Tombstone Tuesday- Francis X. and Lena Gertrude (O’Brien) Helbling

Headstone of Francis X. Helbling and his wife, Lena Gertrude O'Brien Helbling.
Headstone of Francis Xavier Helbling and his wife, Lena Gertrude O’Brien Helbling.

Francis X. Helbling was one of the 11 Helbling children who attended school in the family home in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, as described in a recent series of posts. He was baptized in St. Philomena’s Church in Allegheny County, PA. He and his wife Lena Gertrude O’Brien lived in Pittsburgh for most of their life, but they were found in the 1880 census in St. Louis, with Lena’s brother Harry O’Brien and her sisters Louisa and Celia O’Brien living with them. Francis was working as a merchant in 1880, and as a butcher, the family trade, in the 1900 census. Lena’s sister Ada O’Brien was living with them in 1900.

The children of Francis and Lena Helbling were all born in St. Louis, Missouri: Charles F. Helbling in 1878, Gerard W. Helbling in 1882, Joseph W. Helbling in 1883, and Harvey N. Helbling in 1891.

Their oldest son Charles Helbling lived in St. Louis, and had died there in 1903 at the young age of 25 of valvular disease of the heart. (He had been in the hospital for 32 months per his death certificate.) Their son Joseph lived in St. Louis with his wife Birdie Kirkland and their son Frank K. Helbling, and then moved to South Pasadena, California by 1926. G. W. Helbling lived in St. Louis his whole life, but brother Harvey Neel Helbling had moved to Pittsburgh, PA, by 1917, and resided in Pittsburgh the remainder of his life.

Francis and Lena moved back to Pennsylvania sometime after 1900. We have been unable to find them in the 1910 census in either St. Louis or Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, PA. Francis died 10 Nov 1919 in Pittsburgh (or Beechview), PA. Lena only lived 5 months longer, and passed away on 5 Apr 1920 in Pittsburgh. They are buried together in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Lot E58, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Photograph posted with permission from photographer.

2) Family oral history.

3) The Helbling Family Home and School series starts here.

4) 1880 US Federal census for Francis Helbling, head of household- Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 734; Family History Film: 1254734; Page: 427C; Enumeration District: 370; Image: 0387.

5) 1900 US Federal census for Francis Helbling, head of household- Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: St Louis Ward 21, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 897; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0315; FHL microfilm: 1240897.

6) Charles Helbling death certificate- Missouri, Death Records, 1834-1910 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data: Missouri Death Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm.

7) Francis Helbling obituary transcription: On Thursday, Nov. 6, 1919, Francis HELBLING, husband of Lena G. HELBLING (nee O’BRIEN), in his 79th year. Funeral from his late home, 209 Pennant Avenue, Beechview, Monday, Nov. 10. Mass at St. Catherine’s R.C. Church, Beechview. Interment private. –  From Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Sat., Nov. 8, 1919Contributor: Janice C.;


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