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.

Philip Slicker: Timeline

philip-slicker-timeline

Birth Year: The birth year was estimated by subtracting the age (45) given for Philip in the 1860 U.S. census from the year of the census. As age wasn’t always accurately reported to the census taker and/or the census taker may have made an error when recording the age, we cannot be hundred percent certain that Philip was born in 1815.[1]

Birthplace: Philip’s place of birth was recorded in the 1860 U.S. census, the death record of Philip’s son, John, and passed down the family through oral tradition.1, [2], [3]

Marriage: Although no marriage record has been found, it is most likely that Philip and Magdlena were married: they were living together as adults,1 it was customary for adult men and women to marry, and they were listed as father and mother of John Slicker in John’s death record.2

The information in the death record indicates a relationship of, at least, a temporary nature between Philip and Magdlena; it does not show evidence of a marriage. Thus, John’s death record, in and of itself, is not proof that Philip and Magdlena were married. However, when the relationships provided in the death record are linked to the information provided in the 1860 U.S. census and marriage customs of the time, it makes a stronger case for the existence of a marriage.

The date of the marriage was most likely after the birth of Mary Stinogle (1851) and before the birth of John Slicker (1857).  The question remains: Did Philip and Magdalena meet and marry in Germany or here in the United States?

Date and Place of Death: Since Philip appeared with Magdlena in the 1860 census, but not in the 1870 U.S. census; and divorce was highly uncommon, it is most likely Philip died sometime during this ten-year period. Since the family was living in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, it is most likely Philip was buried in this county.[4]

[1] 1860 U.S. Census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Baldwin Township, p. 51 (stamped), dwelling 635, family 608, Philip Slicker; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 27 December 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1,438.

[2] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate no. 77633, John Slicker (1929); Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[3] Baker, Ruth, interview, between 1991-1994.

[4] 1870 U.S. Census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Forward Township, p. 105 (stamped), dwelling 218, family 213, Conrad Steingle, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 27 December 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1,761.

© 2016, Robin Slicker. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Magdlena Slicker’s Life in Pennsylvania

This is Part Three of a three-part series. You may want to read Part One, “Magdlena Friend Slicker’s Life in Nineteenth Century Germany” and Part Two, “Magdlena’s Voyage to a New Life” if you have not already.

Part one places Magdlena in the historical context and events of her home country. It covers the political, economic, and social context from the time she was born in 1819[1] until the birth of her daughter Mary in 1851[2]. In part two I attempt to describe as accurately as possible the conditions and methods of travel during the mid-nineteenth century. In part three I describe all I know of Magdlena’s life in the United States.

As you read you will perhaps realize there are many unknowns about Magdlena and her life. For example, I do not know whom with, if anyone, she traveled from Baden to the United States. Since it is unlikely that her three children ages three, five and seven traveled without adult supervision, I feel safe in concluding she traveled with them. However, I have not found any evidence that she traveled with her husband, John Joseph Steinogle or any other family members. For all I know John Steinogle died in Baden or sometime during the trip to the United States. Some additional unknowns include Magdlena’s date of marriage to Philip Slicker, the exact number of husbands, and the exact number of her children. I would further note that no document has been discovered that supports either marriage.

Let’s now turn to the last part of Magdlena’s story.

It was 1854[3] when the ship carrying Magdlena and her family sailed into a U.S. port. With the long ocean voyage behind them and new challenges in front of them, Magdlena, Conrad, Eva and Mary stepped from the deck of the ship to their first piece of solid ground in weeks. Surrounded by strangers and inundated by the new sights, sounds, and smells, Magdlena directed her three young children through the crowded port.

Three years later Magdlena and her second husband, Philip Slicker, welcomed their newborn child, John, into their home. A family of five was now six.

In 1860 Magdlena and her family were living in Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania[4]. While she cooked, cleaned, did laundry and cared for her youngest son, John, Philip and Conrad went to one of the nearby mines to put in a long day’s work. Conrad was only thirteen. Magdlena’s daughters, Eva, age 11, and Mary, age 9, were most likely attending school.

1860-census
1860 United States Federal Census. Philip and Magdlena Slicker are living in Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Although Conrad, Eva and Mary appear with the Slicker surname, their surname really is Steinogle.

