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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Ending, I Hope

I have been on the trail of Mary Malinda Hill's family in 19th century Ohio and Missouri for about 35 years. Have I mentioned that I've been very interested in genealogy for over 40 years? It will become obvious.

Mary Hill married Daniel Robertson in Missouri in the 1860s. She told her family a few things about her parents, but it must have gotten pretty garbled by the time it came down to me, because I've found the facts are different from what I was told, and yet the facts also are closely related to the fables. For example, I was told her father came from Germany. It turns out her grandparents were born in Prussia and came to Ohio where her father was born. I was told her mother's name was Mary Stewart; her mother's surname does turn out to be Stewart, but the first name is Rhoda, a name Mary gave to one of her own daughters.

Mary had interesting siblings. Her older sister had eleven children, three of whom died in one week in June 1880--I wonder what disease ripped through the family and took the 11-year-old, the 8-year-old, and the 5-year-old? How poor Barbara must have grieved! Mary also had a twin sister named Pauline whose husband died rather young and left her to support the three living children (the fourth had died as a baby). Mary named another of her daughters after her two sisters: Pauline Jane (Barbara's middle name was Jane). She had another sister who sometimes went by Louisa and sometimes by Mariam, so I don't know which way around her name was supposed to be. I do know Mary named one of her daughters Louisa Mary, presumably after this sister and herself.

Mary's only brother, Joseph, was a carpenter. When he was twenty-one, he married a neighbor girl who was just 15 years old. Ella bore him five children, four of whom are definitely daughters, but I haven't been able to find the fifth to know its gender. One of these children died young; I don't know which one except that it wasn't Josie. Joseph and Ella divorced sometime after 1883. In 1900 I found Joseph living alone in Kansas City, still working as a carpenter. I imagine him bitter and lonely, maybe regretting ever marrying someone so young as Ella was. I found her living still in their family home in Trenton, her occupation listed as "land lord." Hm! Maybe she outgrew Joseph? But then in 1902, to my surprise I ran across a marriage certificate for the two of them, remarrying each other!

Did they have a happy ending? I cannot tell! I cannot find them in any record after that remarriage. So maybe they killed each other after all? I hope it was the happy ending. I'll keep looking.

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