Tuesday, October 23, 2012

down the rabbit hole ...

... or who is Alice?

Alice F. Deshler was born the 22nd of September 1852 in Buffalo, Erie County, New York. In the 1860 census of Buffalo and the 1870 census of Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, she is listed in what would be an apparent daughter position in the household of John Green Deshler and his wife Louisa Falconer (Faulkner), immediately after John and Louisa and before any others in the household including, in 1870, John’s two younger sisters, Louisa and Flora.

Alice uses the Deshler surname throughout her life including her marriage on the 5th of May 1871 to Joshua M Bennett and she is named as Alice Deshler on her daughter Sarah’s 1942 death certificate which gives her birthplace as Buffalo, New York.

At her own death on 7 January 1925, the informant, her daughter May, gives her mother’s father as John G Deshler with her mother listed as unknown. The FindAGrave site lists her as Alice F Desher [sic] Bennett but I do not know if that is on the stone or the information is from somewhere else.

So far everything is indicating, but NOT specifically stating, that Alice is the daughter of John Green Deshler and Louisa Falconer …

BUT … the book, The Genealogical Record of the Schwenfelder Families published in 1923, lists John Green Deshler on page 1521 and not only states that there was no issue for John but goes on to say “Although Mr. Deshler was very fond of children, he had none of his own.”

Not only that but John Green Deshler died 8 Jan 1878, followed within a few weeks by his wife Louise whom he had married 5 May 1842. There is no mention in their obituaries of any children. Mr. Deshler left no will having destroyed the current one “just a few days” before his sudden and unexpected death. His entire estate goes to his wife by law and there is considerable argument during the next decade or so over her subsequent will but in none of the coverage of the will and the arguments have I found any mention of Alice F Deshler Bennett.

Now, in 1880, Alice, her husband Joshua Bennett, whom she married in 1871, and their daughters May and Alice are living in Columbus so a distant move is not the reason for silence about her in the news reports and it appears that the Bennetts remained in the area as they are buried in Green Lawn Cemetery as are the other Deshlers and Alice’s death certificate gives her place of death as Worthington, a suburb just to the north of Columbus.

If she had been an actual adopted child one would expect a mention in the will or at least in the obituaries. She is perhaps a child of some relative of John or Louisa and I suspect perhaps her middle name is Falconer but these are just guesses … So, who was Alice?