Monday, January 10, 2011

Ida Alice Mason Robinson Kuster (Mom Kuster)

October 1877 – About 1945

Ida was born in Pennsylvania, most likely in Philadelphia.  Her parents, Samuel and Sarah were born in England.
The first record of her, that I have found, is the 1880 census.  Ida Mason was 4 when the census was taken on June 9th, 1880.  She lived with her family at 1923 Emma Street.  Based on a quick search, Emma street no longer exists.  However, if I look at previous pages in the census, I would say it was around Dauphin Street and Germantown Avenues.  Her brother, Joseph was two years old and George was only one month old.  Her father worked in a Woolen Mill.

Ida with Thomas, Samuel and James

She married Thomas C Robinson in about 1898.  My grandfather, Samuel Raynor Robinson,  was born in 1899.  In 1900, they lived on G Street, near Venango, they owned this house.  My grandfather, Samuel was 5 months old at the time of the census.   Thomas’ parents lived on G Street as well, at address 3439.  James B Robinson, whom I knew as Uncle Pete, was born in 1901.
Ida is pictured here with the Robinson Clan.
She is leftmost in the middle row.

I have been told that the family traveled back and forth to England together.  This included Thomas and Ida’s family, his siblings and their families and his parents, John and Mary.  They went to England to work in the winters.  Thomas was a bricklayer, as were his father and brothers.

Lettie Mae and Ida
in Atlantic City

When the 1910 census was taken, Thomas’ father, John Raynor had passed and Thomas, Ida, Samuel and James moved in with Mary (Thomas’ mother).  Thomas’ younger sister, Lillie M and her husband, Harry, lived there as well!  That was a fullhouse!  Thomas' sister Mary Lizzie lived next door at 3441 G Street. 
Thomas died February 21st, 1911.  When he passed, they lived at 807 Shiller Street.  The death certificate states that he died of epilepsy with a contributing factor of mental derangement!

Sam, Jimmy, Norma and Grace with Ida

Sometime after Thomas passed, Ida married Henry Benhard Kuster, known as Ben Kuster.  In 1920, they lived at 3546 G Street.  Ida’s children, Samuel and James, lived with them.  Ben was a carpenter and had come to the US from France when he was 10.  
Mom Kuster with Uncle Sam
and Aunt Norma
Fox Chase

By 1930, Ida and Ben lived at 3029 Cedar Street.  Ben built this house.  They lived there with a "Roomer" by the name of Joseph P. Little.  For whatever reason, Ben is listed at 3031 Cedar, however this was a garage.   The property as a whole was worth $20,000 at the time.  The story craziest story that I've heard about Ben pertains to his car.  My father and his siblings were young when he was still alive.  In fact, my dad barely remembers him.  He would "electrify" his car by hooking it to the light somehow.  If the kids touched the car, they would get shocked!  WOW!

Mom Kuster, Mom Black and Bill?
Grandmom Robinson at Fox Chase
After Ben passed away, Ida lived at 3029 Cedar Street for a while but she couldn’t keep up with it financially.  Her sons, Sam and Jim took over the home and moved Ida to Sargeant Street.   Sam and his family lived in the Cedar Street house.  When the 1940 census is released, I will search for Ida.  I hope it doesn't proove to be as difficult as finding her in the 1930 census was. 
I have been unable to determine the exact date of Ida's death but it is estimated at about 1945.  I have been looking at these pictures of Ida more closely lately, I would guess she had a pretty tough life, but she sure looks like she knew how to laugh! 


  1. Electrify the car! WOW! I wouldn't want to mess with him, but I'm sure the kids never tried to take or vandalize the car! :)

  2. Surprisingly, my aunt figured out how to "unwire" it!!