Category Archives: genealogy

Dreiser gravestones




Saint Boniface Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

John Paul Dreiser

Sarah Dreiser

Paul Dresser


*John Paul Dresser Jr. was born on April 22, 1858 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was baptized on May 24, 1858 in St. Joseph Catholic Church, Terre Haute.


posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2022

Lorenzo A. Hopkins grave


In February 1886, L. A. Hopkins stole cash from his employer, Chapin & Gore, in Chicago and fled with Theodore Dreiser’s sister Emma.

The couple wound up living in New York.

The story provided the factual basis on which the plot of Sister Carrie is based, as did the two persons involved. Emma Dreiser became Carrie Meeber (Sister Carrie) in the novel, Hopkins became Carrie’s lover George Hurstwood.

The full name of L. A. Hopkins was Lorenzo A. Hopkins. His dates were 1847-1897. He died in Brooklyn, New York on December 21, 1897 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens County became a borough of New York City in 1898.


Lorenzo A. Hopkins grave.JPG

Lorenzo A. Hopkins grave, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, NYC; photograph by Roger W. Smith

genealogical reports, Dreiser ancestry


Descendants of Johann Paul Dreiser

descendants of Henry Schnepp

descendants of Theodore Dreiser


Descendants of Johann Paul Dreiser

Descendants of Henry Schnepp

Descendants of Theodore Dreiser


This post contains three reports (downloadable PDF files above) showing the genealogy of branches of the Dreiser and Schnepp (aka Schänäb) families.

The Schnepp or Schänäb family were ancestors of Theodore Dreiser’s mother, Sarah Maria (Schnepp) Dreiser, and of his second wife, Helen Esther (Patges Richardson) Dreiser.

These reports were generated using genealogy software. Each report shows the ancestor going back to a beginning point, so to speak, and then shows that ancestor’s descendants for a few generations down to the present (to the extent known).

The report entitled “Descendants of Theodore Dreiser” merely shows genealogical facts about the author and his spouses. There were no descendants.


— Roger W. Smith

   September 2019; updated May 2020

death certificate, Margaret Dresser



Margaret Dresser death certificate.jpg


Margaret Dresser (born Margeruite May Steinman in 1867) was Theodore Dreiser’s sister-in-law. She was the wife of Dreiser’s brother Alphons J. Dreiser.

Theodore Dreiser seems to have had minimal contact in later years with his brother Al, Margaret’s husband.

In his The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser, Jerome Loving states (footnote pg. 448): “The last known address for Al Dreiser was in 1934, at 1235 Muirhead Street, Los Angeles; he had apparently written Dreiser about his share of the royalties from the publication of The Songs of Paul Dresser.”


State of California

Department of Health Services

Certificate of Death

Margaret Dresser

died August 7, 1961 at 7:25 p.m.



birthplace, Ohio

date of birth, February 2, 1867

age, 94 years

occupation, Housewife


Place of death, Camarillo State Hospital, Camarillo, Ventura Co., Calif.

length of time there, 8 years 9+ months

last usual residence, Hillhaven Sanatorium

cremation, August 9, 1961, Westwood Memorial Park Crem., Los Angeles

cause of death, Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease

Associated with Senile Brain Disease, with Psychotic Reaction

“Dies Saving Wheel” (Theresa Dreiser Davis killed by train, 1897)


Theresa Dreiser Davis (1864-1897; born Mary Theresa Dreiser) was Theodore Dreiser’s sister.

She was married to Edwin Davis, a scenic artist, and lived in Chicago.

The attached article about her death at a train crossing is from the Chicago Daily Tribune of October 23, 1897.


'Dies Saviing Wheel,' imageedit.jpg

Chicago Daily Tribune, October 23, 1897

George Kates Nelson – Gunda Ryerson marriage certificate


pg. 1, imageedit.jpg

pg. 2, imageedit.jpg


George Kates Nelson (1892-1955) was Theodore Dreiser’s nephew.

His wife, Gunda Ryerson Nelson, was born in Norway and died in Freeport, Nassau Co., NY on December 7, 1944.

George Nelson was born in Manhattan on April 25, 1892. He took the surname of his stepfather, John Nelson. He gave his father’s name as John. Yet, he was the son of Dreiser’s older sister Emma and her (common law?) husband Lorenzo A. Hopkins.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  March 2016

Gertrude A. Hopkins death certificate


Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973) was Theodore Dreiser’s niece. Below is an image of her death certificate.


Gertrude A. Hopkins death certificate, imageedit.jpg



Note: The late Harold J. Dies gave me a copy of Gertrude Hopkins’s death certificate. I would not have been able to obtain one otherwise, since only relatives can obtain such a record from the state of New York. It is an invaluable document. Gertrude was Theodore Dreiser’s favorite niece and knew Dreiser and his second wife Helen well.  See my article

“Lorenzo A. Hopkins, Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser, and Family”

posted on this site at

Roger W. Smith, “Lorenzo A. Hopkins, Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser, and Family”


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2016

Lorenzo A. Hopkins death certificate


Lorenzo A . Hopkins (d. 1897) was the first husband (perhaps common law husband) of Dreiser’s sister Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser.

Hopkins and Emma were the real life prototypes of Hurstwood and Carrie Meeber in Dreiser’s Sister Carrie.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2016


pg. 2, imageeditpg. 1, imageedit

George K. Nelson death certificate


George K. Nelson death certificate.jpg.

George Kates Nelson (1892-1955) was Theodore Dreiser’s nephew. He was the son of Lorenzo A. Hopkins and Dreiser’s sister Emma Wilhelmna Dreiser.

The date of his birth is accurate here. John Nelson was his stepfather. His father was Lorenzo Hopkins, not Nelson.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  March 2016

Helen (Patges) Dreiser obituary


obituary , Mrs. Helen Esther Dreiser

New York Times, Saturday, September 24, 1955

Helen Dreiser was Theodore Dreise  r’s second wife. She was born Helen Esther Patges in 1984 in Oregon. Her first husband, who she married in Oregon, was Francis Dawson Richardson. She married Theodore Dreiser in the state of Washington in 1944.  She died at the home of her sister in Oregon on September 22, 1955.


Helen Dreiser obituary, NY Times (from AP) 9-24-1955

New York Times, Saturday, September 24, 1955