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PostcardWinchesterINBigFourRailroadDepotCirca1919

The life of William Blazer began in fraud. His biological father, Albert Hercules, allegedly seduced Blazer’s mother, Estella Blazer, with the promise of marriage – a marriage that never happened. (For the previous installments, please read When He Stood Her Up, Common Sense Prevails for Estella Blazer, and A New Blazer) Yet, the child was born, and then had his mother taken from him probably due to illness just a short time after she wed John T Dilts. Willie was only two years old. His grandparents, George W and Amanda Blazer, raised him to adulthood.

When William was just 19, his grandfather drank carbolic acid and died. A local newspaper (unknown) reported that George Blazer had an argument with his son. That person was his grandson, William (as George’s two sons had died as very young children). George died on Sep 24, 1903 and was laid to rest close to his sons and daughter, Estella, in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Indiana. William’s grandmother, Amanda, lived another three years before passing away at the age of 61.

On Jan 4, 1910, William married Nellie Spaulding who had already been married and divorced. William raised her son, Samuel Thomas, as his own. The couple went on to have three more sons: William K Blazer, Raymond Blazer, and Rolla Burnsey Blazer. (Editor’s note: on more than one occasion, the surname is spelled Blazier).

By 1922, William was a detective with the Big Four Railroad (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway). On Dec 3, 1922 Blazer tried to arrest two men who were “train riding” – they had hopped aboard without paying for a fare. The confrontation turned deadly as the men stabbed him and threw him from the train as it went through Farmland, Indiana.

William Blazer headline

When he was found, he was taken to a physician in town before an ambulance was called to take him to Home Hospital in Muncie. It was there that 38 year old William Blazer died from his wounds – never regaining consciousness.

detective stabbed

He left a widow, Nellie, and sons: 10 year old William; almost 7 year old Rayond; and 2 year old Rolla.  He was buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson, Indiana. Thirty one years later, Nellie, would join him in eternal rest.

Though born and died in tragedy, William probably had a good life after he was married and became a father. It is unfortunate that he didn’t live long enough to watch his sons grow to manhood.

(Postcard image of Big Four Railroad, Winchester, Indiana: Wikimedia Commons)
(Headlines: Indianapolis New (Indianapolis, Indiana), “Detective is Stabbed and Thrown Off Train,” 5 Sep 1922, pg 19, Newspapers.com, accessed 3 Feb 2016)

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Infant_boy's_cap,_bib,_and_shirt_set_probably_for_christening,_England,_1675-1725,_linen_tabby_with_lace_-_Patricia_Harris_Gallery_of_Textiles_&_Costume,_Royal_Ontario_Museum_-_DSC09373

When I was about 6 or so, I learned that my dad wasn’t the youngest of seven born to Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore. A sister had been born a year and a half after him. I was told her name was Maxine. She had died as a baby.

Fast forward some 30 plus years when I started in depth research on my family history to a letter I received from my dad’s sister, Marie. I had contacted her to obtain all the names, dates, places, etc. of all the immediate Amore family. If anyone would know birthdays and anniversaries, it was my Aunt Marie. I sent her a list of names for her to fill in the blanks. That’s when I discovered that Maxine was born Mae Maxine Amore on November 19, 1922. I also learned that she died the same day.

mae maxine amore death record

It wasn’t until a few years later, that I discovered my dad’s baby sister was stillborn. She was buried the very next day. Her grave at South Lawn Cemetery in Coshocton, Ohio doesn’t have a marker. The cemetery book only lists her as Infant of Lloyd Amore. The Ohio Department of Health lists her name as “Stillborn Amore.” How very sad that Mae Maxine doesn’t have an official name in the books nor a headstone. She’s not even buried in the same cemetery as my grandparents.

Recently, I found a For Sale ad in the December 9, 1922 edition of The Coshocton Tribune that was heartbreaking.

for sale ad

My grandmother, Ella, was parting with the brand new outfit she had hoped to dress the newest member of the family in. I don’t know if she was asking the same price she paid or a little less, but $7.50 for a new baby outfit back in 1922 was a lot of money – especially for a large family. Perhaps, she realized that this would be her last baby, or with each child, she purchased one new article of clothing.

