While consolidating the voluminous mass of paper in my family files recently, I came across a copy of one page of a letter with the salutaion “Dear Neice [Niece].” The author of the letter told of the cold winter in Montana and the hard ground that was not plowable.
Who was this mystery writer? I knew of no family members going west to Montana. Immediately I though about the adventuresome brothers of Florence’s mother, Laura Davis. Several of Laura’s siblings had vanished from New Hampshire by 1860. I’d found two of Laura’s brothers, Albe C Davis and George Davis, and a brother-in-law, Jeremiah Judkins, in the records of the Bureau of Land Management obtaining homesteads in Stearns County, Minnesota [see my blog post, “From NH to Minnesota in a Conestoga Wagon,” written July 1st, 2013]. They were identified in the 1860 federal census of Stearns County as well [1860 U.S. Census, Free Population Schedule, Stearns County, Minnesota, page 64; National Archives microfilm M653, reel 574].
My approach was to check the 1900 census for Davis families in or around Livingston [Park County], Montana. I was not disappointed. On the 4 June, a Albe C Davis (born in New Hampshire and of the correct age) was enumerated in Muir, Park County, Montana, with his wife and a boarder[1900 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Park County, Montana, Enumeration District 74, sheet 2A, dwelling 18, family 18, lines 4-6; National Archives microfilm T623, reel 913; viewed on Ancesstry.com 30 July 2015]. The enumerator also recorded that Albe and Sarah had been married five years and that she was the mother of two children both of whom were still living. Because Sarah would have been about forty-three when the couple married, I suspect that her children were from a previous relationship and both were likely old enough to be out on their own.
At FamilySearch.org I found a marriage record for Albe C. Davis and a Sarah J. Smith at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Livingston by JF Prichard, rector of St. Andrews on 15 October 1894 by [“Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F33V-V7F : accessed 30 July 2015]. I know this is “my uncle” Albe C. Davis. On the marriage record his father is listed as Lewis Davis, but his mother is called Nancy Lyons rather than Nancy Glines.
Florence M Woodward, daughter of Daniel Russell Woodward and Laura Davis, was born 28 June 1877. Florence died young on the 21st of December 1893.
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