Monday, July 28, 2014

George Christian Shawver - 2nd Family

So, I’ve told the story of the first family in George Christian Shawver – 1st Family and the next step is to tell the story of the second family.   So the story continues in 1891.  As I have already given a background to both George Christian Shawver and Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger, it is the sister, Rebecca Jane “Frankie” Pitsenbarger who is the primary focus of the second family. 

Rebecca Jane was the youngest daughter of William Pitsenbarger and Mary “Polly” Amick.  She was born on 28 Jan 1870 near the Kanawha River near Shawverville, WV.  According to some papers that “Frankie’s” oldest son had, she was married to a Moffat.  I’ve never found any trace of this marriage in records.  So, she was probably about 18 years old when her sister Sarah Emaline and her husband moved to Iowa and took her along as help.  I don’t imagine that there was a lot for in her West Virginia or for Chris Shawver and his wife.  There wasn’t much in the way of good land to buy, not many options for the women in terms of marriage to someone who wasn’t related to them.  (This didn’t stop William Pitsenbarger and Mary “Polly” Amick as they were actually first cousins.  Mary Amick’s father, Jacob was the older brother William Pitsenbarger’s mother Elizabeth Amick.)  So, the story continues in Iowa in 1891.

I don’t know when Chris left Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger with her sister, Frankie,  but I suspect that it was sometime in the spring.  Judging by the births of both Sarah’s fifth child and Frankie’s first child, they would have become pregnant sometime in early January, and I would assume that the both pregnancies were known by early spring.  Being in the same household, I imagine that Chris and Frankie probably left during that spring in 1891 for Tacoma, WA area.  Tacoma was a booming down in the 1890’s and it was somewhere that no one would know them or question them about their marital status.   So, on 13 Oct 1891, Chris and Frankie’s oldest daughter, Jessie Mabel Shawver was born in Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA.  Her half-brother Samuel Tony Shawver was born on 12 Oct 1891 in West Virginia – so both sisters were probably in labor at about the same time on either side of the country.

It is unknown when Chris and Frankie left Tacoma but they are next found in Malvern, Mills Co., IA on 21 Jan 1894 when their oldest son, George William Shawver was born.  In 1897, a second daughter, Florence Christine Shawver (my great grandmother) is born in Decatur, Burt Co., NE.  My assumption is at that point that Chris Shawver has bought his farm and is living on the Shawver homeplace somewhere between the towns of Decatur and Lyons Nebraska.  A second son, Dewey Dountain Shawver is born on 25 May 1899 and daughter Jeanette Ann Shawver is born on 28 Jan 1901 on her mother’s 31st birthday.  A fourth daughter, Alice Faye Shawver, was born on 31 Oct 1902…but she died a few months later on 19 March 1903.  So Chris and Frankie’s family was complete – but their life together was to be short lived.
Frankie's gravestone - George Christian Shawver's name is on the other side.  Buried at Hillcrest Cemtery, Decatur, NE

According to what I've been told by my relatives, Frankie died on 10 May 1904 of quick consumption  I can’t confirm the death cause because there are no death records available  However, she must have become sick fairly severely because she was taken to Omaha, NE where she died in the hospital there.   There was a postcard in my great grandmother's album of the hospital noting that "This is where our mother died in 1904!" Frankie left behind 5 children with the oldest only being 13.
Photo of Chris & Frankie's Children - Probably taken about 1905
Left to right: Chris holding Nettie, George, Florence with Jessie and Dewey in the front

Here is a list of the children of George Christian Shawver and Rebecca Jane "Frankie" Pitsenbarger:

  • Jessie Mabel Shawver b. 13 Oct 1891 Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA d. 01 July 1897 Lyons, Burt Co., NE  m. 7 Oct 1909 Hugh Gallup- 4 children m.. John Francis Bacon 14 Jun 1919 - 5 children
  • George William Shawver b. 21 Jan 1894 Malvern, Mills Co., IA d. 23 Jan 1983 Billings, Yellowstone Co., MT m. 10 Feb 1915 Clara Adele "Midge" Bacon - 8 children
  • Florence Christine Shawver b. 14 Jun 1897 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 8 Mar 1991 Canby, Clackamas Co., OR m. 4 Sep 1917 Ora Silas Gage (my great grandparents) - 10 children
  • Dewey Dountain Shawver b. 25 May 1899 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 18 Oct 1995 Moscow, Latah Co., ID m. 28 Sep 1919 Alice Elizabeth Davidson  - 3 children
  • Jeanette Ann "Nettie"  Shawver b. 28 Jan 1901 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 31 Aug 1987 Roseburg, Douglas Co., OR m. 10 Dec 1917 Clarence Edward Davidson - 13 children
  • Alice Faye Shawver b. 31 Oct 1902 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 19 Mar 1903 Decatur, Burt Co., NE