Margaret Russell Cobe

Here I am again…switching gears.  This week, I am in search of my Russell kin.  

Margaret Russell married Richard Cobe Jr. on 10 October 1867 in Paulding County, Ohio by a Justice of the Peace.

Scant records narrow down her birth date to two probabilities; 1) 8 March 1852 or 2) 9 December 1849.  It’s hard to decide which date is more accurate.  The 8 March 1852 is a calculation based on the age and date inscribed on her headstone as provided by the family.  While the 9 December 1849 date is suspect because she died in a smaller hamlet in the county and the records show that an unrelated person reported a batch of deaths upon his travel to the county seat of Paulding, possibly days or weeks after the event took place.  Big HOWEVER, the 1852 date places her age at marriage as 15, while the 1849 date places her age as 18.  Though, either age is possible.

Headstone inscriptionDeath Record Data
5 December 18885 September 1888
Age 36y 8m 27dAge 38y 8m 27d
Calculated DOB 8 March 1852Calculated DOB 9 December 1849
Informant – probably Richard
Informant – John Noffsinger

Note on the right page of Margaret’s death record, all of the Melrose precinct deaths were reported by John Noffsinger and the dates of events ranged from March through December of that year. Each precincts were grouped together and out of date order. John Noffsinger was either a local official or a neighbor who brought news of all deaths when he visited the court house on other business – who knows?

The Justice of the Peace who married them did not record whether she was of majority age or if she required parental consent, so he’s not very helpful.

There is no evidence that she had a child in or shortly after her marriage year, making Hortense Cobe-Gleason her oldest child with the birth year of 1869.  It appears that a marriage age of 15 is probable with her waiting to have children or having had a miscarriage.  Bottom line – she was young to Richard’s 22 years.  I’m not judging, it was a remote farming community and Richard came from good Irish stock, after all.

Ultimately though, this family is good at lying about their ages.  Mary Stockford and her sister lied about their ages to be younger, and Richard Jr. may have lied about his age to be older.  His own parents may not only have lied about their ages but their original identities!  And then there is her son and black sheep, John, who disappeared after escaping from the Michigan penitentiary.  You know he lied for the rest of his life!

Margaret Cobe’s headstone from Find-A-Grave, memorial #37437850. It’s very hard to read and I had to use some digital tricks to read the inscription on it; Margaret Cobe died 5 Dec 1888 aged 36y 8m 27d. And then, maybe I am wrong (and others who deciphered December), both September and December have ‘e’s in them!

I don’t think Margaret was a liar, I like to think she was upstanding compared to her allegedly loutish husband and criminal son.  All her other children lived very upstanding lives. 

She died young on 5 September 1888 at Melrose, Paulding County, Ohio, and was buried in the Blakeslee Cemetery in Charloe, Paulding County, Ohio.

As mentioned previously, Richard was portrayed as a lazy conman by his second wife.  And maybe he was.  But my imagination lends the belief that if he was of questionable moral character, Margaret grounded him.  Could he have been a little devastated at the death of Margaret, driving him to drink, and making him a horrible 2ndhusband to Helen McKevitt?  Helen’s own statement to the Pension Board is contradictory.  On one hand, she states he was only infirmed because of his lazy and drunken lifestyle (he probably was hanging out at her brother’s saloon, sooo she probably didn’t like her brother either); yet on the other hand, she claims he worked at lumbering – which is not easy work.  He may not have been infirmed or disabled, but he doesn’t exactly sound like he’s lazy either.  And farming is not a lazy man’s occupation.

Margaret came from good hard-working stock.  In 1860, we find 7-year-old Margaret (supporting that 1852/3 birth year) in the household of Ebenezer Russell and his wife, Malinda.  She has three siblings; John W. age 9, Phebe age 5, and Josephine age 3.  This little family was living in Jackson Township, Paulding County, Ohio.  It would seem that her sons, John and Joseph, were named after her siblings, while her youngest son, Frederick, was named after his paternal Uncle Fred Cobe.  Perhaps Emmet and Hortense are names that hold clues to later Cobe ancestors.

Hopefully, my next posting will be enough to confirm more about Ebenezer or Malinda.

Margaret’s genealogical summary:

Margaret Russell was born either 8 March 1852 or 9 December 1849 to Ebenezer Russell and his wife Malinda Hand either at Jackson Township, Allen County, Ohio or Jackson Township, Paulding County, Ohio.  She died on 5 September or 5 December 1888 at Melrose, Paulding County, Ohio of consumption.

She married Richard Cobe (Jr) in Paulding County, Ohio on 10 October 1867.  Together they had five children:

  1. Hortense was born in April 1869 probably in Paulding County, Ohio. She married 1) Edwin Walter Gleason, 2) Fred A. Gleason and had children by both husbands who were cousins.  She told her children and grandchildren that her marriage to her cousin-in-law, Fred, was a matter of necessity for both of them as they were both widowed and each had young children to provide for in a tough environment. She grew to love Fred and had a long and successful marriage with him.
  2. Emmett R. was born on 13 October 1871 in Paulding County, Ohio. He married Mary Stockford on 28 November 1864 at Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio. He died from pneumonia on 30 March 1907 in Harbor Springs, Emmet County, Michigan.
  3. John W. was born on 1 December 1873 in Paulding County, Ohio. He worked a very exciting life as a canal boatman and is our token black sheep.
  4. Joseph Archles was born on 10 November 1876 in Brown Township, Paulding County, Ohio. He married Charlotte Green on 6 May 1912. According to the 1930 census, he was a veteran of the Spanish-American war (1898), and he is found in 1900 census in the Philippines (military service). He and Charlotte raised their family in Mackinac County, Michigan.
  5. Frederick was born in June 1879.

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