This summer, when I’m in Ohio and can (finally!) visit my dad’s hometown of Coshocton, I plan to go visit the gravesite of his baby sister and let her know that even though she didn’t take a breath on earth, she will always be remembered as a part of the Amore family.

SOURCES: 
Death Record: Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Citing Stillborn Amore. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953.State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.Ohio Department of Health. Index to Annual Deaths, 1958-2002. Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus, OH, USA; digital image, accessed 18 Mar 2016.
Newspaper Ad: Ancestry.com. Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) [database on-line] 9 Dec 1922, pg 5, Col 1, Citing Ella Amore. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Coshocton Tribune. Coshocton, OH, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper, digital image, accessed 18 Mar 2016.
Photo of baby clothes: Infant boy’s cap, bib, and shirt set… , Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, Royal Ontario Museum, Daderot, 20 Nov 2011, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. Accessed 18 Mar 2016.

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Clara Jennings obit - Democratic Standard Coshocton Ohio Sep 15 1893 pg 6

Clara Jennings, my second cousin twice removed, was the youngest daughter of Mary E Lewis (daughter of George J Lewis and Eliza McVey) and Alexander Jennings. (If you remember my Saturday Surname post from yesterday, then you know that George J Lewis was the brother of my great-great-grandmother Julia Ann Lewis House.)

Clara was born on June 8, 1877 in the township of Tuscarawas in Coshocton county, Ohio. Her mother Mary was about 36 year old at her birth. Alexander was about eight years older than Mary. The couple already had six children. When Clara was six years old, her father died. Seven and a half years later, Clara’s mother died.

On September 7, 1893 as seventeen year old Clara was visiting her older brother, Leander James Lewis’ home in the Flint Hill area of Coshocton county, she died of typhoid fever. Two days later after her funeral at Mt. Zion church, she was laid to rest in the cemetery. A cemetery where some of my Amore ancestors are also buried.

For me, it is a shame that a young girl died without her mother being there to wipe her brow or tell her good-bye. But perhaps, it was her mother who said “hello” as Clara departed one life and in to an everlasting life.

As an interesting aside, I am related to Clara in two different ways. First, is via her mother, Mary E. Lewis, my great-great-grandmother’s niece (the House side). Second, is mainly through half-sibling and in-law relationship via my great-grandmother on the Amore side. My great-grandmother, Mary A. (Werts) Amore’s half-sister, Sarah Ellen Simon, married another Alexander Jenning (they dropped the “s” from the end of Jennings). Ellen’s husband, Alexander, was the nephew of Mary E. Lewis’s husband’s father – making him the husband of my first cousin three times removed!

Obituary: The Democratic Standard (Coshocton, Ohio), 15 Sep 1893, pg 6, Ancestry.com, digital images, accessed 12 Mar 2016.

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surname cloud

In a previous article – Tracking Julia – I lamented that I could not be sure that my great-great-grandmother, Julia Ann Lewis House, was the daughter of Abel Lewis. That changed about a month ago when I found a news article that reported:

Mr. Geo. J. Lewis, daughter Julia, son and family, of Zanesville, were visiting his daughters, Mrs. Alex Jennings, Mrs. John Wagoner, and sister, Mrs. F. A. House, and other relatives.

BOOM! Happy dance! George Lewis was the son of Abel Lewis and Nancy Johnson Robinson. If his sister was Mrs. F. A. House (Florus Allen House), then that would mean that my 2nd great-grandmother was George’s sister.

Two things that I found very serendipitous about that small news clipping from the November 2, 1886 edition of The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio):

  1. It lists George’s daughter, Julia but doesn’t list the name of his son.
  2. It mentions that they will visit Mrs. F. A. House but the “other relatives” are not named.(1)

Today, I located a Quaker meeting record from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that mentions that Abel Lewis left that location many years previous to the date of record – 1808 – living in Zanesville, Muskingum county, Ohio and had married. (U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014, Provo, UT, USA, Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1803-1812; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes; Call Number: JK2.6 : accessed 12 Mar 2012.)

