Women.by Denise Novaky on 07/23/17
I wrote last week about Irenaeus Bartley, the young man from Mt. Olive who passed away while still in his 20s. Still, he had become educated at Lafayette College and was successfully pursuing his career as a civil engineer at the time of his demise. In this post, I had every intention of discussing a 19th century woman who also left this realm at an early age. That task proved not so easy.
The death of young women, like older women, children, and men, were documented in a death certificate in the 19th century. Unfortunately, it proved impossible to find them on a census record or in any other documentation. I could find no obituaries in any newspapers that were published at that time. So, whereas Ireneaus Bartley's education was documented in the Lafayette College yearbook of the day and his death earned a sentence in a history book, the young women I researched yielded not even a peep.
I am very sad to know that there were human beings in our very community whose life extinguished without even a flicker of the mark they made on this world. We will never know about their trials, the children they grew and those they lost. We will never know these rural women banded together to get through harsh winters or how they made their food last till the next harvest. Was there a network of women who supported each other in child rearing? Eva Ackerson, Annie Buist, Sarah Clawson, Anna Coleman, Julia Ike, Amanda Jennings, Charlotte Maines, Lizzie Pace, and Mary Pierce are some of these married women who lived here many years ago and of whom we are not aware.
I wonder if the single women were sent to other regions as housekeepers by their families until they could find suitable husbands. Who were Annie Brown, Emma and Julia Dennis, Clara and Mary Drake, Lettie Dugan, Alice Hoffman, Theresa McCabe, Lizzie Ort, Mary Reater, and Carrie Read, and Grace Smith?
Whoever they were and however they cared for the land that was to become our home, we honor them.