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Wedding Wednesday

“Abel Lewis taking the said Elizabeth Jones by the hand did in a solemn manner openly declare that he took the said Elizabeth Jones to be his wife.”

Those written words could belong to any number of couples who are marrying, but Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones aren’t just any couple. They are my four times great-grandparents. The words above explain in detail the union of this couple who would go on to produce several children – one being my ancestor, Abel Lewis Jr. I’ve often come across marriage records for ancestors that just give their names and the date of marriage. Not very many record what transpired at the wedding.

I have to admit that as I read the rest of the marriage record, I was overcome with emotion. It was only recently that I learned their names. They aren’t as familiar to me as some of my ancestors. Yet, reading about the union of Abel and Elizabeth caused me to be very thankful that they were married – or I wouldn’t be here. It’s sort of silly getting a little misty over a wedding that took place on October 10, 1759.

Except . . . the groom would only live seven more years and die six months after his youngest child – my ancestor, Abel Lewis Jr, was born. Abel Sr wouldn’t see his children grow up or know his grandchildren. He wouldn’t live to a ripe old age with his bride, Elizabeth.

“Promising with the Lord’s assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband until death should separate them.”

Source: U.S., Quaker Meeting Records. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Ancestry.com. Citing Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones. Accessed 23 May 2016.

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In celebration of my daughter’s and son-in-law’s third wedding anniversary, I’m posting a photo from the wedding.

(Digital image in possession of Wendy Littrell – address for private use.)

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When Inez Franklin’s wedding announcement appeared in the Greenfield Daily Reporter (Greenfield, Indiana) on March 4, 1920, only her mother was listed. It appeared as if Millie Franklin was a widow. Her husband and Inez’s father, William Franklin, had died 13 years before.

Jesse Wilt (my maternal grandmother’s brother) was 24 years old and had already served in the Army during WWI. His parents had divorced almost eleven years prior to his marriage, and his father probably did not even attend the wedding on February 20, 1920.

The couple married in Anderson, Indiana at the home of the minister who performed the wedding, Rev. W.L. Lundy. The newspaper did not list those who attended the ceremony, but I suspect the two mothers and possibly siblings who lived close.

Jesse and his new wife set up housekeeping on “the bride’s farm near Pendleton.” So obviously, Inez owned land as well as a home. However, in the 1930 US Census, Jesse is related to the head of household as son-in-law. Millie Franklin is the property owner so in actuality, it wasn’t Inez’s farm but rather the home in which she’d been living prior to marriage.

They went on to have four children: Frederick Loren Wilt, Lorraina Mae Wilt, William Thompson Wilt, and Evalyn Joan Wilt. Jesse spent time in the VA Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. Inez died on March 31, 1955 at the home of her youngest daughter, Joan (pronounced Jo Ann) Borelli. Jesse died three years later on Valentines Day 1958 in Dayton.

(Image courtesy of WIkimedia Commons)

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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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News Article Title

Tell me that if you didn’t see that in a newspaper that you wouldn’t immediately go “ick” and then read it. I was not looking for this article*** but it jumped out at me while I was reading something else about someone who is a collateral ancestor. The article is from The Call-Leader (Elwood, Indiana) printed on Thursday, June 29, 1916 on page 8. I found the newspaper on Newspapers.com https://www.newspapers.com/image/87580544 and saved it as a pdf on February 2, 2016.

The article mentions that 54-year-old, D W Hunt, married Lillian Lyda Young in Charleston, West Virginia. Hunt was a neighbor of the Young family, knew his intended since birth, and vowed that he would marry her some day. Have I said “ick” yet?

Don’t you wonder what was going through the minds of her parents – especially since it was “understood almost since her birth that Hunt was to have her for his bride”? Perhaps they were happy that their young daughter was so well loved (I hope that’s the right word!) and knew she would be well taken care of.

I sought out records to see what transpired after Hunt and his wife were married. First, I found the marriage record – yes, there it was in black and white – on FamilySearch.org (Citation: “West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NMGL-44T : accessed 3 February 2016), D W Hunt and Lillian Lyda Young, 1916; citing Kanawha, , county clerks, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 521,721.). Clicking to the wvculture.org site, I found the digital image of the record. Sure enough, a D W Hunt married Lillian Lyda Young on May 14, 1916 in Villa, Kanawha, West Virginia with her mother’s consent. (On a side note: I also saw another marriage recorded for a 70-year-old groom and a 30-year-old bride.) It lists Hunt as a widower (so I guess he really didn’t wait, did he?).

