Friday, August 17, 2018

Martha Pennington Gilley Family

A census record is snapshot in a moment in time. My experience has taught me that sometimes we pay too much attention a detail and sometimes not enough. I was doing a bit of "wandering" in my database and took a closer look at Martha Pennington. She was the youngest daughter of Levi Pennington and Elizabeth Henson. Martha was born on 29 Mar 1843 in Hemlock, Ashe Co., NC and died on 21 Dec 1926 in Eldreth, Ashe Co., NC. She married a widower, Marshall Gilley on 21 Mar 1872. These are the basic dates of her life...but if you look a little closer, there is some interesting things to consider.

Martha is the youngest of the 13 children of Levi Pennington and Elizabeth Henson. Everything looks pretty normal in the 1860 census. Martha is the only child still in the household with her parents and his recorded as a 18 year old. It is the the 1870 census where questions arise. Martha is recorded with her parents as his her brother, Daniel Pennington (Levi Daniel Pennington). However, there are two children also recorded - William Pennington as a 6 year old and Mary as 4 year old. You find in the the same two children in the 1880 census recorded with Marshall Gilley with the surname of Gilley.

I would love to say that I knew this the whole time. I think I heard or knew about it when I first started looking more seriously at the census records. However, I didn't really go back and look at it more closely. Like most people, I don't really think about women of that area having children outside of marriage that seriously. Marshall married a Lucy Denny on 9 Oct 1866. I haven't been able to locate Marshall in the 1870 census and my supposition is that Lucy likely died sometime before 1872, as that is when Marshall and Martha Pennington get married.

Marshall was born Apr 1835 to Francis Gilley and Dorcas Jones and died sometime between 1910 and 1920. Marshall was of an age to fight in the Civil War and like most in his area, he fought for the Confederacy. Marshall enlisted in Company 2nd B, North Carolina 32nd Infantry Regiment on 13 Mar 1864 as a Private. He also turns up on the list as a prisoner of war in Elmira prison in NY. So, if I look closely at the dates, Marshall likely left Martha Pennington pregnant before he went off to war (William) and perhaps when he arrived home (Mary or Mollie). So we are left to consider if Marshall is the father of Martha's children. They are listed as his children in the 1880 census. Since, we don't have access to the 1890 census, we are left with more questions than answers. According to census records, Marshall and Martha had the following children:

  • William Pennington/Gilley b. 1864 d. aft 1920 
  • Mary/Mollie Pennington/Gilley b. 1867 d ? 
  • Wilson Gilley 1 Jun 1873 d. 28 Dec 1936 m. Ollie Jane Osborne m. Nora Amanda Shaw 
  • Amanda Elizabeth Gilley b. 4 Aug 1876 d. 6 Jan 1968 m. Winfield Kelly Harris 
  • Olive Gilley b. 1876 d. 1879 (of a fall according to mortality schedule) 
  • Adah Gilley b. 1883 d. ? 

Here is why I am still a bit uncertain as to the names. The oldest son, William stays with the name of Pennington and is recorded as getting married to Mary Caroline Derham 27 Aug 1884. In the 1900 census, Mary is recorded with her maiden name and several children and William is recorded with his mother. Mary is recorded in the 1910 census and divorced and widowed in the 1920 census. William is listed as married in 1910 and widowed in 1920. Only one of the children lists William Pennington as her father in the records. It is also interesting to note that one of those children died in 1916 of tuberculosis. The father's name is listed as unknown and he is listed as white in the death record but "colored" or black on the burial record. Makes me wonder if there was something else going on. William stayed in Ashe Co., NC and is the informant on his mother's death record. I don't find him in the 1930 census, so I assume that he probably passed away.

It seems that every few years you can learn a little more with the additional records that seem to be added. I suppose the only way we will ever know if William and Mary are Marshall's children is if it shows up in DNA records. It would be lovely if you could answer all the questions instead of finding more mysteries. I suppose that is why I enjoy genealogy so much, there is always more to the story and you are unlikely to ever discover the full story.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My Great Great Grandparents - Orlando Gage & Edith Gallup

My great grandfather was a remarkable person.  The man I knew had a bit of a gruff exterior, but put in a baby in his lap and he melted.  I know him to have been an incredibly hard worker who supported his family during some of the darkest times of the last century.  I knew him to be a man of courage, values and strength. It makes me think about the parents who gave him the foundation to be the man he was.

