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.

Four Women Sitting on a Front Porch Somewhere

I was looking through the black and white photos we had inherited from my paternal grandparents, Leonard Floyd and Wilda Pearl Boyer Slicker, when I came upon the black and white photo below – four women sitting on a front porch somewhere.

 

Who are these women? They must be family members, right? After all their photo is in the family album. Or are they friends of the family? What about neighbors? Unfortunately, it wasn’t common to identify the people or places in photos of the past. But, let’s flip this photo over and see if someone has left us a clue.

 

This is the back side of the four women sitting on a porch somewhere photo.

Okay, now we see some identification scrawled across the back in two distinct blue inks. In the lighter blue ink we see: Aunt Jen (black dress white socks), and “John Slicker’s sister.” In darker blue we read: Sam Slicker’s father. Questions arise.

Has this photo been properly identified? Who inscribed the backside of the photo? When did they inscribed the backside? Was it inscribed soon after the taken of the photo? Or was it inscribed years later when someone was trying to remember? The two distinct blue inks suggest the third line was perhaps added later.

Who is Aunt Jen? The backside of the photo tells us she is the one wearing a black dress and white socks. It also tells us she is a sister of John Slicker. The third line tells us John was the father of Sam Slicker. Problem is no documentation exists supporting John Slicker had a sister named Jen. What we have here is the typical mystery that commonly appears in the old family photo album.

We have names. We have relationships. We have faces. The names, the clothing, and the photo color and format (white borders) suggest a time period. But the names and relationships offer us our best clues. The best place to start digging for answers is in the family history. The very history that has been slowly unraveling in the posts of this website.

The relationships stated on the back of the photo suggests that John Slicker, father of Sam Slicker, had a sister named Jen. But we know from the stories posted that John Slicker did not have a sister named Jen. But what about a sister-in-law? John Slicker’s wife was Malissa Mansfield. In the three-part series documenting Malissa Mansfield Slicker’s life, we learn that Malissa had a sister, Anne Mansfield, who died within the first few years of her life, and a sister, Matilda Mansfield, who married William H. Owens. Malissa also had two half-sisters, Sarah and Elizabeth Haney. Hmmmm. No Jen. The mystery, or better yet said, the confusion deepens. Who can this Aunt Jen be? Let’s not throw the towel in yet. As all family historians know, we must leave no stone unturned. So, we set the photo aside while we go digging into the archives of the past. And with luck, we find a lead…

….such as this one: a transcription of Nancy Mansfield Haney’s obituary. Nancy is the mother of Malissa and Matilda Mansfield, and of Sarah, Elizabeth, James W. and Samuel M. Haney.

Mrs. Nancy Haney         Friday, January 26, 1917

Early yesterday morning occurred the death of Mrs. Nancy Haney aged 78 yrs., wife of Samuel Haney, at the home of her granddaughter, Mrs. John Hardwick, in Oklahoma, after a short illness of pneumonia. She is survived by the following children: Mrs. Owens of N. Washington; Mrs. Slicker of Oklahoma; Mrs. L.W. Taylor of Pittsburgh; and James W. and Samuel M. of Indiana Harbor, Ind…

This transcription of the original obituary appeared in a book titled Obituaries 1916-1920, vol. 3. I believe we found this genealogical gem back in the 90’s at the Apollo Public Library in Apollo, Armstrong county, Pennsylvania. The original obituary appeared in one of the local papers of the time.

Mrs. Owens was Matilda. Mrs. Slicker was Malissa. But who was this Mrs. L.W. Taylor? Was she Sarah or Elizabeth? And if Nancy had four daughters, and the obituary names only three which of the last two mentioned died and when? The answers to these questions may be hidden in Ancestry.com’s digital trove of historical documents. Off we go!

