American as candy corn


As I may have said before, when starting out down the family history track, I didn’t think we had any relatives in the USA, just a few Canadians. A few years down the trail, getting on for ten per cent of individuals on the ever extending tree (which has a total  of just over 5000 right now) are American cousins and their connections.

And in neatly timed research, I discover that the firm which first commercially produced the sweets closely associated by many Americans with trick-or-treat, namely candy corn, has a strong family tie.

Candy corn squircle, 2006

Not content with turning the mystery of Halloween into a business opportunity, the US conforms to stereotype by declaring 30th October National Candy Corn Day. That link and various other websites state that Wunderle Candy Manufacturing was the first to make the product commercially, in the 1880s. See for instance the recent Post-Tribune article ‘Candy corn is back, and trendier than ever’ (article from 2012 offline at June 2015).

Second cousin (twice removed) Mary Louise Seibert married Philip Wunderle III on 28th June 1933 {1}. Philip’s obituary in 1995 which appears on Philly.com includes this section:

After graduation he joined his family’s candy-making business and later became the owner and president of P. E. Wunderle Confectioners in Philadelphia.

When Mr. Wunderle retired in the mid-1980s and sold the candy-making rights to a New York firm, the company had been in operation for about 150 years.

Mr. Wunderle had been a member and was a past president of a candy-makers’ association.

Notes

1. Mary Louise Seibert was the daughter of Harris Seibert and Gwen Margaret Price, Harris of German descent (born New York) and Gwen from the Welsh Griffiths line. Mary was born 1911 Pennsylvania, died 1969 (according to Philip’s obit). Philip Wunderle 3rd dates: 27 Aug 1908 to 5 Feb 1995, born and died Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The marriage was in Wilkes-Barre, with Rev E J Morris officiating, as he did at Harris and Gwen’s wedding and others of the family – marriage records located via familysearch.org.

2. Mary and Philip’s daughter Mary Gwen was born 1939 and appears to be living in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and grandchildren Kristine and Lisa have also been identified as likely to be still in the general area. You are welcome to come trick-or-treating via the contact form.

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