MARY SULLIVAN AND WESLEY SQUIBB

1865-1929

1848-1915

(by Matt Hoppe, my first literary contribution to this scrapbook)

 

The Search

Mollie Sullivan, Grandpa (Virgil) Moneysmith's maternal grandmother, has long been a bit of a mystery. Cousin Joy found her obituary around 1992, which gave us a lot of information about her. Here is a transcription of it.


    Mrs. Mary Squibbs, age 64, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Walter Klaer, 307 West Seventh street, at 6:15 oíclock Tuesday evening after an illness of four years with diabetes. Mrs. Squibbs was born at St. Thomas, Canada, May 25, 1865. She became the wife of Wesley Squibbs, Dec. 7, 1881 at Grand Rapids, Mich. 
    Surviving are one son, H. W. Squibbs of this city and one daughter Mrs. Walter Klaer, also of this city, one brother, William Sullivan, of Salt Lake city, and four sisters, Mrs. E. F. Doyle and Mrs. Fred Ellison, both of Milwaukee, Wis., Mrs. E. H. Doran, of Clyde, Kan., and Miss Elizabeth Sullivan of South Bend.
    Funeral rites will be conducted Friday afternoon at 2 oíclock in the residence, 307West Seventh street, the Rev. M. E. Hawkins, D. D., of the First Baptist church, officiating. Internment will be in the city cemetery. 

So from the obit we learned that she had been born in Canada on December 7, 1865. Since Canada did not keep birth records in 1865, it seemed difficult to trace her ancestry that way, and a visit to the St. Thomas library in 2006 confirmed that no record of her birth was to be found there. Knowing she was married in Grand Rapids (which we later learned was Sturgis, MI and not Grand Rapids), it seemed logical that her family had migrated from Canada to Michigan. A search of the census records in Michigan for 1880, shortly before her marriage, did not turn up any likely matches. The recent (2008) discovery of an online scan of her marriage record provided the missing clue. It revealed that at the time of her marriage, both she and her husband to be, Wesley Squibb were living in Rome City, Indiana. A search of the census records for Rome City finally struck pay dirt. It showed her and her parents and siblings. And with the new information from the census, I was able to find other information on Ancestry (Welke Tree) and Family Search (IGI entries) providing much more information, including her grandparents names. This is the story as we now know it.

Maryís Parents

Maryís father, Cornelius Sullivan, and mother, Catherine Shaw, came from Ireland. According to unsubstantiated information from IGI and the Welke family tree, he was born in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland to Cornelius and Mary (undoubtedly whom daughter Mary was named after) Sullivan. He was born on February the 12, 1837. Catherine was born in Cork, the second largest city at the south tip of Ireland to Michael Shaw and Bridget OíNeal on December 23rd, 1841. They immigrated to Canada, probably in the 1850s, at the height of the great Irish potato famine and subsequent emigration of over a million Irish to continental Europe and the Americas. We do not know if they came by themselves or with their parents, but the custom at the time was for younger members of a family to go to the new world and send back money to the family in Ireland. Cornelius and Catherine married in St. Patrickís Church, Biddulph, Middlesex, Ontario Canada, on September 29, 1859, so I assume they met each other in Canada. Biddulph is a very small town in the part of Canada just to the east of Michigan. It is not far from St. Thomas where daughter Mary was born in 1865. She was the third child. IGI gives the birthplace of the oldest child, Cornelius, as Montreal, while we donít know where the second child, John, was born, except that it was Canada. 

When Mary was five months old, the family made the trip from Canada to Indiana on October 6, 1865. It is interesting to speculate that the family waited for the US Civil War to end in April of 1865 before moving. I believe they went straight to Rome City, Indiana because the next child was born there in March 1866, five months after their arrival, and only ten months after the birth of Mary! I wonder how Mary and Ellen got along, being only ten months apart and also two girls following two older brothers. After traveling from Ireland, to Canada, and then to Indiana, Cornelius and Catherine spent the rest of their lives right there in Rome City. 

Here is a list of their children. Most likely this is a complete list, due to the 1900 census listing Catherine as only having 10 children, and I have found 11. 

