Anthony & Teresa Marnell             Family of Anthony & Teresa

John and Mabel Marnell & Family - 1947

courtesy of Theresa Pyne


John (Jack) Marnell was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois on January 24, 1903.

Around 1923, in an arranged marriage, he married Georgia LoBue in Chicago Heights.  Georgia, daughter of Anthony LoBue and Giovanna Jennie Castelli, was born on April 17, 1904 . Their son, Anthony, was born there about 1927.   They divorced and Georgia married Anthony Matranga of Chicago Heights.

John married again to Mabel Clara Goss. Mabel was born in Atoka, Tennessee on June 7, 1923, the daughter of Horace G. and Mabel Goss.


John and Mable Marnell

"John and Mable were parents of Theresa Marie Marnell and John Lawrence Marnell.

They met in Memphis, TN, where John (nickname Jack) played guitar at a tavern owned by Mabel’s sister Forace Roberts (Taylor).  They eloped to Mississippi and later moved to Washington, DC to find work.  Jack continued to play guitar his whole life at weekend dances but spent most of his career as a taxi driver for Diamond cab in Washington, DC.   Jack loved his guitar and played standards, country western and polka at Knights of Columbus dances and the old Snug Harbor tavern in Seabrook, Md.  His last band was named “Three Knights and a Day” because 3 members were Knights of Columbus members and one was named Day. 

The family moved to Bowie, MD in 1950 and lived off Highbridge Road when Bowie was just a small railroad town and Belair was a big horse farm.  Mable was a homemaker and had a large garden and a few fruit trees and chickens.  In the summer she canned fruits and vegetables and was a very good cook but her specialty was fried chicken (cooked in lard in a cast iron skillet) and potato salad with eggs and mustard.  All this without air conditioning!

Jack Marnell was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, in 1903 but his mother changed his birth date on church and school records to 1901 so he could leave school early and start working.  I know his father worked for Inland Steel and recalled him saying he had worked in a box factory, short order cook, truck driver, school janitor.  During prohibition in Chicago, he drove a truck and was briefly arrested for delivering sugar to one of the distilleries. 

As a youth he enjoyed going to the silent movies with actors such as Charlie Chaplin and the “sheik.”  He was good at pool and had his own pool stick and had a self-described reputation as a hustler.   An old newspaper story reports John was in a motor accident in the 1920’s when he was other boys were on their way to a boxing match and ended up drenched in a ditch.

He had an early arranged marriage and a child named Anthony.  He was estranged from his brothers and sisters for about 20 years but met them again about 1960 and enjoyed many visits after that.  His son John Lawrence was in the Army and met someone who knew his cousin and through this chance meeting the family got back together. 

His mother died when he was young and his older sister Angelina helped raise the family.  He was second oldest in the family and had an older brother named Pasquale (called Patsy).  He told a story about taking Patsy’s new bicycle to meet him when he came from work but having an accident on the way with a horse-pulled milk wagon.  Whoops!  Jack’s brothers Sammy, Dominick, Nick and Augie also visited him in Bowie as well as children of Angelo and Carmella.  An old newspaper announces a Marnell reunion in the 50’s with 50 attendees (of course, this was during time Jack was not in contact with his family).  In 1964 he and Mabel attended his brother Augie’s wedding anniversary party and got to visit with the whole family.  (see photo)

Jack (as well as his brothers and sisters) were excellent Italian cooks.  Jack would usually make a pot of spaghetti sauce (or gravy as he called it) on Sunday.  Sometimes we had his handmade ravioli (he called them “little Mexican hats”) and bracciole or lasagna.  Mable would make the dough for ravioli and pizza and he would load up the pizza with everything (meat, cheese) till it would take quite a while to bake they were so thick. 

Jack lived with Theresa and Pat in Hyattsville after Mable died of a heart attack in June 1982.  He died of cancer on Christmas Eve 1982.  He was pretty active with walks, watching soap operas, helping with cooking and even playing guitar until a couple of weeks before his death. 

John died on December 24, 1982 in Hyattsville, Maryland


Mable Goss Marnell  grew up on a cotton farm in Atoka, TN (Tipton County) where she was born in 1923.  Her family had owned a farm on Island 35 (Reverie, TN) early in their marriage but were flooded out when the Mississippi River changed course.  The island still exists as part of TN but access is through a bridge in Wilson, AR.  Mabel’s maternal grandparents lived on the island and her mother was born there.  The Goss family was tenant farmers and the kids all had jobs (such as, Forace did the sewing, Nita the cooking, and Mabel and Junior worked in the cotton fields).  Mable went to school in “town” and told of wanting lunches made with “store-bought” bread while her classmates would want to trade with her so they could get her good homemade bread.  Mable enjoyed cooking and embroidery and reading.  She used to make up stories to tell her grandkids on overnight visits.

Mable’s dad died in 1936 and her mother spent her last years living in Memphis with daughter Forace.  Nita and Carl lived in Washington, DC as well during the war where Nita worked in a gift shop at National Airport.  She met her husband Paul who was in the Navy and lived in Dover, NJ and later Hopkins, MN.  Carl and first wife Jenny lived in DC and Carl worked as a butcher in Acme Foods after his stint in Europe in World War II.  He married Fanny after his divorce in the 50s.

Forace worked for Sun records in Memphis at one time in the 50s and used to send us kids stacks of “45 records” for Christmas.  That was the studio where Elvis and Johnny Cash started out.  Elvis’ Graceland was near Junior’s house in Memphis and he was seen around the area on his motorcycle in the early days.  Junior was in the Navy in WWII and later a captain with the Army Corps of Engineers and was the youngest captain on the Mississippi River.  Georgia Lee was the oldest daughter and her children kept in touch with Mable.  Her daughter Margie Lee’s daughter Linda McDonald provided a lot of information for this genealogy book.

Mable and her brother Junior were apparently the only kids in the family with red hair and freckles which they probably inherited from their grandmother Nancy Quinley Goss. "

                                       -Theresa Marnell Pyne   November 23, 2010