Using the search parameters: L.W. Taylor, Pittsburgh, born 1870, I found a 1910 census record among the results returned that shows an L. Wayne Taylor living on Wylie Avenue in Pittsburgh. L. Wayne and his brother, Merrill, worked as druggist. Today they would be called pharmacists. L. Wayne had a wife named Jennie. Jennie was 41 making her birth year 1869. L. Wayne and Jennie had a daughter, Cecil. This information – L.Wayne Taylor, Jennie, and of Pittsburgh – seems to match our known information. Is this our Aunt Jen ? If so, where did she come from? Did Nancy have a daughter we did not know about? Hmmm. To answer the first question – is this Aunt Jen – let’s head back to that digital trove of historical documents and enter the search parameters: Jennie Taylor, lived in Pittsburgh, PA, and the birth year 1869.

Wow! Would you look at what appeared in the results of our Ancestry.com search – a death certificate for Jennie Haney Taylor! And look at the names of her parents: Samuel Haney and Nancy Mansfield. So, Malissa Mansfield Slicker did have a sister, Jennie. And Jennie Haney Taylor was born March 17, 1869 in Webster, Pennsylvania. And the Haney family had lived in Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania for about twenty years.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death Certificates, 1906-1966; Certificate Number Range; 075151-078000. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 [database online].
So which sister was Jennie? Sarah or Eliza? Or did Nancy have another daughter of which I’m unaware? The answer to these question lies in the 1880 U.S. Censuses for Webster, Westmoreland County, PA.

     1880 U. S. Census: Samuel and Nancy Mansfield Haney with children.

Samuel and Nancy Haney and children in the 1880 U.S. Census. This record can be found at http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 26, June 2018 for Samuel Haney (age 34), Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Sarah was 13 in 1880. Her birth year was 1867. Eliza was eleven in 1880. Eliza was born in 1869; the same year as Jennie Haney Taylor. If we were to look at the Haney family in the 1870 U.S. census, we would see that Eliza was 1. There was no twin. It appears that Malissa’s half-sister, Eliza Haney, began using the name Jennie at some point in her life. So, now we know John Slicker had a sister-in-law named Jennie. And Sam Slicker was Aunt Jennie’s nephew. I also know this mystery photo landed in the hands of Aunt Jennie’s great-nephew, Leonard Floyd Slicker, my grandfather and son of Sam Slicker. What makes this story even more interesting is to know that Leonard Floyd shared his birthday – March 17th – with his great-Aunt Jennie.

What is disappointing about this story is without more evidence – such as more photos that clearly identify Aunt Jen – we cannot be one hundred percent certain that the woman wearing a black dress and white socks in the photo is Jennie Haney Taylor. And so as it is with the photo of four women sitting on a porch somewhere it is with so many old photos in the family album.

Do you have any photos of Aunt Jen to share and compare? Do you know the names of the other women in the photo? Do you know where this photo was taken? Do you have anything to add to Aunt Jen’s life story? If you have an answer to any of these questions, why not share in the comment section below or drop me an email?

© Robin Slicker, 2018. All Rights Reserve.

 

 

 

 

Malissa Jane Mansfield Slicker Timeline: 1858-1946

Malissa Jane Mansfield SlickerMalissa Jane Mansfield SlickerMalissa Jane Mansfield SlickerMalissa Jane Mansfield SlickerMalissa Jane Mansfield Slicker Timeline 5

This timeline has a lot of detailed information. If you see an error, I would appreciate it if you bring it to my attention. If you have anything you would like to add to Malissa’s timeline or life story, feel free to share in the comment section below or drop me a line.

 

© Robin Slicker, 2018. All Rights Reserve.

Malissa Mansfield: Living in an Always Changing World – Part 3

This is the third part of a three-part series. If you would like to read the first two parts before reading part three, just click the following links. Part 1: https://aslickerfamilyhistory.com/2017/10/15/malissa-mansfield-slicker-her-changing-world-part-1/ . Part 2: https://aslickerfamilyhistory.com/2018/01/08/malissa-mansfield-slicker-living-in-an-always-changing-world-part-2/ .  

