Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mary Cummins, my grandmother, Maria Rivera


Mary Cummins
My grandmother who raised me.

Mary Cummins, my grandmother. She's 88 here. This is Thanksgiving at my sister's apartment.
October 4, 1899 - June 4, 1991
90 Years

Born Maria Luisa Trinidad Rivera in Tacubaya in the Federal District of Mexico, Mexico City. Her parents were Manuel S. Rivera and Maria Trinidad Baz de Rivera. Her godparents were Manuel Rivera y Baz and Maria Enriqueta Rivera y Baz. Baptized by Sr. Cura Poro D. Rafael Favila Vargas July 15, 1901.

Mary Cummins' baptismal certificate
I have the full family tree and history from the family bible. Because everyone seems to have had 12 to 15 kids each the chart is too big to post. I may post the written history later. I just uploaded the family tree in dynamic html format here. It's interactive.

Her father was part of the Rivera family. The Rivera family is from Spain. It means "family by the river." The Rivera family moved to Mexico City to help build the City during the Spanish occupation. They were doctors and engineers. There were also a few lawyers and judges. Her mother was of German descent. My grandmother was the youngest of 14 children. Her mother died in childbirth with the 15th child who also died. Her older sisters helped raise her. She spoke German, English and Spanish. Back then everyone spoke a few languages.

Mary Cummins wedding announcement
She met and married Robert Clay Cummins (Cumming) of Amarilla, Texas, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Cumming. He was born January 26, 1902 in Texas or Illinois. Ancestry.com says he was an orderly in a hospital? I was told they were cattle ranchers, also had a dairy farm. Cummins is of course Irish. The original name was O'Cummings but they kept dropping letters to sound more American. In another record his father is listed as C R Cummings born in Michigan, mother is listed as Gertrude Cummings born in Michigan. There is also a Hazel and Helen Cummings which I think may be his sisters.

I found a record of my grandmother arriving in the port of Laredo, Texas. Her name is listed as Maria Rivera de Cummitz which I'm sure is a misspelling of Cummins. She is listed as born around 1900 in Mexico City but listed as white. My grandmother did look white, so did the rest of her family

While my grandmother obviously had light olive Spanish skin and black eyes my grandfather was extremely white with very light blue eyes. That is why my mother, sister and I are lighter than the Mexican side of the family. My grandfather died in WWII. He was a Private First Class in the army. He is buried in Point Loma military cemetery in San Diego, California. He died September 9, 1943, was interred March 26, 1948.

They had one daughter, my mother Marie Juliette Cummins born in El Paso, Texas September 9, 1936. She has a Texas drawl on only a few words because she moved to San Diego, California when she was five. My mother had three girls. The first child she gave up for adoption. Her name on her birth certificate is Mary Julie Ruch born August 22, 1960, registration number 7053, birth certificate number 33868. My mother was at St. Anne's home for unwed mothers. The adoption worker was Ayleen Kodmur. We're all half sisters. We don't look or act anything alike. I'm the youngest. Here is my baptism certificate. I was baptized at St. Victor's church in what is now West Hollywood by Monsignor Devlin. I also attended St. Victor's catholic school.





My mother married Frank Anton Schott April 25, 1980 at St. Victor's church. My sister and I attended. Frank was born May 16, 1897 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He died January 15, 1984. He was a mechanical engineer who worked for Howard Hughes at Hughes Industry. He had a wife named Gertrude A. born in 1899 who died around 1978 I think. Frank took care of her at home until she died. They had a son named Franklin G. Schott born 1927 died 1997.  Frank's parents were George Charles Schott 1854 to 1934 and Elisabeth Hess 1856 to 1924. Frank registered for the draft in WW1 around 1917 or 1918.

Frank was a really nice guy. My grandmother met him at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills. My grandmother helped him with his wife. He married my mother with the sole promise that she let him die at home and take care of him. As soon as she got the chance she threw him into a convalescent hospital. He hated it and killed himself by refusing to eat or drink. He'd pull the tubes out when they tried to force feed him. I offered to take care of him at home but my mother refused. I believe my mother basically killed him. Before he was even dead she was already hooking up with another wealthy old man.

Currently my mother is married to Clifford W. Sponsel in Santa Barbara, another half dead wealthy man. Clifford W. Sponsel was born June 27, 1910 in New York. His parents were William C. Sponsel, Laura E. Sponsel also both born in New York 1886 and 1887 respectively. Clifford was an engineer married to Helen Margaret Sponsel who was born April 8, 1907 and died January 14, 1991.

My grandmother was an amazing woman. She was a shrewd business woman who made her money in real estate. She started off with boarding homes in San Diego, California. She also invested in trust deeds and apartment buildings.

A deeply religious woman she went to church regularily. She insisted that we go to catholic school. She also donated money to the church, elderly, home for boys and orphanages. While she was a very hard worker she also loved to travel and attend charitable events. Often times she'd throw events at our house. My sister and I would act as hostesses.

I was very lucky to have had my grandmother in my life. She basically raised me and my sister. She was 65 years old when I was born so that was not an easy job. She instilled in me the value of working hard, treating others as you would want them to treat yourself and obeying the ten commandments. She always insisted that we help out the less fortunate, elderly, children, animals and stand up for what is right. Standing up for what is right has sometimes gotten me into trouble ;-)

I was by her side before she passed away holding her hand telling her that I loved her. I held her hand until she fell asleep. She died peacefully in her sleep soon after I left her hospital room. It's been 20 years since she died but I still miss her. Mother's Day is still sad.

I'm posting this because people seem to think I am my grandmother because we have the same name. If you see lawsuits, property, trusts in the name of Mary Cummins, be sure to check and see which Mary Cummins is involved. I am Mary Katherine Cummins. She is Mary Roberta Cummins. Just because you don't see a middle name doesn't mean we're the same person. Plus, check the dates. If a trust was formed before I was an adult, I did not make the trust. I have no trusts. I also did not buy any real estate until I was 19. At the moment I own no real estate. Real estate bought before then was my grandmother's. My mother also sometimes uses my name or my grandmother's name.


Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


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