Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Girls -- Etta

The youngest daughter of William and Barbara Metzner was Henrietta, often referred to in records as “Etta.” Etta was born in St. Louisville, Ohio in April 1868. She first appears in public records (the 1870 Federal Census) at the age of two (see below).  She’s living in her parents' busy household with six other children, including a baby brother William.  Our ancestral grandfather, Louis, eventually the youngest of the children, would not be born for another two years.

1870 Federal Census, St. Louisville, Licking Co., Ohio

Like many of Etta’s siblings, she left home at an early age, but for Etta it seems a little too early.  In 1880, at the very young age of 12, she is living with a farmer and his wife and working as their “hired girl.”  By 1883, at the ripe old age of 15, she is living and working in Fort Wayne as a domestic. 
1880 Federal Census, Newton Twp., Licking Co., Ohio.   John and Eliza Marple have two boarders and Henrietta as their "hired girl."
One can only wonder why she left home so early.  While many 19th century adolescents left home to work and ease the burden on their families, you might not expect her to have to leave since she was one of the last ones at home -- and yet she did -- perhaps for reasons that we will never understand.

Moving to Fort Wayne was the right thing for her to do. There she met Wilbert A. Ross, son of a local grocer.  They married in there on May 1, 1888 – he was 25; she was 20. 

They seemed to have lived a rather ordinary life.  It doesn't appear there were any great shake-ups -- at least none that might have been reported in a newspaper or other public records.  They had seven children, and all seven appear to have grown up into responsible adults. And that’s about the long and short of it as far as Henrietta is concerned.

Wilbert died in 1937. Henrietta died in 1950 at a hospital in Fort Wayne. She was 81 years old.  At the time, all seven of her children were alive and well and living throughout the U.S., from Minneapolis to Port Huron, Michigan to Bethesda, Maryland. 

With Henrietta we've come to the end of the genealogies for the children of William and Barbara Metzner. Now it's time to move on to how and when the Metzners arrived in America and from where.  More on that next time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Girls -- Callie

It’s interesting that Caroline “Callie” Metzner followed a similar path as older sister Delana.  But before we get to that, a little background.   

Callie was born in St. Louisville, Ohio to William and Barbara Metzner. There are discrepancies in her birth year – it’s either 1861 or 1866.  Her death certificate records it as 1866, but it was her stepson who reported it and he may not have been entirely sure of the year.  In genealogy this can happen, and does happen.  I suspect that Callie was born in 1861 and here is why. The first public record of Callie is the 1870 census. She is recorded as 9 years old and living with her parents and siblings. Since this is the record closest to her actual birth year, it’s likely that it’s the most correct. Then in 1880 she was recorded as 19 -- again placing her birth around 1861.

By 1880 Callie has left her childhood home in Licking County to keep house for the Bell family of Knox County.  If you recall, her sister Delana was also out of the Metzner home in 1880 and working as a servant in a different household -- a very common practice for young, unmarried women.
The Newark Advocate, 11 April 1908

What is especially interesting is that both Delana and Callie married widowers with young children.  In 1888 Callie married the widower Columbus S. Hall of Knox County. His deceased wife, Mary V. Niebel, had given birth to their 6th child, Hattie Ann, on March 30 1885, then Mary died 11 days later, almost certainly from complications due to childbirth.  Columbus found himself with a new baby and small children and needed someone to immediately care for all of them. I like to think that Callie stepped into the picture at that point (in 1885) but we can't be certain because Callie and Columbus didn't marry for another three years (in 1888).  It would have been very improper for a young unmarried woman to live in the home of a widowed man for 3 years.  Perhaps Columbus farmed his kids out to relatives for a few years until he found a suitable wife.  Once married to Callie, the children would have come back home.  Now, of course, we don't know that this is actually what happened. Callie may have moved in to care for the family as soon as Mary died, but there are no records to prove it.   

Callie and Columbus never had any children.  Was that because their marriage was one of convenience? Or was Callie unable to have children?  What we do know is that Callie died on June 15, 1910 at age 49 due to complications from tuberculosis from which she had suffered for 18 months. Her obituary doesn't mention the TB but does indicate the sudden complication that caused her death:

Unidentified newspaper, Newark, Ohio, 15 June 1910

Callie is a good example of how records of 19th century women can be very sparse.  Her husband Columbus is well documented however  – not just because he was a man, but because he was a well-known local veterinarian and held the office of mayor for the city of Utica, Ohio. Having a prominent stature in the community can also provide fodder for newspapers when things go awry.  For Columbus, it happened through his daughter Hattie. Excerpts from newspaper accounts tell the events that captured the attention of the Hall family and the town of Utica for two weeks at the end of the 19th century.  Note, in one of the excerpts there is a single reference to Hattie's stepmother (Callie Metzner Hall).

