I’d put my “I voted today” sticker on her headstone if I lived nearby

So last week I’m scrolling through Facebook minding my own business, watching videos

Susan B. Anthony Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Susan B. Anthony Photo Credit: Wikipedia

of babies and puppies and liking pics from old high school classmates when I come to a complete stop. Posted among the silly and senseless on Facebook was a photo of Susan B. Anthony’s headstone with several “I voted today” stickers on it and a small bouquet of flowers laying at the base.

It was incredibly moving. Tears came to my eyes. It’s very rare that anything on Facebook resonates with me to that extent but this – several women paying their respects on election day to this courageous woman who fought for women’s right to vote was extraordinary.

So I did a little research. I’m ashamed to say I only had a general idea when the suffrage movement occurred and was hazy on which amendment gave women the right to vote and when it passed. The 19th Amendment ratified on August 18, 1920 gave all women who were U.S. citizens the right to vote. In fact the movement started in the mid-1800s and most women who marched, wrote and lobbied for this cause didn’t live to see the passage of this amendment.

Next I took a look at my own family tree. How did the 19th amendment affect my female ancestors? On my maternal side I had a great grandmother, Sudie L. Barron Lowery, (my maternal grandfather’s mother) who was 46 years old in 1920 and my maternal grandmother, Gladys Marshall Lowery, who was 28 years old in 1920. Her mother had already passed by 1920 and my mom was born in 1919.

On my father’s side my paternal female ancestors found a great grandmother, Josephine Geullbert Frueh, (my paternal grandfather’s mother) who was 71 years old in 1920 and the other, Irene Waller Nantz, (my paternal grandmother’s mother) was 48 years old. My paternal grandmother, Flora A. Nantz Frueh was 32 years old in 1920. (I didn’t realize until this moment that my great grandmother was 16 years old when she gave birth to my grandmother. I will double check those dates.)

So what does that mean? My great grandmothers that were alive in 1920 were well into middle age even elderly by the time they got the right to vote. I wonder if it mattered to them? I wonder how they felt about finally being able to express their opinions through voting? Was it a wonderful reality or insignificant? In their view was voting best left to men anyway?

Both my grandmothers were young vital, women at 28 and 32 years old. Were they excited? Almost giddy at the prospect of finally being counted when it came time to elect officials, determine taxes and add laws to our state constitution? Women’s right to vote was a hotly contested topic their entire lifetime. How I wish I knew how they felt when they finally received the right to vote!

Susan B Anthony headstone Photo Credit:  Sarah Jane McPike

Susan B Anthony headstone Photo Credit: Sarah Jane McPike

My final thought here is that there is only one female generation that precedes me who has always been able to vote. Only my mother grew up knowing she could vote when she came of age. Just ONE generation before me!

I am astounded and deeply grateful for the women who came before and worked and lobbied and suffered untold disgrace and hardship to gain for me the right to vote. Thank you Susan B. Anthony and all the suffragettes. I would most certainly put my “I voted today” sticker on your headstone if I lived nearby but better yet maybe I should investigate who the women in my area were that championed women’s right to vote. Then by the time the next election rolls around I’ll be able to thank those who lived near me for such a valuable privilege. Maybe you’ll do the same.

John and Elizabeth Hays Marshall – This Week’s #52 Ancestors Meets Up With My Genealogy Road Trip

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

My sisters and I took off for the Daughters of Union Veterans National Convention in Gettysburg last week. We combined our convention with a Genealogy Road Trip.

As we were traveling east from Ohio to Pennsylvania, somewhere between the four and five hour mark, we found Little Beaver Cemetery in Lawrence County, PA.

Here in the beautifully, rolling Pennsylvania countryside is the final resting place of my 4x great grandparents John and Elizabeth Hays Marshall.

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

John Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

John Marshall was born in Glendermot, County Down Ireland on 24 January 1765. John’s parents were Patrick and Amanda Boyne Marshall.

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Hays Marshall was born in Glencoe, Antrim Ireland on 1 October 1767. Elizabeth’s parents were Robert E. and Phoebe Britton Hays.

John and Elizabeth were the parents of eight children James Hays, John Jr, Mary (aka Polly), Joseph, Elizabeth, Jane, William and Anna. James Hays – the oldest is my 3x great grandfather.

They came to the U.S. between the births of their first and second child settling in Lawrence County Pennsylvania where they lived the rest of their lives. I certainly understand this. It’s a lovely area.

John Marshall died in Little Beaver, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania 26 August 1853. He was 88 years old.

Elizabeth died in Little Beaver, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania 17 May 1854. She was 86 years old.

Pennsylvania must have agreed with them since they both lived to a very nice old age into the 1850s. I also notice Elizabeth died nine months after John. I wonder if that is a coincidence, old age, or she couldn’t go on without him. (I know, I know, I have a fairy tale, romantic streak in me!)

