Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Looking for Lucy

Lucy Mayhew has been an enigma for a number of years. She was the wife of George Richmond Mayhew. George became a fairly well-to-do shoe proprietor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Before his death, he purchased a family plot in Oakhill Cemetery.  He reinterred his father who had died and been buried in  Ionia, Ionia, Michigan and buried his mother who died 29 May 18981 in the same plot. When George died 3 April 1899 he became the third and last family burial in his family plot.  Lucy was nowhere to be found.

George Richmond Mayhew was born 23 July 1850 in Abington, Plymouth, Massachusetts.2 The History of Kent County, Michigan, by Chapman, indicates that George R. Mayhew married Mrs. Lucy Osgood, born May 1855 in Massachusetts,3 in 1878 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.4

Lucy Osgood came to the marriage with a son from her previous marriage, Harry Osgood, born 9 February 1871 in Avon, Norfolk, Massachusetts.5

Lucy and George Mayhew had two children, Blanche Mayhew born March 18813 and Percy George Mayhew born 25 June 18826 both born in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan. George R. Mayhew died 3 April 18996 at just under 49 years of age. George Mayhew purchased a large family plot in Oakhill Cemetery in Grand Rapids where he is buried along with his mother, Lucretia Mayhew, and father, Abijah L. Mayhew. Lucy is not buried in the family plot.8

After her husband’s death, Lucy is found in the 1900 US Census in Grand Rapids Ward 3, Kent, Michigan as head of household with her daughter Blanche Poler, both living in the same house she had lived in previously with her husband. Lucy is listed as a widow born May 1855 in Massachusetts with both parents born in Massachusetts. Although Blanche is listed with the last name Poler, she is also listed as being single.3 In 1910 Lucy is again found in the same location in the US Census in Grand Rapids with her daughter who is now enumerated as Blanche Mayhew. The census indicates that Lucy had three children with two living although all three of her children are still alive at this time.9
In 1914 the family was involved in a crisis in which the son, Percy George Mayhew, stole a large sum of money, reportedly $30,000 in bearer bonds, from his mother’s safe deposit box. Newspaper articles describing the events indicate that Lucy was now in Aurora, New York.10 Lucy is not found in the 1920 US Census .

Several years ago, Ancestry.com first published passport applications and three applications were found for Harry Osgood. The first application dated 11 June 1917 contained a notarized letter from Harry’s aunt, Helen S. Tucker, attesting to the birth of Harry E. Osgood, son of William Osgood and Lucy Tucker Osgood on 9 February 1874 at the home of Lucy Tucker Osgood’s father Ebenezer Tucker in Avon, then East Stoughton, Massachusetts. Lucy did not provide any documentation for her son’s application.6

Women frequently lived in the same area as a close relative or friend. It is probable that Lucy lived in the same area as one of her children after her husband’s death giving a starting point for this research. Harry Osgood was living in New Rochelle, Westchester, New York at the time of his passport application and is found there in the 1920 US Census11 but not the 1930 US census. Information from the passport application indicates that Lucy lived in East Stoughton [later Avon], Norfolk, Massachusetts prior to her marriage to George Richmond Mayhew.5 In a letter from Jo Curtis, daughter of Percy Mayhew, Jo Curtis says that her father and their family moved to California in 1918 from Governor, New York. No mention is made of Lucy Mayhew.13 Blanche Mayhew is not found in a cursory search of census records after 1910. My hypothesis is that Lucy Mayhew died between 1914 and 1917 in the state of New York, probably with her son Harry Osgood in New Rochelle.

So...Where's Lucy?

1. Michigan Department of State-Division of Vital Statistists, "Death Records, 1897-1920"; Seeking Michigan (http:seekingmichigan.org: accessed February 2012), transcript of certificate of death for Lucretia J Mayhew, Kent County, page 1064, registered number 498.
2. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910. (From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives) Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004.) vol 43:229 accessed April 2011.
3. 1900 U.S. Census. Kent County, Michigan,  population schedule, Ward 3 Grand Rapids, Enumeration District [ED] 54, p 309 (stamped), dwelling 4, family 4, Lucy A. Mayhew; digital images, Ancestry.com. (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed January 2012); from National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 721.

4. History of Kent County, Michigan: Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Townships, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens : History of Michigan, Embracing Accounts of the Pre-Historic Races, Aborigines, French, English and American Conquests, and a General Review of Its Civil, Political and Military History. Chicago: C.C. Chapman & Co, 1881. Pg 1075 Internet resource.
5. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007, citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.; Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; ARC Identifier 583830 / MLR Number A1 534; NARA Series: M1490; Roll #1001.
6. Birth Certificate for Percy George Mayhew, State of Michigan Vital Records office, held by Jamie Mayhew.
7. Grand Rapids Press, 3 April 1899, Obituary, George R. Mayhew, pg 3 digital images GenealogyBank.com. (http://www.genealogybank.com. Accessed January 2012.)
8. Cemetery record card, Mayhew Plot, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
9. 1910 U.S. Census. Kent County, Michigan, population schedule, Ward 3 Grand Rapids. enumeration District [ED] 0060, p 10A, image 813, dwelling 190, family 198, Lucy Mayhew; digital images. Ancestry.com. (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed January 2012); FHL film number 1374669 from National Archives microfilm publication T624 

10. Auborn NY Citizen, 1916 image 1912 Old Fulton Postcards [images online] (http://www.fultonhistory.com; accessed 2007).
11. 1884 Michigan State Census. Kent County, Michigan, population schedule (LDS Family History Library).
12. 1920 US Census, Westchester County, New York, population schedule, New Rochelle Ward 1, Enumeration District [ED] 111, page 9B, image 765, dwelling 144, family 175, Harry E. Osgood; digital images. Ancestry.com. (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed January 2012); from National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1278.

13. Jo Curtis, undated letter, in possession of Jamie Mayhew.

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