The First Few Years in Washington Township, Westmoreland County

On October 21, 1914, Malissa and John sold their property in Conemaugh township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania for one thousand dollars.[1] According to this deed, they had already made their move to Washington township, Westmoreland County where they would spend their remaining years. Two days after selling the property in Conemaugh, John and Malissa agreed to pay three hundred dollars for a property on Brick Road (present-day Thorn Street) in Washington Township.[2] Their new home would become a part of the borough of Oklahoma in 1931.

On January 25th, 1917 Malissa’s mother, Nancy, after suffering from pneumonia for about a month, passed away at the home of Malissa’s oldest daughter, Ruth Hardwick.[3] Ruth’s home was on Brick Road in Washington Township. After they buried Nancy at the Apollo Cemetery, her husband, Samuel Haney, moved to Ohio where his and Nancy’s two sons, James and Samuel, were living with their family. Nearly one year later, Samuel passed away at a hospital in Cleveland.[4]  Samuel’s sons brought him home to Pennsylvania and laid him to rest next to his wife, Nancy.

The year between the death of her mother and step-father must have been a tough one for Malissa. One marked with sadness as Malissa’s sister, Matilda Belle Owens, passed away five months after the loss of their mother. Matilda was laid to rest in the Vandergrift Cemetery.[5] In a single year, the Haney/Mansfield family had dwindled from seven to four. Those remaining were Malissa, her two half-brothers, James and Samuel of Ohio, and her half-sister, Jennie Taylor, who was living in Pittsburgh.

Malissa’s World Continues to Change

The 1920’s brought economic prosperity and great political and cultural change. This era, marked by Prohibition, also saw the passage of the nineteenth amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. As women gained more rights and more freedom, an increasing number of them entered the workforce. A growing number of household  inventions that included the electric washing machine, the refrigerator, vacuum cleaners, and ready-to-wear clothes help to make adjusting to this new wage-earning lifestyle easier.

Despite these cultural changes, there was one cultural norm that still held strong – that of families living close to one another. And so, we find John and Ruth Hardwick and their four children, Albert and Matilda Slicker Seighman and their three children, George M. And Bessie E. Slicker and their two children, and Samuel and Ethel Hardwick Slicker and their five children and Ethel’s and John’s mother, Violet Hardwick, living on Brick Road near John and Malissa. Fred Manners, John’s and Malissa’s adopted son was living with John and Malissa.[6] John and Malissa’s son, Frank was living with his wife, Estella, and their five children across the river in the borough of Apollo.[7]

But even the cultural norm of families living close together was slowly changing as family members moved across the country seeking employment. Both James and George with their families moved to West Allis, Milwuakee County, Wisconsin by 1921.[8]  Here they would pass many years. William Eugene was living as a boarder in Cleveland, Ward 16 and working as a steelworker.[9] His mother’s half-brother, Samuel Haney, was living nearby in Ward 20.[10] William’s wife, Lela, and his six-month old son, Eugene, were living with Lela’s parents on the west side of Warren Avenue in Apollo, Pennsylvania.[11]

Malissa’s Personal Loss

To the world 1929 marked the end of the Roaring Twenties and the beginning of the greatest economic depression. To Malissa and her family this year was marked with great personal loss – John passed away on July 31st, only five and half months before he and Malissa would have celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. John was laid to rest on August 3rd in the Vandergrift cemetery.[12]

Despite her loss, Malissa’s home was not an empty one. Malissa’s adopted son, Fred Manners, continued to live with her, and her daughter, Matilda and Matilda’s husband and children had moved into the home. And her son, Samuel J. and his family lived nearby.[13]

Malissa Sells Her Property

On July 8th, 1937 Malissa sold the property she and Samuel purchased in 1914 to her daughter, Matilda, and her son-in-law, Albert Seighman, for a sum of three hundred dollars. Malissa reserved the right to use the property for and during her natural life.[14] On May 2nd, 1938 Matilda, Albert and Malissa took out a mortgage with the Apollo Trust Company for the sum of five hundred dollars. They had agreed to pay twenty dollars a month plus six percent annual interest. They debt was repaid in full on August 11th, 1943.[15]

Malissa’s Final Day

After suffering from pneumonia during a two-week period, Malissa Jane Mansfield Slicker died of a cerebral hemorrhage. It was September 8th, 1946,[16] exactly eighty-two years from the date the Department of Interior had accepted as her father’s, John Mansfield’s date of death.

