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George Wilder
born: August 5, 1903
died: September 18, 1958

Click here for George's descendant family tree It occurred to me recently that George and his siblings lived near Chicago in the general time frame that the novel The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, is set. Too bad the book is
set almost entirely in
the city limits, although the scenes set in
Poland might be true
for the Ceranek side
of the family. 
Click here for photos of the Cubby Wilder family
Left: George, maybe
20 years old?

Right: George and his sister Marie, around 1920

I asked Cindy if her mom had any idea why George left Illinois, never to return. Margot's response:

All the Wilder Boys were nice boys but no angels. George was about 19-20 years old and Al Capone was in his heyday. Al and his boys used to meet at a hotel on 52nd and Cicero Ave. in Cicero. George wasn't in the Mob but he did run errands and do small favors for Al and his gang. George also liked to gamble and play the ponies. [He did all his life. He taught Cubby to read a race sheet when she was young.]

The story goes that he crossed Al in some way and had to get out of town quick and was afraid to return or have much contact with the rest of the family from then on. This would explain why MY Grandfather Henry Ashworth who married Marie Wilder told me that he used to have a drink with Al Capone on occasion, I never knew the story of why George left for California or why my Grandfather would be having drinks with a mobster!

(notes per Cindy Michalik
and Robin)

  Far Left: George Wilder holding Cubby in 1936

Left: George Wilder. I think it's from the same photosession as the other photo.


Left: George Wilder with his children, Cubby and Wade

Right: Cubby (Wilder), Henry Ashworth,
and Wade Wilder on the occasion of
Henry's visit to Southern California,
circa 1945

Henry did basic training at Great Lakes, and then went to San Diego before going to the Philippines; he visited the Wilder family in Los Angeles.

(notes per Diana Shipley)

Far left: Wade, George
and Cubby
Near left:

Near right: Wade and Cubby
Far right: Wade


Family Stories

(hmmm... Until I get some more stories from the people pictured on this
page - of whom it's reasonable to expect a response from only one person -
I guess the stories are mine to tell...
but I do have a little bit of the information from the Illinois branch of the family.)

Say "crunchy Twinkies"
in a particular intonation
to Robin or NoŽl;
a giggle is certain to arise,
even after this long!
  Family sociologists say that
an age gap of more than
six years creates "only children".

I come from a family of four only children.

between Robin and NoŽl: 6.5 years
between NoŽl and Russell: almost 8 years
between Russell and Erin: 8.5 years

Scrambling for the contents
of Daddy's pockets when
he was doing handstands
in Griffith Park on
Pecos Bill's days.
  What other two girls in
the United States
can sing "D-O-D-G-E-R-S!"?

I'm sorry I can't remember
the name of the lady that
Uncle George married, but I know that the family all kidded him about the California air causing them to have 2 children after they moved out there.

(Vi Landowski)

My mother said George was
a wonderful host as well.
She said when she and my father visited when "you
girls were small" (must
mean Cathy and me)
he took us everywhere,
to see all the sights, etc.
She too didn't meet his wife. The picture of my Dad and your mother and Wade do look like they were taken in front of a house.


On one of the censuses, George is listed with age at
first marriage of 23 - and yet he would have been
in his 30's when he married Katherine. I asked if
Margot could shed any light on this "first" marriage:

From what I remember your Grandfather died in his late 50's of a heart attack. We must have visited in the middle 1950's so it must have been shortly after that. I think I was told he was buried in California but why Vi and Aunt Minnie didn't know that I'm not sure. And apparently the woman in the listing in Cicero is his one and only wife. Does your mother say much about her mother, did she know she was from Canada? Unless he divorced after arriving in California and remarried and didn't tell anyone. But that would seem odd since they all think the children came from the woman he married from Canada. This may just be widening the mystery!


Your grandfather was
known to be very bright - finished school early if
I remember right.


Must be a family tradition! Certainly for Cubby's branch of the family...

Grandpa George wrote the 1930 census, so it's neat and tidy. Click here to see a copy of the census sheet.