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.

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