Occupations Part 1: Conrads

It being Labor Day, I thought I would write a post about the occupations of my direct ancestors. I quickly realized it would become very long, and so have broken it down into my four main lines which I will post during this week. First, the Conrads.

Here is the line, starting with my grandfather and working back.

  • Edward Charles Conrad (1905-1981): hosiery worker, merchant
  • Nicholas Conrad (1867-1942): warper
  • Nicholas Conrad (c1824-1874): box maker, barrel dealer, cooper
Hosiery Mill workers at their machines. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Hosiery Mill Workers, Philadelphia, c.1937-1938. Wikimedia Commons.

My grandfather, Edward Conrad, like many of his neighbors in Kensington, worked in the hosiery mills after leaving school. In the 1930 census, he was listed as a knitter and in his 1940 World War II draft card he indicated his employer was International Hosiery at 1200 E. Venango Street in Philadelphia. He later owned his own business at the  corner of H & Ontario Streets. He closed the business before I can remember, but I know he sold ice cream among other things.



Illustrative photo of a warper at his machine.
Warper at his machine, Newton, NC, 1908. Wikimedia Commons.

My great-grandfather, Nicholas Conrad (1867-1942) was a warper at the hosiery mills. This is the only occupation I ever saw listed for him.

He worked in the mills at least from age thirteen in 1880 to his death in 1942 at the age of 75.

My father told me he was very thrifty, and would walk to work rather than pay a nickel to ride the streetcar.



Illustrative photo of a barrel maker.
Barrel Maker in the 1850’s-1860’s. Wikimedia Commons.

My great-great grandfather, Nicholas Conrad (c1824-1874), likely immigrated in the early 1850’s. I have not found him in the 1850 census, and he was married in Philadelphia in 1853. This means I only have 2 census records for him. In 1860 he was listed as a box maker and in 1870 as a barrel dealer. His 1874 death certificate records his occupation as cooper, which is someone who makes barrels and similar containers.

Schuylkill County history book – Levens family

Elizabeth Levens, daughter of James Levens and Margaret McElhenny, married George W. Ebert whose family had an entry in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania: Genealogy – Family History – Biography (1916) which is available on Google books. There was quite a bit of information about the Levens family mentioned as well.

Transcription of the relevant passage:
On Dec 13, 1881, Mr. [George W.] Ebert was united in marriage to Elizabeth Levens,
daughter of James and Margaret (McElheny) Levens, of Minersville, Schuylkill county.
They have a son, James, now a druggist of Tamaqua, Pa. Mr. and Mrs Ebert are members
of the Methodist Church, of which he has been a trustee for many years. She is an ardent
worker in the church and Sunday school.
James Levens, father of Mrs. Ebert, was a native of Ireland and emigrated to America,
landing at Philadelphia, where he made his home for a time. Going to Port Richmond,
near Philadelphia, he there married Margaret McElheny, and then moved to Minersville,
and later to Centralia, Columbia county, where he died in 1884, being buried in Ashland,
which is near Centralia. He was a miner by occupation. Mrs. Levens makes her home with
George W. Ebert, her son-in-law. She has had twelve children, of whom five are deceased
(including John), the others being as follows: James, resident in Centralia; Elizabeth,
wife of George W. Ebert; Mary, wife of Joseph Lange, of Philadelphia; Alexander,
resident of Hartford, Conn.; Sophia, wife of Nicholas Conrad, of Philadelphia; Sarah,
wife of Matthew Nealy, of Gordon; and William, of Tamaqua.

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania: Genealogy – Family History – Biography: Containing Historical Sketches of Old Families and of Representative and Prominent Citizens Past and Present. In Two Volumes. Volume II. Chicago: J.H. Beers & Company, 1916. 
Available at Google books.

Edward Conrad SS5

Edward C. Conrad SS-5
transcribed from photocopy by Alexander Conrad

ConradEdward_SS5U.S. Social Security Act
Application for Account Number

1. Edward Charles Conrad
2. 2069 E. Clarence Street  3. Philadelphia, Penna  (residence)
4. International Hosiery Co.  5. 1920 E. Venango Street, Phila. PA.  (employer)
6. 31 (age at last birthday)
7. August 5 1905  (birth date)
8. Philadelphia, Penna. (birth place)
9. Nicholas Conrad (father)
10. Sophia Levens (mother)
11. Male  12. White
15. Nov. 25 1936
16. [signed] Edward Conrad


Original Source Citation:
Edward C. Conrad, 159-01-1645, 25 November 1936, Application for Account Numbers (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.