This is the sum total of my info on John and Elizabeth Hays Marshall. If they happen to be in your family tree I’d love for you to contact me! Obviously I don’t have much info to share but I’d love to see yours!!

There were many other Marshalls buried in this same cemetery. After a little research I’ll share them with you. Maybe we can make a connection through them.

Thanks for reading this week’s #52 Ancestors post! See you next time!

James Hayes Marshall Jr #52 Ancestors

James H Marshall Jr

My great-great grandfather James Hayes Marshall Jr. is this week’s #52 Ancestor bio.

James was born 9 April 1823 to James Hayes Marshall Sr. and Nancy Jane Patterson. James Sr. was a War of 1812 veteran which would come to have an affect on Jr.’s adult life. James Jr. was one of seven children who all lived and farmed in Little Beaver Township, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. He and his twin William were his parent’s fourth and fifth babies. As happened all too often during this time James’ mother Nancy died in 1829 the same year she gave birth to her seventh child. James was only six years old.

James Sr. remarried in 1834. With his new wife Mary Slaven they added three more children to the family. This same scenario would be replayed in James Jr.’s adult life as well.

My great-great grandfather James Jr. married Nancy Painter Steele on 22 January 1826 in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. They had eight children. The first three were born in Lawrence County, PA. The family then moved to Vinton County, Ohio where two more children were born and the last three were born in Allen County, Ohio.

James Jr. and his wife Nancy purchased property in Vinton County along with James’s sister and brother-in-law. The Marshalls stayed in Vinton County long enough to produce two children. Father James Sr. had received land for his service in the War of 1812 and gave these parcels to his five sons. Which is how James Jr. and his family ended up in Allen County, Ohio. Continue reading

A Woman of Mystery #52Ancestors

Susannah Van Meter

Susannah Van Meter

My ancestor this week is a mysterious woman to me. Her place in my family tree has question marks all over it. She’s my great great grandmother Susannah Van Meter. Every phase of Susannah’s life seems to have a twist.

Born in Allen County Ohio, 28 August 1833, Susannah was the oldest child of James D. and Mariah Shriver Van Meter. Her parents were among the new settlers to the area and along with the extended family that moved into this part of the state, Susannah had to be one of the first children born in the area.

As her parents worked hard and prospered on their farm Susannah most certainly helped care for the eight younger siblings as they were added to the family. I will never know the contributing circumstances in Susannah’s life but at 27 years old, still unmarried and living with her parents she gives birth to a son.

I can’t begin to imagine the scandal being an unwed mother provoked during this time. James and Mariah were pioneers settlers, pillars of the community, this couldn’t have been easy for anyone involved. Yet to their credit I don’t find they kicked anyone out of their lives.

In 1864 Susannah weds a local widower who has six children. James Hayes Marshall Jr was ten years Susannah’s senior and had lost his wife only nine months earlier. I’m thinking this marriage is one of convenience for both parties. James needs someone to keep house and raise his children. Susannah needs to rip the scarlet letter from her bodice. Continue reading

A Guy You Want to Add to Your Family Tree #52Ancestors

George Marshall, Mary Ellen Williams Marshall, William Lloyd Marshall

George Shriver Marshall, Mary Ellen Williams Marshall, William Lloyd Marshall

My great grandfather George Shriver Marshall seems to be the kind of guy a girl would like to add to her family tree. Let me tell you why.

 

George was born 26 August 1868 to Susannah Van Meter and James Hayes Marshall Jr. Now George had seven half brothers and sisters from his father’s first marriage. Add to that his mother Susannah brought a child into this second marriage before having three other children along with George. This produces a house teeming with kids of all ages.

 

My first thought is that George, the second youngest, would get lost in this menagerie of family but as I research that isn’t the case. Named after a maternal uncle he seemed to have a close tie with his mom and as the years progressed valued his family enormously.

 

As this era would dictate George’s education was complete after the second grade. Maybe he was needed to work on the farm or perhaps once he learned to read and write that was all the education he needed. Whatever the reason he only attended school for two years.

 

As a young man George didn’t go far to find amour. He married a girl from the farm next door. On 31 October 1891 he wed the love of his life Mary Ellen Williams. He and Mary Ellen had three children, Gladys (my grandmother), Freda and William.

 

I find it really interesting that just 8+ years later in the 1900 Federal census George’s mother, Susannah, is living with the young family. In fact she lived with them until early 1908 where a newspaper clipping notes Susannah went to live with a daughter nearby when George’s wife took sick. (I’m surprised George’s mom is living with him to begin with and not with the nearby sister.)

 

Sadly one of the darkest events in my family history took place soon after when George’s wife Mary Ellen died of consumption leaving him to raise their three children alone. That loss seemed to follow George for the rest of his life. He never remarried and once his oldest daughter Gladys married he lived with her and her family the rest of his life. Continue reading