I consider many of my maternal ancestors as nearly forgotten. The fact of the matter is, we live in a patriarchal society. That seems to infuriate some women. Despite their best efforts, however, genealogy is still predominantly about researching our [insert surname] ancestors. This means, we research the father’s of the father’s to track that family’s origins. But what about their mothers?
I have made an attempt to give equal attention to my grandmothers. And while we had stories about grandpa Daniel and grandpa Ohlrich, one thing I am most proud of is adding the stories of their wives, grandma Rosetta and grandma Margaretha.
The Woman With Three Names
When I started genealogy, Rosetta was simply known as the wife of Daniel and the mother of Kenneth. But there was more to our ancestress…
She was a daughter: Her father was James Johnson, a veteran of the Black Hawk War who was born in either Ohio or Pennsylvania. Her mother, Elizabeth Madden, descended from the Woods family of Virginia, who can be recorded in the United States to at least 1778.
A sister: She had three brothers, John Spillman, Lorenzo J., and Frank. And two sisters, Mary Ann and Theressa.
A wife: She married three times. First to James Truman, whom she married in her home county in Indiana at the age of 17. He lived three years after their marriage before his death. At the age of 22 she married a second time to George Crum, a Civil War veteran and widower. Poor George died of typhoid fever 12 years later. Through George’s involvement with the Grand Army of the Republic (the GAR was a predecessor to the American Legion), Rosetta met Daniel, who became her third and final husband. She was 36.
And a mother: To James Truman, she bore two children, James and Sada (or Sadie.) These children lived to adulthood, marriage, and parentage. She bore two children to George, as well. Willie and Maud didn’t live past the age of three. To Daniel she bore two sons, Dee Jay and Kenneth. Both men lived to adulthood and one produced our line.
Rosetta lived to the ripe old age of 76, during a time when the average life expectancy for women was about 50. She was a tough lady, and judging by surviving photos of her, may have been a character. It was a horse that got the better of her. While visiting family in Ohio or Indiana, she was bitten by that horse. The bite became infected, and her advanced age prevented her from recovering. She died at the family farm west of Fort Wayne while visiting her step-son, Clarence Rhoades.
The Kahler Sisters
Margaretha Hinkle was a fun ancestress to research. Not because she did anything significant in the records, but because Grandma remembers a family associated with her grandfather Ohlrich and could not figure out their relation. It turns out the key to solving this mystery was through the women, not the men. Margaretha’s relatives were nearly forgotten.
Unlike Rosetta, Margaretha was a first generation American. Her parents had married back in Prussia (Germany) and came to the United States in 1859 via Castle Gardens. John Hinkle and his wife, Elizabeth nee Morgal, were headed to Wisconsin, presumably to a large German community in that territory. The Hinkle’s immigrated from Prussia with Elizabeth’s siblings and widowed mother. This family remained together in the United States. Instead of Wisconsin, they ended up in Indiana, where John was drafted to serve in the Civil War, and where Margaretha and her siblings were born. Several years after the war, the family moved to Harrison County, Iowa, and there they remained. Aunts, Uncles, cousins, and all.
Back in Indiana, Elizabeth’s sister married a man named Martin Kahler. The Kahler family always lived near the Hinkle’s, Kuck’s, and Morgal’s. Ohlrich even lived with this Kahler family for a short while, My grandmother told me, that after the death of Ohlrich, there where two spinster Kahler sister’s who always sent cards for the holidays and were present at family functions. It was these ladies that grandmother couldn’t place in our family, nor was she even sure they were relations. They were Margaretha’s cousins through their mothers! Saved from being nearly forgotten.