Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Friday, April 19, 2013

Abstract & Title Part 9 - Fleece Family Part 3

I was very surprised to find the marriage record of Mary E. & Silas Fleece in 1920. After finding the obituary for Fannie, we couldn’t find any entry in the 1920 Census for either the house or Silas. It was a random search for Fleece in 1920 that brought up Silas & Mary’s marriage certificate.
So just who was this lady who married Silas Fleece in November of 1920? There is not a simple answer. Although I’ve spent a week doing research on her, I have more questions now than I did a week ago. It appears she lead a pretty interesting life.
Mary was was the only child of Thomas & Nancy J. Carter Seller of Indiana in 1857. Thomas & Nancy were married in Hendricks County in November of 1855. Thomas’ Civil War draft registration shows he lived in Lincoln, Hendricks County, IN, however, I couldn’t find anything about his service. Mary was born May 28, 1857. We’ve not been able to find Mary & her family in the 1860 census. Mary should have been 3 years old. Since this was such a politically tense time, who knows why they do not show up.
The Sellers are again found in Indianapolis, Ward 2, Marion County, IN in the 1870 census. Surprisingly, Thomas is listed as keeping house and Nancy is listed as at school. And Mary, at 13, is listed as having the occupation of stone cutter. It almost makes you think of a modern family doesn’t it? Or does this make you wonder whether the census taker had a good sense of humor or was smoking/drinking something? Well, the census may actually have just gotten off line which would make Thomas a Physician, Nancy keeping house & Mary at school. Interesting and it sounds better this way.
Fast forward to the 1880 Census. I found Thomas & Nancy in Spring Creek, Saline County, Kansas. And next door are Benson, Mary & Esther Van Arsdale. Benson & Mary have been married for 1 year and Esther is 1 year old. Benson is about 28 and a druggist from IN.
Looking back to 1870, Joseph B. (Benson) VanArsdale, born about 1851 in Indiana, is the last child of Jacob & Elizabeth VanArsdale . They are also from Indiana.

Since I haven’t found evidence of a marriage in KS or IN, who knows whether they met before or after the move to Kansas. Here’s the documentaton of Jacobs’ burial information:  Jacob VanArsdale, was born on Feb. 3, 1795 & died on Jan. 15, 1877. He is burried in the Old Thorntown Cemetery in Boon County, IN per FindAGrave.
Again, the lack of the 1890 Census adds a layer of mystery about what happens in the next 20 years. By 1900, Mary is now married to Ernest Spicer and living in Indianapolis at 724 N. East Street. Included in the household are Ester (VanArsdale) Spicer, 23 and also Thomas & Nancy Spicer. The marriage year is 1885 so they’ve been married 13 years. Ernest works in Health Insurance. And Mary is listed as having 2 children/1 living. So is Ester Mary’s stepdaughter (which is what I originally thought) or her natural child? And did Mary’s original marriage ended in death, desertion or divorce? So far, I haven’t found any answers to this.
So what did happen to VanArsdale? This is a very difficult question to answer at the moment. In 1900, Mary is married to Spicer and it appears Joseph B ( Same as Benton?) is living in Denver with a new wife, Florence E. They were married in 1888 and had 1 daughter. Around 1910, Joseph & Florence, with daughter, Clara are living in St. Louis. Is this the same Joseph B Van Arsdel? I have no idea. A lot of additional research will need to be competed to see but it appears that this may be someone entirely different than the Benson VanArsdale who married Mary.
 And in 1909, Mary’s father passed away. Here’s his grave site and some information.

The Directory of Deceased Physicians on shows his date of death as Dec 19, 1909. This date corresponds with cemetery burial date, so I am leaving the date as 1909 even though the grave marker shows 1910.

Dr. Thomas P. Seller from The Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association, Vol. 3

19 Dec 1909 , Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Thomas P. Seller died December 19, at his home, 2926 North Illinois Street, Indianapolis, after being an invalid for thirteen years, at the age of 84 years. He was a graduate of Rush Medical College, Chicago. Early in his career lie practiced medicine in Hendricks County, but in the eighties he sold his practice to Dr. Joseph Eastman and went to Kansas, but later returned to Indiana and located in Indianapolis, and was associated with many of the older physicians, among them Drs. Marsee, Eastman, Harvey, Comingor and Oliver, all of whom are now dead. Dr. Seller was a member of the Presbyterian Church.

In 1910, Nancy J Seller is the head of household with Mary Spicer, daughter, 52. In this census, Mary is designated as having no children. So again, is Esther her daughter or step-daughter? 
Mary is found in the 1920 census with her mother Nancy, and her Aunt, Lurena C. Back.

The 1930 Census shows that Mary is once again living with her mother, Nancy Seller, and her daughter/step-daughter, Ester VanArsdale Wirgand, 50. All three women are listed as widows.
And Mary was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in 1931 as Mary Esther Fleece, Birth unknow.
I have not been able to find burial or obituary information for Silas but he must of died sometime between 1920 & 1930. Maybe someday when I'm retired, I'll be able to do some additional investigations. 
Next time, I'll look at Silas' children before we dive into Silas' & Fannies' ancestors. 

No comments:

Post a Comment