Cornelius Charles, b. October 14, 1861, d. May 21, 1912 in Denver
John T., b. 1862. Died between 1917 and 1929
Mary (Mollie), b. May 25, 1865
Helen (Ellen, Ella), b. March 16 1866, d. November 18, 1944. Married Elmer Doyle and moved to Milwaukee
Catherine, b. February 14, 1870 d. before June 1880
Jennie, b. 1871 Married Fred Ellison and moved to Milwaukee. Died after 1929. 
Lucy, b. September 25, 1873 d. After 1930. Around 1895 she married a man with the name of Lichtenberrger in Indiana She had two children with him there, Raymond and Lucile. Just before 1900 she moved to Kansas where she became housekeeper for her father-in-law, John Lichtenberger, and a man named Albert Doran. In 1902 she married Albert and had two more children with him. Albert died between 1920-1930. 
Margaret, b. 1877. Probably died between 1900 and 1917. 
Sara Cecelia, b. May 10, 1879 d. May 25, 1898 just 15 days after her 19th birthday. 
William Jerry, b. April 3, 1881. d. October 4, 1966 Married Waltzia Atkin. Spent his life in Utah
Elizabeth b. March 26, 1884 She was the baby of the family and presumably took care of her parents, because she is still listed living with them in the 1910 census. Cornelius died in 1917 and Catherine in 1918, and by 1929 Elizabeth was living in South Bend and still unmarried when her sister Mary died. Mary had married and had a child before Elizabeth was born. On October 17, 1930 Elizabeth became the fourth wife of Clifford H. Pool. They continued to live in South Bend for many years where Clifford worked for the Water Works. She lived to over 90 years of age and died in Niles Michigan in March of 1974.

Cornelius was a stone mason. We donít have any records of his occupation till the 1870 census, but from then on he is always listed as a stone mason. In 1910, it says that he was only out of work for 12 weeks that year. It seems like a tough job for a 73 old man, which he was in 1910. 

Mary and Wesley

While Mary was born in Canada, she only spent five months there and the rest of her life was spent in Indiana and Michigan. Sometimes she was listed as Mollie, but more often as Mary. All the early censuses listed her as Mary. The first record of her as Mollie was in her marriage record. Again in the 1900 census she is listed as Mollie, but in the 1910 and 1920 censuses, as well as her obituary, she is again listed as Mary. We donít know much about her growing up until at age 16 she married Wesley Squibb. Wesley was born in Ohio to Thomas Squibb and Hannah Mercer on April 20, 1848. But must not have spent long in Ohio, because he was in Pleasant Mills, Adams County, Indiana in the 1850 census when he was two. Pleasant Mills is 75 miles south of Rome City, very close to the border of Ohio. It is not clear when the family moved to Rome City, but, by the 1870 census, his parents were living there. The census shows that he was no longer living with his parents in 1870, but I was unable to find him in that census, nor in the 1880 census either. However, in 1881 his marriage record lists him as living in Rome City, Indiana, so possibly he moved there as a child and lived there the whole time. At the time of his marriage, he gave his occupation as machinist. 

While the obituary lists them as being married in Grand Rapids, according to the record, they were actually married in Sturgis. Now Sturgis, Michigan, is only 2 or 3 miles from the Indiana border and 24 miles straight north of Rome City, Indiana. A road directly connects the two today; presumably then also. His age is given as 30 and hers 18 on the marriage record. I believe their actual ages were 33 and 16. He was more than twice her age, and so it would seem not unlikely that her family disapproved and this was some kind of elopement. Thomas Squibb is listed as a witness, and as Wesley had no known brother Thomas, this must have been his father. No Sullivan is listed. Also, Maryís parents were Catholics. We know this firstly because most Irish were Catholic, but also because they were married in a Catholic church in Canada, and they baptized at least four of their children born in Indiana in St. Maryís Catholic Church in Avilla. The Squibbs were  Free Will Baptists. Mary and Wesley lived and died as Baptists. One can further speculate that religious differences were the reason for the elopement. It is only my speculation that they eloped, but there must have been some reason for them to go all the way to Michigan to get married. 

Together they had three children. The first was Minerva Loraine (Minnie). She was born February 13, 1883 and died January 27, 1927, three years before her mother Mary died. The second was Harry W., born four years after his sister on April 11, 1887 in Witt Pond, MI. He lived all the way till February 15, 1976. The third was Mabel, born in July, 1893, six years after Harry. 

They apparently started married life in Rome City, because the birthplace we have for their first child in 1883 is Rome City, over a year after they were married. But their second child four years latter was born in Witt Pond, MI and their third child Mabel was also born in Michigan in July of 1893. Wesley and Mary were back in Indiana by 1900 where the census of that year shows them to be in Mishawaka where they remained the rest of their lives. Wesley was at this time working as a chimney sweep on the huge industrial chimneys and died February 18, 1915, when he fell 200 feet from one at about 66 years of age. 

Whether or not they eloped, Wesley and Mary were married 35 years. They were buried in the Moneysmith plot in Mishawaka that was started when their first grandchild had died in 1902. Though her name was Marjory, her headstone says simply "Baby." Wesley, fourteen years later, would have been the next one buried in the plot.

After her husband died, Mary is listed in the 1920 census living with her son, Harry. He had not yet married, and married in 1923 at 35 years of age, apparently for the first time. We donít know if Mary continued to live with him after he married, but it would appear that she went to live with her daughter since she died in her daughter Mabelís house in 1929. She died December 31 at 6:30 only hours from the new decade. She died after a four-year battle with diabetes, which at that time was not as treatable as it is today. I wonder if she steadily declined for a long time, or simply died of a holiday-induced sugar overdose.