Rummaging through the old photographs at my mom’s house in 2000, I came across one with the name “Chase Noonan and Friends” on the back. Who is or was he, I wondered. My mom told me he was Aunt Mat’s son.
Martha Blazer, also known as “Aunt Mat”, was the oldest daughter and second child of Franklin Blazer and Malissa Goul. She was the sister of my great-grandmother, Katie J. Blazer and my elusive great-great-aunt Rachel Blazer Given.
My mother remembers a woman who she called “dirty” – probably because she chewed tobacco. She said when Aunt Mat would visit they had to get her a “spit” bucket. My mom thought Aunt Mat had another son besides Chase but I’ve yet to find one.
I came across Martha Hardman in the 1900 Census living in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana on what looks like Central. She was 39 years old and widowed. She listed that she had one child who was still alive. Also in the household was Thomas C. Noonan (born July 1887), age 12.
The Madison County Marriage Index lists that Martha Blazier (sic) married John Noonan on July 4, 1887. Martha married Peter Hardman on March 19, 1893. That was about all the information I found for Martha besides her obituary stating that she died on March 10, 1948 in Anderson, Indiana. It listed her age as 87 and that she was survived by one son, Chase Noonan, of Anderson.
For several years that was all the information I had about Martha and her son. I did know that Chase had married and had a daughter, Ruth, as I’d come across pictures of “Mrs. Chase Noonan and daughter, Ruth”. No matter where I looked, I couldn’t seem to find any further mention of Chase, his wife, or Ruth. That is until I ran across a 1930 Census taken in Bexar County, Texas. It showed Ruth was living at Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, age 15. I then looked further into that Census and found Chase, aged 40, widowed, living as a boarder in an unrelated household.
What happened to Chase’s wife? More importantly what was her name? And how did the family get from Indiana to San Antonio?
Thanks to my local library, I can access the Census records from Heritage Quest, and found Chase (listed as Charles T.) – age 30, his wife, Agnes – age 28, daughter, Ruth Martha – age 3, and son, William E. (looks like 14 but I believe it’s 4) born in Ohio, in San Antonio in the 1920 Census. Chase’s occupation was a machinist. I finally had a name for his wife plus I located a son!
When Familysearch digitized Texas death records, I learned that Agnes Hughes Noonan was born on Oct. 2, 1891 in Mayo, Northern Ireland. That corresponds to the 1930 Census for Ruth where she lists her mother being born in Northern Ireland. She was the daughter of John Hughes and Mary (no maiden name listed). Agnes died on Feb. 23, 1923 at her home at 221 E. Georgia Ave., San Antonio, Texas of what appears to be chronic myocarditia. On the death certificate Chase is listed as “Chase T. Noonan”. Agnes was buried at Mission Burial Park in San Antonio.
Then I found William Emmett Noonan at Kelly Field, San Antonio in the 1930 Census. He lists his birthplace as Ohio (which I found out later is probably correct as it has been claimed that Chase and family lived in northern Ohio for a short time). William’s age was 26, he was in the Special Services, a soldier in the U.S. Army, and it looks like it reads 44th School Squadron. I believe I also located a death record for William that shows he passed away on March 15, 1956 in Bexar County, Texas. Unfortunately, I can’t get into the death record to find out if this is the correct person.
Through some newspaper clippings, I located Ruth’s graduation from Ursuline Convent when she took her vows to become a nun. She took the name Sister Mary Rebecca in June 1939. She was teaching at St. Patrick’s Parochial School in Galveston.
When Ancestry had free access to military records a couple months ago, I found a WWII Registration card dated April 27, 1942 for Chase that lists his full name as Chase Thomas Noonan, born July 9, 1888 in Anderson, Indiana. He was living at the Stillwell Hotel in Anderson, Indiana and his telephone exchange was 5596. He was also employed by the Stillwell Hotel. Chase listed that his daughter would always know his address and he listed her as Sister Mary Rebecca, living at the Ursuline Convent in Galveston, Texas. He stood 5’ 5½” tall and weighed 150 lbs. Chase had light complexion, brown eyes and black hair.
When I contacted the Indiana Room at the Anderson Public Library, I was pleasantly surprised to receive via email several news clippings concerning Chase, his father, John Noonan and Aunt Mat. They detailed that John had been ill and hospitalized and then his subsequent death on Oct. 16, 1921 at St. John’s hospital. It was also thought that he had never married and had no known heirs (other than his late sister’s widower) to his estate that was estimated over $60,000. Aunt Mat apparently read that news article and went straight to work. She put out a search for her son, whom she had not seen since one visit in 1910 after he’d left Anderson. She revealed to the Anderson newspaper that she and John (Jack) Noonan had married in 1885 and divorced less than two years – although Aunt Mat said Chase was born in 1886 less than a year into her marriage. She said that her son had been employed by an auto company in Cleveland in 1910. Jack and Chase had seen each other from time to time and remained on friendly terms throughout his childhood but Mat had not seen or spoken to her ex-husband after Chase left Anderson in 1907. Mat also appealed to the War Dept. hoping they had a record for her son. In the same news article, she revealed that she had been married not twice, but three times. Her second husband, Peter Hardman, she married in 1891 and he died in 1900. During a trip to the East in 1905 she met and married a man named Matoon. She left him very soon after that and returned to using her second husband’s name.
An article also emailed to me dated Dec. 5, 1922 claims that Chase had been located and would receive $2,500 from his father’s estate. The rest had been gifted to friends and in-laws shortly before John Noonan’s death. When he returned to Anderson, he brought his eight year old daughter, Ruth, with him.
Another newspaper article suggests that Chase had married for a second time to a woman named Pauline Elese (maiden name unknown) as a Divorce Proceeding Listing was located in the San Antonio Light, March 8, 1932 edition.
In that email there was also a death notice for Chase (whom I was unable to locate in the Texas death records). He had returned to live and work in Anderson (as listed on the April 1942 military registration) and was employed by the Delco Remy plant as an inspector. He died on Feb. 2, 1949 from a skull fracture after an accidental fall. His daughter, listed as Miss Ruth Rosaleen Noonan from Chicago, was reported as his survivor. He was taken back to San Antonio and buried in the family plot at Mission Burial Park.
I think I’ve documented many facts in my research into Aunt Mat and Chase Noonan. I haven’t been able to locate any further information on either Ruth or William. It looks unlikely that they had any children which leaves me with a cold trail up to the present and several unanswered questions.
I’ve also discovered that not everything can be found at one time. It might take several years, the kindness of strangers, and pieces of information that had seemed unlikely at first in order to piece together enough of the puzzle to be able to tell what the full picture probably is. I believe I’m done chasing Chase.
(Photos from Top – Chase Noonan (L) & Friends; Aunt Mat (Martha Blazer) and son, Chase Noonan; Mrs. Chase Noonan and daughter, Ruth; Agnes Hughes Noonan’s Death Certificate; WWII Registration for Chase Noonan.)