Ora Silas Gage was born 5 Apr 1892 in Esperance, Schenectady Co., NY.  He was the second child of Orlando Gage and Edith Phoebe Gallup.  I say he was the second child because his older brother, Allen died rather tragically at 22 months old.  He had been in one of those toddler contraptions with wheels.  Allen had walked under a table and stood up and hit a nail that was under the table and died.  Needless to say, my great grandpa was very watchful of any babies walking under tables.

Orlando abt 1875
Charity abt 1875

Orlando worked as a carpenter and as a farmer.  He was born 2 Apr 1850 in Knox, Albany Co., NY to Gilbert and Phoebe Allen Gage.  Orlando was the oldest of 5 children. His mother was 20 years old and his father was 26 years of age.  I have thought that 1850 would have been a curious time to be born in this country.  Orlando wouldn't have been old enough to fight in the Civil War but was old enough to understand what was going on.  I suppose if had been in different circumstances, he probably could have slipped in when he was 14 years old.  Gilbert was not a Civil War veteran either.  I would suspect that he might have been more valuable as a farmer.  Orlando married for the first time to Charity Ellen Hotaling on 12 Jan 1875 at the United Methodist Church in Delmar, NY.  Charity was the 19 year old daughter of Michael Hotaling and Ellen Robertson. Orlando and Charity had the following children:
  • Burton Latta Gage b. 8 Oct 1876 d. 27 Sept 1949 m. Bessie Margaret Young
  • Edwin Welsh Gage b. 7 Jun 1879 d. 3 May 1959 m. Flora Mae Sidney
  • Leroy James Gage b. 22 Dec 1880 d. 14 Oct 1910 m. Effie M. Butts
  • Nellie Mable Gage b. 10 Sept 1885 d. 11 Sept 1972 m. Harry John Lewis
Charity died a few weeks after Nellie's birth on 9 Oct 1885.  I don't know if she died of the after effects of childbirth or if her death was as a result of something else.  Orlando was left with 4 children all under the age of 10.  I believe that Nellie might have been left with her grandmother, Phebe Allen Gage.  It is difficult to know for sure.  She is recorded in the 1900 census with Phebe and her maternal grandparents passed away in 1891 & 1892, so they may not have been in the best of health.  On 05 May 1886, Orlando married 26 year old spinster teacher, Edith Phoebe Gallup.

Edith Gallup - abt 1880?
Edith Phoebe Gallup was born 28 Jan 1860 in Duanesburg, Schenectady Co., NY to Silas Gallup and Phoebe Ann Montanye. Edith was the eldest of 12 children and was born just 11 months after her parents eloped.  Silas was the local schoolteacher and Phoebe was his 15 year old student.  Supposedly a couple rang a bell to announce a marriage, since no one paid attention, they kept it secret until the end of the term.  From what I have been able to gather, Edith boarded with some of her student's families and was a schoolteacher.  She had likely been teaching close to 10 years when she married Orlando.  I have to wonder if she hadn't been a teacher to one or two of Orlando's children. I think that we have a different view of marriage and parenting today that doesn't really fit that period of time.  It must have been difficult for a widower to have four children, continue to take care of the farm work and work as a carpenter.  So, when Orlando married Edith on 5 May 1886, there might have been more of what we might call a marriage of convenience.  I know that 26 is considered to be somewhat older for a woman to marry for the first time, and Orlando certainly needed a mother figure for his rambunctious three boys. Edith probably also knew she would be quite alone as her family was planning on moving to Nebraska and she had no intention of going with them.  In fact, Edith's family left New York for Nebraska and arrived on Thanksgiving day in 1887.