Summary of Malissa’s Life

In her eighty-eight years, five months and five days of life, Malissa had lived through many changes, personally, socially, politically and culturally. She began life in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. During her lifetime she moved four times. From Elizabeth she moved with her mother, father and siblings to Webster, Westmoreland County. As a young, married woman, she moved with her husband, her mother, step-father and siblings to Apollo, Armstrong County. Malissa and her family passed thirteen years in this small community that lies along the Kiskiminetas River. In 1895 Malissa and John moved their family to a property located a little north of Saltsburg, Indiana County. Her mother and step-father settled in Saltsburg. Then in 1914, the family made one last move. John and Malissa purchased a property on Brick Road in Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. This address would one day become Thorn Street in Oklahoma Borough.

As a young child, Malissa lost her father, John Mansfield, and her sister, Anna. As a married woman, she purchased and sold three properties, a right denied to married women before 1848. She gave birth to eight children and raised seven of them. She lost her first child, Milford, shortly after he was born and her second son, Frank, died before she did. In 1902 or 1903, Malissa and her husband, John, adopted Fred Manners.

Malissa was born a few years before the start of a war that temporarily divided her country, and she died shortly after the end of another war that had divided many nations of the world. She lived through prosperous times like the Roaring Twenties and endured challenging times like the Great Depression. In 1946, she left it all behind and was laid to rest next to her husband in the Vandergrift Cemetery, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

You can visit Malissa’s memorial at:    Melissa Mansfield Slicker’s Find-A-Grave Memorial

Should you want to add something to Malissa’s story, see an error in the facts I’ve presented, or just want to comment on the post, use the comment section below.

Sources:

[1] Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 140:164, Malissa J. and John Slicker to David Kellerman, 10 December 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Indiana.

[2] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 554:137, John Orr Chambers to John Slicker, 23 October 1914; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg

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

[4] Ohio Department of Health, death certificate 1256 (1918), Samuel Haney, Division of Vital Statistics, Columbus, Ohio.

[5] Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964, database-online, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 January 2018), entry for Matilda Owens, death certificate 51204, citing 1917 death.

[6] “1920 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (3 members), Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Note: Check the entries before and after John’s household including those that follow at the top of the next image to see how one family household was located to the others.

[7] 1920 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Frank Slicker, Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

[8] Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1882-1995, on-line database, (http://www.ancestry.com accessed 28, January 2018), entry for James Slicker, West Allis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Note: His brother George’s name, appears two lines above his name.

[9] 1920 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for William Slicker, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

[10] United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Samuel Haney, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

[11] 1920 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Lela Slicker, Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

[12] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 77663 (1929), John Slicker, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[13] 1930 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28, January 2018), entry for Malissa Slicker, Washington, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[14] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 1013:390, Malissa J. Slicker to Albert G. and Matilda B. Seighman, 18 July 1937; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[15]  Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Mortgage Book 558:83, Albert and Matilda Seighman and Malissa J. Slicker to the Apollo Trust Company, 2 May 1938; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[16] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 80354 (1946), Melissa Jane, Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

© Robin Slicker, 2018. All Rights Reserve.

Malissa Mansfield Slicker: Living In An Always Changing World – Part 2

This is part two of a three-part series on the life of Malissa Jane Mansfield. The beginning of part two retells the part of Malissa’s story when her father goes off to war. In the second paragraph I stated that John boarded a train for Harrisburg. I don’t really know if this is how John traveled to Harrisburg to be mustered into his regiment. He may have gone by foot or horse and wagon. Part two takes Malissa’s story to 1910. In 1910, the family was still living in Conemaugh township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. The three oldest children were married, and Malissa and John had three grandchildren. If you haven’t read part one of Malissa’s story and you would like to do so before reading part two, you may do so here:  https://aslickerfamilyhistory.com/2017/10/15/malissa-mansfield-slicker-her-changing-world-part-1/

Malissa’s Father Goes to War

As she stood there next to her mother and sisters in the Fall of 1861 bidding her father farewell, it was highly probable that Malissa, at age three years and about eight months did not understand that her father was leaving for a long time. Maybe she heard something about a war? But what was a war? Was she scared, confused or indifferent? Could she sense from the adults around her this was not a joyous moment?

