I recently became the very pleased recipient of an orphaned photograph. I received the newest Huron County Kinologist in the mail a week or two ago, and actually sat down to read it (rather than my more usual habit of putting it in a pile to be read later). I enjoyed reading the list included of what families the members are searching. And I noticed a couple of lines at the bottom of one page reporting the receipt of an orphaned photograph from a woman in Kansas. She had sent it to the Huron County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society because it included the name Mrs. M.A. Vaughn, Wakeman Ohio, and “Mother’s cousin” written on it. She hoped to find it a home.
Excited, I immediately contacted the Chapter and said I wanted it if there were no more direct relatives asking for it. Mary A. Vaughn was the second, late-in-life, wife of my great great grandfather Charles Minor of Wakeman, Ohio. I’m not sure whether I was the first to ask, or the only one, but I ended up with it.
I am thrilled to see her for the first time. I only have one picture of my great great grandfather and none of his first wife, my great great grandmother Adelia Mary Hall. Since Mary A. Vaughn is not a direct relative or even a collateral I am trying mightily not to follow that path down the rabbit hole (with only moderate success). In the hope that someone actually related to her might find this interesting, here is what I know about her.
She was born Mary A. Beardsley perhaps on 22 Sep 1838 (from her death certificate) in Twinsburg, Ohio. I say perhaps because the marriage license she and Joshua R. Vaughn obtained in December 1853 alleged that she was at least 18 years old, which she wouldn’t have been in 1853 if she had been born in 1838, At only 15 years old, she should have required the consent of her father to marry, which was not reported. On the other hand, 1838 is consistent with the age she reported as late as 1906 when she and Charles Minor married and on all the various federal censuses I have found her on.
I am finding confusing evidence about her parents. On the first marriage record there is no mention of her parents. On the second, to Charles Minor, she reported her parents as John Birdsley and Caroline Goodin (being her mother’s maiden name). On Mary’s death certificate her parents were reported (by I believe a daughter of Mary’s) to have been Joseph Spencer (?maybe, this is hard to decipher) and Caroline Goodin. I found a marriage record in Summit County, Ohio for a Caroline Goodwin and David Beardsley in 1840 (2 years after the reported date of birth for Mary. On the 1850 census I found Caroline Goodwin and Mary A. Beardsley living in Cuyahoga County, Ohio – unfortunately this census did not record relationships or marital status. And, finally, on the 1860 and 1870 censuses there is a Daniel and Peggy Ann Goodin living in the same place or next door to Joshua and Mary Vaughn and their young family, and in 1880 there is a Daniel Goodin in their household listed as Father-in-Law. Oh my.
Joshua R. Vaughn was certainly older than Mary, likely by at least 3 years and more likely by 7-8 years based on the federal censuses I have found them together on. They seem to have lived all their married lives in Wakeman, Ohio, also based on the federal censuses, and often lived near other families who are direct relatives of mine. Joshua served in the Civil War for almost 5 months in Company E of the 166 Ohio Infantry as a private. He applied for a pension based on being an invalid, in 1891, and a month after his death in 1901, Mary applied as his widow. In January 1906 she married my great great grandfather Charles Minor and they lived in Wakeman together until he died in November 1913. Soon thereafter she sold the house and moved to Cleveland to live with one of her daughters. Mary Beardsley Vaughn Minor died in Cleveland in June 1926 and was buried with her first husband in the Wakeman Cemetery.
So as you can see, I haven’t managed to stay out of the rabbit hole but now I am done (she told herself sternly). And the photo which was orphaned is welcome to find a home with me, however if there is anyone who is directly related who would like it I am willing to pass it along.