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Costa Family History

I thought it might be a good time to start some articles on my site about my family’s history. I don’t want to say too much but there are some interesting nuggets worth sharing.

Great-Great Uncle John Noonan – Paternal Grandma’s side

I am related to John Noonan (grandma’s side of the family) who was the brother of Sara Noonan. Sara Noonan (who married and became Sara Noonan Curly) was my grandma’s, Virginia Costa, grandma.

Great-Great Uncle John Noonan fought in the Civil War. He enlisted Oct 1st, 1861 in F company, 47th Regiment out of Peoria Ill at the age of 24. He was 5’11 with blue eyes and light hair. He was born in 1837 in Ireland.

According to the roster, he achieved the rank of Corp. and was mustered out of service on Oct 11th, 1864.

He may have been wounded in some battle and/or spent time in the Andersonville Prison camp. However, he would have to have been paroled at some point. Though, prison exchanges seemed to have stopped by June of 1864. So it’s unlikely.

Far more likely is that since he is supposed to have signed up at the start of the war the original terms of his enlistment ended on Oct 11th, 1864 and he was discharged. If that’s the case then he saw lots of action under Grant as he moved to take Vicksburg and beyond.

Great-Great Uncle John Lieb – Paternal Grandma’s side

I am related to John Lieb (might be written as Leib; grandma’s side of the family). He was born in Austria in 1834 and ended up in The Town of Lake which was eventually absorbed into Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He became a private in the Union Army on Oct 13th, 1864. He was with Company D, 12th Wisconsin Infantry. For a complete military history of the unit see: Chapter XX: Regimental History -12th Infantry.

We think he enlisted either as a substitute and/or to gain citizenship.

He likely came to the unit as a replacement and just marched with Sherman to the Sea. Then turned north into South Carolina and North Carolina. Mostly engaged in a handful of minor skirmishes. Was at the Battle of Bentonville but was not engaged. 

He was mustered out on June 16th, 1865.

At some point, he ended up at the Northwest Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (DVS) in Milwaukee. This is now essentially the modern-day Milwaukee VA Medical Center location.

He died around 1:32 am on Feb 14th, 1904 at the intersection of National Ave at 40th St in Milwaukee. We think he left his home and walked a mile to the saloons that were once located on the street. Got drunk and passed out on the tracks.

He was buried at SECTION 14 SITE 75 of the Wood National Cemetary in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Coroner’s Report of Death

Below is a transcript of the report:

At 1:30 am on the morning of Feb 14th, 1904 a streetcar of the Milwaukee Electric Railway was heading west on National Ave at 40th St. It was a dark night. There were no street lights on this segment of the tracks and all the saloons along the way had closed for the night.

The streetcar (trolly) was described by Andrew Burns, the motorman as “one of the new large double-truck cars.”. It was empty of passengers except for the motorman and the conductor. The motorman had his front window opened. It had snowed earlier in the evening and now had turned cold. “I could get a better view of the tracks that way, he said.

It was 1:32 am as the #294 car headed downhill towards the Veterans’ home. “We were going about 5 or 7 miles an hour”, the conductor Gustau Will testified. The headlights on the car were working and as the streetcar rolled along the motorman said, “I saw a man lying lengthwise between the two rails that I was running on.” Too late to use any safety devices, the streetcar struck and killed the man. The body was taken to the home but they could not revive it. The body was taken to the coroner’s office on Sycamore St. and East Water.

At the inquest the company commander, Cpt Edwin R. Parks identified the clothing from the victim of the accident as those belonging to John Leib, a member of the Veterans’ Home residence. The Captain described John as a “quiet man at the home”, however, he did have a reputation of “going out and getting full”. The death was listed as accidental.

My Notes on the transcript

  1. East Water Street is now called North Water Street.
  2. See the Milwaukee Electric Railway Wikipedia article for more information.
  3. Double-truck trolley cars were developed around 1900 so Milwaukee got some a couple of years later to replace single truck ones. These double-truck cars are bigger and can hold more passengers.
  4. According to a trolley map, it looks like there was a stop nearby along the route. Not sure if it means anything just something of interest.

My maternal grandmother, Virginia sketched out a brief family tree below:

John Lieb

The John Lieb who fought in the Civil war as noted above had a child named John Lieb. He was born in 1873 in Fond Du Loc Wisconsin. According to my grandma, a John Leib and his wife are mentioned as founders of the city. I’m not sure it’s the Civil War John Leib as he was born in 1834 in Austria…and Fond Du Loc was founded in the 1840s. It could civil war “John Lieb”‘s dad (who probably was named John Lieb), though.

The John Lieb who was born in 1873 became a master plumber and had a contract to lay the water/sewer lines in Milwaukee County. He likely died in the Spanish Flu pandemic. He married Jeanette Slipper (born 1876 and died in 1928).

John Leib, Annie W

In the image above, it is a picture of Civil War John Lieb’s offspring. The people listed are from left to right:
Annie (Lieb) Wirshern born 1878
Sadie (Leib) Schaefer born 1866
John Leib born 1873
Rose (Leib) Alberty born 1879
Mary (Leib) Gasper born 1870

John Lieb and Sisters

The plumber John Lieb would go on to have a kid and name him John Lieb. This John Lieb was my grandma (Virginia)’s dad. This John Lieb was born in 1897 and died in 1963. He married Gertrude Curley (born 1896 and died 1971).

Great-Great-Great Grandmother – Paternal Grandma’s side

I am related to Mary (or Marie) Kohler who married Charles Slipper. Their daughter, Jennette Slipper married John Leib. According to my grandma, Virginia (maiden name Leib), Mary was born in a monastery that made beer. Mary’s mother’s name was Babbette Lehmann. Mary’s father was named Christian (probably had the last name of Kohler) who was a brewer.

According to my grandma, most of my German ancestors came from Neuenburg, a small city in Bavaria.

In the letter, my grandma seems to say Mary was born in the Heiborn Monastary but that doesn’t seem to exist? She might be referring to the Heilbronn as the city? That city has a Maulbronn Monastery. But Heilbronn isn’t located in Bavaria, it’s located in a different German state.

Great-great-great grandpa Giacinto Menoldi – Paternal Grandpa’s Side

On my maternal Grandpa’s side, there is a great-great-great grandpa called Giacinto Menoldi (who married Philipina Santoro) who was a duke in Milan. But the spelling of his name may not be clear…and there’s not much of a historical record of it?

Great Grandpa – Emmanuel Costa

When Costa First Appeared

The first time, according to Virginia, Costa appeared in records was in 1436 when Costa become a writer/recorder for the Vatican.

Costa Family Tree

My dad created this Family tree based on his knowledge. It’s meant to be read from left to right. You can download the images to get a clear picture of the tree.

Costa Family Tree part 1
Costa Family Tree part 2
Costa Family Tree part 3
Costa Family Tree part 4