Did Malissa bid her father farewell at the front door of the family’s home? Or did she watch as her father boarded the train that would carry him to Harrisburg where he would be mustered into his company and regiment. Was this farewell moment the last time Malissa saw her father?

January 1st, 1864, Malissa’s father, John, reenlisted as a union soldier.[1] Three and half months later he was captured and taken prisoner during a major battle in North Carolina. Malissa’s father was held for four months in deplorable conditions in a Confederate prison in Andersonville, Georgia. At the end of those four months, he took his last breaths.[2]

Malissa was six years old when the heartbreaking news of John’s death reached the family in their wooden framed house in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. Her father had been gone for so long. Did she understand the news? Or had her father been gone so long that her memory of him had faded?

During the war years, Malissa’s mother managed to keep the household running without her husband. In the years following her husband’s death, she not only continued this role, but she also became the sole breadwinner. This new role would not be an easy one to fulfill as jobs outside of the home were still limited for women.

In the months following her husband’s death, Nancy submitted a widow’s application to the Pension Office in Washington, D.C. The application was approved. This gave Nancy eight more dollars a month to use for her and her children’s survival.[3]

As most widows of the Civil War did, Nancy remarried. She exchanged vows with Samuel Stewart Haney in the McKeesport home of H.L. Chapman, a Methodist minister. This wedding that took place on May 16th, 1866 marked another turning point in Malissa’s life.[4] With a step-father in the home, family life stood the possibility of becoming more stable.

Moving to Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

In the years leading up to 1870, Samuel and Nancy moved with their four daughters, Malissa, Matilda, Sarah and Eliza (daughters of Nancy and Samuel) to Webster, a small village resting on the west banks of the Monongahela River in Westmoreland county. Samuel found employment in a nearby sawmill.[5] Later he went to work in the coal mines. Nancy took care of the home and children. By 1876, that family had grown to include two sons, James and Samuel.[6]

Home of Samuel Haney in North Webster, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

Home of Samuel Haney in 1876.
Home of Samuel Haney in 1876. I have also marked the area where John and Malissa lived in 1880 after selling their property to John’s half-sister, Mary Steinogle. According to the 1880 census, John and Malissa moved near to John and Eva Vogel. The Vogel’s home is the other blue mark on the map. Eva was John’s half-sister. This map of North Webster was published in the Atlas of Westmoreland County in 1876; Publisher: Reading Publisher Company.

Malissa Marries John Slicker

The family was living in a rented home on what was then called Center Street (presently known as Railroad Street).[7] They were just a short distance from the home of Malissa’s future husband, John Slicker. In January 1880 Malissa married John and moved to his home at the north end of Webster. About two weeks after their marriage, John and Malissa sold the property to John’s half-sister, Mary Steinogle.[8] They rented a house near Malissa’s parents and John’s half-sister, Eva and his brother-in-law, John Vogel.[9]

A few months after their marriage, John and Malissa learned they would soon be welcoming their first child into the family. Milford arrived during the cold, bitter snowy month of December. Whatever joy this new life gave his young parents was briefly lived. Milford was gone before the end of December.