Here are the children that Orlando and Edith had:

Allen G. Gage b. 10 Dec 1888 d. 12 Oct 1890
Ora Silas Gage b. 5 Apr 1892 d. 30 Dec 1990 m. Florence Christine Shawver
Phebe Margaret Gage b. 23 Oct 1894 d. 28 July 1976 m. August Peterson
Peter Z Gage b. 23 Oct 1894 d. 21 Nov 1983 m. Elizabeth Pearl Mathieson
Alice Irene Gage b. 29 Mar 1896 d. 11 Sep 1976 m. Howard E Frey

Gage Family - abt 1896
I know there was the struggle of losing their oldest child.  I also know that with the twins (Pete & Phebe) it was quite a struggle for a while.  Pete was very small, only about 4 pounds.  They kept him in a dresser drawer surrounded by clothes to keep him work.  Thankfully he survived, although his growth must have been curtailed somewhat as he was quite short.  Tall enough to be a soldier in World War I, though!   Sometime around 1907, Edith had a severe fall.  She was unable to do much more than sit in a chair.  Here is a letter that she wrote to her mother in October 1907:

Transcription of a letter written by Edith Gallup Gage to her mother, Phebe Montanye Gallup.    October 23, 1907    Dear Mother:    My twins are 13 years old today and a great deal of help to me.  Monday night after school the girls washed a large washing besides getting supper. (I don't pretend to do anything only what I can do sitting down.)  Tuesday morning they rinsed and starch the clothes done, did the morning work even to making beds and mopping and got things ready for dinner.  They baked (2 apple pies) and got to school in time they were up at half past four.  Orlando killed 5 pigs yesterday, 4 for market.  They only dressed 102 lbs. a price.  We kept one, sold them at Esperance and got 9 cents a lbs. They were late pigs, the last of April and only skim milk, so it was not so bad.  He thrashed in the afternoon, earning $5 and moved his machine today.  He is digging potatoes for us.  He won't have any nuts to send to send you as the squirrels and friends of ours are taking them when the children are gone.  Orlando is away thrashing and I can't stop them.  I can only teeter backward and forward when I try to walk so I don't try much any more, the sides, back, and belly burns like fire when I try although the flesh feels ice cold, Orlando says, when you touch it.  I do not feel heat nor cold just comfortable when I lay still that is something to be thankful and I do not worry.  It will be and is all for the best.  I hope you are better. Here is a slip of a pretty red geranium.  It is near time for the mail so I must quit with love to all.    Edith

On 08 Jan 1908, Edith died of lobar pneumonia after suffering what her death certificate called chronic myelitis (duration of 7 months).  She was 47 years old.  I have been told that Orlando took care of his wife, arranged her funeral and died himself a few days later on 16 Jan 1908 at the age of 57.  Orlando also died of lobar pneumonia.  Here is a transcription of an obit that his pastor, Rev N McLeod wrote:

After brief illness of pneumonia and within a week after the death of his wife from pneumonia, elder Orlando Gage passed to his rewards Jan 19, 1908.  His death caused deep sorrow in the community and especially in the church and ??? where he was a member and regular attendant.
He was born in Knox, NY Apr 2, 1850.  In early life he learned and followed the trade of carpenter.  He lived for some time in Albany and was an attendant at the West End Presbyterian Church.
He married Miss Charity Ellen Hotaling of Clarkesville, NY, from where four children were born, viz, Burton L, Edwin W, Leroy J, and Nellie Mabel, now Mr. Harry Lewis.
Mrs. Gage died Oct 9, 1885 while residing in Knox.
Soon after, Mr. Gage married Miss Edith Gallup of Duanesburg, NY from whom were born five children viz Allen, who died when 22 months old, Ora Silas, Peter Z and Phoebe Margaret, twins, and Alice Irene.  Mr. Gage (with his wife) united with the Church at Esperance, Mary 26, 1891 and was ordained an Elder May 8, 1898, which office he filled till his death.  He was a brother beloved in the Church and the community.

The following Resolution was enacted by the session of the Presbyterian church, Esperance Apr 4, 1908.
Whereas, since last we met, death has claimed our beloved co-worker, Elder Orlando Gage Jan 16, 1908, after a brief illness pneumonia.
That, we sorrowfully record our loss and hereby express our appreciation of his character and efficient service since uniting with this church.
That We Express to the family, bereft of both father and mothers within one week, our sympathy and prayers that the God of their parents may be their God, and that they may find comfort in his sustaining grace. 
May a copy be sent to the committee and the clergy in Albany Presbyterian.
Signed Rev N McLeod

I really never heard my great grandfather talk about the time after his parents died.  I don't know who they stayed with - but I do know that perhaps it was within days or even weeks my 15 year old great grandfather escorted his siblings to their maternal grandmother in Nebraska.  After leaving them there, he struck off on his own.  However, that is a different story!