As I was checking out all the updated census records on Family Search yesterday, I made a new discovery – my paternal great-grandmother had a half-sister I hadn’t found before! My 2nd great-grandmother, Louisa Bookless, married William Washington Werts in Coshocton County, Ohio on August 24, 1852. Their first child, George Wesley Werts, was born on January 27, 1853, five months after they were married. My great-grandmother, Mary Angelina Werts, was born on February 16, 1855. When Great-Grandmother Annie was three years old her father passed away. Louisa than married neighbor, John Simon (or Simons depending on the document), April 28, 1861. All of that I had discovered through the census records or information passed down through the family.
Yesterday, I was looking at the Ohio Death records on Family Search and came across a name – Sarah Ellen Jenning (or Jennings depending on the document), whose parents were John Simon and Louisa Bookless. So I dug further into the census records. There she was in the 1870 US Census living in Lafayette Twp, West Lafayette, Coshocton County, Ohio. They were enumerated as the 105th dwelling and 88th family visited and are listed as John Simins, Louisa, and Sarah E. When I went to check the 1880 Census, Sarah was no longer in the household. But I knew she was alive because the death certificate said she died in 1936 – so where was she? I thought maybe she was living close to the Jennings family since she had eventually married Alexander Jennings. Not exactly close – she and Alexander were already married. Sarah listed her age as 16 and the couple had a one year old daughter, Lucy. I wonder how John and Louisa felt about their daughter marrying a man who was 28 years old at such a young age? Apparently the marriage lasted, for they went on to have 12 children – 7 who were living at the time of the 1920 Census.
So I went back and re-read the news clipping I had of the first Amore-Werts reunion in 1924. The lists of guests included: “Alex Jennings and family, Mr. and Mrs. John Jennings and family, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Jennings and family.”
I found the death certificate for Alexander – he died two years after Sarah. Their son, Sheldon Leroy Jennings, died in 1916. His was the only other death certificate I found so I think the other children died prior to 1908 or died outside of the state of Ohio.
Sarah wasn’t listed as a “sister” on Great-Grandmother Annie’s obituary because Annie died 5 years after Sarah.
So I think I need to look at the reunion attendees again and see if I can figure out how the other guests might be related – just in case!