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WILLSON, William
Diana M.
BUDD, John
WILSON, Roscoe Elisha
(1856-After 1930)
BUDD, Harriet Mary
(1863-After 1930)

WILSON, Harry Leonard


Family Links

ROCKETT, Agnes Maud Christobel

WILSON, Harry Leonard 3 4 5 6 7

  • Born: 25 May 1886, St. Thomas, Elgin County, Ontario, Canada 8
  • Marriage: ROCKETT, Agnes Maud Christobel on 23 Jul 1906 in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada 1 2
  • Died: 15 Mar 1951, Brantford, Brant County, Ontario, Canada at age 64 10
  • Buried: Mar 1951, Grand Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan

bullet  General Notes:

Listed as Harry C. Wilson on the 1901 Canadian Census, but as Harry Leonard on birth certificate.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

Naturalization, 20 Apr 1906, Detroit, Michigan.


Harry married Agnes Maud Christobel ROCKETT, daughter of Edward William ROCKETT and Martha SLOMAN, on 23 Jul 1906 in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.1 2 (Agnes Maud Christobel ROCKETT was born on 20 Mar 1882 in Huish Champflower, Somerset County, England,11 died on 1 Dec 1961 in Detroit, Michigan 12 and was buried in Dec 1961 in Grand Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan 13.)



1 Ontario Canada Vital Statistics (Oxford County, Ontario, Canada), 015440-06. Surety: 4. 015440-06 ( Oxford Co) Harry WILSON , 21 , piano turner , St. Thomas , Detroit Michigan , s/o Roscoe WILSON & Harriet BUDD , married Agnes ROCKETT , 21 , England , Woodstock , d/o Edward ROCKETT & Martha SLOMON , witn: J.W. & Harriet WILSON of Woodstock , 23 July 1906 at Woodstock

2 Ontario Marriage Index, 1858-1899 (Woodstock, Oxford County, Ontario, Canada). Surety: 4. Name: Harry Wilson
Age: 21
Date of Marriage: 23 Jul 1906
Place of Marriage: Woodstock
Residence When Married: Detroit, Michigan
Place of Birth: St. Thomas
Marital Status: bachelor
Occupation: piano tuner
Father: Roscoe Wilson
Mother: Harriet Budd
Religion: Church of England
Spouse Name: Agnes Rockett
Age: 21
Residence: Woodstock
Place of Birth: England
Marital Status: spinster
Father: Edward Rockett
Mother: Martha Sloman
Religion: Church of England
Witnesses: J.W. Wilson, Woodstock; Harriet Wilson, Woodstock [Harry's brother & sister-in-law]
Marriage Date: 28 Apr 1881
Marriage Place: Tillsonburg
Married By: Richard H. Shaw

3 1901 Canadian Census, Woodstock, Oxford County, Ontario. Repository: Ancestry. Surety: 4. Lists Roscoe Wilson (age 44, b. 16 Aug 1856, Ontario), wife Harriet [Budd] (age 37, b. 25 Apr 1863, Ontario), and children William J. (age 17, b. 13 Jun 1883, Ontario), Harry C. (age 14, b. 25 May 1886, Ontario), Roy R. (age 8, b. 24 Mar 1893, Ontario), Rhoda (age 6, b. 4 Sep 1895, Ontario) and Laura A. (age 2, b. 30 Nov 1898), living in Woodstock, Ontario. Roscoe is listed as a "farmer." William is listed as a "general laborer." Harry is listed as a "telephone operator."

4 1920 US Census (District 241, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan). Surety: 4. Lists Harry L. Wilson (age 31, b. Eng. Canada), wife Agnes M. (age 32, b. England), and daughter Dorothy E. (age 13, b. Eng. Canada), living in Detroit, MI. Agnes is listed as the head of household on this census, indicating that Harry is probably traveling with Ossip Gabrilovitsch when the census was taken. She indicates that both her parents were born in England. She indicates that Harry's father was born in English Canada and his mother in Pennsylvania [erroneous]. She indicates that Harry came to the U.S. in 1906, that she came to the U.S. in 1889, and Dorothy came to the U.S. in 1908. She further indicates that she and Harry were naturalized in 1915. Harry is listed as a "piano tuner" for a "piano company."

5 1930 US Census, District 355, Detroit (Districts 251-500), Wayne County, Michigan. Surety: 4. Lists Harry L. Wilson (age 44, b. Eng. Canada), wife Agnes (age 45, b. England), and daughter Dorothy (age 23, b. Eng. Canada), living in Detroit, Michigan. Also in the household is "son-in-law" Eugene Shekell [Dorothy's second husband] (age 23, b. Eng. Canada). Harry is listed as a "piano tuner" for a "musician" [Ossip Gabrilovitsch], and indicates that both his parents were born in English Canada. Agnes indicates that both her parents were born in England. Eugene is listed as a "bookkeeper" for a "trucking company," and indicates that his father was born in English Canada and his mother in England. Dorothy is listed as a "bookkeeper" for a "movers." Harry and Agnes indicate that they married when Harry was age 20 and Agnes age 21. Dorothy and Eugene indicate that they married when they were born age 18.