In the 1920 US Census records (“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNLQ-WG8 : accessed 3 February 2016), Daniel D Hunt, Aarons Fork, Kanawha, West Virginia, United States; citing sheet 6A, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,821,957.), Daniel D Hunt is 58 years old (birth about 1862 in West Virginia) and Lillian L is 20 years old (birth about 1900 in West Virginia). Included in the household are Daniel’s two sons from his first marriage – Emmit age 16 and David age 14 – as well as the couple’s two children – Ruth age 2 1/2 and Hallie age 3 months.

I went back to the 1900 US Census to see if Lillian had already been born, and there she was living in Malden in Kanawha county at age 9 months. Besides her parents, David and Ellen, there were four other siblings (Pearl, Charles, Nellie and Alfred) all older than Lillian. Ellen died within the next year or so because in the 1910 US Census, Lillian is living with her father and her stepmother, Mary. David and Mary had been married for six years.

Daniel Webster Hunt is found in the 1900 Census with his first wife, Fanny, and four children: Mary, Daniel, Alice, and Jarrett. In the 1910 Census, besides he and his wife are the following children: Jarrett, Emmit, and David. So Daniel had children much older than Lillian – not unheard of – but makes one wonder what his oldest children, Mary, Daniel, Alice and Jarrett, thought when their father married a sixteen year old girl.

In 1930, Daniel and Lillian have added a son to their family – William. He was six years old. By 1940, their daughter Hallie Helen Hunt had married Woodrow Chandler and had a son, Jackie Lee, aged 1 (all living with the couple). Their son, William, was still residing with them. Interesting tidbit: the date of the enumeration was April 29, 1940. On another date – April 9, 1940, Daniel is enumerated at his oldest daughter’s home (Mary Coleman) as widowed. Yes, this is the same person via further research of records. Then the absolute kicker is that looking at Daniel’s headstone on Find a Grave (Memorial #51249810), his death date is April 9, 1940. Head scratching records – those are! And there is Lillian buried next to him – she died in 1962 (Find a Grave Memorial #51258652). In order to make sense of the two 1940 census sheets and the death date, my conclusion is that they really did follow the instructions which was to list who was living in the household on April 1, 1940 (not on the date of enumeration). Lillian is the person who answered the questions as indicated by the X marked next to her name. She listed herself as a widow but crossed it out and changed it to married – because she was married on April 1. In Mary’s household, there isn’t an X to indicate who answered the questions. Since her mother – Daniel’s first wife – was dead, that leaves me to believe that is the reason Daniel was listed as a widower – perhaps a Freudian slip, and they didn’t recognize Lillian as the current Mrs. Hunt?

Daniel’s will was probated on April 22, 1940 in which he named his fifth child, Emmitt Hunt, as executor. Within the contents of the will, Hunt made sure that his wife and their son, William, were well taken care of through land and mineral rights of several tracts of land. His other sons were given surface rights to land and all of the children – except for one – and a grandson were named as beneficiaries for objects, books, etc. His and Lillian’s daughter, Hallie Helen, was given only $1. Makes a person wonder what she did to irritate her father enough to basically cut her out of anything except by giving her the dollar, he knew that it wouldn’t be easy to contest because he didn’t “forget” about her.

On July 1, 1940 the appraisal of Daniel Hunt’s property was recorded in court with real estate at $2260; personal property at $65; totaling $2325.

That is the extent of information that I located on the couple. I didn’t delve into his children’s or their children’s lives. So, even though the newspaper article made everything seem pretty “icky,” it appeared that Daniel Hunt and Lillian Young remained together until his death, and he loved her enough to make sure that she had a comfortable life after he had passed.

 

***Disclaimer: Those mentioned in this blog post are not related to me.

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John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer

My maternal great-grandparents (on my grandfather’s side), John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer, were married on July 4, 1883, in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He was a few months over 22 years old and she was close to 19. Since both were “of age” according to the laws of the time, neither needed a parental signature.

The couple was just shy of celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary when Katie died on May 20, 1930 (trivia: my wedding anniversary is on the anniversary of her death – May 20!).

Below is a picture of the couple in older age.

(Source 1: Anderson, Madison, Indiana, 1880-1920, Book 1, Page 393; County Clerk’s Office, 16 East 9th, 2nd House, Box 19, Anderson, Indiana, 46016. FamilySearch – Indiana Marriages Database

Source 2: Glen R. Johnson, Sr., personal genealogy notes, in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

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