In the Muskingum Marriage Records (database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18858-10888-51?cc=1614804 : accessed 12 March 2016), Muskingum > Marriage records 1804-1818 > image 59 of 135; county courthouses, Ohio.), Abel Lewis married Nancy Robinson were married on May 26, 1805 by William Newel, Justice of the Peace.

Now, if I can just figure out who Abel Lewis’ and Nancy Johnson Robinson’s parents are!

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jail image

When last we saw Stella at the end of “When He Stood Her Up”, she had charged Albert Hercules with bastardy and criminal seduction. It didn’t take any time at all for the man to be arrested and brought to Madison county, Indiana. Hoping to have the charges dropped, he “importuned Miss Blazer to secure his release by marriage, but this she refused to do unless he would give bonds to support their child after it was born.”1

Obviously, Estella Blazer began thinking with her head instead of her heart after being left at the altar. She was under twenty years old, pregnant and unmarried – not in 2003 or even 1983 but in 1883! Without the bonds she wanted, Stella wouldn’t be able to support her baby. Albert Hercules refused to put up those bonds. He told her that he didn’t have the financial resources but it was widely known that he did. Not only had the man seduced her under the pretense of marriage and gotten her pregnant, but he was also lying to her.

The building that housed the jail was finished in 1882 so it was fairly new by the time Albert Hercules occupied one of the cells. During that first month in jail, it isn’t known what transpired in the minds of those involved. Was Stella just going to wait it out and hope that she would receive some financial compensation for her child? What was her home life like? Did her parents often tell her that she had disgraced not only herself but her family? Was Stella depressed or strengthened in spirit by her plight? Did Hercules have any family members to contact for assistance? Did he have any feelings of love for his unborn child? These are all questions that do not have answers.

 

Newspaper subtitle

One thing is for sure, on January 15, 1884 – after spending a little over a month in jail and not being free on Christmas, Albert Hercules sent for Estella on the pretense of working out an arrangement with her. For nearly two hours, she visited with him – alone – in his cell – while he pled with her to have him released so they could marry. Stella refused on the grounds that if he was released, instead of marrying her, he would run off.

Unbeknownst to Miss Blazer, Hercules had been hiding a weapon. He had managed to find a one pound iron nut and tied it in a handkerchief. Before she could leave his jail cell, the man struck her repeatedly about the face and head with his weapon knocking her to the floor. Her cries for help brought the guard who rescued her. Her injuries were reported to be “six terrible wounds were inflicted on the head, all cutting to the skull; two on the face to the bone, and two fingers were mashed guarding off the blows.”1

When asked why he had assaulted the woman, Hercules told authorities that being arrested and jailed had ruined him. He also remarked that he intended to “kill the woman”2 but was unable to do so before help had arrived. Stella suffered shock and concussion. At first, her injuries appeared to be fatal but as the day wore on, she rested comfortably and improved. It was a good thing that she didn’t die from her attack because as soon as word spread, the towns people wanted to lynch Hercules.3

Albert Hercules did not show any remorse nor offer an apology for trying to murder the mother of his unborn child; the woman whom he had claimed to love enough to bed and promise to marry. The same evening in which the assault happened, the Fort Wayne Sentinel reported that the man sat “in his cell reading the life of Jesse James, seemingly indifferent to the result of his awful crime.”2

The following day, January 16, Albert Hercules was indicted for attempted murder. The paper reported that “he was hung in effigy by indignant citizens” and “only the counsel of a few cool citizens keeps him from ornamenting a gallows.”2

One has to wonder if Stella’s father, George W. Blazer, was part of the group who wanted Hercules hanged. And what of Stella herself? Did she hope that in time she would receive funds from her child’s father for support? Or did the young woman want to see her ex-fiance’ pay for not only putting her in a position of disgrace but for trying to kill her? And what was her life going to be like now that she was right in the middle of a town scandal? And would Albert Hercules pay for what he did?

Stay tuned . . .

 

Sources:

    1. “A Brutal Attack,” Dunkirk Evening Observer (Dunkirk, New York), 17 Jan 1884, p. 1, Estella Blazer; digital images, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/9196705/  accessed 2 Feb 2016)
    2. “He is a Brute,” The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana), 16 Jan 1884, p. 1, Albert Hercules; digital images, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/29110657/  accessed 2 Feb 2016)
    3. “A Brutal Assault,” The Republic (Columbus, Indiana), 16 Jan 1884, p. 1, Albert Hercules; digital images, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/128016375/  accessed 2 Feb 2016)

(Image of jail: photo by Eugene J Amore, original slide and digital image in possession of Wendy Littrell – Address for private use.)

