Do you have a favorite ancestor?
One you’ve never met but you still have a soft spot for? You know I do. She’s my maternal great-grandmother, Mary Ellen Williams and you guessed it. She’s in the photo.
Mary Ellen Williams was born 26 Sept. 1871 in Monroe Twp, Allen County Ohio. She married George S. Marshall 31 Oct. 1891 in Allen County, OH.
They had three children, Gladys (my grandmother), Freda and William Lloyd.
As far as I can tell my great-grandmother led an average life. She lived on a farm raising her three children. All was well until she contracted consumption and succumbed to it at the age of 36. Leaving her three children 16, 12 and 5 in the hands of her husband, George.
Now here’s the interesting part. Once my grandmother Gladys married, her father George lived with her and my grandfather the rest of his life. George was only 40 when Mary Ellen died. He was 44 when his eldest Gladys married. Why not live on his own? He wasn’t ill or incapacitated. Why live with Gladys and family for the rest of his life?
My mother told a few stories about growing up with her grandfather George. They were all fond memories. Yet when pressed for stories about the young Mary Ellen there were none. My mother said they never talked about her, ever. George didn’t speak of his wife and Gladys never referred to her mother. Why?
My romantic side wants to think they were so grief-stricken George couldn’t even mention her name and Gladys just missed her mother terribly.
My mother in some way understood this unspoken reverence. She named one of my sisters after Mary Ellen. She said she knew it would please her granddad.
Whatever the reason for the mystery around the life of Mary Ellen Williams, it has captured my interest and I look at her photos with a gentleness reserved only for her.