By 1870 Magdlena had become a widow. She was living with her two sons, Conrad and John in Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania[5]. Conrad was supporting the family from the wages he earned working in the coal mines. Eva had married in 1866[6]. She and her husband, John Vogel, were living in Webster, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County[7]. The whereabouts of Mary, the youngest daughter, is a mystery.

1870 United States Federal Census. Magdlena Slicker is living in Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania with her two sons, Conrad Steinogle and John Slicker.  The census taker mistakenly recorded Magdlena’s and John’s last name as Steinogle.

On June 2, 1873, with six hundred dollars of their hard earned money, Conrad and his sixteen year old, half-brother, John, purchased lots 143, 144, and 147 at the north end of Webster[8]. This small village nestled between the Monongahela River and a hillside is the place Magdlena called home for the last two decades of her life.

In 1877, Conrad married Isabella Carmichael. In the spring of the following year, Conrad and his wife, using a quitclaim deed, conveyed the southern half of the three lots purchased by Conrad and his half-brother, John to John[9].

On January 13, 1880 John Slicker married Malissa Mansfield. Fifteen days later he sold the southern half of lots 143, 144, and 147 for six hundred dollars to his half-sister, Mary Stinogle[10]. Mary and her seven-year old son, John W., moved in to their new home. John and Malissa moved closer to the center of Webster. They were now living next door to John’s half-sister, Eva, and her family and about three houses from the home of Malissa’s mother, Nancy, and step-father, Samuel Haney[11]. John’s mother stayed with her daughter, Mary, and grandson on the southern half of those three lots at the north end of Webster[12]. Magdlena’s son, Conrad and his wife continued to live on the northern half of those same three lots[13].

 

1880 US Federal Census
1880 United States Federal Census. Magdlena is listed on the line marked with a red star. Her name is spelled Marthalena. She is living with her son-in-law, Abraham Sharrow, and her daughter, Mary. Her son, Conrad, and his family are listed on the four lines above Abraham’s name.

January 7, 1892, Magdlena’s life came to an end. She had spent her first thirty-five years in her homeland of Baden, a Grand Duchy of the German Confederation. The last thirty-eight years she spent in her new homeland, the United States of America. At her death she had four adult children and twenty-two grandchildren. Two grandchildren had preceded her in death.

Magdlena is buried in the Vogel plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Monongahela, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Magdlena Slicker December 6, 1819 – January 7, 1892

You can visit Magdlena’s Find-A-Grave memorial by clicking the hyperlink below:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/126383026/magdlena-slicker

SOURCES:

[1] Saint Mary’s Cemetery (Washington County, Monongahela; located within the Monongahela City Cemetery), Magdlena Slicker marker; read by Robin Slicker November 2006.

[2] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Mary Hedge (age 49), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[3] “1910 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Eva Vogel (age 60), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[4] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Magdlena Slicker (age 46), Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[5] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Conrad Steingle (age 23), Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[6] “1900 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Eva Vogel (age 50), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[7] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Eva Vogle (age 21), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[8] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 77: 364, John Gilmore to Conrad Steinogle and John Slicker, 14 August 1873; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[9] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 96: 38-41, Conrad Steinogle to John Slicker, 2 May 1878; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[10] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Deed Book 101: 439-441, John Slicker, et ux to Mary Stinogle, 2 July 1880; Recorder of Deeds Office, Greensburg.

[11] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for John Slicker (age 23), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[12] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Marthalena Slicker (age 60), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

[13] “1880 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02, December 2016), entry for Conrad Stinogle (age 34), Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

© Robin Slicker, 2016. All Rights Reserve.

 

The Elusive Life Story of Philip Slicker

Note on name spelling: The names in this post are written exactly as they appeared in the documents from which they were taken. In the 1870 Federal Census, Magdlena’s name was written as Martha.

The last time I checked the dead weren’t talking. Thus, if we want to learn the life story of our ancestors, we must rely on historical documents to provide the details that will tell us their stories. The more historical documents we find and the more the factual information varies within those documents, the greater potential we have to weave an elaborate, more reliable life story about our ancestors. Even when there are only a few documents, we can still piece together a short narrative about those who came before us. And so it goes with Philip Slicker.

Like treasure hunters diving to the bottom of the ocean to search for buried riches among a more than one hundred-year old ship wreckage, my mother and I have spent countless hours in various repositories searching for that treasure trove of historical documents that would enable us to piece together – gem by gem[1] – the life story of Philip Slicker.

