Nancy Jane Mansfield: Moving Through Life – Part 1

This is part one of a two-part series narrating the life of Nancy Jane Mansfield Haney, mother of Melissa Jane Mansfield Slicker, Anne Mansfield, Matilda Belle Mansfield Owens, Samuel M. Haney, James Haney, Sarah Haney, and Jennie Haney Taylor. Nancy began life in Washington Township, Westmoreland County. She then moved across the county to North Huntington Township with her father James Mansfield and her step-mother, Nancy. According to an affidavit submitted by Gilbert McMaster, the nephew of the alderman who married Nancy and her first husband, John Mansfield, Nancy was living in Pittsburgh at the time of her marriage to John Mansfield. After exchanging marriage vows, Nancy and John made their home in Elizabeth, Allegheny County. When Nancy remarried in 1866, she lived for a short time in McKeesport before she and her second husband, Samuel Stewart Haney, moved to Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. About twelve years passed, before Nancy, with her family, moved to Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Locating to Apollo placed Nancy closer to her daughter Matilda, who had married William Owens of Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, and Nancy’s two older sisters, Charlotte and Elizabeth. In 1890, Nancy’s daughter, Melissa Slicker, bought property in Apollo.  Property ownership gave a clear signal that the family had plans to stay. But in 1895, the year George McMurtry closed the Apollo Iron and Mill Company and moved it to the newly formed town of Vandergrift, Nancy and Samuel made another move. This move took them to Saltsburg, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Nancy and Samuel would settle here for about fifteen years. Nancy, with her husband by her side, made her last move to a small community in Washington Township, Westmoreland County. Nancy would pass the remaining years in this small community, not far from her childhood home. 

Note to the reader: The informant for Nancy’s death certificate, James Haney – Nancy’s son, reported that Nancy’s mother was Sarah McDonald. This is the only document that I am aware of that explicitly states the name of Nancy’s mother. For this reason, I state in the story that Sarah is Nancy’s mother. However, information provided on a single document by an informant who was not present at the time of Nancy’s birth does not provide definitive proof of parentage. And I must consider that in the 1850 U.S. Census for the James Mansfield – Nancy’s father – household, the woman who is listed on the line below James and is just a few years younger than James, may be Nancy’s biological mother. Although this may be possible, for the sake of telling Nancy’s story, I chose to include both possibilities by treating Sarah as the biological mother and Nancy as the step-mother. 

Although this blog is about a Slicker Family History, I thought it fitting to include this narrative of Nancy Jane Mansfield Haney, the grandmother of Samuel John Slicker, and an ancestor of his descendants. Note that I am reporting Sarah McDonald as Nancy’s mother. Although Sarah was given as the mother’s name on Nancy’s death record, it is not one hundred percent certain. It may have been reported incorrectly. The 1850 and 1860 U.S. Census report a woman by the name of Nancy as the wife of Nancy Jane’s father.

Nancy Mansfield Haney, after living a full life filled with her own unique set of challenges, passed away in the home of her granddaughter, Ruth Slicker Hardwick. Her second husband, Samuel Haney, who walked along Nancy’s side for fifty-one of her seventy-nine years of life, was most certainly by her side as Nancy met her last challenge – that of crossing the threshold from mortal life to the everlasting life leaving behind family and friends whom she loved.

1917, the year of Nancy’s passing, was a time when families could still be found living as neighbors. It was also a time when families began to spread out making homes in faraway towns and cities. So, we find that Nancy as she left this mortal life was surrounded by many loved ones who lived side-by-side on Brick Road in a small community known to the local residents as Oklahoma. This small community was a part of Washington Township until 1931 when it was incorporated as a borough.

Nancy had been the mother of nine children of which five were still living at the time of Nancy’s death.[1] These five living children were Melissa and Matilda, two daughters from Nancy’s marriage to John Mansfield, and James, Samuel, and Jennie (Eliza), children from Nancy’s marriage to Samuel Haney. Two of the children who went on from this life before Nancy were Anne Mansfield and Sarah Haney. The other two children and how long they had lived is unknown to me.

Nancy Haney Obituary
Nancy Haney Obituary. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Saturday, January 27, 1917, page 3. Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/85847965 accessed: 13, June 2018, entry for Nancy Haney.