(News Clipping image: “He is a Brute,” The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana), 16 Jan 1884, p. 1, Albert Hercules; digital images, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/29110657/  accessed 2 Feb 2016))

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There_was_no_bridegroom_there_(NYPL_Hades-463957-1255500)

Estella (“Stella”) Blazer was born to George W. Blazer and Amanda (maiden name unknown) in 1864 in Indiana – probably Madison county. The beautiful dark-haired girl left her parents’ Anderson, Indiana home at the age of 18 for the big city of Indianapolis. There she found employment in the home of Judge Foutz as a domestic.

Close to the Union Depot located on South Illinois street, Albert Hercules ran a restaurant on West Louisiana street. From all appearances, he was of good character and very attractive. Stella became enamored of the man who in turn, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer (13 Dec 1883), “on the 20th of August, under the promise of marriage, succeeded in her ruin.” It was quite probable that at the time, Stella did not feel “ruined” since she was to be married, and the couple continued to be together when they could. The news continues on that Albert “continued his attentions till she was in a delicate condition” and then took her back to her parents’ home. He told Stella to begin planning for their Christmas wedding. Four months would be a very long time for Stella to wait to be married – especially when there was a child on the way. The earliest date agreed upon was December 2nd.

Albert Hercules left Anderson and went back to his home in Indianapolis. As the wedding date drew near, he went back to Stella’s hometown and obtained a marriage license. However, she became ill, so he left. She was to send a letter to him when she felt well enough to marry which she did soon after.

Following Albert’s instructions, Stella’s father, George, invited a large number of guests and had a large wedding feast ready on December 12th – the new date for the nuptials. The groom failed to show nor did he miss his train as Stella had feared. He had left Indianapolis but was not coming to be wed. Fearing for her child’s future as well as her own, the young woman went directly to the prosecutor and filed two affidavits. One was for bastardy and the other for criminal seduction. A warrant for Hercules’ arrest was issued. The Chief of Police of Indianapolis was telegraphed to arrest the man and hold him until the Marshal could pick him up. Unfortunately, by all appearances, Albert Hercules had flown the coop. Not only was there to be no wedding but Stella was looking at a future filled with disgrace and hardship.

 

What would happen to Stella? Would Albert Hercules be found and brought to justice? And what about the unborn child?

Stay tuned . . .

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; image in public domain)

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Orphan_Train

In January 2012, I wrote an article about Orphan Train Riders in my family. Over the last month, I have learned that there was more to that story. To summarize, my great-grandmother’s brother, James William Goul, took in two young brothers, Clarence and Matthew Brown, who had ridden the Orphan Train from New York to Kansas.

One year after the last census James W. Goul appeared on (as he died a few years later), the Columbus Weekly Advocate located in Columbus, Kansas, reported on page 5 of the April 27, 1911 edition that a sister of the brothers had searched to find them. Her name was Anna and she lived in Elmire, New York. The boys (reported in the paper as Clarence and John Brown) were not orphans, and they had been”kidnapped from their home.” The newspaper also said that the brothers were inseparable and neither knew that they had an older sister who had been searching for them. I never found a follow up to find out if the brothers met their sister after being separated since before 1893, but if they did, I wonder what happened after that.

Historically, children who were transported on the trains from the east coast to the heartland, were true orphans or those who had been given up so they could have a better life and those children who were children of the street. Families who took in these children either did so because they really did want a child or because they needed labor for their farms. In the news article I referenced above, it is reported that J. W. Goul first picked the youngest of the two boys, Clarence. That leads me to believe that even though the farmer and his wife had a daughter and son, that they did want to provide a home for a new child. It was only after the young boy cried that he didn’t want his brother “taken away” that Mr. Goul took the older boy as well.

For more information about the Orphan Train: Washington Post article; PBS: American Experience; as well as a number of books written on the subject.

 

Orphan Train Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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