The family grows

By 1882, John and Malissa had moved from Webster, Westmoreland County to Apollo, Armstrong County. Malissa’s mother and step-father also made the move. As 1882 was drawing to end, Malissa and John were welcoming their son, Frank Walton, to the family.[10] In the years following 1882, the family continued to grow. Their son, Samuel John (1885)[11], was the next to arrive. He was followed by Ruth Elizabeth (1887), George Mansfield (1889)[12], James Clifford (1891)[13], and Matilda Belle (1893)[14]. This growing family was giving a more stable home life when Malissa, exercising her right to own property as a married woman, agreed to pay three hundred and fifty dollars for a single lot in the borough of Apollo on August 30th, 1890.[15] She would exercise this right again on April 8th, 1895 when she purchased part of the lot next to the one she bought in 1890. She paid two hundred dollars for this lot. Eight months later Malissa purchased eight acres of land in Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.[16] A month before this buy, the property in Apollo was sold to Esther Owens for one thousand dollars.[17] A year after the property in Indiana County had been purchased, John and Malissa’s sixth son, William Eugene, was born.[18]

The Turn of the Century

At the turn of the century, John and his son, Frank, were working in the local rolling mill. Times were not easy as the 1900 Federal Census show that both John and Frank were unemployed eight months between July 1899 and June 1900. Malissa along with her son, Samuel, farmed a part of the family property.[19] Malissa’s mother and stepfather were living a short distance away in the borough of Saltsburg.[20]

John and Malissa in the 1900 U.S. Census – Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania

John and Malissa Slicker 1900 U.S. Census record.
John and Malissa Slicker and children in the 1900 U.S. Census. This record can be found at http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7, January 2018 for John Slicker (age 43), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

In the years after the turn of the century, Fred Manners joined the Slicker family. Although Fred had always used his family name Manners, the 1910 U.S. Federal Census listed Fred as an adopted son of John and Malissa.[21]

September 16th, 1905, Frank, the oldest son, married Estella Arnold. [22]Three years later, on September 8th, their son, Samuel married Ethel Hardwick. This same year, John and Malissa’s daughter, Ruth, married John G. Hardwick.[23] Ethel and John were siblings and, the daughter and son of George Hardwick and Violet Davis. The newly wedded couples settled in Conemaugh township. By 1910 Malissa and John had three grandchildren: James and Harold, sons of Frank and Estella, and Violet, daughter of Samuel and Ethel.

Sources:

[1]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 minor child Melissa Jane Mansfield, page 8.

[2] 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, page 33.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3, January 2018), entry for Samuel Haney (age 24), Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[6] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3, January 2018), entry for Samuel Haney (age 34), Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[7] Atlas of Westmoreland County, 1876 for Webster, PA, Reading Publisher Company, 1876.

[8] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Deed Book 101:439-441, John Slicker and Malissa Slicker to Mary Stinogle, 28, January 1880; Recorder of Deeds, Greensburg.

[9] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3, January 2018), entry for John Slicker (age 23), Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[10] Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1905-1906; Roll Number: 549836, database, Anccestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com/search/ : accessed 3 January 2018), entry for Frank Walton Slicker; citing Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1845-1963.

[11] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry.com (www.Ancestry.com : accessed 7 January 2018), entry for Samuel Slicker, 1968, SS no. 193-03-7191.

[12] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry.com (www.Ancestry.com : accessed 7 January 2018), entry for George Slicker, 1968, SS no. 389-07-3024.

[13] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry.com (www.Ancestry.com : accessed 7 January 2018), entry for James Slicker, 1976, SS no. 397-07-6684.

[14] Find A Grave database. Ancestry.com (www.Ancestry.com : accessed 7 January 2018), entry for Matilda Belle Seighman (1893-1954).

[15] Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 75:75, S.M. Jackson to Melissa Slicker, 13 August 1890; Recorder of Deeds Office, Kittanning.

[16] Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 6976:296, Julia A. Hartlett to Malissa J. Slicker, 10 December 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Indiana.

[17] Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 84:196, John Slicker to Esther Owens, 4, November 1895; Recorder of Deeds Office, Kittanning.

[18] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry.com (www.Ancestry.com : accessed 7 January 2018), entry for William Slicker, 1983, SS no. 317-09-9037.

[19] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25, July 2017), entry for John Slicker Family (9 members), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[20] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, January 2018), entry for Samuel and Nancy Haney, Saltsburg, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[21] “1910 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, January 2018), entry for Fred Maness (age 6), Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

[22] Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1905-1906; Roll Number: 549836, database, Anccestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com/search/ : accessed 3 January 2018), entry for Frank Walton Slicker; citing Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1845-1963.

