA

      Oral tradition among the writer's aunts recalls Ann Johns as their father's half sister, but is silent on Elizabeth.

      In l882, William's mother files her pension papers in Audenreid, Carbon County. Oral tradition indicated that Hazleton and McAdoo were part of William Tambo's boyhood. These two cities are very close to Audenreid.

      Fred Benckman's History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania, pp. l67 et seq., states that Banks township owes its settlement wholly to underlying coal deposits. None of the soil is arable, or capable of being farmed. The mining and stripping of anthracite coal from that area was its sole industry. As the coal resources were exhausted, coal operations proceeded westward along the Banks Township coal vein through the towns of Colerain, Jeanesville, Tresckow, and Yorktown. Yorktown and Audenreid were neighboring towns with Audenreid extending in Schuylkill County. McAdoo is just south of Audenreid in Schuylkill County. Thomas Johnson and Co. ran coal mines in the area in l878 and The Lehigh & Wilkes-Barre Co. had operations in Audenreid.

      William, then, must have been employed as a coal miner at the age of l4, his correct age at the time of the l880 Census.

      By l890 William was back in Olyphant, a town neighboring his birthplace, Carborndale, as his mother files a second application for his father's pension, using Olyphant as her mailing address.

      A few notices from his bachelor days in the l890's have come into the hands of the writer. The newspaper articles give an idea of his penchant for jokes and pranks. They appeared in the now defunct Olyphant Gazette under "Grassy Items". (Grassy, or Grassy Patch, was a hillside section of Olyphant where William Tambo's home stands to this day.)

      "Tambo has gone to India to look for work." O.G., l July l893

      "Mr Wm. Tambo has returned and is at his post once more. He reports having a first class time." O.G., July, l893

      "Wm Tambo says he had a fine time the other evening and the boys will not find out who his new girl is this time." O.G., 4 August l894

      It is said that the back issues of this newspaper were not preserved. If such be the case, then these are the only glimpses available to us of the family in those days of this nature.

      William Tambo married Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, daughter of Peter Fitzsimmons and Anna Joyce, who also resided in the Grassy Patch area of Olyphant.

      They were married on 8 June l899 by an alderman, Myron Kasson, according to Lackawanna County Court records. In this record, William spells his name "Tombow". Elizabeth signs her names as "Fitzsumons".

      It is not known when they were married in the Catholic Church as neither St. James Catholic Church in Jessup, where their first daughter, Frances was baptized, nor St. Patrick's in Olyphant, where all of their other children were baptized, have a record of their marriage. As both died Catholics, their marriage would have been solemnized in the Catholic Church.

      In the l900 Census, William Tambo is listed as a laborer who had been out of work for three months. The coal miners were on strike during this period of time.

      In the l9l0 and l920 Censuses, as well as on his death certificate, he is referred to as an engineer, the same occupation as his step-father, Nicolas Johns.

      The term "engineer" in the context of coal mining refers to a position held by a man who ran a "locy", as the slang of the time called it, that is, a miniture locomotive engine which pulled loaded coal cars out of the mine. At that point the unusable part of the coal, called "culm", was separated out.

      William worked for the Hudson Coal Company or a subsidiary thereof. The
      foundation of the building where he worked the "locy" (Short for locomotive) could still be seen in the early l980's in a ravine visible from the 600 block of S. Valley Ave. in Olyphant on the east side of the road.

      William's working partner is said by local residents to have been a man named "John the Hun", because of his Hungarian extraction.

      Not far from the ravine, where the locomotive building once stood, to the southeast, one could see ten years ago a low mountain of culm, then covered with trees and underbrush, that, no doubt, in part, was created by the efforts of William Tambo and John the Hun.

      In l900, William and Elizabeth lived in Jessup, another neighboring town. They lived there long enough to have their first child, Frances Tambo, baptized in St. James Church on l8 March l900. They were the tenants of a widow, named Margaret Cummings, aged 73.

