Tuesday, March 11, 2014

An Early Demise

Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.
March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

Today's prompt will lead me to my husband's great-grandmother Elizabeth Ann Blanchett Cheney.  Elizabeth was born in Portsmouth, England in 1830. She came to America with her family while a young girl. Her family moved to Avon, Lorain County, Ohio. In 1862, at the age of 32, she married Reuben Cheney. This was Reuben's second marriage, as his first wife had died in October of 1861. She left behind three young girls born in 1857, 1860 and 1861. Only one of those daughters lived to adulthood to raise her own family.  The other two daughters died in 1879 and 1880.

Reuben need a mother for his three young daughters. He was living in Coldwater, Michigan at the time. However, before that first marriage, he had also lived in Avon, Lorain County, Ohio which is where he undoubtedly met Elizabeth. He returned to Lorain County to marry Elizabeth and took her to Coldwater.

Elizabeth and Reuben had 5 children, including two sets of twins. The oldest daughter was born in 1863, the first set of twins in 1865, and the second set of twins on June 2, 1867. There were four girls and one boy. On the 13th of June in 1867, Elizabeth died from complications of childbirth.

Reuben was distraught. He now had eight children to take care of including newborn twins. He returned to Lorain County for his third wife, Matilda Chester, who was 45 years old. They were married in October of 1867. They had no children. They had no children. This was Matilda's fourth marriage. She had at least one daughter by a previous marriage.

Sometime, before 1870, the only son of Reuben and Elizabeth was sent back to Ohio to live with his mother's parents, Henry Howe and Elizabeth [Reed] Blanchett. The family was being shifted around. Some of his sisters were living with brothers and sisters of Reuben in the Coldwater area. Only three of Reuben's daughters were living with him in the 1870 census. His third wife, Matilda, is not listed with him in the 1870 Census. By 1870, Matilda had filed for divorce.

The last set of twins also died early, one at the age of 7, and the other at the age of  22, a wife of two years, and the mother of an 11 week old baby.

The son sent to Ohio, Charles Cheney, was my husband's grandfather. We know that he went back and forth to Michigan as he got older to help his father on the farm. Charles' remaining sisters often came to Ohio to visit him as well. If Charles had stayed in Michigaan, his family line could be much different. Fortunately, he married a girl from Avon, Ohio and they stayed in Ohio to raise their family.

Reuben married at least once more, if not twice after the 1871 divorce. He died in 1888 in Coldwater, Michigan. He was 64 years old.

It is hard to imagine your family being raised by other people. Even in today's world, these situations still occur. When I see my own family around me, I am so thankful that life's circumstances have been kind to us.

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