Mary Frances Reznicek, born on 21 February 1863, was the fourth of six children of Bohemian immigrant parents, Frantisek “Frank” Reznicek and Maria Slezak Reznicek. (Frank and Maria are my second great-grandparents through their son, William, Mary Frances’s brother.) The family lived on Bohemian Hill in south St. Louis in what is now called Soulard by the locals. Mary Frances was married four times and outlived all of her husbands but the last. It seems rather astonishing now that someone could lose three husbands by age forty, but she did. She lost her first husband, Henry Koska, shortly after they were married. They had no children.

Mary Frances had three sons by her second husband, Frank Wodraska: Frank, born in 1890; Charles, born in 1892; and Joseph, born in 1894. Frank Sr. died in 1896, and in the 1900 census Mary Frances is living with her parents and her third husband, Joseph Whelan, by whom she had a daughter, Lillian, born 4 November 1900.

By the time of the 1910 census, Mary Frances was married to Julius Plate. Living with them were Mary Frances’s three children: sons, Frank, age twenty, and Charles, seventeen, and Lillian, who was nine, and although she was the daughter of Joseph Whelan, she was called Wodraska in the census, as well as was Mary Frances’s mother Mary. Her father, Frank Reznicek, had died in 1901. Mary Frances died in 1913 at the age of fifty, her husband Julius in 1914, and Mary Slezak Reznicek, her mother, in 1916.

When Mary Frances’s mother Mary (Maria Slezak Reznicek) died in 1916, she was living at 125 Horn Street in Carondelet. Her death certificate informant was Frank J. Whalen who also lived at the same address. Frank was her grandson, the son of Joseph Wodraska, though he went by Whelan, as did her son Charles and daughter Lillian. Mary is buried next to Mary Frances in Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery.

Mary Frances’s sons were old enough to manage on their own when their mother and grandmother died. By 1920, Charles had a wife and two children, both of whom died within a year of birth. He never had more children. Frank was in St. Louis, but by 1915, he was married and the first of his two children was born. Lillian either ran off or traveled to California to be with her future husband whom she married in 1919, at the age of eighteen. She was in the navy and settled in California, where she had two children. According to the 1930 census, both Charles and his wife and Lillian and her husband were living in California. Frank was living in Ohio with his wife and two children. Joseph Jr. probably died as no record has been found.

Written by Mary Lee Chivetta
April 2019

© 2019, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Mary Reznicek
Mary Frances Reznicek and second husband, Frank Wodraska
Photo in the collection of Mary Lee Chivetta
Used with permission

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Last Modified: 01-Oct-2019 17:09