Malissa Goul was born in 1832 in Champaign County, Ohio. She was the granddaughter of the immigrant, Adam Goul, born in Germany, and his wife, Elizabeth Lutz, born in Pennsylvania. Malissa’s father, John, was Adam and Elizabeth’s oldest son. Her mother was Martha McManaway. And she was my maternal 2nd great-grandmother.
This woman intrigued me especially when I found out that her oldest son, James Oakland Goul (called “Oaki” or “Okie”) had the same last name as she did. Was her first husband also a “Goul”? Was he born after the husband died and she gave him her maiden name? What was the story?
My mother told me that the family story was that she had him out of wedlock. Delving into family history, I realized that wasn’t as uncommon as I thought. I’ve found many couples who were married shortly before a child was born or after a child was born and sometimes not at all.
The photos I have of Malissa and her son were some of the first “old” pictures I acquired. Her funeral book was the first memorial record I was given. So I’ve attempted to learn all I can about this woman who became the mother of my maternal grandfather’s mom (Katie Blazer Johnson).
The biggest question I wanted answered was who was Okie’s father? I found an entry in the Madison County, Indiana Marriage record transcripts for Okie. He was married on February 1, 1900 to Eliza Jones. Okie listed his age at the next birthday as 43 and his father’s name as James M. Goul. Okay – I had a name. But who was this man? Was he a distant relative? I had much more to research.
In the 1850 Census of Union Township, Champaign County, Ohio, I found the John and Martha Goul household. Included in the household were their children – Eveline, Mary Ann, Malissa, Ruth, William J., John W. – and two boarders – Thomas Dillons, age 28, a laborer born in Ohio and James Goul, age 28, a grocer born in Virginia.
Could this James Goul – a grocer – and 10 years older than Malissa have been the father of her oldest son? I believe he was. And furthermore, I believe he is also the James Goul who married Hannah Harbert, daughter of Thomas Harbert III and Elizabeth Huston; sister of Josiah Harbert who married Malissa’s oldest sister, Martha Jane Goul. James had married Hannah before Malissa became pregnant with Okie, and he and Hannah had already had one son, William Andrew. Soon after Malissa became pregnant, the family moved to Madison County, Indiana, and James and Hannah moved away from Champaign County, Ohio to Missouri. I don’t believe father and son ever had a parent-child relationship.
I’ll never know if Malissa pined for James or if it was just an affair of convenience. She didn’t have her mother to confide in as Martha died in December 1855.
Further digging has led me to believe that Okie’s father, James, was the grandson of Adam and Elizabeth Goul – the first cousin of Malissa and nephew of her father, John. In Adam’s will, written December 4, 1843 (2 years before his death), he named his surviving wife (Elizabeth), children (Mary – eldest daughter; John – eldest son; Christian – second son; Henry – son), and grandchildren (Mary, Andrew and James).
Malissa had her child, Okie, and by 1859 married Franklin Blazer. The couple went on to have two sons, John Franklin and Wesley, and three daughters, Martha, Katie and Rachel. Unfortunately, the couple did not have a long and happy marriage. Franklin died in August 1869 leaving Malissa to raise 6 young children alone. She never remarried.
Malissa died on March 7, 1907 in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana. Her funeral was held at the Clayte Sells Chapel and burial was in Fall Creek Cemetery.
I hope Malissa rests in peace for she had a very hard life.