Mary Stockford

Eleanore Cobe’s mother was Mary Stockford.  As with Rosetta Johnson, we knew her by several surnames, Pohlman, Stockford, and of course Cobe.  We also knew she had a sister, Hattie, who lived with them in Ohio and also followed Emmett Cobe to Harbor Springs, Michigan.  Much of what we knew about Mary and Hattie was through Eleanore’s brother, Richard.  My Uncle knew Richard and tells me all about hearing Richard’s childhood recollections.  Now, Richard was very young when his mother died, but he remembered Hattie Stockford very well.  He referred to her as “mean ole Aunt Hat”.  Another thing we learned through Richard is there was some sort of romantic rivalry between Mary and Hattie, and we always thought Hattie had an interest in Emmett Cobe, she did follow him to Harbor Springs after the death of her sister, after all.  The Gleason’s (Emmett’s sister was Hortense Cobe Gleason) has passed an independently similar story within their family, but they always believe the man was Mary’s first husband.

Mary’s obituary was found in Paulding County, Ohio but yielded nothing helpful, it was merely a death notice.  The family always believed she died of dropsy, which tells us little since dropsy is the antiquated word for edema.  I am still looking for her record of death – but alas, I need to travel to Paulding County because those records are not completely digitized (or may be missing).

Emmitt R. Cabe (sic) and Mary’s marriage license was found indexed for Napoleon, Ohio at the Henry County genealogy website, but her surname is listed as Pohlman.  A little analytical work and we notice that in the 1900 census her son, Charlie, is also a Pohlman.  So I start to look at Stockfords in Henry County (since that is where she was living when she married Emmett).  I find Joseph Stockford’s probate records which names Mary Pohlman and Hattie Stockford as daughters.  And surprise!  Mary’s mother’s name was Eleanor Jane.

At this point records are easy to locate on Joseph Stockford’s family as well as Mary’s earlier marriage to Charles Pohlman, whose family were big in the cattle and butcher business (Emmett and Mary’s vocations in the 1900 census was Butchers.)

What I know about Mary:

Mary Stockford was born about 1858 in Ohio (most likely Ridgeville Twp, Henry County).  She was the third child (out of six) of Joseph Stockford and Eleanor Jane Newell (her surname is my guess, I’ll tell more about that later).

Mary married (1) Charles Pohlman between 1876 and 1880 in Henry County, Ohio (likely Napoleon).  They had at least three children: Lewis, Nellie, and Charles (Charlie was still a minor and living with Mary and Emmett in 1900).  This marriage ended in divorce on September 11, 1893. Mary filed for divorce, citing cruelty.  Her youngest sister, Hattie, married Charles Pohlman soon after the divorce and may have remained married to him until his death (sometime before 1900).  

This supports the Gleason’s version of the story. However, the rivalry may have continued with Emmett. Hattie moved in with Mary and Emmett shortly after Charles’ death and then stayed with Emmett after Mary’s death, moving to Harbor Springs.  Eleanore Cobe wrote in her autobiography that Aunt Hattie moved in with them to help take care of their mother, Mary, who had become ill.

Mary married (2) Emmett Cobe on November 28, 1894 in Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio.  They moved to Melrose or Payne Village in Paulding County, Ohio and had three children: Eleanore Margurite, Richard, and Joseph.  Joseph may have died around the same time as Mary because he has  disappeared from the Cobe family and Eleanore nor Richard ever mentioned him.

Mary died on September 15, 1902 in Henry Twp., Paulding County, Ohio.  Her place of burial is unknown, but is likely somewhere near Melrose, Paulding County, Ohio.

I hypothesize that Mary may have been pregnant with baby Joseph and was having a difficult pregnancy.   The events of his birth, Hattie’s moving in, and Mary’s illness and subsequent death all happen in close proximity to each other.  Her pregnant condition would have seemed to young Eleanore and Richard that she swelled up – leading them to think she died of Dropsy.

A little interesting note about Mary and Hattie.  We see this quite a bit in genealogy, especially with women.  By the 1900 census both women were lying about their ages; Mary gave an age placing her year of birth as 1867 – quite a large difference from 1858 (we know for sure she was born before 1860 because she was enumerated on the 1860 census with her parents.)  Since we do not know who the informant was on the census we can’t be sure who did the lying, if they lied just to the census taker, or to Emmett also.  Emmett was born in 1871, making Mary about 12 years older than Emmett!!  Hattie went from 1865 to 1870.

I am sad for Mary and Hattie in a way, they seemed to be estranged from their siblings after the death of their parents.  Mary and Hattie died before two of their brothers, but they didn’t tell the Cobe’s much about their family.  Hortense Cobe Gleason was the informant on Hattie’s death certificate and she had to report “Unk” for Hattie’s parents, so it is possible their brothers were not informed of their deaths.