Sunday, December 15, 2013

THE SAD FATE OF RENA GRACE EDWARDS

ena Grace Edwards (1898-1918) was my 1st cousin 1x removed. Rena was born to John Edwards and Ella Charlotte TAYLOR, my grand aunt. I have been able to re-construct her short life using Census records and newspaper articles from Old Fulton NY Postcards (www.fultonhistory.com). In addition, thanks to a genealogy report by my aunt Elizabeth TAYLOR Wratten which was forwarded to me by a cousin from Westmoreland, New York, I have been able to learn more about Rena and her tragic life.

TIMELINE

March 4, 1900 - Rena's father, John Edwards, is so injured by falling ore at Franklin Furnace that he dies. The Utica, New York Morning Herald reports that he leaves an invalid wife and a life insurance policy with Prudential. John's funeral was to be held at the Methodist Church. (1) Rena was about 2.

March 5, 1900 - John Edwards, died in a mining accident at the Franklin Furnace according to the Clinton, New York Courier. (2) 

In the 1900 Census, Rena is living with her mother, Ella, and grandparents, John TAYLOR and his wife Charlotte SCRIPTURE, my great grandparents.  (3)


October 15, 1900 - Rena’s mother, Mrs. Ella Edwards, “brought a suit against M.A. Hanna & Co, the lessees of the Franklin Furnace, for damages for the death of her husband, John Edwards.” According to this article, a “mass of frozen ore fell on him, injuring him so that he died in a few days.” Deputy U.S. Marshall P.D. Condon served papers in Clinton on Superintendent Patterson. (4)


June 28, 1904 - Rena’s mother, Ella TAYLOR Edwards, died at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Taylor. (5)  Rena was about 6.  

July of 1904 - a “decree of guardianship was issued for Rena G. Edwards.” John Taylor was appointed. (6)

In the 1910 federal census, Rena is living with her grandparents, John and Charlotte TAYLOR. (7)

August of 1912 - Rena attended the Taylor Family Reunion in Clinton, New York (8)

December of 1912 - Rena was elected treasurer of the Lairdsville M.E. Church Sunday school. (9)

August of 1913 - Rena attended the Taylor family reunion. (10)

July of 1914 - Rena played the Wedding March at the wedding of Isaac McLaughlin and Mabel Dixon (11)



December of 1914 - Rena was an “over-Sunday guest at W. Hills.” (12)

In the 1915 New York State Census, Rena is living with her grandparents, John and Charlotte TAYLOR. (13)

May of 1916 - Rena was the “guest of her aunt, Mrs. W. Hills” (14)  Mrs. W. Hills was formerly Miss Dora Taylor, my grand aunt.

June of 1916 - Rena played the “strains of the ‘Bridal Chorus’” at the wedding of Miss Agnes Annette 
Bryden and Elbert Barney Mattoon in Vernon Center, New York. (15)

June of 1916 - Rena won a prize at a shower for Miss Bryden. (16)

December of 1916 - Rena gave a “kitchen shower in honor of” Miss Martha Brashear. (17)

December of 1916 - Rena was attendant for Martha BRASHEAR (my grandmother) at Martha’s wedding to Millard Taylor (my grandfather). (18)

December of 1916 - Rena was elected organist at her church. (19)

August of 1917 - Rena was “recovering from a serious illness” (20)

November of 1917 - Rena played the piano at the Cornell Club's birthday celebration. (21)

January of 1918 - Rena is ill. (22)

February 28, 1918 - Rena died at her home in Lairdsville. She suffered from a chronic disease. (23)

(24)
(25)

Rena is buried at Kirkland Prospect Hill Cemetery in Oneida County, New York. (26)

April of 1918 - Rena’s will was admitted to probate at the Surrogate’s Court in Utica, New York. (27)

May of 1918 - the personal property of Rena was calculated to be $1,194.59 (28)

March 1941 - Spencer Taylor (my 1st cousin 1x removed) donates hymnals to the Lairdsville church in honor of Rena. (29)

THOUGHTS

Rena was born the same year as my grandmother, Martha BRASHEAR Taylor, and it appears that they were friends.  Martha was the only grandparent I remember.  Rena and Martha lived in the same area and participated in similar activities. It must have been horrible for my grandmother to have her good friend die at such a young age.

Rena lived a simple life with family and friends in Oneida County, New York. She never got to travel the world, have a husband or enjoy children and grandchildren.  Through newspaper articles, I learned about her character: She was trustworthy enough to be appointed treasurer of her Sunday school; she was talented musically (played the piano and organ); Rena was a social person (attended weddings, reunions and showers); and she cared enough about her friends to give parties in their honor.

So what was this mysterious illness? According to my aunt’s genealogy report, Rena had tuberculosis. (30)  I do not know if this is true. The 1918 flu pandemic killed thousands of people in upstate New York and worldwide, but it seemed to hit toward the end of 1918. Rena died early in 1918.  Rena lived near Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. The following article discusses how the flu took the lives of college students: http://www.hamilton.edu/magazine/winter09/departments/the-hill-in-history

Also, kudos to my great grandparents John TAYLOR and his wife, Charlotte SCRIPTURE, who took care of first Ella and Rena and then, after Ella died, Rena.  John died at the age of 69, four years after Rena’s death.

