Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hannah Augusta Pettingill Billings Rumsey Holley

I have been searching for the death date of my 2x great uncle, Anson Numon Holley.  His tombstone in Giddingsville Cemetery in Jefferson County, New York has his birth date but no death date.  I am not even certain he lies beneath his tombstone.  Let me start at the beginning...

Anson was born July 10, 1841 to Numon Holley and Elizabeth Fall Holley (her photo is at the bottom of my blog page.) Anson's name is recorded in the "Schedule I: Consolidated List of all persons of Class I subject to do military duty in the twentieth Congressional District, consisting of the counties of Jefferson, Lewis and Herkimer State of New York, enumerated in the month of June 1863."  I have not found any record that he actually fought in the Civil War.  When the 1870 census enumerator came around, Anson was a patient at the New York State Hospital in Utica, Oneida County, New York.  I don't know how long he was a patient.  By the 1880 census he is back home with his widowed mother and his sister, Lucinda Holley.  On December 29, 1882 he married Hannah (Anna) A Rumsey.  I searched as well as newspaper images for Anson Holley hoping to find more information on him.  I found a legal notice in The Watertown Herald; Saturday, December 7, 1901 edition. A surrogate had been appointed for Anson as his wife was requesting an annulment of their marriage, stating that she didn't know he was a lunatic at the time of their marriage.  Interestingly, they have been married 19 years.  The article also stated he had been committed to the St Lawrence State Hospital on February 2, 1893.  In my search I found another article from The Watertown Herald; Saturday, June 24, 1911 edition.  It was a legal notice to settle the estate of Anson's sister, Glorianna Chamberlain.  It reads, in part, "The People of the State of New York, To Alice F. Swain, Harry Freeman, Sarah Graves, Anson N Holley, Myron E Gray, Committee of the property of Anson N Holley, an incompetent person.  Francis M Muzzy, Byron J Muzzy and all persons interested in the estate of Glorianna Chamberlain late of the town of Ellisburg in the County of Jefferson, deceased, as creditor, legatees, next of kin or other send Greeting:"

I then started looking for Anson in the census records.  To date, I have found Anson in all Federal Census to 1920 and New York State Census to 1925.  He was always a resident of St Lawrence State Hospital.  In order to determine if he was buried on the state hospital grounds, I need to find his death certificate and then request in writing his marker number.  That is all I am allowed by HIPPA.

So, I decided to learn more about Anna.  I started out with just her name; Anna A Rumsey.  I went back to the newspaper sites and found a gold mine in the Fulton History collection.  I searched for Anson Holley.    The first article is from the Jefferson County Journal, Adams, New York dated January 18, 1887.  "Giddingsville." Anson and his wife sent out a hundred invitations to their fifth wedding anniversary.  They had quite a party with dancing to The Henderson Orchestra into the wee hours of the morning. They received a lot of nice gifts and cash!
The next article I found in the Jefferson County Journal, in 1890, "Harry Gill has taken Anson Holley's farm in Giddingsville.  He takes possession the first of March.  Will rent his place here."  This is three years before his is committed to SLSH in Ogdensburg. That is the last I find on Anson himself.

Searching further, I find that Anna A Rumsey was Hannah A Pettingill. Her death notice under "Mrs. Anson Holley." States she was born 26 July 1838  and died 25 April 1912.  Her parents were Eastman and Caroline Pettingill. She had one brother, M A Pettingill of Adams, NY, and two sisters; Miza S Nutting (Adams, NY)  and Mrs. H Holmes of Manchester, Iowa.  The next article I come across, is about her daughter Nettie Bushnell.  Nettie was a widow and in ill health and was staying with her mother.  The articles are not chronological due to the fact I searched  all the newspapers instead of selecting one newspaper. The next article is the death notice for Nettie it states she was born in 1858.  She died at her mother's home on December 22, 1901.  The notice goes on to state that Nettie's husband had died in 1892. It doesn't mention his name.  It states she was the only child of James and Anna Pettingill Billings and suffered from paralysis for many years.  So now, at least I have the name of Anna's first husband. That was the end of what I could find in the newspaper collections.

I then decided to track Anna/Hannah in the census starting back in 1850.  I find Hannah living with her parents in Henderson, Jefferson County, New York and  the census states they were all born in Canada.  On to 1860, I expect her to be living with James Billings but I am wrong,  She and her daughter, enumerated as C. A. Billings, are living with Hannah's parents.  James has already died. They are living in Rodman, Jefferson County, New York.  I know she married a Rumsey at some point after this so I search for Rumsey.  In 1870, I found Alanson Pettingill, hotel keeper as the head of household.  With him are Ishman Rumsey, hotel keeper, Hannah Rumsey and Annette Billings. Now, I know why she is called Nettie.  I would guess she was named after her grandmother, Caroline.  In 1880, Anna Rumsey is living with her daughter and son-in-law, Fred Bushnell.  I haven't found Nettie and Anna in 1900 yet.  I did find Anna in 1905 and 1910, she is using the name Rumsey not Holley.  So, at least, the mystery of Anna/Hannah is solve for the most part.  I need to find the 1900 census so I can determine if Anna and Anson Holley had any children.  None were mentioned in her death notice, so I feel comfortable accepting the fact that there were none surviving her.  She could have had other children since Nettie was not mentioned in her death notice.

This brings me back to the beginning of this post.  By 1925, Anson had no living siblings.  My 2x great grandmother died in Oklahoma in 1925. I believe his tombstone was set before he died.  I can think of no other explanation for the date of death to be missing.  So, is he really under here?
 Note:  this image was not sideways on my computer!

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