      Shortly thereafter they moved to the address that would be their home for most of their lives, ll4 School St., in the Grassy Patch section of Olyphant, with one short exception in the l920's according to the writer's Aunt Pearl Tambeau. The house is a large, white, two-storey home.

      Lincoln School where their children would attend school was nearby at end of the street. A mile and half away was the Bird's Eye Mine where William worked and where is warm lunch was brought on a daily basis by his older boys, Willie and Leo (the writer's father).

      Bringing the lunch to their father in his stationary locomotive building was an easy matter as it was down hill all the way. Returning home was another matter with many diversions along the way to ease the burden of the return trip for the small boys.

      Physically, William Tambo appears to be a tall, strongly built man form the one picture that survives of him in the backyard of his home with his young family. He is described by relatives as having white hair and blue eyes. His eyes, especially the left one, were crossed. He had a broken nose, not well mended, the origin of which has several stories attached to it.

      The most likely one, as told to this writer by his first cousin, William Sidney Tambeau, who had it of his maternal uncle, who was a specialist in family gossip, is that William said something to anger his wife, Elizabeth (or "Liza") while at the breakfast table. She took a poker from the nearby coal stove and cracked him across the face with it, "breaking his nose and crossing his eyes".

      William is said to have replied that he would never get his nose fixed so that she could stare at it the rest of her days.

      Attempts to confirm this version of events through two of his living children, Margaret (Aunt Peg) and Jack have led to two more contradictory versions: one version is that he slipped on the outside steps to the cellar while trying to get a neighbor's dog. A second version is that he broke his nose when he was knocked down by a constable, having become a little too rowdy on a Saturday night drinking spree.

      William Tambo, otherwise, is described as a gentle giant who loved children. Nearly everyone who remembered him, spoke of his musical abilities and his love of children.

      It is said that he often led the children of his wife's relatives and the neighbors in song around the parlor piano. One story, told the writ- er by William's niece, Mary Healey Gallagher, has it that on one such occasion, when the singing and joking had got a little out of hand, Liza, his wife, shook her fist at him, saying: "Will, if you don't catch my eye, you'll be catching my fist."

      The same niece recalls that, when she was very young, her Uncle William held her head between his knees, rubbing her bright red hair furiously, and crying out: "Fire! Fire! Your Hair's on fire!"

      Still another niece, Madeleine Robert Evans tells of coming over to her Aunt Liza's house one Sunday for dinner. She was greeted playfully at the front door by her Uncle Will with "Where's B........t?" (The Family term of endearment for Madeleine's father, George Roberts. Sr., because he used that word liberally in reply to people's statements to him.)

      Madeleine answered her Uncle Will that at least her Dad was not cock- eyed. For taking the trouble to make this observation, she found herself chased down School Street by her Uncle.

      William Tambo is described by his son, Peter Eugene ("Jack") Tambeau as an improviser of satirical songs of a political and social nature. He could only dimly remember a snatch of one when questioned: "The world was made in six days and finished on the seventh, but the contract read ll days." The allusion here is lost with time, but refers to a situation quite the opposite of the "cost over runs" so prevalent today in government contracts.

      William's ability to create satirical songs was well rewarded by his fellow workers on Saturday nights. According to his son, Jack, his father enjoyed red wine and every two weeks on pay day his wife, "Liza" gave him two dollars from his pay, which he tucked into his watch pocket, and off he went to O'Connor's, the neighborhood bar on N. Valley St., in Grassy Patch, where he would use his money to buy his first drinks. Thereafter he would sing for his drinks, a one man band, using a harmonica strapped to his head, while playing the the bar room piano, and singing his satirical improvisations.

      In l979 the writer visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. Claphorn who lived at the south end of School St. near the Tambo Family. They still used a wood burning stove to cook and heat their house, as was more common in the earlier days in the homes of Grassy Patch.

      Behind the Claphorn home, where a garage would be on a corner lot, a small building still stood which was once call "Sprag Shanty". It was so called after the spraggers, railroad men who slowed the railroad cars down by throwing sprags, or sticks, in the wheels. These men would come to the Store to buy sweets.