Newark Daily Advocate, 27 Dec 1899

Newark Daily Advocate, 28 Dec 1899

Newark Daily Advocate, 1 Jan 1900

Newark Daily Advocate, 6 Jan 1900. This is the article that mentions her "stepmother" i.e., Callie Metzner.

In the end, 28-year-old Thomas Rogers of Spring Lake, Michigan was arrested for the abduction of Hattie Hall.  It appears that she ran away and met Rogers in Chicago.  Because Rogers was an adult, he was tried and convicted of abduction of a minor and sentenced to one year in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

Nothing is forthcoming about Hattie's life after this event. The only other record found for her was her death record.  She died on May 25, 1911 in Columbus, Ohio.  She was 26 years old and death was caused from a morphine overdose. Oh my ...  I wonder what truly went on with Hattie for her to reach this sad end.

Her father Columbus, the husband of our Caroline "Callie" Metzner, died on 27 Oct 1920 in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  He was 67 years old. 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Girls -- Delana

Great-grandpa Louis Metzner (1872-1930) had three sisters -- Delana Metzner Beeney (1859-1954), Caroline Metzner Hall (1866-1910), and Henrietta Metzner Ross (1868-1950), or better known in family circles as Lena, Callie, and Etta.  There are no photographs of them and no personal letters, diaries, or other family documents to help us piece together a life story for each of them, and I never remember anyone in the family talking about them.

Little has been found about them in public records, which isn’t unusual in the realm of genealogy.  Nineteenth century women often get short shrift in the public records departments. A preponderance of information for women during that time period is gathered through the records of the men in the family.  For the Metzner girls, it wasn’t much different. 

Lena is the oldest of the sisters, born in Bearcreek Township, Jay Co., Indiana in July 1859. By 1870, at about age 12, she is attending school irregularly because she is needed to “help at home,” at least according to the census (below). Same is true for her 9 year old sister Caroline.  

1870 Ohio Census, Licking County.  Delana is entered as Mary which may be her middle name.

By 1880 Lena is living and working as a servant in the home of farmer Felix Harris. 

1880 Ohio Census, Licking County

Working as a domestic was common practice for young women at that time. Most were encouraged to leave home, primarily to ease the financial burden on the family, but also as a way to earn some money and perhaps meet a husband.  Certainly Lena leaving the Metzner household could have eased their financial burden a bit, but there may have been other reasons for her leaving which we are not aware of. 

It’s probable that Lena met her future husband, John W. Beeney (1855-1927), while residing with the Harris family.  The Beeneys lived in the same township and John and Delana were close in age, so it wouldn’t have been unusual for them to connect at some point.  John was widowed in December of 1893, leaving him with three under-aged children.  His deceased wife's obituary is one of the saddest I've ever read from that time period.

Obituary for John W. Beeney's first wife, Martha Warthen Beeney.

Unlike today, where a man could manage as a single father, that wasn’t the norm for the 19th century.  A widower with children would have immediately begun looking for a new wife to marry at the end of a respectable mourning period.  And that John did.  Nine months after the death of his wife Martha, he and Delana married on September 5, 1894 in Licking County, Ohio. Delana was 35 years old and had never been married.  For her, this was a good opportunity -- women were looked on more highly if married -- and for John, he had a mother for his children and a housekeeper.  If there was love between them, we don't know.  I like to think there was.

Marriage Certificate for John W. Beeney and Lena Metzner, 5th day Sept. A.D. 1894.

They lived in the town of Newark, Ohio for the rest of their lives, raising his three children and a son they had together,  Edward  L. (1895-1969).  John died on June 30, 1927 and Lena remained in their home on Bolton Street in Newark until her death in 1954 at the age of 95. No obituary has been found for Delana.  John's obituary is below.

Newark Ohio newspaper, name and date are unidentified; provided by the Newark Public Library

Newark, Ohio ca. 1910

Next time we'll look at the life of Delana's sister, Caroline.