In our exploratory search, we were able to discover three documents containing several genealogical gems: the 1860 Federal Census for Pennsylvania, the 1870 Federal Census for Pennsylvania, and Philip’s son’s death certificate.

From the 1860 census we can begin to piece together a life story for Philip. According to this collection of historical records, Philip was 45 years old and working as a coalminer. Given Philip’s age and the census year, we can estimate that Philip was born about 1815. The census also shows there was an adult female, Magdlena, age 46, living in the same household and bearing the same surname as Philip. Magdlena was most likely his wife. Both Philip and Magdlena were born in Germany.

In addition to Philip and Magdlena, there were four children bearing the Slicker surname listed as a part of the household in 1860: Conrad, age 15, working as a miner; Eve, age 13 or 14; Mary, age 10; and Johny, age 4. The three oldest were born in Germany while Johny was born in Pennsylvania. The family was living in Baldwin Township near Library,[2] Allegheny County, Pennsylvania the day the census was taken: August 17, 1860.[3]

The second useful document was John Slicker’s death certificate. The informant for the certificate, A.G. Seighman – most likely Albert Grant Seighman, John’s son-in-law – reported Philip Slicker as John’s father and Magdalene Slicker as John’s mother. A.G. Seighman also reported Germany as the birthplace of both parents[4], [5].

I believe we would not have found Philip’s family in the 1870 Federal Census for Pennsylvania, the life stories of Conrad, Eva and Mary Steinogle or the burial site of Magdlena, had it not been for Ruth Baker who willingly shared a bit of oral history that has passed from generation to generation.

In the first half of the 1990s, my mother and I had a sit down interview with Ruth. Ruth, the daughter of Matilda Belle Slicker and Albert Grant Seighman, told us Philip and Magdlena had been born in Germany and had lived in and was buried in Webster[6], Pennsylvania. Ruth also told us that Conrad, Eva and Mary were Philip’s step-children and their surname was Steinogle. This little bit of information was enough for us to locate most of Philip’s family members in the 1870 census.

According to this census year, the family household consisted of Conrad Steingle, age 23, born in Germany and working as a miner; Martha Steingle, age 49, born in Germany; and John Steingle, age 13, born in Pennsylvania. They were living in Forward Township, Allegheny County[7]. Eva, Philip’s step-daughter, was married to John Vogle. Eva and John were living in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County[8]. Mary, Philip’s youngest step-daughter, couldn’t be found in this census year. Since Philip did not appear in the 1870 Federal Census, it is most likely he passed away. But when and where?

Based on the information at hand, we can estimate that Philip most likely passed away in the decade between 1860 and 1870. He would have been between the ages of 45 and 55. The answer to where did Philip died is not so easy. It is highly probable he died somewhere in Allegheny County perhaps Baldwin Township…maybe Forward Township.

Three historical documents and a bit of oral history have made it possible to develop a short narrative about Philip Slicker. This life story, although appearing elusive in nature, is not as comprehensive as I believe it could be. Other documents containing their own genealogical gems surely exist. Documents containing factual information that would make Philip’s life story more elaborate… more complete.

Those possible documents include ship passenger lists, naturalizations records, bible records, and church records. There may be a standing grave marker carrying Philip’s name and date of death. The gems to be found within these documents and on his grave marker may include Philip’s arrival date to the United States, the port he arrived to, when he was born, when he was married, when he died and the name of his parents. In fact, with the right documents in hand it would be possible to trace Philip’s life story to the motherland – Germany.

[1] In the field of genealogy, gem is used as a synonym of fact or good-find.

[2] Baldwin Township covered a larger geographical area in 1860 than it   does presently. Library is presently located in South Park Township, Allegheny County.

[3] “1860 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, October 2016), entry for Philip Slicker (age 45), Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[4] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate no. 77633, John Slicker (1929); Division of Vital Records, New Castle.

[5] Although the informant of John’s death certificate, A.G. Seighman, most likely presented an accurate account of the names of John’s parents and their birthplace, the information must be treated as suspect. Mr. Seighman, given his date of birth could not have known Philip and Magdlena. Thus he was relying on information passed down through generations which is less reliable than an eyewitness account.

[6] Webster is in Westmoreland County.

[7] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, October 2016), entry for Conrad Steingle (age 23), Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[8] “1870 United States Federal Census,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7, October 2016), entryfor Eva Vogle (age 21), Westmoreland, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

© Robin Slicker, 2016. All Rights Reserve.