Nancy who gave life to nine children came from an even larger family. Born the daughter of James Mansfield and Sarah McDonald,[2] Nancy, spent her childhood years with twelve siblings on a farm in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Sarah, passed away not long after the birth of Nancy; and Nancy grew to adulthood under the care of her father, James, and her step-mother who bore the same name as Nancy.[3]

Death Record for Nancy Mansfield Haney.
Death record for Nancy Mansfield Haney. Notice the record shows her father as James Mansfield and her mother as Sarah McDonald. Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 455 (1917), Nancy Haney, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

One day in the early 1850s, perhaps as early as 1851, Nancy’s father and step-mother packed up the family belongings and headed westerly across the county taking with them the children still living at home. They settled near Cavettsville, now the southern part of present-day Trafford in North Huntington township, Westmoreland County.[4] Two of Nancy’s oldest siblings, Charlotte and Elizabeth, remained in or near the Washington Township area.[5],[6],[7] Charlotte, who was about twenty-seven years old when her father moved, had married John Muffley. Elizabeth had married Lazarus Owens. Nancy’s brother, David, who married Mary Bush, moved from Washington Township to Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County where he began work as a coal digger.[8]

June 17th, 1857, Nancy, who was living in Pittsburgh, married John Mansfield, who was living in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County. The young couple made their home in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania where John continued his work as a coal miner for a few years before mustering into Company G of the 101st Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.[9]

Proof of Marriage Document, 17, January 1865 Nancy Mansfield, widow’s pension application: WC109820. http://www.fold3.com, accessed: 23 October 2018, entry for Civil War Widows Pension, Pennsylvania Infantry, Regiment 101, Company G, John Mansfield (WC109820).

Within the first four or five years of marriage, Nancy and John had at least three children – Melissa Jane, Anne, and Matilda Belle.[10] It would be Matilda, the youngest of the three, who would lead her mother back to the Washington, Westmoreland County area about twenty years later.

Proof of Melissa Jane Mansfield's birth.
Affidavit provided by Dr. Charles Rudolph, the doctor who delivered Melissa Jane Mansfield on March 31st, 1858. Affidavit accepted by the Department of Interior 27, January 1868; Widow’s Pension for Nancy Mansfield, Application No. WC109820; http://www.fold3.com, accessed 23, October 2018, entry for Civil War Widow’s Pension, Pennsylvania Infantry, Regiment 101, Company G, John Mansfield (WC109820).

 

In 1861, as winter was nearing, Nancy and her neighbor, Hannah Householder, bid their husbands goodbye. The two men left for Harrisburg where they would be mustered into the Volunteer Infantry for the Union Army for the next three years. Like many women throughout the country Nancy and Hannah had sole responsibility for running their households throughout the war years. Their husbands continued to provide financial support by sending money back home when they could. In addition to the money they sent home, both John Mansfield and John Householder sent letters home. Nancy and Hannah, in return, wrote letters to their husbands most likely telling stories of home life.

Hannah’s husband, John, kept a diary while a way. Although for much of 1863 he reported only on the weather and mundane everyday life events, the men of Company G of the 101st Regiment experienced their share of fierce combat. John Householder had the top of his right ear shot off at the Battle of Fair Oaks in 1862. It has been reported that he was shot in the leg as well. His injuries caused ongoing complications, and he was discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate on March 16th, 1864, one month before the men from his regiment would be taken captive at the Battle of Plymouth. Nancy’s husband, John, would be among those captives.

In September 1864, Nancy received the heartbreaking news of her husband’s death. Her husband, had lived the last four to five months of his life in the deplorable conditions of Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Georgia. This prison built to hold about 10,000 prisoners was holding three times that number at the time of John’s death. The prisoners only protection from the elements were makeshift shanties made of wood and blankets. Food was scarce, and the prisoners only source of water was a creek that ran through the compound. This creek quickly became a cesspool of disease and human waste. When the banks of the creek eroded, much of the compound became a swamp.

In the months following her husband’s death, Nancy submitted a widow’s application to the Pension Office in Washington, D.C. The Pension Office approved the application. This gave Nancy eight dollars a month to use for her and her children’s survival.[11]

As many widows of the Civil War did, Nancy remarried. She exchanged vows with Samuel Stewart Haney on May 17th, 1866 in the McKeesport home of Methodist Minister, H.L. Chapman.[12] As a result of this marriage, Nancy lost her eight dollars a month widow pension. But understanding the law of the day, she knew her two daughters, Melissa and Matilda, would qualify as dependents of a deceased Civil War soldier. Nancy wasted no time in applying for and obtaining approval to receive eight dollars a month for Melissa and Matilda. She began to receive payments on May 18th, 1866 with a promise to receive two more dollars per child starting July 25th, 1866.