6 Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan). Surety: 4. HARRY WILSON - A piano tuner who served many concert artists, Mr. Wilson, of 15507 Biltmore, died Thursday while visiting at Brantford, Ont. He was 65.

For 21 years, Mr. Wilson tended the piano of Ossip Gabriolvitsch on tours and with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He also served many prominent pianists visiting Detroit.

Survivors include his wife, Agnes, and a daughter, Mrs. Paul Meilleur.

Services will be at 3pm Monday in Schmalzreidt Sons Funeral Home. Burial will be in Grand Lawn Cemetery.

7 Clemens, Charles, Gabrilowitsch/Clemens Narrative ( Surety: 4. GABRILOWITSCH, OSSIP SALOMONOVICH, & CLARA (CLEMENS): MT's
second daughter and her first husband. Clara born 8 June 1874 in the Quarry farm home of Theodore and Susan Crane, on a hill overlooking Elmira, NY. Her parents called her "Bay", imitating her two-year-old sister, Susy, who could not pronounce "Baby". Later in life her father's affec-tionate name for her was "Ben" or "Benny". Clara studied music in America and as a teenager began studying for a career as a concert pianist. In 1898 she met Ossip, then age 20 and star pupil of Leschetikzy in Vienna. She was then 24. She changed to study voice and prepare for the concert stage. She met many people in the musical world, but the friendship with Ossip con-tinued - they exchanged letters when separated by his concert tours. He visited the Clemens family on their sojourns in Europe, and in their home in America. When they married the bride was 35 and the groom 31. Her sister Jean was maid of honor, Jervis Langdon was best man. Mark Twain wore the scarlet ceremonial gown and hood he had worn when receiving his doc-torate from Oxford. Clara took care of her father's business and was hostess for the many events in the home Clara and Ossip established as a married couple. The audience received an extra value with a ticket for one of her concerts, because her husband, who accompanied her, was among the four greatest of American pianists. Mark Twain and his only son-in-law had long been close friends, with animated conversations about anything but music, in which, of course, the writer had but little more than an elementary education.
Ossip was one of three sons of a Jewish lawyer, and was born in Russia. The family moved into Germany and the spelling of the name was germanized. It is correctly pronounced in four syllables: Ga-bri-lo-witsch, with the ac-cent on the third syllable, spoken as if it were spelled in English "low" with a "long" "0". In 1918 Ossip became conductor of the Detroit Symphony or-chestra, a position he held until his death in 1936. His years with the sym-phony were the "golden years of music in Detroit". He founded a youth or-chestra which later became the National Art Academy. A great music hall was erected in Detroit as a home for his symphony. Ossip and Clara and their young daughter, Nina, had a large home in Detroit, a corps of servants, and a summer home on Macinac Island. He brought the world greats of the music scene to Detroit to give concerts. He began the study of music at age five, and thus was a personal friend of all. Clara was hostess to them in her home - Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Heifetz, Stravinsky, Casals, Rubenstein, Stokowski and others, many of them refugees fleeing from persecution of Jews in Europe.
Clara was generous with her talent and her possessions. She celebrated the centennial of her father's birth in Hannibal. She gave his personal possessions to persons and places she felt should be honored. For exam-ple, she presented the priceless 1876-77 F.D. Millet oil portrait of Mark Twain to the Hannibal Public Library because it was painted while he was
writing Tom Sawyer and she considered Hannibal to be Tom Sawyer's Town; she chose the recipient because her grandfather, John Marshall Clemens, was one of the founders of the first public library in Hannibal.
One of Mark Twain's pleas with Congress for the adoption of a copyright law was that his daughters had been reared without practical education for earning a living, and were entitled to inherit an estate just as children of other wealthy men did. Clara spent years studying piano before she decided she would never be a concert pianist. She was a tiny person, only five-foot two, with very small hands. She studied voice to sing professionally. She was a strong contralto, but when she sang a melody in which she must shift to the higher range in a phrase, the transition was not smooth and her higher voice not as strong.
Clara became interested In drama. She and three male actors rehearsed her dramatization of her father's Joan of Arc, and presented it in 1926. She toured several major cities portraying St. Joan, with a single performance in New York. She continued the study of drama, and appeared in several roles in Detroit Civic Theatre. In the production "Romance", Ossip considered her so good that he invited two friends to a performance. One of them was Jacques Samossoud, director of Chicago Civic Opera, who years later became Clara's second husband. Ossip developed cancer and died in 1936 after a long and distressing Illness.
