Thursday 8 April 2021

How did they meet? Part 2

For generations starting with the great-grandparents, it is more difficult to determine how they met. Often one can surmise how it happened if they lived in the same area around the time they got married, either alone or with family members. So, what follows here is part guess, part deduction.

Our Great-Grandparents

James Shepheard & Mary Elizabeth Pearson (m. 17 June 1890)

For my great-grandparents, James Shepheard and Mary Elizabeth Pearson, how they got together is not quite as straight-forward.

On the 1881 census, Mary’s siblings, Thomas (age 16), John (12) and Louisa (8) are still living with their parents, Charles and Susannah, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England. Fourteen-year old Mary was not at home, nor was she living with any of her other siblings. Mary may have been at school or working, possibly even in Devon. We just don’t know.

In that year, James was living at home, with his parents John and Mary, in Torquay, Devon. He was working as a gentleman’s servant.

By 1890, of course they were married and living in Torquay, 192 miles from Leamington Spa. We might assume one of them travelled to the other’s home city where they could have met but there is no information that confirms that idea. Interestingly, the marriage banns were posted at the Parish Church of St Mary’s in Leamington Priors (Spa), but the marriage took place at the Parish Church in Ellacombe, now part of Torquay, on 17 June 1890. On the marriage record, both gave their residence as Princes Road which was the home of James’s parents.

It is possible that Mary travelled to Torquay to work and that they met there. She is not shown with an occupation on the marriage record, however.

James & Mary Elizabeth 1890

Newton Isaac Thompson & Margaret Mary Anderson (m. 1884)

Both Newton Thompson and Margaret Anderson, other great-grandparents, had arrived in North Dakota with their families from Ontario: Newton in 1879 and Margaret in 1880. They settled in the farming community of Cass County which is where they undoubtedly met. They were probably married in Wheatland County, North Dakota, but no marriage record has been found and no details are shown in the family bible.

Margaret was a widow with one daughter at the time of their marriage. Newton took on the care of both and together they had six more children.

Newton & Margaret in 1885 (left) and 1917 (right)

Isaac Mayfield Miller & Alice Jane Keith (m. 27 November 1866)

Isaac Mayfield Miller was born in Ohio in 1843. His parents, John Conrad Miller and Hannah Tunstall Mayfield, had come to Cincinnati from Indiana around 1840. When John died – about 1846 – Hannah moved back to her father’s farm in Indiana. It was there that Isaac grew up.

Alice (Allie) Jane Keith was born in Indiana in 1846. Her parents, James Blare Keith and Sarah Jane Baker, had farmed in Jennings county, Indiana, from around the time of Allie’s birth.

Issac fought and was wounded with the 22nd Regiment of Indiana Volunteers (Union Army) between 1861 and 1864, during the US civil Ware, afterward returning to Indiana. It is possible Isaac and Sarah met through friends or relatives. Following their marriage on 27 November 1866, they left the state, going first to Illinois, where their first daughter was born, and then on to Kansas.

In 1893 they resettled in Yukon, Canadian county, Oklahoma where they spent the rest of their long lives together. Allie Jane died in 1914 and Isaac in 1925.

Isaac & Sarah Jane (both seated) with children ca 1892

Asa Harvey McDaniel & Margaret Eleanor DeBusk (m. 15 September 1851)

Both Asa Harvey McDaniel and Margaret Eleanor DeBusk were born in Washington Co9unty, Virginia, Asa in 1827 and Margaret in 1835. They grew in the area and no doubt knew each from childhood. The story is told that Asa and his brothers often rode the wagon full of grain to the mill on Rush Creek, in part owned by Margaret’s father.

They were married on 15 September 1851 in the county. They made their home there for almost ten years, having five children, and then moved 100 miles west to Lee County, Virginia, where they had eight more.

Margaret died in 1880. Her obituary spells out the joy and happiness of their almost 30-year marriage, which in part records “during her last illness . . . [s]he was in a happy frame of mind and talked freely and joyfully of her departure. It was a season of refreshing to all present. Just before she entered "the valley of the shadow of death" she called her husband and children around her bed and took an affectionate leave of them, requesting them to meet her in Heaven. Then quietly, yet triumphantly, she passed away to the land of immortality. She leaves a husband and twelve children . . . May they all keep the promise they have made and meet mother in the "sweet bye and bye."

Asa eventually followed his children west to Oklahoma, where he spent his last years, dying in 1901.

Old DeBusk Mill on Rush Creek, Virginia (left); Asa with granddaughters ca 1915 (right)