Mary Ellen Williams Marshall is the Culprit! #52Ancestors

Family history - Genealogy research

My great grandmother Mary Ellen Williams (Marshall)

Any of us who refer to ourselves as genealogists or family historians have a favorite ancestor. You know that one person we can’t get enough of. No matter what, we somehow circle back to them whether we’re looking at family pics or at pedigree charts our eyes always seem to find the favorite’s papers or charts. I’m no different. I have three ancestors I’ve spent a good deal of time researching but if asked for my hands down, absolute favorite, numero uno ancestor it has to be Mary Ellen Williams Marshall. It’s her life and story that piqued my genealogy interest. My delving into family history lays at her feet. So who is she?

I have written about her previously here and here and here if you care to read those posts but for this week’s 52 Ancestors I’ll share her with you this way.

Mary Ellen Williams Marshall is my maternal great grandmother. Born September 26, 1871 she was the youngest child of Isaac and Rebecca Holmes Williams. She married George S Marshall in 1891 and had three children. Gladys her oldest is my grandmother. So why the fascination on my part?

George & Mary Ellen Williams Marshall Farm

George & Mary Ellen Williams Marshall Farm

Mary Ellen died at a flourishing age. Consumption claimed her at only 36 years old. She left her husband George with two daughters ages 16 and 12 and a five year old son. Even though he was still a young man at 40 years old, George raised his children alone and then went on to live with his oldest daughter for the rest of his life, never marrying again. [Read more…]

It Was Right Under My Nose!!

Family history, genealogy, family tree, Marshall, Williams

Gladys Marshall Lowery’s Autograph Book

You know how sometimes you’re hesitant to tell a story about yourself because you know it makes you look like a goof? Well I thought twice about telling this story but what the heck. Here goes . . .

Recently I’ve seen a couple posts about autograph books. Very cool books indeed and I remembered have my maternal grandmother’s autograph book. My mom gave it to me years and years ago. It’s been safely put away for sometime now. My recent blog readings made me hunt it up.

It took only a few moments to pull out my grandmother’s autograph book. I knew exactly where it was. The cover and pages are in really nice shape, it’s just that the binding is broken. So gently and ever so carefully I turn every page.

My grandmother, Gladys B. Marshall Lowery was born in 1892 in Allen County, Ohio. The earliest message in her book is January 5, 1903. Maybe this album was a Christmas gift. She’d have been 10 years old then and I imagine this was a prized possession.

As I look through the pages some notes are signed “your cousin” with vaguely familiar names.

Nov 29. 1909.
Cousin Gladys,
Love your playmates
Love your toys;
But never never love
the boys.
Your cousin,
Ida Kidd

Later my grandmother wrote Battles after Ida’s last name. Thanks grandma for her married name!!

So I need to check these collateral family members out. [Read more…]

Have you seen my Great Grandfather’s cane?

Marshall, Lowery, Williams Family History, genealogy

George S Marshall

I was searching through a closet today and came across my great-grandfather’s cane. It’s odd that I don’t remember how I got the cane. I’m sure my mom gave it to me. It belonged to her grandfather but I don’t remember how it actually came to be mine. Weird. I’m usually very good at that stuff. My great-grandfather, the owner of this cane, George S Marshall is somewhat of an enigma to me. I know very little about him but here’s a little of what I do know.

George was born in 1868 in Allen County, Ohio. He married my great-grandmother Mary Ellen Williams in 1891. They had three children, my grandmother Gladys was the oldest and they lived on a farm that’s only about 20 minutes from me today.

By all accounts life seemed good for the family. They had three children, were farmers and prospered. I have a couple of pictures of George and Mary Ellen in front of their house and on the farm. It was a happy life until 1908 when my great-grandmother died. Consumption was the cause listed on Mary Ellen’s death certificate. It may as well read “Tragic Ending” because George suddenly became a single father of two teenage girls and a small son. [Read more…]

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – If you could have lunch with any female family member who would it be?

Rebecca Holmes Williams

Rebecca Holmes Williams – photo in author’s possession

I read Randy Seaver’s prompt for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and immediately thought I’m in on this one! Randy takes a cue from Lisa Alzo and her blog’s inspiring Women’s History month. Here’s our question:

If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead), or any famous female, who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

Short of having lunch with every one of my female ancestors I’ve narrowed it down to two. Either my grandmother Flora Nantz Frueh who died when my dad was just a 17-year-old. So little is known about her or my gggrandmother Rebecca Holmes Williams. After much deliberation I went with Rebcca Holmes Williams.

I’d like to have a cup of coffee with Rebecca at her house early in 1872. My ggrandmother, her youngest child, would be an infant in a nearby crib. We could keep an eye on baby Mollie (Mary Ellen Williams Marshall) as we talked. By this time Rebecca has lived through enough for three lifetimes. I’m sure life’s wisdom is apparent in her.

Rebecca was born in 1833 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. She married Isaac Williams there in Tuscarawas County in 1853. They were the parents of seven children but all four of their sons died either in infancy or as toddlers. The devastation this young couple must have felt [Read more…]

Family History from my great grandmother’s pen

Family history - Genealogy research

My great grandmother Mary Ellen Williams (Marshall)

Blogging about transcribing a document in last Saturday’s post reminded me of an essay my great-grandmother wrote. So I dug it out of my pile of papers. I assume she was a student and this was one of her weekly compositions. There wasn’t a date on it but since she was born in 1871 I’d guess it was written in the mid to late 1880s.

As a family history buff some of the contents are eye-popping and I’ll talk about them after you read it.

So here is a transcription of a hand written essay by Mary Ellen Williams


                                                                Rainy Days

For my part, I like rainy days, to be sure, one can’t go away from home and is not very liable to receive visits, yet there are many pleasant things which may be done on a rainy day, while if it were sunshiny, one might never think of them. In the first place, if I can get a good book to read I don’t care how it may storm outside for I am oblivious to all around me. But if I can’t get a book my next greatest pleasure is to go up to the attic and rummage among the old things there. I wish you could see some of the queer and ancient things I find. There is a spinning wheel two hundred years old which I don’t doubt has many a time buzzed in the presence of Washington for great-grandmother Williams knew him well. I’ve tried several times to spin with it and such work as I’ve made!! But it’s fun. [Read more…]