Affidavit of minister for marriage of Samuel Haney and Nancy Mansfield.
I, H.L. Chapmen of McKeesport, Allegheny Co., Pa being duly sworn according to law say that I am a minister of the Gospel of M.E. Church; that on the 17th, day of May 1866 I joined in lawful wedlock Samuel S. Haney and Nancy Mansfield at my house in said borough of McKeesport. I further say that I have no interest in this claim.

 

In 1867 the Haney household welcome a new member, Sarah Haney. Sarah may have been born in McKeesport, Allegheny County or she may have been born in Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where her sister Eliza, who later in life would be known as Jennie, was born March 17th, 1869.[13]

Webster was a small village sitting along the Monongahela River. For a tiny community, it had much going on in the nineteenth century. The businesses that help drive its economy included a steamboat building business and a barge building plant along with coal mines, grist mills and sawmills. It was in this small community that Nancy’s oldest daughter would meet John Slicker, her future husband.

Nancy’s husband, Samuel Haney, went to work in one of the sawmills in Webster. He later found work in one of the local coal mines. In 1871, he became a member of the Star of the West Lodge, No. 26. L.O.L., a society of free masons.[14]

It was while Nancy was living in Webster that she received news of her father’s death. Her father, James, died in 1870 while living with Nancy’s sister, Charlotte, and Charlotte’s husband, John Muffley, in South Bend Township, Armstrong County.[15],[16]

By 1880, the Haney family had grown to include two sons, James and Samuel. During this same year, Nancy’s two oldest daughters, Melissa and Matilda, had married and headed off to begin their own families.[17] Melissa married John Slicker who owned a house at the northern end of Webster.[18] Matilda married William H. Owens and moved to live with William and his parents in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County.[19] Soon Matilda’s mother, step-father, and siblings, including Melissa and her husband, John Slicker, would follow. They would take up residence in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

 

Sources

[1] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Nancy Haney (age 60), Saltsburg, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[2] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 445 (1917), Nancy Haney, Division of Vital Records, New

Castle.

[3] 1850 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Nancy Mansfield (age 15), Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[4] 1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for James Mansfield (age 59), North Huntington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[5] 1850 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Charlotte Muffley  (age 26), Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[6] 1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Charlotte Muffley (age 36), Bell Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[7] 1850 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Elizabeth Owens (age 23), Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[8] 1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for David Mansfield (age 34), Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[9] 1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Nancy Mansfield (age 21), Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Veterans of the Army and Navy Who Served

Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain, compiled 1861-1934, Fold3.com (http://www.Fold3.com:

accessed 15 October 2017) entry for John Mansfield and his widow Nancy Mansfield.

[12] Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Veterans of the Army and Navy Who Served

Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain, compiled 1861-1934, Fold3.com (http://www.Fold3.com:

accessed 3 January 2018) entry for John Mansfield and his widow Nancy Mansfield, page 17.

[13] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 75993 (1953), Jennie Haney Taylor, Division of Vital

Records, New Castle, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018) entry for Jennie

Taylor.

[14] History of Rostraver. This was an article I found on the World Wide Web back in the 1990’s. The website was

free genealogy pages on rootsweb.ancestry.com. It appears the web page has been removed but here is the web

address: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pamonval/township/files/hisrostraver.html

[15] 1870 U.S. census, South Bend, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Non-Population Census Schedules for

Pennsylvania, 1850-1880, Mortality. M1838, Roll Number 5, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com :  

accessed 21, October 2018), entry for James Mansfield (age 70).

[16] 1870 U.S. Census, South Bend, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com          

access 21, October 2018), used family number 54 provided in mortality schedule record of James Mansfield’s

death to find family in Schedule 1 of the 1870 U.S. Census for South Bend Township, Armstrong County,

Pennsylvania. This is the family James Mansfield was living with when he died.

[17] 1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Samuel and Nancy Haney Family, Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[18] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Melissa Slicker, Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[19] 1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21, October 2018),

entry for Matilda Owen (age 19), Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

©2018. Robin Slicker. All rights reserve.

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