      Here also William Tambo would come, states Mr. Claphorn who ran the store, to buy his wife a favorite summer treat, ice cream and ginger ale. Mr Claphorn remembers one occasion when William came for his wife's treat. William took his recently purchased gallon of ice cream and gallon of ginger ale in hand and began to dance with them as Mr. Claphorn played an Irish jig on the old Victrola in the Shanty.

      The memories of William's acquaintances, relatives and children, as well as the newspaper clippings cited above, are all sunny ones. He seemed to possess an innate charm and sense of fun that made him a favorite of those who knew him.

      But he had a serious side too. In l905, six years after this grandson and great-grandson of Mennonites married his Irish Catholic wife, William began secret instruction in the Catholic Faith and on l2 October l905 he was baptized a Catholic and came home to surprise Liza with his announcement that he had converted to Catholicism. This must have been an immense relief to his wife, who would have been certain up to that point that no good could have come to Will in eternity in his previous heathen state. He was 39 years old at this time.

      A search of the National Archives military records from l860 to l9l2 does not reveal that William was ever in the military service.

      Throughout his life his occupations changed little. In the l880 Census of Carbon County, Pa., he is listed, at age l4, as a laborer, presumably in the coal mines. In l899 his marriage record in the Lackawanna Court House, states he is a firemen. In the l900 Census, city of Jessup, dwelling #70, he is listed as a day laborer. In the l9l0 Census, he is an engineer and coal breaker (Olyphant, dwelling #256). In the l920 Census he is listed as an engineer in a Coal Mine Company (Olyphant, dwelling #l05). On his death certificate in l929 he is listed as an engineer with the Hudson Coal Company.

      As to the spelling of his name, four variants have been found in his marriage record, children's birth records, the Census, his Baptism record, and the newspaper articles. They include: Tombow, Tambo, Tambow, and Tamboo. And his children, under my father's leadership, all changed their name to Tambeau, with the exception of his older brother, William, who remained a Tambo throughout his life. However, even Uncle William's children and descendants style themselves as Tambeau. And this writer, believing himself to be French, modified the name to Tombeau at the age of l9 to conform with a French word. However, the writer's name now sounds like how other branches of the family spell and sound the name: Tombow. The French, ironically, would have the last to say in this matter with their cynical proverb: The more things change, the more they are the same.

      The home of the Tambo Family at ll4 School St., in Olyphant, was a "company home", that is, a home rented from the Hudson Coal Co., where William worked. This was a typical practice in those days and is reflected in the once popular song "I owe my soul to the Company Store".

      The writer's Aunt Peg Tambeau Diven said that in the mid l920's the home suddenly settled in the middle of the night, as the result of mine excavations, leaving a crack in the exterior wall from the top to the bottom of the house through which snow blew that winter.

      This was a common place event in those days of active coal mining when little regard was given to the safety of those who worked and lived in the area.

      Others have reported even graves sinking and delivering up their contents to the men mining below, so shallow were the mine tunnels under the earth.

      A major intersection of Olyphant collapsed in l903, taking buildings and the road with it.

      To this day there are still sudden sinkings of the ground although active mining has ceased for many years.

      William Tambo entered Mid Valley Hospital in Scranton, PA., in late November of l929. Late in the evening of l8 December l829, at ll pm, he expired. His death was attributed to stomach cancer. He was 63 years old. His last address was 442 Main St., Blakely.

      His only other recorded hospitalization in Mid Valley Hospital was in March of l924 for lobar pneumonia.

      He is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Blakely, in an unmarked grave, next to Liza, high on a hill, overlooking the Lackawanna Valley, where he spent most of his adult life.

      This Cemetery is located off Highway 6. His grave is in Section P, plot 39, below the Flood Family monument and to the right of the Gibbons' grave markers.