[23] Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Ancestry.com Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 on-line database. Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, January 2018), entry for Ruth Slicker (age 21).

© Robin Slicker, 2018. All Rights Reserve.

Malissa Mansfield Slicker: Living in an Always Changing World – Part 1

This is part one of a three-part series narrating the life of Malissa Jane Mansfield Slicker. My dad has said on many occasion that Malissa, his great-grandmother, spelled her name with an ‘a’ not an ‘e.’  Some historical documents seem to support his claim, but many other historical documents show it spelled with an ‘e.’ It appears that Malissa, despite completing school through the eighth grade (as reported in the 1940 U.S. Census), may not have been able to write. The 1880 and 1900 U.S. census shows that Malissa was not able to write. When Malissa and John sold properties in 1880, 1895 and 1914, Malissa made ‘her mark’ in place of a signature. 

It’s interesting to note that whoever provided the U.S. census taker with the family information in 1910, 1920, and 1930 reported that Malissa could write. There is a 1937 property deed in which Malissa sold the property in Oklahoma Borough to her daughter, Matilda, and son-in-law, Albert Seighman.  I don’t have a copy of it; and I was unable to get access to it on-line at the time of this writing. I have seen the deed, but can’t recall if this deed shows Melissa’s mark or her handwritten signature. One family document that might shed some light on how Malissa spelled her name is the family Bible. In fact there are two possible Bibles that may help us – the one kept by Malissa and the one kept by her mother. Since it was typical for families to document names and birth and death dates in the family Bible during Malissa’s time, I am assuming she and her mother each kept one. And if they did, I am hoping they still exist, and the present-day owner, should they find this site, is willing to share. Until then, I can only wonder if my dad was correct about the spelling of Malissa’s name. 

Most of the information for this narrative was taken from the widow’s and minor’s Civil War pension file for Malissa, her sister, Matilda, and her mother, Nancy. Malissa, also had a sister, Anna, who must have died at a young age. I’m guessing around two or three. I have not found a death record for Anna or a grave marker. Without further delay, I will begin to tell Malissa’s story as I know it. 

Did March of 1858 come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? That I don’t know. But I can tell you with near certainty that Malissa Jane Mansfield, with the help of  attending physician, Dr. Charles Rudolph, made her grand entrance into the world on the 31st of that month and year.[1] She was the first-born child of John and Nancy Mansfield.

Malissa’s first view of the world outside the safety of her mother’s womb was the interior of the wooden framed house her parents called home.[2] Their home stood in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.[3] It was here in this small community that rested on the east banks of the Monongahela River that Malissa passed most of her childhood years.

From the safety of her mother’s womb to an always changing world

In the year Malissa was born, the United States was still feeling the effects of the Panic of 1857. Like all major economic slumps, this one was marked by high unemployment and bank and business failures – the railroad industry being the hardest hit.

Every socio-economic group felt the impact. Those who lived in the rural communities felt the recession’s impact through a dramatic decline in grain prices. Investors involved in land speculation programs lost everything. The public, in general, lost confidence in the government’s ability to back its currency. This confidence was further shaken when 30,000 pounds of gold being shipped from the San Francisco mint to banks in the east were lost at sea.

Not all change was filled with doom and gloom like the Panic of 1857. Nine years earlier New York and Pennsylvania passed the Married Women’s Property Act. Other states would soon follow. This Act gave married women the right to buy and hold property in their name. A right that Malissa Jane Mansfield would exercise in her adult life.

Other changes Malissa would witness in her lifetime included automobiles, electricity in the home, refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, radios, televisions, ready-made clothes and so much more. More and more women would enter the workforce, and eventually, they would again the right to vote. But these are changes that Malissa would see in her adult life. There was one big change about to take place in Malissa’s childhood. A change brought about by a war that temporarily divided the nation in which she was born.

