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It’s All in the Will, When There is a Will! #52 Ancestors

Wanting to be independent but feeling trapped, third great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Waldhauer (1796-1862) was resolved to find a husband. She had a good mind. She could read. She could write. She was also pretty but she didn’t have choices. Finding a husband was what was expected. It was 1815 and a woman’s role continued to be limited to finding a husband, having children, taking care of the children and submitting to their husband for their entire life. Elizabeth had a different expectation of what her life should be. She wanted to be on her own and have financial independence. She did not wish to have to marry to be economically safe and protected. Yet, it was unthinkable for a woman to remain single. Society scorned and pitied single women. She had no choice. She had to find a husband.

John Krack/Crock, (1771-1824) was a farmer and a widower. It is most likely that John’s wife passed away soon after the birth of their daughter in 1814, as deadly infections following the birth of a child were common for women in the early 1800’s. The infections were known as “child bed fever.” In 1815 John was a single father with six children ranging from infancy to the age of eleven. Working the 95-acre farm and also taking care of six children was impossible. He was 44 years old and he needed a wife.

John soon found a wife and Elizabeth soon found a husband. Sometime between 1815 and 1820 Elizabeth Waldhauer married John Krack/Crock. John was 25 years older than Elizabeth, who was 19. Marrying a widower with a family gave Elizabeth the financial security she sought and John had a young helpmate. The John Crock household was enumerated in the 1820 census for Hempfield, Westmoreland, PA.




Locality
1820, Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania



Free White Males
Free White Females


Page
Line
Head-of-Family
0
to
10
10
to
16
16
to
18
16
to
26
26
to
45
45
+
0
to
10
10
to
16
16
to
26
26
to
45
45
+
All Others
Slaves
126

John Crock
1
2



1
2
1
1




1820  United State Federal Census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, p.126, John Crock,; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 March 2020); Provo, UT, citing NARA Roll: M33_112; Image: 1361820


Note:  The early censuses did not list the names of each individual in the household nor was there a form.  The enumerator collected information about the number of residents within a designated age span.  The number of individuals within the span is recorded.

Transcription

John Crock
Males                      Thomas (age 16) out of house?
Under 10 - 1   (William)
10-15 -   2        (Conrad, James)
45 and Over 1 (John)

Females
Under 10 - 2 (Catherine, Unknown)
10-15 -  1       (Lydia)
16 - 25  - 1     (Elizabeth)

On the first of March in 1824, John Krock, age 53, passed away. Elizabeth, at the age of 28, was a widow. 

John died intestate meaning he did not have a will. This left his children and widow, Elizabeth, as heirs. The Crock children now ranged in age from ten to twenty. Thomas, as the eldest male, would be the heir of law and would be responsible for assuring his siblings and step mother received their share of the inheritance.

As time went by, Elizabeth knew that, when all of the children became of age, change would be inevitable. She needed to move out on her own or find another husband and that would mean meeting somebody.

Elizabeth attended church regularly hoping that she would meet someone and she always enjoyed the Walthour family get togethers. She met her cousin, Christian’s good friend, Samuel Alexander. Samuel was handsome, kind, and friendly. They seemed to get along well. In early spring 1826, Elizabeth realized she was with child but she and Samuel did not get married.

Mid October Anna Maria Krock/Crock known as Mary Ann was born. In the new year, Mary Ann’s parents, Elizabeth Walthour Crock and Samuel Alexander, had their illegitimate daughter baptized at the Brush Creek Salem Lutheran Church, Hempfield, Westmoreland, PA. The Brush Creek Lutheran Church congregation were staunch defenders of the use of the German language in worship so it is most likely that the service was conducted in German.

Ruff, Paul Miller, The German Church Records of Western Pennsylvania, Brush Creek Lutheran Church, Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Parish Records, Part 2, 1821-1848, Anna Maria Crock, #1218, p. 11, Greensburg, PA, 1998.

Elizabeth returned to the home of her father, Jacob Waldhauer/Walthour, sometime before 1830. It seems likely that once Elizabeth was noticeably pregnant, or maybe after Mary Ann was born, she would not necessarily have been welcome on the Crock farm. Deviating from the social norm found Elizabeth facing condemnation from the Crock family and the community. Returning to her father’s home was the only place that she could go. Elizabeth and Mary Ann are enumerated in the 1830 census in the home of her father, Jacob Waldhauer/Walthour.

In 1836, twelve years after the death of John Krock, Thomas Krock, the eldest son, submitted a petition in Orphan’s Court to purchase the property. It was agreed that he may remain on the land if Elizabeth, the widow, received 1/3 part of the interest, $689.39, for the remainder of her life. Elizabeth’s yearly share was to be $279.27. Elizabeth now had some income.





Jacob Waldhaluer/Walthour died in 1839. Elizabeth was listed among the heirs in Jacob’s will, she is recorded as a widow. By 1840, Elizabeth age 43 and Mary Ann age 13, were living in their own home, as enumerated in the 1840 census for North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania.

Locality
1840, North Huntingdon, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
Pg.
Ln.
Head of Family
0
to
5
5
to
10
10
to
15
15
to
20
20
to
30
30
to
40
40
to
50
50
to
60
60
to
70
70
to
80
80
+
Slaves
246

M
F



1




1





1840 United States Federal Census Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County, PA, (North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania), Page 246; Elizth Crock; (http://ancestry.com : digital image; accessed April 2014),  Provo, UT,  citing Family History Library Film: 0020559

In March, 1848, Elizabeth’s mother, Barbara Knappenberger Waldhauer/Walthour, wrote her will. In the will she states, “ …Item first, I will and bequeath to my grand daughter Mary Ann Krock or Alexander (an illegitimate child) & daughter of Elizabeth Krock now intermarried to Jacob Bear the sum of one hundred dollars…”

The statement in the will reaffirms that Mary Ann was illegitimate and that Samuel Alexander was her father. On 12 September 1854, Barbara passed.

