String Genealogy and My Connection to Actress Clara Bow

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The beautiful actress, Clara Bow. - Image PD Wikimedia Commons
The truly beautiful actress, Clara Bow.

Clara Bow was a (let’s call a spade a spade) gorgeous silent movie actress who suffered an unusually difficult upbringing. Her father Robert though a capable man never prospered. As a result, the family was poor. Her mother Sarah, injured in a fall, suffered brain damage that severely affected her personality and behavior. Sarah was cared for by her daughter, even though Sarah had at one time, nearly murdered Clara.

Her Career

Although she had been picked on as a child, she was surpassingly successful in her role as actress, making 46 silent films and 11 talkies. Called the “It” girl because of her appearance in a film having that title, she was viewed as a sex symbol of the flapper era.

I am deeply into family history. One day I realized one of my distant connections, Cure (French – doubtless pronounced q-ray’) married a Mowrey relation of Clara Bow. So while I’m not truly related to Clara in the usual sense, I like to say I am related if you use what I’ve dubbed String Genealogy.

My Connection to Clara Bow

Here’s how String Genealogy works: Lay out the broadest family tree you can, including uncles, great uncles, third cousins and everyone under the sun you possibly can. Then take an ordinary string. Connect yourself by twisting the string through every turn until you reach the desired relative. Here is my twisting and turning that leads me to Clara Bow, my “relative.”

Clara Gordon Bow (1905 – 1965)
Clara was the daughter of

Robert Walter Bow (1875 – 1959)
By his 1st Wife Sarah F. Gordon (1879 – 1923)

Robert Walter Bow (1875 – 1959)
Married 2nd Wife Idella Elizabeth Mowrey

Idella Elizabeth Mowrey (c 1904 –     )
Was the daughter of
Ella May Cure/Curea (1886 – 1970) and husband John Mowrey (dates unknown)

Ella May Cure/Curea (1886 – 1970)
Was the daughter of
Jule Ferdinand Jr Cure (1844 – 1923) & Elizabeth “Lizzie” Lehman (1858 – 1922)

Jule Ferdinand Jr Cure (1844 – 1923)
Was the son of
Jule Ferdinand Sr Cure (1810 – 1853) & Sophia Perkins Maull (1812 – 1887)

Jule Ferdinand Sr Cure (1810 – 1853)
Was the father of
Marie Antoinette Hortense Cure (1842 – 1904)

Marie Antoinette Hortense Cure (1842 – 1904)
George Childs Fitzgerald (1841 – 1913)

George Childs Fitzgerald (1841 – 1913)
Was the son of
James Austin Fitzgerald (1816 – 1858) & Elizabeth “Eliza” Long (1823 – 1858)

James Austin Fitzgerald (1816 – 1858)
Was the son of
George Killinger Sr Fitzgerald (1785 – 1828) & Elizabeth Rees (c. 1788 – 1865)

George Killinger Sr Fitzgerald (1785 – 1828)
Was the father of
Wilson Sr Fitzgerald (1819 – 1905)

Wilson Sr Fitzgerald (1819 – 1905) & Mary “Joanna” Colhauer (1826 – 1908)
Were the parents of
Fannie Bockius Fitzgerald (1856 – 1915)

Fannie Bockius Fitzgerald (1856 – 1915) & John Elwood Stockham (1856 – 1888)
Were the parents of
Adele Kite Stockham (1887 – 1968)

Adele Kite Stockham (1887 – 1968) & Edward Clifford Sr Ayres (1886 – 1946)
Were the parents of
Adele Stockham Ayres (1917 – 1983)

Adele Stockham Ayres (1917 – 1983) & Vincent DePaul Summers (1920 – 1987)
Were the parents of
Vincent Edward Summers (1948 –    )

Clara Bow
Robert W. Bow (center)

Interestingly, Idella Elizabeth Mowrey who married Robert Bow, was with him for only one day. She split the next day. He was served with divorce papers. But the marriage was “annulled” (a term meaning to end a marriage that carries no Biblical validity) by a judge at Bow’s request. The judge called Idella “the world’s greatest gold digger.”


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5 thoughts on “String Genealogy and My Connection to Actress Clara Bow

  • Since, in the Bible, there is no such thing as an annulment, and since his first wife had died, Idella was married to Clara’s father more than a day. But, at best, this means my connection to Clara Bow lasted a mere 4 years and 2 months, as Robert re-married in September of 1928. Whether 1 day or 4 years, it is “neat” to be able to say I “connect” to Clara Bow.

  • Idella was only 1 year older than his daughter Clara! Beautiful photograph. That’s a great idea of string genealogy. I think I tried that out a few times as a child but my parents were having none of it!

  • If you ever want to visit your relatives, come to Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. About half the people you mentioned here are scattered over two plots: S43 has Fitzgeralds and Cures (PVT Jules Ferdinand Cure Jr was married 4 times and had at least five kids). W281, 283E has Fitzgeralds and Stockhams.

    Adele Annie Kite Fitzgerald was the daughter of Emma Jane Widener Kite (1837- ) and railroad conductor Thomas Mason Kite (1834-1870). But Emma’s brothers were George (1820-1901) and Peter A.B. (1834-1915) Widener, who was one of the richest men in America (his son George and grandson Harry went down on the Titanic). Emma left Kite and married Samuel Champion Cooper (1840-1904) in 1865. I just discovered these families today and am still sorting them out. I am a tour guide at the cemetery and do their monthly podcast “All Bones Considered: Laurel Hill Stories.”

    • Nice to meet you, Joe. I’ve bookmarked your page. Years and years ago I was there. It was, at one time I believe, a place where weekend picnic visitations were paid. Much of the data is on Find-a-Grave, at least some of which I provided. On this site,, I have posted individual articles that touch on these ones and also Ayres and Chew. These were definitely some of the most interesting people in my family tree. Also the Weatherlys.

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