Malissa Gains Two Sisters

In October 1859, Malissa’s sister, Anna was born.[4] In this same month, the United States saw an increase in tension over the slavery issue as John Brown, an abolitionist, led a raid on the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Three days after the start of his liberation movement, John Brown was captured, tried for treason and murder, and executed in December 1859.

On March 19th, 1861 Dr. Jesse Penny was called to the Mansfield home.[5] With his help, Matilda Belle, joined the family in their wooden framed house in Elizabeth. As celebrations of this new life faded, the family returned to a normal daily routine. John went off to the local coal mine to earn a wage to support his family while Nancy took care of the home and children. John and Nancy and their neighbors and friends were unaware of how soon their normal daily routine was about to change.

Malissa’s Father Marches Off to War

Just a few weeks after Matilda was born, shots were fired at the Federal troops stationed at Fort Sumter catapulting the country into a four-year war. By years end John Mansfield and many other men of Elizabeth bid their families farewell. They set off for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where they were mustered into Company G, 101st Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry for the next three years.[6]

Malissa was about three years and eight months old when her father left home for the war. Was this the last time she saw him? Was her father ever granted leave? If so, did he travel back to visit the family? These questions remain unanswered.

At the end of his three-year service, Malissa’s father re-enrolled in Company G, 101st Regiment as a veteran private. He was mustered in at Plymouth, North Carolina on January 1, 1864.[7]

On March 31st, 1864 Malissa turned six. Three weeks later her father’s regiment while fighting alongside other Union regiments lost the Battle of Plymouth. They were captured by Confederate soldiers and taken to the prison war camp, Camp Sumter, in Andersonville, Georgia.

The conditions at Camp Sumpter were deplorable. Many Union soldiers died from poor malnutrition and disease. Malissa’s father was one. Her father, John, is said to have died August 15th of diarrhea and scurvy.[8] Malissa was six years and five months old.

Malissa’s Childhood Years After the War

In the months after the news of John’s death, Malissa’a mother, Nancy, applied for a widow’s pension. On October 25th, 1865, the Pension Office approved Nancy’s application for the allowable monthly amount of eight dollars retroactive to September 8th, 1864 – the date the Department of Interior accepted as John’s death date.[9]

Nancy’s application for a widow’s pension reported only two living children. Apparently in the years after the 1860 U.S. census and before the submission of the widow’s pension application, Malissa’s sister, Anna, passed away.

May 17, 1866 marked another turning point in Malissa’s life. Her mother, Nancy, married Samuel S. Haney. Upon this union, Nancy forfeited her right to the eight dollar a month pension payment. Knowing her children’s rights, she wasted no time filing a claim for Malissa and Matilda. As minor children of John Mansfield, they were entitled, upon approval, to the eight dollar a month pension payment. The claim was approved. An eight dollar a month payment was to begin on May 18th, 1866 with an additional $2 per child to begin on July 25th, 1866.

This ends part one of Malissa’s story. Don’t forget to come back for part two. In the meantime:

Do you have anything to add to Malissa’s childhood story? Do you know anything about her sisters, Anna or Matilda? Did you enjoy the story? Feel free to leave a comment.

Sources:

[1] 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 minor child Melissa Jane Mansfield, page 15 (copy of the written affidavit of Dr. Charles Rudolph).

[2] Ibid.

[3] 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 minor child Melissa Jane Mansfield, page 19 (copy of the written affidavit of Mary Warren and Hannah Householder, acquaintances of John and Nancy Manfield).

[4] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15, October 2017), entry for Anna Mansfield (age 8/12), Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[5] 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 minor child Matilda Belle Mansfield, page 18 (copy of a written affidavit of Nancy Mansfield Haney).

[6] Pennsylvania State Archives, “Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1866.”Archives Record Information Access System (http://digitalarchives.state.pa.us  : accessed 15 October 2017, entry for Mansfield, John, “PVT, [Co.] G, 101 PA US INF,” Elizabeth, Allegheny County.

[7] 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 minor child Melissa Jane Mansfield, page 8.

[8] 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, page 33.

[9] 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.

© Robin Slicker, 2017. All Rights Reserved.