Ossip had long expressed a desire to be buried at the feet of his old and good friend, Mark Twain. He was buried there, in Woodlawn cemetery at Elmira, with his adopted family, far from his native land which wars and political situations had forced him to flee. In addition to the customary sim-ple Clemens family tombstone, Clara erected a monument honoring her father and her husband. It bears bronze plaques of the two men. The granite shaft is exactly 12 feet (two fathoms) high, significant to the pseudonym adopted by her father. She also chose that his name on the shaft should appear as "Mark Twain".
In 1939 Clara decided to move to Hollywood. She purchased from Jesse Lasky a yellow stucco Spanish villa on five acres at the end of La Brea Ter-race, with swimming pool and guest cottage. She took with her the carved furniture her parents had selected, much of her father's library, one Gabrilowitsch piano (at one time she had her own and he had two in their Detroit home), and many belongings. Accompanying her were her secretary Phyllis Harrington, Chauffeur Edgar Glanzer with wife and five children, and Clara's cat, Gavotte. Clara spent a great deal of time writing, and was the author of some books on Christian Science. A biography, MY FATHER, MARK TWAIN was published in 1931.
When Ossip gave some concerts at the Chicago World's Fair they had met Samossoud again; he was still with the opera in Chicago. After Clara moved to California she found he was directing operas for WPA. Clara was slowly succumbing to early senile forgetfulness. Her secretary had to manage much of her business. Samossoud was twenty years her junior, but called regularly, as did many other old friends. Nina, who visited her mother frequently, approved of the romance which developed although many others did not, since Samossoud was a compulsive gambler. At age 70, on 11 May 1944, she married Jacques Samossoud, in the presence of a few guests and her daughter. The ceremony was performed by a Presbyterian minister, on the terrace at Clara's home.
For a few years they managed well, since there was no way Samossoud could touch the capital of Mark Twain's estate, and Gabrilowitsch had left an estate of $900,000 which provided ample income for Nina as well. It would be difficult to say whether Clara was gullible, or simply determined to make the best of a bad bargain, for she stayed with Samossoud until death. His gambling debts often used most of her income and they were left with unpaid bills.
On April 9,1951, Samossoud put their community property, including the villa and the personal belongings of Mark Twain and his family, on the auc-tion block, in a sale organized so quickly and so poorly advertised that some of the museums and collectors who might have paid the most for the articles did not hear of it in time. Pictures, photos, first edition Twain books, books with marginal notes by Mark Twain, a 176-piece set of sterling flatware, more than two dozen large silver trays, small presentation cake plates of sterling, given from one of the family to another on special events, the small silver teapot Twain selected for Livy's tray as a surprise, and other articles went to the small crowd of bidders on the front lawn (where hot dogs were also for sale).
Some Perry (Missouri) Mark Twain Research Foundation members were called by a friend who saw the notice in the California paper. They went by air, and arrived barely in time to bid and retrieve some of the treasures. They obtained some of the Italian carved and pearl inlaid furniture which the Clemens had selected abroad for the Hartford home; it had been taken to the Redding, CN home, thence to the Gabrilowitsch home in Munich where Clara and Ossip lived happily before they were forced to escape because he was a Jew and prejudice was growing into persecution. She had used the furniture in Detroit and in California. Now it is displayed in the Birthplace Museum at Florida, Mo., along with the large portrait Clara liked best, and other pictures. The personal property brought about $30,000, and the house, for which Clara had paid more than $100,000 brought another $30,000. Clara and Jacques moved to the Casa de Manana which was near the La Jolla race track. The next move was to the La Jolian Hotel. In 1954 they were living in a unit at the Babia Hotel at Mission Beach. Clara spent her last few years inactive, lying abed much of the time. Jacque had a close friend, a doctor, who advised the use of codeine for her pains. Clara died 19 Nov 1962, age 82; she was buried near her first husband in Woodlawn cemetery, Elmira. Survivors were Jacques and her daughter Nina.

8 Registration of a Birth (Department of Health, Registrar-General of Ontario, Spadina House, Toronto). Surety: 4. Indicates that Harry was born in St. Thomas, Elgin County, Ontario. Does not include any information on parentage.

9 Grand Lawn Cemetery (23501 Grand River Ave, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan (313) 531-2050). Surety: 4

10 Death Certificate (Province of Ontario). Surety: 4

11 Certificate of Birth (Dulverton, Somerset County, England). Surety: 4. Agnes Maud Christobel Rockett
DOB: 20 Mar 1882
Place of Birth: Huish Champflower
Father: Edward William Rockett
Father's Occupation: farmer
Mother: Martha Rockett, formerly Sloman
Informant: Martha Rockett, mother, Huish Champflower

12 Certificate of Death (Michigan Department of Health). Surety: 4. Information provided by daughter, Dorothy.

13 Ibid, Burial 4 Dec 1961, Grand Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan. Surety: 4

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