This story shows that not everyone is blessed with a long life and not everyone has the pleasure of having their parents while they are young. Despite all of Rena’s hardships, she appears to have been a talented and loving young lady.  We can all learn from her.



GOING FORWARD

To complete my file on Rena, I now want to:
  • Obtain Rena’s death certificate. I would like to see what is listed as her cause of death.
  • Obtain Ella's death certificate to see her cause of death. See if I can discover why she was called an invalid.
  • Obtain copies of the court documents regarding the lawsuit against the furnace company. I want to see if Ella won her court case against the company.
  • Order copies of the guardianship and probate records.
  • I plan to contact historical societies to see if I can acquire a picture of Rena.  I could also look for high school yearbooks.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1100 Pictorial Symbols, 2007.


CITATION SOURCES:

(1) "Death of John Edwards, Who Was Hurt by Falling Ore at Franklin Furnace," Utica, New York Morning Herald, digital image 348165, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).
(2) "Obituary," The Clinton Advertiser, March 10, 1900, digital image 535301, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(3) Year: 1900; Census Place: Westmoreland, Oneida, New York; Roll: 1134; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1241134. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

(4) “Kirkland,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, October 15, 1900, digital image 1229403, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(5) "Lairdsville," Rome New York Daily Sentinel, July 5, 1904, digital image 1374994, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(6) “Surrogate’s Court,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, July 19, 1904, digital image 1370679, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(7) Year: 1910; Census Place: Westmoreland, Oneida, New York; Roll: T624_1053; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0175; FHL microfilm: 1375066. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

(8) “Taylor Family Reunion,” Utica, New York Herald Dispatch, August 20, 1912, digital image 259525, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(9) “To Hold Donation,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, December 3, 1912, digital image 1301515, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(10) “Reunion of Taylor Family,” Utica, New York Herald Dispatch, August 14, 1913, digital image 219383, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(11) “Westmoreland: Isaac G. McLaughlin and Miss Mabel Dixon Wedded at Lairdsville, “ Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, July 18, 1914, digital image 1294897, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(12) “Were Married 25 Years Ago,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, December 10, 1914, digital image 1168645, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(13) New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 01; Assembly District: 02; City: Westmoreland; County: Oneida; Page: 02. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: State population census schedules, 1915. Albany, New York: New York State Archives.

(14) “Vernon: Mrs. John Taylor Entertains,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, May 8, 1916, digital image 1009588, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(15) “Vernon Center: Pretty Wedding Took Place at Home of Bride Near Village,” Utica, New York Herald Dispatch, June 30, 1916, digital image 227978, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(16) “Shower for Miss Bryden,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, June 21, 1916, digital image 1024093, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(17) “West Hill Paragraphs,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, December 28, 1916, digital image 1133686, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(18) “100 Guests at Wedding: Miss Martha J. Brashear and Millard M. Taylor of Clinton United in Ceremony at Bride’s Home,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, December 28, 1916, digital image 1198347, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(19) “Lairdsville,” Utica, New York Daily Press, December 9, 1916, digital image 350026, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(20) “Vernon: West Hill Paragraphs,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, August 29, 1917, digital image 1051958, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(21) “Cornell Club’s Birthday Celebration,” Clinton, New York Courier, November 21, 1917, digital image 1031690, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(22) “Vernon Center: Berg-Smith Wedding,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, January 28, 1918, digital image 1079965, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(23) “Miss Rena G. Edwards, Dead,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, March 1, 1918, digital image 1198866, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(24) Ibid.

(25) “Lairdsville: Miss Rena G. Edwards: Bright and Beautiful Young Life Ends, and is Mourned, March 5, 1918, digital image 385018, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(26) Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital image (http://www.findagrave.com: accessed 15 December 2013), Rena Edwards (1898 - 1918), Kirkland Prospect Hill Cemetery, Oneida County, New York, Memorial No. 44861669, created by Epy.

(27) “Surrogate’s Court: Letters of Administration Issued—Other Matters,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, April 10, 1918, digital image 819191, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(28) “Transfer Tax Appraisals,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, May 4, 1918, digital image 1209657, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(29) “Lairdsville Hymnals, Organ Given to Church,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, March 19, 1941, digital image 1077810, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com: accessed 15 Dec 2013).

(30) Handwritten notes about the Taylor Family by Elizabeth “Betty” Taylor Wratten (1922-1989), Deansboro, Oneida County, New York.

2 comments:

  1. This is a lovely post, Karin. People who did not marry or have children are often overlooked in research, but they provide insight into the family's history as well as those who physically produced the next generation. It is wonderful that you were able to find so much information about her in her short two decades. I also like that you generated a list of next steps for further research- never done!

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  2. Thanks, Jody. That’s a good point. Single people are important too.
    Thanks to Old Fulton NY Postcards, I am able to learn wonderful details about my family. Newspaper reporters were so chatty 100 years ago. It was big news if someone visited a relative. I love digging up this information although sometimes it is a challenge because you have to figure out the right search terms.
    You are right—there is so much to learn about each and every person. Our work is never done.

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