      A single culinary tradition has survived in our family: a soup my father called "chinken-chonken". It is a thin cheese soup with finely chopped onions, said by my father to have been passed on to him by his father. However, other branches of the Tombow Family have not carried on this tradition. Perhaps it is of Welsh derivation as William was raised by a Welsh step-father from the age of three. The recipe for this unusual soup resides now in the hands of the writer's sister, Anne Tambeau Travis, who has taken on herself the burden of this family tradition.

      As an inheritance from the Irish side of the family, four of the five children who survived into adulthood had trouble with alcohol, three severely and one moderately.

      In looks, their son Jack most favored his father and inherited the "big ears" associated with Tombows in the more distant branches of the family. (The descendants of John Tombow of E. Greenville, Ohio, report this trait among some of their members.) Three of the children, Pearl, Peg and my father, Leo Tambeau, favored their mother in their looks and body Their son, William Tambo, was stocky of build and so probably more closely favored his father in that regard.

      The Descendants of William Tambo, Sr., and Elizabeth Fitzsimmons

      William Tambo (Sr.) and Elizabeth Fitzsimmons had ten children, according to their daughter, Pearl Tambeau, who has proven to be an excellent source of accurate family history. Not all of these children can be accounted for by public records because their lives were short and record keeping poor at the turn of the Century in Lackawanna County, PA, where the family grew up in the Grassy Patch section of Olyphant, a community of homes built on the slopes of a hill overlooking the Lackawanna Valley.

      These children were in order of their birth: Frances Tambo, Ann Tamboo, Elizabeth ("Pearl") Tambo, who later styled herself, Tambeau, William Tambo, Leo Thomas Tambo, who later styled himself Tambeau, Margaret ("Peg") Tambo, who later styled herself Tambeau, Peter Eugene ("Jack") Tambo, who later styled himself Tambeau, Clarence Tambo, Jack's still-born twin, Thomas Woodrow Tambo, and Mary Tambo.

      Of these ten children, five survived into adult years to raise children: Elizabeth ("Pearl"), William ("Willie"), Leo Thomas ("Shorty"), Peter Eugene ("Jack") and Margaret ("Marguerite" or "Peg").

      The formal names of these ten children present an interesting blend of traditional family names and politics. The eldest, Frances, was named after her paternal grandmother. The next child, Ann, was named after the maternal grandmother. William Tambo, Sr.'s half sister was also named Ann. The third child, Elizabeth, was named after her mother. William also had another half sister named Elizabeth. The fourth child and first son, by tradition should have been named "Samuel" after the paternal grandfather, but instead was named "William" after his father: perhaps this occurred because William Tambo, Sr., never knew his father Samuel, being only two years old at the time of his father's death.

      Several other children were also named after maternal aunts, uncle and grandfather: Peter Eugene ("Jack") was christened after his Uncle and Grandfather, both of whom shared the name of Peter Fitzsimmons. Margaret and Mary were named after their maternal aunts Margaret Fitzsimmons Coulthard and Mary Fitzsimmons Dunnigan.

      But three of the children's names reflect political convictions: Clarence, Thomas Woodrow, and Leo Thomas. Clarence was no doubt named after Clarence Darrow and Thomas Woodrow after President Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Both of these latter men were prominent national leaders who supported the unionization of the coal miners.

      My father, Leo, was named, according to family tradition after, Pope Leo XIII, who died in l903, five years before my father was born. But William Tambo, Sr., newly converted to Catholicism in l905, had no doubt come across the social teachings of Pope Leo in his encyclical, Rerum Novarum. This encyclical dwelled on the inequities in modern times between employers and employees as the result of the widespread and rapid development of capitalism. In his encyclical, Pope Leo clearly enunciated the role of the government to be that of ensuring that laws were passed that workers would get decent wages and working conditions: a theme close to the hearts of coal miners in the early Twentieth Century and continuing to this day in the last decade of the Twentieth Century.

      In l980, Elizabeth Fitzsimmons had a total of 86 descendants. In those descendants there were five sets of twins, or five times the number expected in 86 births.