Pennsylvania Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Westmoreland County (Pennsylvania) Register of Wills, Will Books, Vol 3-5, 1839-1870, Case 1980, Barbara Walthour, (http://ancestry.com : digital image; accessed April 2016),  Provo, UT.

Revolutionary War soldier, Jacob Bear/Bair (1756-aft 1848), was last enumerated in the Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania 1840 census where he is listed as 84 years old and a former soldier. In Barbara Knappenberger Walthour’s 1848 will, Jacob is listed as intermarried with Elizabeth. At the writing of the will, Jacob was 92 and Elizabeth was 52. Why would Elizabeth marry a man who was forty years older? Jacob must have had property and offered Elizabeth the security and independence that she sought all of her life.

Jacob Bair passed after the August 1848 last will and testament written by Barbara Knappenberger Walthour and before the 1850 census enumeration. The 1850 census listed the household of Mary Bare (age 53) and Mary A. Crock (age 23). They were living in North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Mary had real estate valued at $400.


1850 United States Federal Census Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County, PA, (North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania), Population Schedule, p 372, Dwelling 351; Family 358; Mary Bare; (http://ancestry.com : digital image; accessed April 2013),  Provo, UT Roll: M432_836; Page: 372A; Image: 201

In the 1860 United States Federal Census for Huntingdon Township Elizabeth, age 63, is recorded as
living alone with real estate valued at $600 and personal property valued at $200. She was independent and financially secure.

1860 United States Federal Census Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County, PA, (North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania), Population Schedule, p 785, Dwelling 394; Family 390; Elizabeth Bare; (http://ancestry.com : digital image; accessed April 2013), Provo, UT Roll: M653_1196; citing Family History Library Film 805196

It must have been confusing to grow up not knowing for certain which last name was your mother’s and which one was yours. It was undoubtedly confusing for friends and family members as well, or perchance they didn’t have any idea about the mystery surrounding Mary Ann of many names. But then, just maybe, she didn’t really know either.

When Mary Ann’s daughter, Elizabeth Rachel Kunkle, died, her husband, Adam Calvin Altman, reported that his wife’s mother’s maiden name was Mary Ann Bair.

Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death, Elizabeth Rachel Altman, (1925), File no. 40397, Jeanette, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Registration District No. 941, Primary Registration District No. 1532, Registered No. 77, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, photocopy in researcher’s file.

Mary Ann’s son, Stephen Kunkle, was the informant at the time of his mother’s death. He reported Mary Ann’s father as John Crock and her mother’s maiden name as Elizabeth Walthour. Mary Ann must have known that she was not be the daughter of John Krock, as her grandmother made it very clear in her will that she was illegitimate and the daughter of a man whose surname was Alexander. Elizabeth Walthour Krock Bair lived the stigma of having had a child out of wedlock. As the child of Elizabeth, Mary Ann certainly had to have been affected, also.

Bureau of Vital Statistics, State of Ohio, Certificate of Death, Mary Ann Kunkle, (1910), Registration district 4303, File no. 11263, Wesley Township, Washington County, Ohio, photocopy in researcher’s file.

Who knows the story that Elizabeth told in regard to Mary Ann’s parentage? It will remain a family mystery, Elizabeth’s indiscretion. Elizabeth’s secret. Who knows why Elizabeth enjoyed the company of older men? Certainly, it had to do with financial security. There are a few things that are for certain. Elizabeth was pretty. Elizabeth was friendly. She had a good mind. She could read and write. She desired independence and she wanted financial security.

In her last will and testament submitted 23 October 1862, she: 1) requested to be buried in the new grave yard near Adamsburg, 2) left $500 to Mary Ann wife of Samuel Kunkle and 3) to Elizabeth Rachel Kunkle she bequeathed her new bureau and yellow bed stand with all of the beding.

Mary Elizabeth Bair died 31 October 1862.

Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Will Books, 1773-1917; Will Indexes 1773-1918; Westmoreland County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, P 426, No 2396, Elizabeth Baer, database, Ancestry.com, (http://ancestry.com : digital image; accessed Mar 2019), Provo, UT


Family wills held the answers to the questions about Elizabeth and daughter, Mary Ann, and the mystery of their many names. Mary Ann was not John Crock's daughter as stated on her death certificate. She was the daughter of Samuel Alexander, a friend of the family. Crock was her legal last name as her mother was Elizabeth Crock, a widow, at the time of Mary Ann's birth. As for Baer being her last name as Adam Calvin reported, he knew her mother's last name was Baer when he met Elizabeth. It is possible that that is all he knew about Elizabeth's mother.






Comments

  1. I am always surprised when I read a death certificate in which a spouse could not report the names of his/her spouse's parents. How did people live a lifetime without talking about those things??? And I do understand how illegitimate children often went by a last name that was not really theirs. In my husband's line, there are some children who went by different last names, sometimes their own and sometimes their stepfather's name. They often flipflopped.

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  2. I have often found confounding information on death records, including the speculation of a parent being a "foundling"! But I don't think this is limited to the past, I am nearly certain my husband does not know my mother's maiden name, and possibly not her legal first name! In his defense, he did not know his grandmothers' surnames until I did his tree a couple years ago.

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